How to configure Citrix Workspace Environment Management 4.3 for XenApp or XenDesktop, including NetScaler Broker Load Balancing

Posted by Christiaan Brinkhoff on Jun 20, 2017, 12:51:22 PM

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At Synergy, Citrix announced a new version of their own User Environment Management software called: Citrix Workspace Management – or WEM in short. As you may know already – Citrix acquired Norskale VUEM last year, in September and renamed it afterwards to Citrix Workspace Environment Manager. Read the whole announcement article here.

WEM is a user environment management tool, that is free included in the Enterprise and Platinum license stack of Citrix, so still looking for a UEM tool and you’re already use Citrix. Stop searching and start implementing Citrix Workspace Environment manager. Next to the great logon and application performance – it’s also low in TCO (total cost of ownership) costs – the manager would love it too!

The tool provides all the advanced user management options, that the most expensive vendors (Ivanti/RES) also providing. Some for example, application Shortcuts, Map Virtual Drive, Set/Create/Delete Registry entries, Printers configuration – User Map Network Printers through agent console, Map Network drives, Ports – Map Client Port (example LPT1, COM), INI file – Creation/Modify INI file ,External Tasks – VBS/CMD scripts execution, File System Operation – Create/Copy/Move/ Delete File/Folder operations, User DSN – Creation of DSN Environment Variable – Set Environment variable and the configuration of file extensions / File Associations.

For this article, I will configure 2 separate WEM Brokers which will be installed on Windows Server 2016 – to provide high availability – what will be activated on the NetScalers for providing the broker load balancing and management service groups. The endpoint agent will be installed on a Windows 10 XenDesktop 7.14 VDI. The SQL database server is based on SQL 2014 Enterprise (mirroring or clustering preferred, to avoid SF risks) and my Citrix License server holds v11.14 and is also installed on Windows Server 2016.

At the end of this article – I posted an video of the logon performance of WEM – just to get an own impression how fast it can be!


Just some good things to know before starting

  • The tool is free to use for XenApp and XenDesktop Enterprise and Platinum (valid) licenses! Need a trial? Request it over here. Although, there is a Podio form now, only for WEM trials – request it over here!
  • It is supported for larger Enterprise environments, 3,000 connected users per Broker server.
  • It provides a great System Optimization integration, what results in Fast Logon and logoff times, CPU spike management (slow performance on 100% CPU will be history), Memory management – apps will be lower in consuming RAM, I/O management priority possible and process management (avoids, for example Ransomwareexecutables before they actually run). All of those improvements, will eventually results in a higher user density in your environment!
  • Advanced monitoring reports are included, to read out daily logon times and user trend reports.
  • The tool doesn’t replace or delivers any kind of integrated profiling services, when u are configuring WEM for a roaming multi-user environment, for example XenApp or non-persistant VDI, you still need to activate a profile solution. I will cover the configuration steps for Citrix Profile Management later on in this article.
  • The desktop configuration of WEM will be downloaded to the client when the user logs on and will put the latest one in the cache. If the broker(s) is down, the latest configuration available will still be published to the machine, from the cache location.
  • If you are using a non-persistent environment, based on Provisioning services for example. Change then the caching location manually to the WriteCache location, by using the following installation command:
  • When u choose to install WEM, you will notice that most of the installation files are still named Norskale. As you may be knowing, Citrix acquired the company Norskale last year. The reason why the name is still active is just because time. Changing the name means a lot of testing, what would be delayed the release. What I’ve also heard is that the WEM console will integrated in a later time with the Citrix consoles, for example Director and Studio.
  • Make sure that your existing XenApp or XenDesktop license is from eligibility date: May 17, 2017, otherwise you get a license validation error, when connect the WEM broker configuration.

  • The biggest advantage in logon duration time will be possible, because all the configuration will be applied after the initial logon process – when a user normally logs on to the desktop, for example group policy’s preferences or other computer or user policies are applied through the Windows Logon process (the never ending spinning icon, that says please wait for the user profile). The WEM software will apply all of those settings after the logon process and will apply those settings when the green WEM splash screen is loading. Just because WEM does this in an optimized procedure, the logon speed can be decreased by up to 60% of a native desktop!

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Topics: XenDesktop, XenApp, Citrix Workspace Environment

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