Multi-User Lumira Desktop Deployments (Citrix and Windows)
In this post I’ll tell you how easy it is to run Lumira Desktop in a multi-user environment like Citrix or Windows. With the changes made available in version 1.23 of Lumira Desktop, we’re now supporting multi-user environments. Specifically, we’ve added support for Citrix XenApp, Citrix XenDesktop and Windows Remote Desktop Services.
The quick version: you just install Lumira Desktop on a standard multi-user server configuration and you’re done.
Here’s the details to get you started. This is what we did.
Changes in Lumira Desktop 1.23
We made some important changes in Lumira Desktop 1.23. The 64-bit version now comes with an in-memory database engine. This allows the per-user disk footprint to be much smaller and the memory of the system to be managed much better than previous versions allowed. For this reason only the 64-bit version of Lumira Desktop (v1.23 or newer) using the new in-memory database engine is supported in multi-user environments. See the Lumira PAM for further details.
Citrix encompasses a lot of types of technologies oriented around delivering apps and desktops remotely to users. You have many choices: operating systems, hypervisors, virtualization for sessions vs. shared host sessions, desktop remoting and/or app remoting are just some of the decisions you may need to consider to determine which type of landscape to construct.
For the Citrix testing that we did for Lumira Desktop, the simplest path also turned out to be the landscape that would allow us to test the application the most. We used Citrix 7.6 running on Windows Server 2012 R2. Citrix was configured to use Windows’ Remote Desktop Services infrastructure. This meant that one Citrix server ran Lumira Desktop in multiple user sessions all on the same machine. It had the advantage of being easy to configure but also test the app’s ability to get along with multiple instances of itself running on the same machine. I’m happy to say there were no issues reported.
Setting-Up Windows Server
Setting up Windows Server 2012 R2 to use Remote Desktop Services is as simple as running the Windows’ Server Manager and adding the Remote Desktop Services role. In fact, if you’re happy with that remote desktop experience (as opposed to a remoted app experience), you’re done. The server will give multiple users remote desktops on which they can run Lumira Desktop. This works great for a workgroup scenario where you may not have a domain. If you want to use the Citrix facilities, continue on below.
There are a few things to consider with Citrix. First, Lumira Desktop is a Windows-based application, so you still need to deliver Windows desktops, even if the remote desktop is hidden by XenApp. You may want to run the free Citrix hypervisor to create a virtualized environment but you’ll still need to run licensed copies of Windows in the virtual machines you deliver to end-users for their desktops. For our setup, I just used Windows Server to make life as simple as possible. Citrix configuration is necessarily difficult enough.
At the time of this writing, Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop was at version 7.6. I downloaded the ISO file and used the free evaluation license it comes with. That’s all you need to get started.
When running Citrix on Windows, you must have an Active Directory domain environment. If you don’t have a domain, stop here and go learn how to build that out then come back once you’ve got that set up.
Citrix has a nice Web front-end that users log into. It requires Windows Server’s Web Server (IIS) role to be added, which is easily added using Windows’ Server Manager.
To make the application installation the easiest, install Lumira Desktop on the server before starting the Citrix installation. Lumira Desktop requires no special configuration.
For detailed Citrix installation instructions, follow the very good article at the Xenthusiast blog titled, “XenApp/XenDesktop 7.5 – Publishing Windows 2012 Server shared desktop”. It’s very thorough and easy to follow. See http://xenthusiast.com/xenappxendesktop-7-5-delivery-controller-installation/
The highlights include:
· Be sure to do the installation as a Domain Admin and not a local admin.
· Run the Citrix installer from the ISO you downloaded. Install the Delivery Controller with all defaults. Choose the evaluation license or supply your own.
Be sure to use the full computer name. The FQDN may not necessarily the same.
· When asked about the Connection type, choose ‘No machine management’. In this scenario we’ll just use Windows session sharing.
· After rebooting, run the Citrix installer off the ISO again and install the Virtual Delivery Agent for Windows Server OS and choose all the defaults.
· Create a Machine Catalog using the Windows Server OS, using ‘Another service or technology’ for the deployment method.
· Create a Delivery Group – that’s the list of users who will use the server.
· You can choose to deliver desktops, applications or both. Choose both unless you only want one.
· Choose the apps you want to share: select ‘SAP Lumira’ from the list provided.
StoreFront at http://localhost/Citrix/StoreWebCheck out your Citrix Web
I recommend turning off Desktop Auto Launch in the StoreFront. See the Citrix support article at http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX139058
Administering Users in Citrix
In order to allow users to log in you need to add them to the Delivery Group. You use their domain credentials.
To add users, run Citrix Studio and expand the Citrix Studio node in the tree at the left. You should see a node, “Delivery Groups”. Select it, then choose Edit Delivery Group on the right side of Citrix Studio. In the Edit Delivery Group window, press Add and add domain users as you would in any other domain user scenario.
Administering User Accounts
Best practice for Windows user accounts generally is that they not be administrators. This has huge security benefits. This best practice is also true for a multi-user environment, since you don’t want a user having the ability to make changes to the multi-user environment.
In Lumira Desktop, a standard user will not be able to update the installed version. They can check for updates but they will get a warning if they try to install it.
Lumira Desktop installs with a single license key, even in multi-user scenarios. Be sure to work with your SAP representative to acquire the correct license to apply to your multi-user deployment.
That’s all there is to it. Lumira Desktop has a very small disk footprint. In our tests it was less than 100 MB per user profile on the server. Memory usage is very efficient as well, scaling accordingly with the size of the data set used.