Managing a Citrix Farm with ADS
This document describes how the authors created a robust, extensible and highly manageable Citrix farm environment, by using Microsoft’s Automated Deployment Service (ADS).
One of the core goals of Server Based Computing (SBC) is to reduce the total cost of ownership of managing the desktop real estate. Whilst SBC removes complexity from the desktop, in reality it transfers this complexity to the data centre.
The needs of ongoing administration and management of an SBC environment are often overlooked. In organisations with large numbers of servers running multiple applications and services, managing the state of production builds is a time consuming and complex exercise. Managing a Citrix farm presents a variety of ongoing challenges. For example farm administrators need to:-
- Rapidly provision new servers or rebuild existing servers.
- Ensure consistency of server builds: irrespective of which server a user is directed to, the user experience should be consistent.
- Validate that changes and updates (application or otherwise) are easily rolled out and incorporated without compromising consistency or environment integrity.
- Maintain change management processes that are sufficiently robust to validate that existing server builds and newly provisioned servers are identical.
This document describes how the authors created a robust, extensible and highly manageable Citrix farm environment, by using Microsoft’s Automated Deployment Service (ADS). The document outlines major farm management issues and provides a summary of enhancements made to the ADS service to facilitate managing server deployment and maintenance. The document also provides the process for creating an unattended build deployment using ADS.