Installing and configuring Citrix StoreFront 3.5 (Part 1)

by [Published on 6 July 2016 / Last Updated on 6 July 2016]

In this article I will talk you through the installation and configuration steps for setting up a StoreFront infrastructure.

If you would like to read the next part in this article series please go to Installing and configuring Citrix StoreFront 3.5 (Part 2).

Introduction

Citrix StoreFront is the successor of old good Citrix Web Interface. With the release of StoreFront 3.5 together with XenDesktop 7.8 at the end of February 2016 also the administrator possibilities are on the same level as Web Interface. Personally I think there are (almost) no reasons more to migrate from Web Interface to StoreFront anymore.

Installation Method

First we need to determine how and on which system we would like to install StoreFront. StoreFront can be installed on Windows 2008R2, Windows 2012 and Windows 2012R2. StoreFront requires .Net Framework and Internet Information Services (IIS). Based on the last requirement (IIS) I personally prefer to install Citrix StoreFront on a separate machine. However you also can install StoreFront on the Delivery Controller, this is even a default setting when you install a Delivery Controller as shown in figure 1. There is also a separate download available, but also the XenDesktop installer offers the possibility to install the StoreFront separately. For Proof of Concepts or small environments it’s doable to combine the StoreFront and Delivery Controller role. For larger environments I recommend to install StoreFront on a different system. It can be combined with Citrix Directory for example.

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Figure 1: Installation options Citrix StoreFront

Installation

For this article I will use the separate download for installing StoreFront. After selecting the single execution installation file the installation wizard is started. The installation is actually pretty simple and consists of a few steps only.

The first step is to accept the license agreement.

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Figure 2: StoreFront License Agreement

If not installed already the prerequisites will be installed automatically. In my case IIS role is not already activated, so the installation will take care of that.

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Figure 3: StoreFront Review Prerequisites

The next step is to actually confirm that StoreFront (with his prerequisites) may be installed on the machine.

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Figure 4: StoreFront Ready to Install

After a while the installation is done, showing the status of each component.

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Figure 5: Successfully installed StoreFront

After the installation the StoreFront console is automatically started, so you can start configuring StoreFront directly.

Configuration

When the StoreFront Console is started you have two options: Create a New Deployment and Join an existing server group. For the first initial server we need the option Create a New Deployment. Later on in this article I will discuss the Join an existing server group option.

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Figure 6: Initial StoreFront configuration.

For production environment it’s recommended to use https. To accomplish this for StoreFront you need to add a certificate and bind it to the default website. If you don’t know the exact steps you can find good guides on the Internet for these steps. You can configure StoreFront with http, but logically it is not secure. For the actual configuration steps it does not matter if you are using http or https.

The first windows of the configuration wizard asks for the base URL. By default the wizard offers the computer name however it’s a good thing to change the URL to a more generic name, especially when you set-up a StoreFront infrastructure that exists of more StoreFront servers (more on that later on this article).

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Figure 7: StoreFront configuration Base URL.

After entering the base URL the store is already created, this can take some time. After the actual creation, the wizard shows a diagram that shows the three possible connection methods to the StoreFront. This is just for information at this moment, we can continue using the Next button.

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Figure 8: StoreFront configuration Getting Started

The wizard continues with asking for a Store name. The store name can be any name, but remember that the name is used in the URL for Receiver for Web Site. New in StoreFront 3.5 (compared with earlier StoreFront versions) is the option to set the Receiver for Web site, which is created out of the store and will be the default IIS web site. You can also allow unauthenticated access to this store.

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Figure 9: StoreFront configuration Store Name and Access

To contact the XenDesktop/XenApp environment you need to specify the Delivery Controllers information, so StoreFront knows which servers to contact. Choose the Add button to add a XenDesktop/XenApp environment. If you have more environments you need to add those separately via the Add button.

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Figure 10: StoreFront configuration Delivery Controllers.

In the pop-up window you provide a name for the group of delivery controllers. I normally use the same name as the XenDesktop/XenApp site. Secondly you need to choose the type of the environment. In this article I will use a XenDesktop/XenApp 7.x environment. StoreFront also supports XenApp 6.5 and XenApp 5.0. Next you specify the Delivery Controllers of the XenDesktop/XenApp site and preferable use those in a load balanced set-up, followed by specifing the communication port (default HTTP port 80).

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Figure 11: StoreFront configuration Add Delivery Controller

After adding a XenDesktop/XenApp site it shows up in the wizard. If you have more environments you can add the following environment via the Add button till all environments are added.

Next you are asked to enable Remote Access for the StoreFront store. With Remote Access you configure the StoreFront to work together with a NetScaler Gateway allowing users to connect to the environment. When you would like to connect using a NetScaler Gateway you enable Remote Access and provide information about the NetScaler Gateway. For simplicity I skip this step in this article.

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Figure 12: StoreFront configuration Remote Access

StoreFront supports several authentication methods. Most used are User Name and Password, Domain pass-through and Pass-through for NetScaler Gateway. Via the option Smart card, StoreFront can also be combined with smart card logons.

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Figure 13: StoreFront configuration Authentication Methods

The last step is to enable the XenApp services URL. This option is better known as PN Agent in Web Interface. If you are using application shortcut publishing in the Start Menu using PN Agent, this option should be checked.

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Figure 14: StoreFront configuration XenApp Services URL

After choosing the Create button in the previous step the configuration will be added to the Store and the Receiver for Web Site will be added to the StoreFront set-up. The same diagram will be shown as in the beginning of the wizard.


Figure 15: StoreFront configuration successfully

In the StoreFront console the Store is created. If you already worked with previous StoreFront version, you will notice that the GUI has been changed. Personally I like the new approach as it simplifies the administration and configuration of the environment.

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Figure 16: StoreFront Console

In this new version many configuration options are (finally) available within the GUI. In previous versions you needed to edit the configuration (web.config) manually. Let’s go over the Store configuration options, available in the right pane:

  • Manage Delivery Controllers

Here you can add, remove or edit the XenDesktop/XenApp sites which will be contacted by the StoreFront servers. This is done via the same way as during the initial configuration wizard.

  • Configure Unified Experience

With StroreFront 3.1 the Unified Experience is introduced. The Unified Experience is a new look and feel of StoreFront, which Citrix will be extending to the other products as well. For example NetScaler Gateway also supports the Unified Experience already. Here you can enable or disable the new look and feel. In StoreFront 3.5 the new look and feel is enabled by default, I would recommend to reconsider disabling the new look and feel if you are migrating from a previous StoreFront.

  • Manage Authentication Methods

In this component you can add, change or edit the authentication methods. You should always (in my opinion) configure the additional options available for the User name and password. For this component you add trusted domains (so users don’t have to fill in the domain name when logging on). You can also enable the password options. This allows you to specify if users can change their password via Storefront and if the users should be warned that their password expires. Last you can specify how the password should be validated. This can be done via Active Directory or the Delivery Controller. By default StoreFront uses Active Directory, if there is no direct connection to Active Directory you can use the Delivery Controller for this validation step.

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Figure 17: Authentication Methods

Summary

In the article series we are installing and configuring Citrix StoreFront 3.5. In this article we started with the installation steps, followed by the initial configuration wizard. We started with the configuration options, where we will continue with Manage Receiver for Web sites options. 

If you would like to read the next part in this article series please go to Installing and configuring Citrix StoreFront 3.5 (Part 2).

See Also


The Author — Wilco van Bragt

Wilco van Bragt avatar

After working for a couple of consulting firms as a senior technical consultant and technical project leader Wilco started his own freelance company VanBragt.Net Consultancy in April 2008. Wilco is certified n Citrix (CCIA, CCEE/CCEA, CCA), Microsoft (MCITP, MCTS, MSCE, MSCA) and Prince2 (Foundation). Wilco is also a RSVP (RES Software Valued Professional), Citrix CTP (Citrix Technology Professional) and a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) on RDS.