Citrix Connector for System Center Configuration manager 7.5 walkthrough

Earlier today, Citrix released their updated System Center Configuration Manager connector to XenDesktop 7.5. It can be downloaded from here –> http://www.citrix.com/downloads/xendesktop/product-software/xendesktop-and-xenapp-75-connector-for-sccm.html note that it requires an mycitrix account in order to download it.

So what does it do ? well a couple of things. Mostly it’s about pushing software out to regular clients and servers including XenApp/XenDesktop servers where the clients might get the XD/XA version of an application. You can also use it to publish applications directly to XD/XA from Configuration Manager which makes it easy to maintain a consistant software library.

Now there are a couple of components here that are needed.

* Citrix Connector Service (This does the syncing, publishing and orchestration jobs between Configuration Manager site and the XA/XD site)

* Citrix DT handler (This component is needed on VDA servers/clients and on managed clients which you want to use the integration between) NOTE: There are different DT handlers for clients and VDA agents

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So in my case I installed the Citrix Connector Service on my site server since it is a demo-enviroment. Now the installation is pretty straight forward.

1

Install both the service and the console extension

2

Enter a service account for the connector serivce

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New in this release is the ability to define maintance windows, in case you want automated deployment to VDA agents.

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Now after the installation is finished there are a few things which should be done first.

Make sure that Configuration Manager client is installed on the VDA agents you want to use with this deployment. Now you should create an application of the DT handler and deploy out to all VDA agents.

  • Using the following installation paramters msiexec /i «CitrixDTHandler_x64.msi» /q
  • Also all applications you want to publish should be pre-created and added to Configuration manager.

Now in my case, I have installed the DThandler on 1 VDA server, and have created 7-zip as an application in Configuration Manager. When we open Configuration Manager Console we have some new options. First of under Assets and Complliance we have the machine catalogs listed up

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First of we need to deploy 7-zip to the machine catalog and VDA agents. After that Configuration Manager has gotten the info that the application has been installed

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We can go ahead and do a publication action. Go into Software library and into Citrix Applications Publications andchoose Create Publication.

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Then we run trough the wizard

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Now the connector has been added a nifty new feature which check if all the prerequistes are in place.

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So after we have done the wizard and the syncronization is complete the application will appear in the XenDesktop studio.

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So now we have successfully installed 7-zip on a VDA agent and successfully published it from Configuration Manager. So this means that the application is available as an resource if the user starts up Citrix Receiver or logs into StoreFront.

Now onto the next option, what if we want users to get applications from Software Center or the Application Catalog (But they can start a citrix session if we want them to?) this is part of the DT handler on the managed clients.

Now let’s deploy 7-zip from Configuration Manager to some managed clients, first of we need to create a new deployment type which references the newly published applications. in the the deployment type choose XenApp

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Under publishing you need to choose the existing Citrix deployment that was published earlier.

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NOTE: Citrix DT handler needs to be installed on the clients.

Now go trough the wizard and after you are done with the wizard you need to give the XenApp deployment type a lower priority then the other option.

Now after you have created the deployment type and you want to deploy the appliaction you need to choose the clients or the users which are defined in the delivery groups

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Now if you head over to the application portal on a managed client with a valid user, the application will appear.

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Now if you click this application the configuration manager agent and the DT components will interact and publish the application in the receiver. If you have a valid single-sign-on deployment working on your Xendesktop enviroment you can see that 7-zip is published on the managed clients desktop

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this is a quick walkthrough but it gives you the quick overview of what you can use this connector with. You can also integrate it with MCS and PVS, also we can integrate App-V applications. Also important to remember that with XenDesktop 7.5 you can integrate with Configuration Manager for Wake on lan functionality.

#citrix, #configuation-manager-connector, #configuration-manager, #xenapp, #xendesktop

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
http://www.nice.de 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
https://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
   

#configuration-manager, #operations-manager, #system-center, #virtual-machine-manager

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.

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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.

#app-v, #configuration-manager, #shared-content-store

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 https://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.

#configuration-manager, #system-center-2012

My little System Center book project!

For sometime now I have been occupied with my little book project, it has taken a lot of time from my blogging since it has been completely new territory for my part. But! it has been a unique learning experience and I think that I’ve never been this good a using Word… Ever!

A while back a publisher contacted me and asked if I was interested in writing a book for them, at first I thought nah… don’t have the time and capasity to finish this in time.. But after thinking about it a couple of days I thought when am I going to get this opportunity again ? Therefore I said yes! and fast forward a couple of months ahead and here I am with the finished product.

So allow me to introduce my little book

Configuration Manager 2012 High-availability and Performance Tuning

Microsoft SCCM High Availability and Performance Tuning

 http://www.packtpub.com/microsoft-sccm-high-availability-and-performance-tuning/book

FThis is the first time I’ve ever written anything that was over 10 pages (Yes including school as well) and it has been a unique experience and I wish to thanks the publisher Packt www.packtpub.com who has given me this opportunity.

I also wish to thank my reviewers
Marius Skovli and Dragos Madarasan for good feedback in the review process.

#configmgr, #configuration-manager, #sccm, #sysctr, #system-center

XenDesktop 7 and Configuration Manager (Project Loki)

With the release of XenDesktop 7 I was eager to see if there were any integrations with Configuration Manager, but no not yet….
Citrix also recently released an update to the Configuraiton Manager connector (Project thor) and there it was announced that Citrix is wokring on a new project called Loki, which is a connector between XenDesktop 7 and Configuration Manager!

You can see it here –> http://blogs.citrix.com/2013/09/25/getting-started-with-the-xenapp-sccm-connector-youll-find-this-useful/#comment-111648

Will this allow you to use the App-V capabilities from within Configuration Manager to XenDesktop instead of having a standalone App-V enviroment ?

Looking forward to it!

#configuration-manager, #loki, #xendesktop-7

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

#citrix, #configuration-manager, #intune, #sysctr, #system-center-2012, #xenmobile