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XenApp Update and Preparation for 1Y0-A20

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This Citrix XenApp 6.5 CCA A20 course taught by Greg Shields covers the upgrades offered in the 6.5 release. He will also prepare you for success on the CCA, and in managing your XenApp 6.5 Infrastructure....
This Citrix XenApp 6.5 CCA A20 course taught by Greg Shields covers the upgrades offered in the 6.5 release. He will also prepare you for success on the CCA, and in managing your XenApp 6.5 Infrastructure.

Related Area of Expertise:
  • Virtualization

The Citrix XenApp 6.5 release includes notable new features like Instant App Access, Pre-Launch, Linger, Dynamic Datacenter Provisioning, and Receiver Storefront. The combination of these greatly improve the user experience across a range of use cases. XenApp 6.5 also adds new policy settings, an improved Migration Center, as well as introduces XenDesktop’s Desktop Director to XenApp environments.

XenApp 6.5's release also replaces the 1Y0-A18 exam, which was the single requirement for obtaining the CCA for XenApp 6.0. Replacing it is a new exam, with (slightly) new objectives, new questions, and a new number: 1Y0-A20. You’ll learn all about that new exam, and get a useful mapping between objective sets that’ll target your study onto the knowledge that matters most. If you've gone through the CBT Nuggets XenApp 6 course you're most of the way there for understanding what you need to know for 6.5.
 show less
1. What is New and Noteworthy in XenApp 6.5 and the CCA (29 min)
2. Managing Instant App Access, Pre-Launch, and Session Linger (17 min)
3. Understanding XenApp 6.5’s New Server & Policy Settings (16 min)
4. Managing Sessions with Desktop Director (15 min)
5. Understanding and Working with Receiver Storefront (20 min)
6. Upgrading Servers with Migration Center (14 min)

What is New and Noteworthy in XenApp 6.5 and the CCA


Hey, this is Greg Shields with CBT Nuggets. And let me guess, you're probably sitting there staring at a stack of DVDs that say, XenApp 6.5. And then, maybe you've gone over to cbtnuggets.com and taken a look at the training library and saw that we had a series on XenApp 6.0.


And thought, well, wait a minute. I've got a half an integer difference between my training and the DVDs I've got to work with. Well, welcome to the exam update, and also the training update from XenApp version 6.0 to XenApp version 6.5. And also for the exam change from the old exam, the A18, to the new exam 1Y0-A20.


My name is Greg shields as, I said. And I'm happy to get the opportunity in these next just real short series of Nuggets in helping you understand, really what's kind of changed between 6.0 and 6.5. As you can imagine, the upgrade is not a whole number upgrade.


So one can expect that the amount of updates are really not that small, or not that large. And you're exactly right. In fact, the 6.5 version increase to XenApp, it adds a couple of new features. In many ways, these are new features that some of them you may not actually even implement.


There's one or two that are very key that are some very highly demanded new features. And we'll explain or I'll talk about all of these new features that are available in the product. What I also want to do in this series is help you understand what's changed in the exam objectives as well.


One of the things you'll find out is that, well, as we make that change from 6.0 to 6.5, we also at the same time make a change to the exam. And in fact, one might argue that the exam itself is expected to be-- well, completely new. Now, I don't know that necessarily.


But when Citrix goes about completely changing an exam number, well, you can probably guess with some pretty good certainty that there's going to be some new questions. And in fact, I'll argue that one of the reasons why this whole exam changed is not only just because of the change from 6.0 to 6.5, but Citrix is probably wanting to get ahead of all those brain dumpers and all those questions that have been posted out to the internet.


By updating the exams more regularly, well then, they manage to keep the consistency of the exam, the integrity of the exam as high as possible. Now, what's interesting is that you really-- don't panic. If you've played with XenApp 6.0, if you've gone through the original 20 Nuggets in this series, if you're comfortable with all the topics that exist in that series, well, you are most of the way there for understanding what you need to know for 6.5.


It's just a very small micro-increment between 6.0 and 6.5. And so in addition to the feature sets, there's actually remarkable little change in the objectives from 6.0 to 6.5 as well. I'm going to give you a run down here in just a matter of what those objectives are.


I've done a little mapping between the two. And admittedly, this is just entirely Greg's opinion. But hopefully it will give you some idea about where you need to focus that additional study to be prepared for that exam a20. Now, in addition to the exam, not all of us are here because we're interested in getting that CCA.


A lot of us are here just because we just need to be aware of how to manage a XenApp environment, and how to manage the new 6.5 environment compared with the old 6.0 environment. There are a series of key functionality updates that have occurred as a result of this update.


The biggest of which honestly is this support now for Windows Server 2008 R2. And specifically, SP1. It is generally a good idea for you to run XenApp on top of R2 SP1. I'll just say that. There are little idiosyncrasies that it actually eliminates by being on that first service pack.


One of the interesting fall-outs of this new support for R2, exclusive support for R2, is the fact that XenApp 6.5 is only x64. And that's not Citrix's doing, it's Microsoft's doing. Because R2 is only 64-bit. And this can have some actual fall-outs for you.


This can actually impact some of your decisions in various ways. Because as you may or may not know, a 64-bit operating system can't run 16-bit apps. 32-bit can. We have that Windows on Windows subsystem that allows us to go one version back, but not two versions back.


So before you decide that, well, I'm just going to go ahead and upgrade everything-- well, be aware that you might have some applications that aren't really friendly to the x64 environment. And well, you're just going to have to make some decisions about how you're going to continue to support those.


So that's the big update. There are a couple of additional other ones as well. The first is integration with Windows Desktop Experience, most of us refer to as arrow. So I can pull some of those arrow-type experiences now into the XenApp session. There's a new feature here called Dynamic Datacenter Provisioning, which has a really nice and fancy name for just simply the fact that I can now identify whether a XenApp server just performs the usual servicing of applications activities or also participates in some of the more controller activities.


We talked about controllers back in the original 20 Nugget series and so you're aware that there are some additional activities that are involved with databases and replication and things like that, that you may not, in a very large environment, want every server to participate in.


Dynamic Datacenter Provisioning, really all it says is that you now have the option of selecting whether or not you want that XenApp server to participate in these extra Citrix-like activities. And that's really all it is. Another new feature here is just like we're used to with all the Citrix products, this version update now has a name change.


Remember the Presentation Services Console and it became the Access Console, and then the Delivery Services Console? Well, guess what? Now that console is known as Citrix AppCenter. Don't ask me, they love to change the names. And even when they're not really changing all that much about the functionality underneath.


There are some updates, and Citrix has, for years, been trying to consolidate everything down into a single console. They haven't gotten there still. There is still multiple consoles, specifically one for your web interface stuff. There's another one for the receiver storefront stuff.


So we're still not at that single console, but just like all the updates these days, it seems like we're getting another name change as it relates to your management console. So just be aware that that's what we're going to be talking about. Now, one of the biggest, arguably most desired new features in 6.5 is this whole notion of instant app access.


And this is something you have to think about really, before you just decide to turn it on. So when a user is interacting with your XenApp infrastructure, well, there's a period of time that it takes for that first session to actually instantiate. And if you're using XenDesktop-- well, to spin up that virtual machine, and just all the other processes that have to happen in the background.


Now, all of those processes take time and they irritate the users. So in this version, we're actually now including some new features and functionality that allow applications or give applications the perception of launching more quickly. What we're really doing is just starting that session in the background as the person initially logs onto their receiver client.


And then so the applications are simply waiting there. Now, again, you have to kind of be conscious about this. Because whenever you turn on instant app access, well, you're going to automatically be kicking off new sessions the very moment that a user logs into receiver.


I've got a whole Nugget where we're going to talk about pre-launch, session linger, and fast reconnect, which are three of the important technologies that we're going to talk about related to all of this application instant app access stuff. There are a number of new profile settings as well.


I should say not profile settings there. That should actually be policy settings. There are a number of new policy settings as well. As you are probably aware when you're looking back in 6.0, we've kind of moved all of the configuration control of XenApp into Citrix policies.


Well, we've got a couple a new policy settings. And I've got a nice spreadsheet of just the ones that are brand new in 6.5, so you don't have to go leafing through them to figure out what's new and what's not. 6.5, interestingly enough, there is no direct migration path from any of the previous versions to XenApp 6.5.


So if you have 6.0, or 5.0, or any of other of the various versions of Presentation Server or XenApp and you want to go to 6.5, well it's not going to be a direct upgrade. You're going to have to migrate over that information. You're going to have to rebuild things.


And in order to support that, Citrix has provided a series of PowerShell cmdlets and a graphical interface that kind of skins over those PowerShell cmdlets called Citrix Migration Center. And we'll take a quick look at that in one of these Nuggets coming up.


But essentially, this technology here allows you to migrate over the metadata from your old servers onto your new servers. So again, and the important part here is that-- be conscious that you're going to have some rebuilds in your future to get to this version 6.5.


Now, if you've followed a lot of the automations that I talked about in the previous series, about how you can automate the deployment of Citrix servers, if you've also watched my XenDesktop series and you're familiar with PVS, Provisioning Services, you know now that you could actually use PVS to stream down new instances of Citrix servers.


Well, if you've followed those and you have those automations in place, this should not be a big deal for you. If you don't, well, then you've got a little bit of manual work that's involved. There are a couple of the new print optimizations that are there.


Just again, improving the experience of printing. A lot of those are baked under the covers and there's really nothing to look at. But there are actually going to be some new policies that we're going to talk about. And so we'll spend a little bit of time with those new policies as well, just so you're aware.


Some are under the covers. Some are things you're going to set differently. And then lastly is this new technology called Citrix Receiver Storefront. And this is kind of a function of the Citrix Cloud Gateway technology. And really, what this is designed to be is a wholesale replacement for the technology we've known as Web Interface.


In fact, Web Interface has been around for a really long time. In the old days, it used to be called NFUSE, if you were around way, way back in the day. And Web Interface-- I'll just put it right on the table. Web Interface appears to be going away. And there are a lot of different reasons for that.


I mean, there are some functionalities that we could not include in Web Interface that we can now do so because we have a new platform. Some of the underlying code, like Visual J# is technologies that, for example, Microsoft has actually sunsetted itself.


So the expectation is that Web Interface will be going away in the intermediate term. And while the version of Citrix Receiver Storefront that you have with the 6.5 DVD media might be a little light in the feature set, you should at least spend some time here because this is really where you're going to be going in terms of making available application and desktop access to your users.


Just get it into your mind that this is kind of where we're going, just simply because-- well, eventually Web Interface is not going to be around anymore. So with this in mind, I do want to talk a minute about the CCA itself. So if you've watched the other 20 videos-- and hopefully you have-- you recognize that the whole notion of why we're here today is equal parts-- how do you manage XenApp?


What are the best practices in working with XenApp? And then also, how do you prep for that test? Well, when we make the change from the 18 exam to the 20 exam, the new version, there are a number of different kind of new things that you're going to get out of this new version.


Obviously, one of the other reasons why we changed the version number is because Citrix now has the ability to add new technologies into that exam. And before I get into these, I want to bring up really quickly the 1Y0-A20 Exam Preparation Guide. This used to be called the Enablement Guide, but now it's called the Exam Preparation Guide.


You go Google for this, you're going to find it. Or use your favorite search engine, you're going to find it on Citrix's website. It's a free download. And if you've never taken any Citrix exam before, this exam is your Bible as it were for all the things you to prepare for to be successful with that exam.


I highly recommend keeping a copy of this and using it as a mechanism to guide your study. Now, I'm not going to go through all of the items in this guide because, I mean, that's something that you can do. I mean, you can just simply read this and get an understanding of what the test is going to look like.


And if you've taken other IT exams, interesting enough Citrix does a really good job. They're very fair in terms of giving you all the information you need for success. In fact, not only did they give you details about the exam, how many questions that there are going to be on there, what your passing percentage is.


Some of these are even things that other companies, Microsoft being a notable example, have actually stopped telling people. These days, with Microsoft exams, they're not even going to tell you how many questions are going to be on the exam. But Citrix does a really good job of really getting you prepared for the things you need to know.


Down here, I'm going to scroll down just a minute to, I believe, section 5 page 12. So this is page 12 of the guide, section 5. And this is one section that you really should pay a lot of attention to. In the previous version of the guide, there was not a lot of specific detail about the items that you should take a look at if you're going to prepare for the exam.


And that's changed in this new guide. So let me just show you here this item called, or Section 5.2, Resources Used to Develop the Exam. In the previous guide, the list here mainly just kind of focused you in on the Citrix eDocs location. And it said, go read eDocs and memorize everything you see.


And there's a lot of stuff in thee. If you've never been to edocs.citrix.com, there's just a boatload of content. It's essentially the Administrator's Guide broken up into a web-based, web-friendly format. Well, Citrix has done a really nice thing in that they've outlined the Knowledge Base articles and the eDocs articles that you need to pay particular attention to for the items that you could potentially be tested on in the exam.


This is really nice of them. You honestly should spend time and understand each one of these items individually. And if you do, you understand the buttons you've got to click and why you have to click them, and where they are-- well, you're going to have some pretty good success whenever you get into that exam experience.


As you see here-- well, there's even an entire second page. So pay careful attention here and know what's in these items here. Because it's just very important for you to recognize. In addition to this, as I scroll down a little further, you'll see that there are individual exam objectives and different sections that have objectives associated with them.


This is no different than what we saw back in the other exam prep guide. Now, what's different is the actual content that we see here in these individual exam objectives. So what's here in some case is going to be different than what it was before. What's interesting is that if you go and kind of piece through these objectives, there's a lot of content that actually hasn't changed between the two exams.


And in just a minute, I'm going to give you a little mapping. Again, this is just my-- I went through and highlighted the two and tried to figure out where the objective wording kind of sounds the same, in the hopes of helping you focus your study in on what's specifically new in this new exam.


So before we do that however, recognize that we have all of these nice little section headers here. Well, if I scroll up into this guide, the section headers actually have weightings associated with them as well. So for each of these section headers here, I know that I have a certain specific weight of-- well, how many questions I can expect to be asked on the exam.


I told you they're really, really fair. So if I get the exam and the new exam's a certain number of questions. Well, I know that 10% of those questions are roughly going to be related to understanding the Citrix architecture. So you can almost focus your studying in on these weightings to help you get just the right amount of content for what you need to be successful.


Now, here's the interesting part. I've taken a look at the original, so the A18 guide, and then the A20 exam guide with the eye of trying to figure out what changed between the two. In the A20 guide, the big focus here is obviously 6.5. The focus is obviously R2.


But the number of questions has changed. It used to be 64 questions and now it's 68 question. So you got four more questions you're going to have to take in order to get through the exam. But at the same time, the passing score has dropped by 6%. So you got more stuff you have to answer, but you can actually, honestly, get it wrong.


So be aware that there are some changes here. That 61% is a fairly-- I mean, compared to when I was in school, that's-- what is that, like a D plus? So you don't really have to be too-- you have to pass a lot of questions, 6 out of 10. But there's still quite a few that you can still get wrong and be successful.


It's still a 90-minute exam. It's still generally a multi-choice exam. Some scenario questions. It's still administered through Pearson VUE. And then down here, I took a look at all of the percentages. And then, mapped the old percentages to the new percentages between the A18 and A20 exams.


Now, look here at what we see. We've got a 1% change, a 1% change, a 1% change. There's a lot of these that have changed only very slightly except for this line item here. And that line item has moved from 3% to 7%. So what we're seeing here is Citrix, it looks like they got rid of this sort of miscellaneous topic here called Additional Management and they replaced it with a more realistic topic, Using Commands, Reports, Profiles, and Delegation.


And in order to get there-- well, we had to go and massage around some of those percentages to add additional stuff in there. So pay careful attention to those percentages. Because again, they will tell you, more or less, how many questions that you can expect to get on those exams.


Take that 68 times that 10% and there's somewhere around 6.8 questions you're going to get on that very first objective. And so on and so on. Now, all that said, so what are the objectives themselves? I promised you this little cheat sheet. And as you can see here on this cheat sheet, what I've done is on the right here is the old exam, the A18.


And on the left is the A20 exam. So what you used to have to know is down here and what you now have to know is down here. And I've highlighted in green as you can see something that's new, and in red, something that no longer exists. Full disclaimer here, completely full disclaimer that this is my opinion.


And in some cases, there's just some soft answers as far as the wording changed. But it looks like the meaning kind of stayed the same, so I made some educated guesses here. Again, I just wanted to give you a starting point so you can be successful. So here is, for example, the understanding the Citrix architecture, the very first of those objective categories that you have to worry about.


A number of items here really kind of remain the same in terms of the meaning. We no longer really need to be concerned about zones. You'll see here that that's no longer mapped over to the new exam. But we do need to know how to configure worker groups, and also how to-- some architectural decisions about the use of Web Interface.


Those weren't there before, but they are there now. For licensing, this one's actually kind of funny. So this used to be the Licensing and Installing XenApp. It's still the same name for the category. So Licensing and Installing XenApp, which as you can see here, one of the items is called licensing.


But if you look in here, before there actually were no objectives associated with licensing, which I think is sort of humorous. So as you'll see here now, one of the new objectives is identify the steps to licenses in XenApp server farm. So someone went, oops, I got to put a licensing question in there for this category.


Still have to worry about the role manager. The role manager really hasn't changed too much between 6 and 6.5. Need to determine whether or not we need to make that server a controller or a worker. Talked about that Dynamic Datacenter Provisioning, which we'll focus on again here in an upcoming Nugget.


But when would you make it a controller? When do you really not want to make it a controller? How do you license the farm? But we're not so much interested in description of environment when we're creating or joining farms, or how to add users to the remote desktop users group.


Those don't exist as test objectives anymore. Configuring XenApp Sessions is another one here. Some very similar requirements here between the old and the new exam. A couple of new ones here relate to Logon Control, and also Session Linger, that new feature associated with XenApp.


Or excuse me, with instant app access. So be prepared for those. And again, my reasoning for showing you this is, is my expectation is you might have actually spend some time studying along these lines. And here's just what you need to know so that you can get that new version under your belt.


XenApp policies, not quite so interested in shadowing policies. Not quite so interested in CPU utilization. Still interested in RSOP and the health monitoring and recovery. But we're adding in HDX optimization settings, the server boot randomization and disabling logons.


And then also, creating and filtering policies to meet specified requirements. Some of this is new. Some of this you've seen before. This is a little bit new here. We'll talk about that a little bit later. But creating and filtering policies you learned back in the original 20 Nuggets.


So go back and take a look at those, and that will help you with this exam objective. Publishing Applications and Content. Again, similar requirements here between the two. Some name changes, but content-wise, the meaning appears to be similar between the two.


Note that the idea of publishing desktops is less important now. So it's not existing in the new content stuff. Down here we have our new, what used to be the Miscellaneous category. And now it's called Using Commands, Reports, Profiles, and Delegations.


So some of these actually were objectives that were in other categories in the old test. So this one was in licensing. These two were in policies before, but they've been moved into this location. When we moved them into this location-- well, then they mapped very well to some of the new requirements.


So you can see they're kind of moving stuff around on us here. We're not so interested in power and capacity management anymore. So again, pay attention here. Monitoring and Managing Performance and Load, not so interested in the specific metrics. But really, everything else is what we're interested in.


We're de-focusing on the why and focusing on the what as it relates to assigning load evaluators and things like that. Down here under configuring printing, the universal print driver, a little bit of a de-focus there. Auto-driver installation a little bit of a de-focus there.


But again, many of the other requirements remain the same. Enabling and Securing Access to Published Applications and Content. From my perception, this looks again, to be relatively similar between the two exams. Troubleshooting. While the actual use of the QFARM/LOAD command is de-focused, well, they've told us that we instead-- given a scenario describing an issue with client performance, identify the steps you might use to troubleshoot the issue.


Those steps might not use QFARM/LOAD anymore. They might include other things, but who knows? So these are, really again, kind of just a cheat sheet if you will, for how you might focus your studying for these different-- for this new exam. So pay attention here.


Now, really, the whole focus of this series is on the new features. That's my reason here. Citrix releases this version 6.5, honestly because they've got a set of new features that they want to add. They could almost call this thing a feature pack in many ways.


The six Nuggets that we're going to talk about. Obviously, this one was the first one, what's new and noteworthy. We're going to spend one Nugget talking about all that new instant app access stuff. So the pre-launch and linger stuff. We're going to spend a whole Nugget talking about the new policies.


And I'm just going to outline what the policies are, kind of give you an idea of why they now exist and what use cases they're intended for. And then, kind if let you run with how you might implement them. I assume at this point, you know how to implement policies.


But you kind of just need to know why. Why are they necessary? Going to talk about Desktop Director. Which if you've played with XenDesktop, is a nifty, nifty little tool that you can give to your help desk people so that they can actually troubleshoot some of the lower level desktop and app problems that you don't really want to be bothered with.


So you're the tier one engineer and so your job is to manage the environment. Well, occasionally there come those-- user can't access their app. Well, why not give the help desk a little tool that allows them to interface with all these apps so that they can accomplish the jobs that you don't really want to do?


Well, that's what Desktop Director is intend to do. And it's now been extended not only for just XenDesktop, but also for XenApp. We're going to talk about Receiver Storefront. Again, this is the Web Interface replacement. And Receiver Storefront, kind of cool actually.


It's cool in what it will do in future versions. This version, it works. And it's there kind of as a preparation. It's a preparatory version to make you aware that there are some new evolving updates to this whole-- the way in which receiver connects into your application infrastructure.


And they're coming as a function of this cloud gateway and a function of Receiver Storefront, so be prepared. You might not implement this version, but it's good to play with it. And it's good to know what it is. And then lastly, a very quick Nugget there on Migration Center.


I'm not going to spend much time with it at all, because like I said, it's a bunch of PowerShell commands, and then a graphical skin over the top of those PowerShell commands. Very important. My assumption here in this update series is that you've watched the original 20 videos for XenApp 6.0.


So you've got to kind of know all the core functionality in 6.0, because that hasn't changed. My assumption then is that if you understand all the click here, then click here that we talk about in that other series-- well then, that will prepare you for just this quick refresher that you're going to get here with 6.5.


So if you haven't watch those original 20 videos, and if you're not completely comfortable with all those functions, go back and watch them. Go back and just review them. Spend a minute or two with each one to make sure you understand all of the different topics that we're talking about.


Well, hopefully that kind of gets you ready for this whole series. I'm looking forward to, once again, helping you through this whole process of preparing you for managing your XenApp 6.5 environment. And also, for that very important 1Y0-A20 exam. Again, my name is Greg Shields.


I hope this has been informative for you, and I'd like to thank you for viewing.

Managing Instant App Access, Pre-Launch, and Session Linger

Understanding XenApp 6.5’s New Server & Policy Settings

Managing Sessions with Desktop Director

Understanding and Working with Receiver Storefront

Upgrading Servers with Migration Center

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