In case you missed the announcement, about a month ago, Citrix announced the release of XenApp 6. This is the version of XenApp that will run on Windows Server 2008 R2 – but there are also a lot of features in XenApp 6 that will make your life a lot simpler if you have to manage a XenApp farm. One of those is the concept of “worker groups.”
Over the years, Citrix has added the ability to control more and more XenApp features through policy settings – either through Active Directory Group Policies or through Citrix policies. But some things were still fairly tedious to manage.
For example, when you published an application on your XenApp farm, the information of which servers that application was published on was part of the application properties. If you had a set of applications published on a set of servers, and you wanted to add (or remove) a server from that set, you had to edit the properties of each application in the application set.
With XenApp 6 on Server 2008 R2, you can now create a new AD container called a “worker group.” Settings like computer policies, load balancing policies, and even which applications are published can be set on the worker group, and will be automatically inherited by any server that is added to that group. This literally makes it possible to fully configure a new XenApp server and add it to the farm without even opening the XenApp management console! (And, of course, if you’re using application streaming to deliver the applications to the designated XenApp servers, you don’t have to install those applications – simply assign them to the worker group, and they will be streamed to any server that is part of, or added to, that worker group.)
For a better understanding of how this works, take a look at this “Citrix TV” video by Leo Singleton: