Load Balancing TFTP with Netscaler 10.5 30 Comments

Implementing Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS) is very common nowaday when it's about deploying Shared Desktops (XenApp) or Pooled, Private or Personal Desktops (XenDesktop). If there are still some debate around about using TFTP+PXE vs using BDM (Boot Device Manager) I still observe a large number of deployment made using TFTP+PXE rather than BDM. Both of these two solution have Pro and Cons (Check Wilco's website here) and this is an architectural choice you need to plan ahead the project. Using TFTP and PXE bring several spof along the line and need to be consider and design as the most resilient as the high availability require. TFTP is not redundant by design, using the DHCP 66 options (Boot Server Host Name) allow the use of only one IP address. and there is no redundance behind that. With Citrix Netscaler, Citrix gave us the ability to bring high availability to this spof and address this issue. With Netscaler previous version (prior 10.x) that wasn't that easy to setup and the understanding of Netscaler feature like Layer 2 Mode, DSR etc... And if you didn't understand exactly everything what you were doing, all the PVS traffic was going through the Netscaler and believe me, that was really pain in the ass... I saw that kind of mistake a number of time... With Netscaler 10.1 then 10.5 things are a lot more easy... So I just jump on the occasion I had at one customer's place to load balance 4 Citrix PVS servers (TFTP + PVS) to deliver this simple and fast how to. Information you need to gather : IP Adresses and name of all PVS servers (with TFTP) One IP Adress for the Virtual Server (VIP) One or more Netscaler 10.5 (I made this configuration with 10.5.51.10.nc) Here is a basic architecture overview of component we are impacting : Netscaler #1 and #2 : This is were the configuration will take place PVS Servers #1, #2, #3 and #4 : All the PVS / PXE / TFTP servers we will use in this example DHCP Servers #1 and #2 : This is where we will configure the 66 option by using the Load Balanced IP Address (VIP) VMs : All these Virtual Machines will use PXE to boot get the Load Balanced TFTP address to launch the ARDBP32.bin file.   Let's got for the Netscaler configuration, first you need to login, if you're using a multi Netscaler architecture you…

Citrix PVS vs MCS – Despectus 21 Comments

I know this subject has been cover thousand times here and there but this is an eternal discussion we have whatever the forum or the meeting going on when we speak about Citrix. To remind people not familiar with MCS or PVS here are the main differences : MCS : Machine Creation Service PVS : Provisioning Services All the blogs, articles, white papers are very good and very technical with a lot of details but lake too often of "real life" example. Of course this is important to know  detailed performance measuring iOPs in read and write, cache mode, disk and storage type etc. but what most of the time everyone is missing is a crucial component : complexity and ability of the technical team to handle PVS and/or MCS. At many of my customers place we've implemented PVS architecture on multi-site with DFS-R and SAN / NAS etc to provision XenApp 6.5 farm lightning fast and this is every time a success when everything is setup correctly and when everything works as expected. BUT the complexity we leave behind at the customer's place leave me a though that in 70% of the case, they will call us back to fix an issue they created while trying to handle PVS and surrounding component. 20% won't call us but nothing will change, event the XenApp servers will remain in the same state as when we left. Of course writing documentation and how to for everything won't solve this issue because managing XenApp servers provisioned with PVS is complex and needs good organisation and an understanding of the product. PVS is in version 7.1 (April 2014) and haven't evolve that much during last couple of years, some say PVS will disappear with time to let MCS take over, but I honestly don't know what are the plan for Citrix about PVS. But as PVS is an awesome technology, I think Citrix will bring more and more feature to MCS and keeping the simplicity while adding feature will be an interesting chalenge. To keep this topic short (that never happen when we speak about this during CTP meetings or forums :) ) I would say for large enterprise I would continue to use PVS on the current and new deployment but put in my customer's mind the overhead of complexity could cost more than intelligent storage solution (software, hardware) and introduce few desktops (XenDesktop…

Citrix XenDesktop 7 – Create Persistent Hypervisor Connection and Hosting Unit, Unattended 13 Comments

I blogged about how to automate Citrix XenDesktop 7 deployment and database creation, and how to join and existing XenDesktop 7 site unattended, but now to continue and go a bit further in the automation process, I needed and wanted to know how to automate Hosting Configuration by Adding Connection and Resources to the DDC in an unattended way. This blog will cover creation process for XenServer 6.x and vCenter (vSphere) 5.1 since I don't have access to a Hyper-V (yet), I went over Citrix eDoc to check how I could do this and I found here : [link] Thanks to Livio for some PowerShell help :) It helps to understand whet need to be setup and after few tests I ended up writing this script to automate this part :   This script have been tested with Citrix XenDesktop7 and XenServer 6.2 and vSphere 5.1

Citrix XenDesktop 7 – Installation 14 Comments

XenDesktop 7 is now available with different features and entitlements (link) and yes there is a lot to read on this webpage but most of everything is already known features. So I will just write now what I read between the line : No more Citrix Streaming Application (RIP) in favor of Microsoft APP-V XenServer is now version 6.2 and Open Source ! http://www.xenserver.org/ Seamless Local Apps is now official and build-in. PVS is version 7 now and MCS continue its evolution. (I'll come back later on a blog post about that) Edgesight is included in XenDesktop 7 (Another blog post subject) Storefront is now version 2 Receiver for Windows is v4 Windows 8 and Windows 2012 supported Many other changes I need to cover later on Several editions are available today : Now this is time to show you how the installation process, pretty straight forward as I already mention and this is for those who are curious about this new version and don't have tie to POC it or try it right away.   To download Citrix XenDesktop 7, this is the way -> [link] XenDesktop 7 Edocs : [link] XenDesktop 7 Admin Guide : [link] XenDesktop 7 Upgrade Guide : [link] XenDesktop 7 Install Guide : [link]

Citrix Excalibur Tech Preview 6 Comments

As many of you might know Citrix are kind of melting all there product in one, a Cloud product. The project name is Avalon, with two releases until next year named Excalibur (what we will speak about in this blog post) and Merlin coming later next year. First, I spoke with many customers and other partner, and Citrix one more time did confuse everyone with all those names... Avalon, Excalibur, Merlin, Thor etc etc Almost 90% of the people I spoke with though Avalon, Excalibur and Merlin are three different products. Maybe I'm wrong but as far s I can see thing, Avalon is the code name for the final project then Excalibur and Merlin are just timeline version release until the final release and then a final product name. I must admit this one is a bit confusing everyone... This is like Citrix wants to show the big picture but just give a tiny pieces of the puzzle. Citrix Avalon Excalibur Tech Preview is available for download here : [link] Project Avalon Excalibur Technology Preview is our next-generation, unified desktop and app virtualization technology that is reinventing the delivery of Windows apps and desktops for mobility in the cloud-era.  The availability of this tech preview will allow Citrix customers and partners to have a first-hand look at a new unified FlexCast infrastructure combining VDI and Hosted Shared desktops and apps from a single platform. New features include: Simplified, unified, and expanded FlexCast 2.0 architecture New unified FlexCast 2.0 architecture combines simplified and integrated provisioning and personalization tools for both desktops and apps, delivered from either a desktop-based or server-based operating system. Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 Host Windows 8 VDI desktops or VM hosted applications in addition to Windows Server 2012 server-based desktops and applications. This tech preview also supports Windows 2008R2/SP1 and Windows 7. SuperCodec for Optimized Graphics New enhancements to HDX using Deep Compression Codec technology double the visual performance of desktops and apps to mobile devices dynamically adapting for device type, form factor and network connection while still leveraging the processing power of modern tablets and smartphones Storefront for apps & data Create centralized enterprise app stores to deliver desktops, applications, and other resources to users on any device, anywhere with the Citrix StoreFront. Intelligent configuration tools New intelligent configuration tools for deploying desktops and apps that proactively check configuration errors in real time while streamlining the…

My XenServer lab has been updated / upgraded, XenDesktop is now 5.6, XenServer 6.0.2 and Provisioning Services is 6.1 now. I had one issue with this last one, I wasn't able to create a new golden image for my brand new XenDesktop 5.6 setup... I was able to create the new VHD through the PVS Wizard but once the VM rebooted the connection to the VHD wasn't initialized... I knew it was a network issue but I had to remember a very old issue I had with PVS 4 or early 5... First you need to uninstall XenTools and the PVS Target Device agent. Reboot and install XenTools. After you have installed the XenTools and rebooted your Windows VM you need to do the following: Type in a command prompt Then type Start DEVMGMT.MSC,  click in the View menu, and then chose Show Hidden Devices. Expand the Network Adapters tree and right-click the dimmed network adapter, to uninstall it

This blog is what you're looking for if : You are using SEP 11 with PVS and XenDesktop 4 / 5 / 5.5 If your VMs have a "Persona" drive (D: for ex) Windows XP VMs (it should work with Windows 7 as well) If you don't want or you cannot use PVS Personality Strings The SEP11 administrator is becoming crazy because all the XenDesktop VMs are creating new entries at every reboot. Using an antivirus software on a VDI plate form is a discussion often see here and there but this time the question wasn't if I needed to install an antivirus or not, Symantec Endpoint Protection was already installed and running on my customer Citrix XenDesktop 4 / PVS 5.6 sp1 infrastructure. SEP11 (Short name for Symantec EndPoint Protection) was installed and was running well on the PVS distributed pool VMs. Yesterday the SEP administrator came to me and complained about the fact XenDesktop VMs were generating new entry in the SEP11 administration console every time they were rebooted and every morning he was forced to move all the object in the VDI node and delete all the past entries... But everything was working... I guess this administrator might have fund that a bit boring, he just complained and continued to do this tack every day and when he wasn't here, no one was taking care of that manual task. XenDesktop VMs needed to be in the VDI node because the exclusion in place were important for VMs performances : PVS cache file Event logs EdgeSight firebird database etc etc... When no one was doing this task, the Vms were generating new object in the default node where no specific exclusion were done... It did bring some performance issue now and then. First though was to use personality string (PVS feature) but I didn't want to bring another feature in the game as people managing this infrastructure weren't really aware of this PVS feature. All the Symantec technotes (link) about their antivirus and PVS are based on personality string usage so I needed to figure out another way to personalize each VM with their own GUID. After many tests and many solutions found over the Internet, nothing was working well, every time a very was rebooted, a new entry appear in the SEP11 administration console. So decided to go all by myself and try to find out an…

Last week, Alexander Jushin asked me if I would be ok to make a 45mns presentation at PubForum event in Dublin, I answer without hesitation yes and here we are on the way to build a new presentation focused on Citrix Provisioning Services. I like this product and I like to share my everyday work experiences. This presentation will be focus on the experience I got from the field and from all the best practices / tips I know can make the difference during a deployment. My session will take place on Saturday 14th of May 2011 at 15:00 in the room 2 (Be careful with the agenda slide'n drift :) ) Here is an extract from what I've plan to deliver : Citrix Provisioning Services – Technical Overview - by Stephane Thirion, France Citrix Provisioning Services has been update to a new version at the end of 2010, new features have been added (and removed) This session will bring an insight on the new features with a  “real life” production experience. Architecture point of view XenDesktop related : MCS vs PVS overview ? Should you virtualize PVS ? PVS Automation / industrialization, why and how ? Best Practices and Tuning Tips PVS You can read the full agenda here : http://www.pubforum.info/pubforum/Agenda.aspx I'm sure many of you already have some questions or/and would like to ear about a specific PVS subject, you can send me by email or by commenting this blog what you would like to know or understand, I'll integrate your request in this presentation. Here are the main reasons why it is a very good Idea to attend PubForum! PubForum Conference is a non-commercial event, which is a very cost efficient and a highly effective way to gain the best Citrix, Microsoft and other companies virtualisation products knowledge, as well to receive the best vendor and independent expert's training. It is also a chance to meet many independent industry experts, who are also attending the event and the ability to talk directly to the vendors support engineers in a non-formal atmosphere. Presenters and Trainers at PubForum include world recognized names in the field of Virtualization - those are Microsoft Most Valued Professionals, Citrix Technology Professionals and escalation Engineers from EMEA/Worldwide headquarters from  companies like AppSense, Citrix, Jetro, 2X, Microsoft, RES and other. Attendees learn the best practices on how to run projects, implement, troubleshoot, plan, optimize and…