Thursday 11 September 2014

Downloading, Licensing and Base Configuration of a Citrix NetScaler Virtual Appliance (VPX)

I have recently been asked to learn the Citrix NetScaler platform and get the Citrix Certified Professional (CCP) credentials. My first port of call was to download the virtual appliance of the NetScaler to get some expsoure to it. If you have a Citrix account you can download a free 90 day trial. You must choose which hypervisor the appliance is going to run on to ensure you get the correct download. I am using VMware Workstation, and the ESXi edition seems to work fine.

When you have it downloaded extract the zip file, an in this instance as I am using VMware the appliance is in the form of an OVF file, right click on the OVF and select Open with VMware Workstation.

When the appliance has been imported it will appear like any other Virtual Machine in Workstation, it is initally provisioned with the following virtual resources.

Boot the VM and let it POST and then you will be prompted with the inital configuration screen, you set an IP at this screen to allow remote management of the NetScaler with a web browser.

Once you have saved the settings browse to the IP via any Java enabled web browser. By default the root credentials are nsroot/nsroot.

Next you have to convert the code you received when the appliance was downloaded into a Citrix License File, highlight and copy the License Code from the following screen.

Login to the My Citrix website and select All Licensing Tools, click the Activate and Allocate Licenses tab. If you do not see any available licenses listed click Don't see you product?

Then copy the License Code into the website and click Continue.

You will get a warning about the Host Name/ID the Citrix NetScaler is tied to the MAC Address of the Virtual Appliance, I found this misleading at first as it references Host ID which you would think meant the hostname. Click Continue.

To get the MAC Address of the Citrix NetScaler Appliance I used ping on my Domain Controller and then viewed the ARP cache on the machine to view the Layer 2 address of the NetScaler.

Move back over to the Citrix website and populate the Host ID field with the MAC Address, it should be in the following format 000c29d7e7a9 with no dashes or colons.

If the Citix website accepts the license code it will give you the following prompt. Click OK.

Click the Download button to save a local copy of the LIC file.

Browse to the management IP of the NetScaler and login with the nsroot account, from the Welcome screen you will be prompted to Update Licenses. Click the Browse button and select the downloaded license file.

The appliance will accept the license file if the MAC Address matches the hash contained within the file, please note if you remove the VM's network adapter and readd a new one the MAC Address will change and you will break your licensing. 

Click  Continue and the NetScaler will infom that it requires a reboot, click Yes.

When the appliance reboots log back in using nsroot and click on the Configuration tab, if you click on the Show Unlicenses Features link, it will show nothing is unlicensed this is due to it being a trial.
Expand System and click on Settings, from here click Configure Basic Features.

For my next post I will be using NetScaler to Load Balance Exchange 2013 Client Access Server's, so I enabled the Load Balancing feature.

Now configure NTP by clicking on the NTP Servers link, use the Add button. I personally have pointed my NetScaler to one of my Domain Controllers to synchronize time.