Citrix CVA(D) License mix and match

Mick Hilhorst

A quick refresh on how the Citrix licensing mix and match works for Citrix Virtual Apps (CVA) and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD).

Did you know you can combine both CVA and CVAD licenses in one farm even though the GUI only one licensing option is available? This is known as ‘Multi-type Licensing’, and can be beneficial financially. You can even change the consumption to either Concurrent (CCU) and User/Device Licensing level (UD).

If you look at the ‘edit product edition’ screen in Citrix Studio this does not seem possible as we can only select Radio Buttons instead of check boxes.

Go to:

Citrix Studio -> Configuration -> Licensing -> Edit product edition

 

With a little bit of Powershell, you can easily change the license consumption based on the Delivery Group that is being used for the session.

Consider the following Scenario:

 

CCU/UD?* CVA/CVAD?*
DeliveryGroup A CCU CVA (ENT)
DeliveryGroup B UD CVAD (ENT)
*CCU = Concurrent licensing
*UD = User/Device licensing
*CVA = Citrix Virtual Apps
*CVAD = Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops

There is one prerequisite, the licenses must fit the mix and match matrix below.
This image has been copied from the Citrix website.

Image Source: https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-virtual-apps-desktops/manage-deployment/licensing/multi-type-licensing.html

Okay, assuming that your Studio Product Edition is currently configured to be CVAD Advanced on ENT level:

You see that you can match this with the following:

So your match will be compatible, great!

The Powershell command to set a DeliveryGroup licensing type is quite easy.

*Note, if the parameters are not set (default) then the delivery group will contain a Null value for the parameter. In this case it will always use the Studio Edition Selection from the GUI.

Delivery Group A:

We see that we need to change the Licensing Edition to CVA and the License model already matches the farm setting.

1. First, open Powershell on the DDC and add the Citrix Snap-in:

Command: asnp citrix*

2.Get the BrokerDesktopGroup you want to edit and check the current settings:

Command: Get-BrokerDesktopGroup -Name “insertnamehere”

3.Check the current Licensing Model/Type (remember, empty (Null) means Studio default!)

4A.Change the value accordingly, for DeliveryGroup A the LicenseModel is OK with the default being CCU.

The product code however is incorrect. We can choose the following values for this parameter.

The product code however is incorrect. We can choose the following values for this parameter.
E.G: Set-DesktopBrokerGroup -Name “DeliveryGroupA” -LicenseModel UserDevice -ProductCode MPS

Parameter Value Description
Product Code Null Use the Site default

 

XDT Set to CVAD

 

MPS Set to CVA

 

LicenseModel Null Use the Site default

 

Concurrent Set to Concurrent

 

UserDevice Set to User/Device

 

4B. Following the Table, we need to use the MPS parameter.

Command: Set-DesktopBrokerGroup -Name “DeliveryGroupA” -ProductCode MPS

The DeliveryGroup should now use the proper ProductCode for licensing.

You can verify this with the ‘Get-desktopbrokergroup’ command again.

In this case we would still need to set the “DeliveryGroupB” with the UserDevice license model too, but I think you get the gist.

Happy mix and matching!

Why should I use FSLogix in combination with another UEM tool

Door Vincent van Zeijl
27 November 2020

Recently I had the opportunity to play around with FSLogix. The client I work for has a Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) environment powered by PVS nonpersistent VDI’s and Ivanti Workspace Control. We had to prepare the environment for the implementation of Office 365. As many of you know, working with O 365 on non-persistent machines has some challenges as Microsoft chose to store Outlook and Teams data in the user profile.

To provide the users with a good user experience based on this cloud based office suite it’s possible to implement FSLogix Containers. Our environment however contains lots of users so the FSLogix containers could consume a lot of diskspace. Let’s take a look at our options.

FSLogix

FSLogix offers 4 different tools. In this blog we will discuss the Profile container and the Office365 container. App masking and Java versioning will not be discussed here, even though these two are very useful tools as well.

With a profile container the FSLogix agent will create a profile disk and redirect different user settings to this user attached profile disk. This way the users profile will act like a local profile in a non-persistent VDI-session. The Office365 container feature will do the same, but it will only redirect office user settings to the container. It is a small subset of the profile container feature.

Redirected Folders

The first decision we had to make was: ‘do we still need redirected folders?’. After all, it is possible to store all documents in the FSLogix profile container. However, you can only use these documents from within the container inside the VDI-session. The same documents will not be available on a physical workstation. Another drawback is losing the ability to work with versioning on the file share. This means that a profile reset could delete all documents of the user and that could make that user very unhappy.

If OneDrive is used as the only file location then it would be perfectly okay to store the OneDrive cloud cache in de profile container. Versioning is done in the cloud and a profile reset will only clear the cache. Nothing will be lost. In our environment both physical workstations and VDI’s are used so we do still need the redirected folders. Not a problem as folder redirection always worked fine for us.

Storage Capacity

As said before we have a lot of users in our environment. If each user would create a profile container we would need a lot of storage. We wanted the FSLogix container to be as small as possible and we would like to use it only for the benefit of a better user experience. So we still use redirected folders to keep the container as small as possible. We ended up by only using the Office365 container feature to improve the O365 user experience. This is done by caching the cloud cache in the container attached to our non-persistent VDI’s. With a GPO it is possible to enable or disable the usage of the Office365 container per Office application. We decided to start with enabling Outlook only, knowing we could enable Onedrive or Teams later if we wanted to. As this could expand the containers and storage needs by quite a lot we chose to be carefull and not enable too much at once.

We also started with only one app as adding more apps to the container is easier then removing them. FSLogix has no auto shrink option built-in yet (however there are scripts available developed by the community).

Logon speed

We found that creating, attaching and filling the FSLogix profile container for a new user takes about 20 seconds of the logon. And even if the profile container already exists, still a 15 second is added to the users logon duration. This was established using Citrix Director. I know that the FSLogix profile container can speed up user logons for users with large roaming profiles, but in our case we use Ivanti Workspace Control with Zero profiling. Nothing seems better than Zero profiling and who is still using roaming profiles these days?

We also found out that the FSLogix Office365 container acts a little bit different compated with the FSLogix Profile container. It is not really part of the logon process, although it is attached at the logon of the user. Using only the Office365 container did not delay our logon process, but it did improve the Office 365 user experience.

FSLogix vs Ivanti Workspace Control

We ended up using best of both worlds. Ivanti Workspace Control makes the user log-on really fast with zero profiling. We keep the ability to manage user settings per application and have a lot of flexibility. On the other hand Ivanti has no tooling available to boost the user experience of Office 365 as FSLogix can do. The combination of using this two tools gives us the best of both worlds. The same could be said of other well-known tools like Citrix WEM, Profile Unity or VMware UEM. We are very happy the FSLogix Office container feature proved to work perfectly together within our existing environment and zero profiling solution.

If you start using FSLogix for your Office 365 applications disable the capturing of Office settings in your other UEM tool. FSLogix will redirect the office settings to the Office container to make them available when a user logs in to his non-persistent VDI-session.

Within the newest release of Ivanti Workspace Control you can manage all FSLogix settings from the Ivanti console. You do not need to configure the FSLogix settings with a GPO. This means it is very easy to manage your environment from just one console.

If you need more information about implementing Office 365, FSLogix or more, please contact us via sales.support@loginconsultants.nl

More info about the FSLogix Office Container

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/fslogix/configure-office-container-tutorial

The Corona Workplace: from surviving to structuring

In the lockdown, organizations switched quickly – letting employees work online at home was the number one priority. Although the emergency solutions will function to run, I see a great need for optimization. The big question I keep hearing: how to make the virtual (emergency) workstations in your organization more effective, efficient maintenance and above all future-proof, ready for any subsequent Covid-19 golf?

Now that the world and our economy has entered ‘the new normal’ – better term: ‘new reality’ – it is time to replace the sandbags with real dikes. To upgrade the fast, durable ‘Ducttape solutions’. Now that you know that Corona-like scenarios can reoccur, an organization must ask itself: if we had prepared and devised this solution when we had time, what choices would we have made?

In the first weeks of the lockdown, I also saw how many organizations have set up their ‘home working mode’ with a lot of creativity and flexibility. The great thing about the urgency of this situation was that decisions were made at a rapid pace about matters for which a lot of time was normally taken. The success of that operation has enabled many companies to survive the lockdown. And although the new online workplace usually functions adequately under circumstances, it still has the character of an emergency Duct tape solution in many organizations.

In times of acute crisis – as you can call the first weeks of the lockdown – the solutions had something like placing sandbags in front of an approaching storm surge. On that moment it was a successful solution, in the emergency efficiency was not always the biggest concern at that time.

The main reason for this check and for possible investments is that virtual and online work will largely be the norm and will continue. Nothing is as permanent as temporary things. We have in four months forced learned to support programs to work together with colleagues and clients and advising behind a screen. In this position in my speech I would like to make a big compliment to our employees. I am proud of how they have played a crucial role in the development of home workplaces for our customers. The customer situation and questions put a lot of pressure on them, while they also had to work at home. Employees with children also fulfilled a part-time educational role.

Traditional managers had to face it all during the lockdown. Their belief that their employees are more productive and work harder as they monitor was very tempted. For them, the lockdown was a ‘Crash course in Letting go for Managers’, because now they had to manage the output of employees instead of being in the office. Some have taken this up a notch by asking their employees a simple question, “How can I help you do your job well?” If you ask me, this period has shown that employees can also work productively at home. When people in the office without a supervisor do not contribute, they won’t do it at home.
I must make a note that it for any sales – and relationship manager is challenging to remotely, without the handshake and face-to-face contact, the confidence to win potential customers. If you are close to your customer want to create solutions, it is more difficult at a distance. This question that is not answered in just four months, there is more time needed. Furthermore, I do not want to idealize working online, because there are also disadvantages. Many office workers now like to go back to business because they have noticed that the working day at home never ends. In your head, closing your laptop is something different than driving home and enjoying the break from work in a traffic jam.

The key question: are the emergency measures for working company-wide online adequate even after the lockdown? This answer is clear in many organizations: certainly not. The challenges lie in many areas such as speed, manageability and availability of all applications. In the rush of the lockdown, performance wasn’t the most important thing – we were able to keep working, that was the priority.

The layout of the virtual workplaces also made clear at many companies that by no means all processes were fully digitized. This meant that employees had to return to the office regularly during the lockdown.

Then there is also the maintenance. If a company realized five types of virtual workspaces at the start of the lockdown, each with different application sets, then all five will require their own maintenance, including monthly updates from Microsoft, among others. All of these manually crafted types will eventually grow apart without automation, with all the support challenges and user frustrations that come with it. Automatically rebuilding the different types of workplaces with the latest updates based on recipes by means of tooling every month is important to give users a quality workplace in the future.

In addition, you must not forget that the home-working employee starts to set requirements for availability and performance. In survival mode, everything was okay, if working from home is increasingly becoming the norm, then it has to work, he says. In March, a less smooth login may have been acceptable, but now the slowness is starting to cause dissatisfaction.

And also consider the costs. Organizations have put in the last period everything to their processes going on and their turnover levels to hold. In the meantime, they have often incurred a lot of costs in organizing their virtual workplaces. Costs that – if they do not intervene – will continue considerably. If you keep doing what you did now, you will keep what you already had.

In short: after the temporary solutions – the sandbags – it is now time for structural quality and efficiency, to better and cheaper manageability. And above all: making it structurally better. In practice, this means, for example, that the updates for different application sets can be rolled out automatically, at the push of a button. Organizations can also do more to proactively monitor the virtual workplaces and pay more attention to a good user experience.

My advice: step out of the survival phase and work on structural solutions for management, with a longer shelf life and lower total cost of ownership.

Many directors and entrepreneurs are share my thoughts: it is not going to be the way it was. Virtual working has received a boost, that spirit does not go back into the bottle. A new short-term lockdown can still not be ruled out. In a while this virus may reappear, we may even have to deal with another virus. It is wise to prepare your organization for this and to have additional resistance built up. No organization can be made fully Corona-proof, but Corona-ready should still be the new standard.

Chris van Werkhoven, CTO Login Consultants