Configuring Citrix Desktop Director 2.1 for use with Citrix XenApp 6.5

Citrix Desktop Director is a fantastic new product from Citrix that’s bundled with Citrix XenApp 6.5+ and XenDekstop 5.5+. It’s a web-based service desk console that allows for easy and fast access to user information (search by name!) that includes which server/virtual desktop they’re connected to, their endpoint name and location, information from their AD account (phone number, address, etc.), connection information (Citrix HDX status, client version). The service desk can log users off, disconnect sessions, send users’ messages and shadow sessions all from their browser!

Video of Desktop Director: http://www.citrix.com/tv/#videos/2983

Originally, Desktop Director was released and designed for use with XenDesktop. When XenApp 6.5 was released, they updated Desktop Director to support it. Because it’s a relatively new offering for XA, the install process is NOT very straightforward.

One would assume you can go to citrix.com > Downloads > XenApp 6.5 > Desktop Director 2.1 and just run the MSI. You would be wrong.

As of 5/17/2012, you must first install Desktop Director 2.0 from the XenDesktop 5.5 Additional Features ISO. Once installed, you can run the installer for Desktop Director 2.1 you found in the XenApp 6.5 Section.

It doesn’t end there.

Next, install http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX132904 on the server where Desktop Director 2.1 is installed. Once the hotfix is installed, you can configure the software.

  1. On the Desktop Director Server, launch the IIS7 Management Console.
  2. Expand the server
  3. Expand Sites
  4. Expand Default Web Site
  5. Select DesktopDirector
  6. In the Features View, select Application Settings
  7. Locate Service.AutoDiscoveryAddresses
  8. Change the Name to Service.AutoDiscoveryAddressesXA
  9. If Desktop Director is installed on a XenApp server, reset IIS and move to step 12. If it’s on a standalone server, continue with 10.
  10. Change the Value of Service.AutoDiscoveryAddressesXA from “localhost” to the FQDN of a XenApp Server (preferably a Zone Data Collector).
  11. Reset IIS.
  12. Download this: http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX131165
  13. To allow non-domain administrators to use Desktop Director (it uses WinRM) you’ll need to create a Security Group. For example, we’ll create one called “DesktopDirector” on the EI domain. (EI\DesktopDirector).
  14. From the command prompt on the XenApp Servers, run this command.
    1. ConfigRemoteMgmt.exe /configwinrmuser EI\DesktopDirector
    2. This command provides WinRM access to the server to those in the EI\DesktopDirector group.
  15. Once you’ve allowed WinRM to passthrough the firewall on the XenApp servers, you’re done!

Upgrading Citrix Access Gateway Enterprise Edition from 8.1 to 9.3 (HA Pair)

Upgrading a Highly Available Citrix Access Gateway Enterprise Edition (AGEE) pair can be an intimidating task. Quite often you won’t have a test environment to work in, as the appliances can be pricey. And even more often, the ones you’re upgrading are heavily used and important to the business. While this can be cause for concern, the upgrade process is, in fact, relatively simple, safe, and fast.

These steps assume the following:

  • You have 2 AGEE Appliances in an HA Pair (active/passive)
  • These appliances are running NS 8.1
  • You have “nsroot” credentials and access to the appliances via SSH

What these steps don’t cover:

  • Troubleshooting changes in software features or capabilities as a result of upgrading from NS 8.1 to NS 9.3

Let’s get started!

Continue reading Upgrading Citrix Access Gateway Enterprise Edition from 8.1 to 9.3 (HA Pair)

Configuring the Desktop Toolbar for use with XenApp & XenDesktop

Recognize that toolbar? It’s the Desktop Toolbar and it’s pretty useful – when you’re using a Desktop resource. If you’re using a Seamless Published Application, it’s a nuisance if it’s not configured properly. And what’s properly? Configuring the Desktop Toolbar to only show with Desktop resources and not showing for published applications allowing them to run properly in Seamless Mode. To do this, follow these general steps.

  1. On your Web Interface server, backup the current configuration. I recommend copying the c:\inetpub\wwwroot\citrix\xenapp\ folder somewhere else for safekeeping.
  2. Edit your default.ica file and using the “;” symbol, comment out all instances of ConnectionBar=1. Don’t simply set it to 0 – it needs to be commented out.
  3. Edit your WebInterface.conf file, search for ShowDesktopViewer and set it to ShowDesktopViewer=On.
  4. Launch a XenDesktop session and it will appear, or launch a Seamless Application and it will function as intended.
You can be more granular with these settings by adding sections to your default.ica file containing headers of the published resource and setting that section to ConnetionBar=1. For example:

[Microsoft Outlook 2010]
ConnectionBar=1

Creating a XenApp 6.0 Lab Using Amazon EC2

Not everyone has access to equipment at home or work to learn, experiment or test software. It often requires a pretty good chunk of money up front to get started – that won’t fly for everyone. For those who want access to fast, reliable and affordable computing power, the cloud is the perfect place to look. In this article we’ll cover building a 2 server lab to run Citrix XenApp 6.0 and a Domain Controller on Windows Server 2008 R2 on Amazon’s Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2).

Yes, Citrix offers pre-built AMIs for this task, but it doesn’t help learn the entire process of installing and configuring Citrix XenApp.

Download the PDF Version of this Tutorial Here

What You’ll Need

  • A connection to the internet.
  • An e-mail address.
  • A credit card.
  • Access to Citrix XenApp 6.0 Media (ISO)
  • An hour or two.

What We’re Going to Do

  • Using Amazon EC2, create 2 Instances running Windows Server 2008 R2 AMIs.
  • Configure an Elastic IP Address
  • Configure a Domain Controller
  • Install and Configure Citrix Licensing
  • Install and Configure Citrix XenApp 6.0 in a Single Farm/Zone Environment
  • Install and Configure Web Interface
  • Publish an Application

What We Won’t Be Doing

  • Secure Gateway/SSL Access
  • Multi-Zone Configuration

Creating an Amazon AWS Account

To get started, visit http://aws.amazon.com and create an account. You can use your regular Amazon.com account if you wish. You’ll need to provide a valid credit card number to complete the process.

Creating the Domain Controller Instance

Log into Amazon AWS using the username you just created and select the Amazon EC2 tab.

Select Launch Instance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Select the Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Base AMI

 

On the Instance Details page (part of the Request Instances Wizard), select Micro (Instance Type) and an Availability Zone close to your location. We’re selecting a Micro instance here because we’re only using it for a Domain Controller. Leave Launch Instances selected. Click Continue.

On the Advanced Instance Options page, you can leave all settings as they are and then click Continue.

On the Key/Value page, enter Role as they key and DomainController as the value.

Next, we’ll create a new Key Pair. EC2 uses key pairs to allow you to connect to your instances. Enter a key pair name of your choice, then select Create & Download your Key Pair. Keep this somewhere safe.

On the Configure Firewall page, select Create a New Security Group and name and describe it as you desire. Leave the rules alone for now; we’ll come back to that later. Click Continue.

You may now select Launch if all the settings shown are as you desire.

Select View your instances on the Instances page

You should then see a new instance, powered on, but without a name.

Select the empty section and edit it. Label the instance something like EIEC2-DC-01

In 15-30 minutes, we’ll come back to this instance. That amount of time is required for EC2 to generate a password for this instance.

Creating the Citrix XenApp Instance

Creating the instance required for the Citrix XenApp 6.0 server is nearly the same. Here are the exceptions:

  • Use a Large not Micro Instance.
  • The Role tag should have a key of CitrixXenApp
  • Use the existing Key Pair and Security Group
See Page 2 to Continue.

Citrix Purchases Cloud.com for Estimated $250m

According to their website, Cloud.com is poised to be acquired by Citrix Systems. The actual details of the transaction have not been made public, but TechCrunch indicates the purchase price could be up to $250 million.  A move like this further reinforces Citrix’s stance on cloud computing solutions and puts them ahead of VMware for cloud solution software offerings. According to the press release, CloudStack will continue to support Citrix XenServer and VMware vSphere. It’s also been stated that Citrix is planning on adding support for Microsoft Hyper-V and System Center.

As the industry moves into the Cloud Era, Citrix is committed to leading the charge with powerful solutions that make the cloud more open, more secure, and more personal. We are delighted to welcome the Cloud.com team to the Citrix family to focus our combined efforts on helping customers of all sizes make a difference in business, and in the lives of their customers and employees.

Mark Templeton, CEO, Citrix Systems, Inc.

Cloud.com is the platform behind many of the world’s most innovative and successful clouds. Joining forces with Citrix will dramatically accelerate our mission to help customers achieve all the promise cloud computing has to offer, in a way that’s open, secure and efficient.

Sheng Liang, CEO and Founder, Cloud.com

On Twitter:

Alessandro Perilli (@a_perilli) “[…]Great acquisition. Wondering if/how Citrix Self-Service Manager will integrate with CloudStack[?]”

Simon Bramfitt (@SimonBramfitt) #Citrix takes drastic action to replace @SimonCrosby buys @CloudDotCom

Citrix XenServer 6.0 Beta Now Available

The newest version of Citrix XenServer is now available. Version 6.0, referred to as “Project Boston” has been made available on Citrix.com Click Here for the official page.

Some notable features and changes include:

  • Workload Balancing is now available a virtual appliance for ease of use.
  • New Self-Service Manager feature allows for easy creation of Private Cloud environments that includes support for both XenServer and VMware vSphere.
    • Lab Manager superseded by SSM
  • XenServer hosts and guests can now be managed with System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2012.
  • HDX Enhancements for use with XenDesktop
  • Physical GPUs can be assigned to a specific guest for use with XenDesktop HDX 3D Pro Technology.
  • Formal support for Ubuntu 10.04 (and Experimental Support for 10.10)
  • “Rolling Pool Upgrade” Wizard is provided to enable easy upgrades from 5.6 and 5.6 FP1 to 6.0.
  • Guest vCPU and vRAM support has been increased to 16 vCPUs and 128GB of RAm for Windows. (Linux max. varies)
  • Host RAM support increased to 1TB

 

VMware ESX 3.5 Update Manager Failure

If you are suddenly (June 2011) unable to Scan for Updates or Remediate VMware ESX 3.5 Hosts, you may be without ESX350-201012410-BG (VMware KB 1030001). When running ESXUpdate via SSH on the host, you’ll receive an Integrity Error that includes “Signature 0BFA1C860F0B0A6CF5CD5D2AEE7835B14789B619: keyExpired: 4789B619″

To resolve this, you’ll need to bypass the Signature Requirement for patching so the new Secure Key Patch can be applied. To do this, connect via SSH to the host, and run the following command.

esxupdate -d http://patchdepoturlhere --nosig update

This will install all updates and reboot the host, so be sure it’s in maintenance mode prior to running the command. After the host has been patched in this method, you’ll be able to use the VUM GUI again.

XenDesktop Setup Wizard: SR_BACKEND_FAILURE_44

When using the Citrix XenDesktop Setup Wizard on your Provisioning Services server, you may encounter this error when creating new virtual desktops from a template.

Unable to create the desktop DESKTOPNAME.
Unable to clone the virtual machine for this desktop.
Exception thrown : SR_BACKEND_FAILURE_44
Unable to provision a vDisk for the desktop.

This error often appears when there is no longer sufficient space on your Storage Repository to clone the VM Template. To resolve this, either remove the storage requirement from your template (if it’s not needed) or add additional space to the desired storage repository.

Resizing Storage Repositories in XenServer

While XenServer 5.5 has a pretty decent GUI, there are still a few tasks that we have to use the command line for. Resizing Storage Repositories would be one of those tasks. In my environment, we use a Fibre Channel SR in our main XenServer resource pool, so I can vouch that these steps will work for that type of environment.

Before starting with these steps, make sure you have actually resized the LUN using whatever software provided by your SAN vendor. This process is simply getting XenServer to recognize the change.

  1. Open the console of your XenServer Resource Pool Master.
  2. Run xe sr-list
  3. Find the UUID associated with the name of the SR you wish to resize. Make note of the UUID (I just copy it).
  4. Next, find the device name. To do this, run pvscan | grep <uuid> - The device name will look like /dev/sdb – Make note of this as well.
  5. Run pvresize <devname>
  6. Run xe sr-scan <uuid>
  7. Verify that the SR shows the new size in XenCenter.

It’s a simple process, though I forget how to do it every time. Now it’s written down for all to see!

XenApp and XenDesktop in a Single AMC

As an administrator of both XenDesktop and XenApp environments, I’m absolutely sick of multiple consoles. I’ve finally managed to easily integrate XenDesktop and XenApp administration into a single console (AMC). Unfortunately, we’re unable to integrate the “Presentation Server Console” that is still used for manging policies.

While alternative methods may exist, I know the following steps will work.

  1. On your XenDesktop 3.0 Media, run autorun.exe
  2. Select Install Optional Components.
  3. Install Management Consoles.
  4. Install XDE300AMC004 (Download here).
  5. Open the Access Management Console, you should see Desktop Delivery Controller in the left pane. If you do, you may continue.
  6. On your XenApp Media (I’m using 4.5 media) navigate to Administration\Access Management Console\Setup\
  7. Run ASC_PresentationServer.msi
  8. After following the prompts, you should now have Presentation Server as an option in the left tree below Desktop Delivery Controller.

If you also want other snap-ins you can find them on your media under Administration\Access Management Console\Setup\. There are snap-ins for Web Interface, etc. as well.