Citrix Cloud Service On-boarding and Cloud Connectors Guide
Lately I delivered project to consolidate global multi-site on-premises environments in to one and migrate it to the Citrix Cloud Services. This time it included multiple different vendor’s Enterprise Mobile Management solutions (XenMobile, Workspace ONE, etc.) and Citrix ADCs (NetScalers). Multiple different MDM solutions migrated in to Citrix Endpoint Management service in to Citrix Cloud.
I’m not going to go any more technical details regarding different vendor’s products as this time this is not meant to be technical post, (that will come later!), but rather I walkthrough process how to get on-boarded in to Cloud Service and install Citrix Cloud Connector.
INFO: Citrix Cloud services simplify the delivery and management of Citrix technologies, helping you to extend existing on-premises software deployments or move one hundred percent to the cloud. Create and deploy secure digital workspaces in hours, not weeks, while placing your sensitive app, desktop and data resources on any cloud or hybrid cloud.
There is two different approach for Citrix Cloud Services, Transition and Migration. I’m focusing now on this post in to Transition approach, as the Migration approach always requires to engage Citrix Sales and Professional Services who helps to migrate databases etc. from on-premises.
Migration advantages are to copy current configuration, databases, etc. as it is and like for XenMobile, users are not required to re-enroll their devices again in to cloud service. Migration will be seamless for the users.
Transition approach is a clean new services will be created in Citrix Cloud from scratch and users will be migrated to use the new cloud based services. It has advantages like housekeep and inventory of current environment, but also current on-premises environment and cloud services parallel during user migration. Disadvantage could be require to build a new/similar environment from the scratch, which still is not always disadvantage.
Both approaches have its advantages and challenges and needs to be carefully chosen based on customer requirements, scenarios and products to be migrated.
Everything starts from the assessment, gather current on-premises environment details, use cases, expectations, prerequisites and limitations. Then decide right on-boarding method for the customer.
Next step is to subscribe the Cloud Service platform and get it up and running, ready to be for a new service or for migration of current services.
Go to the Citrix Cloud On-boarding website: https://onboarding.cloud.com/ and use current citrix.com account details or register there depending if it is a new or existing customer.
Other helpful method is to get in contact to Citrix Sales Engineer in your region and ask them to advice.
After successfully registration customer are able log in to: https://cloud.citrix.com/ and request service trials. This is the portal in where to manage all Citrix Cloud Services, open service tickets, etc.
Customer can click Request Trial to formally request a trial for the services. Once the customer requests the trial it must be approved by the Cloud Services Rapid Deployment Team or Cloud Product manager.
Citrix Cloud Connector
After successfully requested trials and got them up and running, first thing probably would be to connect Cloud Services to on-premises for Active Directory user authentication etc.
The Citrix Cloud Connector is a Citrix component that serves as a channel for communication between Citrix Cloud and on-premises resource locations, enabling cloud management without requiring any complex networking or infrastructure configuration. This removes all the hassle of managing delivery infrastructure. It enables customer to manage and focus on the resources that provide value to your users. E.g. Active Directory authentication from Cloud Services to on-premises domain. Cloud Connectors also replaces Virtual Apps and Desktops Desktop Delivery Controllers (DDC) role and acts as the control point for the VDA’s on-premises.
The Virtual Apps and Desktops and Citrix Endpoint Management services requires the Cloud Connector for enterprise connectivity to the Endpoint Management service.
Cloud Connector is a small software cwcconnector.exe to be installed to domain joined on-premises Windows Server. Two servers are recommended to be installed for sake of High-Availability.
Download Cloud Connector software from the Cloud Portal Resource Locations page.
NOTE: Do not install the Cloud Connector, or any other Citrix components, on an Active Directory domain controller.
Do not install the Cloud Connector on machines that are part of other Citrix deployments (for example, Delivery Controllers in a Virtual Apps and Desktops deployment).
Cloud Controller Technical Requirements
- Supported on Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2016.
- .NET Framework 4.5.1 or later.
- Active Directory (AD): Join the machine to an AD domain that contains the resources and/or users for the workspaces (Active Directory schema versions 2008 R2 and later are supported).
- Networking: Connect the machine to a network that can contact the resources in the Resource Location. These resources provide the services of the cloud workspace. The machine must have a connection to the internet.
- Make sure the clock on the server has the correct time. Otherwise, you cannot connect to the cloud.
- The connector requires outbound connectivity on port HTTPS 443.
Cloud Connector Install Instructions
- Log on as an administrator to the machine where you will install the Cloud Connector. The machine should have Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2016 installed, be joined to a domain, and have outbound Internet access. (HTTPS 443)
- Go to https://citrix.cloud.com and sign in. The Citrix Cloud management console appears.
- From the menu button in the upper left corner, select Resource Locations.
- On the Resource Locations page, click Download to download the Cloud Connector software.
- Launch the Cloud Connector installer. The installer performs an initial connectivity check to ensure you can connect to Citrix Cloud.
- When prompted, sign in to Citrix Cloud.
- Follow the wizard to install and configure the Cloud Connector. When the installation finishes, the installer performs a final connectivity check to verify Connector-to-Cloud communication.
- Repeat these steps on additional machines you want to use as Cloud Connectors.
After installation go back to the Cloud Portal and Resource Locations, you should see the Cloud Connector successfully connected.
The Cloud Connector authenticates and encrypts all communication between Citrix Cloud and on-premises resource locations. Once installed, the Cloud Connector initiates communication with Citrix Cloud through an outbound connection. All connections are established from the Cloud Connector to the cloud using the standard HTTPS port (443) and the TCP protocol. No incoming connections are accepted.