Forfatterarkiv: msandbu

Tranferring ICA Proxy Sessions Between Devices

Short post!
So this is a new feature which popped up in the previous enhancement builds to Netscaler Gateway Enhancement Build 123.1100.e
It it also available in Netscaler VPX since it is the same build and everything.

The feature is ICA Proxy Session Migration which allow us to migrate sessions between users. For instance if a user has an active ICA connection from his computer and forgets to log out and then starts a new connection from his home laptop or iPad, Netscaler would then migrate the existing ICA session to that user.

This feature can be found under Netscaler Gateway vServer


So this only works if the vServer is set to basic mode, and will not function if the vServer is set in SmartAccess mode (even thou you do not get any error message if you do the switch.
You can of course do this switch in the CLI as well.

set vpn vserver x.x.x.x -icaProxySessionMigration ON

I can also mention that the 10.5 Netscaler beta is available from citrix to download (This requires special access since this in a locked beta at the moment.

Netscaler news and codename Tagma and Integration with Nexus Fabric

Today I got a news from a birdie about a new Netscaler release which is coming that has the codename Tagma. The new build which is coming that has loads of different new features and the Java GUI is almost dead.

The rumor is that Beta 1 of the release is coming soon… Im guessing Synergy release.

Another news is that Citrix and Cisco’s partnership has gone to the next level, with integration of the Netscaler in the Cisco Nexus Fabric. (This makes the CCNA Data Center certification even more relevant!)

The integration gives numerous benefits such as easier setup, reduced downtime because of dynamic route updates, and with the integration of RISE gives better visibility into the datacenter by elimnating the need to hide source IP addresses through full proxy ADC services.

You can read more about it here –>

and when I know more about the Tagma release I will let you know! Smilefjes

Azure vs On-premise solution and Amazon EC2

note that this is an old post which I have updated to reflect the new prices from Azure and Amazon.

Have several customers come to me in the last couple of months asking me “How can Azure be more affordable then an on-premise solution?” “I mean a virtual machine in Azure costs more then I can run in our datacenter”. So I have always said back to the customer “have you thought about the SAN? The Power Usage ? Internet Connection? Hardware failure? Licensing ? Rental of datacenter etc and so on ? I also see alot of forums posts regarding the same thing, so therefore I thought I would write a post how to do a price comparison with an on-premise solution and running IaaS on Azure.

Now in my research I had to set some prerequisites.

* A new company that needs to setup a datacenter start with renting some rack space at a colocation center.
* The pricing has been based upon some norwegian company prices.
* This new company needs to setup a new IaaS based solution based upon Hyper-V and failover clustering
* This new company is basing their hardware on Dell hardware (both virtualization hosts and networking and storage) With the regular support of 3 years. So in the extreme cases they would need to replace their hardware every 3 years.
* The company will also need a good internet access to this private cloud for the end-users running applications against it.
* The operating system mostly used will be Windows Server 2012 (Therefore im going to base it on Windows 2012 Datacenter Server)
* One person will have to be in-charge of the hardware part-time or this can be out-sourced to the colocation company.
* The datacenter needs to have good physical security measures inplace. So let us start with Azure. The pricing here is based upon the calculator and since this is a company that knows how many vm we need we will setup a pre-paid 12 month plan.

Lets start with something small. Our company has to host some applications on a web servere running on 20 different servers these will be running on a medium VM in Azure (a medium VM consists of 2 shared cores and 3,5 GB of RAM. (Total of 40 shared cores and 70 GB of RAM) You can read more about the different options here –>  (This makes up to $2,678.40 a month) And inside that number there are a couple of factors that are included. This makes up to $32140 a year for 20 Virtual machines running non stop in Azure.

UPDATE: 01/04/2014 Since Microsoft has reduced the cost on VM since last time this article was updated the price has now been lowered for from 32140$ to 20184$ a year for 20 VMs running non-stop. 

* All the hardware is managed by Microsoft (This means UPS, Power, networking, storage, )
* Phyiscal Security is controlled by Microsoft * Internet Access is included
* The Windows Server 2012 license and CALs are included as part of the pay-per-hour fee.
* Highly-available (The data is being replicated three times inside the same datacenter and Azure hold controll of VM’s being available) So how much would this cost on-premise for a company ?
* Renting rack space for instance in my case I found a colocation company that has the ability to offer colocation So lets say I wanted to reck an entire rack (that would cost me around 1137$ a month this gives me UPS, physical security, own internet access to the rack but not including power. (so for the rack renting space would be $1137. Hardware (I would atleast need 2 physical servers setup with a failover cluster and .

The cluster would be setup with an iSCSI based SAN solution. Now for some Dell Servers R720 (With both 40 GB of ram and 2x Intel Xeon with 8 cores each costs about $6000 each (which then includes 3 year support) so for two servers that’s 12000$ for one year. As for the SAN I cannot get any prices from Dell since I need to be a dell partner to get that I can only estimate around  $4000 there as well, since iSCSI runs over regular ethernet I need a managed switch where I can configure VLANs so I found a managed gigabit switch from Dell which costs around 1500$ so in total for the hardware (not including cables etc) is around $8000 + $4000 + $1500 = $17500 for one year.

(NOTE: that this cost can be divided by 3 since the support lasts for 3 years and there will be no more investments in hardware in that timeframe) And for the power I have found that the regular kw/hour is around 0,05$ here in Norway (In June) so for the Dell R710 under heavy load uses about 258 Watts/hour and the switch uses 30 watt under load. 546W and if this infrastrucure runs 24/7 this equals to 13KWh a day (so for one year) which is a total of 365 days in a year) with 13 KWh we get around $237 for the Power Usage. (When it is under full load of course) source: * Software costs for licensing. (In this case since we have 20 virtual machines running in a cluster we could either use 10 standard licenses or two datacenter licenses. Now I have to use standard licenses from OPEN lisenses Now a datacenter 2 Proc license costs $4,810.00 w/o SA. So in case we would need 2 licenses (one for each host) so that totals of $9620 (Now when a new release comes out I would need to buy the new license or I can buy a license with SA then I would get the new release)

UPDATE: 01/04/14 Since Microsoft has raised the price for Windows Server 2012 R2 the Datacenter lisense goes up from $4810 to $6156 w/o SA User CALs are the same so they do not require an update. Totalt in licses for three years $15712

 And this software that the buisness i running requires users to authenticate to AD (Which requires CALs) Im going with user CAls (they cost around $34 each) so for 100 users they come to $3400 as well. So licenses in total = $13020 Now one part missing and that is that we need someone to manage this infrastructure (Both hardware, hypervisor level and the failover cluster) Since this is just a small installation im guessing we need a regular employee doing this 10% of his full time job. Im taking a regular year salary from the norwegian market. So for an IT consultant they get an average of $71178 a year so for 10% that equals to $7117 a year. So in total over a total over 3 years (With an on-premise solution) * Renting rack space, network connection externally, physical location, fire guard etc) $1137 a month (13644 for one year) 40932 for three years. * Power Usage $237 a year ($711 for three years) * Hardware $17500 for three years * Licenses $13020 for three years * Man hours $7117 a year (21351 for three years)

Total: $96206 for three years for an on-premise solution. For Azure Total for three years: $60552 Update: 01/04/14 This makes out a difference of 35654$ Another factor to think about here is that if you are academic or educational you get the license cost reduced for about 90% but still Azure would be a cheaper option.

 Now some factors I did not consider.

* Azure replicates data three times inside the same datacenter to ensure High-availability, this is not included in the on-premise solution I used (Which would make the on-premise solution alot more expensive, either by having a cold-rack server with replicated VMs)
* Azure includes VPN solutions which I can setup either Site-to-site or Point-to-site this would require me to buy a hardware based VPN solution or use a windows server as an VPN server and require a public IP-address and require firewall configuration on the on-premise solution
* The pricing used for the SAN is not really accurate (Would really much like to get some input here! Smilefjes )
* Licensing OS (The calculations I based it upon are on OPEN and there are some discounts and rebate offerings im not aware of. For instance SPLA and EDU have a bigger discount programs and get therefore lower licensing costs. (EDU can subtract around 70% of the license cost)
* Azure gives a better IOPS pr / virtual machine then the on-premise solution based on the SAN we choose. (Therefore better end-user experience)
* Azure can also offer a load balancing capabilities
* On-premise solution requires additional man-power to start up (setting up and deploying servers, installing hypervisor and patching etc) start-up cost
* The ability to scale up on demand is easy just to click of a button on Azure. In case you no don’t need 20 virtual machines running you can just stop the machines and you will no longer be charged for them.
* In your on-premise datacenter you might still have enough capaticy to have more multiple machines then 20 (and you have already covered the cost of them) but in Azure you will need to pay for each extra machine. *
* Both options would need someone to manage AD, IIS and backend solutions. So even thou there is about 20.000$ difference in the case I just described, Azure will ultimately give you a easier and cheaper deployment. Azure also has advanced capabilities, like replication, HA, LB and VPN which always cost extra to implement on-prem.

But I would really like your feedback on this article, anything I’ve missed ?

UPDATE: I also did a comparison between Azure and Amazon EC2 instances as well to see if there was a major difference between the two. I did a comparison between Windows Virtual Machines.

Amazon EC2 instance m3.medium 1 virtual core 3 GHZ, 3,7 GB RAM SSD 1x 4 Where we are running 20 instances fulltime.
Azure Medium Virtual Machines which as 2 x 1,6 GHZ, 3,5 GB of RAM Where we are running 20 instances fulltime

The calculation looks like this. For Windows virtual machines.
 Azure: 20256$ (Both includes 100GB bandwidth)
Amazon: 25836$ (Both includes 100GB bandwidth)

 The calculation for Linux virtual machines.
Azure:  13488$
Amazon: 15012$

 NOTE: that in Azure I choose a 12 month pre-paid plan and therefore got a good rebate. This was not an option that I found in the Amazon Price calculator.

Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 2.0

So this is such a great update I have to blog about it, I have been in many projects involving migrating from VMware to Hyper-V and there of course many options to choose from there. Alas Microsoft had its own Virtual Machine Converter but didn’t have support for the latest version.

Microsoft today released a new version of Virtual MAchine Converter which contains the following updates:

With the release today, you will be able to access many updated features including:

  • Added support for vCenter & ESX(i) 5.5
  • VMware virtual hardware version 4 – 10 support
  • Linux Guest OS migration support including CentOS, Debian, Oracle, Red Hat Enterprise, SuSE enterprise and Ubuntu.

We have also added two great new features:

  • On-Premises VM to Azure VM conversion: You can now migrate your VMware virtual machines straight to Azure. Ease your migration process and take advantage of Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure with a simple wizard driven experience.
  • PowerShell interface for scripting and automation support: Automate your migration via workflow tools including System Center Orchestrator and more. Hook MVMC 2.0 into greater processes including candidate identification and migration activities.


So alot of great new features which should make it even easier to convert Virtual Machines. Also another important factor here is this.

At this time, we are also announcing the expected availability of MVMC 3.0 in fall of 2014. In that release we will be providing physical to virtual (P2V) machine conversion for supported versions of Windows.

Since Microsoft removed this option from SCVMM in R2 release its great that it is coming back. You can download the tool from here –>

Windows 8.1 update 1 released on MSDN today

Microsoft kicked off with its early Build keynote today, where they announced a number of new features coming to Windows Phone 8.1 such as notification center, cortana, and much mroe. They also talked about news coming to Windows 8.1 update 1 including showing of a new start meny which is coming (Not now but later)

Windows 8 Start Menu

Update 1 will be available for the general public at april 8th, but is available now on MSDN.
This update is both for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 ( And consists of a couple of patches)

So there are a couple of new features which are pretty obvious.

Highligthed apps, shutdown button more visible.

image image


Enterprise mode in IE (Needs to be enabled in GP)



Now give it a try!

ill come back with more when I have tried it on Windows Server as well! Smilefjes

New book released! Implementing Netscaler VPX

After a lot of hard work, and a lot of late nights my new book Implementing Netscaler VPX is released!

Implementing Netscaler VPX

The book covers

* Initial setup and deployment scenarioes
* Netscaler Gateway (SSL VPN, ICA proxy, Clientless access)
* Load balancing Exchange, SQL, TFTP, SharePoint, Citrix stuff
* Caching and Compression of web services
* High-availability, application firewall and traffic analysis with builtin tools and WireShark
* Appflow and integration with Netscaler Insigt.

The book can be found here at PacktPub website (Will soon appear on Amazon as well)

This is my second book for Packt Publishing and again has been a unique experience working with them. Would also like to give some credit to my techncial reviewers during the process Daniel Wedel, Kees Baggerman, Anton Van Pelt for giving good feedback.

Hopefully some will find it useful when working with Netscaler! Smilefjes

XenApp & XenDesktop 7.5 released!

Today as promised, Citrix released XenApp & XenDesktop 7.5!
Which can be downloaded from mycitrix here – – –>

This new release contains alot of new interesting features such as integration with SCCM for WoL and integration with Amazon for cloud provisioning (Azure will come later)

It also contains a new release of Storefront 2.5 which allows for SSO to web (Finally!)

You can take a closer look at the admin guide to read more about the new changes here –>

Awarded with Dell Rockstar 2014!

I just received a email from Dell that I was awarded with their community title Dell Rockstar for 2014! For those who are not aware of what Dell Rockstar is, you can read more about it here –>

This is indeed a huge honor and I personally hope that I can contribute to enhance the community even further!

Certification update journey

A long time since I’ve written about certifications. A lot has happend since last time I wrote one of these blog post and this one will be more an internal note for my part but it’s always nice to plan ahead and get things written down, or it will never get done Smilefjes

For my part I’m working alot with virtualization and data center solutions (and of course cloud solutions) therefore I’ve decided to pursue a couple of certifications to validate my skills there. Now this year I’ve decided to start with these exams for cloud and virtulization.

CCNA Data Center (This exam covers alot of different network topics such as LACP, TRILL, implementing Nexus V1000 and such and gives a solid understanding of networking in a datacenter layer, this is recommended for people that already has a CCNA)

Amazon Web Services Certified (The cloud isn’t going away, neither is Amazon. They have already created a certification which covers how to use their own services like cloudformation, EC2 and such and gives you a good understanding of the services that amazon has in their public cloud)

Comptia Storage+ (Comptia is a neutral vendor certification company, Storage+ is an certifiaction that is made in cooperation with SNIA which covers all the basics regarding Storage)

Comptia Server+ (Server+ is much like Storage+ but goes into server hardware aspect)

Comptia Cloud+ (Covers all the different scenarois around cloud computing, like the different ways to deliver cloud solutions, what you need to think about before moving services to the cloud and such. Not a very technical exam but more about strategy and general knowledge

Now these exams aren’t very hard, but it is always good to have the validation that you poccess the knowledge needed Smilefjes

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