Design Phase

Conceptual Drawing/Design Documents
Once you have completed your assessments and gathered all required information for your environment you will begin to layout the components in your design into a logical drawing. This drawing is called the Conceptual drawing and is a high level of the components that will be used in your design.

This drawing will also be the basis for more technical design drawings. You would be very surprised at how many implementations don’t have conceptual drawings for their environment, let alone detailed technical drawings on how the components work in conjunction with each other. This information is necessary not only for the implementation but also for support personnel and Citrix support engineers to be able to quickly identify how the environment is setup. Take your time and fully develop your drawings; the time spent here can save hours of downtime should you have an issue later on down the road, or if your current engineers change roles or even move to another organization.

You don’t take your car to the dealer and expect that the technician is going to diagnose an issue with the cars onboard computer systems without a diagram do you?

At this point you should have all of the information needed to complete your detailed design documents and detailed technical drawings. I am going to provide some technical points and references here that I feel are important and that should not be overlooked in your design.


The XenDesktop Design Handbook

This is a collection of implementation and planning guides, reference architecture, documents and best practice information for your deployments. I highly recommend subscribing to this page via RSS to get updates when they occur.


Desktop Virtualization Top 10 Mistakes Made

Disaster Recovery with Xendesktop, Netscalers, and Web Interface

XenDesktop with Microsoft Hyper-V Design Guide

Seven Things I Learned Testing XenDesktop with Hyper-V

XenDesktop Tools

This is a collection of tools that you can use in your environment for troubleshooting, analysis, and monitoring within a XenDesktop environment.

An OU with no Group Policies/No Inheritance
You may not have an OU within your environment, which has no Group Policies or blocked inheritance. When deploying new technologies you will find if you have the ability to install and test in an OU with no policies assigned that your implementation will go much smoother.
Many custom changes to the Operating System and security settings could potentially cause issues with many different software vendors.

Creating an OU with no policies and blocked inheritance will allow you to install and configure your systems with no security and no changes to the Operating System and will give you a baseline for any issues which arise later on. Once you validate that the products work and install properly without customizations; you will need to move to an OU where you have your customizations and changes and test to validate that everything is still working as desired.

This will allow for you to quickly identify if this is a code related issue, related to security, or possibly another other issue.

Adding the ability to moves systems to this OU via a standing pre approved change request will also allow you to move systems to this OU for testing should a new issue arise. Many times changes occur without our knowledge and sometimes are made outside of change control processes. This is a good test to see if anything has changed within Active Directory.

Allowing access to your networks via Go – To – Meeting/ Go – To – Assist
This may not seem like a big deal but many enterprises don’t allow certain types of inbound traffic depending on their security policies or possibly due to the fact that they have never made the request to the security and network teams. Test to see if these services are blocked from your network and make the request to allow these for support purposes. Resolving issues in real time via remote assistance is a common tool for Citrix support.

FTP/HTTP file transfers
Many networks prevent the ability to send files via FTP. When troubleshooting issues it is common to produce memory dumps, large log files, and network trace captures. The ability to transfer these files to Citrix and other vendors for assistance is vital to a timely resolution for your issues. Request this access and test the ability to transfer files.

VDA Images
Tools on your VDA image:
Determine which tools you will have available on your Server and VDA images or available via network access should you have the need to troubleshoot any issues. The critical tools matrix for XenApp gives many tools, which you can use such as Wireshark and the Sysinternals suite. The HDX Experience Monitor is very useful in testing latency and other XenDesktop features from within the VDA.

HDX Experience Monitor –
Critical Tools matrix –
Win7 VDA Memory Dump –

Can your VDAs perform a System Dump?

Profile Management
What types of profiles are you going to use on your VDAs?

User Profile best practices for XenApp

Gives an overview of the different types of profiles and discusses Profile Management. You may already be using our Citrix Profile Solution for your XenApp environment.

Profile Management – Citrix Edocs location

Optimizing the VDA image and setting the default profile

Provisioning Server