Installation Process - Citrix MetaFrame XP

This book focuses on the advanced technical concepts of MetaFrame XP and what you need to know to design MetaFrame XP environments for the real world.

This book focuses on the advanced technical concepts of MetaFrame XP and what you need to know to design MetaFrame XP environments for the real world. Because of this, a walk-through of the MetaFrame XP installation that takes you from screenshot to screenshot is not included. If you need that then you should refer to the MetaFrame XP product documentation. However, this section does describe (from a technical standpoint) the process that takes place as MetaFrame XP is installed.

MetaFrame XP is installed onto a server just like any other application. Before you install MetaFrame XP, you will need to put your server into "install mode." Chapter 4 describes the details of this mode and how it works. However, if you just want to get MetaFrame XP installed and worry about "install mode" later, then open a command prompt and type change user /install.

Ideally, you'll be able to read through this entire book before you build your production MetaFrame XP servers. If you just want to install MetaFrame XP as fast as possible, then you should be safe by just selecting the default options. A lot of people do this to build a test server, and then they read through this book trying the different options as they go. When they are done, they complete their design and rebuild their server for "production" use.

Theoretically, you should install MetaFrame XP onto a clean system that doesn't have any applications installed. If this isn't possible, you can install MetaFrame XP onto an existing system. If your existing system is Windows 2000 and you do not have Terminal Services installed, there is a good chance that installing Terminal Services will break most of your installed applications.

During the MetaFrame XP setup routine, you will need to choose a data store. For details about the various data store options, see the "IMA Data Store" section of Chapter 3.

If you choose to install all of the ICA clients during MetaFrame XP installation, you will need about 200MB of disk space. For details and more information about installing ICA clients on your MetaFrame XP server, see Chapter 10.

During the installation, you'll need to enter a Citrix license number and a product code. Entering this from your product is pretty straightforward, although you'll want to read Chapter 14 before you create the strategy for licensing your enterprise.

The installation program will also ask if you want to install NFuse, which is the web portal used to access MetaFrame XP applications. If you have IIS installed on your server, then you can choose to install the NFuse components along with the installation of MetaFrame XP. Detailed NFuse information is available in Chapter 11.

Server Drive Letter Remapping

One of the things that you will need to decide before you install MetaFrame XP is whether or not you want to remap your server drive letters. Essentially, this option gives you a one-shot chance to change the current server drive letter assignments. By default, this will change current server drive letters from C, D, E... to M, N, and O...

You are given this option during the MetaFrame XP installation unless you are installing MetaFrame XP from the SP-2/FR-2 .MSI file. In this case, drive letter remapping is not an option during the installation. You must remap your server drives before installing MetaFrame with the DriveRemap.exe utility contained in the MetaFrame XP installation folder. If you choose either one of these drive remapping options, the utility will make the necessary changes in disk administrator and scan the registry, looking for references to the old drive letters and changing them to the new drive letters.

Why does it matter in a MetaFrame XP environment what drive letters your servers use? It matters because MetaFrame XP has the ability to automatically map client devices' disk drives to their session within the MetaFrame XP server. Typically, client device's drives begin with C: and move up from there. A default MetaFrame XP server will also have a C: drive. When a user connects to sessions in this type of environment, the C: drive refers to the drive on the MetaFrame XP server. In order to map back to the client's C: drive, another drive letter must be used (default V:). While there is nothing technically wrong with this scenario, it can be confusing to users, because they see their local drive as C: when using local applications, and see it as V: when using MetaFrame XP applications.

Advantages of Remapping Server Drive Letters

  • Users will be able to see their own local disk drives as the correct drive letters.
  • If you need to change the drive letter, the MetaFrame XP installation program provides an easy way to do this.

Disadvantages of Remapping Server Drive Letters

  • Any previously installed applications will most likely stop working.

By changing the MetaFrame XP server drive letter to something other then C: the sessions on the server have the C: letter available for client use. Users access their local files on the C: drive regardless of whether they are running local or MetaFrame XP applications.

This server drive letter remapping is only necessary when users will be accessing data on their local client devices through MetaFrame XP sessions.

There are some people who have chosen to remap server drives only to discover at a later time there is a reason that the server must access its own local drive as C:. If this is the case, you can use the subst command to add a mapping to the root drive as C:.

For example, if your system drive is M:, you can execute the command subst c: m:\ from the command prompt. This will give you a C: drive that is identical to the M: drive. It is important to note that this is a temporary command. Any substituted drives will not be retained when the server is rebooted. If a drive substitution needs to be permanent, you can add the subst command to a login script.

Feature Release 1 Installation

If you are planning on using Feature Release 1 (FR-1), then you should install it just after you finish installing MetaFrame XP. FR-1 requires MetaFrame XP Service Pack 1. If you do not have Service Pack 1 installed, the FR-1 installation program will install it for you. The same source installation files are used to install both FR-1 and Service Pack 1. Basically, you will install Service Pack 1 no matter what. Then, if you want to use FR-1, you add the FR-1 license, and the FR-1 components that came with Service Pack 1 are "unlocked."

One thing that's tricky about FR-1 is that in order to use it you need to install and activate a FR-1 license. Even though an unactivated FR-1 license will indicate that there is a grace period before you must activate the license, the reality is that the features of FR-1 are not available until the FR-1 license is activated. (See Chapter 14 for details about what this means.) At this point no one is really sure whether the product was designed this way on purpose or if this is a bug.

If you decide to use FR-1, then you should install it on all of your MetaFrame XP servers. (The same can be said for Service Pack 1.) You'll want to make sure that all of your MetaFrame XP servers are runnings the same version of the MetaFrame components. If you have servers with different versions of MetaFrame software installed then your system might not perform as expected. (More on this later in the book.)

In Chapter 1, you saw a list of the features that FR-1 offers. The features of FR-1 fall into the "cool, but not ground-breaking" category. As you read through this book, you'll notice that there is not a single entire section dedicated to FR-1. Rather, as MetaFrame XP design components are discussed, a note will be made if FR-1 is needed.

Feature Release 2 Installation

The installation of Feature Release 2 is very cool. As with FR-1, Citrix released FR-2 and Service Pack 2 at the same time. Also as with FR-1, the FR-2 and Service Pack 2 installation files are 100% identical. The same installation process is used for both FR-2 and Service Pack 2, and you "enable" the FR-2 functionality by installing Service Pack 2 and adding the FR-2 license.

Citrix did a couple of cool things when they released Feature Release 2 and Service Pack 2. Namely:

  • SP-2/FR-2 now comes packaged in standard Windows Installer (.msi) files. This means that it is much easier for you to package FR-2 to deploy it to remote servers. The downside to this is that the SP-2/FR-2 installation program requires that the Windows Installer version 2.0 is installed on your server. This updated Windows Installer is part of Service Pack 3 for Windows 2000. If you're not using Service Pack 3 then it can be downloaded for free from www.microsoft.com.
  • The SP-2/FR-2 installation program can also be used to install MetaFrame XP. If you are building a new MetaFrame XP from scratch, you can simply run the installation of SP-2/FR-2. The installation will install MetaFrame XP pre-patched to SP-2/FR-2. This is really nice because it saves you from having to immediately install SP-2/FR-2 after installing MetaFrame XP. Another nice thing about installing MetaFrame XP this way is that if you're installing MetaFrame XPe, the installation program will automatically install the Resource Management, Network Management, and Installation Management options. (This means no more "CD swapping" during the installation process of MetaFrame XPe.)

In addition to these two cool things that Citrix did when they released FR-2, they did one "uncool" thing. Namely:

  • Windows 2000 is required for FR-2 and Service Pack 2. By making this requirement, Citrix essentially announced that they were stopping all new product development for Terminal Server 4.0. This offended and shocked a lot of people initially, although realistically, support for Terminal Server 4.0 was getting harder and harder anyway. Plus, when SP-2/FR-2 was released, Windows .NET Server was just around the corner, so Citrix had their hands full writing their product for both Windows 2000 and Windows .NET.

Should you use MetaFrame XP Feature Releases?

The concept of the "feature release" is certainly not unique to Citrix, although those of you familiar with only Microsoft products might find it a bit strange. Some people argue that Feature Releases should be free, because they are released every year along with service packs. Others point out that by charging for Feature Releases, Citrix is actually able to get more new features released to the public sooner.

Either way, the bottom line is that if there are components of a Feature Release that are actually useful to you, then you should use the Feature Release. However, keep in mind that Feature Releases are released at the same time as service packs. This means that you can update your MetaFrame XP system code to the most recent service pack without having to pay for the feature release. After all, sometimes the new "features" of a Feature Release are actually properties of the free service pack or a new version of the ICA client software (which is also free).

 

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