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…

Expand virtual machines hard disk – automation 7 Comments

Sometimes, at some customers's place, with an infrastructure already in place (XenApp with PVS or XenDesktop VDI pooled with PVS) the D: drive is too small. The drive where you redirect Windows Event Logs, Logs (UPM for example and/or other applications - services) This is a drive where page file is often redirected as well and even memory dump file generated. PVS cache can also be on this drive : Cache on device RAM with overflow on Hard Disk When RAM is zero, the target device write cache is only written to the local disk. When RAM is not zero, the target device write cache is written to RAM first. When RAM is full, the least recently used block of data is written to the local Write Cache disk to accommodate newer data on RAM. The amount of RAM specified is the non-paged kernel memory that the target device consumes. Cache on device Hard Disk The cache on local HD is stored in a file on a secondary local hard drive of the device. It gets created as an invisible file in the root folder of the secondary local HD. The cache file size grows, as needed, but never gets larger than the original vDisk, and often not larger than the free space on the original vDisk. It is slower than RAM cache, but faster than Server cache and works in a HA environment. The lack of space on this drive will bring some slowness in user's session and this drive needs to be expanded a bit to get back a normal user experience. To expand these disks two actions need to be done : Expand the Virtual Machine hard disk - in this example vmware Virtual Machines Expand the disk within the Operation System (Windows) In addition to the following script, psexec tool (Microsoft Sysinternal) is used to execute remotely the diskpart command listed in a text file (diskpart.txt) which is upload to the Virtual Machines. Targeted Virtual Machines need to be powered on. Psexec.exe and Diskpart.txt needs to be in the same folder as the Powershell script, of course you can specify their path as it suits your need.   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 lust of Virtual Machines…

XenDesktop XenApp 7.x – vmware / ad / delivery group notes and descriptions sync 9 Comments

Several times i had the need to synchronise Virtual Machine notes (vmware) with Active Directory Computer description. As in big environment, different team are managing each of these components, the need to be able to link an Active Directory computer account to a vm with XenApp / XenDesktop delivery group has often been seen as useful. Delivery group name : Desktop123 Virtual Machine note (vmware) : Desktop123 Active Directory account Description : Desktop123 The idea is to simply synchronise the information through the platforms so everyone knows quickly what machine does what. In this particular example that was about XenApp Servers and XenDesktop VDI. You will need a machine where : XenDesktop 7.x SDK (Powershell is installed) vmware PowerCli installed RSAT role deployed as well Thank to Rodolphe Herpeux who simplified the first version of this script I wrote.

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

This is the personalized installation I do when I deploy vmtools on the VMs with VDA to install on it. Don't forget to install vmtools before Citrix Virtual Desktop Agent ! It always good to have this information shared because I had a lot of question regarding vmware vmtools installation with Citrix XenDesktop VDAs. Toolbox – Enable – Used for functions like time synchronization and clean shutdown of guest. Memory Control Driver – Enable - Driver for improved memory management in the virtual machine. This driver is available and recommended if you use VMware vSphere. Excluding this driver hinders the memory management capabilities of the virtual machine in a vSphere deployment. Thin Print Driver – Disable - Handled by Citrix printing in VDA. Paravirtual SCSI – Disable – Used in high I/O operation with SAN and mostly is applicable to Server VMs and not VDA. This driver is for PVSCSI adapters, which enhance the performance of some virtualized applications. Mouse Driver – Enable – Needs the mouse driver as it improves fixes in glitches with the mouse. File System Sync Driver – Disable - Driver for the synchronization of the file system within the virtual machine. For example, for preparation of backups. Only used if you have dedicated VMs and used agents in VMs to backup VMs. In VDA environments most common settings is profile management in which data is moved to a share as opposed to being local on VMs. Shared Folders – Disable – Directory for data exchange between host system and guest system. Currently only works with VMware Workstation and have seen it cause a lot of synchronization issues. SCSI Driver – Enable – Installs and improves BusLogic SCSI driver. If you use LSI Logic this driver is not required. SVGA Driver – Disable – We want to use the Citrix VGA adapter and not the VMware VGA. Use CTX 123952 (below) as work around if using Windows 7. Audio Driver – Enable – Needs audio driver to playback sound. This sound driver is required for all 64-bit Windows guest operating systems and 32-bit Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Vista guest operating systems if you use the virtual machine with VMware Server, Workstation, or Fusion. VMXNet NIC Driver – Enable - Network card driver for the VMXNet VMware network card. Improves network performance of the virtual machine, especially in gigabit environments. Furthermore the CPU…

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

In a new mission, I had to learn a new environment based on Citrix XenDesktop 4, Provisioning Services 5.6 and vmware vSphere 4.1. This week, I had a weird issue, I didn't change anything, I just didn't understood why suddenly VMs stopped to be available, in fact VMs were available but for some reason, it was impossible for everyone to access it through the Web Interface. VMs were working well XenDesktop brokers were fine Web Interface was ok Citrix License Server was up and running with correct license vmware vSphere was ok as well, VMs were running without any problem on it On the Web Interface, the following message was display while trying to launch a XenDesktop virtual desktop : "xxxxx is currently unavailable. try reconnecting and, if the problem persists, contact your administrator." On the DDC, XenDesktop Desktop Delivery Controller, I found event logs with ID 1301, source : Citrix Desktop Delivery Controller, with the following description : "The delivery controller failed to broker a connection for user xxxxx to desktop group yyyyy. The delivery controller cannot find any available virtual desktops. Please add more virtual desktops to the desktops group. If the problem is due to existing virtual desktops not becoming available, refer to Citrix Knowledge Base article CTX117248 for further information." It look like a communication problem between XenDesktop DDCs and vmware Virtual Center, so I checked every component, DDCs, Virtual Center.... I found nothing really relevant. So the next step was to enable extended logs on the DDC side, after a short search on Citrix website I found how to do do with CTX117452. I got a lot of logs, but after one day scratching my head to try to understand why without changing anything I had such behavior, I just had bunch of logs but I was missing something... Here is a short part of the pool_log.log file : I also took a log in the virtual desktops pool properties to check if everything was alright... It wasn't :   All the VMs within the Citrix Delivery Service Console were disassociated with Active Directory and a message confirm I had communication problem between vmware Virtual Center and Citrix XenDesktop : "Virtual machines could not be retrieved from the hosting infrastructure" and then a pop-up saying : "Error occurred whilst validating the list of virtual desktops. For more information about each error, hover the mouse over…