Jesse Boehm - Information Technology Consultant

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Installing, Setup and a Tour of Citrix StoreFront X1 Technology Preview X1 StoreFront 2.7

by – Jesse Boehm

Citrix StoreFront X1 Receiver. X1 StoreFront 2.7. Do we have a Web Interface 5.3 to Web Interface 5.4 on our hand? I am not sure, but let’s take a tour and check it out.

I look at this from two sides.

My Techstur.com Interface Branding Side is going to have my customers who have finally gotten comfortable with StoreFront over a long time of instability and lack of features and now have spent money on Branding there Interfaces. With the assumption that now they branded and did Advanced Customization of Citrix StoreFront where it would be easier to move from version to version unlike with Web Interface where moving from Customized Versions was pretty much redoing an Interface over from scratch over each time. With the last versions of StoreFront with some minor caveats we have been able to port customizations done in 2.50, to 2.5.2 to 2.6.0.5031. Now with X1 StoreFront 2.7 everything my customers have spent money on in the 2.6 series and back to 2.1 will now be obsolete. Which from a business perspective is how Techstur.com stays in business and how I have built a business around the changed world of Citrix Interfaces.

My Jesse Boehm Consulting side I think a unified Receiver is fantastic. Supporting so many different devices and polices to get those devices to work can be difficult. If you have setup a NetScaler and have made everything work perfectly on a PC and MAC and then tried to configure a Droid Tablet or an iPad and ran into issues with Mobile Devices and the Citrix Receiver Client. The Idea of a Universal Receiver is a great idea. I also think being able to have the “Branding” from the Server (Will be interested to see how much Branding is actually possible to see in the HTML5 Client version on Mobile Devices). But we won’t know that in the Technology Preview since it is not Mobile Friendly. It circles back to my Techstur.com side where Customers are always asking me about Branding of the Receiver Client and I have to tell them we can’t touch the client.

My entire thoughts on the path Citrix has taken moving away from Citrix Secure Gateway, Web Interface and the old XenApp format is that everything has gotten more complicated at an initial look. If you were used to CSG/WI/XenApp and are just looking to move to NetScaler/SF/XD&XA it can look frightening. But I think though it may have gotten more complicated at first look ultimately it has gotten more Administrator/Backend Friendly. It also has from a stability standpoint jumped light years into the future. When I talk with clients about the “New” Citrix I explain it to them in that way. Citrix has always been a complicated technology. It is just that at the base administration level and infrastructure it has not changed in a decade. Now it has drastically changed and become more complex but as an Administrator I find it easier to support.

So to sum up my feelings, I think I will have angry customers mad at me that the Branding and Customization they did in 2.6 and below will not work in 2.7 and then will have to engage in a new product. We will have a lull for a period where companies will not be quick to adopt this new technology while the initial versions are released and tested. We will have the cutting edge folks who will run full speed ahead and jump right in. But what I saw from an Interface standpoint with StoreFront it was a very slow transition from Web Interface to StoreFront. Now with the big switch from StoreFront as we know it to X1 StoreFront 2.7 we may have a similar situation on our hand.

I know day 1 Techstur.com will have our Demo Live and we will be ready for Branding. I am intrigued on how we can offer a total branding solution to our customers and provide a unified branding solution on PC/MAC/iPad/iPhone/Droid/Windows Phone and whatever Device I am missing. That would be heaven to me. Also sounds like I am going to need to invest in a lot more devices to do testing with.

—-

So let’s install Citrix StoreFront X1 Technology Preview
STAGE 1 – System Readiness

Server Name: STOREFRONTX1

MEMORY: 4 GIG
vCPU: 2

Performance wise this should be great for a Standard StoreFront Server.

StoreFront Version Name: StoreFront X1 Technical Preview

StoreFront Build Number: 2.7.0.09

Store Mode: HTTPS Base URL: https://storefrontx1.techstur.com

Install Secure Certificate

I am using a Wildcard Certificate

Assign the Certificate to the Default Website in IIS

STAGE 2 – Install Citrix StoreFront 2.7.0.09

STAGE3 – Create a New Deployment

Enter Store Name: X1

Delivery Controller: XenDesktop & XenApp 7.6

Remote Access: (For this setup I am not going to setup NetScaler right now)

“X1” Created Successfully

I found the process of provisioning the new Store and Receiver for Web Site much faster in StoreFront 2.7.0.09. Actually at this point everything has been faster, loading of the console and responsiveness.

If you have ever see this error in 2.6.0.5031 and below when opening the console

It seems to be gone and StoreFront 2.7.0.09 Console loads cleanly and fast.

—-

STAGE 4 – The Default Interface

Before I do anything else let’s see what the default interface looks like @

https://storefrontx1.techstur.com/Citrix/X1Web/

Anticipation……

Ok so no more Green Bubbles, it has been replaced by this.

Client Detection Page

Logon Page

Initial APPS View

Apps Folder View

Desktop View

Favorites View

Logoff View

—-

My initial thoughts:

Corporations that just went through the shock of Web Interface to StoreFront Transition now have to go from the Transition of StoreFront Green Bubble or a Custom StoreFront Interface to X1 StoreFront. This is a much drastic change then just simple move from Black Interface to White Interface from Web Interface 5.3 to web Interface5.4.

The Login Pages and Logoff Pages have no Theme connection with the After Login Pages. Maybe that is because of the built-in Branding options that X1 StoreFront offers.

The new interface is very slick, I think it is pretty cool. I think Techstur.com can really Custom Brand this Interface and add Announcements, Company Links, Outlook Web App Integrations, Session Info and other great Custom Modules as well a Full Custom Branding to match Companies True Branding to really make this X1 StoreFront Interface a Beautiful Frontend Product.

So let’s check out the features.

—-

STAGE 5 – Server Group

Add Server

Change Base URL

Generate Security Keys

STAGE6 – Authentication

Add/Remove Methods

Configure Trusted Domains

Manage Password Options

Disable Method

STAGE 7 -Stores

Hide Store

Manage Delivery Controllers

Disable User Subscriptions

APPS Screen Looks like this

Integrate with Citrix Online

Export Provisioning File

Configure Kerberos Delegation

Configure XenApp Services Support (Renamed from Legacy Support/New Feature)

Remove Store

STAGE 8 – Receiver for Web

Create Website

Set Website Type (Switch to Green Bubble) (New Feature)

Now this is a cool feature I did not read about. So I was very happy to stumble across this. Click Receiver for Web – Classic. Go back to your StoreFront URL and the site looks like this

Customers will be glad that Citrix is still supporting the Classic Theme and not abandoning support of the Original StoreFront Site.

Customers will be glad that Citrix is still supporting the Classic Theme and not abandoning support of the Original StoreFront Site.

Customize Website Appearance (New Feature)

If you are familiar with the Web Interface Custom Appearance Tools, this is the new version of this-this is not BRANDING!

Managed Featured App Groups (New Feature)

This could be really cool when you get into the Custom Branding with Techstur.com and start doing Custom Images for Background that work with the Custom Branding giving customers ability to add Dynamic Content with App Groups that match there Company Branding to their X1 StoreFront Interface.

Choose Authentication Methods

Add Shortcuts to Websites

Change Store

Set Session Timeout (New Feature)

Deploy Citrix Receiver

Remove Website

My thoughts on the Receiver for Web settings:

I am really glad they added the ability to toggle between the X1 Interface and the Classic Interface, this is going to make a lot of Companies very happy. The Time Out GUI is a huge Plus, probably this biggest Plus in this area. No more manual config of the web.config. This is a feature being brought back from Web Interface.

—-

STAGE 9 – NetScaler Gateway

Add NetScaler Gateway

Change General Settings

Remove NetScaler Gateway Appliance

STAGE 10 – Beacons

Manage Beacons

STAGE 11 – Classic Receiver for Web Screens

Logon Screen

Desktops

APPS with Subscriptions Disabled

APPS with Subscriptions Enabled

Logoff Screen

My Final Thoughts on Citrix StoreFront X1 Technology Preview – X1 StoreFront 2.7

Initially I was worried that the Citrix Customer base would be in a situation where they had a major design change with example from Web Interface 5.3 to 5.4. I was also worried that they were going to have a major usage change with the cutover from Web Interface to StoreFront. But Citrix has listened to their Customer Base when creating the Citrix StoreFront X1 Technology Preview – X1 StoreFront 2.7 and have created a product that gives there customers a ”Choice”. Something in the past there customers did not have.

You can now move to X1 StoreFront 2.7 and use the new Interface if that is what you want or you can stay on the Classic Receiver for Web. Which I have not confirmed but looks like it is very close if not the same version as 2.6.0.5031. Maybe some minor changes in this version.

My Techstur.com clients that want to move the X1 StoreFront 2.7 for technical reasons but use the Classic Receiver for Web Interface should have an easy update path for moving their customizations and Branding over to the new version. For clients that want to move to X1 StoreFront 2.7 new interface Techstur.com will be able to offer a lot of options

I am highly anticipating seeing the capabilities of Custom Interfaces on many Devices and see what the possibilities are.

I think the Time Out Feature is one of my standout features.

I think the Appearance Options provided that have been boasted about in Citrix Blogs are minor just like in Citrix Web Interface and they may be fine for the small percent. But for the majority Custom Branding is going to be very important. Which makes me very happy.
Well I hoped you enjoyed this Tour through Citrix StoreFront X1 Technology Preview – X1 StoreFront 2.7.

Jesse Boehm

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