Configure MCS with XenDesktop and XenApp Service in Citrix Cloud.

In this article, we will review how to use Machine Creation Services with Microsoft Azure and Citrix Cloud.

Make sure to catch up this series' previous posts first!

 

What is Machine Creation Services?

Machine Creation Services(MCS) is a component of XenDesktop that is also available in Citrix Cloud. MCS simplifies the creation and the management of virtual machines in XenDesktop.

Architecture

MCS for XenApp And XenDesktop Service in Citrix Cloud -Architecture Lab 32
MCS for XenApp And XenDesktop Service in Citrix Cloud -Architecture Lab 32

Getting started

In this article you will learn the following:

  • How to use MCS with Citrix Cloud and Azure
  • How to create a VDI Master image in Azure

You need to have:

  • An active Citrix Cloud subscription
  • XenApp and XenDesktop Service configured in Citrix Cloud
  • Azure AD and Citrix Cloud Identity And Access Management configured
  • A subnet in Azure where the MCS virtual machines will be created
  • A dedicated service account for MCS to create AD accounts in Azure AD
  • Enough cores available in your Azure subscription

Configure MCS for XenApp And XenDesktop Service in Citrix Cloud

Create Windows 10 virtual machine

The first step is to create the Windows 10 master in Microsoft Azure.

Go to https://portal.azure.com/ and then Virtual Machines. We already reviewed how to create a Windows 10 virtual machine in Lab: Part 27 – Getting started with Microsoft Azure. See below for a summary.

Microsoft Azure - Create Windows 10 VM
Microsoft Azure – Create Windows 10 VM
Microsoft Azure - Create Windows 10 VM summary
Microsoft Azure – Create Windows 10 VM summary

Then when the VM is available. Add it to your domain (here: citrixguru.com) and then reboot.

Install VDA

Next step is to install Citrix Virtual Desktop Agent on the master and specify the Cloud Connectors in the configuration for registration. See below the process quickly.

Install VDA for MCS on Windows 10 Master 1
Install VDA for MCS on Windows 10 Master 1
Install VDA for MCS on Windows 10 Master 2
Install VDA for MCS on Windows 10 Master 2
Install VDA for MCS on Windows 10 Master 3
Install VDA for MCS on Windows 10 Master 3
Install VDA for MCS on Windows 10 Master 4
Install VDA for MCS on Windows 10 Master 4
Install VDA for MCS on Windows 10 Master 5
Install VDA for MCS on Windows 10 Master 5
Install VDA for MCS on Windows 10 Master 6
Install VDA for MCS on Windows 10 Master 6
Install VDA for MCS on Windows 10 Master 7
Install VDA for MCS on Windows 10 Master 7
Install VDA for MCS on Windows 10 Master 8
Install VDA for MCS on Windows 10 Master 8
Install VDA for MCS on Windows 10 Master 9
Install VDA for MCS on Windows 10 Master 9

Once all this is done, shutdown the master and make sure that the VM is deallocated.

Configure XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS in Citrix Cloud

Create a new Connection.

This time, make sure to select Studio Tools (Machine Creation Services).

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new connection 1
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new connection 1

Enter your subscription ID (from Azure).

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new connection 2
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new connection 2

Logon in Azure.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new connection 3
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new connection 3

The connection is validated.

Select your Azure region, here it is East US.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new connection 4
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new connection 4

Select the subnet in Azure where the VM will be created. We created the subnet in this article : Lab: Part 27 – Getting started with Microsoft Azure.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new connection 5
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new connection 5

Then click on Finish to submit.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new connection 6
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new connection 6

Create a new catalog in XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS in Citrix Cloud

Go to Machine Catalogs in Citrix Cloud. Right click and Create a new Catalog.

Select Desktop OS.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new MCS catalog 1
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new MCS catalog 1

Make sure that MCS is selected and that the configuration is correct.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new MCS catalog 2
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new MCS catalog 2

Select new (random).

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new MCS catalog 3
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new MCS catalog 3

Select your Windows 10 VDI Master vdisk and select the version of your VDA installed on the VM.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new MCS catalog 4
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new MCS catalog 4

Leave everything as default.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new MCS catalog 5
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new MCS catalog 5

Select your VM template based on the performances you need.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new MCS catalog 6
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new MCS catalog 6

Leave everything by default here.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new MCS catalog 7
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new MCS catalog 7

MCS will automatically create a new resource group in Azure to provision the machines. If you already have an empty resource group available, you can select it here.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new MCS catalog 8
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new MCS catalog 8

Leave everything by default here.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new MCS catalog 9
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new MCS catalog 9

Next step is to connect to Azure AD to retrieve the AD structure.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new MCS catalog 10
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new MCS catalog 10

Navigate in your Active Directory to select the OU where the accounts will be created.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new MCS catalog 11
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new MCS catalog 11

Enter the credentials that MCS will use to create the accounts in AD (Ex: dedicated service account).

Note: make sure you have the rights in that OU.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new MCS catalog 12
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new MCS catalog 12

Enter the name of the MCS catalog and click finish to start the process.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new MCS catalog 13
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new MCS catalog 13

MCS is copying the master image .vhd.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new MCS catalog 14
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new MCS catalog 14

Note: if you are still using the trial, you may need to submit a support request to increase your CPU quota if you are getting an error message in XenDesktop during the creation.

Create a new desktop group in XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS in Citrix Cloud

Go to Delivery Groups, right click and create new Delivery Group.

Select the previously created MCS catalog and select the number of virtual machines you’d like to add in the delivery group.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new MCS delivery group 1
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new MCS delivery group 1

Configure the users (Ex: CITRIXGURU\Domain Users).

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new MCS delivery group 2
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new MCS delivery group 2

Click next.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new MCS delivery group 3
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new MCS delivery group 3

Select Add.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new MCS delivery group 4
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new MCS delivery group 4

Select Allow everyone.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new MCS delivery group 5
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new MCS delivery group 5

Enter a name for the Delivery Group.

XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS - Create new MCS delivery group 6
XenDesktop And XenApp Service for MCS – Create new MCS delivery group 6

MCS in Azure

Go to Azure portal and then Resource groups.

Select the new Resource group starting with citrix-xd-xxx. You will see everything that MCS created for us.

 Then go to Virtual Machines.

New virtual machine will take time to show up here (For me 30minutes) and then they will start automatically.

Check in Citrix Cloud XenApp and Desktop Service that the virtual machines are registered and available for you to connect.

XenApp And XenDesktop Service – MCS 1

Here the virtual machine WIN10-POOLED-02 is available and registered.

Let’s try to connect to it. Go to your cloud.com portal.

XenApp And XenDesktop Service – MCS 2

W10-MCS is now available. Click on it to start the new desktop.

XenApp And XenDesktop Service – MCS 3

Check the configuration.

XenApp And XenDesktop Service - MCS 4
XenApp And XenDesktop Service – MCS 4

And you can also check in XenDesktop and XenApp Service that the session is properly started.

XenApp And XenDesktop Service - MCS 5
XenApp And XenDesktop Service – MCS 5

Congrats! You have now configured Machine Creation Services in Citrix Cloud and created few virtual machines with it in Microsoft Azure.

Note: when a virtual machine is turned off, MCS will remove it from Azure to optimize your cost. Smart! but you have to think about it during your sizing because it takes time to add and remove that virtual machine in Azure and during this time, it is not available in your pool.

Make sure to catch up this series' previous posts first!