Two Lips in Amsterdam - Presenting at the Dutch Citrix User Group

on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 15:57.

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I've been involved with the UK Citrix User Group for some time now. We've had the pleasure of having a number of international speakers present at events. After seeing the collaboration and input that the UK events generated, some of our Dutch friends went and set up the Dutch Citrix User Group.       

On Friday March 14 I had the pleasure of seeing the impressive setup they have and being able to present to a great audience. Hosted by Dell in Amsterdam, there appeared to be over 100 delegates who were treated to a full day of interesting sessions and an animated Geek Speak on (what I believe) were current topics for Citrix Admins (really should have progressed with my Dutch lessons).

Topics covered included Netscaler SSL performance, GPU-accelerated high-end graphics performance, Netscaler and StoreFront troubleshooting and a look at App-V streaming. All informative stuff (even for a non-native Dutch speaker). 

 

My session was sparingly called PVS is better than MCS, AMD and Intel and VDI Performance, and Other Notes from the Field which danced through five topics and experiences I'd come across while working for a year at Atlantis Computing to assist with XenDesktop and XenApp deployments and optimisation. From feedback, it was useful - which is cool.

 

Many thanks to all who attended and contributed to make it a great event: read the twitter feed with storify. My compliments to the DuCUG steering group for a putting on such a professional event - splendid to see, fun to attend. I thank you for the pickup and drop off service. I look forward to further collaboration in the future.  I do hope to get there again, and wouldn't hesitate in recommending you keep tabs on their future events and attend if you can. If like me, you're not a native Dutch, learn Dutch to get the most out of the Geek Speak - I'll definitely look to (re)hit the books :) Perhaps that's a difficulty for European Synergy events: speaking in public is daunting, it is easier to articulate your point in your native language I could vaguely follow - but it was lively - and that is key.  

Hopefully see you at the Scottish VMUG on 20th March in Glasgow, or Citrix UK User Group on 26th March in London where I may well be doing an even shorter version of the session.  

So long, and thanks for all the bitterballen.

 

Best Practices: Atlantis ILIO and Citrix MCS (Machine Creation Services)

on Monday, 10 March 2014 08:17.

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Citrix Machine Creation Services (MCS) is one of several options open to Citrix XenDesktop admins for image delivery of virtual desktops and application services. It uses the hypervisor APIs (XenServer, Hyper-V, and vSphere) to create, start, stop, and delete virtual machines. While Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS) continues to be a popular choice for image deployment, it is considered a complex solution so many organisations may look to simplify their virtual desktop architecture and implement MCS instead. This is especially true of smaller organisations or environments. Citrix designed MCS to provide many of the benefits of PVS at a lower management cost.

As with Citrix Provisioning Services, Machine Creation Services is used not only to manage the desktop images, but also to reduce the storage capacity requirements of a virtualised XenDesktop or XenApp (7.x) infrastructure. Atlantis ILIO is often used with Citrix MCS to improve performance and further reduce storage requirements.

What are the common questions and best practices for delivering an optimised XenDesktop/App Edition environment when using Atlantis ILIO and Citrix MCS?

Read all about it here

Problem storing VM on SCVMM 2012 Library server

on Thursday, 27 February 2014 11:09.

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I've been running different tests of the latest Atlantis ILIO for Hyper-V release in my lab environment (ILIO now supports 2012R2 as well as 2008R2) when I came across an issue with Virtual Machine Manager. I'm running VMM 2012 SP1. I've recently moved from running VMM 2008R2 to 2012. 

What I wanted to do was import VMs back into my library for redeployment. However when I kicked off the process I got the following error message:

 

Error (2927)  A Hardware Management error has occurred trying to contact server server@gilwood.local (Unknown error (0x8033811e))   Recommended Action  Check that WinRM is installed and running on server server.gilwood.local For more information use the command "winrm helpmsg hresult".running the command winrm helpmsg 0x8033811e gives following output  The WS-Management service cannot process the request. The WMI provider returned an 'invalid parameter' error.

 

 

A usefully cryptic message. A search on the web led to this discussion on technet

I too tried all the steps mentioned; permissions on AD computer objects, changing the BITS port number, updating the winrm version on my 2008R2 server from v2 to v3, unblocking ports, turning off the firewalls..

I could push from the library - just not import.

Despite the message saying "winrm" it definitely felt like as permissions issue. I then looked at the library settings for my configuration.. turned out that I didn't have any credentials set for Library Management. Once I fixed that - everything uploaded as it should.

 

 

Why wasn't the error message "you don't have permission to do this?". Don't know. Its not the first time that a Microsoft error message has caused trouble by not being accurate in the detail, and I'm sure it won't be the last. The moral as always is to check all components in the chain to make sure they are configured correctly and to be aware that the error message might not be telling the full story.

eBook Review: Citrix® XenApp® 6.5 Expert Cookbook by Esther Barthel - Packt Publishing

on Tuesday, 25 February 2014 22:55.

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It is a common question - "what books do you recommend I read to help with understanding how to deploy and manage my XenApp environment?". A number of the "official" texts deal more with the project of scoping, designing and implementing an environment, and then tend to trail off, finish before it gets to the nuts and bolts of actually maintaining, changing the environment as the project moves out into production - to support. Where it is actually important for the Citrix admin. This doesn't satiate the Citrix Admin appetite.  

Packt Publishing have been putting great effort into expanding their virtual and cloud epublishing portfolio to include titles relevant to Citrix admins. Titles focused on the delivery of XenApp and XenDesktop. Esther Barthel has ably offered the plate to take on producing the ebook, Citrix XenApp 6.5 Expert Cookbook. From that you have a comprehensive menu of practical guides walking you through installation, configuration, maintenance and scripting of all components of a XenApp 6.5 infrastructure.

Too many food references? Let's continue the feast.

As I've mentioned, an issue I find with some of the over baked tomes produced for XenApp, is that there is a emphasis on what XenApp does, how it fits into your environment, the process of preparation and understanding - prior to delivery.

There is a mere entree of resources available for admins who want a full smörgåsbord of practical instruction on how to actually deliver and maintain. This is what Esther serves up in Citrix XenApp 6.5 Expert Cookbook. Topics on the menu are indeed comprehensive. You'll be able to choose from License Server config, both Web Interface and StoreFront - with useful shout outs to community options for localization. Given mobility is increasingly key, Netscaler (all be it Netscaler install is a pre-req). Vitally, management and monitoring with reference not only to Citrix tools such as EdgeSight (all be it Edgesight installation is a pre-req), Perfmon and Health monitoring; polices and load evaluation.

The eDocs guides at Citrix tend to offer a simplistic view of setup and configuration. There is very little there on on-going management which is ofthten the remit of the blogs and forums. This is where Esther's book adds value. Sections that stood out for me in Esther's book were:

Maintenance and Monitoring - which talked about hotfix management, reboot schedules and tools available - aggregating documentation and KB articles reducing the time you have to spend looking for stuff.

XenApp Troubleshooting - Esther baking in her experience as a Citrix Certified Integration Architect to give you the full flavour of troubleshooting looking at Citrix tools such as query, dsmaint, and walking through powershell scripting: a key skill for XenApp admins where you

Finally, and importantly, the resources available to Citrix Admins from the wider Citrix community. It is always more fun to eat with friends. An array of delectable references to free tools such as Carl Websters XenApp 6.5 Documentation Scripts, Dane Youngs Citrix Chained Reboot Script and Michel Stevelman's Farm Nanny to pick just three from a most excellent list. 

It is difficult to pick out a bad taste. Maybe the odd change in ordering.. talk about IIS installation before WI or Storefront given the roadmap Storefront before Web Interface; XD 7.0 not being the successor to XA6.5; bit more on powershell scripting - Brandon Shell has an excellent site, and Shaun Ritchie has some useful intro scripts. But then there is the icing on the cake, Esther's community spirit in including that chapter engendering more sharing and as its an eBook - an option to update and evolve.

"what books do you recommend I read to help with understanding how to deploy and manage my XenApp environment?". I recommend this one - Esther Barthel's Citrix XenApp 6.5 Expert Cookbook. Bought it myself. Definitely not money wasted. Effective and understandable instruction on configuration and management of your XenApp 6.5 environment. 

Well worth adding to your virtual book shelf.