Successfully Deploying XenDesktop in a Complex Active Directory Environment

The following environments assume that XenDesktop 5.x is installed on all DDCs and VDAs. This article is based on the registry based Controller Discovery – this is the recommended method for multiple forest registration.

The NetBIOS and Fully Quality Domain Name (FQDN) can be different. For example, the NetBIOS name could be BOB but the FQDN could be parent1.local or the NetBIOS name and FQDN can be the same:

Example: NetBIOS name is parent and the FQDN would be parent.local.

Note: Dots in NetBIOS names are not recommend.

Appropriate user access permissions are given for successful machine creation. In a cross-forest setup, use Delegation Control Wizard to keep permissions to minimum use. Permission must be given for the DDC Administrator to create machines in a different forest in a specific Organizational Unit (OU). The following minimum permission can be given for successful machine creation:

  1. Open Active Directory Users and Computers Microsoft Management Console (MMC).

  2. Right-click your OU and select Delegate Control.

  3. On the first screen, click Next.

  4. In the Users & Groups screen, click Add and pick a user or group you want to delegate rights to and click Next.

    The best practice is to assign a group rather than a single user, as it is easier to manage and audit.

  5. In the Tasks to Delegate screen, select Create a custom task to delegate and click Next.

  6. In the Active Directory Object Type screen, select Only the following objects in folder and select Computer objects.

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  7. Select Create selected objects in this folder and click Next.
  8. In the Permissions screen, select General and then select Read and Write.

  9. Click Next.

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  10. Click Finish to complete the delegation control.

Different types of Active Directory Setups

Simple Single Domain Deployment

The following diagram illustrates a XenDesktop deployment in a single Active Directory domain, where the DDCs, VDAs, and the users are all in the same domain.

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In this Single domain setup, all relevant components and objects are based on one single domain. Registration of VDAs with the DDC should be successful and no additional configuration, that is, the registry key changes is required.

Following is a list to check if VDA is unable to register with the DDC:

  1. Check Event Viewer for errors on both the DDC and the VDA.

  2. Ensure that the firewall is open for port 80 between the VDA and the DDC.

  3. Check that the FQDN of the DDC is correct in the registry setting of the VDA machine. On the VDA, check the following Reg Key:

    Caution! Refer to the Disclaimer at the end of this article before using Registry Editor.

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWARECitrixVirtualDesktopAgent and confirm the parameter ListOfDDCs had the correct FQDN.

    If using 64-bit Virtual Machine, the VDA Reg Key is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREWow6432NodeCitrixVirtualDesktopAgentListOfDDCs

  4. Ensure that the DNS settings are correct on VDA and DDC, and both the computers can resolve each other by DNS name and reverse lookups. Use the XDPing tool, downloadable from the Knowledge Center article CTX123278 – XDPing Tool to further troubleshoot.

  5. Check that the Time is in sync between the VDA and DDC are correct.

    For further troubleshooting, see Troubleshooting Virtual Desktop AgentRegistration with Controllers in XenDesktop.

Single Forest with Multiple Domains or Single Forest with Multiple Domains with shortcut trusts

The following two diagrams illustrate a XenDesktop deployment in a single forest with multiple domains and a Single Forest with multiple domains with shortcut trusts – where the DDC, VDA, and Users are all based in different domains.

The following is the illustration for Multiple Domains:

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The following is an illustration for Multiple Domains with short cut trusts:

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Multiple Domains: DDC, Users, and VDA are based in various domains, by default, a bidirectional transitive trust relationship exists between all domains in a forest.

Multiple Domains with short cut trusts: DDC, Users, and VDA are based in various domains but at two-way shortcut, trust has been manually created between the DDC domain and the VDA domain. Typically, shortcut trusts are used in a complex forest where it can take time to traverse between all domains for authentication. By adding a shortcut trusts, it shortens the trust path to improve the speed of user authentication.

For successful registration of the VDA with the DDC, the following should be configured correctly. DNS Forward/Reverse Lookup Zones are in place and configured on the relevant DNS servers. For further troubleshooting of VDAs not registering, see Following is a list to check if VDA is unable to register with the DDC: mentioned in the Simple Single Deployment section.

Multiple Forests with 2 way or 1 way trusts (external trusts or forest trusts)

The following diagram illustrates XenDesktop deployment in a Multi-Forest Deployment. This is where the DDC is in a different Active Directory forest and the end users and desktops can be either in the same forest or in a separate Active Directory forest.

Note: For Forest trusts, both Forests must be in Win2003 Forest Functional Level.

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The preceding illustration shows two separate Active Directory forest with a two-way forest trust. DDC and Users are in the same forest (parent.local) but the VDAs are located in different forest (parent2.local).

For successful VDA registration with the DDC, the following must be configured correctly:

DNS, for name and reverse lookups. Depending on the approach taken, the use of DNS Forwarders and Conditional Forwarders, Forward /Reverse lookup zones and Stub zones are all acceptable for name lookup/resolution. As an example, in the preceding illustration, on the DNS server for Parent.local, a Secondary Forward Lookup Zone and a Reverse Lookup zone for Parent2.local has been added and similarly the opposite has been done on the Parent2.local. This means that the DDC should now be able to resolve the VDA by name and IP and the VDA resolves the DDC by name and IP address.

See Managing a Forward Lookup Zone for information on managing Lookup Zones.

On the Desktop Delivery Controller, enable the following registry value on the DDC. This enables support for VDAs, which are located in separate forests: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareCitrixDesktopServerSupportMultipleForest (REG_DWORD)

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To enable VDAs located in separate forests; this value must be present and set to 1.

After changing the SupportMultipleForest value, you must restart the Citrix Broker Service for the changes to have an effect.

On the Virtual Desktop Agent, enable the following registry value on the VDA to enable support for DDCs located in a separate forest.

  • For a 32-bit VDA: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareCitrixVirtualDesktopAgentSupportMultipleForest (REG_DWORD)

  • For a 64-bit VDA: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareWow6432NodeCitrixVirtualDesktopAgentSupportMultipleForest (REG_DWORD)

To enable support for DDCs located in a separate forest; this value must be present and set to 1.

Note: The next step is only required if External Trusts are only being used.

  1. If the Active Directory FQDN does not match the DNS FQDN or if the domain where the DDC resides has a different NetBIOS name to that of the Active Directory FQDN, you must add the following registry key on the Virtual Desktop Agent machine.
    • For a 32-bit VDA: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareCitrixVirtualDesktopAgentListOfSIDs
    • For a 64-bit VDA: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareWow6432NodeCitrixVirtualDesktopAgentListOfSIDs
    • User-added image

The ListOfSIDs registry key contains the DOMAIN SID of the DDC. By using this key, DNS lookups are using the true DNS name of the DDC.

To obtain the correct domain SID of the DDC, the domain SID can be found by using a tool such as ADExplorer from sysinternals or by using the XDPingtool.

Note: You must restart the Citrix Desktop Service for the changes to have an effect.

Multiple Forests with One-Way Selective trusts

The following diagram illustrates XenDesktop deployment in a Multi-Forest Deployment using One-way Selective Trusts. The DDC is in a different Active Directory forest and the end users and existing VDAs (created either manually or through an alternative method) are in a separate Active Directory forest. In a one-way selective trust, automatic creation of Virtual Machines through DDC will fail, because of authentication issues.

For this example, the NetBIOS and FQDN are different in each Forest and domain.

Note: For One-Way Selective trusts, both Forests must be in Win2003 Forest Functional Level or above.

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Selective authentication is used in environments where users are explicitly granted/ allowed to authenticate to servers and resources on the trusting domain. This method gives domain administrators control on what rights users can be given to access services on the trusting domain. See Enable Selective Authentication over a Forest Trust for more information on Selective trusts.

Configure the following for successful registration of the VDA with the DDC:

  1. DNS for name and reverse lookups. Depending on the approach taken, the use of DNS Forwarders and Conditional forwarders, Forward/Reverse lookup zones, and Stub zones are all acceptable for name lookup/resolution.

  2. Create the Selective trust on the relevant Domain Controllers.

  3. Follow steps provided in the Multiple Forests with trusts (External trusts – NTLM or Forest trusts Kerberos) section.

  4. The VDAs must be granted authentication access to the DDC. This is done through Active Directory Computer and Users snap-in.

    Note: VDAs can be added to a group to make management easier (granting rights). This is recommended.

    a) In Active Directory Computers and Users, browse to the location of the DDCs.

    b) Right-click DDC and click Properties.

    c) Click the Security tab.

    d) Click Add and click Locations to change the domain to where the VDAs reside.

    e) Click on Advanced, and click on Object Types. Choose ‘Computers’

    f) Select all the relevant VDA or Group (recommended) and click OK.

    g) Select the VDA’s or Group and give the rights – Read and Allowed to authenticate, as displayed in the following screen shot:

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  5. On the DDC, select an Existing Catalog and create a relevant Assignment. When done, the Virtual Machines should show in a Ready State, as displayed in the following screen shot:

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For further troubleshooting of VDA not registering, see Following is a list to check if VDA is unable to register with the DDC section.

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