Citrix Synergy has started, and after a couple of previews XenClient 2.0 is ready to be officially released. XenClient is maturing and on its way to become an enterprise solution. By design, Citrix offers management of XenClient systems through the XenClient Synchronizer solution. However, the XenClient Synchronizer does not facilitate in the automated bare metal deployment of XenClient onto physical hardware.
Enterprises already have invested heavily a desktop/laptop deployment infrastructure is in place. Many enterprises use Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 (SCCM or Config Manager) as their primary deployment and management product for desktops and laptops. Requiring enterprises to include an additional/second deployment infrastructure within highly distributed environments for XenClient is not always feasible and realistic.
My colleague Henk Hofs already did a few ‘cool’ articles on how to perform an unattended installation of the XenClient Hypervisor on his blog www.ithastobecool.com. When Henk got in contact with Citrix about this, the idea was born to develop a true Microsoft SCCM 2007 R3 integrated solution for XenClient 2.0.
Together with the XenClient team, Henk developed an add-on for SCCM2007 that allows the deployment of the Citrix XenClient to end-user systems via the well-known task sequencer. With this add-on it is possible to:
- Deploy XenClient to end-user systems using the existing SCCM 2007 infrastructure
- Pre-create an empty Virtual Machine during installation.
- The entire chain from Deploying XenClient to getting the Corporate Image in the VM that runs on XenClient can be made zero-touch through the use of Unknown Computer support in Config Manager.
The Administrators Guide accompanying this download has detailed steps on how to configure your Config Manager environment to enable these scenarios.
To better understand what the ‘XenClient Integration Toolkit for Config Manager’ is all about, review this 5 minute video (no sound):
This is the first public (beta) release of the ‘XenClient Integration Toolkit for Config Manager’. It converges conventional desktop management solutions like SCCM with the client hypervisor. In the long run, this is in my opinion the only way to go for client hypervisors and essential for true enterprise adaptation. Brian made some interesting comments in this article, to which I agree in many ways. As usual, this download is completely free and can be found here (registration required).