Citrix XenApp seamless desktop and task manager.

Recently I participated in a project in which a new Citrix XA5 for 2008 farm was build and PowerFuse 2010 was used for ‘user workspace management’. They had thin clients which connected to their old Citrix farm by using a distributed ICA file. In the new farm we created a setup with two Citrix Web Interfaces servers with a Citrix Services Site configured. Only one server was active, the other one was configured as backup URL.

The desktop was started seamless because of the configuration in the ICA file, this resulted in a situation where the user could start the task manager of the local thin client (Windows 7 Embedded) so they could stop running processes in their ICA session but they couldn’t use the windows shortcut keys because all of the commands were passed trough to the thin client. The customer wanted a full desktop so they could use their windows shortcut keys but they also wanted a method to stop running processes in their ICA session.

In my opinion they had two options:

  • Full desktop with taskmgr.exe as application within this full desktop
  • Full desktop with memory optimization from RES PowerFuse.

Full desktop with taskmgr.exe as application within this full desktop

By offering a full desktop the windows shortcut keys can be used within the ICA session but the user doesn’t get the functionality to stop running processes. As an addition taskmgr.exe should be offered to the users via PowerFuse. The downside would be that the taskmgr.exe gives more information that needed for the users and would probably create more confusion for the users.

Full desktop with memory optimization from RES PowerFuse

By offering a full desktop the windows shortcut keys can be used within the ICA session but the user doesn’t get the functionality to stop running processes. As an addition PowerFuse should be configured to give the users the option to stop running processes.

By turning on memory optimization there’s an option in RES PowerFuse to show the memory usage in the system tray:

reswsm0007

When this option is enabled users will get an extra icon in their system tray:

reswsm0008

When the user clicks this icon a program will appear that displays the running processes, the memory usage and let’s the user close an application:

reswsm0009

But… when memory optimization is enabled keep in mind that there’s more to configure. A limit will be forced so you have to calculate the limit properly and a couple of applications can’t really deal with these kinds of memory optimization. When you’ve got such an application you can exclude this specific application from the memory optimization in PowerFuse 2010:

reswsm0010


So my advice would be to run a full desktop with memory optimization but keep in mind that it brings on additional administrative burden.

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