…this is one of the most frequently asked and most intensely discussed questions during a XenApp or XenDesktop design. Well in general the answer is actually fairly simple. It is strongly recommended to build new solutions based on StoreFront, since new features will not be added to Web Interface and End of Life (EOL) has been announced for Web Interface.  Furthermore –and this may be of outmost significance– Web Interface does not support XenDesktop 7 or later.

So only in scenarios were XenApp 6.5 or XenDesktop 5.x (not sure why you’d use an old version) is deployed Web Interface is still a viable option.  For all other scenarios you need to spend some thoughts on how to design your StoreFront environment.

To simplify this design process we’ve just released an updated version of the StoreFront Planning Guide (CTX136547) and added a respective chapter to the Citrix Virtual Desktop Handbook 5.x (CTX136546). In both documents we focus n the following design decisions:

  • Web Interface or StoreFront – What are the Web Interface features that are not currently available in StoreFront?
  • High Availablity – How to ensure the StoreFront infrastructure can sustain single or even mulit-server outages?
  • Security (inbound/backend) – What network traffic should be encrypted and why?
  • Delivery Controllers – What’s the recommended way for connecting XenApp or XenDesktop Controllers?
  • Keywords – Is there a way to auto provision apps or desktops to users?
  • Scalability – How much and how fast?

In addition the StoreFront Planning Guide contains a planning section outlining designs for scenarios with 500, 5,000 and 10,000 users. In a fourth design sample a scenario with split XenDesktop sites and dedicated home data centers is discussed. Hereby we briefly discuss the new HA and DR features of StoreFront which simplify implementing modular XenApp or XenDesktop building blocks rather than massive monolithic infrastructures.

Please note that the current release of the Virtual Desktop Handbook still focuses on XenDesktop 5.6, XenApp 6.5, Provisioning Services 6.x and XenClient Enterprise 4.5, but we’re actively working on updating the document. We hope to have an initial release ready by early Q4. Stay tuned…

Thomas Berger – Senior Architect
Worldwide Consulting
Desktop & Apps Team
Project Accelerator
Virtual Desktop Handbook
Follow me on Twitter: @tberger80