Friday, January 31, 2014

Getting to know Citrix XenApp 7.5


Here are the key differences between XenApp 7.5 and XenApp 6.5 and earlier.

Windows server 2008 R2 and higher – yes all 64 bit

All management is via Citrix Studio instead of Delivery Services Console, CMC etc

No IMA data store as XenApp 7.5 uses technology from XenDesktop, so Microsoft SQL Server database as the data store for both configuration and session information.

XenApp Farms are now known as Sites. Sites should (generally) be contained within one data centre.

Delivery Controllers connect you, the incoming user, to the correct application on the correct server.

Zone masters are automatic and distributed evenly across all Controllers in the site.

Replace folders and Worker Groups with a combination of machine catalogues, Delivery Groups. While this works it is not as flexible and will require some rethinking of large scale deployments.

To build Delegated Administration us the built-in administrative roles, such as help desk, applications, hosting, and catalogue.

Remote Desktop Services Client Access Licenses (RDS CALs / TS CALS) are not required on the Controllers server.

You still need RDS CALs on the servers that are hosting and delivering your applications ie the terminal servers.

Citrix Director monitors the environment — You can monitor the environment, shadow user , and troubleshoot issues

Shadowing uses Microsoft Remote Assistance to connect to user machines.

Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) is the installed service that you put on the server BEFORE installing applications.

Machine Creation Services (MCS) or Provisioning Services (PVS) are used to manage the server OS for medium and large scale deployments.

There is no XenApp any version to XenDesktop 7.5 upgrade.

The process of publishing application has changed:

In XenApp 7.5 now, you use the Studio component to create and add applications to make them available to users who are included in a Delivery Group.

Using Studio, you

  1. In your site,
  2. create and specify machine catalogues,
  3. create Delivery Groups within those machine catalogues. Delivery Groups are then used to determine which users have access to the applications you deliver.
  4. then create an application to specify which Delivery Groups, they are detected or manually added

To balance application load on server Load Management assigns the user to the server best able to handle the request. This is based on:

  1. Server maintenance mode
  2. Server load index (based CPU, memory, disk)
  3. The number of sessions (allowed number of concurrent requests to log on to the server).

Some of the technologies still to come:

  1. Session pre-launch
  2. Session linger

Brief video of Citrix XenDesktopApp 7.5 Video

Everything is subject to change once the final product is out.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Key Changes for Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V


Simplified editions:

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacentre: for highly virtualised datacentre and cloud environments.
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard: for physical or minimally virtualised environments.
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials: small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devices.


Class Resource Windows Server 2012-r2
Host CPUs on hardware 320
Host Physical memory 4TB
VM vCPU per VM 64
VM vRAM per VM 1TB
VM vDisk per VM 64TB
VM Running VMs per host 1024
Cluster Nodes 64
Cluster VMs in Cluster 8000


General performance changes:

  • Storage Tiering (Pool HDD & SSD and automatically move hot data to SSD)
  • Data De-duplication (for live VDI virtual hard disks)
  • VMs on SMB 3.0
  • Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) network cards
  • Offload Data Exchange (ODX) if you SAN supports it
  • Simultaneous Live Concurrent Migration now to the level of hardware you support (10gb use 8 concurrent)

Generation 2 VMs:

Generation 2 VMs are based on the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) BIOS. They use less emulated hardware. Gone are serial ports, PS/2 ports and other devices.

  • ONLY Windows Server 2012 / 2012 R2, Windows 8 / 8.1, are supported.
  • Secure Boot is an turned on by default
  • The synthetic network interface controller (NIC) supports Pre-Boot eXecution Environment (PXE) booting.
  • Gone are IDE-connected virtual hard drives (VHDs) you can now boot from virtual SCSI.
  • Generation 2 VM boots about 20% faster and the OS installs about 50% faster
  • However there is no performance benefit to a running VM.

Checking if the AD Domain is Server 2012 ready


Use the Dsquery.exe command. Open a command prompt on a domain controllers and run:

dsquery * cn=schema,cn=configuration,dc=colv,dc=in -scope base -attr objectVersion

The output from a 2008 domain is:

If you promote a Windows Server 2012 in the domain OR manually run ADPrep.

The output from the command looks like this:

Version 56 of the schema of your forest now includes domain controllers running Windows Server 2012.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Install Citrix Receiver the ‘easy’ way…


There is comprehensive documentation on installing the Receiver here: 

There are THREE options, 1 manually via command line, 2 Via StoreFront server, 3 Email the configuration of the StoreFront (to then download it)

1. This is the command line to enable all the options.

c:\CitrixReceiver.exe /silent /includeSSON ADDLOCAL="ReceiverInside,ICA_Client,SSON,AM,SELFSERVICE,DesktopViewer,Flash,Vd3d,usb"

2. On the StoreFront server edit the client installation XML file to configure the installation options.

Contents of file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?><Services version="1.0" xmlns=""><Service type="store"><SRID>3643525964</SRID><Name>sp</Name><Address></Address></Service></Services>

Save the file

3. Double click to test it and then you can email the config

Open it with IE

Bonus item (does not work on W8/W8.1):

If you want the receiver to look more like the PNA add the command line “/STARTMENUDIR=\\” to the receiver install so the full line is:

CitrixReceiver.exe /includeSSON ADDLOCAL="ReceiverInside,ICA_Client,SSON,AM,SELFSERVICE,DesktopViewer,Flash,Vd3d,usb" “/STARTMENUDIR=\\”  /Store0="sp;"

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