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Citrix Synchronizer Quick Start Guide
Version 5.8 August 2017
About Citrix Synchronizer Synchronizer is the server used to deliver Virtual Machines (VMs) to DesktopPlayer clients.
Users (which computer is assigned to each, which virtual machines (VMs), policies, which virtual appliances are assigned, and the backups for each VM))
Groups (which users belong to which groups, and group assignments)
VMs (which OS and version, which groups and users, policies are assigned)
Policies (backup frequency, USB and other device controls, VM and computer access control, and more)
Software (what is available in the software library, and which VM has it been assigned to)
Computers (computers running DesktopPlayer that are registered to users and which run virtual machines)
Events (detailed audit trail of actions for each object in Synchronizer)
Synchronizer builds the VMs, manages users and their groups, handles integration with Active Directory, and assigns VMs to users. When contacted by a computer, it sends down updated VMs and policies.
Using Synchronizer, the Administrator can request information about the computer running a VM (disk use, hardware available, and diagnostics).
Theory of Operation
Centralized management is performed through Synchronizer. It is responsible for VM deployment, policy, updates and simplified backups. Synchronizer also integrates with Microsoft Active Directory allowing users and groups to be imported.
Synchronizer approaches the deployment of these items in a unique manner. Instead of the traditional deployment of locally executed installation files (.exe, .msi, etc.), Synchronizer employs a different approach. The Administrator is able to use a WYSIWIG (what you see is what you get) approach by creating and manipulating the operating system images directly through integration with Microsoft Hyper-V that presents a running version of the OS image for the Administrator to manipulate.
The Administrator is able to add updates directly to the VM image and only the delta differences are deployed to the clients, where they are added with the base images to create the updated image. Essentially, the system is simply copying updates as an image instead of relying on imperfect installation logic trees which leads to unforeseen edge cases that can cause deployments of updates to fail.
Synchronizer Requirements The host must be a stand-alone (physical) server or a virtualized machine.
Processor Memory Hard drive Networking
Intel Xenon Dual Core 2.0 GHz
32 GB RAM 2TB Single port 1 Gbps Ethernet NIC
The Synchronizer server must have one of the following operating systems and
supporting software installed before you install Synchronizer: Windows Server
2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 R2, or Windows Server 2016.
Test Synchronizer Connectivity To verify connectivity to Synchronizer:
1. Open a Web browser.
2. Browse to Synchronizer: https://servername:8443/MgmtConsole
Note: If you cannot establish connectivity, consult your IT Administrator.
Log on to Synchronizer To begin you must log on to Synchronizer:
1. Open a web browser (Internet Explorer 11 [required for virtual machine authoring], Firefox or Chrome).
2. Browse to Synchronizer: https://servername:8443/MgmtConsole. The logon page appears:
3. On the logon screen, enter your Synchronizer logon credentials. Any credentials that allow you to log on to Windows on the Synchronizer server should also allow you to log on to Synchronizer.
Add Items to the Software Library To create a VM, you must first import either an ISO or a virtual machine image (VHD). Synchronizer includes a software library contains the following types of items:
ISO images - installation files used to install operating systems and other software on a virtual machine
Virtual Machines (VMs) - containing VHD (virtual hard drive) files containing
preinstalled operating systems used to create a VM
Engine Updates - updates for DesktopPlayer
Synchronizer does not include the tools required to create ISO files. Your organization should select the tools you prefer, and create the files to import them into the software library.
To add an item to the software library:
1. Copy the item into:
the import folder of Synchronizer (C:\Program Files\Citrix\Synchronizer\FileImport), or
the computer whose browser is connected to the server running Synchronizer
Note: If the file is larger than 1.4 GB, copy it to the Synchronizer import folder to avoid browser timeout issues.
2. Log on to Synchronizer using a Web browser, and click the Software Library tab in the navigation panel.
3. Click the Import action.
4. Enter a name and description to identify the item.
5. Select the type of software you want to import.
6. Specify where you put the file in step 1 - select from the drop-down list:
import from the local system (where your browser is running), or
import from the server (the FileImport folder on the Synchronizer)
7. Specify the file:
browse to the file location and highlight the file, or
select from the drop-down list of files in the Import folder
7. Click Finish.
The software is copied to the library, and appears in the list of items of that type. After the file is in the library, it can be imported to create or use with a VM.
Create a Virtual Machine A VM (virtual machine) runs on a computer running DesktopPlayer. In addition to the operating system and any installed applications, the VM will include policies that control aspects of its operation like backup, access, and USB use. When you create a VM, you are selecting and preparing the components for use.
A VM must include an OS (operating system). The OS can be installed from an ISO file or from a VM image:
OS ISO file. An OS ISO file is a disk image of an operating system installation kit. When run or opened, it installs the operating system just as if installing from a CD.
VM image. A virtual copy of an installed operating system. A VM image is created from an installed operating system, including a (group) license. This is also referred to as a VHD (virtual hard disk).
The steps below include creating a VM, but do not include the steps required to assign it to users or groups, or to make a VM available to users.
When you begin creating a VM, you can add, modify, or remove its components as needed without affecting users until the VM is published.
Before you begin...
Consider the following before creating a VM using Synchronizer:
Import the VM components into the software library. The components must include either an OS ISO or a VM image.
Define the operating policies. Policies are good practice, but are optional. Policies can be assigned to a VM at a later point.
To create a VM:
1. Click Virtual Machines in the Navigation Panel.
2. In the Action Panel, click Create. This action initiates the Virtual Machine Creation Wizard:
3. Identify the new VM, and select the operating system and its source (ISO or Virtual Machine image):
4. Specify the VM usage mode:
4. Specify hardware requirements by entering the RAM and storage requirements to be used by the Virtual Machine. Include the network adapter type by selecting from options in the drop-down menu. This screen is automatically populated with default values:
5. Select existing policies to assign to the VM. Policies can also be assigned to a VM at a later time:
6. Click Finish.
The VM is created. It appears in Synchronizer's navigation tree in the list of VMs. The VM can be started, which opens the Console and starts the assigned operating system.
For a VM built around an ISO image, the operating system installation starts. If the automatic installation option was selected, you must perform the installation manually.
When you are finished with the VM, either installing the operating system or adding applications, shut it down from within the operating system (using the conventional Windows-based shut down procedure from the Start menu). The VM can be published and then assigned to users.
Publish a Virtual Machine Publishing a VM (virtual machine) makes it available to users that have been assigned that VM. Publishing makes a VM a virtual, ready-to-run desktop. You can publish a new VM or republish an updated, existing one.
When you first publish a new VM, it has no assigned users, and it must be created and published before you can assign users to it.
When you update an existing VM, publish it to make the new version available to assigned users. When the user's computer next contacts Synchronizer, it downloads the updated VM. When that VM is next started, the updated version is used.
To publish a VM:
1. Click Virtual Machines in the navigation panel and select the VM to publish in the expanded menu tree.
2. In the Actions panel, click Version/Publish:
The Create New Virtual Machine Version window appears:
3. Select the type of publish or version:
non-deployable - use this to save an interim check point while working. The VM can be returned to this point if later changes are not satisfactory.
deployable (but not deployed) - this is a version that is ready for use, but is not automatically distributed to assigned users. Use this to test a version before releasing it to users. It can be later deployed using the Deploy action on the version of the VM.
staged - this is a version that is deployed to selected users. Use this type to release a version to selected users.
deployed - this is a version for distribution to assigned users (assigned the green bar).
Note: If this VM has a staged version, Synchronizer asks what to do with the users currently using the staged version. Fill the first checkbox to move the staged users and groups to the current published version.
A diagnostics package is created in the event of a failure when a VM is being published. To create a diagnostics package in any event, select the checkbox.
4. Click Finish.
The newly created or modified VM is published. It is downloaded to assigned users when they next contact Synchronizer.
Create Groups and Users Virtual machines are assigned to users and groups. Individual users can be organized into Groups to ease the handling of large numbers of users. If a VM or policy is assigned to the group, it is assigned to each member of the group as if it has been assigned to each user in that group individually.
If your organization uses Active Directory (AD), Synchronizer can be configured to browser the domain, and allow virtual machines to be assigned to users and groups. For this guide, local workgroup users will instead be created.
To create local workgroup (non-AD) users and groups:
1. Click Users in the navigation panel.
2. Click the Create Local User action:
3. On the Create a New User screen, enter the required information, including the account name, user name, and password:
4. To assign the user to a Group, click the Groups tab for that user and select one or more groups to assign:
Create a local group (an organizational grouping available on the server). A group will allow users to be managed more efficiently than as individuals. A VM assigned to a group is assigned to all members of that group, rather than being assigned to each member one at a time.
5. To create a local group, click Users in the navigation panel.
6. Click the Create Local Group action.
7. In the Create a New Group screen, enter the name and description of the group. Click Finish.
8. Click Save in the upper right portion of the workspace to apply the changes.
Assign a Virtual Machine After a virtual machine is published in a deployable version, it is ready to be assigned to one or more users or groups. When the user's DesktopPlayer client contacts Synchronizer, it downloads any updates to the user's assigned VMs (virtual machines).
If a VM is assigned to a group, it is assigned to all users in that group.
To assign a VM to users:
1. Click All Virtual Machines in the navigation panel.
2. Locate the VM you want to assign. To deploy a specific version of the VM, expand it to display a list of all versions.
3. Select the check box of each Group or User you want to assign the VM. Users or groups already assigned to that VM are checked:
4. After you make your changes, click Save.
The current published and deployable version of that VM is sent to the selected users or all members of a selected group.
Create a Security Policy Synchronizer provides security policies that can be applied to individual VMs. Using these policies, you can control how the VM is secured. The security policy includes:
Clipboard - This policy enables the host and guest VM to share the content of the clipboard. If you copy something to the clipboard in the guest VM, it becomes available in the host operating system.
File sharing - When this is enabled, the host operating system and guest VM can share files.
Encryption - When this is enabled, the VM's disks will be encrypted on the host.
To configure security policies and to apply them to a VM:
1. In the Synchronizer web console, select Policies>Virtual Machine in the navigation panel:
2. In the Action Panel, click Create. 3. Name and describe the policy and click Next.
4. Select the desired Security policy features:
5. Click Finish. 6. Assign the policy to virtual machines.
Require DesktopPlayer User to Always Enter Password
By default, DesktopPlayer allows users to choose to have their password remembered. This can be prohibited so that users have to enter their password each time the DesktopPlayer software is restarted (for example, on computer restart). To prevent passwords from being saved, clear the following checkbox in the engine policy assigned to the user:
About Citrix SynchronizerSynchronizer RequirementsTest Synchronizer ConnectivityLog on to SynchronizerAdd Items to the Software LibraryCreate a Virtual MachinePublish a Virtual MachineCreate Groups and UsersAssign a Virtual MachineCreate a Security PolicyRequire DesktopPlayer User to Always Enter Password