Think IPM

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Quick Tip–The Registry.

imageTrying to eek out every last drop of performance on your Windows server?  Chopping things down from the registry is a great place to start.  Aaron Silber has sent over a bunch and here’s another.  Leveraging this on Citrix Servers could improve performance (certainly won’t hurt).

Disable random driver verification
The driver verifier at random intervals verifies drivers for debugging. Disabling this functionality might improve system performance. For many high-throughput systems, every CPU cycle counts. Disable random driver verification with the following registry entry:

DontVerifyRandomDrivers
Key:                                                HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem
Value:                                            DontVerifyRandomDrivers
Data Type:                                   REG_DWORD
Range:                                           0 – 1
Default value:                              0
Recommended value:                1
Value exists by default?            No, needs to be added.

This and others can be found here : Registry Settings that can be Modified to Improve Operating System Performance

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Friday, March 23, 2012

How about some Hyper-V Eye Candy? v3.0 :)

Happy Friday!  Here is a full screen, full color Windows Server 8 Hyper-V component architecture posterHyper-V Poster
There was also a XenServer poster and VMware CLI poster if you still have free wall space in the cube. Smile

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How to update firmware on a WYSE R90x

So you are having some trouble upgrading your Firmware on your Wyse Device huh?  These instructions might help.
Here’s the background information:
SNAGHTMLa2d4944So you download the latest version of the Wyse USB imaging tool - v 1.15 as of this writing.
Ran the tool
Formatted an 8 gig thumb drive [more or less]
Pointed it to the .rsp file for the R90
Connected it to the Wyse terminal
Powered ON the Wyse terminal
Hit the P key a few times
Selected the thumb drive to boot to …
… and Nothing, Nada, Zip… it just hangs on a Black Dos screen with a flashing cursor.  Blinking and laughing maniacally at you and your feeble attempts at following directions.
Go ahead and try this a couple more times. [Spoiler Alert: The result will not change!]
Fortunately Jeff Miller and his Google-Fu found the solution to your issues!  After scouring the web, he found an interesting post that basically told him that even though the Wyse guide clearly states that Windows 7 is supported for the firmware tool, using a Windows XP machine instead will finally get you past the Black Screen of DOS. ;) 

Read the whole thread here and check out the Wyse Guide here.

Great Job Jeff and thanks for sharing!

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Teaming Broadcom NICs in Hyper-V

In a past post, I have written about Hyper-V networking and how to configure.  Since Hyper-V’s architecture allows individual vendors to leverage their own software for networking and storage, depending on hardware configurations, each Hyper-V installation will be different.  Here are some specifics around Hyper-V networking using the Broadcom Advanced Control Suite software.

After installing the software from Broadcom, Launch the Broadcom Advanced Control Suite to begin creating a Networking Team.

Switch the Filter to TEAM VIEW and right click on Teams and choose Create Team.
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In this example, I am creating a NIC team to support production traffic for the Virtual Machines.

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For this particular setup, I chose Smart Load Balancing.  LACP would have required port configuration on the switches and could have yielded better performance but I opted for the less complicated route for this post.
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Add the available adapters to the team.
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You can choose to keep all adapters active or create a standby member.
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LiveLink is similar to beaconing in vSphere.  It will periodically send a probe packet from one member NIC to another to verify that the link is in fact responding to requests.   This can help minimize the downtime due to the spanning tree loop determination when failing over.
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This screen is where you could have added VLAN tag support.  it was not necessary in this case.
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Commit the changes and the Virtual NIC Team will be created within Windows.  I typically rename the member adapters in order to associate them with the Virtual Team NIC.
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At this you can fire up the Hyper-V Manager and create your vSwitch pointing it to your NIC Team.
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It would be great if it picked up the friendly name but for now, just match up the adapter description to ensure correct connectivity.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Why I’m still Jailbreaking my iPhone.

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I dig my iPhone.  I REALLY love it actually.  Much more than any other phone I’ve had in the past.  I only LIKE the stock iPhone though.  For me, Jailbreaking the iPhone is a necessity to get the iOS to exactly where I need it to be.

Some people incorrectly think that Jailbreaking is all about piracy.  It can be but in my case, the biggest reason to Jailbreak the iPhone is extending features and unlocking customizations that I find sooo useful.  Here are 2 examples of my must have Jailbreak hacks.

Folder Enhancer
Folder Enhancer is a great tweak to the iOS that allows Folders within Folders.  I install a TON of applications and honestly don’t like scrolling from page to page to find something.  Folder Enhancer allows me to consolidate everything down to my home page and organize everything within subfolders.  It is very efficient and effective and I find it very surprising that this functionality hasn’t been folded into the standard iOS yet.

SBSettings
SBSettings is another tweak that really makes my iPhone complete.  Combined with another tweak called Activator, I have it set up to allow me to double tap the status bar on top anywhere on the iPhone and get instant access to a screen of toggles controlling various features of the iPhone.  I use it all the time to toggle WiFi on and off as I travel around.  Sure, I could go to Settings, WiFi and do it there but this is super fast and useful.

Eventually, the best hacks and tweaks are absorbed into the standard iOS releases by Apple but this usually gives me first dibs on the features.  I guess you could equate it to beta testing features. (complete with occasional crashes and bugs).  Clearly, Jailbreaking is not for everyone but for those of us inclined to tinker with our gadgets, I still recommend it.  

If you have any must have tweaks, drop them in the comments for everyone!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

User Roaming feature with Web Interface

Sam Jacobs came across a new Web Interface 5.4 feature with XenApp 6 that both he and I thought would be nice to share for those interested …

User Roaming is a feature that restricts user groups to enumerate applications only from specific farms.

So, for example, if Farm1 contains servers from NY, Farm2 contains servers from the UK, and Farm3 contains servers from HK, then adding the following to the WI config file:

Farm1Groups=<NY AD Group>
Farm2Groups=<UK AD Group>
Farm3Groups=<HK AD Group>

… would only enumerate applications for NY users from Farm1, for UK users from Farm2, and for HK users from Farm3.

This would also be useful for companies migrating users from one farm to another (usually when they upgrade from one XenApp version to another or possibly XenDesktop).

As users are transferred to the migrated AD group, they will automatically begin receiving the updated applications.

See:  http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/web-interface-impington/wi-configure-xd-user-roaming-gransden.html for additional details.

Thanks Sam!

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Old News: VMware View client for the MAC.

Old NewsI know this post is about 3 months late but I’ve been asked about it recently a bunch of times so I figured I’d post up  a quick note with the View Client for MAC Tech Preview link.

View Client for MAC OS X Tech Preview

It was released without much fan fare on December 15th 2011 but Gabe wrote up a great review of the client @
http://Gabesvirtualworld.com/vmware-view-client-with-pcoip-for-mac-os-x/

The biggest feature for users will be the ability to leverage the PCoIP protocol for their View 5 solutions across all end points.

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Thanks @JTroyer & @LXmaier #vExperts

Came home recently to a nice gift from VMware.  Shiny new vExpert laptop bag with certificate and luggage tag.

This year at the VMware Partner Exchange, vExperts were privy to exclusive executive briefings, meetings and party/receptions.  The vExpert program is now officially part of the VMware Partner Network which basically means more resources and probably a more official selection/application process.  Historically, mainly blogger and speakers have been vExperts but for 2012 the application process will be opened up to customers as well who have greatly influenced VMware adoption on a large scale within their company.  There is some specific criteria around this application process but it is a great way for VMware to recognize individuals who have evangelized the company and solutions within their own company.  I’ve been honored to be a part of the vExpert Program since it’s inception and hope to continue as a member for years to come.

John Troyer and recently Alex Maier have been great stewards of the vExpert program and deserve a lot of credit for taking it to the next level in terms of recognition within VMware.

To sum it up: Thanks John and Alex for the great work and SWAG.
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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Updating a Standard image in Citrix Provisioning.

Most of the Citrix Provisioning deployments I come across leverage 2 basic mage types.  Standard and Private.  Very high level, Private images are read write and are typically used in a 1 to 1 model between machine and image.  Standard is a read only image that can be used by multiple machines simultaneously.  Production deployments leverage standard images for large deployments of users.  Since the vDisk is in read only mode, any change you make to the machines using the standard image will be lost upon reboot.

In order to update the Read Only vDisk, you will need to do the following:

On the Provisioning Server, locate the directory that has the standard image you would like to update and make a copy of it (VHD and PVP files). The LOK files are not necessary as they are LOCK files.
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After creating the new vDisks, you will need to add them to the Provisioning Server Console Store.
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Once added to the store, you can edit the FILE PROPERTIES and change from Standard to Private.

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With the new vDisk now in the store, you can assign it to a VM, power it on and begin modifying the image.
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After making the proper modifications to the vDisk, you should power down the VM and repeat the process of switching the vDisk back to Standard mode.  Next step to to assign the new vDisk to all of your machines.  Even if they are currently on, they will pick up the new vDisk image at the next reboot.

For HA environments, be sure to copy the new disks to all appropriate locations as well.

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Some Basic Citrix XenDesktop\Provisioning Troubleshooting Steps

Here are some pretty basic troubleshooting steps for your typical vanilla Citrix XenDesktop with Provisioning Server deployment.  Nothing too groundbreaking here but good material to pass along to your Help Desk to hopefully eliminate some of the escalated calls.  Although pretty basic, it is sometimes hard figuring out which consoles to look into to resolve connection issues.  Unifying the consoles for the various Citrix products would go a long way to resolving this.  Some of these basic steps are also applicable to VMware View as well.

If a user is having trouble getting into their VDI session:
On the Provisioning console, check to make sure the desktops are powered on.  Most deployments usually have a tie-in to vCenter to allow XenDesktop to power up machines if the user decides to power them off.  Some do not and since XD can also handle connections to physical machines, sometimes it is not be able to power on the required desktop for the user.  It’s a good suggestion to set Active Directory policies to restrict a user’s ability to power down a VDI session.
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If the machines are powered up, check the console to verify that the vDisk is not locked.  This is specifically for Citrix Provisioning server machines when the vDisk is mistakenly left in private read/write mode and assigned to multiple VMs.  If the vDisk is locked, you can just power down the VMs and switch the vDisk back to the appropriate Standard read only mode.
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Another reason a user may not be connecting successfully to a desktop is due to permissions.  Typically desktops are assigned via Active Directory groups.  Verify that the user is in the appropriate group and has been permissioned to use the desktops.  This is found in the Citrix Desktop Studio Console.
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If the user has the appropriate permissions, verify that there are available desktops left for the user to connect to within the pool.  Creating the desktops in VMware and assigning them in Provisioning server are the first 2 steps.  Assigning them to Desktop Group in the XenDesktop Console is also a necessary step.
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If the users is getting to the log on screen of their desktop but receiving an incorrect password, you might need to verify that the trust relationship between the Provisioning server and the Desktop is still intact. In order for Provisioning Server to track the ‘tokens’, you must create or reset the Active Directory Machine Account via the Provisioning Console.
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If they get in and things are slow, check the underlying hardware for obvious performance issues.  Successful VDI deployments require sufficient network, storage and compute resources.  Any deficiencies in these core components will manifest itself in the user’s session. 
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Sometimes, it is just a user issue.  You know what to do.
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