Lab 7 - User Profiles With AFS


In this exercise you will use Prism to deploy Acropolis File Services (AFS), a native, distributed file server solution for Nutanix clusters. The file server will be used to store user profiles and user data.

You will use Citrix Studio to configure and enforce policy for Citrix User Profile Management (UPM), a built-in profile management solution for XenDesktop. Citrix UPM can also be configured via Group Policy or .ini files within the desktop VM.

Deploy Acropolis File Services

In Prism > File Server, click + File Server.

Click Download or Upload AFS Software.

Click Download to the right of the most recent release

After the download completes, click Continue.

If unconfigured, click Add Data Services IP.

Specify the iSCSI Data Services IP from your Environment Details Worksheet and click Save.

Click Continue.


You may need to click + File Server again to launch the AFS wizard if you had to configure a Data Services IP.

Fill out the following fields and click Next:

  • Name - AFS
  • File Server Size 1 TiB


Clicking Custom Configuration will allow you to alter the scale up and scale out sizing of the AFS VMs based on User and Throughput targets.

Select the VM VLAN you configured during the Cluster Configuration lab for the Client Network. Observe that IPs will be chosen for each of the File Server VMs from the DHCP pool. Selecting an Unmanaged VLAN requires you to manually provide static IP addresses for each of the File Server VMs. Ensure the DNS IP is configured as the IP of your DC VM. Click Next.

Select the VM VLAN you configured during the Cluster Configuration lab for the Storage Network. Click Next.

Specify the fully qualified domain and domain Adminisrator credentials. Click Next.

Review the configuration and click Create. Observe that as part of the AFS deployment, a home share will be created by default for user profiles.

Monitor deployment progress in Prism > Tasks.

After the AFS cluster has been deployed, validate you can access the home share from your XD or DC VMs.

In Prism > File Server > File Server, select the AFS server and click Protect.

Note the default Self Service Restore schedules, this feature controls the snapshot schedule for Windows’ Previous Versions functionality. Supporting Previous Versions allows end users to roll back changes to files without engaging storage or backup administrators. Note these local snapshots do not protect the file server cluster from local failures and that replication of the entire file server cluster can be performed to remote Nutanix clusters.

In Prism > File Server > Share, select the home share and click Update.

Select Enable Access Based Enumeration and Self Service Restore and click Save.


To learn more about AFS architecture, see the File Services section of the Nutanix Bible.

Configuring Share Permissions

In the DC VM console, open \AFS in File Explorer.

Right-click Home > Properties.

Select the Security tab and click Advanced.

Select the Permissions tab and click Add.

Click Select a principal and specify Everyone in the Object Name field. Click OK.

Fill out the following fields and click OK:

  • Type - Allow
  • Applies to - This folder only
  • Select Read & execute
  • Select List folder contents
  • Select Read
  • Select Write

Click OK > OK.

Configuring Citrix User Profile Management

In Citrix Studio > Policies, right-click Policies > Create Policy.

Select Profile Management from the All Settings drop down menu. Optionally you can filter for only policies supported on 7.15 Desktop OS from the All Versions drop down menu.

Search for Enable Profile management and click Select. Select Enabled and click OK.

Search for Path to user store and click Select. Select Enabled and specify \AFShome\%USERNAME%\!CTX_OSNAME!!CTX_OSBITNESS! as the path. Click OK.

Click Next.

Click Assign to the right of Organizational Unit (OU).

Click Browse and select the Non-PersistentDesktops OU. Click OK > OK.

Click Next.

Studio offers many different means of applying policies. Across a more diverse environment it may make sense to configure UPM settings based on tags. If our computers weren’t optimally organized in Active Directory, we could have also elected to assign this policy based on the Non-Persistent desktop Delivery Group.

Provide a friendly Policy name and select Enable. Review your configuration and click Finish.

In order for the policy to take effect you could remotely execute a gpupdate /force command on the VMs in the Non-PersistentDesktops OU, or leverage the power management integration between XenDesktop and AHV to restart the VMs through CItrix Studio.


Use acli for a quick (ungraceful) way to power off your non-persistent VMs. Studio will power on VMs again accoding to the Delivery Group’s Power Management configuration.

> acli W10NP*

Testing Profiles and Folder Redirection

Log in to Citrix StoreFront as USER2 and connect to a Pooled Windows 10 Desktop with Citrix Receiver.

Make some simple changes such as adding files to your Documents folder and changing the desktop background. Note the hostname of the desktop to which you are connected.

Sign out of the Pooled desktop. Do not just close the Citrix Receiver session as the desktop will not be re-provisioned.

Again, log in to Citrix StoreFront as USER2 and connect to a Pooled Windows 10 Desktop with Citrix Receiver. Note that your files and settings persist across sessions, despite the underlying desktop being freshly provisioned every time you log in.

Open \\AFS\home\user2\ in File Explorer. Drill down into the directory structure to find the data associated with your user profile.

Log in to Citrix StoreFront as USER3 and connect to a Pooled Windows 10 Desktop with Citrix Receiver. Open \\AFS\home\ in File Explorer. Note that you don’t see or have access to USER2’s profile directory. Disable Access Based Enumeration (ABE) in Prism > File Server > Share > home > Update and try again.


  • Nutanix provides native file services suitable for storing user profiles and data.
  • AFS can be deployed on the same Nutanix cluster as your virtual desktops, resulting in better utilization of storage capacity and the elimination of an additional storage silo.
  • Supporting mixed workloads (e.g. virtual desktops and file services) is further enhanced by Nutanix’s ability to mix different node configurations within a single cluster, such as:
    • Mixing storage heavy and compute heavy nodes
    • Expanding a cluster with Storage Only nodes to increase storage capacity without incurring additional virtualization licensing costs
    • Mixing different generations of hardware (e.g. NX-3460-G6 + NX-6235-G5)
    • Mixing all flash nodes with hybrid nodes
    • Mixing NVIDIA GPU nodes with non-GPU nodes