Setting up your first Citrix NFuse Elite portal server

Now that you've decided to use Citrix NFuse Elite as your portal server, you have to install it. Elias Khnaser shows you how to install NFuse Elite and to configure its basic settings.

Citrix’s NFuse Elite portal solution lets you quickly give your users access to internal network applications through remote Web browsers. Setting up NFuse Elite isn’t difficult, but it does require some knowledge of the different components involved to make the portal work properly. This Daily Feature will guide you through the steps required to install NFuse Elite and configure its basic settings.

Citrix NFuse Elite: A quick-and-easy portal solution
Citrix’s NFuse Elite access portal server gives your users remote access to applications on your network. For more information about NFuse, see the Daily Feature “Ease remote-user hassles with Citrix's NFuse Elite access portal.”

Kicking off the installation
As with every other Citrix product, NFuse Elite Setup begins at the Citrix splash screen, which runs automatically as soon as you put the CD in the server’s CD-ROM drive. Click on the Install Citrix NFuse Elite V1.0 button on the splash screen. When Setup begins, you’ll first see the usual Welcome screen. Click Next to move to the next step.

This next screen you’ll see is the License Agreement screen. Read through it and make sure you understand it. Once you’re ready, check the I Agree check box and click Next to continue with Setup. (Checking the I Agree box is mandatory in order to proceed with the installation.)

Creating the portal farm
At this point, you’ll see the Installation Type screen. Here, you’ll choose between creating a new portal server farm and joining an existing one, as shown in Figure A. If this is your first portal server, you must select Create A New Portal Server Farm. However, if you’re merely adding servers to an existing farm, you should choose Join A Portal Server Farm.

Figure A
You must create a new portal server farm on your first server.

Things become complicated if you already have a portal farm and want to create a new, totally separate portal. You can either join the existing portal farm or create an entirely new server farm. Both methods are technically correct; which one is right for you depends on how you feel comfortable in running your environment.

Personally, I like centralization, so I typically use the same portal server farm with separate portals. If your budget is limited, using the same farm gives you the advantage of sharing servers. By sharing servers, you ensure that your portals can run on any server, instead of needing different servers for every portal. However, I’ve seen many implementations in which a new portal meant a new farm with separate servers supporting it. It really comes down to how you run your shop—there’s no set answer here.

For the purposes of this Daily Feature, I’ve assumed you’re creating a new portal server farm, so select Create A New Portal Server Farm and click Next.

Setup then displays the Enable Services window shown in Figure B. Here you need to make another important decision—what type of server do you want this to be? The options are either an agent server or a Web server. If you’re running a small farm with a limited number of users, you can select to have both services run on the same server. As your portal farm grows, you might want to consider separating these services in order to improve performance and eliminate single points of failures. Select the services you want to run on this server and click Next.

Figure B
You can enable services for your portal.

Agent servers and Web servers
So what are agent servers and Web servers? Agent servers are responsible for delivering information to the portal user. Web servers running Microsoft IIS are responsible for interacting with NFuse Elite to service Web pages and communicate them to client Web browsers.

After you select the services, the Copy Files screen appears. This screen specifies the location on your hard drive to which Setup will copy the files. Either verify that you want to install the files in the default location, or specify a different drive and directory by entering the information in the Destination field. If you haven’t previously created the directory, a window pops up informing you that the specified location doesn’t exist. If you click Yes, Setup will create the appropriate directory for you. You’ll then see another Copy Files screen that asks you to confirm where Setup will copy the files. Click Next to go on.

Setup will then ask you to create a user account to facilitate communication between NFuse services. By default, the services account is called CTXPortal User—you can either accept the default or enter a new user name. This services account is a domain account that is a member of the Administrators group. As you add additional portal servers to your farm, you’ll use this same account. Enter the appropriate information and click Next.

You’ll then see the Database Type screen shown in Figure C. Citrix NFuse Elite makes it easy to expand and scale your farm by preserving your information in a dynamic database. You have two database options: Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft Data Engine (MSDE).

Figure C
Select a database to host the portal server farm data store.

If you already have a SQL server in your environment, you might as well take advantage of it. Create a database on the SQL server and have NFuse Elite point to it. Otherwise, select MSDE. If you select MSDE, a database engine will be installed on the server to host the data store database. Click Next after you’ve selected one of the two options.

You’ll then see the Summary screen. This screen summarizes the options you’ve selected and gives you a chance to review them before performing the installation. Once you’ve read the summary, click Next. If you need to change something, you can click Back and work your way backwards through Setup.

After Setup copies all of the files to your server, the final screen asks you to restart the server. When the server restarts, the installation completes, and you can start customizing or creating your portal.

That’s all folks!
You have just installed your first NFuse Elite portal server and have configured its initial settings and data store database type. You can now easily create and configure your portal site using the Portal Management Console.

Editor's Picks