vCloud Automation Cetner 5.2 – vCAC 5.2 and Citrix XenDesktop Demystified

I have seen a rise in questions regarding vCAC 5.x and integration with XenDesktop. This article is not a step by step on how to configure integration with XenDesktop, but information on capabilities and use cases for integration.

Supported XenDesktop Versions:

  • XenDesktop 4.0 (Only VMware Hypervisor and vCAC VDI agent must be installed on a 32-bit host.)
  • XenDesktop 5.0 (SP1 (Supported on VMware and XenServer)
  • XenDesktop 5.5 (Supported on VMware and XenServer)

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Citrix Xen Desktop (DDC) / Provisioning Server (PVS) & vSphere SDK

I’m sure many of you have run into an issue with setting up Citrix Xen Desktop (DDC). As i was setting up a new “Desktop Group” I ran into a problem when trying to configure the vCenter SDK address. The configuration wizard show you an example that looks say ‘For example, https://VirtualCetner.example.com/sdk” which is what you would expect to use and you would also expect it to work. Think again. When you try to setup your vCenter SDK address you will be presented with and error “The hosting infrastructure could not be reached at the specified address.” Citrix takes security serious so unless you plan on replacing the default SSL certificate on your vCenter server you will need to hack out a work around. Now I would agree that in production you should replace the default SSL but if your just trying to spin up a demo or test environment it can be a hassle.

So I searched the web over and over and found a number of threads with many of ways to resolve the issue only none of them seemed to work for me. However a combination of a number of things that I found did. So I’m here to save you the trouble of finding all of various pages with partial solutions. Below you will find exactly what you need to do to make this work.

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Go Virtual, Get Green, Save Money, & Be a Hero!

In this tough economy many companies are scrambling to virtualize to cut costs and promote a green environment.  Others would like to but with budgetary constraints and freezes they just can’t get the funding to take on a VMware virtualization initiative.  Even with the promises of ROI on their horizon once they do so it just doesn’t seem enough for some organizations.  Well I’m here to say so what, don’t let a light budget get in your way.

Start with the low hanging fruit, development, and staging machines.  Take the initiative to take advantage of these free hypervisors and save your organization some money.  Once you do reap the reward.  Keep track of how much money you just saved your organization, let everyone know, and not only will you get recognized, but you will just have gained some job security.  I’m surprised more organizations are offering cost savings initiative to hep try and curb the expenses and cut back.  Think about it, if your company offered a bonus based on savings everyone would be looking for ways to cut costs and cash in on the savings.

I heard of a company that did just this.  Employees were offered bonus equal to a percentage of what they saved.  How great is that…..it is a win win for everyone.  The company saves money, the employee who drove the initiative makes more money, jobs are saved and everyone is a hero.  So what are you waiting for?  If your company doesn’t offer something like this why not drop a note in the suggestion box.  Then go get yourself some by getting virtual.

How you say, it’s very simple.  Develop a plan.  Identify the servers in your environment that would be easy candidate, nothing production or at least nothing in the lime light.  Determine how many you could virtualize on to how many hosts and calculate the savings that could be had with nothing but a little bit of elbow grease.  Submit your finding and  cash in.  I know I make it sound so easy, but the reality is that it’s not that hard.  I never could understand why it is not a much larger initiative.

Even if you don’t feel you could tackle the job yourself or with the IT staff in your organization, no problem.  Factor in consulting costs, yes I know spend money, but you can still save considerably with this approach.  Consulting fees are fixed term costs.  There are no licensing, support, etc….and once your project is complete you will immediately start saving and be able to start getting that outlay of capitol back in the bank.  Many consulting companies offer Resident Consultants that you can work out a fixed fee to perform the work, no need to buy licensing or a paid product for these guys, just pay for their time.

I know I know all these companies want to sell you hardware and licensing and they push you into quoting you extremely high prices for this end to end.  Forget those guys I can tell you that there are companies that are not like that and focus on the services and the customer.  I can tell you this because I work for one.

Citrix XEN Server a Free Hypervisors

So everyone knows that the big three all have freely available versions of their hypervisor.  The obvious reasons are to gain market share.  Get you hooked for free and then charge you for the all the extras.  Just because that is their plan, doesn’t mean it has to be yours.  You can go virtual now and later when everything levels off with the economy you can choose to get the more advanced features, or not if you feel you don’t need them.

Citrix is including XenMotion and the management console for free.  This alone gives them a huge advantage over VMware and Microsoft in the free hypervisor market.  I frequently hear people stating the XEN is not an enterprise solution yet, well get your head out of the sand because it most certainly is.  Not more than a year ago I was saying the same thing when I got certified on XEN 4, but now with the release of XEN 5 I totally believe that XEN is an enterprise solution and a damn good one at that.

If you haven’t kicked the tires around on yet, what are you waiting for?  It’s free!  You have nothing to loose except a little time, even then you will at least gane some knowledge that you didn’t have before.  So what are you waiting for go get virtual.