Citrix User Profile Management (UPM) can be used with Citrix XenApp Enterprise or XenDesktop. The latest version of UPM can be downloaded from Citrix, download UPM.
Note: Although this shows as a XenDesktop component it will work on XenApp servers too.
The download is in the form of a zip file and when expanded it will provide:
- MSI files for installing on both 32 bit and 64 bit systems
- GPO adm and admx files
- Metatdata for deploying the MSI from the merchandising server using the Receiver updater
- Cross Platform definitions, these allow merging of some common application profile information across version 1 and version 2 Profiles, (Version 1 = XP and 2003, Version 2 = Vista Windows 7, 2008 etc)
Citrix UPM can be used in a XenApp or XenDesktop environment and overcomes some of the issues associated with user profiles in a VDI or RDS environment.
Overcome roaming profile conflicts
With UPM installed and running the users only write back changes that have been made their profile. This helps if the user has multiple sessions on XenApp servers, it is also possible that the user logs onto XenDesktop and then accesses XenApp sessions. Additionally it means that you do not separate policies for RDS and normal logins, policies conflicts occur less as there are less writes back to the profile.
Speed up logins
To streamline the login process we can stream the user profile. In this way only the parts of the profile the user accesses is sent to the desktop rather than the whole profile reducing network traffic and login times.
Install UPM agents
The UPM agents are installed onto the XenDesktop master image or the XenApp Servers, they do not need to be installed on the user’s physical device. Of course, if we are installing into XenApp 6.5 we will use the 64 bit version. The install is quick but does require a reboot, so on existing servers this has to be planned carefully.
Configure a Windows Share as the User Store
The User Store is where the Citrix User Profiles are stored and can be and CIFS or SMB share accessible to the users on the network. They do not need to be able to see the share, so do not map drives, but they will need to be able to read and write to their profile. The space required will be dependent on the amounts of users using the store and the size of the profiles. We can use environment variables in the path name, such as %USERNAME%or Active Directory attributes such as #sAMAccountName#; so the % is used with environment variables and # with attributes. With the user store in place we can now move on to managing UPM.
UPM would normally be managed with Active Directory Group Policies but, perhaps for pilot or test deployments, it can be setup with:
- Active Directory GPO with ADMX and ADML files added
- Local GPO with ADM file added
- Local INI file
If we want to test with just one XenApp Server then we do have the choice of the local GPO or, if that is not set, then we can read from a local INI file, locates in
Even if you want to pilot UPM we can create AD group policies by adding the ADMX file and we will see there is a policy setting enable UPM for specific groups in the AD. To use ADMX files, if you have not already done so, a Central Store for ADMX files should be created, the store is called PolicyDefinitions. This is replicated between all Active Directory Domain Controllers. Navigate to the central store and create it if it does not already exist: \\<AD FQDN>\sysvol\<AD FQDN>\Policies\PolicyDefinitions . For my domain the path would be:\\example.local\sysvol\example.local\Policies\PolicyDefinitions.
We add the admx file to to PolicyDefinitions folder, the admx is the language neutral file. The adml file needs to be added, in my case, to the EN folder in PolicyDefinitions. This is for language resource files for ENGLISH. If the folder does not exist, create it.
If using the local policy, perhaps for a single server deployment we right-click Administrative Templates within Computer Configuration, from the menu select: Add/Remove Templates and browse the the GPO Templates folder we looked at previously. Once added we can access the settings. The folder “Classic Administration Templates(ADM)\Citrix\Profile Management\” will now show and we can now look at what setting we should make.
Here we supply and overview if settings that can be made in the GPO.
Starting at the ROOT level of Profile Management:
- Enable Profile management
- Processed groups : set this to enable UPM only for certain groups
- Path to user store : \\server\upm\%USERNAME%
- Profile handling\Delete locally cached profiles on logoff
- Profile handling\Migration of existing profiles : If UPM does not exist for user then you can set the policy to migrate the users roaming profile to UPM
- Streamed user profiles\Profile Streaming
- Streamed user profiles\Always Cache : (Enable and set to 0 bytes to cache all files)