XenApp & XenDesktop 7.5 released!

Today as promised, Citrix released XenApp & XenDesktop 7.5!
Which can be downloaded from mycitrix here – – –> http://bit.ly/1gXdots

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 –> http://citrix.edocspdf.com/media/output/en.xenapp-xendesktop.cds-xenapp-xendesktop-75-landing.pdf

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 –> http://en.community.dell.com/p/dcf-rockstars.aspx

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

System Center 2012 tools and third-party extensions

This is something I’ve been meaning to write for some time, since I see new  tools and extensions added to System Center every day. Many of these extensions are powerful and free which many use in their day to day job. So therefore I decided to write down a list of those tools I know free or otherwise(cost money) for the System Center portofolia. This list shows the whole ecosystems around System Center and the possibilities it has!  Im guessing that many here might be new to someone. Hopefully some of these tools are of use to you Smilefjes

And if someone knows of an extension or tool that is not on the list please leave a comment and ill add it to the list ASAP.

Operations Manager

http://www.silect.com/mp-author MPAuthor, allows you to create custom management packs
http://bit.ly/1cRID8M Visio stensils Operations Manager
http://bit.ly/1nl43Fd XML Connector
http://bit.ly/1lXBBrx MPViewer (shows embedded resources in bundles (such as images or scripts), loads MPs asynchronously, and has the ability to Unseal and Unpack MP Bundles.)
http://bit.ly/OnrePp Override Explorer
http://bit.ly/1gaKMwk Override Creater
https://www.nice.de/index.html NICE management packs
http://bit.ly/1nOiLBx Maintance Mode tool
http://bit.ly/1i7tSTQ Microosft Management Packs Wiki
http://www.ozsoft-consulting.com/mp4sap/ SAP Management Packs
http://bit.ly/1i7tViA Management Packs for Veeam
http://bit.ly/Onrhe4 Management Pack for SolarWinds
http://bit.ly/1gqJ2A1 Infront Advanced Server Management PAck
http://bit.ly/1gqJ4aU Brocade Managemement Pack
http://dell.to/1kjzAmv Dell Management PAcks
http://bit.ly/1nOjDGm HP management packs
http://ibm.co/1fvSMN2 IBM management paks
http://bit.ly/1iex297 Managment Packs for Citrix
http://nt-ap.com/PuDSgs Management Packs for NetApp
http://communities.quest.com/community/management-extensions/scom Management Packs extensions from Quest
http://www.opslogix.com/products Management Packs from opslogix
https://devcentral.f5.com/mpack Management packs from F5
https://bridgeways.com/products Management packs from Bridgeway
https://aws.amazon.com/windows/system-center/ Management Pack for Amazon
http://bit.ly/1fUpCsl Visual studio authoring extensions
http://bit.ly/1nl4Beo Management Packs for A10
http://hypervmpe2012.codeplex.com/ Management Pack extensions for Hyper-V

 

Configuration Manager

http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/04/solutions/dcsm-microsoft-system-center Dell Update tools
http://technet.microsoft.com/nb-no/windows/dn475741.aspx MDT 2013
http://www.nowmicro.com/rct/ Right-Click tools
http://bit.ly/1oNtLNX Configuration Manager support center
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36213 Configuration Manager tookit
http://sccmclictr.codeplex.com/ Client Center
http://blog.coretech.dk/kea/coretech-application-e-mail-approval-tool/ CoreTek Application e-mail approval tool
http://blog.coretech.dk/jgs/coretech-package-source-changer/ CoreTek package source changer
http://bit.ly/1i7tTqM Secunia Update manager
http://patchmypc.net/scup Enterprise Update Catalog
http://www.1e.com/it-efficiency/software/shopping-software-deployment/ 1E App store

 

Virtual Machine Manager

http://www.savision.com/products Savision Cloud Repoter
http://www.brocade.com/partnerships/technology-alliance-partners/partner-details/microsoft/microsoft-systems-center/index.page Brocade Load balancer extension
http://www.citrix.com/go/products/xenserver/microsoft-beta.html Citrix integration pack
http://bit.ly/1iCazW0 Cisco integration for Virtual Machine Manager
http://host-sflow.sourceforge.net/host-sflow-scvmm.php sFlow
http://msandbu.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/netscaler-10-1-and-system-center-virtual-machine-manager-provider/ Citrix Netscaler and Virtual Machine manager
http://devcentral.f5.com/LinkClick.aspx?link=http%3a%2f%2fdevcentral.f5.com%2fdownloads%2fplugins%2fF5LoadBalancerPowerShellSetup-214-x64.zip&tabid=73&mid=3221 F5 BIG-IP load balancer extension
http://h20195.www2.hp.com/V2/GetPDF.aspx%2F4AA4-8089ENW.pdf HP Storage add-on
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=29309 Virtual Machine Manager component add-ons and exteions
   

 

Service Manager

http://www.provance.com/products/provance-it-asset-management-pack/overview Provate IT Asset Management
http://www.signatureconsultancy.com/scsm-dashboard.html Singature SCSM dashboard
http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/SCSM-Console-Extensions-ff8a1026 Impacted buisness services
http://www.cireson.com/app-store/scsm-web-console/ Cireson extensions
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38791 Exchange connector 3.0
http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Service-Manager-SendEmail-8171ba70 Send Email
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36214 Service Manager authoring tool
http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkID=232378 Sizing Tool Service Manager
http://www.scutils.com/products/knowledge-base Scutils

Orchestrator

http://www.kelverion.com/integration_packs/ip-citrix-xenddesktop/ Kelverion Integration Packs
http://blog.coretech.dk/jgs/scsm-sco-management-pack-transfer-tool-beta-2-freeware/ Orchestrator management pack transfer tool
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=39622 Orchestrator add-ons and extensions
http://www.eupsco.com/ End-user portal orchestrator
http://smip.codeplex.com/ Social Media integration Pack Orchestrator
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh295851.aspx Microsoft Integration Packs
https://communities.cisco.com/docs/DOC-37155 Cisco UCS integration pack
http://windowtotheprivatecloud.com/using-esi-orchestrator-integration-pack-to-automate-the-creation-of-recoverpoint-protected-cluster-shared-volumes/ EMC integration pack
http://blogs.technet.com/b/privatecloud/archive/2013/10/02/automation-orchestrator-integration-pack-for-powershell-script-execution-version-1-2.aspx PowerShell execution Integration pack
https://scorch.codeplex.com/ Codeplex integration packs
http://www.cloudoscommunity.com/blogs/cid/3840 F5 integration pack
http://sccmclictropalis.codeplex.com/ SCCM client center Integration pack

 

Azure Pack

http://www.cloudcruiser.com/partners/microsoft/ CloudCruiser
   

SCVMM and XenApp 6.5 + PVS = Trouble!

Having been involved in a case for a long time now where a partner wanted to use SCVMM with XenApp 6.5 and PVS 7.1 for a customer and it has not been quite as successfull.

Now I wanted to share some notes with PVS and Hyper-V and what the limitations are there at the moment.

  • First of it is important to note that PVS 7.1 is the only version of provisioning that supports SCVMM 2012 R2, as the support matrix lists.

http://support.citrix.com/servlet/KbServlet/download/36944-102-708649/CitrixSupportedHypervisors.pdf

  • Using PVS with Hyper-V is now functional with PVS 7.1 this requires Legacy adapters in Hyper-V since Legacy adapters are the only NICs in Hyper-V that support PXE boot

 

  • Citrix has implemented a failover mechanism between Legacy and Synthetic which means that the streaming traffic can start from the Legacy adapter and then switch to the synthetic.

 

  • Hyper-V 2012 R2 does support PXE with Sythentic devices with Generation 2 Virtual Machines, but THIS IS NOT SUPPORTED BY CITRIX YET.
  • If we for instance are using a VM with two Legacy adapters, Hyper-V will always boot from the last legacy NIC added to the virtual machine, if we are using “Stream VM wizard” in PXE it will add the first NIC in the virtual machine meaning that we get the wrong MAC address in the PVS database
    • Hyper-V creates a new NIC GUID when creating a machine from a tempalte unlike Vmware or XenServer which does not.
    • Stream VM wizard in PVS creates virtual machines from templates which means that NIC’s on the PVS virtual machines get reinitialized when booting and therefore service stop responding since it delays the network start.
    • The only solution to this is to clone machines and then add them manually to PVS like in this CTX article –> http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX128750
    • XenDestkop setup wizard in PVS DOES NOT create virtual machines from template, but clones the virtual machine using a set of PowerShell cmdlets.

Hopefully 7.5 has support for Generation 2 Virtual Machines!

Slow network in Virtual Machines on Hyper-v 2012R2

While working on a Hyper-V project I was noticing that the virtual machines had very sluggish network performance. This was a brand new enviroment with a good bandwidth so therefore I was a bit stumped on why the Network was acting so sluggish.

After doing some testing we saw that the hyper-v host had about 100mbit access to the internet and low latency on the link. The virtual machine that was running on it with a shared network card has about 1/3 of the speed and was getting quite high latency when accessing the internet.

After playing around with the Network driver I tried disabling VMQ on the card and voila! everything worked perfectly. When I saw it was a Broadcom driver and did a quick google search I found that there is a known issue with Broadcom network adapter drivers and VMQ

You can read more about it here –> http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2902166

So if you are having trouble with virtual machines and sluggish network performance with Broadcom drivers, try disabling VMQ Smilefjes

NOTE: I had added the latest Broadcom drivers to the hyper-v host but they did not fix the issue, I contacted Broadcom which gave me a hotfix which I used in this instance.

Office365 74-325 study resources

So I see more and more questions regarding Office365, and therefore I suggest looking on this exam , Administering Office 365 for Small Businesses 74-325 https://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/exam-74-325.aspx

I have taken the exam so therefore I wanted to create a study guide to make it easier to study for this exam. First of I suggest looking at the jumpstart on Microsoft Virtual Academy which covers most of the topics. (This requires a MVA account) http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/administering-office-365-for-small-business-jump-start

Important to note that this exam is purely multiple choice and remember to read the questions carefully.

Also remember to take note of the different PLANs and the amount of users and what it includes in data storage.

I have also added technet articles under each topic. So this is what the exam covers:

Configuration Manager with App-V and SCS

Now been encoutering some cases lately regarding use of App-V and Shared Content Store deployed from Configuration Manager. There are a couple of things that are worth taking note of here.

* Shared Content Store is an client configuration!

This can be enabled either during deployment of the App-V client by using this command.

appv_client_setup.exe /SHAREDCONTENTSTOREMODE=1 /q

Or using PowerShell

Set-AppvClientConfiguration -SharedContentStoreMode 1

The shared content store is very usefull in RSDH / XenApp and VDI implementations since it does not store app-v packages in the local cache. So instead of caching frequest access packages it uses NTFS points to point to a network share instead.

And when using App-V with Citrix PVS is the way to go!

Problem is when using Configuration Manager to deliver the packages to the App-V clients. You have two ways to deliver App-V packages. Either will streaming the content from the distribution point into the cache. Or by downloading the packages from the distribution point and then running the packages.

image

Important thing to note here is that the deployment type must be stream content from distribution point and not Download content from distribution point! since the Configuration Agent handles the App-V delivery it will ignore the SCS setting in the App-V client.

Internet Explorer 10 and WebCache with Roaming profiles

So worked with a issue with Internet Explorer 10 and its webcache and roaming profiles. The trouble is that with IE10 is that it stores its cache in the local appdata folder. (Same goes for IE11) With IE9 we do not have this issue.

This folder –> %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\WebCache

Here it stores the frequently access sites, password and so on.
The problem with using regular roaming users is that that %LocalAppData% folder is not part of the roaming profile user and will always stay on the server a user accessed. So the problem occurs when a user accesses a new server and again needs to build up their resources in IE10.

One solution is to create a group policy which alters the default behaviour of if Localappdata to allow to be part of the roaming profile.

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]

«ExcludeProfileDirs»=»AppData\\Local;AppData\\LocalLow;$Recycle.Bin»

Change to:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]

«ExcludeProfileDirs»=»AppData\\LocalLow;$Recycle.Bin»

This allows the local appdata folder to syncronized with romaing profiles as well. Now this has its advantages since it is easy to setup and easy to change with Group Policy, but it takes everything inside the folder to sync so you might need to look at the size of the romaing profiles. You can also use deduplication feature in Windows Server 2012 to save some space.

Another solution is to create a symlink here we can do it for a particular folder in order to reduze the roaming profile folder.

mklink C:\Users\user\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Internet Explorer \\roamingprofilefolder /D

This needs to be run as administrator in order to take effect, so if you have RES for instance you can run this at logon to setup the link.

Using data dedupliation with Configuration Manager

Microsoft recetly published an blogpost with how we can use data deduplication with Configuration Manager. http://blogs.technet.com/b/configmgrteam/archive/2014/02/18/configuration-manager-distribution-points-and-windows-server-2012-data-deduplication.aspx

Now the reason why you would use Data deduplication is to save space, since this works on a file level it allows us to remove redudant chunks on files within a volume.

So instead of having file with a chuch of A B C D E F F F we would just have A B C D E F, im simple terms . I have written about how to use data deduplication within one of m y previous posts here, this shows how to trigger a schedule and setting it up using PowerShell http://msandbu.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/windows-server-2012-storage-redefined-part-1/

Now in terms of using it with Configuration Manager, there are some couple of things you might want to note.It is supported using data deduplication on a distribution point, but not on the source files. Meaning that we can use deduplication on volumes where the content library is located. This on the other hand, allows us to reduce a good amount of storage on our distribution point, but again it requires that the server is running Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2.

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