Bloggarkiv

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!

Citrix on Microsoft Azure

This is huge news! Microsoft Azure has for some time now had a solid IaaS platform with suppor for most of the different Windows Server roles and features, except the most importent one RDS.

Since Microsoft until recently didn’t allow for use of RDS or other options like Citrix to run against Azure, (because of the licensing) people would have to use on-premise solutions until that was allowed / fixed
But now with the latest changes on the Volume Licensing agreement http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/product-licensing.aspx#tab=2 you can now bring SPLA based RDS sal usage in the cloud.

Now this brings two options for a service provider in Azure.

* Session Shared Terminal Servers
* Server VDI Workers (VM/Server Isolation)

So first of, this makes ALL of the different Citrix components supported in Azure not just XenDesktop 7, of course this restricts itself such as RemotePC cannot be used there.

And Citrix has also created two design guides for how you can setup Citric XenApp / XenDesktop in Microsoft Azure. This also requires that users enter to the citrix servers trough a Netscaler gateway on-premise.

http://bit.ly/12podxp XenDesktop 7

http://bit.ly/185lKOv XenApp 6.5

And im guessing with the next release of XenDesktop 7 (Project Merlin) will include provisioning options against Azure but until that arrives we will have to manually provision and use PowerShell. Since also Citrix and Microsoft has a strong relationship im guessing that more options on how to host Citrix in Azure will appear.

Citrix Project Excalibur training

Citrix has released a number of training videos regarding Project Excalibur, you can find them in the links below.

Part 1, Excalibur introduction
http://bit.ly/PN7vHD

Part 2, Excalibur installation
http://bit.ly/Q5Cq3o

Part 3, Citrix Studio
http://bit.ly/ZnP5z1

Part 4, Master Image
http://bit.ly/Z847K3

Part 5, Citrix Storefront
http://bit.ly/UvDMFG

Part 6, Machine Catalog
http://bit.ly/Z83Oi5

Part 7, Deliver Groups
http://bit.ly/RQdI3K

Part 8, Delivering Applications
http://bit.ly/WT60vN

Part 9, Citrix Receiver
http://bit.ly/SUzWTz

Part 10, Citrix Director
http://bit.ly/W0bHlu

Citrix Project Excalibur

For those that have been living under a rock for the last month or so (or hasn’t been to much involved in Citrix in a while) Citrix has just released a tech preview of their new solution (Which is at the
moment called Project Excalibur) Project Excalibur is the merging of XenDesktop and XenApp also with other components such as Storefront, the DDC and Citrix Studio(Desktop Studio)
And now with the merging of these products, the whole XenApp architecture is gone, there is no more IMA just FMA so no more Zones, Data Stores and so on.. It is much more reliant on the SQL database.

Now for those that aren’t so familiar with the Citrix terms and product names ill give a brief intro:

Receiver.
Receiver provides users with self-service access to resources published on
XenApp or XenDesktop servers. Receiver combines ease of deployment and use, and
offers quick, secure access to hosted applications, desktops, and data. Receiver also
provides on-demand access to Windows, Web, and Software as a Service (SaaS)
applications.

StoreFront.
StoreFront authenticates users to XenDesktop sites and manages stores
of desktops and applications that users access.

Studio.
Studio enables you to configure and manage your XenDesktop deployment.
Studio provides various wizards to guide you through the process of setting up your
environment, creating your desktops, and assigning desktops to users.

Delivery Controller.
The Delivery Controller is responsible for distributing
applications and desktops, managing user access, and optimizing connections to
applications. Each site has one or more delivery controllers.

Server OS Machines. (XenApp)
VMs or physical machines based on Windows Server operating
system used for delivering applications or hosted shared desktops to users.

Desktop OS Machines. (XenDesktop)
VMs or physical machines based on Windows Desktop
operating system used for delivering personalized desktops to users, or applications
from desktop operating systems.

This is a quick overview of how the topology is:

image

Also for those that are familiar with XenApp the term farm is now gone, it is now called a site
The Zone master function is also gone, in this release the function is distributed evenly across all controllers in a site.

Now lets take a walkthrough of the installation.
BTW: All of this was installed on one virtual server.

1

Now as you see there are basically two components here, Delivery Controller and you have the Deliver Agent.
The Studio can be installed as part of the delivery controller.

2

So since this is my first setup I’m going to install the Delivery Controller.With all the components!

3

This setup will also install a local SQL Express 2008 R2 if you choose it, (Which I only recommend for test / labs etc )

5

The Setup will also configure the firewall for incoming connections. After the setup is completed, you can have auto launch of the Studio where we can configure everything.

8

And now remember that farms are now switched out with Sites. So we are going to start with creating an empty site.

9

10

11

So here we just defined a name for the Site, and assigned a license to that site. After that is done we can start the “real” configuration.

12

Before we continue here I wish to explain what the different options here are –>
image

Search: says itself
Machine Catalog: A group of VMs or physical machines (For earlier XA people think of it as Worker Groups Smile
Deliver Groups: This is where you assign applications and desktops to users.
Applications: This is where to publish applications you wish to use.
HDX policy: Old Group Policy management
Logging: Configuration logging.
Configuration
Administration:
Here you set site administrator
Controllers: Here you have an overview of the site controllers
Hosting: Here you have the overview of what hosting environment you have, vSphere, SCVMM or XenServer.
Licensing: Overview of the license server.
Profile Management: Here you can define policy settings such as folder redirection etc (You can see how it is defined in the picture below)
20

Now Citrix has also implemented a lot of other nice to have features in the GUI for instance the PowerShell pane, shows all the commands that have been run as PowerShell commands.

22

And you also have a nice overview of the license usage.

24

Now part 1 of Excalibur post is complete, more will follow. Stay tuned Smile
But for System Center people like me there are new possibilities to get here.
Citrix recently released Project Thor which allows for an integration for XenApp into Configuration Manager. I’m exited to see what kind of integrations you can get here.

So something missing here, session lingering and session prelaunch where did it go?!!?

What was new at Citrix Synergy Barcelona

Wow! The last couple of days there has been a storm of Twitter activity around the Synergy conference in Barcelona (and for those that weren’t able to attend, including myself) There is a lot of new stuff happening around Citrix these days, so therefore I thought it would be a good idea to try to summarize what’s new on the Citrix front (Note that I can’t cover everything so if someone has more info regarding certain subjects or news that flew straight passed me, please send me some feedback either by adding a comment on the post or sending me an e-mail msandbu@gmail.com or pref twitter https//twitter.com/msandbu

Now I want to start first with (what I think is a huge deal)
Citrix and Cisco have now made an “alliance” what that means is still yet to come,  but you can read more about it at this news article here –> http://www.citrix.com/news/announcements/oct-2012/cisco-and-citrix-expand-partnership/_jcr_content.html
But there will be focused on integrating Netscaler and ASA appliances, V1000 coming to XenServer, integrating Cisco Jabber client with Receiver 
And since Cisco has stopped down further production of their load-balancing module ACE (Which will be EoL in 2015)Citrix has now announced a campaign to convert from ACE to Netscaler and get 20% of regular MPX prices –> http://blogs.citrix.com/2012/10/17/introducing_amp/ So this is indeed going to be interesting to see what happens further into the future.

Second thing is the Citrix and NetApp alliance, where NetApp is coming with own components which integrates with for instance XenServer.
You can read more about it here –> http://www.citrix.com/news/announcements/oct-2012/citrix-and-netapp-collaborate-to-simplify-cloud-storage/_jcr_content.html

And a couple of days before that, Citrix also announced a partnership with Palo Alto (Which is firewall provider) You can read more about it here –> http://researchcenter.paloaltonetworks.com/2012/10/perspective-on-the-citrix-and-palo-alto-networks-partnership/

So what is Citrix doing with all these partnerships?
Well what is Citrix good at? on the networking front they have one of the best load-balancing solution (Of course Netscaler can do more then just that) but by joining forces with Cisco and Palo Alto they can get the best of three worlds within Networking. And with the alliance with NetApp they have more storage integration. So with this they will cover all of the components within an infrastructure. 
Now with partners like Windows, Cisco, NetApp, Palo Alto it is indeed going to be interesting.

Windows 8 Welcome!
Citrix has embraced Windows 8 and will therefore come with support Windows 8 very soon.
http://blogs.citrix.com/2012/10/17/welcome-windows-8/

And there is already a Citrix Receiver client out in the Windows Store for Windows 8. But more will come later.and

New version of HDX Optimization pack for Microsoft Lync 1.1
This new feature includes featuring PBX/PSTN integration (Enterprise Voice), conformance to Microsoft Call Admission Control specifications, Enhanced Emergency Services support, and other valuable enhancements that truly round out this important new capability for customers planning to embrace Lync video chat at scale.
http://blogs.citrix.com/2012/09/18/hdx-seminar-to-reveal-a-lot-more-than-windows-8-support/

Desktop Virtualization
New VDI-IN-A-BOX 5.2 review will demonstrate optimizations for Microsoft Lync, support for the latest hypervisor technologies including Microsoft Windows 2012 HyperV, Citrix XenServer® 6.1 and VMware vSphere 5.1. The tech preview will support the Citrix Storefront for unified access to any Citrix CloudGateway delivered service.
http://blogs.citrix.com/2012/10/17/staying-current-with-latest-technologies-with-vdi-in-a-box-tech-preview/

Mobile Desktop Virtualization
Xenclient Enterprise 4.5 XenClient extends Citrix XenDesktop® FlexCast to include the management of physical PCs and secures mobile laptops for disconnected operation. The tech preview includes support for third-generation Intel® Core™ processors, Microsoft Windows 8, and ultrabooks. You can read more about it here –> http://www.citrix.com/news/announcements/oct-2012/citrix-extends-xenclient-to-windows-8-and-ultrabooks

Speeding Migration to Windows 7 and Beyond – Supporting the upcoming general availability of new Microsoft technologies, the next release of Citrix AppDNA application lifecycle management software includes early access features for application testing on Windows 8, Internet Explorer 10 and Windows Server 2012.http://blogs.citrix.com/2012/10/16/expanded-no-charge-application-compatibility-trial-for-application-migration-initiatives-even-windows-8/

GotoAssist to deliver “one-stop” shop for IT Support
This will provide the tools to monitor servers, and with helpdesk support tools that follows ITIL. (Much like SCOM and SCSM from MIcrosoft)
http://www.citrix.com/news/announcements/oct-2012/citrix-gotoassist-delivers-one-stop-shop-for-IT-support/_jcr_content.html

Sharefile
On-premise storage available! It allows you to make existing folders available for the users so you don’t have to create new folders for the users. There are also loads of more features available

  • ShareFile with StorageZones – Organizations now have the flexibility to manage their data on-premises in customer-managed StorageZones or choose Citrix-managed StorageZones (secure cloud options available in seven locations around the world) or a mix of both. With customer-managed StorageZones, IT can place data in their organization’s own datacenter to help meet unique data sovereignty and compliance requirements while optimizing performance by storing data in close proximity to the user. By defining where data should be stored, IT is able to build the most cost-effective and customized solution for their organization. Customer-managed StorageZones can be easily integrated with an organization’s existing infrastructure as it is designed to support any Common Internet File System (CIFS)-based network share.
  • ShareFile StorageZones MPX Appliance – To further simplify deployment of customer-managed StorageZones in a customer’s private datacenter, Citrix will deliver a new purpose-built StorageZones MPX appliance powered by Citrix NetScaler®. The device will add value to customer-managed StorageZones deployments by offering integrated security and optimizing networks and will work effortlessly with existing storage environments.
  • StorageZone Connectors – The company’s follow-me data strategy now extends beyond the data stored in ShareFile. Working in conjunction with customer-managed StorageZones, StorageZone Connectors let IT create a secure connection between the ShareFile service and user data stored in existing network shares. This innovative capability makes it easy for end users to securely access their work documents on mobile devices through ShareFile apps for iPad and iPhone (support for other devices coming soon), regardless of where the data is actually stored. This approach extends all the simplicity and mobile access benefits of ShareFile to existing data storage platforms, without the need for data migration. Using the new ShareFile StorageZone Connectors, it is now possible to securely view and share documents from network file shares, which otherwise cannot be accessed outside of corporate networks or on mobile devices.
  • On-demand Sync – The new on-demand sync capability of ShareFile for Windows is designed for pooled and hosted shared virtual desktop environments, including those powered by Citrix XenDesktop® and Citrix XenApp®. Typically in such environments, users sync all their data every time they log into their virtual desktops, putting substantial load on the network, bandwidth and storage. With on-demand sync, users will continue to view all their files and folders within their virtual desktop just like they do today. However, files download and sync only when the user views, edits, saves or shares, resulting in huge reductions in Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS) and slashing storage requirements.
  • Windows 8 Compatibility – Citrix announced availability of compatible versions of ShareFile Sync for Windows and Microsoft Outlook Plug-in.
  • ShareFile for Microsoft Azure – To provide more cloud storage options to customers, Citrix announced plans to deliver Citrix-managed StorageZones onMicrosoft Azure in 2013. This integration will allow ShareFile customers to leverage all the reliable and powerful capabilities of Microsoft Azure by letting them designate data across a seamless global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. These additional locations will also allow IT to place data close to users to enhance performance.

Present content from the IPad with Citrix GoToMeeting

  • Launch a meeting and invite attendees with just a few taps.
  • Change presenter so another person can show their screen.
  • Present your content by simply browsing to it or opening email attachments (iPad only).
  • Easily share content from ShareFile or Dropbox during a meeting (iPad only).
  • Brainstorm with the onscreen highlighter and whiteboard (iPad only).

http://www.citrix.com/news/announcements/oct-2012/mobile-online-meetings-just-keep-getting-better-with-new-ways-to-launch-and-present-content-from-the-ipad-with-citrix-gotomeeting/_jcr_content.html

Secure E-mail and Web on mobile with @WorkMail @WorkWeb apps
Which allows secure e-mail reading and surfing from iOS and Android.
http://www.citrix.com/news/announcements/oct-2012/citrix-boosts-its-enterprise-mobility-solution-with-new-workmail-and-workweb-apps/_jcr_content.html
http://www.citrix.com/products/cloudgateway/whats-new.html?ntref=hp_promo_CG-new

Excalibur and Merlin releases, which is the next release of Avalon
http://www.citrix.com/news/announcements/oct-2012/citrix-unveils-next-phase-of-project-avalon-at-synergy/_jcr_content.html

New GoToMyPc
Access to remote PC from Kindle Fire and Android Phones or Tablets.
http://www.citrix.com/news/announcements/oct-2012/citrix-gotomypc-offers-total-mobility-with-app-for-kindle-fire-and-android/_jcr_content.html

Netscaler 101

The last couple of days I’ve seen a lot of traffic on my blog regarding the posts on Netscaler ( And I don’t have so many of them!) And with the recent events regarding Cisco ACE and Microsoft Forefront TMG, I’m guessing that a lot of people are looking into the option to switch over to Citrix.
Cisco has always been huge in the networking market, but in the ADC (Application Delivery Controller) market they have never gotten the huge market share that they were hoping for, therefore a couple of weeks ago they decided to stop further development of their ACE product. And in similar events Microsoft decided to stop further development on their TMG product. TMG is not the same product like Netscaler/ACE/BIG-IP thou it has a lot of the same functions and features.

So back to Netscaler what can it offer:
* Advanced load balancing
* Content and app caching
* Database load balancing
* Application Firewall
* Secure Remote Access
* Advanced server offload
* Application acceleration
* Integration with Citrix
      * Access Gateway features
      * Web interface
* Scale up and Scale Out features

You can read more about the different features here –>
http://www.citrix.com/products/netscaler-application-delivery-controller/features.html

Now the Netscaler product comes in 3 Different versions.

MPX: Which is the hardware appliance, is again split up into different models,
http://www.citrix.com/products/netscaler-application-delivery-controller/features/platforms/mpx.html
As you can see most of the models here have a “pay-as-you-grow” options, so for instance if you buy a MPX 7500 and your company is growing and you need more throughput you can upgrade your 7500 to a 9500. So it’s the same hardware as before you just “unlock” more features.
You can see all the different models and features here –> http://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products/netscalerdatasheetaugust2012.pdf

VPX: Is a software based virtual appliance, which is available for Hyper-V, VMware and XenServer.
http://www.citrix.com/products/netscaler-application-delivery-controller/features/platforms/vpx.html
Here as well you have a “pay-as-you-grow” solution so you can upgrade it if you need more throughput, the downside to using a VPX is that it does not have  hardware based SSL acceleration (which the MPX has), which allows for a lot less SSL connections.

SDX: Is the best of both worlds. It is a hardware appliance like the MPX but in also has capabilities of running VPX. So it’s a piece of hardware which basically runs a stripped down XenServer which allows to run multiple VPX inside. And since this piece of hardware has SSL acceleration capabilities it does not have downside of a regular VPX. It allows for up to 40 VPX’s and that will allow for true multi-tenancy.
You also have the “pay-as-you-grow” option here.
http://www.citrix.com/products/netscaler-application-delivery-controller/features/platforms/sdx.html

Also Netscaler comes in 3 Different editions (Like most of Citrix products)
You can see the different editions and their limitations in this datasheet
http://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products/netscalerdatasheetaugust2012.pdf

A summary,
Standard = Use for Load-balancing (Web and DB) also has Citrix Web interface and TCP optimization
Enterprise = For more advanced features – cloud bridge, edgesight for netscaler, branch repeater client.
Platinum = Includes all the features.

So what do I need for my organization ?
Well first of you need to figure out what your needs are.
1: Do I need just the load balancing for my Web-servers?
2: SSL VPN solution and/or SSL offloading?
3: Advanced Web load-balancing and caching and optimization?
4: Multi-tenancy solution ?
5: DDos defenses ? Or do I have a firewall in front which is fully capable ?
6: Just for my Citrix pieces (Access Gateway and Web interface)?
7: SQL load-balancing?
8: How many users do I have?

You also need to calculate the bandwidth usage the service you are going to load-balance, most of the products (for instance Lync) has well documented traffic usage for each feature.
Let’s take an example if I am a small business that just needs to load-balance my 2 webservers for my internal users (and I have 100 of them) the smallest VPX would suffice.
If I am a enterprise service provider and I offer fully multitenancy solution where customers can setup LB for all their services I would recommend a SDX (The best solution regarding version is to start with the lowest system you think you need and upgrade when you need to grow)

So after you have chosen the model (remember that you always need two of them, since if you only have 1 you have a single point of failure). The next part is setting up the device.
Remember that a Netscaler operating system consists of two parts.
1: Part is FreeBSD (The Appliance uses this part for booting and for logging)
2: Part is the core os (NSOS NetscalerOS) Which controls the traffic in / out of the appliance.

When a appliance boots, it will get system image from the flash and decompress and put it into the ram. The config file is also fetched from the flash and put into the ram. (Which is know as the running-config)
(You can show the running-config from CLI by running the command, show ns runningconfig if you want to see the saved config you can run the command show ns.conf )
You can access it either via a console (serial cable or console via the hypervisor )

And remember that you can save at anytime by running the command save ns config, if you screwed up you can restart the Netscaler (if you didn’t save your config)

But when you start the NS appliance the first thing you see is that it asks for an IP (Which is known as the NSIP Netscaler IP) Which is used for management purposes and clustering. You also enter a subnet mask and a gateway.

image

After that you can save and quit the config menu and you can now access the appliance via a webconsole. You can also see more info regarding the interface by running the command show ns ip 10.0.0.2

image

As you can see here it says that “Management Access is enabled” and FTP, Telnet, SSH and GUI is enabled.
So we should disable the insecure access methods before we continue. By running the commands set ns ip 10.0.0.2 –telnet disabled and same for FTP
image

And there are other things we should configure as well, change the default password for the user “nsroot
You can do this by running the command config system user nsroot PASSWORD (something very very safe)
image

Also you SHOULD enable NTP sync with a authorized ntp server.
add ntp server IP –minpool integer –maxpool integer
enable ntp sync
image
Now we can log onto the Web GUI.  (Im using version 10 of the Netscaler VPX you can get a free trial for your hypervisor from citrix.com and might add that the web gui is much improved in V10)
image

The default username and password for the local system user on a netscaler is nsroot and nsroot
So after you have logged in you will come to main menu.
image

Its split up into 3 panes (Dashboard, Configuration and Reporting) and what you see here is the configuration pane.
If I go to the Dashboard, you see a lot of read-time information regarding well.. everything you want to see
I can choose if I wish to view SSL connections, TCP handshakes, HTTP traffic etc..

image

The reporting pane is just that, you can create reports and there are a bunch out of the box that we can view as well.
But most of the time we are going to be in the configuration pane.
Now what other things do we need to do in order to load balance a service?
First of we have to design how the netscaler should be placed in our infrastructure, most of the designs are based on
one-arm-mode or two-armed-mode.

In one-arm-mode the netscaler has ONE interface, and on that interface external traffic comes in and the inside traffic out on the same interface (traffic is split by using VLAN’s)
In two-arm-mode the netscaler has TWO interfaces, 1 for external traffic comes in and comes out and 1 for internal traffic. So this is the much more common deployment.

Now in both scenarios the traffic to the back-end servers are flowing as the following.

image
Now when the client connects to the web service as the virtual IP (90.90.90.90) The Netscaler (depending on the LB rules) make a connection to one of the servers which are connected to that virtual service with the Netscaler SNIP(Subnet IP)
The Subnet IP is an address that connects the netscaler to the servers in the backend, so you should have an SNIP address for each subnet you want to have services in.
So SOURCE IP —> VIRTUAL IP (NS) SNIP —-> WEB SERVER 10.0.0.4 (BASED ON LB) so for the web servers it will appear that the connections come from the same IP. And the same will go back to the clients
WEB SERVER –> SNIP (NS) VIRTUAL IP —> SOURCE IP, so for the clients all they see is that one IP address which may house loads of web servers.

Now is there a problem with this ?
Well yeah.. if you have a web server you probably want to have logging in place for the IP address of the client,  now you have the Netscaler option which known as use “Source IP mode”(USIP) which will allow for clients to do a direct connection with the backend servers.  But what is the downfall of this ?
1: TCP Multiplexing which allows for the netscaler appliance to have one connection to the webserver will be disabled when you use Source IP mode.
2: When backend servers see the source IP they will look at their default routing table instead of returning the traffic to the netscaler, so therefore the servers with go with the local gateway instead of the netscaler. When the backend servers try to connect to a TCP connection with the client, the client will drop connection since it is awaiting its response from the Netscaler VIP.
So in the case you use Source IP mode you need to set the default GW on the backend servers to point to the NS.

You can set USIP mode in modes.
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Configuration –> Settings –> Configure Modes –> Use Source IP
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Alternative enable ns mode usip
In case of logging we have another choice(  inject HTTP header option which allows the Netscaler to inject the source IP header into the http request which again allows logs on the webserver to contain the IP-address of the client. )
But in general I would recommend that you don’t use USIP.

Now lets setup a load-balancing configuration.
Before we continue remember that you need to setup at least 3 addresses on the NetScaler
1: NSIP
2: VIP
3: SNIP or MIP

There are a few things we need to find out before we can setup LB, what kind of service to we need to load-balance and what servers are hosting this service. And we need to setup a monitor towards that service as well, this monitor check is the service in the backend is responding on that server, if one server is not responding for a particular service it is taken out of the LB queue. So we need.
1: Servers (The list of servers that have a particular service running
2: Service (What kind of service is it ? Webhosting port 80?
3: Monitors (Checks if the service on the server is responding if not it is taken out of the LB-queue until it start responding again)
4: Virtual IP (a virtual IP address which the Netscaler will respond to)
All this is added together and it creates a load balanced service on a virtual Ip address which consists of the servers in the server list.

So lets go ahead and create a LB service. First we add a VIP and a SNIP
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Go to configuration pane –> IPs and add a IP address. Remember that a VIP is the ip address that the end users are going to connect to, the SNIP is a ip which the netscaler uses to connect to the servers in the backend.
After that go to the load-balancing pane further down below.
Go to servers and add the servers that has a service.
(Remember that this is just a list of servers, you don’t define the services here)
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After that go to monitors –>
As you can see the HTTP monitor is enabled by default
This does a HTTP HEAD command, and if it is working as it should you should get a code 200 response.
You can see this by opening the http monitor
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After that we add the service,
We add a service that runs on port 80 on one server and add the HTTP monitor. (Remember to add this for both servers) And have a very descript full name each service on each server.)

image

Now that we have both services on both servers it should look like this
(In my case I don’t have any hosts on these IP addresses yet so therefore they are stated as Down) because the monitor is trying to do http request on them.

image

Now at alas we will add the virtual server that will point to the http server on these 2 servers in the backend. Go to Load balancing and virtual server –>
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Remember to add both of the services on those servers (If you wish to load balance differently for instance it you have a more power on one of the server you can alter the weight on that server to 2, then this server will take twice the load)
You can also go to method and persistence to change how the service is load balanced. By default it is set to “least connection” that server with least connections will get the next connection, this will happen until they are even. You can also specify persistence (This will define if a client should talk with the same server it spoke with earlier) the most typical choice here is cookie insert for web services. But we will leave it at the default.

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Now I’ve added a HTTP server with actually responds to HTTP
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You can see that is responds to http request if I open a browser to IP 10.0.0.26
And if you are like me and would like to do it via the CLI you can do this.
Run the command add service servername ip http portname

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Next we need to add the services to a virtual IP. (that will do the load balancing )
first we do a add lb vs servicename http ip 80
then we bind the services to that virtual ip
bind lb vs servicename serviceserver

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After that you can do a

sh lb vs v1 to show that if the load balancing is active


 

Phuh! long post, next one will be regarding setting up a cluster on Netscaler, since you would always need 2 x Netscalers so you don’t have a single point of failure. And we are going to integrate authentication with LDAP.
Now I would also recommend that some user look at the command reference sheet from Citrix eDocs
http://support.citrix.com/servlet/KbServlet/download/20679-102-665857/NS-CommandReference-Guide.pdf

Citrix Receiver and auth parameters

So with the latest version of Citrix Receiver you need to enter a URL with the prefix of https when setting up an connection.
For a lab environment you won’t normally have an certificate installed for the service, so then you need to change some keys in the registry to allow the receiver to connect via http

1. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Citrix\AuthManager (for 64-bit machines, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Citrix\AuthManager)
2. Create a new String value called ConnectionSecurityMode.
3. Set the value to Any.
4. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Citrix\Dazzle (for 64-bit machines, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Citrix\DazzleB)
5. Modify the String value called AllowAddStore to A. same for Modify “AllowSavePwd” value to “a” This allows the receiver to store account password

NOTE: I Would never recommend these settings for a production environment!

You could also script this with the installer, you can see more info about it here –>
http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/receiver-31a-windows/ica-configure-command-line.html

Integrating XenApp and Configuration Manager 2012

Finally the day has come, as I mentioned in the previous post the TechPreview of XenApp connector for Configuration Manager 2012 is now released on Citrix.
or as they call it “Project Thor” it allows for a flexible application delivery solution that combines the best of both worlds (Configuration Manager and XenApp)
I’ve managed to deploy the connector and give you a demonstration of how it works.

The package consist of the client components ( Reciver etc) PCM (Power and Capacity Management Components ) And the Connector itself.
The Client Component XenAppDTHandler (Has to be installed on all the clients before you can use XenApp published)

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And we start by installing the connector on the SCCM server.
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Start and accept the license terms,
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Include all the roles and extensions, click next and Install!

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After the install is finished the setup will run the Integration Configuration itself,
So you should create a separate Service Account for this purpose.
You see the requirements it needs.
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Note that if you have created a service account and forgot to add it to “log on as a service” rights Citrix will handle this for you.

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So just click Yes and move forward,

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After that specify a Citrix server that the connector will use. In my case I choose my only Citrix server, (Which has the Data store and the XML service )
Then the setup verifies that I can connect to the server, it not you will get an error message during verification.
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After that you need to enter the Configuration Manager site (the Setup will automatically read the local site it is connected to)
And verify the connection.

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If you get this error message you need to run the following commands.
Enable-PSremoting –Force
Set-item WSman:\localhost\Client\TrustedHosts hostname.domain.local –Force
Restart-Service winrm –Force

Then press Yes and continue.
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Now you get the summary screen, press Apply.
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If everything goes as planned you will get this screen Smile
(NOTE: you can also see these applications appear after the installation )

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Now you can open the Configuration Manager console and under Software –> Application Management you can now see XenApp.
As you can see here we only have 1 option, which is “Create Publication”
This will create an published application on the XenApp server which is avaliable for Configuration Manager
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We can start by publishing an application –>
In this case Notepad (This will by default appear under Applications/ConfigMgr12 on the XenApp console)
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Click next –>
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Choose a XenApp installed application –>
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Choose the Command line click next –>
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This wizard is much like the wizard in XenApp same configuration settings and so on. Click finish.

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And here you have all the advanced settings like encrytion etc.If you open XenApp AppCenter you can now see the application (This update goes every 10 min but you can force an update to the XenApp server by running the sync tool installed)
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so now we can create an deployment type with XenApp.

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With the possibility which comes with SP1 (Mac and Linux support we have loads of options!)
Here we can add the newly created Notepad ( I fixed the display name before running the wizard Smile
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Click next –> And we can create requirements for this deployment.
ill write more about this feature as soon as I have the time, with integration of SP1 as well, stay tuned Smile

NOTE: If you have some issues with the connector you can review the log files found under C:\Program Files\Citrix\XenApp Connector for ConfigMgr 2012\Connector Service\logs
NOTE: There is also created an Collection which consists of the XenApp servers. Do not edit this, the connector will add all the XenApp servers automatically from the farm.

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XenApp Connector for Configuration Manager in Tech preview

The long awaited connector for XenApp to Configuration Manager 2012 is now available for TechPreview on Mycitrix.com
Link here –> https://t.co/bPPw0Eny

You can see a video regarding  the functionality here –> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CncS4Tp3Vgg&feature=youtu.be

Ill come back with more when I get to work with the details about it Smile

Citrix XenApp infrastructure.

Something we all have struggled with is how a XenApp farm communicates internally (Okay maybe not all of us, but some :) ). There are a lot of services and roles involved, and unless you have done your research it can be troublesome to get the overview you need.
So hopefully you will be able to understand a bit more about how xenapp communicates after you have read this post.

First there are a couple of terms that you need to know.

Zones
A zone is a grouping of XenApp servers that communicate with a common data collector. In large farms with multiple zones, each zone has a server designated as its data collector. Data collectors in farms with more than one zone function as communication gateways with the other zone data collectors. The data collector maintains all load and session information for the servers in its zone. All farms have at least one zone, even small ones. The fewest number of zones should be implemented, with one being optimal. Multiple zones are necessary only in large farms that span WANs.

Data Store port 1433 for MSSQL server
The data store is the database where servers store farm static information, such as configuration information about published applications, users, printers, and servers. Each server farm has a single data store.
This usually resides on a MSSQL server.

Data Collector
A data collector is a server that hosts an in-memory database that maintains dynamic information about the servers in the zone, such as server loads, session status, published applications, users connected, and license usage. Data collectors receive incremental data updates and queries from servers within the zone. Data collectors relay information to all other data collectors in the farm. By default, the data collector is configured on the first server when you create the farm, and all other servers configured with the controller server mode have equal rights to become the data collector if the data collector fails. When the zone’s data collector fails, a data collector election occurs and another server takes over the data collector functionality. Farms determine the data collector based on the election preferences set for a server. Applications are typically not published on the data collector.

Web Interface
The Web Interface is where where users access their applications using either Receiver (PNagent service site) or a Web browser.

Citrix XML Broker and the Web Interface
The Citrix XML Broker functions as an intermediary between the other servers in the farm and the Web Interface. When a user authenticates to the Web Interface.The XML Broker Receives the user’s credentials from the Web Interface and queries the server farm for a list of published applications that the user has permission to access. The XML Broker retrieves this application set from the Independent Management Architecture (IMA) system and returns it to the Web Interface.

Independent Management Architecture (IMA) port 2512
Is a service that is used for transferring the background information between Xenapp servers, including server load, current users and connections, and licenses in use.

Independent Computing Architecture (ICA) port 1494
Is a protocol that is used for client-to-server connections.

Local Host Cache (LHC)
A local cache of the data store, which allows a server to function in the absence of data store.

I have setup a basic diagram here, which contains a basic setup in Xenapp. Which consists of a
1 * data collector
1 * data store
1 * web interface
And a bunch of Xenapp servers.
And of course we have the users that connect from the wan to the servers.

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So lets go trough a couple of scenarios.

What happens when you add a new server to this farm (lets say server 4)
1: Server 4 via the IMA service establishes a connection to the data store for the farm. The service then downloads the information it needs to initialize. It also check that the data in the LHC is current.
2: When the IMA service is the started, it registers with the data collector for the farm and publishes what applications the server is contributing to.

What happens when a client connects to a server? (lets say client 1)
1: The client requests the data collector to resolve the published application to the IP address of the least loaded servers in the farm.
2: The Data collector checks what server has the published applications available, and has the least load.
3. The client then connects to the least loaded server returned by the data collector.
4. The member server then updates its information to the data collector via the IMA service.

What happens if the Data collector goes down ?
1. Data collector server goes down.
2. The servers in the zone recognize that the data collector has gone down and start the election process. In this example the back up data collector is elected as the new data collector for the zone.
3. The member servers in the zone then send all of their information to the new data collector for the zone. This is a function of the number each server has of sessions, disconnected session, and applications.
4. In turn, the new data collector replicates this information to all other data collectors in the farm.
(Incase you have to set a preferred backup data collector) http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp65-admin/ps-console-zones-config-v2.html

Even if a Data collector is unavailable the servers will continue to function. The users that are already logged in will not be affected.

What happens if a update a setting on a Xenapp server?
1. you make some changes in the Appcenter Server Console affecting all the servers in the farm.
2. The server that the Appcenter Console is connected to updates its LHC and write the change to the data store via IMA.
3. The member server then forwards the change to the data collector for the zone in which it resides. The data collector updates its LHC.
4. The data collector in turn forwards the change to all the member servers in its zone. All servers update their LHCs with the change.

What happens if the Data store goes down ?
1. Data store Server goes down (And you have a backup from the Data store available, If you don’t you would have to recreate all the farm settings) dsmaint backup takes a backup of the data store.
2. Run a dsmaint migrate to migrate the settings to a new data store.

Even if a Data store is unavailable the LHC contains enough information about the farm to allow normal operations for an indefinite period of time. However, no new information can be published, or added to the farm, until the farm data store is online.

If you need to start from scratch with a new data store, prepare a new data store the way you did before configuring XenApp and run the Server Configuration Tool from any farm server. After running the Server Configuration Tool, manually reenter the lost settings. If you use the same name as he previous data store, you do not need to reconfigure the farm servers.

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