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Installing and configuring Citrix XenDesktop Linux...

Citrix released the Linux VDA back together with the XenDesktop 7.6. At the moment of writing the ar [ ... ]

Failover (im)possibilities of XenDesktop 7.x Part ...

In the earlier article series Failover (im)possibilities <<LINK to part 4>> I wrote abou [ ... ]

Systancia AppliDis

Several years ago there were numerous products on the market offering a Server Based Computing (SBC) [ ... ]

Load Balancing Citrix Delivery Controllers via a L...

At one of my projects we were discussing the high level design decisions and one of the discussion t [ ... ]

PVS Resource Usage Part 4

Introduction

In part 3 of the article series we started looking at boot(storm) scenarios. I described the four scenarios and the environment. Also the results of the first two scenario were discussed. In this last part I will continue with the remaining boot(storm) scenarios and will compare the results of the boot scenarios with the Citrix theory.

Read more: PVS Resource Usage Part 4

PVS Resource Usage Part 3

In this article series I will go into detail about resource usage of PVS servers. In the first part I described the theory values Citrix is using/advising for the components CPU, Memory, Disk and Network. The article series continued with taking a look at the real life resource usage of PVS servers. In this part we will take a look at resource usage of the PVS servers during boot(storm) scenarios.

Read more: PVS Resource Usage Part 3

PVS Resource Usage Part 2

In this article series I will go into detail about resource usage of PVS servers. In the first part I described the theory values Citrix is using/advising for the components CPU, Memory, Disk and Network. Also physical versus virtual is touched briefly. The article series will continue with taking a look at the real life resource usage of PVS servers. In this part we will take a look at the resource usage during daily operations.

Read more: PVS Resource Usage Part 2

Accessing the old environment from XenApp/XenDesktop 7.x

In almost every current XenDesktop/XenApp project for a specific period some applications are not available on the new platform, which are required by a group of users. A decision could be to let those workers do their work on the current/old platform. However most organizations don’t want that because the users don’t have access to new technologies of versions of other applications. In most cased the customer is looking for a way to offer access to those applications within the new platform. In this article I described the possible access methods to those applications running on a legacy environment, followed by the technical options to provide the access (including the advantages and disadvantages).

Read more: Accessing the old environment from XenApp/XenDesktop 7.x

PVS Resource Usage Part 1

Some people are saying that PVS is complex. I personally don’t think that PVS is complex looking from an infrastructure endpoint, but it can be complex to understand the concept of PVS and the new way of working. When people get that part, the complexity is not a bottleneck anymore. But when people understand the way of working understand new questions are often raised. How many bandwidth does this solution requires, which hardware resources requires these PVS server to serve their role. In this article series I’m diving into this topic. First I will discuss the theory of the resource usage by Citrix, followed by real life figures. The real life figures are divided in two parts: daily usage and boot (storm) usage. As just mentioned we are starting with the theory.

Read more: PVS Resource Usage Part 1

Advanced Citrix Load Balancing Scenarios with Worker Groups

In the article Citrix Load Balancing Policies explained I described where and how to use Citrix Load Balancing. One of the most used scenarios is redirecting user to a specific group of servers defined in a Worker Group. At some customers we were also using Citrix Load Balancing for that use case, but during those projects some additional concepts were introduced and we should get it working with the already defined Load Balancing Policies. In this article I’m going to describe the scenarios and how that can be accomplished with the defined Load Balancing policies.

Read more: Advanced Citrix Load Balancing Scenarios with Worker Groups

The case of the magic unknown Citrix Provisioning Services feature

On one of my projects we are using Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS) for our XenApp 6.5 environment. At this project several teams are responsible for the different stages in the infrastructure (DTAP, Development, Test, Acceptance and Production).

After a while one of the guys of the test environment came to me asking me how and why we are using fixed IP addresses within the PVS image. I told me that this could not be the case as the design was written based on a DHCP based IP address and I was pretty sure that none of this colleagues in test has the knowledge available to configure fixed IP addresses within the possibilities PVS is offering. In this article I will start describing which documented options are available within PVS to use a fixes IP address within the PVS image, followed by showing the magic unknown feature in Citrix Provisioning Service the test colleague encountered accidently.

Read more: The case of the magic unknown Citrix Provisioning Services feature

Customer Case: Everything on Top Discussions Part 4

In the first part article I explained the current infrastructure and the requirements the organization had for the new environment, while I started describing the project using the biggest discussion points in the second article and third article. In this fourth and last article I will describe the latest discussion points (SSL Gateway and Outbound Connections) and the experiences so far.

Read more: Customer Case: Everything on Top Discussions Part 4

Customer Case: Everything on Top Discussions Part 3

In the first part article I explained the current infrastructure and the requirements the organization had for the new environment, while I started describing the project using the biggest discussion points in the second article. In this third article I will continue describing the project using the discussion points Global Load Balancer and Server Installation/Configuration.

Read more: Customer Case: Everything on Top Discussions Part 3

Customer Case: Everything on Top Discussions Part 2

In the first part article I explained the current infrastructure and the requirements the organization had for the new environment. Instead of telling a you a perfect story and successful the project was I will describe where we went through by describing our biggest discussion points and the effect on the project.

Read more: Customer Case: Everything on Top Discussions Part 2

Customer Case: Everything on Top Discussions Part 1

At a start-up of a project often the requirements and wishes of the organization are sky-high. Everything should be possible and included. Sometimes it just looks like they are ordering a dish at restaurant and ask to add all ingredients that are possible (Everything on Top). Logically when the project is actually starting and/or evolving those requirements and wishes are reflected to the available budget and the current infrastructure/environment, so the goals and targets are adjusted. However sometime everything should actually on top and I participated in such a project. In this article series I will describe the experiences during this project. Instead of using the standard approach I will discuss the biggest discussion points during the project and how those discussions ended. But first I will start with a short description of the current infrastructures and the requirements of the project.

Read more: Customer Case: Everything on Top Discussions Part 1

PoC Res Relay Server Experiences

Introducing Relay Server

To start the article it’s good to explain what the RES Relay Server actually is. The RES Relay Server is introduced in RES Workspace Manager 2012. Before the Relay Server all Workspace Manager clients (called Agents) are directly connecting to the SQL database where the configuration and logging of RES Workspace Management is stored. In case of real large environments this could be resource intensive on the SQL database. Also in the case of several offices/more sites the traffic between the agent and the database will be transferred over (slower) WAN links. In the last scenario RES Workspace Manager (RES WM) could be used with a second mirrored database, but this involves more hardware and software costs. The relay server component can be used for such scenarios. The relay server is separate component, which can be installed on a Windows machine. The agent server will communicate with the database and caches all the information. The agent will be connected to the relay server and retrieve the settings from the relay server.

Read more: PoC Res Relay Server Experiences

PoC: XenDesktop, Provisioning Services and PvD Part 2

Introduction

In the first part I showed and described the installation of XenDesktop, Citrix Provisioning Services and the corresponding agents. We will continue where we ended the first article, starting the image wizard of the Citrix Provisioning Services agent.

Creating the vDisk

If you did have worked with Citrix Provisioning Services for some time the creation vDisk process is pretty changed. The wizard starts my specifing the CPS server to connect to the CPS Farm. The second step is to create the vDisk within the farm by specifying the vDisk name, on which Store the vDisk should be stored, the VDH Type and the VDH Block Size. In the case you already have vDisks available; you can also select an existing vDisk.

 

Read more: PoC: XenDesktop, Provisioning Services and PvD Part 2

PoC: XenDesktop, Provisioning Services and PVD Part 1

In March 2012 Citrix released XenDesktop 5.6. In this XenDesktop release the RingCube acquisition was integrated into the product as a feature called Personal vDisk. One of my customers was interested in this XenDesktop 5.6 with the Personal vDisk as an alternative for those who could not fit in the XenApp environment. I build a Proof of Concept with XenDesktop 5.6 combined with Citrix Provisioning Services 6.1. In this article I will describe the installation steps, the configuration and my real life experiences with the products and the setup.

Read more: PoC: XenDesktop, Provisioning Services and PVD Part 1

Load Balancing RDS using Kemp Load Balancers

Introduction

Microsoft put many efforts to improve the Remote Desktop Services (formerly known as Terminal Services) features in the latest releases. With Windows 2008R2 many improvements are made and the product is getting closer to the third party add-on product like Citrix XenApp. RemoteApps, plug-n-play devices, audio/video playback and recording are some examples of supported features. In the earlier days the lack of load balancing the users between more RD servers was one the big disadvantages. Nowadays the load balancing feature in Windows 2008R2 is comparable with most (smaller) 3party add-ons, however the Citrix Load Balancing is still much more flexible and offers most more configuration settings. The current Microsoft implementation (RD Broker) is by default a single point of failure and within Microsoft technologies this can only be adjusted by using Clustering Services . Implementing Clustering services is a difficult and costly implementation for only create a fault tolerant solution for the RD Broker.

Happily there is an alternative without buying a third party product by using hardware load balancers. Such a solution can also be considered for the still much used and implemented Windows 2003 Terminal Services, where the session broker service is not that sophisticated as in Windows 2008 R2.  Logically there are several hardware load balancers available, but most solutions are also expensive. The Kemp Load Balancers are really affordable and besides the offer fully integrated load balancing for RDS/TS. I implemented those load balancers for one of my customers and I will describe the real life experiences  of the implementation and usage of this solution.

Read more: Load Balancing RDS using Kemp Load Balancers

Using Kemp Load Balancer to load balance the App-V infrastructure

Introduction

When using App-V in production environment you would not be dependent on one server streaming the applications to the client. Also in larger environment you would like to have more App-V servers  to load balance the request between servers. Unfortunate Microsoft does not deliver a load balancing/failover functionality within the App-V product, so another technique should be used. Microsoft mentions the possibilities of Network Load Balancing (NLB) included in the Microsoft Server products or (for large implementation) a hardware load balancer. Most load balancers are expensive to buy, however NLB is not really good to manage and within virtualized infrastructures it's difficult to implement properly.  Searching for a solution for one of my customers I thought about the Kemp company I met during one of the BriForum events, which has affordable equipment that has lots of capabilities. In this article I'm will describe the phases we have gone through designing and implementing the load balancer for the App-V infrastructure.

Read more: Using Kemp Load Balancer to load balance the App-V infrastructure

Using PowerFuse 2010 to collect currently used applications

As a architect/consultant designing and building SBC, VDI and Desktop environments one of largest challenges during the project is to find out which applications are being used and secondly who is using that applications exactly. The project is often the point that the customer would like to have the assignment and usage of application under control, so the project team need to find out which applications are out "there" and who is actually using them.

Because almost every kind of such project has this challenge there are several methods to do this:

  • Ask the users/departments to deliver this information: often the users have got this question many times before and don't want to spend time on that or they forget to mention some applications because they think IT knows that they are using that one.
  • Let the IT project team make an inventory: often this is done by untrained personal, who does not know where to look for, so again applications are forgotten.
  • Use an software product: Most products collect the information out of the Add/Remove Programs options, so this only tells which applications are installed and not who is actually using them.

Read more: Using PowerFuse 2010 to collect currently used applications

Upgrade Microsoft SoftGrid 4.2 to App-V 4.6

A few months ago Microsoft released the last version of App-V with the release number 4.6. App-V 4.6 biggest improvements are fully 64 bit support, both for a 64bit App-V client as the possibility to sequence a 64 bit application (like Office 2010). Although this major improvement, this was not the reason for this customer to upgrade to this version. Actually 4.5 would fulfill their needs, but why wouldn't we upgrade to the latest version if this one is available soon.

Read more: Upgrade Microsoft SoftGrid 4.2 to App-V 4.6