What do we need to create a Citrix environment at home?

What do we need to create a Citrix environment at home?

Well, even though this question may sound funny it is one of the most frequently asked questions in some of these Citrix forums out there. So I like to give an answer:

  • a server, (near to) current hardware, 24 to 32 GB RAM (64 or even 128 GB would be fine too), round about 1 TB hard disk storage (the more the better)
  • XenServer (you may also use HyperV or VMWare, however it is more complex as you need additional components like SCVMM or vCenter)
  • If you want to access your deployment from outside: a static IP (or dynDNS), a DNS server resolving a FQDN to this IP, a certificate for this FQDN, and a “firewall” (any portfilter would be fine) with capabilities to forward to an internal IP
  • Space to put your belongings too
  • Cooling if you live in a hot area

VMs needed

  • a domain controller (no current Citrix environment without AD). It may be also used as license server (starting from 1 GB RAM)
  • a machine running StoreFront and Citrix Controller (containing SQL express datastore, at least 2 GB RAM, for XenApp / XenDesktop 7.x only)
  • optionally at least one virtual workstation running anything from Windows 7 to 8.1 (from 1 GB RAM)
  • optionally at least one RDS (Remote Desktp Server) (from 2 GB RAM)
  • optionally a NetScaler Gateway (2 GB RAM, 2 virtual CPUs)

This will make a total of 8 GB RAM, however the more RAM you add to controller and RDS the more fun you get.

Software and licenses

for a XenDesktop / XenApp 7x deployment

  • Windows licenses: 3x Server 2012R2 (or 2012, 2008R2), any Windows Workstation OS
  • if you want to use MCS (machine creation services) or PVS (provisioning services) you have to use Microsoft KMS (key management server)
  • Citrix XenApp or XenDesktop 7.6 (demo licenses from www.Citrix.com available: Downloads / XenDesktop / Evaluations and trial software for 99 users and 99 days)
  • all software you want to run on top of  your workstation / RDS server
  • NetScaler VPX (Downloads / NetScaler ADC / Evaluations and trial software)

for a XenApp 6.x environment

XenApp 6.5 is near to end of life, so keep away from it if you are new to Citrix!

  • Windows licenses 2x Server 2008R2
  • Citrix XenApp 6.x (no more trials available)
  • NetScaler VPX (Downloads / NetScaler ADC / Evaluations and trial software)

where to put all your equipment too

This was a great question when I settled over four years ago. IT equipment is noisy, so I did not want to store it in my living room! Putting it into one of my children’s rooms would not have been fair, and I did not even think of putting it into my own sleeping room: May sound like a good idea, but don’t even think of suggesting it to my wife!

So where the shit?

Oh, that’s the solution! I have 3 more rooms: Kitchen, bath and toilet (sorry Americans: you’d rather call it a rest room, but we are Europeans, so we prefer to rest in our living room). Kitchen and bath room are impossible because of the moisty sometimes even foggy air, it would kill my servers. So: the toilet! You may say: a toilet stinks some times, no matter how good you clean. True, but computers are no humans, even if some nerds tend to mix things up by a little bit.

My flat has high ceilings, 3.4 meters. One of the previous tenants did not want to have a visible toilet tank, so he covered it using a plasterboard. But this plasterboard was just 2.3 m high. And therefore there is a kind of board on top of it. This is where all my equipment went too: Internet access, WLAN, firewall servers and a switch.
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I own following equipment:

  • Cisco router (owned by my ISP)
  • FortiGate 100
  • a non manageable D-Link switch with 8 ports
  • 2 Fujitsu PRIMERGY TX150 S8 (32 GB RAM, 2x 2 TB HD), however there is just one of them turned on, the other one is for testing only
  • a D-Link 802.11n compatible WLAN router

That’s it.By far more than enough 🙂

Cooling

I had some problems with cooling during summer. My first switch, a manageable HP switch, dies of heat. Temperatures came up to 60°C during summer heat waves due to heat build ups in this small room. So I had to find a solution.

I could have bought an air condition. But the toilet itself is not too hot, it’s just too hot below the ceiling. A little bit of air movement – every now and then – would have been enough. And that’s my solution 🙂

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4 thoughts on “What do we need to create a Citrix environment at home?

  1. edward

    Hi Johannes,
    Stumbled on your blog and it”s the closest to what am looking for. Am trying to build a xenapp 7.6 environment at home to learn but I want to do this on my laptop. I have a latitude e5430 laptop with 8gb ram and 1tb ssd, could you please advise on how you feel I should set the environment up.
    Many thanks

    Reply
    1. Jochy Post author

      I think, you could use something like VMWare Workstaton. Unfortunately it’s not possible to use Machine Creation Services with VMWare Workstation. So you can’t try this.

      Maybe you could try to install XenServer on top of VMWare Workstation to use MCS. It’s very tricky, but there are some guides out there, ask Google about this.

      Your Setup would be: 1 Domain Controller, 1 XenDesktop Controler, and 1 virtual workload. 1 GB each (1,5 GB for the Controller so the data base is a bit faster), so you could run this on your laptop computer. If you run XenServer on VMWae Workstation you shoud allow at least 4 GB RAM for this VM. Don’t even think of running These 2 Controllers on this XenServer 😉

      Reply
    2. Shaun Ritchie

      I think with 8GB of RAM to share between your laptop and a virtualisation environment you are going to really struggle to run anything meaningful.

      You would also need to check if your processor supports virtualisation.

      You can easily build or buy a cheap PC with a decent amount of RAM to run your setup.

      Reply
      1. Jochy Post author

        You’re right, 8GB would not bee much. But it’s enough to test “something”. I think, 32 GB or more would be nice, 16 GB would be enough, but you’ll run into some troubles with 8.

        I have a NetScaler test environment running on a 8GB laptop. It’s a NetScaler (4GB) and a Linux based web server with 4 IP addresses and 4 Apache instances (1 GB). I don’t care about VT as I use VMWare workstation 😉

        Reply

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