The Citrix Workspace Hub

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All right, so here it starts. My enthusiasm was far from (blogging) but after all the reactions on a 10 second clip; i had to write my findings on the new Citrix Workspace Hub.

So, what is the new Citrix Workspace Hub? According to Citrix (correct me if I’m wrong), it is a new way of how individuals can carry out their day-to-day task combined with smart collaboration spaces / IOT idea… First step; the Citrix Ready workspace hub. A piece of hardware (again Citrix ?) that comes in two flavors: NComputing’s RX-HDX (Europe) and a ViewSonic’s SC-T25 (US) Raspberry Pi.

The RX-HDX is 99 euro’s and the SC-T25 costs 119.99 dollars.

I’ve tried the RX-HDX with the SDA (Secondary Display Adapter @ euro  50,-). So, what is in the box(es)?

  • The RX-HDX itself
  • A mini usb cable and charger for the Pi

Dual Monitor:

And what about (and why) the SDA?

  • A Pi Zero with an HDMI out.
  • 2 mini usb (1 On the Go)

Because of the fact that the current Pi’s have only 1 HDMI out, the SDA is developed. There is an ethernet connection setup between the Pi – SDA over the OTG usb cable. Research tells me that an USB to HDMI just wasn’t good enough.

The dual monitor feature (The RX-HDX 1920×1200 and the SDA 1920×1080) works fine but as always: there is a “downside”. Your session must be in h.264 entire screen; otherwise your second screen won’t work (my case) / could crash. Not sure about your running display mode; use the Remote Display Analyzer.

What is so special about the Workspace Hub? You can put the Pi into 2 modes:

Session Roaming:

This sounds familiar, doesn’t it? This is literally what it does. After putting your phone next or on to your Pi, the Bluetooth beacon (on your phone) detects the Pi and transfers an ICA file. Tadaaaa, the session roams from your phone or tablet towards the Pi. The session roaming functionality is also available with the QR Scan.

Citrix Casting:

Looks a bit like your Chromecast or Apple tv. After scanning the QR code your session is displayed on you Pi / Screen. Now your Phone or Tablet turns into a remote control.

Requires the phone and the Pi to be on the same network. Ports 1494 and 8500 must not be blocked (hdx and remote control throughout the Phone / Tablet)

*You have to put your Pi into the session roaming mode OR the Citrix Casting mode. See the image further on the blog.

So, let’s start! First, I’ve registered myself for the tech preview program. After submitting to the program, I’ve received the WSH image, a manual and the android APK (the TP only works with Android for now).

First time run is perfectly described over here: Quick start rx-hdx

After connecting the (RX-HDX, from now on Pi) and going through the first time run (link above), it is fairly simple to upload the new WSH image. The interface is based on Stratodesks NoTouch OS. Did you know you can manage the NoTouch OS remote through your browser? No management console needed: just point your browser towards your Pi’s iP address ?. Logon to the Pi and upload the image that comes with the TP.

After uploading the image, just reboot and wait / run the initial config again.

Setting up the connections:

After the setup, a connection is available on the Pi: The Citrix Workspace Hub. It is a picture of a Citrix building (and QR code), and now?

Preparing your phone Samsung phone:

After installing the beta receiver that comes with the Tech preview:

  1. Start your receiver on your phone.
  2. Add your storefront / NetScaler URL. (the pi needs to be able to connect to your Citrix environment).
  3. Within the Receiver, go to settings and select ‘Use workspace hub’.
  4. Click configuration and enable the “Touch Free mode”, this is what enables the proximity logon (session roaming feature while putting your phone next to the Pi: touch free mode).

And … It just works; put your phone on the Pi and see the magic happen!

What about the QR code?

If you don’t want to use the proximity feature, just scan the QR code with your phone from within the  Citrix Receiver.

The result is similar; your session roams towards the Pi.

But, there’s more:

There is not only a session roaming feature, there is an Casting feature too. Just logon to the management portal of NoTouch Pi and configure the casting setting.

After setting the Pi in the casting mode; your Citrix session on your phone or tablet cast’s it screen towards your Pi and your Phone / Tablet turns into a remote keyboard /mouse. See my former Twitter post for the result.

You can customize your Citrix Workspace Hub:

Do you want another picture then the Citrix building? Put an URL on the URLs setting (see below), remember to add the NOBG (No Background). Do you want to add a traditional Storefront or NetScaler webpage to logon to? Just type the URL in the same setting, like this:

NOBG,https://thesearemypictures.com/picture.jpg,https://your.netscalerurl.nl

You can now use the arrows on the left and right side of your Workspace Hub screen to ‘scroll’ through all the configured portals! Ideal for the shared – workplace?

Last but not least, there is an always an option to use the Pi old-school. Just remove the Citrix Workspace Hub connection from the management portal and add any other connection to try it out.

In my next blog, I will tell you some more about managing the endpoints with Stratodesk (they, and the Citrix Workspace Hub, surprised me in a good way!) and configuring an Imprivata login. I couldn’t try Imprivata ‘out of the box’ due to licensing options; you only get to add the Imprivate launcher when configuring it from within the NoTouch management portal from Stratodesk.

(Quick) Update 06-05-2018!

 

Bas

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2 Responses

  1. Very nice article. It is also very interesting to point out the management capabilities of WSH devices. It doesn’t matter how small or large your business is — distributed management for WSH is simple, centered and saves tons of time. I’d recommend requesting a free trial and trying it out with a multitude of systems: WSH, PCs, etc.

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