Mobile Device Receiver Limitations

So yesterday I was at a customer site, and they still use Netware.  Couldn’t get the Receiver client to connect on an iPad.  Hrmmm…  Some quick research found this article on Citrix’s site.  Now, I know what you’re all thinking, the limitation isn’t a limitation of Receiver, its a limitation of Netware, right?  Personally, I agree with you, but…  There ARE those companies out there that continue to use Netware, or, at least, haven’t migrated off of it yet.  If you’re one of them, Windows 2012 is here now, and it’s great!  🙂

 

-CG1

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Citrix Receiver Automagic URL Configurator

How many times have you had people fat-finger the Receiver URL on their mobile devices, then come screaming to IT about “The site doesn’t work, blah blah blah, fix it”.

Easy fix.  Go here and enter your information.  Then, click generate.  It will provide you with two links you can embed in an email to your end users; one for iOS devices and one for Android devices.  The click the link, and Voila!  Their devices are configured.  The lives of your end users (and by extension, your help desk) just got a LOT easier.

 

-CG1

Project Avalon Excalibur Release

“When will XenApp support Server 2012?”  “When will XenDesktop support Windows 8?”

The answer is finally upon us.  They won’t.

Before you blow a gasket, the reason they won’t is that XenApp and XenDesktop are in their last versions, at least as we know them.  The new product, which is yet to be named, and is known only as “Excalibur” at this time, combines both XenApp functionality AND XenDesktop functionality into a single package, managed from a single pane of glass.  Big news?

  • No more web interface.  Interviews with Citrix staff hint that it “should still work”, but officially only StoreFront will be supported.
  • No more IMA.  Everything will be FlexCast.

The Tech Preview of Excalibur will be avaialble for download November 1.  Since I’m currently in the middle of a certification crunch, I don’t know how soon I’ll get ahold of it and start blogging about it, but I’m sure I’ll be behind the curve. Perhaps Geek2 or Geek3 will grab it and write something up for you loyal followers.  Otherwise, I’m sure Brian Madden or one of the guys who blogs for a living will beat me to it by a long shot.  Oh well.  Such is the life of a consultant who blogs for free….

Read the official PR from Citrix here.

-CG1

It’s the end of Access Gateway as we know it…

Ok, so poor Billy Joel reference aside, Access Gateway really is going away.  Loyal Citrix fans already know that Citrix has been working for quite some time now on making the featuresets between Netscaler and AG the same.  Since they were different code bases, this was a long and time consuming process, and feature parity seemed like it was a pipe dream.  No more!

How has Citrix accomplished this?  Well, they DID spend an awful lot of time working to get Netscaler to support all the same features, of course.  Then, to finalize the whole thing, and give people a single interface by which to configure all those features, they’ve decided to scrap Access Gateway.  Read all about it here.  Basically, what it boils down to is that 31-March-2013 is the End of Sale date for existing Access Gateway product line that is based on non-netscaler code.  Future appliance models will now be known as Access Gateway MPX, formerly Access Gateway 5500.  The new Access Gateway VPX is based on Netscaler code, so you’ll recognize the way it works.  The good news?  Current Access Gateway VPX customers using the non-Netscaler codebase can migrate to the new product for free.

Have an Access Gateway 2010 appliance?  Citrix hasn’t forgotten about you!  Through the end of calendar year 2012 you can “trade up” and get a $3,000 discound off SRP of any new Access Gateway MPX or Netscaler MPX.

 

-CG1

Associating a XenDesktop image with another DDC

Situation:  You have a small XenDesktop deployment, maybe it was a PoC.  But it’s not built to spec (maybe it was done using quickdeploy?), and you want to go to production.  You’ve thought about building a new DDC and PVS box, but the thought of rebuilding the images is too much to bear.  Or, you built the PoC to production spec, except you only installed a single DDC, and now you want to add another DDC.  Either way, how do you make your existing VDI VM’s aware of the new and/or additional DDC?  Fear not, there’s an easy way to handle it.

Fire up regedt32 and make your way to the following key:

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Citrix\VirtualDesktopAgent

In there is a value called “ListOfDDCs”.  Just edit it.  That’s all.  It’s a space-delimited list of the FQDN’s of all the DDCs that VM is supposed to associate itself with.

-CG1

Upgrading Provisioning Server

So you have a working PVS deployment, but it’s not the newest version.  How do you go about upgrading this?  It seems a daunting task.  I mean, if you blow it up, none of your provisioned XenApp or XenDesktop VMs will function anymore, right?  And that would be bad, right?  So what’s a guy to do??  It’s easy, really.  No, seriously, it is.

First thing, we are going to assume that you built to best practices, and you have MORE THAN ONE provisioning server.  Make sure all your targets are using only one of the two servers.  Then, uninstall PVS from the one that’s not being used.  Then install the new version.  Tell it to join an existing deployment, answer the couple of simple questions, and it’s good again.  All the images should still be on the box, so you’re good there also, AND, it’ll even remember the bootstrap info (you are using the PXE service instead of DHCP 66 & 67, right?  If not, SHAME ON YOU!).  Then, fail all the targets over to that one, and then repeat the process on the remaining server(s).

Now, some of you are sitting there saying “Yeah, I’ve done that.  I have v6.1 PVS servers, but all my target devices are still running the v5.6 target software.”  Common.  So how to address that issue?  Again, easy.  Pretty time consuming, but easy.

We are going to assume the worst-case scenario, which is that you do NOT have a *current* VM with all the applications and software installed that you can just uninstall v5.6 and install v6.1 and take a new image.  For whatever reason, either that source VM has been deleted, or it’s so far away from current that it’s not worth the trouble to make all the changes to get it to be like the current image.  What to do?

  • Make a COPY of the vDisk for the image you want to upgrade. 
  • Mount the image in PVS. 
  • Use the wizard in PVS to deploy a new target device. 
  • Assign it the vDisk that you just made a copy of. 
  • Set the vDisk to PRIVATE mode.
  • Boot the VM. 
  • AFTER the VM is booted, hot-add a virtual disk to that VM that is at least as large as your image size.  So, your VM thinks the image is 40GB (it might be only 20GB on disk, but you did take a dynamic image, right?), so you have to add a 40GB virtual disk. 
  • Launch disk mangler, create a partition, format it and assign it a drive letter.  MARK IT AS ACTIVE!! (PRO TIP to follow about how to handle if you forgot to do this)
  • Browse your way to C:\Program Files\Citrix\Provisioning Services and run BNimage.exe.  You get a single window that pops up, and it asks you for the path you want to push the image into. 
  • Point it at your new, empty drive, and let it run.  It’ll reboot a few times during the process.  You must log back into the VM each time in order for the process to continue.  Do NOT make any changes to the PVS target until it tells you it’s finished!! 
  • After it’s finished (and you see a message telling you so), go into PVS and change the target to Boot From Hard Disk, and remove the vDisk image from it (so now there are no vDisks assigned to the target). 
  • Power the VM down, go into the VM settings and remove your local cache disk (you are caching to local disk, right?  If not, you’d better be caching in RAM!  If you’re using “Cache to server”, go read some other blog, even I can’t help you.) 
  • After you’ve removed the local cache disk, power the VM back on.  You’ll get a message from the PXE service that there is no disk asigned.  Press any key, and it should boot from the local disk now.  Oh, you get a message about no operating system?  One of two things has happened (both of which you were supposed to do if you were following my instructions!):  Either you didn’t mark the partition as active, or you didn’t remove the cache disk.  Here’s the PRO TIP I promised:  Add the local cache disk back to the VM (if you deleted it already, which you should have – just copy one from another VM that’s not powered on and then “add an existing vDisk”), then add the original private mode vDisk back to the target in PVS.  Set it to boot from the vDisk.  After it comes up, go mark the partition as active, then power it down and remove everything as I outlined above.
  • The VM now boots like a regular VM – it loads the image from the local vDisk in the VM.  Uninstall the old PVS target software, reboot, install the new software, reboot.  PRO TIP:  Do your hypervisor tools need to be upgraded?  Now is the time to do it…
  • After you have the source VM exactly the way you want it again, just run XenConvert, create a new DYNAMIC vDisk, and push the image back up to PVS.

Time consuming?  You bet.  Rock solid?  Absolutely.  NO problems with this method.

-CG1

XenDesktop Site Checker

Want a quick and easy way to monitor the health of your XenDesktop environment?  XenDesktop Site Checker v1.5 was just released.  Get it from CTX133767.  For more information, check out the author’s blog article.

Looks promising.

-CG1