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Basic Principles of designing Citrix XenApp Environments Part 6

This article is final part of an article series about Citrix XenApp design decisions. The starting article can be found here.

User Profiles Citrix Architecture & Design




 

User Settings are stored in the %userprofile% folder and in the registry under HKEY_CURRENT_USER (HKCU). User Profiles should be considered thoroughly in Terminal Server infrastructures out of various reasons. Read this earlier article <<LINK>> for more information which Profile challenges are occurring on Terminal Servers.

The following considerations apply to design decisions for user profiles:

  • Type of Profile

Determine which type of profiles suites the organization or infrastructure. Think about the roaming, mandatory or hybrid advantaged and disadvantages. See this article for more information.

  • Storage Location of Profiles

Independent of the type of profile (except mandatory logically) consider the location where the profile settings or stored. Profile settings are transferred over the network when a user logs on or logs off from the Terminal Server.

  • Determine settings to be saves

Do not store all the data which is available within the profile. Several applications are adding temporary files which are not needed in a next session. Use tools to configure saving only the necessary settings needed for an equal end-user experience.

  • SILO Concept

When using the SILO concept consider the user profiles thoroughly, because users can change settings of applications (available on more silos) where only the settings are saved from the last closed session. Think of creating different profiles for every silo, saving only a few settings (the primary applications of the silo) or use mandatory profiles on silos.

Best Practices are (you probably expected this one if you read the other articles) to use a hybrid profile. Nowadays this concept is adapted by many manufacturers with still better solutions; there are still freeware products available as well. Always locate the profile storage close to the Citrix servers (with a LAN bandwidth connection) for smoothly running logon and logoff processes. Also do not use the same profile for Terminal Servers and workstations, because those systems are not exactly the same.

Printing & Printer Drivers Citrix Architecture & Design

Logically printer drivers need to be available to print documents out of the application hosted on the Citrix Server.

When writing the design for the printing and printer drivers on a Citrix Server describe the following considerations:

  • Type of Printers

Determine which printers are available within the organization, how printers are purchased and if there are regulations for default printers (manufacturer, printer model). Use this information to determine how printers are connected.

  • Location of the print queues, print devices and (print) servers

Before the print is printed on the print device it can be routed via several components. The locations of these components are important to make a decision how the printers will be connected into the sessions.

  • Amount of documents printed

Also the amount of prints is important to determine the correct printing solution, mainly based on the location of the printer components.

  • Driver availability for Terminal Server

Although most printer manufactures understand the Terminal Server infrastructure there are still printer drivers which are not suitable for Terminal Servers. Mainly because those printers are build for the consumer market. Also remember that most drivers are test nowadays to run on a Terminal Server, but they are not tested to work all together on the same Terminal Server.

  • Installation of Printer Drivers

Logically the required printer drivers need to be installed on the Terminal Server. Just like the applications you want to accomplish that all drivers and configuration are exactly the same server to guarantee the same end-user experience. Describe how this will be arranged. Think of self made printer scripts, deployment using distribution products or Citrix XenApp printer driver replication.

  • How to connect the printers within the session

Based on above consideration a decision should be made how printers are connected within the session. Will the mapping based on auto created client printers or will network queues directly being connected within the session using logon scripts or third-party products. Will print jobs routed through the client or directly to the printer server.

Out of practical experiences I use the following best practices when writing designs: 

  • Limit the amount of printer drivers. Several printer model devices can use the same printer driver without any problems.
  • Use auto created printer drivers when using Published Applications. Normally the application is displayed on a workstation and the user expects the same drivers to be available within the session.
  • Use the Universal Printer Driver when possible when using the auto created printers.
  • Limit available bandwidth for printer (auto created printers) using the Citrix policies to guarantee performance of the sessions.
  • When using a Published Desktop (especially with Thin Client) auto created printers are no option so the printers should be connected directly in the session. Accomplish this using logon script.
  • Consider the use of third party product if the situation requires this. Think of Published Desktop over low bandwidth connections or routed print jobs via print servers on location.
  • Take additional care with print connections when using Silos and Roaming Profiles.

Read this article also written by me for more information about printing and print drivers in Terminal Server Infrastructures.

Conclusion

With this article series I gave an introduction of designing the most important components and subjects. As mentioned in the introduction there is no standard design and you should use the considerations and best practices to determine the needs, requirements and wishes of your customer/organization, which will lead to design decisions and finally a design document.

 

Let me know via the comments field of this article if it is a good idea to publish a case on the website so all readers can summit their answers. After a while I will publish these designs together with my design decisions for this scenario. I'm curious if this is a good and nice idea.