As new and existing Citrix XenDesktop customers consider migrating to Microsoft Windows 10, mobilizing the desktop experience through HDX is key to both virtual and physical deployments.  The Windows 10 excitement has been steadily increasing, and along with it our XenDesktop use cases continue to grow, as well. With the release of XenDesktop 7.6 Feature Pack 3, it is now possible to integrate Windows 10 into your XenDesktop environment. 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 Windows 10 VDAs to an existing Citrix Workspace Suite deployment.

Preparing for the upgrade

Before getting started, we followed Knowledge Center article CTX201988 which walks you through the recommended process for installing Citrix XenDesktop/XenApp hotfixes on Delivery Controllers. The process is straight forward; we started with verifying stability of the XenDesktop Site by opening Citrix Studio and running Site, Catalog and Delivery Group diagnostics tests. Once the tests were completed and all was well, we ran a full backup of the Site Database. Finally, we created a snapshot of the delivery controllers and the StoreFront servers since we chose to upgrade them to the latest release as well.

Performing the upgrade

Since our deployment was built on Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 Feature Pack 2, we upgraded to XenDesktop 7.6 Feature Pack 3, which added support for Windows 10 Virtual Desktop Agent, as well as an updated version of StoreFront.

For a complete list of updates included with Feature Pack 3, see What’s new in Feature Pack 3.

We began by downloading the required installation media to perform the upgrade, listed below. Note that you will need to log on using your Citrix login to access the installation files.

Installation Media:

  1. Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 Feature Pack 3
  2. Citrix StoreFront 3.0.1
  3. Profile Management 5.4

After downloading the required installation media, we began by upgrading the Citrix StoreFront servers. We ran the installer on the StoreFront machines one at a time and rebooted; in our case there were 2 StoreFront machines.

Once the StoreFront servers were upgraded, we proceeded to upgrade the Delivery Controllers. Once we placed the delivery groups in maintenance mode, we ran the installer on the first delivery controller, the software determines if an upgrade is available and installs the newer version. Then we used the newly upgraded Studio to upgrade the database and the Site. Finally we ran the installer on the second Delivery Controller and finalized the upgrade.

For more information, see Upgrade a deployment.

*Please note that you will need to perform the upgrade during a maintenance window that allows enough time to complete the upgrade or revert back in the event the upgrade fails.

Adding the Windows 10 VDAs to the existing deployment

Adding the Windows 10 VDA to the environment was no different than adding any other VDA to the environment. The steps we took are below:

  1. We created a Windows 10 VM, installed all required software and Windows updates. In our configuration we built the VM with 2vCPUs and 4 GB of RAM.
  2. We installed the Virtual Desktop Agent included in the Feature Pack 3 media. Profile management (UPM) did not install automatically so use the link above to download Profile management 5.4
  3. We then used this Windows 10 VM as master image for MCS deployment to create a new MCS Machine Catalog and assigned desktops to a new Delivery Group.

Please note that the upcoming release of Provisioning Services 7.7 will add support for Windows 10, so stay tuned.

Below are the before and after diagrams of the XenDesktop environment.



Recap and conclusion

As you can see, adding Windows 10 VDAs to an existing Workspace Suite deployment is a very straight forward process. Customers that are considering adding Windows 10 to their virtual desktop deployment can now do so with the latest Virtual Desktop Agent released with XenDesktop 7.6 Feature Pack 3.