Think IPM

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New Citrix Provisioning 5.0 Server Post SP2 HotFix for Platinum Licenses

If you own XenApp Platinum licenses and your Provisioning Server is complaining about licensing, you need this patch.  If you are streaming to a target device and then receive a message saying the device will be shutdown in 5 minutes, your Provisioning Server is not recognizing the licenses.

TR-8332: Provisioning Server 5.0 Service Pack 2 (SP2) target device does not correctly detect the Citrix XenApp Platinum license. This in turn causes the target device to shut down.

http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX120585dd

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

unICA your Workstation before installing a new XenApp Client!

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David Paoleschi sent this terminator program over to me.

 

http://gourami.eu/products/unica

 

This little app goes through your entire registry looking for any products released by Citrix and uninstalls them!  It will not run on Windows Server to prevent accidentally uninstalling XenApp or Presentation Server.  It will uninstall the Consoles for these Servers though from your Workstation.

The real goal of the application is to uninstall every ICA client on a workstation prior to installing a new version. This is helpful to avoid ICA client issues when upgrading older clients which do not like to uninstall gracefully sometimes.

UNICA is free tool to download and use.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Space Invaders?... How about Thin Invaders to Test Flash on XenApp or VDI!

imageI am sure like Aaron Silber, you are constantly looking for a good way to “test” Flash performance in a Citrix Session, well look no more.

 

Have a look at this: Thin Invaders

 

Have fun!

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Where is everyone coming from? :)

imageAfter reading Jason’s Blog Post about where his readers were coming from, I thought I would take a peek at where my readers where coming from. 
Here is the list : I find this a great way to find new virtualization blogs as well.

Thanks to the other bloggers linking back to my site.  I appreciate it.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Have you renewed Maintenance on your Production Software?

What impact does letting your software maintenance expire have?  As a real life example, Customer X had purchased VMware ESX 3.0.2 with 1 year support.  They had chose to let that support end and were now looking to upgrade to 3.5.  According to support policies, we determined that they should be eligible for the minor release update since the licensing requirements remained the same.

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Although Customer X was able to upgrade (they wanted to take advantage of EVC), they will of course have no support contract in place with VMware in the event of an issue.  I think for production systems, support contracts with the vendors are a very prudent measure.  For VMware in particular, I get heartburn whenever a client chooses anything less than 24/7/365 Platinum support.  The systems run fine, but when they don’t, I want to make sure I can get someone on the phone no matter what time or day it is.

Customer X will also not be eligible for the upcoming vSphere release.

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What’s your take on Software Maintenance in these tough economic times?

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Friday, March 20, 2009

No more XenApp Application Isolation Environment for Windows 2008

David Paoleschi sent me a quick blurb that XenApp 5 on Windows 2008 will no longer provide an option for Application Isolation Environments (AIE).  Application streaming will be the preferred way to isolate applications on XenApp for Windows Server 2008 going forward. 

Personally, I have never had the need to leverage the AIE in my XenApp builds so I really wouldn’t have even noticed.  I also have the impression that the AIE in general was a misunderstood and rarely used feature in XenApp.

If you used Application Isolation Environments or had different experiences with AIE, let me know in the comments.  I’m curious to know if my impression is correct.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Quick DOS tip! GetMAC!

Aaron Silber showed me this little gem yesterday!  Working with Citrix Provisioning Server lately, I have been up to my eyeballs in MAC addresses while finding and writing them down! :) Normally, I would just type the good old IPCONFIG /ALL and sift through the output for the MAC addresses I was hunting for.  Enter GETMAC for a much cleaner, faster, more direct answer from your computer. :)

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Nice!  Obviously a Microsoft only tip – You Linux readers are on your own! :)

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Samsung Solid State Hard Drive Awesomeness Video …

So this one has a VERY high geek factor in my opinion.  My brother sent this one over to me and I think it is very entertaining.  Working for an EMC partner, they have been serving the Solid State Kool-Aid for a while now.  The extreme examples in the video (like opening EVERY item in the Start Bar in seconds or deleting GBs of data in the blink of an eye) really show what the future holds as solid state becomes more cost effective and mainstream.  We are already seeing them begin to emerge in NetBooks and I personally can’t wait to see them more mainstream in servers.  Imagine booting VMs up from SSDs.  The future looks bright! :)

The video is very entertaining as well!  I’m digging all these cheesy corporate videos lately! :)

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Comparing VMware’s ESX to the free ESXi Hypervisor

imageSaw this TIMELY tweet pop by my screen from Duncan Epping on the differences between ESX and ESXi.  Timely since I just had a conversation with a client this morning about choosing between the ‘free’ hypervisors out there. 

This particular client already had business units that made investments in VMware ESX but also had other business units that were independently evaluating a ‘free’ alternative to ESX potentially not realizing that VMware also had a hypervisor for the financially challenged to evaluate.  The benefit of choosing ESXi in an organization that had already deployed VMware was clear to me.  

      1. Consolidated skill sets within the organization.
      2. Easy upgrade path to ESX when management and enterprise features become necessities and costs can be justified.
      3. The realization that the differences between ESX and ESXi will grow narrower over time.

The KB article that Duncan referenced in his tweet details the differences between ESX and ESXi.  Check out the KB article @ http://bit.ly/MYlPx.  Here’s a sneak peek at the high level chart.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Deciding between RDMs or the MS iSCSI Initiator

Chris Hahn and I recently put together what we thought were the pros and cons for attaching a LUN to ESX and then using RDMs or just attaching an iSCSI LUN directly to the Guest VM via the MS initiator.  In our example, we were connecting back to EMC storage so EMC PowerPath also became part of the equation.  I thought I would summarize the discussions and jot it all down in a blog post to solicit some additional opinions on the subject.

RDM with ESX software initiator:image

Pros:

- No additional PowerPath software cost

- No guest software to install.

- No extra storage management on the guest level

-  Most widely deployed solution for connecting ESX guests directly to LUN.

-  Easy migration to VI4 which will most likely support PowerPath, and multiple connections per iSCSI target

Cons:

- RDM LUNs must be presented to all ESX hosts in cluster to facilitate vMotion, HA and DRS.

- No load balancing for individual LUNs (ESX will establish a connection per iSCSI target, so total storage traffic can be balanced, but traffic for a single LUN cannot be balanced across multiple NICs)

PowerPath with Microsoft iSCSI initiator:

Pros:

- iSCSI guest traffic could be moved to a dedicated vSwitch, allowing for load balancing and best possible performance

- PowerPath would facilitate multipathing within the iSCSI and allow for better performance.

- Application support may be more familiar with windows guest storage connectivity support, with this configuration it would be managed the same way as physical windows hosts.

Cons:

- Dedicated NICs for PowerPath would take away from current ESX NICS (either NICS for VM traffic, or ESX iSCSI).  It could also share NICs with the ESX iSCSI vSwitch, but that could impact the performance benefits.

- Storage must be individually configured within each guest

- SRM is not supported

Ultimately, the decision seems to weigh between Site Recovery Manager support and  performance benefits.  Long term, with PowerPath likely baked into vSphere and performance no longer an issue, it would seem that RDMs would be the preferred choice.

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Monitoring XenApp Servers with RM or Edgesight

These days, server monitoring is no longer a luxury, it is an absolute necessity.  With XenApp, Citrix provides a few tools.  Some built in and others for an additional licensing cost.  Below is a table sent to me by David Paoleschi comparing the various options between them.  The new Resource Manager included in XenApp 5.0 is now a pretty full featured reporting system in its own right.  Edgesight still gives administrators the detailed information necessary for post analysis and post mortems related to Application crashes and hangs.

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Monday, March 2, 2009

vCenter Update 4 and the Performance Overview Plug-in.

VMware released another upgrade for vCenter this week and I’m a little disappointed.  The Performance Overview plug-in which seems pretty neat is a manual installation outside of the actual vCenter upgrade.  I am surprised that it the plug-in would not have been baked into the actual upgrade process.

The following KB article details the steps necessary for the installation of the Performance Plug-in Tab.

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1008296

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

VMware MVP phone Hypervisor?

Moshe Silber sent this video over to me. 

At first, I wasn’t sure why VMware would position for a phone operating system but I think it is an eventual step that as phones become more powerful, they will morph into laptop like devices.  Much like the client Hypervisor strategy, having the underlying OS on the phone to host other OSes makes sense to me.

I can definitely see a future where I power up my phone and have to choose between my work profile and personal profile (or in this case, RUN BOTH)

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