Configure Site Aggregation for Citrix Workspace in Citrix Cloud with On-Premises XenDesktop 7.x.

In this article, we will review how to configure the Site Aggregation feature in Citrix Cloud to aggregate your on-premises XenDesktop 7.x applications in Citrix Workspace. The feature is currently in tech preview and available in Citrix Cloud.

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

 

What is Site Aggregation for Citrix Workspace?

Until the release of Site Aggregation for Citrix Workspace, the only options available to customers who wanted to use Citrix Workspace was to use XenApp and XenDesktop Service or Azure Quick Deploy from Citrix Cloud to manage Citrix workloads. But that is the past! Citrix has released a tech preview of Site Aggregation for Citrix Workspace. This new feature allows customers to link Citrix Workspace (located in Citrix Cloud) with on-premises Citrix XML brokers (XenApp 6.5 or XenDesktop 7.x). The advantage is that you are now able to use the fancy new Citrix Workspace UI and are still able to keep your local Citrix Delivery Controllers, Citrix Studio, Citrix Director and Citrix licensing and all your Citrix XenApp servers or Virtual Desktops located on-premises. Citrix offers the option to use its Citrix Cloud Gateway Service but you can even keep using your local NetScaler Gateway if you’d like.

That’s a major WIN for Citrix as the company now understands that some customers don’t want to move Citrix workloads in public clouds but are interested in using Workspace features in Citrix Cloud.

Note: there is a major limitation for in this tech preview. Azure AD is not supported.

Architecture

Site Aggregation in Citrix Workspace - Architecture Lab 34
Site Aggregation in Citrix Workspace – Architecture Lab 34

Getting started

In this article you will learn the following:

  • How to install Citrix Cloud Connector on-premises
  • How to configure Site Aggregation for Citrix Workspace in Citrix Cloud
  • How to configure your Citrix Cloud applications and desktops for local identities
  • How to disconnect from Azure AD

You need to have:

  • A local domain (Ex: citrixguru.lab)
  • Citrix Cloud Services configured (XenDesktop And XenApp Service or/and Azure Quick Deploy for XenDesktop Essentials)
  • No Azure AD identity provider configured in Identity And Access Management

 

Configure Site Aggregation for Citrix Workspace

Note: Site Aggregation DOES NOT support Microsoft Azure AD.

Site Aggregation Tech Preview - Azure AD not supported
Site Aggregation Tech Preview – Azure AD not supported

For this post, I had to disconnect from Azure AD in Identity And Access Management.

Site Aggregation Tech Preview - Disconnect Azure AD
Site Aggregation Tech Preview – Disconnect Azure AD

Click on Disconnect. You can reconnect later.

The first step here is to install Citrix Cloud Connector in your local network.

Go to Citrix Cloud, in the main menu Select Resource Locations.

+ Resource Location.

Configure Site Aggregation - new resource location
Configure Site Aggregation – new resource location

Select Save to create the new Resource Location.

Configure Site Aggregation - new resource location created
Configure Site Aggregation – new resource location created

Then install Citrix Cloud Connector on your local server. The server must be able to reach Citrix Cloud, your local AD and your Citrix XML brokers.

Configure Site Aggregation - Install Cloud Connector
Configure Site Aggregation – Install Cloud Connector

Select the Resource Location previously created. Then go into Citrix Cloud and make sure that the communication is fine.

Note: Citrix recommends to install at least two Citrix Cloud Connectors for HA.

Configure Site Aggregation - validate Cloud Connector
Configure Site Aggregation – validate Cloud Connector

Go to Citrix Cloud, select Workspace Configuration in the left menu.

Workspace Configuration in Citrix Cloud
Workspace Configuration in Citrix Cloud

Select Sites (Tech Preview).

Site Aggregation Tech Preview in Citrix Cloud
Site Aggregation Tech Preview in Citrix Cloud

Select XenDesktop 7 (or select XenDesktop 6.5 if you are still running the unsupported version),

Site Aggregation Tech Preview- Select Site
Site Aggregation Tech Preview- Select Site

Enter the FQDN of one of your XML controllers. Citrix Cloud will be able to resolve your local network with the Cloud Connector software.

Site Aggregation Tech Preview- Discover XenDesktop site
Site Aggregation Tech Preview- Discover XenDesktop site
Site Aggregation Tech Preview- Local AD credentials
Site Aggregation Tech Preview- Local AD credentials

You will be prompted to authenticate with an account of your local domain.

Citrix Cloud will validate the connection and retrieve your XenDesktop site.

Next step is to validate the Active Directory connection.

Site Aggregation Tech Preview- AD Connected
Site Aggregation Tech Preview- AD Connected

Then the gateway. Here we will use the NetScaler Gateway Service that we configured in this post: Lab: Part 31 – Configure NetScaler Gateway Service for XenApp and XenDesktop Service in Citrix Cloud.

Site Aggregation Tech Preview- Configure Connectivity
Site Aggregation Tech Preview- Configure Connectivity

And voila! Site Aggregation is configured. Easy, right?

Site Aggregation Tech Preview configured
Site Aggregation Tech Preview configured

You can take a look at the configuration.

Site Aggregation Tech Preview- Edit configuration
Site Aggregation Tech Preview- Edit configuration

I was not able to add more than 1 controller at this time.

Site Aggregation Tech Preview- Edit configuration
Site Aggregation Tech Preview- Edit configuration

Then before testing, we need to make sure that we also have some Citrix Cloud resources published to local identities. For now most of the resources are published to Azure AD identities but that is not supported at this time by Citrix.

We can go in Azure Quick Deploy and add some applications to local identities. See below I added [email protected] to some applications in Azure Quick Deploy.

Site Aggregation Tech Preview- Manage subscribers
Site Aggregation Tech Preview- Manage subscribers

And also publish a desktop to this user.

Site Aggregation Tech Preview- Manage subscribers for desktops
Site Aggregation Tech Preview- Manage subscribers for desktops

Go to your cloud.com Workspace.

Logon with your local domain account (Ex: [email protected]). You can see that applications are aggregated from Azure Quick Deploy, XenDesktop and XenApp Service and from your on-premises farm.

Citrix Cloud resources aggregation with Site Aggregation
Citrix Cloud resources aggregation with Site Aggregation

Same for desktops.

Citrix Cloud resources aggregation with Site Aggregation
Citrix Cloud resources aggregation with Site Aggregation

Try to connect to an app. Here I started Published Desktop which is an application located on-premises.

Configure Site Aggregation in Citrix Cloud 22
Configure Site Aggregation in Citrix Cloud 21

You can check in the properties of your session in Receiver or Workspace App that the session is proxified via NetScaler Gateway Service.

Connected using Citrix NetScaler Gateway in Citrix Cloud
Connected using Citrix NetScaler Gateway in Citrix Cloud

You can also configure Citrix Workspace Site Aggregation with no gateway. This would mean that your users will never connect from outside of your organization.

Select Internal Only.

Site Aggregation - configure no gateway for local usage
Site Aggregation – configure no gateway for local usage

 

See no gateway is present.

Site Aggregation - configure no gateway for local usage
Site Aggregation – configure no gateway for local usage

The session is open directly from the local computer to the local XenApp server.

Connected directly to the desktop without gateway
Connected directly to the desktop without gateway

The last option requires you to have a NetScaler Gateway on-premises to proxy the sessions.

Site Aggregation is a promising feature (for now in Tech Preview) in Citrix Cloud that allows customers to use Citrix Workspace via Citrix Cloud services without moving Citrix workloads into Azure or AWS. Customers can keep Citrix Controllers, Citrix Director, Citrix Studio and Citrix licensing locally and only use Citrix Workspace user-interface in Citrix Cloud.

Enjoy!

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