Many organizations rely on Citrix technologies for their virtualization needs. This can be done through Citrix published applications or XenDesktop Virtual Desktops. In either case you will likely want to store that profile related and user specific information somewhere. There are a couple of options that you can consider: Microsoft Terminal Services Profles or Citrix Profile Manager profiles. Regardless of the technology, these profiles should be separate and different from any other profiles you may use for your workstations or users within your organization. This article will focus on the benefits of using Citrix Profile Management as a solution for your Citrix profile needs.
Citrix Profile Manager has many features that enhance the profile management as it relates to Citrix. Some of these enhancements are Active Write Back, allowing multiple retries when accessing locked files and logging. These enhancements are designed specifically for use with published applications and provide better functionality with Citrix than standard terminal services profiles. It is important to understand that use of this product will not prevent profile corruption, but the overall profile experience is improved.
- Active Write Back: The best way to describe the benefits of using this policy is that if a Citrix user has two applications open on two different servers that rely on profile, any changes will actively be written back to the users profile. This allows the profile change to be available in both application sessions without logging out of either application.
- Number of retries when accessing locked files: This policy is self-explanatory in that it will allow the profile to retry its rewrites even if a file is locked. You get to decide how many times to retry, Citrix doesn’t recommend that without their recommendation via support call; however you will see in my example below that it can be successfully used in production.
- Enable Logging: If there are users reporting issues that are profile related the logging option collects the necessary information to troubleshoot their profile-related issues.
- Review some of the other setting options below: Having the proper exclusions in place, removing profiles on logoff and additional logging settings are also important. Before implementing review all of these settings and understand the effect on your XenApp environment before testing and/or moving into production.
Getting Started Checklist:
If you are going to move forward with Citrix Profile Manager, here is a list of items that you will need to get started:
- Setup a NAS or DFS file share to store your Citrix profiles (Note: the group policy uses a UNC format \\servername\sharename)
- Install the latest Citrix Profile Management software on each of your Citrix XenApp Application Servers. This can be downloaded from the Citrix website in the downloads section under Citrix XenApp or XenDesktop.
- Download the appropriate group policy .adm file for Citrix Profile Management and configuring according to your organizational needs. This can be downloaded from the Citrix website.
- The group policy is what makes this feature work, so first apply the policy to an Active Directory OU with one or two Citrix application servers to test with.
- Move this into production once you have determined this is satisfactory for production.
These are the many considerations that you need to be thinking about when determining whether or not you would like to add Citrix Profile Manager to your environment. This article highlights some of the key feature considerations to get you started as it relates to Citrix virtualization technologies.