OneDrive for Business & Citrix

OneDrive for Business (OdfB) (Part of Office365) is now getting to the stage where it is a feasible choice/alternative solution to on-premise storage. But from a Citrix/RDS based solution there are still challenges. Below gives an overview of the limitation challenges and possible workarounds/alternatives.

Support of OneDrive Client

OneDrive for Business Limitations are documented here in the Microsoft KB3125202. The following is an extract which covers

Windows specific restrictions and limitations
  • Windows Explorer displays the first 35 characters of a site library’s name and site name combination for a library that you have synchronized. This doesn’t affect the ability to sync these items within the limits that are described in this article.
  • Roaming, Mandatory and Temporary Windows profiles aren’t supported. The OneDrive for Business sync app isn’t supported in any configuration that doesn’t let the user account write to the OneDrive for Business application directories.Additionally, the OneDrive for Business sync app isn’t supported for client sessions that are hosted on Windows 2008 Terminal Services or Windows 2012 Remote Desktop Services (RDS).For the OneDrive for Business sync app to work as designed, the following requirements must be met:
    • The application must be installed on the local computer.
    • The user must be able to write to the user profile.
    • Data that’s written to the user profile must be saved to the local hard disk and be available without a network connection.

UPDATE: As per my blog post OneDrive Files on Demand feature announced on Windows 10 update later in the year. Microsoft are to launch a OneDrive client on-demand with local cache for Windows 10 (it is not clear if it will be seperatley available for Windows Server 2016/XenApp RDS environments.

Alternative 1:

Powershell Workaround

A Powershell script has been developed by Jos Lieben  of Liebensraum that essentially maps a Network Drive, below the features of the script:

  • Runs at logon or on demand (group policy, RES, AppSense etc)
  • Maps your OneDrive for Business to a local driveletter
  • No Sync, online WebDav connection
  • Connects seamlessly without user interaction
  • Prompts for user password (only once) if no ADFS used
  • On Demand Provisioning of the OneDrive MySite
  • Detailed and configurable logging
  • Also maps Sharepoint Document libraries directly
  • Can also map based on security groups
  • Automatically disables and reenables ProtectedMode in IE
  • Sets a customizeable label for the Network drive(s)
  • Can use custom library names
  • Can also run on non domain joined machines or Workplace Joined machines
  • Detects changed user names/url’s automatically
  • Can map drives inside (Azure) RemoteApps
  • Can redirect My Documents to Onedrive for Business

The Script can be obtained from the Microsoft Gallery by Clicking Here (with thanks for Jos Lieben who all credits must be given to the development of the script.

I have also tested this on Windows Server 2016 Standard Edition (Desktop Experience). The only downside of the powershell script is the length of time to round which based on some initial testing takes 30-60 to complete which would need to be added to the login time if it where to be run every login, maybe less if cookies/network drive is not cleared during logoff.

See my article where we have tested the Mapping Network Drive to OneDrive for Business & Windows Server 2016

Supportability by Microsoft is not 100% clear, but reviewing the MS Article

How to configure and to troubleshoot mapped network drives that connect to SharePoint Online sites in Office 365 –  https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/kb/2616712

UPDATE 06/08/2016:

The following article lists the supported ways to work with site libraries/one drive

1. OneDrive for Business Client – Syncing files to PC

2.View in File Explorer within OneDrive Client

3.Map a library to a network drive.

This clears up the supportability of the Drive Mapping.

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Ways-to-work-with-site-library-files-in-File-Explorer-751148de-f579-42f9-bc8c-fcd80ccf0f53?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US

An alternative to using the Map network drive functionality is to use the OneDrive for Business Next Generation Sync Client to synchronize your files between File Explorer and OneDrive for Business. Another option is to use the Microsoft OneDrive for Business (formerly Microsoft SkyDrive Pro) sync client to synchronize your files between File Explorer and SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. For more information, go to the following Microsoft websites:

My Conclusion is that it is a supportable solution, although would need to be confirmed by Microsoft.

Alternative 2:

Citrix Recommended Workaround

Citrix workaround is deploy a ShareFile client which have a Office365 connector, this is detailed in the below Deployment guide.

UPDATED deployment documentation: 14/06/2017

https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products-solutions/deployment-guide-office-365-for-xenapp-and-xendesktop.pdf

The below are the ShareFile limitations:

Sharefile Limitations

  • Currently, uploading files to a personal cloud connector is not supported on Windows devices
  • Cannot copy files from ShareFile to a connector
  • Cannot stream video files stored on a connector, making a folder available offline
  • Cannot make a folder available offline
  • Cannot share files stored on a Connector

My  opinion on this is that although a workable solution recommended by citrix , it requires a ShareFile license (additional expense) and the uploading files limitation rules it out in many user based scenario’s.

Alternative 3:

Web Brower

Access their files via the web browser.

This to me would be the least user acceptable solution of  them all.

**************Support for RDS Feature Request*********************

I would strongly recommend using your voting within the below site to request support for RDS support on the next release of the client.

OneDrive Uservoice site – Click Here

UPDATE: 11/05/2017 – Partial update on this, microsoft have made an announcement – see my blog article:-

OneDrive Files on Demand feature announced on Windows 10 update later in the year

Alternative 4:

As per OneDrive Uservoice site, a response to the above RDS feature request from Douglas Pearce (Group Program Manager)

Thanks for the suggestion. We’re thinking about it, and our supported scenario available today is to use the Universal app or the website where users can access their data in OneDrive and Sharepoint without sync’ing all the files in advance. Don’t forget that Office natively supports opening and editing these files, too!

Again , my opinion is that although this is all online, the downloading/uploading of files will be a unwanted various for normal opening/saving of files within standard file systems.

Alternative 5:

FSLogix Office365 Containers (using there Profile container technology) call out a very interesting solution to the problem with there

OneDrive and OneDrive for Business – Enable OneDrive for Business in XenApp and XenDesktop. Roam OneDrive user data seamlessly in every virtual desktop environment without the need to resync at each logon.

This is a subscription based product so additional cost would be required , but going by what is advertised it really is a game changer for how profiles are managed in a XenApp/XenDesktop environment.

NOTE: i have requested a trial to evaluate and will blog my finding/experience/How-to guides etc.

UPDATE: 10/05/2017 – A initial review of the product FSLogix Office365 Containers to the rescue!

4 thoughts on “OneDrive for Business & Citrix

  1. Hi,

    looks like Microsoft will offer on demand cloud file access with Windows 10 later this year. But in the time being there’s already a great tool on the market: https://konnekt.io. It’s not only bring back placeholders to Windows 10, it’s also working with earlier versions of Windows and – best of all – Citrix and Terminal Server. In addition it supports UNC connectivity and drive letter mapping based on a native network provider for Office 365.

    Integrated into Windows Explorer the tool makes the whole Office 365 (Sharepoint Online, Groups, Onedrive) world browsable like folder shares and structures on file servers.

    Disclaimer: I am working for the company behind the tool and I am happy to personally answer questions or send a trial to anyone interested.

    Best regards,
    Gunnar

    Like

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