I recently visited a customer who were implementing a new Citrix StoreFront 3.7 solution. They currently used Citrix Web Interface to let end-users access their Citrix environment.
The problem with the StoreFront implementation is the fact the customer still had hundreds of Windows XP Embedded Thin Clients deployed in all their offices. The Thin Clients could not be centrally managed and were not part of the corporate domain. Worst of all, these Thin Clients were still using Internet Explorer 7.0.
As you might know, Citrix StoreFront only works with Internet Explorer 8.0 or higher. The customer asked me, can we use the same portal URL for both StoreFront and Web Interface?
The answer is: Yes we can!
There’s actually no way we could present the StoreFront webpage to the IE 7.0 web browsers, and since the Thin Clients were not managed, the process to upgrade all the clients was not an option. Presenting the end-users with a different URL for StoreFront was also not an option for the customer.
Luckily the customer had a Citrix NetScaler appliance installed, which was configured for Remote Access and Load Balancing their Citrix environment.
So I figured we could use the NetScaler to create a Content Switch (CS) and with CS Policies we could redirect users to the correct portal. So basically this means we need to create a CS Policy that checks which version of Internet Explorer is running and than presents the correct Portal URL.
So let’s begin the configuration. If not already configured, create service groups for both StoreFront and Web Interface. Of course also create the correct monitors (especially for StoreFront, which I’m not going to describe in this blogpost)
Once you’ve created the Service Groups, create the Load Balancing vServers and bind the correct Service Groups. Please note, everything “behind” a Content Switch can be configured as “Non Addressable”. This saves some extra IP addresses.
Create a CS Policy with the following Expression. This Expression checks the version of Internet Explorer 7.0 and lower.
After this create a CS Action and bind this to the Web Interface Load Balancing virtual server.
Now this is done, let’s create the Content Switch virtual server:
Configure the CS virtual server as follows:
- The Default Load Balancing Virtual Server must be the StoreFront Virtual Server.
- The CS Policy is the Policy we just created.
That’s it! You can test the solution on your own client, by opening Internet Explorer and press the F12 key. Choose Internet Explorer 7 in the User Agent String drop-down menu.
Now the customer can easily replace the Thin Clients with newer versions.
All credits go to Jacob Rutski.