As part of the Americas Strategic Alliances team at Citrix I spend a lot of my time working with partners and customers on desktop and server virtualization proof-of-concepts so in this blog I thought I would bring together a collection of “goto” XenDesktop 5 resources and a dash of guidance for those getting started with a XenDesktop 5 POC.
So not to waste time lets get started with the guidance part …

Assuming you have your infrastructure and hypervisor in place you have a few options with how you can get started with a XenDesktop 5 POC. The first and most obvious way would be to Download XenDesktop5 Evaluation Media http://tiny.cc/43kxs and the quick start guide (http://tiny.cc/q4l41 step by step instructions how to install, configure, and test a basic hosted virtual desktop deployment), install the core components on your own windows7/XP and Windows 2008 R2 virtual machines and get started. Another available option is to Download XenDesktop5 Quick POC kit http://tiny.cc/dyiwb for XenServer or Hyper-V which includes pre-configured virtual machines for not only the Desktop Controller and Windows 7 desktops but also includes Provisioning Services 5.6sp1 with a Win7 vdisk already created, Xenapp 6.0, Active Directory(core install), Access Gateway 5.x appliance. It provides a isolated and integrated instruction guide depending on your requirements.

So which path to choose? If you are asking which one will get you operational quicker it does depend. Type of hypervisor? Available OS templates? Existing active directory? Flexcast features being implemented? Experience level? Speed of internet connection? The XenDesktop5 installation is a very quick and simple experience not taking much more than 10-15 minutes to install and configure. If you factor in the time it takes to download and import the quick POC kit appliances in some cases it might make more sense to just mount your OS iso, create your windows 2008R2 and window 7 templates, and run XD5 controller install with the quick deploy option to get your first desktop group setup. But the new quick poc kit is definitely a great option for customers using XenServer or Hyper-V that want to see the additional flexcast delivery options in the XenDesktop5 stack (Provisioning Services, Xenapp, Access Gateway) and have limited experience with the product set and want to get the full flexcast demo. The kit also provides a isolated and integrated step by step guide depending on your needs. The isolated configuration allows you to keep all vm traffic with in a private internal network (AD vm included) and uses a optional access gateway vm to provide ssl proxy access to your virtual desktops which all comes preconfigured. The integrated guide walks you through integrating the VMs with your existing network and AD.

***If using the new xd5 quick poc kit version 1.0 for XenServer here are a few notes that will save you some headache regarding the import process. In past poc kits the vms were exported with .XVA format which is the standard XenServer export format. In the new xd5 quick poc kit for most of the vms they are utilizing OVF open virtual format http://www.dmtf.org/standards/ovf which is a packaging standard that enables simplified deployment of virtual appliances across multiple virtualization platforms. Here are a few bullet items to take special note of:
-The OVF appliance import in XenServer utilizes a “transfer service” vm under the covers which requires that a DHCP address be provided for this vm to communicate on the network and successfully import OVF. This one left me scratching my head so make sure you have a dhcp server up and running on the same subnet as the XenServer host.
-If you missed the above note or for some other reason your appliance import failed you will want to clean up the temporary disks created in your storage repository. To do this you might need to go to the XenServer console and shutdown the Transfer Service vm that has access to it before you can delete the disk in your SR.
-The quick poc kit guide does not have you install the virtual machine XenServer tools but I would recommend it in order to get the best performance and ability to do a graceful reboot or shutdown from the XenServer console.
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XenServer1@xs# xe vm-list Transfer* note the uuid for your transfer vms( you might have more than one so shut them all down)
XenServer1@xs# xe vm-shutdown force=true uuid=******(hit tab twice to see list of uuids)
-Once shutdown you can go into your SR in xencenter and remove the orphaned disks to get things cleaned up.
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Resource Links:
Overviews
XenDesktop Homepage http://www.citrix.com/XenDesktop
FlexCast Homepage. http://flexcast.citrix.com
HDX Homepage http://hdx.citrix.com
XenDesktop “Wow to How” Video http://www.citrix.com/tv/#videos/3426
Guides/”How to”/Training Resources:
XD5 Quick Start Guide http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX127594
XenDesktop Design Handbook –https://community.citrix.com/kits/#/kit/1067009
Need help getting access to Citrix Software CTX127520
Edocs http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/XenDesktop/cds-library-wrapper-rho.html
Technotes for XenDesktop 5 http://support.citrix.com/product/xd/v5/technote/
How to Optimize XenDesktop Machines http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX125874
XenDesktop 5 Licensing FAQ http://support.citrix.com/article/ctx128013
Key Differences in XenDesktop 5 for XenDesktop 4
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/index.jsp?topic=/XenDesktop-rho/cds-overview-info-previouscustomers-rho.html
HDX Monitor http://hdx.citrix.com/hdx-monitor
XenDesktop Increased VM Performance with HDX Multimedia Redirection http://www.citrix.com/site/resources/dynamic/partnerDocs/CitrixIntel_HDXMediaStream_WP.pdf
How Do I Update My Base pvs Images in XenDesktop?
http://community.citrix.com/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=39944198
XenDesktop Training Preview: Desktop Catalogs http://www.citrix.com/tv/#videos/3176
XenDesktop Training Preview: Desktop Groups http://www.citrix.com/tv/#videos/3177
What is User Profiler Manager? How Does itWork?
http://community.citrix.com/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=33587458
Using GPOs with User Profile Manager
http://community.citrix.com/display/ocb/2009/02/24/Using+GPOs+with+User+Profile+Manager
Enabling WinRM for Desktop Director http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX125243
Enable Remote Assistance for Desktop Director http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX127388
Common Issues with Active Directory Policies in XenDesktop 5 http://support.citrix.com/article/ctx127461
XD5 Powershell Cmdlets http://support.citrix.com/static/kc/CTX127254/help/index.htm
Demonstration of Desktop Director. http://www.citrix.com/tv/#videos/2983
XenDesktop 5 Desktop Director – A Simple New Way to Support Desktops
http://community.citrix.com/display/ocb/2010/10/06/XenDesktop+5+Desktop+Director+-+A+Simple+New+Way+to+Support+Desktops
How to Set Up a Multi-Homed VM Separating Large Scale Traffic from ICA Traffic for
XenDesktop http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX120955
Delivering Local VM Desktops with XenClient –
http://community.citrix.com/display/ocb/2011/01/17/XenClient+-+Disk+Management+-+VHD+files+and+chains
XenDesktop 5 Training Preview: XenClient http://www.citrix.com/tv/#videos/3179
Access Gateway VPX Overview http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX124000
Access Gateway 5.0 Technical Training Update http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX127422

Thanks for reading,
-Trevor