The Art Of The Possible, Citrix XenDesktop, AppDisks, Microsoft Azure and Turbo

The Art Of The Possible, Citrix XenDesktop, AppDisks, Microsoft Azure and Turbo

The Art Of The Possible, Citrix XenDesktop, AppDisks, Microsoft Azure and Turbo

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Every now and again things just click into place, when Citrix released XenDesktop 7.8 with the AppDisk technology the ability to layer applications was introduced into the XenDesktop stack, couple this with the ability to provision MCS workloads on premises and directly into Azure and you have a pretty powerful application delivery platform.  Now, add Turbo, containerized applications with network controls and built in version control, with a little imagination you can really deliver a powerful, flexible and robust app and desktop platform (not withstanding the consideration you have to put into the infrastructure, but I am sure you’ve done that and this post is not focused on that).

For the purpose of this article I have extended my home network into a North Europe Microsoft Azure data center.  If you want to know how to do this you can follow my post here:

I have 3 machine catalogs configured on my XenDesktop 7.8 Site.

  • Windows Server 2012 using PVS delivered from my on-premises data center
  • Windows Server 2012 using MCS delivered from my on-premises data center
  • Windows Server 2016 Tech Preview 5 using MCS delivered from my Microsoft Azure Northern European data center

machine catalogs

MCS Farnham Desktop

mcs farnham

PVS Farnham Desktop

pvs farnham

MCS Azure Desktop

mcs azure

All of these are published via my Citrix NetScaler Unified Gateway

ug desktops

In Microsoft Azure I have used a standard Windows Server 2016 TP 5 image with the XenDesktop 7.8 VDA installed and the Turbo Client only.  There are no other applications installed here

2016 no apps

On Premises I have used a standard Windows Server 2012 R2 image with the VDA installed.  Then onto this I have created and attached a Citrix XenDesktop 7.8 AppDisk with the Turbo Client installed.  This is attached to both the PVS and MCS Delivery Groups as shown below

MCS Turbo AppDisk

mcs appdisk

PVS Turbo AppDisk

pvs appdisk

If you want more information on creating AppDisks with Citrix XenDesktop 7.8 you can follow my post here

So, 3 desktop images, 2 on-prem and 1 in the Azure Cloud all with no apps.  That’s where Turbo comes into play.  If I log into my Turbo account I can subscribe to application directly from the public repository.

turbo apps

As you can see I have a number of apps that I want to deploy to ALL my delivery groups.

I have an AppSense computer start up script run the following commands at boot, once run all the apps are available to run from any of my published desktops.

turbo login

enter password

turbo subscribe --all-users bretty

NOTE: I realise you may not want all apps to go to all published desktops, in that case you can use Turbo’s Org method and create Org’s for your specific application needs and subscribe to the apps only in the specific Org for the Delivery Group

MCS 2012 Turbo Apps Available

mcs turbo apps on

PVS 2012 Turbo Apps Available

pvs turbo apps on

MCS 2016 Turbo Apps Available

2016 turbo apps on

When you start any of the Turbo delivered apps it will automatically download and run on any of the desktops provisioned.  That enables you to centrally manage your apps across multiple delivery groups on or off premises, and version control your apps across the same delivery groups.  That’s a great thing!

Running up Citrix XenCenter in Azure

turbo run

Container Delivered XenCenter

turbo app running

What if my application is not in the public repository?

Fortunately Turbo allow you to create your own containers and push the apps to your own repository.  If you want to know how to do that you can follow my post here


The above was essential for me as I use AppSense heavily and needed the app as a container.  This has now been pulled into the public repository and along with @rorymon we have managed to get the main AppSense management consoles available for everyone.

“This on a side note is a great plus point of Turbo – the community!  As this product gets more traction that is already has more and more tools will be available and sometimes delivered into the public repository by the community!  If its not there containerize it yourself and put it up there!”

So, lets take an app requested only this morning by @_JasonSamuel – Wireless Network Analyzer, Free!

If we search the Turbo site we can see that the app is not available

turbo search

So, I have created a custom Turbo Application using the post above and pushed it to my portal

add custom app to turbo

If I now save this to my dashboard and re-sync my delivery groups you can see NetSpot is now available across all my delivery group on and off premises

On Premises

netspot on prem

In Microsoft Azure

netspot azure

What about a Mac or iPhone that you don’t want a full desktop?

In this case I am going to publish XenCenter to run from my Azure workload servers and NetSpot to run on Premises both as seamless applications

published apps

iPad running NetSpot from on-premises Turbo Delivered App




MacBook running XenCenter Turbo Delivered App from Microsoft Azure




That’s it – hopefully this has shown what is possible when you use Citrix XenDesktop 7.8, AppDisks, Microsoft Azure and Turbo!



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