As new and existing Citrix XenDesktop customers continue to move and grow their virtual desktop environments to reap the benefits of centralization, mobility, security, and operational efficiency, Citrix has added the Linux Virtual Desktop Agent which integrates with XenApp and XenDesktop and extends the FlexCast Management Architecture (FMA) to enable additional use cases in industries such as automotive, manufacturing, oil, technology companies and gas and financial services. With the release of XenDesktop 7.6 Feature Pack 3, which includes the updated Linux Virtual Desktop 1.1, it is now possible to integrate even more Linux distribution. As a continuation to our previous release of Citrix Workspace Suite on VMware vSphere 6 Reference Architecture, this blog will discuss how easily we were able to integrate Linux VDAs to an existing Citrix Workspace Suite deployment.
Preparing for deployment
You can create Linux virtual desktops based on SUSE and Red Hat distributions. The following Linux distributions are supported by the Linux Virtual Desktop product.
- SUSE Linux Enterprise
- Desktop 11 Service Pack 3
- Desktop 11 Service Pack 4
- Desktop 12
- Server 11 Service Pack 3
- Server 11 Service Pack 4
- Server 12
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux
- Workstation 6.6
- Workstation 6.7
- Workstation 7.0
- Workstation 7.1
- Server 6.6
- Server 6.7
- Server 7.0
- Server 7.1
For our deployment, we chose SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12. SUSE Server 12 installation was straight forward, documentation can be found here. The sizing of the Linux VM will be independent to your own environment and application requirements, for our test we configured the VM with 2vCPUs and 16GB RAM.
Once we installed the SUSE OS, we setup vino, which is the VNC server integrated in GNOME desktop environments, to gain remote access into the VM for ease of use. Note that in SUSE Server 12, vino by default uses encrypted connection (TLS), which might not be supported by all VNC clients on all platforms.
We chose to disable encryption on vino by running the following command as a regular user.
gsettings set org.gnome.Vino require-encryption false
Known VNC clients with support for TLS encryption are “vinagre” (GNOME VNC client), virt-viewer (libvirt VM client, available for Windows from http://virt-manager.org/download/ (http://virt-manager.org/download/) ). For more information see the SUSE Server 12 releases note found here.
Preparing Linux VDA
The Linux VDA configuration process is simple; you prepare the Linux virtual machines, install the new Linux 1.1 VDA software (Citrix logon required) on them, configure your Delivery Controller if applicable, and then use Studio to create a Machine Catalog and make the desktops available to users via a Delivery Group.
Preparing the Linux OS for the VDA software installation is a bit more involved. If you are new to Linux, it may feel a bit overwhelming. Citrix has published Installation guides for SUSE and Red Hat that guides you through the process. These documents are a must read to get you thru the install. For more information, see the following documents:
Figure 1: Linux Machine Catalog
Figure 2: Linux Delivery Group
Testing the Linux VDA
Once Machine Catalog and Delivery Group were created, it is time to test launching the Linux Desktop. The following screenshot shows our Linux Desktop.
Figure 3: Linux Desktop
The following screenshot is a Windows 10 desktop and a Linux desktop launched from the same Citrix Receiver.
Figure 4: Linux Desktop & Windows 10 Desktop
Recap and conclusion
As you can see, adding Linux VDAs to an existing Workspace Suite deployment is a simple process. Citrix will continue to make progress towards making installation and deployment even easier in future releases. Customers that are considering adding Linux to their virtual desktop deployment can now do so with the latest Linux Virtual Desktop Agent released with XenDesktop 7.6 Feature Pack 3.