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Install VM Hosted Apps for Citrix XenApp

In this post I’ll discuss deploying VM Hosted Apps for Citrix XenApp.  VM Hosted Apps was introduced with XenApp 5 Feature Pack 2.  As a companion to XenApp, VM Hosted Apps allows us to publish applications from a standard Windows XP/Vista/7 client.  It basically utilizes the same technology as Citrix XenDesktop but instead of publishing a complete desktop individual applications are published.  One of the great things about VM Hosted Apps is that we can publish apps regardless of whether the source client is a VM hosted on Citrix XenServer, VMware vSphere, or a physical computer.

Generally the thinking is that you would use VM Hosted Apps in situations where an application is not compatible with running on a XenApp server.  There is a one to one relationship and we’ll need one Windows host client for each user and each application that attaches.  The host clients can be pooled so that we’ll only need one for each concurrent user.

The core application service that we’ll be deploying for VM Hosted Apps is something called the Desktop Delivery Controller (DDC).  The DDC is installed on a server and its job is to register app hosting clients and broker client connections to them.  When we set up a DDC we create a farm and we can install multiple DDC’s for availability.  If you have an existing XenApp farm it is recommended that you install the DDC in a new farm.  Don’t worry, both XenApp and DDC farms can make use of a common Web Interface so that users have a single place to access their applications.

As for install requirements currently Windows 2003 SP2/R2 x86/x64 are the only supported operating systems for the DDC.  In addition the server must be configured as a member of an Active Directory domain.  In this example my hosting client will be running Windows XP and will also be a domain member.  Also I will make use of an existing SQL 2005 database server for the farm data store so the SQL Native Client will need to be installed on the Windows 2003 server.  You can find links to download the SQL Native Client here.  Be sure and download either the x86 or x64 version depending on the architecture of your Windows 2003 server.

The VM Hosted Apps installation will need to create objects within an OU in Active Directory to store objects to support the DDC and the registration of hosting clients.  We will need to be logged on as a domain administrator during the installation to allow this.  Also if you desire create a new OU within Active Directory for these farm objects before starting the install.  Otherwise you can also create a new OU within an existing OU during the installation routine.

Install Desktop Delivery Controller

Now let’s start by inserting the XenApp 5 Feature Pack 2 2003 media in our new DDC server.

Select Install XenApp.  The install will prompt you to install .Net 3.5 SP1 if it is not installed on the server.

Select Install VM-Hosted Apps.

Now we need to insert the DVD or ISO for the VM-Hosted Apps.  This ISO is labeled “DDC_VDA.iso” and contains the installation files for both the Desktop Delivery Controller as well as the Virtual Desktop Agent (VDA) that we will install on each VM client hosting applications.  It can be obtained from the Citrix download site in the section where you can download XenApp 5 Feature Pack 2.  The setup should continue when the new media is detected, if not click OK.

Select Install Server Components.

Accept the license agreement and click Next.

In my example I have a Citrix License Server already for my XenApp farm so I will uncheck this option since the Delivery Controller can share in these licenses.  If you do not have an exiting license server you will need to install this component, obtain either a XenApp evaluation or developer license, and configure the license server.  Details for configuring the license server can be found on my post Installing and Configuring Citrix XenApp.  Click Next.

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