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The purpose of this site

I started off my career in IT 25 years ago as a COBOL Programmer in South Africa and have progressed (or some may say regressed) to consulting on virtualization technologies. I created this site to share my experiences with virtualization and cloud computing, as well as the latest virtualization news, tips, tricks and tools from other experts in the field.



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Articles

NetScaler Best Practice With VMAC In A High Availability Configuration

An article by Andrew Redman from Citrix Blogs

The NetScaler appliance is an extremely flexible application delivery controller (ADC). With the default configuration in place, the NetScaler IP addresses are ‘floating’, which means that they are not restricted to any particular interface. Additionally with a High Availability (HA) configuration in place, all of the NetScaler-owned IP addresses (apart from the NSIP – the NetScaler IP Address) will be shared across the HA pair. This will include SNIP’s, MIP’s (decremented) and VIP’s.

When the HA pair experiences a failover, whether forced or not, the NetScaler will GARP (gratuitous ARP) the new IP-to-MAC address binding for the newly established Primary NetScaler. More details about GARP can be found here: http://support.citrix.com/article/ctx109980. This GARP behavior is to advertise to partner-attached NetScaler devices that the IP-to-MAC address has changed, and hence forward traffic to the new Primary NetScaler.

The NetScaler MAC addresses are not floating by default; just the IP addresses. This may cause issues with an older network switch connected to the NetScaler, or perhaps a firewall (FW) that does not understand GARP. In the event that a switch or FW does not understand GARP, or may not be able to keep up with the rate at which the GARP’s are sent during an HA failover event (approximately 200/s), the NetScaler can be configured with VMAC to create a floating MAC address to pair up with the floating IP addresses. This will solve the potential issues associated with GARP’s from the NetScaler.

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XenDesktop Setup Wizard

An article by Carl Webster from Carl Webster

Ever since the first article in this series came out in January 2014, I have been asked by numerous people to add an article that includes Boot Device Manager (BDM).  Since I am here but to serve, I am finally getting around to updating the process to include BDM.

Introduction

As with most things involving XenDesktop and or PVS, there is NO one way or one right way to do anything. This article will give you detailed information on the process I worked out and documented and now updated to include Boot Device Manager.

Assumptions:

  1. PVS 7.6 is installed, configured and a farm created.
  2. XenDesktop 7.6 is installed and a Site created and configured.
  3. Hosting resources are configured in Studio.
  4. PXE, TFTP and DHCP are configured as needed.

Note: While with BDM, PXE, TFTP and DHCP Options 66 and 67 are not needed, they are needed for the initial running of the PVS Imaging Wizard.

Lab Setup

All servers in my lab are running Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 fully patched. The lab consists of:

  • 1 PVS 7.6 server
  • 1 XenDesktop 7.6 Controller running Studio
  • 1 SQL 2012 SP1 Server
  • 1 Windows 7 SP1 VM

I am using XenServer 6.2 fully patched for my hosting environment. There are separate Storage Repositories for the Virtual Machines (VM), Personal vDisk (PvD) and Write Cache as shown in Figure 1.

Note: The partition for BDM is created when the XenDesktop Setup Wizard is run.

Figure 1

Figure 1

The Hosting Resources are configured in Studio as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2

Figure 2

To start off, in my lab I created my Organization Unit (OU) structure in Active Directory (AD) for my domain, WebstersLab.com, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3

Figure 3

One of the reasons to use PvD is to allow users to install applications. In order to do this I created an AD security group, shown in Figure 4, that will contain the AD user accounts and that AD security group will be made a member of the local Administrators security group.

Figure 4

Figure 4

Three AD user accounts were created, shown in Figure 5, for the three different PvD users for this article.

Figure 5

Figure 5

Those three test user accounts were placed in the LocalAdmins AD security group as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6

Figure 6

Most organizations that use XenDesktop to serve virtual desktops or servers require that Event Logs persist between reboots or the security team sits in the corner crying. Other items that may need to persist between desktop/VM reboots are antivirus definition files and engine updates. To accomplish these a Group Policy with Preferences is used. Why not manually change the file system and registry? Because the XenDesktop setup wizard completely ignores all the careful work done by creating folders on the Write Cache drive. When the Write Cache and PvD drives are created, they are empty and will NOT carry over ANY of the manual work done before hand. So just forget about doing any of the items usually done by pre creating a Write Cache drive. The Write Cache drive is always created as Drive D and the PvD is created with the drive letter assigned during the Wizard. My Group Policy with Preferences is linked at the OU that will contain the computer accounts created by the XenDesktop Setup Wizard. These are the settings in the policy used for this lab.

  • Computer ConfigurationPoliciesAdministrative TemplatesWindows ComponentsEvent Log ServiceApplicationControl the location of the log file – Enabled with a value of D:EventLogsApplication.evtx
  • Computer ConfigurationPoliciesAdministrative TemplatesWindows ComponentsEvent Log ServiceSecurityControl the location of the log file – Enabled with a value of D:EventLogsSecurity.evtx
  • Computer ConfigurationPoliciesAdministrative TemplatesWindows ComponentsEvent Log ServiceSystemControl the location of the log file – Enabled with a value of D:EventLogsSystem.evtx
  • Computer ConfigurationPreferencesFolder – Action: Update, Path: D:EventLogs
  • Computer ConfigurationPreferencesControl Panel SettingsLocal Users and Groups – Action: Update, Group name: Administrators (built-in), Members: ADD, <DomainName><Security Group Name>
  • User ConfigurationPoliciesAdministrative TemplatesStart Menu and TaskbarRemove the Action Center icon – Enabled

These settings will:

  • Keep the user from getting popups from the Action Center
  • Create the EventLogs folder on drive D (the Write Cache drive)
  • Redirect the Application, Security and System event logs to the new D:EventLogs folder
  • Add the domain security group that contains use accounts who should be local admins to the desktop’s local Administrators group

Create the Virtual Machine

Next up is to create a Windows 7 VM to be used as the Master or Golden image. Do just basic configuration of the VM at this time. Do not install any applications at this time.

Citrix provides a PDF explaining how to optimize a Windows 7 image. http://support.citrix.com/servlet/KbServlet/download/25161-102-648285/XD%20-%20Windows%207%20Optimization%20Guide.pdf

Once the basic VM is built there are four things that need done before joining the VM to the domain.

  1. Fix the WMI error that is the Application event log. I know it is not a critical error but I am OCD and simply must have error free event logs. Run the Mr. FixIt (this one actually works) from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2545227.
  2. Install the hotfix for using a VMXNet3 network card in ESXi. Request and install the hotfix from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2550978.
  3. From an elevated command prompt, run WinRM QuickConfig. This allows the desktops to work with Citrix Director.
  4. Disable Task Offload by creating the following registry key:
    1. HKLMSystemCurrentControlSetServicesTCPIPParameters
    2. Key: “DisableTaskOffload” (dword)
    3. Value: 1

The Write Cache drive will become drive D when it is created so before installing any software change the CD drive letter from D to another letter. I use Z.

The VM is ready to join the domain. After joining the domain, shutdown the VM.

Now two hard drives need to be added to the VM. One for the Write Cache drive and the other for the PvD drive. NOTHING will be done to these drives, they are just stub holders so Windows knows there should be two additional drives. The Write Cache and PvD drive should (dare I say must) be different sizes or strange things can happen. If they are the same size, it is possible the write cache file and page file can be placed on the PvD drive and not the Write Cache drive. To make your life easier, keep the drives different sizes with the PvD drive being larger. For this article, I will use a 10GB Write Cache drive and a 20GB PvD drive. Make sure the new drives are created in the proper storage locations as shown in Figures 7 through 9.

Figure 7

Figure 7

Figure 8

Figure 8

Figure 9

Figure 9

Power on the VM, login with a domain account, start Computer Management and click on Disk Management as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10

Figure 10

Click OK to initialize the two new drives as shown in Figure 11.

Figure 11

Figure 11

The two new drives appear in Disk Management as shown in Figure 12.

Figure 12

Figure 12

Leave the drives unformatted and exit Computer Management.

Install PVS Target Device Software

At this time, any software and updates needed can be installed. After all software and updates are installed, mount the PVS 7.6 ISO to the VM, open My Computer and double-click the CD.

When the PVS installer starts, click Target Device Installation on both screens as shown in Figures 13 and 14.

Figure 13

Figure 13

Figure 14

Figure 14

Follow the Installation Wizard to install the PVS Target Device Software. On the last page of the Installation Wizard, leave Launch Imaging Wizard selected and click Finish as shown in Figure 15.

Figure 15

Figure 15

You can exit the PVS Installer screen and unmount/disconnect the PVS 7.6 ISO from the VM’s CD drive.

Click Next on the Imaging Wizard as shown in Figure 16.

Figure 16

Figure 16

Enter the name or IP address of a PVS Server, select the option for Credentials and click Next as shown in Figure 17.

Figure 17

Figure 17

To Create new vDisk, click Next as shown in Figure 18.

Figure 18

Figure 18

Enter a vDisk name, Store, vDisk type and click Next .as shown in Figure 19.

Figure 19

Figure 19

Select the licensing type and click Next as shown in Figure 20.

Figure 20

Figure 20

Verify only the C drive is selected and click Next as shown in Figure 21.

Figure 21

Figure 21

Enter a Target device name, select the MAC address, select the target device Collection and click Next as shown in Figure 22.

Figure 22

Figure 22

Click Optimize for Provisioning Services as shown in Figure 23.

Figure 23

Figure 23

Verify all checkboxes are selected and click OK as shown in Figure 24.

Figure 24

Figure 24

Depending on the .Net Framework versions installed on the VM, the optimization process could take from less than a second to over an hour.

Once the process has completed click Finish as shown in Figure 25.

Figure 25

Figure 25

The vDisk is created.

Once the vDisk is created, a Reboot popup appears as shown in Figure 26. DO NOT reboot at this time. Depending on your hypervisor, you may need to shutdown to make the next change. The VM needs to be configured to boot from the network first and the hard drive second. If this change can be made while the VM is running, make the change and click Yes. If not, click No, shutdown the VM, make the change and power the VM on to continue.

Figure 26

Figure 26

Before we continue, what did the Imaging Wizard do inside of PVS? First, a vDisk was created as shown in Figure 27.

Figure 27

Figure 27

Second, a Target Device was created, as shown in Figure 28, with the MAC address of the VM, linked to the vDisk just created and the Target Device is configured to boot from its hard disk because the vDisk is empty right now.

Figure 28

Figure 28

Once the VM has been configured to boot from the network first and the hard drive second, either power on the VM or click Yes to reboot the VM as previously shown in Figure 26. When the VM is at the logon screen, logon with the same domain account and the Imaging Wizard process continues as shown in Figure 29.

Figure 29

Figure 29

When the Imaging Wizard process is complete, click Finish, as shown in Figure 30, and shutdown the VM.

Note: If there are any errors, click Log, review the log, correct any issues and rerun the Imaging Wizard.

Figure 30

Figure 30

Configure the vDisk in PVS

What has happened is that the Imaging Wizard has now copied the contents of the VM’s C drive into the vDisk. That means the C drive attached to the VM is no longer needed. Detach the C drive from the VM as shown in Figures 31 and 32. DO NOT DELETE the C drive, just detach it.

Figure 31

Figure 31

Figure 32

Figure 32

Now that the VM has no C drive, how will it boot? In the PVS console, go to the Target Device, right-click and select Properties as shown in Figure 33.

Figure 33

Figure 33

Change the Boot from to vDisk as shown in Figure 34.

Figure 34

Figure 34

The vDisk contains everything that was on the original C drive and the vDisk is still set to Private Image mode. That means everything that is done to the vDisk is the same as making changes on the original C drive. Any changes made now will persist. When the vDisk is changed to Standard Image mode, the vDisk is placed in read-only mode and no changes can be made to it. Before the VM is powered on, an AD Machine Account must be created. Right-click the target device, select Active Directory and then Create Machine Account… as shown in Figure 35.

Figure 35

Figure 35

Select the Organization unit from the dropdown list as shown in Figure 36.

Figure 36

Figure 36

Once the correct Organization unit has been selected, click Create Account as shown in Figure 37.

Figure 37

Figure 37

When the machine account is created, click Close as shown in Figure 38. If there is an error reported, resolve the error and rerun the process.

Figure 38

Figure 38

Power on the VM and logon with domain credentials. Open Computer Management and click on Disk Management. Here you can see the holders for the 10GB Write Cache and 20GB PvD drives and the C drive (which is the vDisk) as shown in Figure 39.

Figure 39

Figure 39

Exit Computer Management.

You can also verify the VM has booted from the vDisk by checking the Virtual Disk Status icon in the Notification Area as shown in Figure 40.

Figure 40

Figure 40

As shown in Figure 41, the Virtual Disk Status shows:

  • The vDisk status is Active,
  • The IP address of the PVS server streaming the vDisk,
  • That the Target Device is booting from the vDisk,
  • The name of the vDisk, and
  • The vDisk is in Read/Write mode.
Figure 41

Figure 41

Exit the Virtual Disk Status.

Install the Virtual Delivery Agent

The XenDesktop 7.6 Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) needs to be installed. Mount the XenDesktop 7.6 ISO to the CD. Double-click the CD drive and the XenDesktop installation wizard starts. Click Start for XenDesktop as shown in Figure 42.

Note: At this time, PvD is only supported for desktop operating systems. PvD will not work and is not supported for XenApp 7.6.

Figure 42

Figure 42

Select Virtual Delivery Agent for Windows Desktop OS as shown in Figure 43.

Figure 43

Figure 43

Select Create a Master Image and click Next as shown in Figure 44.

Figure 44

Figure 44

Select the appropriate HDX 3D Pro option and click Next as shown in Figure 45.

Figure 45

Figure 45

Verify Citrix Receiver is selected and click Next as shown in Figure 46.

Figure 46

Figure 46

Enter the Fully Qualified Domain Name of a XenDesktop 7.6 Controller, click Test connection and, if the test is successful (a green check mark is displayed), click Add as shown in Figures 47 and 48. Repeat until all XenDesktop 7.6 Controllers are entered. Click Next when all Controllers are added.

Figure 47

Figure 47

Figure 48

Figure 48

Verify all options are selected and click Next as shown in Figure 49.

Figure 49

Figure 49

Select the appropriate firewall rules option and click Next as shown in Figure 50.

Figure 50

Figure 50

Click Install as shown in Figure 51.

Figure 51

Figure 51

The VDA installation starts as shown in Figure 52.

Figure 52

Figure 52

When the VDA installation completes, verify Restart machine is selected and click Finish as shown in Figure 53.

Figure 53

Figure 53

Disconnect/unmount the XenDesktop 7.6 ISO from the VM.

Update Virtual Delivery Agent Software

Citrix updates the VDA software often. At the time this article was released, 30-Dec-2014, there was one Public update to the VDA software (ICAWS760WXnn005 where nn is either 32 or 64 for the bitness of your desktop OS).

To check for available updates, in your browser, go to http://support.citrix.com.

Click on Support, select XenDesktop from the dropdown. Change All Versions to XenDesktop 7.6, click on Software Updates and then Public. See if there is any update for XenDesktop 7.6. If there is, download and install the VDA update.

After the VM restarts, log back in to the desktop with domain credentials.

Update Personal vDisk Software

Citrix updates the Personal vDisk software often. At the time this article was released, 30-Dec-2014, there was no update to the Personal vDisk software.

To check for an available update, in your browser, go to http://www.mycitrix.com and logon with MyCitrix.com credentials.

Click on Downloads, select XenDesktop and Components from the two dropdowns. See if there is any update for XenDesktop 7.6. If there is, download and install the Personal vDisk update.

Log back in to the desktop with domain credentials.

Configure Personal vDisk

By default, PvD uses two drive letters: V and P. V is hidden and is a merged view of the C drive with the PvD drive. If drive V is already used, the drive letter can be changed.

If needed, change the hidden PvD drive letter:

  • Key : HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareCitrixpersonal vDiskConfig
  • Value : VHDMountPoint [REG_SZ]

Set this to the drive letter of your choice. Ensure that “:” is appended to the end of your entry (Example: X: )

Everything is now complete. Before running the PvD Inventory, follow your standard procedure for sealing the image. This process is unique to every environment. For my lab, I have no antivirus software and I am not using WSUS so I have no registry keys to clear out. Manually run the PvD Inventory. Click Start, All Programs, Citrix, Update personal vDisk as shown in Figure 54.

Figure 54

Figure 54

The PvD inventory starts. Leave Shut down the system when update is complete selected as shown in Figure 55.

Figure 55

Figure 55

After the inventory completes, the VM is shutdown.

PVS XenDesktop Setup Wizard

Make a copy of the VM and create a template of the copy. That way the original VM is still available when needed in the future.

When making the template, make sure the template is stored on a storage location that is available when running the XenDesktop Setup Wizard. Change the template to boot from network only.

Since the C drive was detached, that leaves the Write Cache and PvD storage locations. If you do not, an error “<host resource> has no available templates defined that are fully accessible by all hosts” is displayed during the XenDesktop Setup Wizard. In the PVS console, click on the vDisk Pool node, right-click the vDisk and select Properties as shown in Figure 56.

Figure 56

Figure 56

Change the Access mode to Standard image and Cache type to Cache on device hard drive as shown in Figure 57.

Note: If you leave the Cache type at the default of Cache on server, when you run the XenDesktop Setup Wizard there will not be an option to configure the Write Cache drive size.

Note: I am using Cache on device hard drive for this article. With PVS 7.6, Cache in device RAM with overflow on hard disk is now the popular option. I highly recommend you read the following two articles by Dan Allen before making a decision on the Cache Type to use:

  1. Turbo Charging your IOPS with the new PVS Cache in RAM with Disk Overflow Feature! – Part One
  2. Turbo Charging your IOPS with the new PVS Cache in RAM with Disk Overflow Feature! – Part Two
Figure 57

Figure 57

Right-click the Site and select XenDesktop Setup Wizard as shown in Figure 58.

Figure 58

Figure 58

Note: If you get an error popup that states “No Standard Image vDisk exists in this Site”, that simply means the vDisk is still in Private Image mode.

Click Next as shown in Figure 59.

Figure 59

Figure 59

Enter the name of a XenDesktop 7.6 Controller and click Next as shown in Figure 60.

Figure 60

Figure 60

Select the host resource from those configured in Citrix Studio and click Next as shown in Figure 61.

Figure 61

Figure 61

Enter the logon credentials for the host resource and click OK as shown in Figure 62.

Figure 62

Figure 62

Select the appropriate template and VDA version and or functionality desired and click Next as shown in Figure 63.

Figure 63

Figure 63

Select the vDisk and click Next as shown in Figure 64.

Figure 64

Figure 64

Select whether to Create a new catalog or Use an existing catalog and click Next as shown in Figure 65. If you Create a new catalog, enter a Catalog name and Description.

Figure 65

Figure 65

Select Windows Desktop Operating System and click Next as shown in Figure 66.

Figure 66

Figure 66

Since we are using PvD, select The same (static) desktop, also select Save changes and store them on a separate personal vDisk and click Next as shown in Figure 67.

Figure 67

Figure 67

Make the appropriate choices.

For this lab, I am creating 3 VMs (desktops) with 2 vCPUs, 2 GB RAM, a 10GB write cache disk, a 20 GB PvD disk, changing the PvD drive to Y and selecting BDM disk. Click Next as shown in Figure 68.

Note: If you do not see the option Local write cache disk that means you left the vDisk at the default of Cache on server. Exit this wizard, correct the vDisk properties and rerun the wizard.

Figure 68

Figure 68

Select Create new accounts to have new AD computer accounts created and click Next as shown in Figure 69.

Figure 69

Figure 69

Select the Domain, OU, Account naming scheme and click Next as shown in Figure 70.

Figure 70

Figure 70

Verify the Summary information, click Finish, as shown in Figure 71, and the wizard will begin creating the following:

  • Virtual Machines
  • AD computer accounts
  • Target Devices
  • Machine Catalog in XenDesktop Studio
  • BDM
Figure 71

Figure 71

When the wizard is complete, click Done as shown in Figure 72.

Figure 72

Figure 72

Looking at the Device Collection in the PVS console (you may need to right-click the Site and select Refresh) shows the three target devices as seen in Figure 73.

Note: In the previous articles, each of the new target devices always booted automatically, one at a time,  with no intervention on my part.  That did not happen with BDM.

Figure 73

Figure 73

Looking in Active Directory Users and Computers shows the new computer accounts as seen in Figure 74.

Figure 74

Figure 74

In the hypervisor, look at the storage for one of new virtual machines.  You will see a BDM partition has been created as shown in Figure 75.

Figure 75

Figure 75

Change each of the new VMs to boot only from the hard drive.

Power on each of the new VMs.  As shown in Figure 76, the VMs will boot from BDM.

Each VM will power on and then shutdown.  This is normal.

Note: In the previous articles, each of the VMs powered on and shutdown automatically with no intervention on my part.  This did not happen with BDM.

Figure 76

Figure 76

Add Machines to Machine Catalog

In Citrix Studio, right-click on the Machine Catalogs node and select Refresh. The new Machine Catalog created by the XenDesktop Setup Wizard is shown in Figure 77.

Figure 77

Figure 77

Note: In the previous articles, I did not have to manually add the machines to the Machine Catalog before I created the Delivery Group.

Click Add Machines in the right Actions pane as shown in Figure 78.

Figure 78

Figure 78

Enter the IP address of the PVS server and click Connect as shown in Figure 79.

Figure 79

Figure 79

Select the Device Collection that contains the new machines and click Next as shown in Figure 80.

Figure 80

Figure 80

Review the Summary information and click Finish as shown in Figure 81.

Figure 81

Figure 81

The machines are added to the Machine Catalog as shown in Figure 82.

Figure 82

Figure 82

Create XenDesktop Delivery Group

Currently there is no Delivery Group to deliver the desktops. Right-click the Delivery Groups node in Citrix Studio and select Create Delivery Group as shown in Figure 83.

Figure 83

Figure 83

Click Next as shown in Figure 84.

Figure 84

Figure 84

Select the Machine Catalog and the number of machines to be added from the catalog to this delivery group and click Next as shown in Figure 85.

Figure 85

Figure 85

Select Desktops and click Next as shown in Figure 86.

Figure 86

Figure 86

Click Add… as shown in Figure 87.

Figure 87

Figure 87

Use the Select Users or Groups dialog to add users and click OK as shown in Figure 88.

Figure 88

Figure 88

Click Next as shown in Figure 89.

Figure 89

Figure 89

Select the appropriate StoreFront option and click Next as shown in Figure 90.

Figure 90

Figure 90

Enter a Delivery Group name, Display name, an optional Delivery Group description for users and click Finish as shown in Figure 91.

Figure 91

Figure 91

From here, there are many options that can be configured. For this lab, I edited the Delivery Group and set both Weekdays and Weekend peak hours to 24 hours as shown in Figure 92.

Figure 92

Figure 92

Every XenDesktop project I have been on, the customer wants all desktops powered on at all times. To do this, on a Controller start a PowerShell session and enter the following commands as shown in Figure 93:

add-pssnapin *citrix*

Get-brokerdesktopgroup | set-brokerdesktopgroup -PeakBufferSizePercent 100

Note: I had a reader leave me a comment on the original article that said this setting does not apply to user assigned desktops. But, I never got more than one desktop to start (out of the three in my lab) until I set the PeakBufferSizePercent. As soon as I entered that command, within a few seconds the other two desktops powered on.

Figure 93

Figure 93

Exit the PowerShell session. After a few minutes, all the desktops will power on. Back in the PVS console, the vDisk will show three connections and all three target devices will be powered on as shown in Figures 94 and 95.

Figure 94

Figure 94

Figure 95

Figure 95

Understanding How Personal vDisk Works

Now let us look at how the Write Cache and PvD drives work.

All three desktops are powered on. I will log in as a different user into each desktop.

All three users are presented with the standard Windows 7 desktop configured during the creation of the master image VM as shown in Figure 96.

Figure 96

Figure 96

Before we take a look at user customization and personalization, let’s see what is on the Write Cache and PvD drives. I had to show system and hidden files and operating system files. Figures 97 and 98 show the Write Cache drive which shows the write cache file, page file and the EventLogs folder.

Figure 97

Figure 97

Figure 98

Figure 98

Figure 99 shows there is not much of anything useful to see on the PvD drive.

Figure 99

Figure 99

What about the BDM partition?  As shown in Figure 100, it is an 8MB partition that does not have a file system recognized by Windows and is not seen by the user.

Figure 100

Figure 100

Back in Citrix Studio, refresh the Delivery Group and you will see there are now Sessions in use with no Unregistered or Disconnected machines as shown in Figure 101.

Figure 101

Figure 101

Double-click the Delivery Group to see detailed information as shown in Figure 102.

Figure 102

Figure 102

The first user is Ms. Know-It-All who probably knows Windows 7 better than the helpdesk team. She configures her desktop to get all the Windows 7 “frilly” stuff out of her way as shown in Figure 103.

Figure 103

Figure 103

The second user is Ms. Tree Hugger who wants a pretty cool picture for her background as shown in Figure 104.

Figure 104

Figure 104

The third user is Ms. Astrophysicist who needs a picture of her Tesla as her background as shown in Figure 105.

Figure 105

Figure 105

Now that each user has customized their desktop, reboot each desktop, log back in to each desktop and verify the user’s customizations persisted.

User Installed Software

What about installing software? User1 installed NotePad++ since she knows more than you do anyways, User2 installed Google Chrome to save the world from Internet Exploder and User3 installed Mathematica so she could do some physics work. The three desktops are shown in Figures 106 through 108.

Figure 106

Figure 106

Figure 107

Figure 107

Figure 108

Figure 108

Now that each user has installed an application, reboot each desktop, log back in to each desktop and verify the user’s installed application persisted. Since we are using PvD to allow users to install applications, where are the applications installed? Looking at User1, we can see that Notepad++ was installed to c:Program FilesNotepad++ as shown in Figure 109.

Figure 109

Figure 109

User2’s Google Chrome is installed to C:Program FilesGoogleChromeApplication as shown in Figure 110.

Figure 110

Figure 110

User3’s Mathematica is installed to C:Program FilesWolfram ResearchMathematica10.0 as shown in Figure 111.

Figure 111

Figure 111

The C drive view is a combination of the hidden drive, V by default, and C. When users install applications they will install as usual to the C drive. There is no need to install to the visible PvD drive, P by default.

Updating the Master Image

How is the master image updated if an application needs to be installed that all users need? Simple, in the PVS console create a Maintenance version, update it, test it and then make it available to users. In the PVS console, right-click the vDisk and select Versions as shown in Figure 112.

Figure 112

Figure 112

Click New as shown in Figure 113.

Figure 113

Figure 113

A new Maintenance version of the vDisk is created as shown in Figure 114. Click Done.

Figure 114

Figure 114

In the PVS console, go to the Device Collection the original master target device is in, right-click the target device and click Properties as shown in Figure 115.

Figure 115

Figure 115

Change the Type from Production to Maintenance and click OK as shown in Figure 116.

Note: In a production environment, you would have a dedicated Target Device to use for Maintenance versions of vDisks.

Figure 116

Figure 116

In the hypervisor, start that VM and open the VM’s console. An option to boot into either the Production version or the Maintenance version is shown. Select the Maintenance version as shown in Figure 117.

Figure 117

Figure 117

What has happened is that the target device has been configured to boot from a Maintenance image and during the bootup communication, the PVS server recognized the MAC address and offered the target device the maintenance vDisk to boot from. The maintenance vDisk is in Read/Write mode so changes can be made to the vDisk. Login to the desktop with domain credentials. I installed Adobe Acrobat Reader as shown in Figure 118.

Note: Whatever software is installed, verify that any license agreements and popups are acknowledged and any other configurations needed are done before sealing the image and running the PvD Inventory. For example, in Acrobat Reader I acknowledged the license agreement and disabled updater.

Figure 118

Figure 118

Before running the PvD Inventory, follow your standard procedure for sealing the image. This process is unique to every environment. For my lab, I have no antivirus software and I am not using WSUS so I have no registry keys to clear out. Manually run the PvD Inventory. Click Start, All Programs, Citrix, Update personal vDisk as shown in Figure 119.

Figure 119

Figure 119

The PvD inventory starts. Leave Shut down the system when update is complete selected as shown in Figure 120.

Figure 120

Figure 120

After the inventory completes, the VM is shutdown. Once the VM has shut down, in the PVS console, right-click the vDisk and select Versions as shown in Figure 121.

Figure 121

Figure 121

Select the Maintenance version and click Promote as shown in Figure 122.

Figure 122

Figure 122

PVS 7.6 adds the ability to now have a Test version for a vDisk that uses PvD.  This was not possible prior to version 7.6.

Select Test and click OK as shown in Figure 123.

Figure 123

Figure 123

The vDisk version is promoted to Test, as shown in Figure 124. Click Done.

Figure 124

Figure 124

In the PVS console, go to the Device Collection the original master target device is in, right-click the target device and click Properties as shown in Figure 125.

Figure 125

Figure 125

Change the Type from Maintenance to Test and click OK as shown in Figure 126.

Note: In a production environment, you would have dedicated Target Devices to use for Test versions of vDisks.

Figure 126

Figure 126

In the hypervisor, start that VM and open the VM’s console. An option to boot into either the Production version or the Test version is shown. Select the Test version as shown in Figure 127.

Figure 127

Figure 127

What has happened is that the target device has been configured to boot from a Maintenance image and during the bootup communication, the PVS server recognized the MAC address and offered the target device the maintenance vDisk to boot from. The maintenance vDisk is in Read/Write mode so changes can be made to the vDisk. Login to the desktop with domain credentials.

There are several things to notice with the Test version of the vDisk:

  1. The application that was installed for all users is there (Figure 128),
  2. The vDisk is in Read-only mode (Figure 129), but
  3. The write cache is located on the PVS server (Figure 130) because,
  4. There is no Write Cache drive (Figure 131),
  5. There is no PvD drive attached (also Figure 131), but
  6. The stub holders for the write cache and PvD drives are still there (Figure 132).
Figure 128

Figure 128

Figure 129

Figure 129

Figure 130

Figure 130

Figure 131

Figure 131

Figure 132

Figure 132

Why is there no BDM partition in Figure 132?  The BDM partition was created for the VMs created by the XenDesktop Setup Wizard.  The VM used for the Maintenance and Test versions is the original VM used to create the vDisk placed into PVS.  The original VM boots from the network so it can connect to the vDisk.

Once testing is completed, shutdown the VM.

Once the VM has shut down, in the PVS console, right-click the vDisk and select Versions as shown in Figure 133.

Figure 133

Figure 133

Select the Test version and click Promote as shown in Figure 134.

Figure 134

Figure 134

Select Immediate and click OK as shown in Figure 135.

Figure 135

Figure 135

The updated vDisk is now available for use as shown in Figure 136. Click Done.

Figure 136

Figure 136

Verify the Master Image Update

Restart the desktops for them to start using the updated vDisk. The desktops will automatically reboot after a few minutes. This is normal. Wait until this reboot is complete before allowing the users access to the desktop. Log in to each desktop and verify the new application is available and the user’s original customizations and installed applications persisted after the update. The three desktops are shown in Figures 137 through 139.

Figure 137

Figure 137

Figure 138

Figure 138

Figure 139

Figure 139

And there you have it, one way to do a XenDesktop 7.6 with Personal vDisk using BDM process.

Citrix lists four ways to do this process in eDocs, three with PVS and one with MCS. http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/provisioning-7/pvs-inventory-vdisks-pvd.html

I think it is strange they have MCS listed as a process in the PVS documentation but that is beside the point.

I hope this detailed process explanation will help you in working with PvD and BDM with XenDesktop 7.6 and PVS 7.6.

There is a PDF of this article available for $1.99.

Thanks

 

Webster

 

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Adding Machines to a Personal vDisk Citrix XenDesktop 7.x Machine Catalog

An article by Carl Webster from Carl Webster

This year I have written three articles on using Citrix XenDesktop 7.x, Provisioning Services (PVS) 7.x and the XenDesktop Setup Wizard with Write Cache and Personal vDisk (PvD) Drives.  In those articles I show how to use the XenDesktop Setup Wizard to create three virtual machines, create a Machine Catalog with the three machines and then create a Delivery Group to deliver the three machines.  One reader asked what the process was to add additional machines to a Machine Catalog and a Delivery Group that are based on using PvD.  In this article, I will document that process.

Since I had just completed the XenDesktop and PVS 7.6 article, that lab was still completely configured and running.

In PVS 7.6, the lab had a vDisk already created, configured, updated and running as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1

Figure 1

A Device Collection with the three Target Devices as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2

Figure 2

In XenDesktop 7.6 Studio, the lab already had a Machine Catalog created with the three machines and all three machines had been allocated to the machine catalog as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3

Figure 3

A Delivery Group to deliver the three machines to users as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4

Figure 4

Adding Additional Machines

From the PVS console, right-click the Site and select XenDesktop Setup Wizard… as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5

Figure 5

Click Next as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6

Figure 6

If it is not already there, enter the name of the XenDesktop Controller and click Next as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7

Figure 7

Select the XenDesktop Host Resources and click Next as shown in Figure 8.

Make sure the host resources are the same as used for the original machines.

Figure 8

Figure 8

Enter the credential and click OK as shown in Figure 9.

Figure 9

Figure 9

Select the same Template and VDA version as used for the original machines and click Next as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10

Figure 10

Select the same vDisk as used for the original machines and click Next as shown in Figure 11.

Figure 11

Figure 11

Select Use an existing catalog, select Catalog name of the existing PvD Machine Catalog and click Next as shown in Figure 12.

Figure 12

Figure 12

Enter the Number of virtual machines to create and use the same settings for the write cache drive, PvD drive and PvD driver letter are the same as the original machines and click Next as shown in Figure 13.

Figure 13

Figure 13

Select Create new accounts and click Next as shown in Figure 14.

Figure 14

Figure 14

Select the Domain, the same OU as the original machines, the same Account naming scheme (if it is not already there) as the original machines and click Next as shown in Figure 15.

Note: Do not worry about the sample account name shown.  The wizard “know” where and how to increment the new account names in Active Directory.

Figure 15

Figure 15

Verify the Summary information, click Finish, as shown in Figure 16, and the wizard will begin creating the following:

  • Additional Virtual Machines
  • Additional AD computer accounts
  • Additional Target Devices
Figure 16

Figure 16

When the wizard is complete, click Done as shown in Figure 17.

Figure 17

Figure 17

Looking at the Device Collection in the PVS console (you may need to right-click the Site and select Refresh) shows the three additional target devices as seen in Figure 18.

Note: The target devices will reboot two or three times.  This is normal.

Figure 18

Figure 18

Looking in Active Directory Users and Computers shows the new computer accounts as seen in Figure 19.

Figure 19

Figure 19

In the XenDesktop Studio console, refresh the Machine Catalogs and the Machine Catalog now shows 6 machines but only 3 allocated machines as shown in Figure 20.

Figure 20

Figure 20

Click Add Machines in the right Actions pane as shown in Figure 21.

Figure 21

Figure 21

Enter the IP address of the PVS 7.6 server (if it is not already there), Active Directory domain and click Connect as shown in Figure 22.

Figure 22

Figure 22

Select the correct Device Collection, VDA version and or features as used for the original machines and click Next as shown in Figure 23.

Figure 23

Figure 23

Verify the Summary information and click Finish as shown in Figure 24.

Figure 24

Figure 24

Click the Machines tab to see that the machines have been added added to the Machine Catalog as shown in Figure 25.  The machines have not been allocated to a Delivery Group yet.

Figure 25

Figure 25

Select the Delivery Group in Studio and then click Add Machines in the right Actions pane as shown in Figure 26.

Figure 26

Figure 26

Enter the number of machines to be allocated to this Delivery Group and click Next as shown in Figure 27.

Figure 27

Figure 27

Verify the Summary information and click Finish as shown in Figure 28.

Figure 28

Figure 28

The Delivery Group now shows that it has 6 machines as shown in Figure 29.

Figure 29

Figure 29

The Machine Catalog now shows 6 allocated machines as shown in Figure 30.

Figure 30

Figure 30

Because of the  following PowerShell command used in the original article, the 3 newly allocated machines will power on in a few seconds.

Get-brokerdesktopgroup | set-brokerdesktopgroup -PeakBufferSizePercent 100

 

Refresh the Delivery Group and as shown in Figure 31, all 6 machines are now registered and ready for use.  Look back in Figure 29 and only 3 of the machines were registered as they had not powered on at that time.

Figure 31

Figure 31

Logging in to one of the new desktops, Figure 32 shows the desktop has the settings from the original master template and the application that was added when the master vDisk was in Maintenance mode.

 

Figure 32

Figure 32

And there you have it.  Adding additional machines to a Machine Catalog and Delivery Group using PvD is not that hard.

Let me know if you have any additional questions.

Thanks

 

Webster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Citrix Director 7.6: Filters Explained

An article by Bharathi Issac from Citrix Blogs

One of Director’s finest features is the “Filters” page. With this feature we can analyze, drill down and focus on monitoring and troubleshooting things that matter. It also helps you analyze with ease and helps customers solve issues in a jiffy. Filters are explicitly divided into Machines, Sessions and Connections. Let’s deep dive into each one of them and check out how it can help an administrator troubleshoot and analyze issues.

Machines Filtering

In a XenApp/XenDesktop environment, machines can fail because of numerous reasons. An administrator needs to know when, where and why a failure occurred. The machines page in the “filters” view will help the administrator to find the issue and also understand the environment in detail.

The Machines panel gives you a picture of:

  1. All Machines
  2. Failed Machines – By major reasons
  3. Saved Machines Filter

Machine Panel

All Machines: Shows the details of all the Desktop and Server Machines @ site level. Server and desktop OS’s are shown in different tabs. Further filtering can be done based on the characteristics of XD. For e.g.:

 

All Machines Page

 

Note: Sorting is allowed based on the listed details. This applies to wherever is sorting is allowed. By default sorting will happen on the first parameter listed in the result.

Failed Machines: Gives you picture of machines in different failure states. You can either choose All or one of the other failure types as shown below.

 

Saved Machine Filters: Now, if you want to create a customized filter by using any of the combination provided in the filter by criteria, you can do so using this. An example of a customized filter being created and saved.

Saving a filter

 

Once saved you can go on using the same, from the main Filters tab. This is still available if you log off and log in back again.

 

Now, let’s go back and toggle down to Filters-Machines-All Machines.

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How to direct remote XenApp/XenDesktop users based on active directory group membership.

An article by Steven Wright from Citrix Blogs

Welcome to my second blog about global server load balancing, in what now looks set to become a series. Here I present to you “how to direct remote XenApp/XenDesktop users to the correct datacenter based on active directory group membership”.

This is a follow-on article to “Accurately direct XenApp/XenDesktop users to a correct location based datacenter” and although I would ordinarily expect users to be routed to the datacenter geographically closest to them and from there across the business’s MPLS network to wherever their applications or desktops are being provided (Fig. 1.), I appreciate this may not be appropriate for everyone and some of you wish to have control via AD group (Fig. 2.).

It’s worth mentioning from the outset that HDX optimal routing will already allow you to preference gateways on a per farm or site basis. This solution is intended for those of you with a central XenDesktop site running globally dispersed VDAs and a NetScaler Gateway in each location, or a single globally distributed XenApp farm (which I know an awful lot of you still have). If that’s you then read on!


Two separate TCP/IP conversations

First a quick recap of some key points from my last GSLB article

  • A connection to NetScaler Gateway is established after DNS-based-GSLB has taken place and involves two separate TCP/IP conversations between the endpoint and the NetScaler. The first authenticates the user and carries StoreFront traffic, and the second contains ICA traffic (Fig. 3.).
  • It is possible to introduce logic within the first conversation to performing a secondary level of load balancing (beyond that of NetScaler’s DNS-based-GSLB alone) and thereby redirect the second conversation to a different gateway than the first.
  • Global STAs are required if the two conversations go via different NetScaler Gateways, this is so that a user who has authenticated on the first will be known to have authenticated when arriving unannounced at the second.

 

Directing users based on Active Directory Group Membership

Now that’s out of the way, lets focus on our goal – today we want to introduce logic which directs the second TCP/IP conversation (containing the ICA traffic) to a different NetScaler Gateway based on the user’s active directory group membership. As the destination of that second conversation is a FQDN defined by StoreFront within an .ICA file, which the endpoint will download, we will need to cause StoreFront to populate the file with a different FQDN and unfortunately that’s not an “out-of-the-box” option.

We could of course create this functionality with another StoreFront extension using the excellent SDK but wherever possible I like to do interesting things with the tools already available, and in this case it’s actually possible (though a little complicated) to achieve our goal using NetScaler and StoreFront configuration alone, let me explain further.

 

StoreFront configuration

Recent releases of StoreFront can identify the NetScaler Gateway that’s connecting to them based on the SNIP (subnet IP) of the incoming connection, and having determined the gateway can populate the .ICA file with that gateway’s FQDN. The two StoreFront servers shown in Fig. 4 would be able to differentiate between the three NetScaler Gateways through which clients can connect, and based on the SNIP of each gateway it would be possible for StoreFront to correctly populate the .ICA file with the FQDN of the relevant gateway.

Using the same logic, if one NetScaler Gateway were to connect to a StoreFront server and originate connections from a number of different SNIPs, for example one per Active Directory group, it would appear to the StoreFront server as if clients were connecting through multiple gateways. This logic could then be used to populate an .ICA file with a different gateway FQDNs based on Active Directory group membership and thereby route the second TCP/IP conversation elsewhere.

Such a setup can be achieved by configuring NetScaler with multiple load balancers each with separate NetProfiles (Fig. 5.).

 

Causing NetScaler to make decisions based on group membership

Having established that our goal is possible, by using multiple load balancers each with a separate NetProfile, we must now consider how we will cause NetScaler Gateway to use these load balancers based on the Active Directory group membership of the user.

During logon NetScaler Gateway enumerates the Active Directory group membership of the user and we can use this information for policy decisions by creating AAA groups with identical names to those of the AD group. Using a unique session policy and action for each AAA group, with these policies having a lower numerical priority than the vServer’s session policy so that they will take precedence, we can specify a different StoreFront load balancer be used for each AAA group.

 

Illustrating the expected behavior with a highly simplified diagram

In the diagram (Fig. 6.) we see a client connecting to NetScaler Gateway for the first conversation, an authentication process including group enumeration being run against Active Directory, the process of checking for AAA group membership occuring and in this example “Users in the USA” matching the case-sensitive name.

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How to Add a Custom Banner to the Logon Page of StoreFront 2.x, Director 7.x, or Citrix License Server 11.x

An article by Elizabeth Masson from Citrix Blogs

Customizations allow Citrix customers to make web pages reflect company logos, color schemes, marketing styles, and sometimes, even security banners.  However, customizations require in-depth knowledge of the structure and coding behind each web site.

Some customers require that all levels of authentication (all logon pages) display security banners which outline the rights to privacy (or lack thereof) when accessing their sites.  In this case, a simple change to the web page code results in the addition of text – a security banner – near the authentication fields which is visible each time a user logs onto the site.

Some customizations are heavily documented – check out blogs like this one by Feng Huang – however, the addition of a security banner, or floating text, was not expressly discussed.

This article contains information about the customization of the logon page of StoreFront, Director, and Citrix License Server web pages.  Note that this is a basic banner configuration and changes to the specific size, font, and color can be made to fit custom requirements.

After working with members of the CCS team who have implemented various customizations in the past, we have consolidated our findings into a single reference point.  I would like to give a special thank you to Wonmin Lee, William Elvington, Steven Krueger, Dan Morgan, Felipe Bernal, and Kelsey Kempler for their help in the creation of this blog.  

Customizing the Logon Page for StoreFront Servers

This section explains how to customize the banner on Citrix StoreFront 2.x servers. The following configurations within the contrib folder will propagate the changes to all StoreFront servers.

  1. On a StoreFront server, navigate to C:/inetpub/wwwroot/Citrix/<StoreName>Web/contrib.
  2. Locate and create a copy of the custom.script file in the same location as backup – in the case that the changes need to be reverted, the copy can be used to replace the custom.script file to return to the original code.
    custom.script – Copy.js
     
  3.  

  4. Open the custom.script file in Notepad (as Administrator).
  5. Enter the following text as shown and click Save:

    $(document).ready(function() {
    var $markup = $(‘<div id=”bottom”><p class=”_ctxstxt_BANNER”></p></div>’);
    $markup.insertAfter(‘#logonbelt-bottomshadow’);
    });

  6.  
    *Note that if copying and pasting code directly from this blog, the single and double quote symbols may not paste correctly and may require manually erasing and re-typing those symbols in Notepad. This applies to all code snippets throughout this blog.
     

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Receiver for Web UI Themes

An article by Feng Huang from Citrix Blogs

Recently, we produced a ready-made customization package that provides a dark theme and a light theme. This can be used as a base for you to make your own theme for your Receiver for Web site.

The Receiver for Web 2.6 themes customization package is available to download here . Please see the readme file in the download package for details on how to apply the customization.

Dark theme

 

 

 

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Citrix Director 7.6 Deep-Dive: Part 8 Hosted Application Usage Reporting

An article by Lisa Green from Citrix Blogs

We’ve come to the end of the “What’s New in Director 7.6”  series.  Back in July, I posted a blog on the upcoming “Hosted Application Usage feature” that was delivered with XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6.  I highlighted the importance of being able to report on peak concurrent usage and some of the hosted application metrics that we provide.

Now, let’s dive a bit deeper to explain the details around this feature.

High level design

In XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6, we extended the monitor service data model to track hosted application usage counts and durations.  This information will be exposed via the Director console and the OData API, essentially collecting and storing this data into the monitor database.  The following diagram shows the high level architecture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Usage metrics collected

Understanding the hosted application usage metrics will help you interpret the charts and data shown in Director.  Our OData APIs use these same metrics and are available for custom report creation.

Application Instances

  • Total count of application instanced running at any point in a date range (e.g. one hour, one day, one week)
  • Count of running application instances grouped by application (counts grouped)
  • Count of running application instances group by application and by user (counts grouped)
  • Top n applications (grouped by application and the sorted by running instances count)
  • Bottom n applications (including unused)

Application Duration

  • Average duration per application per user for the time period
  • Total duration per application per user for a date range

Application Launches

  • Count of the number of times an application was successfully started in the time period.  A reconnect does not count as a launch.

Concurrent Applications

  • Peak concurrent applications for a time interval (hourly, daily, etc.) trended over a date range
  • Peak concurrent application instance for a specific application for a time interval over a date range
  • Top n peak concurrent applications over a date range (click on column to sort in descending order)
  • Bottom n peak concurrent applications over a date range (including unused, click on column to sort in ascending order)

Distinct Users Running Applications

  • Number of distinct users
  • Number of distinct (unique) users running a specific application for a time interval trended over a date
  • Peak Count of distinct users running a specific application for a time interval (i.e. hours over a date range

Trends reports

Types of reports

With the metrics collected above, we have created two new reports in the Trends view of Director.

  • Usage trends for all hosted applications with a per application breakdown
  • Usage trends for a particular application with a breakdown by user

Report filters

Director supports the ability to filter in all of the Trends reports.  This same framework applies to the Hosted Application Usage reports.  The administrator can select “All hosted applications” (default), or “Single application”.

Types of filters:

  • Delivery group – restricts the report to a specific Delivery Group. By default, “All” is selected which assumes all accessible Delivery Groups.
  • Time period – the time period selector is standard with other Trends reports.  Administrators may choose a selection in the drop down (last 24 hours, last 7 days, last month, last year) and select either “Ending now” or a custom date.

If the “Single application” is selected, a search box will be presented and the administrator can then search for a specific application.

Hosted Application Usage report

Below is a sample screenshot of the report in the Trends view: 

The Hosted Applications usage chart displays an aggregated view of hosted application usage over the time period selected for the applications.  When “All” is selected, the chart displays metrics for the total hosted applications during that time period.  Hovering over a data point displays tool tip details associated with that data point.  The usage chart shows applications used during the time period.  This excludes:

  • Hosted applications created after the end of the time period
  • Hosted applications that were deleted before the time period
  • Hosted applications that are no longer visible due to changes in Delegated Administration (DA) permissions (DA scope is enforced based on current state)

The chart metrics show the counts of peak concurrent application instances.

Application Based Usage table

The table below the chart shows the metrics for the same time period selected in the report filter. The metrics are broken down by each application and each column is sortable (least/most) and scrollable. Clicking a specific application will navigate to an application specific report for that application.

Table metrics definition and metrics:

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Citrix Director 7.6 Deep-Dive Part 7: New Trends Reporting Features

An article by Bharathi Issac from Citrix Blogs

In Director 7.0, we introduced the “Trends View” which shows historical charts and data to help with troubleshooting, (answer questions about what may have led up to an issue), and to enable EdgeSight performance management (trend data for detailed performance management, capacity management, and SLA monitoring).

 

This blog is about the new features in the Trends view delivered with Citrix Director 7.6.

Improved and Customizable Time Period Selector

Two new features have been added to the Trends filter criteria where you can choose a time period, e.g. “Last 2 hours,” and you can choose a customizable end for the time period. This gives you greater flexibility for trend analysis.

For example: if you want to analyze trends for the number of concurrent sessions for the last two hours, you can select the appropriate Delivery Group and select “Last 2 hours” from the time period and you’ll see the trend for the concurrent sessions for the last two hours.  When coming from the Director dashboard to Trends, the default will be the “Last 2 hours” as this provides the last two hours leading up to the charts shown in the dashboard.

Improved and Customizable Time Period Selector

 

Another example: In the event you  want to find out about the Failed Desktop OS Machines for your company’s financial year (which spans from Sept. 2013 to Sept. 2014) then you can select the time period as “Last Year” and then choose “Custom” in the ending and chose a date in Sept. 2014. This will give you insights into the trends for Failed Desktop OS Machines for your company’s financial year.

Improved Time Period Selection

 

Improved visibility

We also improved the visibility of the charts by redesigning the data points. In our previous releases, the data points were too close together, making the charts difficult to read and navigate.  Below is a table with the updated data points:

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Two factor authentication with specific customized NetScaler Gateway logon pages.

An article by Steven Wright from Citrix Blogs

Those who know me are aware that I’ve got a keen interest in two-factor authentication.  So, I was very interested when my colleague, Chris Jeffrey, called attention to the fact that two-factor doesn’t work with multiple NetScaler Gateway logon points when using specific customized logon pages.

Specific customized logon pages allow you to display a different logon page for each NetScaler Gateway vServer.  This could be a real advantage in a cloud-hosting environment where multiple customers connect via the same VPX and each logon point needs to include unique company branding elements.

But, a significant problem occurred because users don’t see a second password prompt on any customized logon point beyond the first. The password prompt used for PIN or token simply doesn’t appear despite CTX123736 having been followed perfectly even with the most minimal of customizations and it’s not at all clear why. I like a puzzle and decided to investigate.

Read on to learn the cause and the solution.

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