Citrix XenApp 6 with Windows 7 look and feel

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This post was inspired by a Tweet a week ago : “RT @stevegreenberg: At the end of the day isn’t XenApp 6 with Win7 theme really the best way to VDI? < Yes for 90% of users”

I totally agree with this statement. Most of the users wouldn’t even notice that they where running a Windows 2008 session as long as they have the look and feel of Windows 7. Going the XenDesktop route will without doubt be a very expensive one compared to a traditional Citrix XenApp solution.

What’s going on behind the scene :

I’m currently working on a lot of projects. The first one out is a new Blue Print showing you Step-by-Step on how to install and configure a Managed Thin Client solution that you can also use to deploy your Windows 7 machines. This was just released as a Alpha version to a couple of people following this blog.

I’m also very excited to announce that I’ve been accepted as guest blogger at the Citrix Community Blog. Hopefully you will see my first blog post there in a couple of weeks covering a new and very easy way to update the vDisk Target Device software.

And finally, based on my latest survey I’m working on a new project to provide Citrix XenApp 6 training that will bring you to date and help you Boost your Career and Increase your Value. If you haven’t already taken the survey, please take a minutes to do so right now.

Click here to take the survey

If you like this post please share it with the Community using the Tweet/Facebook Share or Like button. Thanks, this blog is a success because of you and your support.

Resources :

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22 Responses to Citrix XenApp 6 with Windows 7 look and feel

  1. Hi Trond,

    Nice video! I agree that xenapp 6 and the Windows 7 Theme are very good, but maybe 90% is a little to much, i think it will be around 80% 😉

    • Hi Arjantim,

      Thanks for your feedback. Yeah it will be interesting to see what the community thinks is the correct % number. I haven’t had time to make any performance tests yet, but the user density will bee much higher on XenApp 6 compared to XenDestop 4.

  2. Hi Trond,

    When taking this article (http://tinyurl.com/2a4jgzo) into consideration (I know it’s only Microsoft) You should be be able to get about 60-65 knowledge workers (with powerpoint) on a 4 CPU 16 GB machine. That’s something that will never be possible with Xendesktop + Win7 (64-bit)… 😉

    • Hi Arjan,

      Thanks for sharing this article. I talked to @jeremysaunders on Twitter and he’s currently running this setup with any issues. Though you may notice a difference over a slow WAN or satellite connection.

  3. Trond,

    I’ve rolled out a RDS environment at one of my customers and we aren’t experiencing any problems with 30 people on a 4 CPU / 16 GB VM during the Pilot. Hypervisor used in this case is ESX 4.0. Now going into the second fase where APP-v will be introduced for a couple of apps. Looking at the stats of the server there could be many more then 30, but there are no “heavy” users in the “pool” right now.
    Another thing i advised the customer is to implement a workspace manager. Don’t really know the impact of that on the environment right now!
    Slow WAN and 3G is a pain in the #$$! People think they will get the same performance everywhere (and you can’t always blame them, for some IT managers sell Remote Computing as being the same as traditional desktop computing from everywhere/ at anytime…..). Explaining that showing a fullHD movie on a remote session through 3G doesn’t always gets understood by some customers 😉

    • Thanks Preston,

      I like the soundtrack as well, it’s royalty-free music that I bought. I’m planning to use it as my theme song for all my YouTube videos.

  4. Hi Trond,

    nice article. I’m currently implementing a similar solution but without the copied themes, sidebar and log on screen.

    If I would implementing the log on screen and the sidebar I would be concerned about support by Microsoft and if it is legal as you basically copy DDLs from an unlicensed Windows 7 version. And even if you hold the licenses I think it is still an issue.

    For example it also isn’t allowed to run IE 6 on system which officially doesn’t support it.

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2020599

    The solution itself is great and I would recommend everyone who is implementing XenApp 6 to enable themes. It really drive user adoption. But I would be careful implementing the sidebar and log on theme solution as it seems to be an unsupported and unlicensed solution.

    Would be great if someone could check that with Microsoft.

    Regards,
    Tim
    twitter.com/timarenz

    • Hi Tim,

      Great point regarding the legal issues. Hopefully someone from Microsoft will comment on this, if not I’ll try to get hold of someone (if that’s possible).
      I just thought I was cool to show some possibilities that makes XenApp 6 even more attractive for the users.

      How does your similar solution look like ? Would be nice to collect some Best Practices from the community.

  5. Trond, I’ve rolled out a RDS environment at one of my customers and we aren’t experiencing any problems with 30 people on a 4 CPU / 16 GB VM during the Pilot. Hypervisor used in this case is ESX 4.0. Now going into the second fase where APP-v will be introduced for a couple of apps. Looking at the stats of the server there could be many more then 30, but there are no “heavy” users in the “pool” right now. Another thing i advised the customer is to implement a workspace manager. Don’t really know the impact of that on the environment right now! Slow WAN and 3G is a pain in the #$$! People think they will get the same performance everywhere (and you can’t always blame them, for some IT managers sell Remote Computing as being the same as traditional desktop computing from everywhere/ at anytime…..). Explaining that showing a fullHD movie on a remote session through 3G doesn’t always gets understood by some customers 😉

  6. One issue with Citrix XenApp 6 is that, unlike previous versions, it doesn’t support mixed server farms (server clusters that contain more than one XenApp and/or Windows server version in the same farm.). That leaves 3 possible options for upgrading existing XenApp sites:

    Option 1: Upgrade all servers to XenApp 6 all at once (since XenApp 6 only runs on Windows Server 2008 R2). This is not easy to accomplish in a production environment, which can afford little or no downtime. And if you are hosting an application that isn’t very compatible with 64-bit platforms (Windows Server 2008 R2 is 64-bit only) then you’re truly stuck.

    Option 2: Create a secondary farm for the XenApp 6 servers; then distribute the clients between the two using a Web interface. This introduces 3 challenges: (1) Since XenApp 6 has new management consoles and a whole new way of doing configuration and scripting, each farm will need to be managed separately using a different tool-set. (2) Determining how to properly distribute the clients between each of the two farms requires close monitoring; otherwise users may not be able to connect to the proper farm. (3) In all likelihood the combined size of both farms will potentially be much larger than a single farm would have been.

    Option 3: Switch to Ericom’s PowerTerm WebConnect. With a three-tier architecture, PowerTerm WebConnect (certified by Microsoft for Windows Server 2008 R2) can support mixed farms containing Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2008 R2 and future versions of Windows as well. So it can actually be easier, safer and more cost-effective to not only choose this solution over Citrix’s in the first place, but even to upgrade an existing XenApp farm to PowerTerm WebConnect than to XenApp 6!

    Adam

  7. It is a shame that all of the Aero features (Transparency/peek etc.) are not supported via ICA (Full Desktop or Seamless App) even though it is available for RDP

    –Emil

  8. Hi Trond, love your site. It’s very easy on the eye.

    I implemented most of your tweaks to my XenApp 6.5 desktop servers but there is one tweak I had no success with.
    I want to customize the login background for remote sessions. I have successfully customized the login background however in a remote session when the idle time out is reached and the screen goes blank, when I move the mouse for the screen to appear again (locked screen with login prompt). It returns to the standard blue background.
    Any ideas?

    Cheers,
    Darren.

  9. Like very much -this and other videos – keep ’em rolling; your website and email bulletins have helped me get xenapp6 going its been a graft after PS4.5 and your site has encouraged and enthused me at the low times – so cheers, regards JOHN

  10. Hi, Thanks your video, it’s very nice !!
    but your links of those scripts are not avaliable now.

    ◾http://www.win2008r2workstation.com/win2008r2/themes
    ◾http://www.win2008r2workstation.com/win2008r2/sidebar
    ◾http://www.win2008r2workstation.com/win2008r2/logon-screen

    I can’t download these scripts from these website already.
    May you supply these scripts to me ?

    Thanks a lot !!

      • Sorry, I means like Windows Sidebar.7z and logonscreen.7z and themes.zip , these download link are not availiable …, I can’t download…can you help me to get these file ?

        Thanks a lot !!

        Brian

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