RDP-Proxy on NetScaler!

In case you weren’t paying attention (it was easy to miss) RDP-proxy is now available on the 10.5 enhancement branch! This feature appears to have been added as of the 10.5 51.1017.e.nc:

Users can connect with single sign-on to Remote Desktop (RDP) connections through NetScaler Gateway. [From Build 51.1017.e] [#422442]

That’s right, you can now configure NetScaler Gateway vServers to host RDP-proxy with CredSSP single-sign on. And it’s not all that difficult to set up; here’s the quick and dirty on doing so.

First, you’ll want to create your RDP profile under the NetScaler Gateway section in the GUI, or using the ‘add rdp profile’ command in the CLI:RDP Profile

RDP Profile CLI

Assuming you can manage building a NetScaler Gateway vServer, there’s not much different here, you just need to specify the RDP IP (optional) and port:

rdp_proxy_vserver

Next, specify the RDP profile in your NetScaler Gateway vServer’s session profile under the new ‘Remote Desktop’ tab:
RDP Session Profile

 

And that should take care of the configuration. Once configured you can launch RDP sessions by logging into the vServer and opening /rdpproxy/rdphostip:

rdp_launch

This will cause the NetScaler to generate a .rdp file that will look something like this:

redirectclipboard:i:0
redirectdrives:i:0
redirectprinters:i:1
keyboardhook:i:2
audiocapturemode:i:0
videoplaybackmode:i:1
negotiate security layer:i:1
enablecredsspsupport:i:1
authentication level:i:0
full address:s:rdp.desktopsandapps.com:3389
loadbalanceinfo:s:461346de68dd72323493ddd65585ae1b77bbdc1b1c61cafec567bcbbee5a9380

Notice the loadbalanceinfo parameter which is populated with a random string. This reference is used to validate the launch (a self-contained STA of sorts). Also, the enablecredsspsupport parameter instructs the NetScaler to attempt single sign-on to the target RDP host using CredSSP.

Well, that’s about all the time I have for now. Remember that this is in fact an ‘enhancement’ build, though it is now also included in the v11 main branch. Hopefully Citrix continues to improve this functionality as I’m sure they have customers everywhere who could benefit from native RDP-Proxy on the same ADC that’s serving up ICA-Proxy.. Enjoy!

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NetScaler Gateway VPX v10.1 with StoreFront v2.0 – Encrypt and Theme!

I just finished up on a XenApp 6.5 upgrade where I replaced a single 2008R2 server running a DMZ’d CSG v3.2 SSL-proxied Citrix Web Interface v5.3 ‘Direct’ site with a NetScaler Gateway 10.1 Access Gateway virtual server and a StoreFront v2.0 Store.

This post is meant to share some tips on setting up and customizing a Citrix Receiver <> NetScaler Gateway <> StoreFront deployment. Before I get into the thick of it, I thought I’d share the following high-level topology of the environment I was working with:

XenApp65_SharedHostedDesktopDelivery

This scenario consists of WAN-connected Citrix Receivers accessing the XenApp farm via a NetScaler Gateway Access Gateway VPN fronted StoreFront Store. The NetScaler Gateway Access Gateway virtual server provides AD-auth via an LDAP Authentication policy, and replaces the SSL-Proxied ICA & HTTP traffic that the Secure Gateway server previously handled (EOL’d since ‘06!, yet running on Win2008R2??). The NG-AG virtual server also acts as the landing page for web browsers, and as such has it’s own visual style that can (and SHOULD) be customized. Receiver connections are passed through to the Store virtual directory, and all other connections (web browsers) are directed to the StoreWeb virtual directory.

One major consideration I found in this topology is that if your StoreFront ‘Store’ is not SSL-encyrpted, Citrix Receiver for Windows 3.1 and later will not work without tweaking a few client-side registry values (see CTX134341), even though the NetScaler Gateway session is encrypted. That said, a resultant consideration of securing the StoreFront site is that you need to be sure that the NetScaler trusts the StoreFront server’s SSL certificate.

To do this you need to install any of the StoreFront server’s certificate chain certs on the NetScaler (here’s a good Citrix blog on the topic) and make sure the Access Gateway session policy profile’s ‘Web Interface Address’ uses the same name that the StoreFront server’s certificate was issued to, and that the NetScaler can resolve the name via DNS. The other pieces of getting this setup working are pretty easy, thanks mostly in part to the foolproof NetScaler Gateway setup wizard (eDocs link), and StoreFront’s ‘Add NetScaler Gateway Appliance’ wizard (eDocs). As long as your SSL is working properly, this is a fairly painless install.

Once I got the site up and running, I immediately wanted to customize the NetScaler Gateway VPN web interface to make it look like the StoreWeb site that browser users are redirected to. Out of the box, the NG-AG site is themed with the old (boring) CAG visual style, which is themed to look like the old WI 5.0-5.3 black & blue sites. Since this page is proxying and for the StoreFront site, is makes for a very awkward, time-machinish, experience to login to the black and blue site, and land in StoreFront’s newer green bubble land!

I didn’t look hard to find Jeff Sani’s blog article that I’ve referenced many times before, which provides step-by-step instructions on applying the StoreFront look and feel to a NetScaler’s Access Gateway. After running through this, I decided to change the the logo and background, and referenced Terry D’s blog on customizing a StoreFront site by way of custom CSS. I used WinSCP and PuTTY to make the changes, and pretty quickly had a nice looking landing page to front the StoreFront Store:

CustomLandingPage

I then did the same on the StoreFront server using NotePad++, and was able to give the customer a customized and consistent look and by adding the following custom.style.css to the c:\inetpub\wwwroot\Citrix\StoreWeb\contrib folder of the StoreFront server:

body { background-image: url("custom.jpg");
  background-color: #262638;}
#credentialupdate-logonimage, #logonbox-logoimage 
{ background-image: url("custom.png");
  width: 180px;
  height: 101px;
  right: 63%;}
#.myapps-name 
{ font-weight: bold; color: #000; }

CustomStoreFrontWeb

Well, that’s about all the time I have for today. I hope someone finds this post helpful in producing a functional, and visually consistent, NetScaler Gateway fronted StoreFront deployment!