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Automating Citrix Netscaler and PowerShell

This is something I have been wanting to do for some time now, and now that I am doing a lot of research for my upcoming book, this subject poped up in my head…. How can we automate setup on a Citrix Netscaler ?

Citrix Netscaler has a NITRO protocol which is in essence a REST interface, which means that we have an API to communicate with on the Netscaler. We can also make custom applications using C# and JAVA since within the NITRO SDK comes with common libraries for both.

You can download the Netscaler SDK for each build in mycitrix.com
Link to the latest SDK –> http://www.citrix.com/downloads/netscaler-adc/sdks/netscaler-sdk-release-101.html

Extract the Csharp tar file and browse into the lib folder. Here we have to import the two library files.

$path1 = Resolve-Path Newtonsoft.Json.dll
[System.Reflection.Assembly]::LoadFile($path1)
$path = Resolve-Path nitro.dll
[System.Reflection.Assembly]::LoadFile($path)

After we have imported the library files we can start a connection to Netscaler. First of we can either code the variables here NSIP, Username and password before or we can use read-host command. In this example the NSIP of the Netscaler is set to 192.168.88.3 and the username and password is default nsroot Smilefjes As you can see security is my top priority Smilefjes

$nsip = «192.168.88.3″
$user = «nsroot»
$pass = «nsroot»

$nitrosession = new-object com.citrix.netscaler.nitro.service.nitro_service($nsip,”http”)
$session = $nitrosession.login($user,$pass)

This COM object is the one that contains the common services against the Netscaler for instance

  • Login / Logout
  • Save Config
  • Restart
  • Enable / Disable features

If we wanted to for instance do a restart we would need to use the same object. For instance some examples to save config and restart.

$session = $nitrosession.save_config()

$session = $nitrosession.reboot($true)

Since the Com object is already loaded we can just run the commands directly. Just to name a few (refer to the SDK documentation for info about all the classes)
So what are some of the basic configurations that we need to do on a Netscaler? First of we need to change the default hostname for instance.

$hostname = New-Object com.citrix.netscaler.nitro.resource.config.ns.nshostname
$hostname.hostname = «NSpowershell»;
$ret_value=[com.citrix.netscaler.nitro.resource.config.ns.nshostname]::update($nitrosession,$hostname) 

Next we should also add an DNS server to the Netscaler so It can do hostname lookups.

$dns = New-object com.citrix.netscaler.nitro.resource.config.dns.dnsnameserver
$dns.ip = «192.168.88.10″;
$ret_value=[ com.citrix.netscaler.nitro.resource.config.dns.dnsnameserver]::add($nitrosession,$dns)

And then if we want it to do load-balancing we first need to add a server or two which we want it to load-balace.

$server1 = New-Object com.citrix.netscaler.nitro.resource.config.basic.server
$server1.name = «Powershell»;
$server1.ipaddress = «192.168.88.100″;  
$ret_value=[com.citrix.netscaler.nitro.resource.config.basic.server]::add($nitrosession,$server1)

Next we need to bind that server to a service.

$service1 = New-Object com.citrix.netscaler.nitro.resource.config.basic.service
$service1.name = «IIS»;
$service1.servicetype = «HTTP»;
$service1.monitor_name_svc =»http»;
$service1.port=»80″;
$service1.servername=»MSSQL»;
$ret_value=[com.citrix.netscaler.nitro.resource.config.basic.service]::add($nitrosession,$service1)

And lastly create a load balanced vServer and do a service to vServer binding.

$lbvserver1 = New-Object com.citrix.netscaler.nitro.resource.config.lb.lbvserver
$lbvserver1.name=”lbvip_sample”;
$lbvserver1.servicetype=”http”;
$lbvserver1.port=»8080″;
$lbvserver1.ipv46=»192.168.88.25″;
$lbvserver1.lbmethod=»ROUNDROBIN»;
$lbvserver1.servicename=»IIS»      
$ret_value=[com.citrix.netscaler.nitro.resource.config.lb.lbvserver]::add($nitrosession,$lbvserver1)

$lb_to_service = New-object com.citrix.netscaler.nitro.resource.config.lb.lbvserver_service_binding
$lb_to_service.name = «lbvip_sample»;
$lb_to_service.servicename = «IIS»;
$ret_value=[com.citrix.netscaler.nitro.resource.config.lb.lbvserver_service_binding]::add($nitrosession,$lb_to_service)

And of course lastly remember to save the config of the Netscaler

So there you have it, some example Netscaler/PowerShell commands! I just getting started here myself so I will return when I have some more usefull commands and im going to make a custom setup script as well Smilefjes

Cross platform monitoring System Center Operations Manager

First of, this is a looong post Smilefjes

This is a subject that actually I presented at the NIC conferance in Norway in january.
How we can use Operations Manager to monitor other worksloads other then Microsoft / Windows. Since in most enterprises they have a lot of different platforms such as:
Linux, Vmware, Citrix, Cisco, Microsoft and of course many are looking at towards cloud solutions such as Amazon and Azure.

So im going to show short on each topic how we can use operations manager to monitor all of these solutions.

Now by itself Operations Manager has a good extensive list of monitoring options against Microsoft workloads such as

* Exchange
* SharePoint
* System Center
* Lync
* Active Directory

You can see here for a comprehensive list of Management Packs available for Operations Manager –> http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/16174.microsoft-management-packs.aspx

And of course there is support for Network devices and some Unix/Linux distroes.

The list of supported Network Devices is here –> http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=26831 Note that operations manager uses SNMP and ICMP for monitoring Network devices.

For UNIX/LINUX based devices you have a newly added managmenet pack –> http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=29696
It supports CentOS, SUSE Linux, Red Hat, Solaris and Ubuntu and so on.

Now all of the options i’ve list so far is built-in capabilities. Operations Manager works with using agents (Except for Network devices) you have an agent installed, you import a management pack which contains the logic such as rules and alerts, views and reports and you start getting notifications.

So when monitoring for instance Hyper-V we need an agent installed on our Hyper-V agents and the Hyper-V management pack.  There is also an VMM management pack which gives us a more detailed overovew of our Hyper-V / Cloud infrastructure
Hyper-V

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VMM

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Monitoring Citrix Netscaler

For Network devices, we need to have the SNMP service installed on our management server. This can be done using Server Manager or the PowerShell command.

Install-Windowsfeature SNMP-service

After that is done we define the service to allow SNMP packets from hosts.

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After this is done we have to do some changes to the network device. If we for instance want to monitor Citrix Netscaler we first need to download Netscaler management pack from Citrix. If we have a Netscaler running in our enviroment we have a download pane in the GUI

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And download the management pack

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Then import the management pack to SCOM. Which can be done under administation –> management packs –> import.

Then we have to add some SNMP configuration to Netscaler to allow it to communicate with SCOM. This can be done using the CLI command

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Community string is used for authentication against the SCOM server.  Next we need to run a network discovery rule

Make sure that the default account here has the same credentials as the community string we entered on the Netscaler

ns1

Then under Devices, enter IP address and choose SNMP version 1 / 2 and bind the run account

ns1

After we ran the discovery we have the Netscaler device appear in our infrastructure under network devices.

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Monitoring XenDesktop

Monitoring XenDesktop 7.x requires a Managment Pack from a Citrix partner called ComTrade. They make Management Packs for most of the Citrix products. The setup is pretty basic and install the agent that they come with on the XenDesktop Controller and on the Management Server and add an license

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Import the management Packs for XenDesktop.We also have to define the agent installed on the XenDesktop Delivery Controller as an Proxy, this allows it to fetch data outside of its object.

And voila we have a custom view for XenDesktop which gives us a good overview of the Site and can also view how many sessions on the site.

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As a part of the transition to the Cloud many are looking at a hybrid cloud solution where we have a combined on-premise and a public cloud provider, but one of the problems that appear is monitoring cloud services on the cloud provider.

Monitoring XenServer

Again, since this is a Citrix product it requires a management pack from ComTrade. XenServer is using a custom built FreeBSD so we cannot use the regular Unix/linux management pack to monitor it. On theo ther hand using the Management Pack from ComTrade gives us the total overview.

In order to monitor a XenServer we need a regular server running as an proxy agent. This server will be running as an Xenserver management proxy, so this will connect to the XenServer pool and gather data and report back to Management Server.

First we need again to enter a connection to the pool from the proxy agent

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Then enter a license (or else the agent will not forward any information at all)

and voila!
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Monitoring Azure

Monitoring services in Azure is not as easy as It seems, we can use S2S VPN and have an agent installed on all VMs running there, or setup a gateway server but this only covers the virtual machines and does not cover the other roles there.

Microsoft luckily created a managmenet pack that we can use to monitor Azure services directly from Operations Manager. You can find it here –> http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38414

After importing the management pack we will get a new pane under Administration called Windows Azure, here we have to setup Operations Manager against an Azure account we wish to monitor.

Here we have to enter a subscription ID and a Management Certificate against our account

After we are done here, we acn go to authoring and setup  Azure monitoring. Since it by default does not start to monitor objects in Azure, we have to define which objets it should monitor.

Here we can monitor our Cloud Services, Subscription, Virtual Machines and Storage Containers. So after we have configured what we want it to monitor it will start generating alerts.

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Monitoring Amazon Web Services

Amazon has done a good job when creating its Management Pack for Web Services. (Which can be downloaded from here –> https://aws.amazon.com/windows/system-center/

It contains good information and gives a good overview of most of your infrastructure running in Amazon.

To setup monitoring, import the management pack. Go into Authoring pane and run the Amazon Web Services under Management Pack objects. Here we need to define a watcher node (which will be used to communicate with Amazon as define a run as account.
The run as account should be in form of an Access Key ID and the Secret Access ID using Basic Authentication.

After we have that setup it will start gathering info and start monitoring objects as they appear.

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Monitoring Unix/Linux agents

Monitoring Unix/Linux requires that we import the management pack for monitoring Unix/Linux, which can be found here –> http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=29696

Now in my case I want to monitor ubuntu, then I need to use the Universal Linux MP. Since ubuntu does not have its own management pack. After I’ve imported that I have to setup two accounts under Adminsitration –> Unix/Linux accounts

ONe for agent maintance and one for monitoring.  Both of these have to be bound to a profile. (You can see more about accounts which need to be defined here –> http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh287150.aspx)

After that we have to setup a discovery (note the linux server needs to be entered with a DNS name)

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Monitoring VMware

Monitoring VMware from operations manager, requires an Management pack from Veeam.
The management pack requires that we have some extra components installed on a server which has an Operations manager agent installed. This server is used to communicate with vCenter and get info from the Vmware enviroment.

These components are web services which allow communication flow

•Veeam Vmware Collector

•Veeam Virtualization Extensions Services

•Veeam Virtualization Extensions UI

(These components can be installed on the same server)

After these components has been installed we have to setup connection to vCenter from the Extensions Services web gui.

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After this is done we will start to get information into Operations Manager.

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Now there are also some other Management Packs which are on Microsoft Pinpoint which shows other third party products which we can monitor from Operations Manager.
Many third party vendors do not have their management pack available on Pinpoint to contact your vendor in case you are unsure if they have a management pack.  Important to note that this is just to show the possbilities we have with Operations Manager, important to many management packs will in many cases slow down your setup and requires alot of tuning before it works as you want it to Smilefjes

XenApp 7.5 the return of XenApp

So after the public announcement Citrix made earlier today, it was clear that they are going to bring back XenApp to life more or less. You can see more about the product here –>

Not quite, even thou it is called XenApp it is still running the XenDesktop FMA architecture beneath. The reason why they are bringing the XenApp name ? because of the brand, since many people are very familiar with the name and the concept it brings. Since many think of XenDesktop as an VDI solution.

It will again be available as the same versions that it was before, Advanced, Enterprise and platinum. Thus meaning the end of XenDesktop app edition (Since this is actually the XenApp functionality) Customers that have XenDesktop App edition have the same functionality as XenApp Enterprise 7.5

So what does XenApp 7.5 bring to the playing field ?

Hybrid Cloud provisioning  – To AWS and Cloudplatform (No Azure here! will come later) gives the ability to provision XenApp servers directly in to the cloud provider.

And for existing XenApp 6.5 customers you have more mobile HDX funcionality to provider an better application delivery to mobile devices.

So for those that were hoping for a full return of XenApp, well it just marketing group that is doing a name change to the existing productline to use its branding to its full potential Smilefjes

So the 7.5 product line is rumored to be released in the summer, is it going to be interesting to see what Project Merlin will bring besides the hybrid cloud provisioning Smilefjes

 

Also you can see what else is available here, it will be released in March

http://www.citrix.com/products/xenapp/whats-new.html

http://www.citrix.com/products/xendesktop/whats-new.html

Netscaler, new java and new problems

So the latest Java update Version 7 Update 51 again contains new updates and again more security fixes. Alas it also stops Netscaler from working. Even thou Citrix released a new build today 123.81 it does not working with the latest version.

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In order to fix the issue we need to add the netscaler URL to a JAVA exception, open the control panel applet.

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And choose Edit Site list and add an exception.

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After that, restart the browser and start again Smilefjes

Citrix XenMobile exam 1Y0-370 exam

Citrix just recently released a XenMobile exam covering much from ZenPrice (MDM function) AppController, Storefront, Netscaler Gateway, Worxapps and such.

More about the exam can be found here, Study info –> http://training.citrix.com/resources/Exam%20Prep%20Guides/370/1Y0-370%20Designing%20Deploying%20and%20Managing%20Citrix%20XenMobile%20Solutions%20Preparation%20Guide.pdf 

After taking this exam it will give you the title of Citrix Certified Professional – Mobility.

Now the following CTX articles might give you a pointer in the right direction regarding what’s covered in the exam

Configure Netscaler Gateway with AppController –> http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX139319

How to view patches installed on ZDM Server –>
http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX136968

Configure AppController to provide STA tickets for Worxmail –>
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xmob-deployment/xmob-appc-config-sta-tsk.html

Deploying XenMobile Netscaler Connector –>
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xmob-xnc-85/xmob-xnc-deploy-wrapper-con.html

Install XenMobile Netscaler Connector –>
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xmob-xnc-85/xmob-xnc-install-wrapper-con.html

Manage XenMobile Netscaler Connector –>
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xmob-xnc-85/xmob-xnc-manage-wrapper-con.html

Monitor XenMobile Netscaler Connector –>
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xmob-xnc-85/xmob-xnc-monitor-wrapper-con.html

Evaluating XenMobile Effects on Device Battery LIfe –>
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenmobile-connect-users/xmob-worx-about-batterylife-con.html

Configure High-availability on Device Manager –> http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xmob-dm-85/xmob-dm-manage-ha-wrapper-con.html

Configure High-availability on AppController –>
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/appcontroller-28/xmob-appc-ha-wrapper-con.html

Install Device Manager –>
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xmob-dm-85/xmob-dm-install-setup-wizard-tsk.html

Enrolling users –>
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xmob-dm-85/xmob-dm-connect-enroll-usersdevices-wrapper-con.html

Recovering a Primary StorageZones connector –>
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/sharefile-storagezones-21/sf-manage-restore-primary.html

Installing XenMobile mail manager –>
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xmob-xmm-85/xmob-xmm-install-wrapper-con.html

Configuring Location Services for Devices –>
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xmob-dm-8/xm-dm-locationsvs-wrapper-con.html

Configuring Automated Actions –>
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xmob-dm-config-86/xmob-dm-auto-actions-wrapper-con.html

XenMobile Pre installation –>
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xmob-deployment/xmob-deploy-xenmobile-checklist-con.html

Configuring MDX policies for iOS apps in AppController –>
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/appcontroller-28/xmob-appc-mobile-apps-policies-ios-con.html

Configuring enrollment modes –>
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xmob-dm-8/xmob-dm-connect-config-enroll-mode-con.html

MDX policies –>
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/appcontroller-28/xmob-appc-mobile-app-suite-policies-overview-con.html

Configure GotoAssist with XenMobile –<
http://support.citrixonline.com/en_US/gotoassist%20express/knowledge_articles/000123065?title=How+to+Configure+GoToAssist+for+XenMobile%7D

Managing Devices –>
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xmob-dm-config-86/xmob-dm-manage-devices-wrapper-con.html

Addind Apps for Android –>
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xmob-dm-config-86/xmob-dm-add-app-android-con.html

Adding Apps for iOS –>
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xmob-dm-config-86/xmob-dm-add-app-ios-con.html

And read the prep guide to make sure you understand all the Objectives that are covered further down in the list, this will make you better prepared for what questions might pop up.

You can read it here –> http://bit.ly/1cPanxu

Netscaler Insight and Integration with XenDesktop Director

This is another one of Citrix hidden gems, Netscaler Insight. This product has been available from Citrix some time now, but with the latest update in became alot more useful. Insight is an virtual applance from Citrix which gathers AppFlow data and statistics from Netscaler to show performance data, kinda like old Edgesight. (NOTE: In order to use this functionality against Netscaler it requires atleast Netscaler Enterprise or Platinum)

Insight has two specific functions, called Web Insight and HDX insight.
Web Insight shows traffic related to web-traffic, for instance how many users, what ip-adresses, what kind of content etc.
HDX Insight is related to Access Gateway functionality of Citrix to show for instance how many users have accessed the solution, what kind of applications have they used, what kind of latency did the clients have to the netscaler etc.

You can download this VPX from mycitrix under Netscaler downloads, important to note as of now it is only supported on Vmware and XenServer (They haven’t mentioned any support coming for Hyper-V but I’m guessing its coming.

The setup is pretty simple like a regular Netscaler we need to define an IP-address and subnet mask (Note that the VPX does not require an license since it will only gather data from Netscaler appliances that have a platform license and it does not work on regular Netscaler gateways)

After we have setup the Insight VPX we can access it via web-gui, the username and password here is the same as Netscaler nsroot & nsroot

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After this is setup we need to enable the insight features, we can start by setting up HDX insight, here we need to define a expression that allows all Gateway traffic to be gathered.
Here we just need to enable VPN equals true. We can also add mulitple Netscalers here, if you have a cluster or HA setup we need to add both nodes.

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After we have added the node, just choose configure on the node and choose VPN from the list and choose expression true.

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Now for Web insight we need to define an expression for instnace I can use an hostname expression and define a website that I have using DNS. This will start gathering appflow data when clients are accessing websites having the hostname web in it.

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After a while now we can see that info is starting to appear in Insight, we can “drill” down in the data to show different metrics.

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I can go into a user and show his sessions

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And I can show what kind of applications the user has been running

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For web insight we can see what kind of URLs that are accessed

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And I can see what clients have accessed the URL

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Now that is the first part, the Insight will not just sit there and gather data. The next part is to integrate this with Director to allow helpdesk users to user this data together with the Edgesight feature which is now a part of XenDesktop 7.

To integrate this we need to install Director on a server, next we need to run a command C:\inetpub\wwwroot\Director\tools\DirectorConfig.exe  /confignetscaler

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After this is done do an IIS reset and log into Director again.
We can now go into the Network pane and see the data that is collected.

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Note: There are some requirements that need to be in place in order for it to function properly.

  • NetScaler HDX Insight must  be v10.1 or above.
  • XenDesktop VDA version 7.0 and above are supported by HDX Insight and NetScaler.
  • Storefront from the XenDesktop 7.0 installer or above versions can be used to launch the user sessions.
  • Receiver for Mac v11.8 and Windows Receiver 14.0 (4.0) and above are required for accurate ICA RTT metrics.

XenDesktop 7.1 TechPreview Service Template

Citrix released yesterday a tech preview of their Service Template for XenDesktop 7.1 for System Center Virtual Machine Manager.
This template allows for rapid and easy deployment of an entire XenDesktop 7 infrastructure, including setup of Director, License Server, Desktop Delivery Controller and Storefront.

It does not by default include Netscaler as part of the that template but that is something we can add to the “mix” later.
the Techpreview of the template can be downloaded from mycitrix here –> https://www.citrix.com/downloads/xendesktop/betas-and-tech-previews/system-center-service-template-tech-preview.html (This requires a valid mycitrix account) it has a template for XenDesktop and for PVS.

ill continue on with the XenDesktop template and show how it is deployed.
The template contains a bunch of PowerShell scripts, XenDesktop 7.1 ISO file and the template file itself, in order to fully setup the template it needs to VMM ISO file and a generalized 2012 VHD file.

After we have downloaded the template file open VMM –>
Then go into Library and Import Template –>

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Then point to the extracted XenDesktop folder.
Then choose next, now we need to point the template to the different ISO files and generalized 2012 template.

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After that is done and the mappings are correct we can contine on with the importing.

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This will take some time since it needs to import the XenDesktop to the library. When we now go into Service Templates we can see XenDesktop listed as an option there. If we right click and choose “Open Designer” we can see how the layout will look like.

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Now if we wanted to we could use the Netscaler integration as well to deploy multiple DCC and Storefronts and automatically setup a load balancing of these services as part of the deployment. Lets see how that can be done using the Service Template. (Note that this integration is still not support in 2012 R2) (UPDATED: IT WORKS) but for the purpose of demonstrating how it CAN be done ill show it anyways. So after we have installed the addon and created a VIP template for DCC and one for Storefront we can open the designer again.

Next we can connect the VIP profiles to the different components, one DCC VIP template for DCC and one for Storefront which has different load balancing mechanisms setup.

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Now If I where to configure a deployment of this. I can configure the amount of each server I want in order to ensure scailability and redudancy.
When I start the deploy wizard I get a question to define what is my management network.

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Here I can define what is the backend of the netscaler and what the VIP addres of the load balancing solution is going to be.

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But since the integration between Netscaler and VMM is not functioning in R2 ill need to get back on that in a later post (UPDATE IT WORKS). But if I go into one of the servers I can see the application scripts that are run in order to setup a functional site.

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If I for instance have ComTrade installed on Operations Manager in order to have monitoring of my Citrix enviroment I can add this as a Application Configuration in the last step to have a complete, XenDesktop 7 setup with load balanced Netscaler solution and have complete monitoring using Operations Manager.

This is the power of Citrix and Microsoft!

Netscaler tips and tricks

So the purpose of this post is to post different tips and tricks with Netscaler, so this is going to be updated from time to time. So it’s what I call a dynamic post Smilefjes
Now there are a tons of different areas to explore here, but im going to start easy.

1: Password reset Netscaler MPX / VPX
Now from time to time you might come by this, you have a customer which has a Netscaler setup and they have forgotten the password for the device. What do you do ?

If you have a MPX you need to connect to the device using a serial cable and use for instance Putty to connect to the serial port.  If you have an VPX you just need to open the console. Now when the device boots you need to press CTRL + C now on the VPX it is simple the boot menu appears

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Then you just press 4 and go into single user mode. On the MPX we have to press CTRL + C simultaneously as well when the following appears in the console

Press [Ctrl-C] for command prompt, or any other key to boot immediately.
Booting [kernel] in 2 seconds…

Now to start the MPX in single-user mode you have to type either boot –s or reboot — -s to restart in single user mode. When you are in single user mode the console will look like this.

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Next we have to mount the flash device since this is where the config file resides. Now on different devices this flash device has different names http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX121853

For VPX this device is called /dev/ad0s1a
So first we have to check disk consistency first before we can mount the device.

fsck /dev/ad0s1a (This checks disk consistency)

mount/dev/ad0s1a/flash (This mounts the drive under the folder /flash )

df –l (List the devices and where they are mounted)

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Next we need to change directory to the flash drive where the config file is located.
cd /flash/nsconfig from there

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Next we use a grep command to create a new config file but without the line which contains the passoword string.
grep –v “set system user nsroot” ns.conf > new.conf

Next we need to rename the current config to another name
mv ns.conf old.ns.conf
mv new.conf ns.conf

After this is done we have a new config file without the password for nsroot and we can reboot.

2: Use of profiles
A feature that I don’t see so commonly used and I think that is because of its not a obvious known feature, so let’s change that. When setting up virtual services you have the option to define a network profile attached to this service.

For instance the netscaler has many built-in TCP profiles which can help with improving the perfomane on a service either over LAN or WAN. These profiles tune different settings on the TCP stack and a desricption for each TCP profile can be found here –> http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/ns-system-10-map/ns-ac-confg-tcp-profl-tsk.html

For instance on virtual services you have an profile pane where we can define which Profile to use.

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If for instance you are using this only in a LAN you should use the nstcp_lan_profile. By changing this you will note the performance increase it has.

3: Change GUI on Gateway portal

Now in many cases you want to customize the GUI of the default Netscaler Gateway Vserver.

Now this is possible but not as easy as with Storefront… Smilefjes
First of we need to do some changes within the Netscaler Gateway GUI.

Change setting to Green Bubble under global settings on a Access Gateway vServer (if you want to use it as an template)

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Then we can make customizations, we can do this by opening for instance a FTP connection to the netscaler (with for instance winSCP) The gui is located under /netsacler/ns_gui
Changes which are done here can be viewed in real-time.

For instance if we wish to change the background image we can add a new image to the folder /var/netscaler/gui/vpn/media by added a new image by the name bg_bubbles.jpg to replace the old background. (Now I’ve changed it with a picture from the familiy album.

image

If we wish to change the text that appears in the portal we can change this under /vpn/resources/en.xml (This file contains most of the text that appears in the portal.
So after a few changes here we can get this.

image

Now if we want to same this custom theme, we first need to create a folder called ns_gui_custom under the /var/ folder.

This can in shell by writing  mkdir /var/ns_gui_custom

Next change directory to /netscaler by typing: cd /netscaler

Now we to archive the ns_gui folder: tar -cvzf /var/ns_gui_custom/customtheme.tar.gz ns_gui/* This is because when the netscaler boots it exports the tar file to the nsgui folder.
After this is done we need to change the vServer global settings to custom theme and reboot to make sure it applies properly Smilefjes

4: Trouble with VIP in a DMZ site

So you have a two armed Netscaler solution where you have a SNIP, NSIP in the LAN network which talk to your backend servers and AD and DNS as such, and then you setup a VIP in the DMZ sone where you host your Access Gateway vServer, you reckon it should work.
But you are unable to ping the VIP address and you are uanble to open the vServer HTTPS.

You can see that the Default Gateway is going trough the LAN interface and when you want to change the gateway you get this error

The solution you need to have a SNIP address in the DMZ sone with the VIP address, this is because a VIP address is not “fully” features network IP unless it has a SNIP on the same network.

XenDesktop 7.1 available!

As Citrix promised, XenDesktop 7.1 is now available for downloading requires mycitrix –>  http://bit.ly/H1i0of but with this release they include support for Microsoft R2 plattforms and Windows 8.1

For those that wish to update from XenDesktop 7 can look at the information at eDocs here –> http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xendesktop-71/cds-xd-upgrade-xd7-to-7-1.html

ill post my experience regarding the update later on today Smilefjes

XenMobile vs Configuration Manager & Intune

So this is a discussion I often meet, and will come across more the next weeks and months ahead I belive Smilefjes
Many of the customers I work with are often a full blowen Citrix customer or more forwards Microsoft.

Many are facing the discussion mobility how do we embrace it ? (or from another point of view, how do we manage it ?) and they are doing some research and find often that XenMobile or Intune shows up. So whats the difference between the two ?

Citrix has a long time been the master of delivering workspaces to a user and to any type of device, and with the release of CloudGateway Enterprise they were entering towards delivering mobile based features (for instance allowing them to deliver mobile based applications to a user device trough Citrix client) and with the purchase of ZenPrise last year they went full in. Zenprise was a fullblown MDM solution and now they have integratet CloudGateway (Cloudgateway was the old product which included Storefront, Gateway and AppController) with ZenPrise which is now known as XenMobile Enterprise.

This fits well for Citrix’s image (any device anywhere) and now they can manage any device as well (as long as it is mobile). Also they have developed sandboxed based applications under the category Worx and they can also deploy any applications from the vendors different stores. These Worx applications use Micro-VPN functionality to connect to the infrastructure and are completely seperated from other apps inside the mobile client.
To break it down in components XenMobile (Enterprise) consists of
* Netscaler (Gateway)
* Storefront
* AppController
* XenMobile MDM
* Sharefile

Then on the other side you have Microsoft, which is coming from a client management standpoint, and they have been there for quite some time. With the latest release of Configuration Manager, Microsoft released a connection with Intune which allowed buisneses to manage mobile devices via Intune directly from Configuration Manager.
So all mobile devices needed to be setup to talk to Intune in order to be managed.
Configuration Manager has also expanding it support to include Linux / Mac / Thin Clients as well as mobile devices with Intune, so microsoft has operated in the management part for a long time.
Instead of aiminig for a on-premise solution Microsoft har put everything in their cloud. So whenever Microsoft deployes a new feature to Intune every customer of Intune gets it without needing to do anything.
They also have an integration to exchange to allow the IT-guys to control mobile devices trough Active Sync (this also includes Office 365)
There is a new intune release coming with a new release of Configuration Manager the 18th of October.

But can these two products compete?
Well… they have some of the same features which is device management, Citrix has more advanced features with XenMobile and with Worx and Micro-VPN etc. Microsoft has full support for Windows phone and Windows RT (And coming with iOS and Android with an company portal app pretty soon) and Intune might have what you need but nothing fancy.

What we need to remember is that Configuration Manager is a fullblown client management suite, with patching, deploying operating systems, applications, baselining, antivirus, with Intune it gets mobile device management capability. XenMobile is not in this category, it gives you mobile management, mobile application management, sandboxing applications, give any device application delivery trough Citrix Receiver.

So if you are a System Center customer with Configuration Manager and your IT-guys use ConfigMgr for management, adding Intune might be an easy way to go ahead, and by using Intune you leave the feature set to Microsoft, they need to continue development and will add more features as new release become available (So you will get the new releases for free since its a cloud based solution which you get buy a monthly basis). For other customers which needs advanced features such as selective wipe and the ability to seperate buisness and private data and more advanced security features and deep suppor for all vendors (Except Windows) XenMobile is for you. Zenprise was one of the market leading vendors before Citrix bought them up.

If you compare the cost (for Intune the cost pr user is 6$ pr month so for one year you have 72 USD. You also need Configuration Manager for it to make any sense.) You can also get a discount if you are EAS or EA agreement already which makes Intune more viable.
XenMobile Enterprise on the other hand is not so much more expensive then a regular Intune subscribtion of course it requires alot more infrastructure then Intune does.

So hopefully you got a bit more understanding on what seperates Intune from XenMobile! Smilefjes

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