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Zones in Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop 7.11

On 14 September Citrix released XenApp/XenDesktop 7.11. Each release Citrix adds several enhancement [ ... ]

E2EVC 2016 Rome Day 1

On the 18th of November E2EVC Rome started. I arrived right on time to jump into the actual start of [ ... ]

DuCUG 2016-2

On the 14th of October we held our 10th DuCUG event already. With two events a year, it was also our [ ... ]

E2EVC 2016 Rome Day 2

Already day two of E2EVC after a nice night out. Most of the people are still recovering, but many w [ ... ]

Unattended Installation scripts XenDesktop 7.x Part 5

In the earlier articles I wrote down how to install unattended the XenDesktop components. The article was based on the versions of XenDesktop 7.6 till XenDesktop 7.11 (dependent of the article). Currently Citrix is releasing every quarter a new version, so it’s time to update the articles with the new installation information of later release(s) based on XenDesktop/XenApp 7.12 and XenDesktop/XenApp 7.13.

Read more: Unattended Installation scripts XenDesktop 7.x Part 5

Installing and configuring Citrix XenDesktop Linux VDA

Citrix released the Linux VDA back together with the XenDesktop 7.6. At the moment of writing the article Citrix released version 1.4 of the Linux VDA. For previous version Citrix released a PDF with the installation and configuration steps, for 1.4 this is currently only available in the edocs. Unfortunate both available options are not fully complete, are missing some steps (for some environments) and/or are using not the best commands or steps. Luckily I was at a customer with lots of Linux knowledge and we got is sorted pretty quickly. In this article I will write down the steps we configured the Linux VDA.

Read more: Installing and configuring Citrix XenDesktop Linux VDA

Unattended Installation scripts XenDesktop 7.x Part 4

In the earlier articles I wrote down how to install unattended the XenDesktop components. The article was based on the versions of XenDesktop 7.6 till XenDesktop 7.8 (dependent of the article). Currently Citrix is releasing every quarter a new version, so it’s time to update the articles with the new installation information of later release(s) based on XenDesktop/XenApp 7.9 and XenDesktop/XenApp 7.11.

Read more: Unattended Installation scripts XenDesktop 7.x Part 4

Configure Single Sign On (SSON) for Citrix Receiver

Citrix Single Sign-On or Pass-through is already for a really long time. The configuration is not changed a lot in this years, however when I was configuring this at a customer it took me again some time before it was running. The configuration with the latest Receivers is changed a bit and there is not (I could not find it) total step by step guide for setting-up the Single Sign On (SSON). In this article I will write down the steps to set-up SSON including a granular way within an Enterprise organization using Citrix Receiver 4.x and XenApp/XenDesktop 7.x.

Read more: Configure Single Sign On (SSON) for Citrix Receiver

Unattended Installation scripts XenDesktop 7.x Part 3

In the second part I shared the scripts and RES One Automation Building Blocks to install unattended a PVS based XenDesktop 7.6 Server VDA. In part 1 the scripts for the Delivery Controller were shared. In this part three article I will show/share the unattended scripts for StoreFront and Director.

Read more: Unattended Installation scripts XenDesktop 7.x Part 3

Unattended Installation scripts XenDesktop 7.x Part 2 (including RES One Automation Building Blocks)

In part 1 I shared my unattended script for installing the Citrix XenDesktop Delivery Controller component including a small script to join an existing XenDesktop site. In this article I will share my scripts for the Virtual Desktop Agent (VDA) including the PVS Target Device software, VDA Optimization and Default User Profile Optimization. Those scripts are also available as a RES One Automation Building Block.

Read more: Unattended Installation scripts XenDesktop 7.x Part 2 (including RES One Automation Building Blocks)

Unattended Installation scripts XenDesktop 7.x Part 1

As many people already stated it’s important that you automate repeating tasks as much as possible. Therefore I already published articles in which I shared scripts to install unattended Citrix products like Citrix XenApp 6.5 and Citrix Provisioning Services 6.1. With the release of XenDesktop 7.x I see a shift that only the VDA component is installed unattended and most times the Delivery Controller, StoreFront are installed manually. Also several people already published blogs about the (basic) silent parameters of the XenDesktop installation. So you can wonder why I’m also publishing the scripts. Mainly because I also added additional installation checks including additional hotfixes and updates. I also have RES One Automation blocks available for the installation part of the VDA (including PVS Target Device software) and that part is not yet (much) available in other posts.

Read more: Unattended Installation scripts XenDesktop 7.x Part 1

Multi Factor authentication with SMS Passcode without sending an (actual) SMS

Multi faction authentication (nowadays multifactor authentication) is becoming majority in the upcoming years. One of my favorite product is SMS Passcode, which is on the market for years. SMS Passcode offers multi factor authentication for a big range of available products/solutions in the market. Besides it is really easy to implement, within a few hours the environment is up and running. The default delivering method is sending a SMS via your own GSM modems. However within several datacenters the connection of GSM modem is difficult. Therefore SMS Passcode has the possibility to use an external SMS provider an alternative. However when you the companies offering a Desktop/Application as a Service the cost of the SMS (both with GSM model as SMS service provider) can be a bottleneck as the users don’t belong to the same organization (and cannot have a company subscription). However for this challenge SMS Passcode has a solution together with Acision (formerly named as MindMatics). In this article I will describe the solution and how to configure it.

Read more: Multi Factor authentication with SMS Passcode without sending an (actual) SMS

XenApp 6.x Maintenance Shutdown and Start-up Scripts

At one of my customers we build a XenApp 6.5 environment, where the XenApp Session Hosts were running on local storage of the Hypervisor (VMware ESX 5.5). At this customer the hypervisor and Citrix XenApp were maintained by separate teams. The hypervisor team was used to use shared storage and the vMotion capabilities of ESX for their maintenance tasks on the ESX host during daily operations. However now the virtual machines were running local storage this technique could not be used anymore and the hypervisor team found it difficult to fulfill their maintenance tasks.

After some discussion we agreed that the process should be as easy as possible (without less inference of the XenApp team) and that it should be possible to do the maintenance during daily operations. The first step was adding additional capacity, so maintenance during the business hours was possible. Secondly I wrote a set of small simple scripts that the maintenance can be done without less interaction between the teams and user impact is minimal. In this article I would like to share those scripts with you including explaining what they are doing.

Read more: XenApp 6.x Maintenance Shutdown and Start-up Scripts

Reboot Script for XenApp/XenDesktop 7.x (for 24x7 environments)

Updated on 22 December 2015 with some small adjustments (removing old files and wait timeout to check if the server is online again)

Some years ago I already published a reboot script for XenApp 6.5. Also Citrix did a good job to make the reboot possibilities within the Citrix policies more flexible and robust. The only real disadvantage is the possibility to disable the logon possibilities 60 minutes before the real actual reboot take place. However this can be overwritten using a specific registry key, which is not well known or documented (HKLM\Software\Policies\Citrix\IMA\Restart Options\Disable Logons\RebootDisableLogonMinutes. When migrating from XenApp 6.5 to XenApp/ XenDesktop 7.x you will probably be a bit disappointed. In this article I will starting describe the reboot possibilities in XenApp/XenDesktop 7.x out of the box, followed by explaining a script that I have written to satisfy more requirements.

Read more: Reboot Script for XenApp/XenDesktop 7.x (for 24x7 environments)

Citrix Provisioning Services PowerShell scripts

In the article series Unattended Installation Citrix Provisioning Services I already touched the PowerShell possibilities of PVS showing how to configure farm and server settings via PowerShell. In the same project I already wrote some additional PowerShell scripts to partly automate some tasks within the PVS infrastructure, so no mistakes could be made. Although they are not rocket science I decided to share them, as some commands are not fully obvious when reading the PowerShell Guide.

Read more: Citrix Provisioning Services PowerShell scripts

Monitoring Citrix XenApp without installing a monitor agent

In larger infrastructures there is already a monitor product available like HP Open View, Tivoli Monitoring and Microsoft System Operations Manager. Many Citrix administrators have a kind of love-hate relationship with such products. They provide lots of interesting information, but can be overwhelming and last but not least the required agent is not easy to install and/or stable. At one of my project the monitoring team was not confident that the agent of that product was suitable to install on the Citrix XenApp Session Host as those were provided by Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS). Logically we would like to have monitoring of these servers in place, so we needed to find a solution which can be used together with the monitor product. Finally the solution leads to a general way to monitor Citrix XenApp server without installing a monitor agent on the Citrix XenApp Session Host.

Read more: Monitoring Citrix XenApp without installing a monitor agent

Unattended Installation Citrix Provisioning Services 6.1 Part 3

In the previous Unattended Installation Citrix Provisioning Services articles I explained how PVS can be installed automated via scripts. In most cases these articles are enough for most infrastructures. However if you would like to set-up more PVS environments it would be nice if could reuse the scripts and/or the answerfiles by making them variable. For one of my customers this was the case and I did that using PowerShell (their default scripting language). So actually this third part is more a PowerShell for dummies articles (I do not have much PowerShell knowledge, but this assignment showed me how powerful PowerShell is) than about the unattended installation but it gives a good insight in the possibilities.

Read more: Unattended Installation Citrix Provisioning Services 6.1 Part 3

Citrix Provisioning Services: To PXE or not to PXE

With Citrix Provisioning Services the client (called target device) need to use “something” to connect to the PVS server to start the streaming process of the operating systems within the vDisk to target device. The default connection is using the PXE technique combined with TFTP, but Citrix also offers another technique called Boot Device Manager (BDM). In this article I will go both options using pros and cons (through my eyes) and how you can work around the cons (of both techniques). At the end I will give my vision which technique to use (in which scenarios).

Read more: Citrix Provisioning Services: To PXE or not to PXE

Unattended installation Citrix Provisioning Services 6.1 Part 1

Unattended installation of Front-End products like Citrix XenApp 6.5 or Windows 7 is really commodity nowadays. Unattended installations of back-end components are done less, which is actually logically. Such components are not installed in large amounts and are only executed once (per version). However more and more back-end components can be installed silently, mainly for the large enterprises. For such environments where the amounts of servers are higher, the efforts to set-up an unattended installation are worth doing those actions in comparison with manually install those servers. Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS) offers unattended installation and configuration and at one of my project we needed to install more than 10 Provisioning Services servers. This is definitely a use case to use the unattended possibilities of Citrix Provisioning Services. In this article I will explain how you can install Citrix Provisioning Services unattended including my experiences with it so far.

Read more: Unattended installation Citrix Provisioning Services 6.1 Part 1

Using RES Workspace Manager to secure your environment

Although User Environment Management (UEM) becomes more and more important in almost every company it is getting easier to convince the IT people and management of purchasing the UEM. However there are still people who just see such a product as a logon script replacement, which can also be done using scripting or Group Policy Preferences. I’m not writing this article to discuss or argue about that statement as you can do actually a lot of the same configuration with scripts or Group Policy Preferences for the basic set-up like printer assignment, network mappings and so on. However UEM products offer much more other functionalities like Profile Management, E-mail management, Trouble Shooting tools, Performance Management and additional Security Management. This last one can be a real important added value for lot of companies, but is often not taken into account by the decision to use/purchase a UEM product. In this article I will focus on the security part showing/describing the features available in RES Workspace Manager 2012 (most of those features are also available in other UEM products as well) and provide you with use cases where those features were implemented and created an added value for that company.

Read more: Using RES Workspace Manager to secure your environment

Citrix Load Balancing Policies XenApp 6.x explained

When I checked the statistics of the VanBragt.Net Virtualization website I noticed that several connections were based on search for Citrix Load Balancing. That brought me to the idea to write some more about it. In the same time in one of my project the Load Balancing part came into the picture so I can also share/use my personal experiences in the article. This article will describe when and why you would like to use Citrix Load Balancing and how you need to configure it.

Before we really start the article handles Citrix Load Balancing Policies which should not be confused with Citrix Load Evaluators which are often also called Citrix Load Balancing. The Load Evaluators are used to divide users equally over servers based on user load and/or used resources. However Load Balancing Policies are a step before that process by specifying which group of servers should be used to start the session on.

Update: As Andrew stated in the comments this component will only work when connecting via Access Gateway, Web Interface of Cloud Gateway. Old methods (like TCP via HTTP) often used on Thin Clients will ignore the configuration.

Read more: Citrix Load Balancing Policies XenApp 6.x explained

Unattended installation of Citrix XenApp 6.5 Part 2

In the first part I started with the unattended installation of Citrix XenApp 6.5. In that part I showed the preperations, the command and parameters of the installation of the XenApp components. In this part I will continue with the initial setup of the actual XenApp component.

Read more: Unattended installation of Citrix XenApp 6.5 Part 2

Unattended installation of Citrix XenApp 6.5 Part 1

Some long time ago I wrote an article in which I explain the unattended parameters of Citrix Presentation Server 4.5 (a.k.a. XenApp 5 for Windows 2003 nowadays). With the new releases Citrix changed the method of installing Citrix XenApp, so logically the way the unattended installation is performed also changed. In this article I'm showing and describing how you can perform an unattended installation of Citrix XenApp 6.5.

Read more: Unattended installation of Citrix XenApp 6.5 Part 1

How to: Build a ThinBased-PC with Windows 7/XP

As described in an earlier published article PDI: Physical Desktop Infrastructure real Thin Clients are getting richer featured. While this is needed to satisfy the requirements of the Remote Based Products like Citrix XenApp, Citrix XenDesktop en VMware View, this has also some side effects:

  • Real Thin Clients are getting more expensive, in such way prices are currently compatible with normal PCs.
  • Thin Clients nowadays need to be fully managed, because much more features are available and should be updated. Also nowadays several ThinClient Operating Systems really needs updates for fixes and security vulnerabilities. So the big advantage of lower maintenance tasks in comparison with traditional PCs is disappeared mostly.
  • With current techniques like VDI additional Microsoft licenses are required when using a Thin Client OS, where traditional Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7 PCs don't have that requirement.
  • Still the newest techniques/features (especially within Citrix products) are available at first in the Windows client of the product.

Read more: How to: Build a ThinBased-PC with Windows 7/XP

How To: Autostart a Published Application/Desktop with more Published Applications/Desktops

In situations where the users connects to a Full Desktop I personally like to use the Web Interface as a logon point, so we can centrally manage the connections to the XenApp environment and the user are shown a nice logon screen (especially when using Thin Client that are not in the domain).  When deploying this full desktop you would not like to bother the end-user with too many steps for connecting to the Citrix environment. Therefore after providing the username and password the session should start immediately. In this article I will show how this can be accomplished even when more Published Applications (for example applications running on silo servers) are available or you would like to publish the Desktop as a Published Application.

Read more: How To: Autostart a Published Application/Desktop with more Published Applications/Desktops

How to: Rebootscript XenApp 6.5

Updated 21-12-2011
I found that on several systems a failed ping does not set errorlevel to 1, so hostsavailable won't be updated and the script can fail. I now updated the script with another solution, so a failed ping will end in a failed host in the script.

Introduction

In XenApp 6.5 (which is released at 24 August 2011) the way a Server-based Load Evaluator could be assigned to a server has changed in comparison with previous XenApp version. Till 6.5 it was possible to assign a Load Evaluator directly to a server out of the console or using MFCOM/PowerShell. In 6.5 this option is removed and Load Evaluators can only be assigned using Citrix policies. This has advantage that always the correct Load Evaluator is assigned to a server; however I (and many others) used Load Evaluators to get servers out of the standard load balancing (with keeping the possibility to pick a up a disconnected session or to connect via RDP as an administrator) for troubleshooting, maintenance and reboots. Especially with reboots this works beautifully assigning a Load Evaluator based on scheduling (with the least possible active time as possible at the most quit moment on the farm). 

In this article I will describe how the same result can be achieved, while using the new techniques in XenApp 6.5.

Read more: How to: Rebootscript XenApp 6.5

How to: Reboot Script with Kemp Load Balancers

In this earlier published article I already described the design decisions for creating a reboot script. In this article I will describe a complete reboot script to reboot  Terminal Servers, which are load balanced using a Kemp Load Balancer. I will follow the design decisions in that document to describe the code.

Read more: How to: Reboot Script with Kemp Load Balancers

Options to Secure Access to your Terminal Server Environment

Terminal Server environment are often used to provide access to applications for end-users when they are not in the office. Nowadays such external access is mostly provided using the Internet connection of the end user directly. Logically a connection using the Internet should be secured so it's guaranteed that the data is not comprised. That this should be arranged is not the case in any project; however the way the result is accomplished differs per customer. In this article I will discuss the available solutions and my experiences with those solutions.

Read more: Options to Secure Access to your Terminal Server Environment

Preload all application using a App-V Streaming Only infrastructure

Introduction

With the introduction of App-V 4.5 product (together with renaming the SoftGrid product) several deployment scenarios where introduced. Before App-V 4.5 the components needed for SoftGrid were a database, a web server and a management console. With the client configured to connect to a SoftGrid server, the client knows all available applications in the application virtualization infrastructure. With this solution (which is still available within App-V 4.5/4.6) you could easily use the sfttray /loadall to preload all applications. However with the new deployment scenarios like the Streaming Only features this will not function anymore, because the client does not know which applications are available. In this article I will describe how you can accomplish how all application can be preloaded using a Streaming Only infrastructure.

Read more: Preload all application using a App-V Streaming Only infrastructure

How to: Update Virtualized Application Part 2: Citrix Profiler

Logically after a while when an application is installed updates needs to be performed. When the application is virtualized these updates need to be added to the package. In this article I'm describing the steps for updated a Citrix virtualized application.

Read more: How to: Update Virtualized Application Part 2: Citrix Profiler

How to: Update Virtualized Application Part 1: App-V

Logically after a while when an application is installed updates needs to be performed. When the application is virtualized these updates need to be added to the package. In this article I'm describing the steps for updated a App-V virtualized application.

Read more: How to: Update Virtualized Application Part 1: App-V

How To: Build a Citrix VMHosted Apps environment

One of the new features in XenApp 5 Feature Pack is VMhosted Apps. This feature makes it possible to add applications to your XenApp infrastructure which cannot run on the Terminal Server platform.  Citrix accomplish this by publishing this application seamless from a workstation version operating system like Windows XP, Vista or 7. In this article I will describe the steps for creating a VMhosted apps environment.

Read more: How To: Build a Citrix VMHosted Apps environment

How to Reboot Terminal Servers

In this previous article I described why Terminal Servers should be rebooted on a regularly basis. Based on the reasons in that article creating a reboot schedule has become a best practice for Terminal Server environments. In this article I will describe the next step how to reboot the servers, which actions you should take during/after the reboot and how to create a reboot schedule.

Read more: How to Reboot Terminal Servers

Using Citrix Policies Part One

Using Citrix Policies

Since Metaframe XP Citrix introduced Citrix Policies. Till now I still come at customers sites where those policies are not used. In this article I will explain on a basic level how to configure the policies, the advantage of using those policies and some best practices settings.

Read more: Using Citrix Policies Part One

Using Citrix Policies Part Two

Introduction

In part one of the article series Using Citrix Policies we walked through the creating and configuration of Citrix policies. In this second article I will show you how the policies will be applied by using filters summarize the advantages of Citrix policies and provide you with some best practices information.

Read more: Using Citrix Policies Part Two

How to Remove old PN Settings

When upgrading to a new version of Citrix Presentation Server most times a new farm is build next to the current one. Beside there are still many companies that are using the full Citrix ICA Program Neighborhood client to present the Published Applications to their end-users. In such a situation you have to arrange "something " to remove the current Published Applications, when the new farm is ready for production.

Read more: How to Remove old PN Settings

How to Ensure your application is TS aware

Although more and more manufactures are aware of the Server Based Computing concept and which impact this can have on the usage of the application there are still lots of applications which are not compatible with Server Based Computing. In this article I will describe which tests you need to go through to ensure that the application is ready for your SBC infrastructure.

Read more: How to Ensure your application is TS aware

How to change the Citrix License Ports

Introduction

With MPS3 Citrix introduced the Citrix License Server component. On this component licenses for most Citrix product are managed nowadays. The Citrix License server is communicating using three ports:

  • The License server is by default communicating over port 27000
  • The Citrix Vendor Daemon is communication over a variable port number
  • The License Management Console is reachable over port 8082.

Often these default values are useable in many infrastructures, but there are reasons to change the default ports:

Read more: How to change the Citrix License Ports

Unattended installation of Citrix Web Interface

What is Web Interface and why to use it?

Web Interface is a free add-on on Citrix Presentation Server provided by Citrix itself. With the Web Interface the users are using a web browser to connect to the applications. Web Interface provides a web page where the available applications are showed after authentication. After selecting the application the local installed Citrix client will start the session.

Web Interface has several advantages in comparison with traditional clients. One of the biggest advantages is the centralized configuration. Changes in your Citrix infrastructure are done in a few mouse clicks on the Web Interface servers in stead of propagating changes to all your clients. Also some new features like Workspace control are only available when using the Web Interface in combination with the latest Presentation Server version. Because the user can download a Citrix client from the Web Interface sites users can use every workstation to use their applications. In the current version users can also change the presentation of the applications and connected local resources.

Read more: Unattended installation of Citrix Web Interface

Using Citrix Resource Manager

Citrix Resource Manager and Citrix Presentation Server flavors

Citrix has three versions of their Citrix Presentation Server product on the market. The three flavors are Standard, Advanced and Enterprise edition. As everyone knows Advanced is supporting load balancing in comparison with the standard version. The enterprise edition (especially with Presentation Server 4) offers more functionality like Installation Manager, Server Reboot options, Application Isolation Environment, CPU utilization management and virtual memory optimization.

Read more: Using Citrix Resource Manager

How to deploy applications to your Terminal Server?

Introduction

In the article Basic Concepts of a Terminal Server article I already described the basic concepts/rules necessary to have a stable and controllable Terminal Server Infrastructure.

Two of the described concepts in that article are the chronicle installation order and the 100% equality of all the servers in the Farm.

To accomplish this you should use silent setups and a deploy mechanism to install your applications on you servers. In this article we are going into detail about how to install and deploy those applications with the above mentioned concepts in mind.

Read more: How to deploy applications to your Terminal Server?

How to install Citrix Presentation Server unattended? Part 2

Introduction

In the first article I described the automated creation of the Datastore database followed by the creating a ODBC connection file. Also the required helper applications like MSI Installer 3.1 and Java Runtime Environment were build to silent installations. In the first article we started with the parameters of Citrix Presentation Server installation concerning the database. In this article I continue with the parameters for creating and joining the farm. Also using a local database will be described in this second part.

Read more: How to install Citrix Presentation Server unattended? Part 2