Upgrading to XenDesktop 7.7 from 7.x

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Towards the end of 2015 Citrix released XenDesktop 7.7. I’ve been playing around with it in my home lab and decided to document the upgrade process I went through.

For a quick summary of the new key features in XenDesktop 7.7 check out this Citrix article here: http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-7/what-is-new.html

The Upgrade Process

Citrix provide some decent documentation on how to upgrade your deployment, which includes the following flowchart:

XenDesktop 7.7 Upgrade Flow Chart

They also provide a checklist during the XenDesktop 7.7 Delivery Controller upgrade.

DDC Install 4

It’s important to note the upgrade process will be different from one infrastructure to the next, so use the flowchart to determine what needs to be updated for your particular instance and, more importantly, at what stage. For example, in my lab environment I don’t use PVS so I can omit this from my process, but I do use separate servers dedicated for StoreFront and the Delivery Controllers, so this needs to be considered.

List of Updated Components in XenDesktop 7.7

  • Delivery Controller (including Studio, v7.7.0.6143)
  • Director (v7.7.0 Build 6142)
  • Provisioning Services (now on version 7.7)
  • Citrix License Server (v11.13.1)
  • VDA (v7.7.0.7111)
  • StoreFront (v 3.0.1.57)
  • Profile Management 5.4
  • HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 2.0

My Setup

  • One XenDesktop 7.6 DDC Server with Director 7.6.300 installed, using SSL encrypted XML traffic
  • One StoreFront 3.0 Server (specifically v3.0.0.45) with Citrix License Server 11.12.1, using HTTPS for secure web traffic
  • Windows 10 x64 client running VDA 7.6.300

My setup is a pretty simple affair, but until I have more space for dedicated servers or Azure gets cheaper its the best I can do for now. No PVS target device and server upgrade here, sorry!

Upgrading to XenDesktop 7.7

1. Backup Everything!

Make sure you backup the key critical components of your Citrix infrastructure – this includes your vDisks (if using PVS), databases, virtual machines and hypervisor backups. Follow this article to learn how to backup and restore your Citrix databases: http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX135207

Be sensible – don’t skip this step!

2. Upgrade the Citrix License Server Software

I upgraded this component first, thereby ensuring no licensing compatibility issues once the other Citrix components have upgraded.

  1. You can download the installation files for the Citrix license server either by using the files bundled with the XenDesktop 7.7 ISO or by downloading them from the Citrix web site separately. Run ‘CTX_Licensing.msiLicensing 1
  2. On the welcome screen click ‘Upgrade‘.Licensing 2
  3. Wait for the installer to complete, then click ‘Finish‘. Licensing 3Licensing 4
That’s it! A very simple 5 minute upgrade that requires no downtime – your existing licenses will still be present, whilst existing Citrix components will still launch correctly as the upgrade takes place well within the 30-day grace period. Launching the web console in my setup shows the license server has successfully upgraded correctly.
Licensing 5

3. Upgrade StoreFront

The version of StoreFront that comes bundled with XenDesktop 7.7 is an updated version compared to the original release of StoreFront 3.0, and should be upgraded as part of the process.

Note that if you have any manual GUI changes or configuration customisations made in the .ini files you should back these up in case there are issues with these changes after the upgrade.

My upgrade will be going from StoreFront 3.0.0.45 to the updated 3.0.1.57. Those going from StoreFront 2.x to 3.0 should check out this article and this one too before proceeding.

SF Install 1

  1. Similar to the license server, you can run the StoreFront installation from either downloading the installation files separately from Citrix’s web site or by using XenDesktop 7.7 ISO. Click ‘Install‘.StoreFront Install 3
  2. Let the installation complete then click ‘Finish‘.StoreFront Install 4 StoreFront Install 5
  3. That’s it! All my previous configurations that were done in the StoreFront management console persisted after the upgrade.SF Install 6StoreFront Upgraded Test

4. Upgrade VDA Client

Upgrading the VDA client is not compulsory, but is recommended to take advantage of the new features in XenDesktop 7.7. This will require a change in your server/desktop image, so any change should be fully tested before rolling out into a production environment.
  1. Run the latest VDA installer on your target device. Amend the firewall rules as necessary for your environment then click ‘Next‘.VDA Upgrade 1
  2. Review the summary information, then click ‘Upgrade‘.VDA Upgrade 2
  3. The time it takes to upgrade the VDA is dependant on the speed of the target device, but for me it took around 10 minutes. A restart is required to complete the install. Ensure ‘Restart machine‘ is checked then cliVDA Upgrade 3 VDA Upgrade 4

4. Upgrade DDCs

Lastly it’s time to upgrade the DDCs. In my environment I only have one DDC server, so all I need to do is upgrade this server then run Citrix Studio to upgrade the Site. If you have two servers, remember to only upgrade one to start, then upgrade the Site and upgrade the remaining controllers.

  1.  Download the XenDesktop 7.7 media, then run the installation wizard. Here I’ve manually executed ‘AutoSelect.exe‘. DDC Install 1
  2. On the splash screen select ‘Studio and Server Components‘.DDC Install 2
  3. Accept the license agreement and click ‘Next’.DDC Install 3
  4. Citrix have thoughtfully provided an upgrade workflow for your Citrix environment in case you have not read any other supporting material in advance. Review the information, then select ‘I’m ready to continue’ and click ‘Next‘.DDC Install 4
  5. Review the firewall rules and click ‘Next‘.DDC Install 5
  6. On the final summary page click ‘Upgrade‘.DDC Install 6
  7. The installer will start updating the necessary components for the upgrade. Once completed, select ‘Launch Studio‘ and click ‘Finish‘.DDC Install 7DDC Install 8
  8. Citrix Studio should now auto-launch. You should be presented with the ‘Mandatory upgrade’ view. Press ‘Start the automatic Site upgrade‘.DDC Install 9
  9. At this point you will be prompted to confirm you have made a backup of the Site database. Once ready, click ‘Upgrade‘.DDC Install 10
  10. Let the upgrade complete on your first delivery controller.DDC Install 11
  11. You will get prompted again to join the Customer Experience Improvement Program. Make your choice then click ‘Finish‘.DDC Install 12
  12. Now repeat the same process on all your remaining Delivery Controllers.

 

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About Author

Luke is a Citrix & Microsoft IT consultant based in the UK. His Citrix qualifications include CCE-V, CCP-N and CCP-M. He also holds an MCSA in Windows Server 2012 and is a certified MCITP on Windows Server 2008. He loves cats but hates spiders and the cold.

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