The main theme behind XenApp for Windows 2008 R2 management was to enable template-based management of XenApp servers. Instead of configuring individual servers, the new release let you use “templates” to simplify common management tasks and eliminate configuration drift among servers in a silo.
Now that the Parra Tech Preview is available, you can finally see how things worked out!
As an example, assume I want to create a new group of servers to host Office 2007 – i.e., a new application silo. All servers in this group will be configured in the same way, and will publish the same applications.
The first step is to create a “Worker Group”. Worker Groups are groups of servers, introduced in XA for 2008 R2. Unlike server folders, worker groups are unstructured – a server may belong to multiple worker groups.
Worker Groups are the Templates that applications and configuration policies will apply to.
In the example, I will use an OU to assign servers to this worker group – I could also select individual servers, or AD Security Groups. Select the “Worker Groups” node in the Citrix Delivery Services Console (the MMC – the Java console was removed – yay!), and “Create Worker Group”:
Applications can now reference these worker groups. You can still publish against individual servers, but I really recommend you start making use of worker groups for your apps going forward:
For server and session settings, you will use the new “Policies” node. Select the “Computers” tab to show computer policies, then “New…”, then go through the wizard.
There are two policies now: “Unfiltered”, which is always present and applies to all computers in the farm; and a new policy I’ve created called “Office 2007 App Group”. I’ve entered the server settings for that silo, and applied a filter to my Office 2007 worker group. Computers outside that worker group will ignore this policy.
Computer policies replace the old Farm and Server settings pages. Policies are much more flexible, since they apply to group of computers. As long as the server group membership is correct, you can be sure the settings and applications assigned to that server are correct.
The “Users” tab in the Policies node replace the old Session Policies from the Java console. The usability for Computer and Session policies is exactly the same.
That’s it! Now, adding or removing capacity to this app silo is just a matter of adding or removing the server from the OU. It means the provisioning step for XenApp servers can be done completely without going to the XenApp console, and without scripting!
Stay tuned! Next, I will deep-dive on the new policy system, and talk about Group Policies integration.
Learn more about XenApp for R2