Update August 30, 2012 – This article was originally written in January of 2011, many of the issues outlined below have been corrected with the introduction of the latest Citrix Receiver and Citrix StoreFront.
First of all, I generally love Citrix solutions, and with great power comes complexity…but I think they’ve gone a bit overboard so this post is as much for me to keep this all straight as it is to help explain to others the options and caveats to delivery mechanisms inside Citrix XenDesktop/XenApp. I’m all for rapid release cycles and I’m sure that I’m just not aware of the “big picture” strategy at Citrix for these components…but the reality is that today this is a mess…
Citrix Receiver 2.0 for Windows – meant to be distributed from Merchandising server, not an end-user install from the web on their own item. Requires the online plug-in or web plug-in to connect to resources.
Self Service Plug-in – For the same look and feel of the Citrix Receiver for Mac requires the Self-Service plug-in, this Self-Service plug-in requires Delivery Services 1.0 (won’t work against a Citrix Services website). Can only be distributed with Receiver and therefore also Merchandising server (see later note on the growing irrelevance of Merchandising server)
Online plug-in 12.1 Full – can be used on its own against web interface and services site, doesn’t work with Delivery Services 1.0 Can be controlled with GPO’s, and contains SSO and Desktop Viewer items
Online plug-in 12.1 Web – doesn’t use a services site, only for use with Web interface, doesn’t require administrative rights to install
Citrix Receiver for Mac 11.3.2 – (f*ck that numbering scheme first of all). User interface looks just like the self-service plug in for windows but it only works against a services site, not Delivery Services 1.0. No separate online plug-in install at all, only available on Mac store…not thru a company website or Merchandising Server. Configuration must be done manually or via a configuration email/link. Client can’t be re-directed to the App Store when accessing a web interface site. Not sure if there is an online plug-in only version minus receiver for just accessing web interface sites (one that will be updated going forward)..or if this is it and a new Citrix Receiver for Mac that works with Merchandising Server is in the works.
Citrix Receiver for iPad 4.2.x – Completely different interface again. Can use a Services site, a Web interface site, not controlled via merchandising server at all. Configuration must be done manually or via a configuration email/link. There also seem to be some issues with AG’s and the path to the config.xml site. http://forums.citrix.com/thread.jspa?threadID=279075&tstart=0 From personal experience the iPad Receiver really only works well if you use the default path or put the full path in the configuration… if you are depending on AGEE to redirect the iPad in my experience this has not work, but the AGEE i am using is a few months old on code too.
Merchandising server – Nearly useless overall in an environment with multiple endpoint platforms…since it really only works with Windows as the Mac Receiver items go thru the Mac store now and use the online URL configuration tool.
Delivery Services 1.0 – nearly the same as a Services site except not highly available at all…some sort of integration with Merchandising server..the use of which I don’t understand. Provides authentication…by authenticating to an XML broker…again.. I don’t get it and why we have it…better question is why the self-service plug-in requires it. …and that f*cking name is completely confusing since it’s nearly the same as the user console in every other product.
If any of the above items are incorrect please let me know, my goal is to work thru these to present a comprehensive list of the options and pros/cons to them.
I’d really like to see a consistent naming and numbering scheme with a unified method of configuration and access (web interface, services, delivery services)…but then I’m guessing that’s everyones wish too.