Microsoft Office (Exchange) 365 – RDSH Myth 20 Comments

For many years now, the everything in cloud is happening more and more, among all the services / software available as a services, most of the vendor are promising a cheaper way to manage their software and a much more simple way to manage it.. I know some of you will disagree with what I writing about and some will agree, this is a view from my experience on the field :) A couple of weeks ago I launched a small poll on Twitter asking this question : "Why Do you think companies are moving to Exchange 365 ?" Here are the results : "It's less complex" won the poll follow by "it's a fashion" and then "it's cheaper"... I tend to agree with everything here, because if you get rid of a complete Exchange infrastructure with all the people you need to architecture and manage it, it will be cheaper and less complex for sure ! But this is just a dream without complexity of companies and without user's usage of their Outlook. What I try to point here is : Moving to Exchange 365 is not as easy as it seems, some company do have a "basic" Outlook / Exchange usage and it won't bring issues but most of the companies I saw have had issue because Microsoft and Microsoft's Partner did not capture the way users were used to work with their Outlook mail software. The picture above is the "put everything into the Cloud, you will save money" ideal. This ideal is true and can be reached when you know your users work habits and already have an organised mail infrastructure. But this ideal can be easily broken If it looks easy on the paper or in a Powerpoint presentation, simple things can break this kind of project into pieces and make it fails.. How ? Here is a list (to be completed :D ) Outlook plugins Online Mode RDSH environment Bad Architecture decision / Consulting ... ... Outlook plugins is the work enemy of the Cloudification because it means in 90% of the case you'll be forced to keep Outlook mail client, it's a road block for OWA adoption... Once you're stuck with the Outlook mail client, you need to deal with the Online or Cache mode with Exchange 365... Piece of cake right ? Workstation / Laptop --> Cache mode enable, no problem ! But what about…

Post Citrix Synergy / E2Evc Dublin 2016 20 Comments

May and June are very busy with conferences every years, this year was no exception. Attending this kind of event is very important for the kind of work we are doing. Knowing what's happening in the technology world and keeping touch with all the people willing to share their knowledge and experiences have always been very useful to gather 6 months of information in only few days. Citrix Synergy 2016 - Las Vegas First thing first, Citrix Synergy in Las vegas ! As a CTP, Synergy always have a special flavour because I get to know so many things from Citrix my brain is melting for 48hours and I need few days to digest everything :) This year Citrix made several announcement and beside the usual renaming and marketing bullshit, if I had one announcement to keep, that would be the Microsoft thing. Many people I met asked me about that, what do I think and what should we need to read between the line. My answer had been direct and surprise some of you :) I think Microsoft understand the value Citrix will add to accelerate the adoption of VDI (ie Windows 10 in Azure) The protocol, the acceleration the experience Citrix will bring is obvious. Are we tending toward a Windows 365 product ? The answer is as simple as a yes. A lot of Citrix Partner have been confused with this announcement, and we can easily understand why as Citrix is taking this part of business away from certain partner mouth. Of course it's not yet publicly said and it will maybe never be ;) Citrix need to make things clear for everyone and give customers and partners the big picture, one day or another. What I read between the line is Citrix and Microsoft announce they will be the only one to deliver Windows 10 in a DaaS mode and only in Azure, it is true indeed, they will be the only one but only for few months. Give some time to Vmware, Oracle or whatever company forced to deliver Windows 2012r2 desktop as a Service because of Microsoft licensing limitation, few anti-trust trial and Windows 365 Windows 10 will be available from everyone, everywhere. Another thing about the Microsoft Citrix thingy to understand is some of Citrix products overlap on Microsoft ones. As Citrix already got rid of many products, I think we will see in the…

Set acls remotely to a VDI / RDSH Delivery Group 7 Comments

In the same way as the previous blog post, some more automation to maintain a VDI/RDSH environment, and get back to a controlled and clean environment. This blog is a follow up to Remotely clean up Virtual Machines drives – XenDesktop , Expand virtual machines hard disk – automation , XenDesktop XenApp 7.x – vmware / ad / delivery group notes and descriptions sync . I had to automate an action to place ACLs on the D: drive using Powershell and icacls. This script is using XenDesktop / XenApp command to list all the Virtual Machines with SessionSupport value equal to SingleSession, it means the VDI only in my case. If you want to check the list of Virtual Machines you targeted you can use this command : If you want to target a specific XenDesktop Delivery Group, then just adapt the previous line : Once you know the target, you can execute the following script. Using this script assume Virtual Machines are switched on. If you have suggestion, and/or comment, share your though !

Cloudify my lab with Windows Azure 13 Comments

As I got an unlimited access to Windows Azure I wanted to check out how I could extend my lab into it and use it to store VMs workload (at first). Here what you need : Citrix NetScaler VPX (tested with NS10.1: Build 122.17.nc & NS10.1: Build 123.9.nc) Windows Azure Access Homelab (running on vSphere 5.5) Of course, you need licence for everything... Considerations : Before configuring a CloudBridge tunnel between a CloudBridge appliance in datacenter and  Microsoft Azure, consider the following points: The CloudBridge appliance must have a public facing IPv4 address (type SNIP) to use as a tunnel end-point address for the CloudBridge tunnel. Also, the CloudBridge appliance should not be behind a NAT device. (or you'll have to setup a route for your LAN computers, I'm explaining how to at the end of this blog) Azure supports the following IPSec settings for a CloudBridge tunnel. Therefore, you must specify the same IPSec settings while configuring the CloudBridge appliance for the CloudBridge tunnel. IKE version = v1 Encryption algorithm = AES Hash algorithm = HMAC SHA1  You must configure the firewall in the datacenter edge to allow the following. Any UDP packets for port 500 Any UDP packets for port 4500 Any ESP (IP protocol number 50) packets IKE re-keying, which is renegotiation of new cryptographic keys between the CloudBridge tunnel end points to establish new SAs, is not supported. When the Security Associations  (SAs) expire, the tunnel goes into the DOWN state. Therefore, you must set a very large value for the lifetimes of SAs. You must configure Microsoft Azure before specifying the tunnel configuration on the CloudBridge appliance, because the public IP address of the Azure end (gateway) of the tunnel, and the PSK, are automatically generated when you set up the tunnel configuration in Azure. You need this information for specifying the tunnel configuration on the CloudBridge appliance. First thing first, you need to use your Windows Azure account and follow the next step to begin to configure the IPSec tunnel by creating a local network In the left pane, click NETWORKS. In the lower left-hand corner of the screen, click + NEW. In the NEW navigation pane, click NETWORK, then click VIRTUAL NETWORK, and then click ADD LOCAL NETWORK. In the ADD A LOCAL NETWORK wizard, in the specify your local network details screen, set the following parameters: NAME  VPN DEVICE IP ADDRESS In the lower right corner of the screen,…

Citrix XenDesktop 7 – VDA Installation 7 Comments

The VDA version delivered with XenDesktop 7 bits is 7.0.0.3018 The VDA can be deployed two ways, via the GUI setup and in an unattended way. Using the GUI is easy and can be done very quickly - but it remains manual deployment. Here are screenshot so for the one who won't have time to check it out, you can already know what you might face very soon.   Next blog will be about VDA installation for Desktop and Server OS

Microsoft Windows Embedded 8 Standard Toolkit 3 Comments

This very big ISO file need to be installed on Windows to be able to use it. Tis toolkit has been design to customize Windows Embedded 8 deployment by giving three softwares : Image Configuration Manager, Module Designer and Windows Embedded Developer Update. The installation is simple, next next ok finish, you just need to know you need to have both 32bit and 64bit ISO DVD of Windows Embedded 8 to be able to package and customize installations. Once the installation is done, the three icon are available on the Metro Desktop.   First stop  the Image Configuration Editor You can build an image by using Image Configuration Editor. If you chose the advanced path for image development, this process will get you started with building an image. Although it takes more time to build an image by using Image Configuration Editor than by using Image Builder Wizard, this tool is the most flexible and versatile way to define your image requirements, especially when you need the image size to remain small.   This has been very easy to create to WinPE media folder, you can create USB key as well. The Module Designer If you wish to add a module and integrate it to you custom deployment, this is quite easy as well :   Windows Embedded Developer Update Windows Embedded Developer Update is an application that you can use to automatically search for, download, and install the latest updates for Windows Embedded 8 Standard. And this is it, I made several custom media ready for deployment and Microsoft kept the good way and keep simple the Embedded software customizations. But this haven't evolve dramatically since many years now, maybe admin tools should evolve as much as Windows Operating System are changing.

Microsoft Windows Embedded 8 Standard 7 Comments

Microsoft had to make Windows 8 available as an embedded OS for thinclient (among other use cases) I had to try it out to check what is changing regarding Windows 8 Standard or Enterprise edition and previous Embedded OS. What's new in Windows 8 Embedded and with this Release Preview : Rich Line of Business Experiences Delight your customers with smooth, responsive, immersive experiences powered by Windows 8 applications, Multi-Touch, Internet Explorer 10 and more. Connected Deliver a solution that stays up and running, and allows you to connect to the things that matter most inside and outside the four walls. Targeted Deliver a targeted device experience with powerful OS development tools and enhanced lockdown and branding capabilities to meet the line of business needs of your customers. Intelligent Systems Ready Create a device that can be secured, managed and connect to IT systems to extend intelligence through the business process. Secure Utilize Windows 8 technologies to protect the device, data, and network to keep business running smoothly. The hardware requirements to install this OS are as follow : 1 GHz 32-bit or 64-bit processor. 1 GB of operating system memory (32-bit system) or 2 GB of operating system memory (64-bit system) 11 GB of free hard drive space for complete installation One or more of the following media devices: DVD-ROM drive USB 2.0 port If you want to read more about Windows 8 click here [link] First the installation of this OS is straight forward as Windows 8 is, there are some different options regarding image you might want to use for deployment (WIM)   The installed naked OS look like that : And the "regular desktop" Regarding raw performances, I've been really surprise to see Windows 8 Embedded was behaving very smoothly on a thin client like HP t5740e [link]   I also installed it on my XenServer @ Home as a Windows 8 vm and XenTools installation went fine, no issue yet, I gave to this VM 2 vCpus and 1024Mb of memory to check what were the raw performances out from the box   When Windows 8 Embedded is installed, the space used on the hard drive is 3,39gb : That was the presentation and the basic stuffs with Microsoft Windows 8 Embedded Release Preview, now here is what's I like to do, keep digging to find some cool stuff under the hood. Let's try the ThinClient template…

VDI, ok ? What’s next ? 58 Comments

This blog is a follow up to the discussion we had in Vienna during the Geek Speak session at E2E event. I had to leave to catch my flight back to France but this discussion was very interesting and I though about it during all my travel time... I'm still on it writing this blog VDI, Desktops... Shared, remote, dedicated, pooled and/or virtual VDI gives the possibility to deliver desktops to everyone, everywhere. Let's say it, in most of the company, users still needs a desktop, a Microsoft desktop; why's that ? Just because they are used to access a Microsoft Windows desktop at home and during the last 20 years we didn't deliver application using another way. Desktop rules the application access, at least until 3/4 years ago when smart phone, tablet / iPad came to everyone's life and change Microsoft Desktop user's life by accessing directly an application. Everyone is getting used to access applications without going through a Microsoft Windows desktop and I think that will change a lot of things within 5 years regarding the way we deliver an environment to our users. Desktop vs Application Why are we accessing a desktop today ? Mainly to open application and being able to switch from a windows to another, copy and past between applications etc. Going from this statement, which I think everyone will agree, why do we need this layer (Microsoft Desktop) to access applications ? As I mentioned before, we have habits and we are used to open our application through a Microsoft Desktop, I remember tried to publish an Internet Explorer few years ago on thin client, on the Web Interface, only application were published, no desktop at all; we had to fall back and published a desktop again because user experience was different, users we used to click to switch between applications instead of using alt-tab key. The amount of memory we tried to save by not publishing a desktop was quiet a lot and as we had to give a desktop back, we had to calcul again all the memory consume per user for a desktop and add more servers according to our results. As you can notice in the graph above, the difference between a seamless published Excel 2010 and a desktop (XenApp 6.5 with Excel 2010) is double. As we needed to publish desktop instead of only using published application, we had…

Citrix released few days ago the first public technical preview for Citrix ShareFile part of the Follow me Data strategy announced by Citrix CEO during last Synergy in Barcelona. You can download Windows, Mac, Android and iOS clients and register here : link Citrix acquired ShareFile last year in October 2011 (link) less than six months later we have a Technical Preview to check out. What is Citrix ShareFile ? This is an "add-on / plugin" for Citrix Receiver (iOS, Mac, Windows, Android) and it allows you to access, share centralized data and request files from all your devices. This is a "Dropbox like" but design to be enterprise ready. Citrix likes to compare ShareFile to Apple iCloud but it's not so "iCloud" because you can control what you want to share, you can easily chose what needs to be "synchronized" across all your devices. With iCloud, I know all my music is in iMatch but I would have like to keep private some of it on my computer, now everything is somewhere in the Apple iCloud... Make common data services like search, share, sync, secure, authenticate, open and preview available to a wide range of applications, services and use cases through a set of open APIs. Extend secure data sharing services to new and existing apps stored in public and private clouds and accessed from millions of different business and consumer devices. Connect data seamlessly to the way people collaborate today, ensuring that the right documents and files are always accessible when needed, and always up to date. Where my data, personal and professional are stored ? With this Technical Preview, all your files are stored "in the Cloud" within the Citrix ShareFile infrastructure. I remember what I saw last October (2011) at Synergy in Barcelona we should be able to store data in our own datacenter. I don't know any detail yet but this is the feature that will kill DropBox (for the companies that use it) Local : Yes, the data is store on you devices, Windows and Mac in a dedicated folder but not for the iOS and Android devices which you need to download every time you want to look at a ShareFile document. Datacenter : Not yet (in the Tech. Prev.) Cloud : Yes, everything is already stored within the Citrix ShareFile infrastructure I also remember this slide i saw during Mark T (Citrix…

Update : You can download my slide deck to have all the information you wanted to have (URLs, Registry keys etc...) E2E What's new in XenApp 6.5 - Impact in production env.   Next E2E event will be in Vienna, Austria the 25th, 26th and 27th of May 2012 ---- E2E is a great community conference around virtualization biggest actor on the international market, I have speaking engagement with Neil Spellings about Citrix XenApp 6.5, come and enjoy ! This presentation is about Citrix XenApp 6.5 new features and what it can bring to a real life production environment. Alex Juschin, internationally recognized Virtualization Expert, Microsoft MVP and Citrix CTP for the last 6 years, invites you to join the next “E2E Virtualization Conference 2011 London” in London Docklands, UK - November 18-20, 2011 in Novotel Hotel @ExCel. While the Agenda has yet to be finished it already contains over 35 Sessions on most actual topics like XenApp 6.5, XenServer 6, XenDesktop 5.5, Hyper-V v.3, ESXi 5 and many other topic's! Plus, as usual, great networking possibility with virtualization folks from all over Europe and US. Register today as there are just few places left www.e2evc.com E2E Virtualization Conference Agenda