Couple of weeks ago, Citrix announced the release to web of XenDesktop 7. Many of you are probably thinking how to best move from what you have today to XenDesktop 7. If you’re not sure whether to build new, upgrade or migration, you should check out this blog by Joe Vaccaro.

Now, if you’re thinking of upgrading, read on… With the XenDesktop 7.0 release you can easily choose to upgrade your existing XenDesktop 5.x site. To do so, you can follow the detailed steps outlined here –

One of the important and last steps of the upgrade process is to register the Controllers with the site using the Studio. In this blog, I’d like to explain how this is done when you have one or more Controllers in the site.

The in-place upgrade option offers customers the most uptime possible for your site. If you have a single Controller handling your site, you need to plan for downtime throughout the upgrade of binaries and database upgrade process. Yet, if you have multiple Controllers, you can minimize the downtime window by upgrading half of your controllers at a time, allowing the appropriate controllers to handle user connections during the different stages of the upgrade.

Whether you have a single or multi-controller site, the general process involves upgrading your license server, your workers (VDAs), and Controller software. After that, you will need to use Studio to upgrade the database schema and register services on your updated Controllers.

Start the upgrade…

Let’s start with upgrading half the Controllers in the site by running the Metainstaller on the Controllers. In this example, I had License server and Studio installed on the Controller, so all the installed components get upgraded simultaneously.

The database can be upgraded automatically or manually. If you do not have the required database rights, you can choose ‘Manual upgrade’ to generate the scripts that can be passed on to a DB admin.  I have selected ‘Start the site upgrade automatically ‘in the screen below.

You will be prompted to confirm that you have backed up your data. As a best practice ensure that no production server is upgraded without taking a safety backup of the database.

The upgrade of the database schema begins, executes a few tests and completes them. Once completed, you can view the upgrade report by clicking on ‘Show report’ which displays the details of all successful tasks performed, warnings and failures if any have occurred. Note that this Upgrade report cannot be re-generated, so save it in case you need to refer to the details of the report in the future.

If you have only a single Controller in your site or have upgraded all Controllers at once, you have now completed your site upgrade and Studio has automatically registered the new services on this Controller to the site.

If you have more than one Controller and only upgraded some of them, you need to continue with the upgrade of the remaining Controllers using the Metainstaller.  In the example below I only have the Controller and Studio components installed on the second Controller.

Register the services come next

Once the components have been upgraded on the remaining Controllers, the services on these Controllers need to be registered with the site so that site services (for example the Delegated Administration and Configuration Logging services) are working properly.

To register the new services on the Controllers with the site, you can launch the Studio on any of the Controllers and navigate to top node which highlights that one or more Controllers in the site need to be registered with the upgraded site.

Click on ‘Perform registration’. This displays the list of Controllers that need to be registered.

Click on ‘OK to register all the Controllers to the site.

Note that prior to this step, Studio on any of the Controllers can already be used for all administrative tasks  as this will be using the services from the site through Controller that has been upgraded and registered with the site.  The site will appear to function as normal, but would not operate correctly in a failover case. To ensure full site capacity and availability, you must complete the above registration for the remaining controllers of your site

Once the controllers are registered the upgrade of the site is now complete and all the services on the remaining controllers should be running.

It’s critical to register the remaining Controllers

If you have more than one Controller in the site, let’s say you have upgraded and registered services on only one of the Controllers, then all the site operations will be running through the upgraded Controller only.  That means, if there is a hardware or network failure on this Controller, your site will be at risk. You will notice that the Studio console on the second and third Controller will stop responding as these Controllers are not yet registered properly with the site.  At this stage you will not even be able to register those Controllers to the site as the registration process requires the Delegated Administration service to be operational. This can potentially result in downtime or failure of the site until you can recover the properly upgraded Controller.

If you have 4 or more Controllers in the site and you choose to upgrade half of the Controllers, you may not experience this issue as you will have other Controllers that have been upgraded and registered to the site even if one of the upgraded Controllers goes down. However if all the Controllers that have been upgraded and registered to the site go down due to unexpected reasons, you will experience the above mentioned outage.

As such, Citrix strongly recommends that you follow the upgrade process as mentioned in the upgrade guidelines document and perform a health check after each step of the process to ensure there is minimum disruption during the upgrade.

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