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Think IPM

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Empty cubicle wall space? Get your PVS Boot poster here…

Citrix just released a pretty useful Info Poster Diagram on the PVS Boot process.  Here’s a quick summary taken from the poster:

The following summarizes the PVS Boot Process detailed on the diagram:

  1. IP Acquisition – The Target Device acquires an IP address.
  2. Bootstrap Download – The bootstrap file is downloaded.
  3. PVS Logon Process – The Target Device logs on to PVS.
  4. Single Read Mode – Single read mode communication is established between the Target Device and the PVS Server.
  5. BNISTACK / MIO – The BNISTACK driver on the Target Device takes over communications with the PVS Server and Multiple I/O occurs.

Get the full printable poster here :  http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX136378clip_image002

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Monday, February 25, 2013

From the Not So Surprising News Department–vSphere 5.1 Support for Latest XD/PVS.

For those of you running Citrix XenDesktop 5.6 and Citrix Provisioning Server 6.1, you may or may not have upgraded to vSphere 5.1.  If you checked on support in January, you would have noticed that Citrix was holding support validation at vSphere 5.0.  The same held true for the latest versions of XenServer and Hyper-V as well.
As of February 1st though, Citrix has validated and updated support for vSphere 5.1.  There are still some known issues related to XenDesktop 5.6 Feature Pack 1 but nothing that should be a show stopper in my opinion.
So feel free to upgrade to the latest and greatest version of your vSphere Hypervisor if you haven’t already.
The official CTX article is here.

In equally surprising news: The sky is blue.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Top Virtualization Blogs 2013 Voting (i.e. The vDundies)

Virtualization is a pretty niche technology group. Not as small as it used to be though since now Virtualization encompasses all sorts of infrastructure components. The blogging community around these topics is a pretty tight knit one and it’s that time of year again that you as a reader have an opportunity to show your support for them.

Without getting all ‘Vote for me’ in this post, if you like the blog and enjoy the discussions, I’d love for you to go ahead and click the link to Vote for me. I’ve been in the top 100 blogs for a while now and it’s always nice to move up in the standings. (Sure, it’s a popularity contest but who doesn’t like being popular? Winking smile)

This year I’m also up for Favorite Independent Blogger so be sure to click the radio box on that one as well! (Apparently I’m one of the few remaining bloggers that has been able to resist the temptation of being hired by one of the vendors.)

If you do vote, thanks for taking the time, thanks for reading, thanks for contributing and thanks for the support.  I'm sure everyone else on the list feels the same way as well.

Voting closes 3/1.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Citrix PVS Support Webinar notes

imageAttended a quick 1 hour webinar today on Citrix Provisioning Services 6.x.
(Citrix Support Webinar: Planning, implementing and troubleshooting  provisioning services 6.x)

I think this is a series of Webinars by the good folks from Citrix Tech Support.  Based on this one, it’s worth the hour to jump on and listen.  Very technical, fast and full of higher level technical details.  Not sales-ey at all.

I’m sure everyone on the call heard and took away different pieces of information but here are some of the tidbits I highlighted as interesting from my rough draft notes for anyone who may have missed it.

Single GB Network connection per 250 target clients: This was from a section on hardware minimums.  Although later in the session, they recommended physical PVS servers over virtual, for anyone with Virtual PVS servers, I could draw a recommendation of no more than 250 target clients per PVS Virtual Machine.  An easy rule of thumb metric for scaling out number of required PVS servers based on anticipated numbers of targets.

Network Ports should be set to PortFast Enabled: This is inline with the typical recommendations for VMware host network cards as well.  When all your servers and targets are within the virtual environment, this should be taken care of already but something to take note of for any physical devices (Targets or Servers) in your streamed environments.

I’m sure there were plenty of other things that people found interesting and informative but these 2 jumped out at me.  If you were on the call (there was about 700 – 800 people apparently), what did you find particularly interesting? Let us know in the comments.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Have a Dozen ESX hosts? PVS Boot ISOs might not scale well.

There are a couple different ways you can design a Provisioning Services Server supported environment to boot up.  Virtual Desktops can leverage PXE, Hard Drive or ISO.   This week, a larger environment was set up with ISO boot disks and we ran into the following pattern detailed below.


Seemed like every couple (8 to be exact) VMs successfully registered with the DDC and then the next 2 failed.   This pattern occurred down the list.  After some Google-Fu, I stumbled across this VMware Forum post

I believe in 4.x and 5.x the limit was 32 VMs that can have a file handle open.  In 5.1 that increases to (I believe) 128.  Also, in 4.x and 5.0, no more than 8 hosts can access a given file.  In 5.1 this is increased to 32.

In our vSphere 4.1 clusters, we had 10 ESXi hosts.  2 more than the supported number of hosts that could establish access the ISO at any given time.  Switching back to the vSphere console, we confirmed that all unregistered VMs were in fact isolated to 2 hosts.

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Friday, February 8, 2013

Snowed In? Great time to Jailbreak your iPhone.

imageWith the upcoming Snowpocalypse on it’s way, I thought I would shoot out a quick blurb reminding those locked in the Apple iOS walled garden, that you can now break out again. 

Check out evasi0n.com to find the Jailbreak program and walk your way through the whole process.  It’s remarkably easy.   Enjoy!

So why do I still Jailbreak?   Like I’ve written before (Why I still Jailbreak my iPhone), there are still some tweaks that I find SO useful to the productivity of my iPhone that Apple hasn’t absorbed yet.  After leveraging a stock iPhone 5 for the past few months, I still miss those tweaks.  Here are some of my favorites.

Folder Enhancer
Folder Enhancer is a great tweak to the iOS that allows Folders within Folders.  I used to love this hack a lot more.  After a couple months without it, I am doing fine without it.  Having a limit on the number of items in a folder actually makes me prune my apps a bit more on the phone.  I’ve changed my behavior to adapt to the Apple limitations around folders.  (For better or worse).

SBSettings is a 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.   If you are on a capped data plan, this one is a sure fire hit to enable/disable data and associated charges.

SBSettings Theming – Date in Status Bar
I cannot tell you how much I missed this the last few months with the stock Apple iOS.  I really hope that Apple eventually absorbs this into the main OS.  Seems like such an easy implementation and is just super useful.


As always, if you have any must have tweaks, drop them in the comments for everyone!

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Occupy Hotfix: Citrix PVS patches 66% complete.

imageIt’s always annoyed me to no end that Citrix’s Provisioning Services server hotfixes were manual hotfixes.  Just a zip package with some binaries and a text file explaining where to drop them and what to register.  A recipe for inconsistency and disaster in my opinion.  A pretty good testament to my long standing annoyance is my tweet below to Citrix from August 2011:

<Sarcasm> Hey @CitrixSupport, can you make your PVS hotfixes any MORE manual? Maybe you can try distributing them uncompiled? </sarcasm>
Source: https://twitter.com/ccostan/status/104330883657502721

In last week’s King for a Day rant on Solarwinds, manual patching requirements were considered a capital offense. So I was especially happy to hear from my colleague Rajen Das, that Citrix will now be distributing proper installation hotfixes. (http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX136443 - Citrix Provisioning Services 6.1 Hotfix Packaging Policy) finally.

From CTX136433 : “To improve the customer experience, the Server and Console hotfixes will now be provided as an installation package only.”

Strange that it needed to be issued in a policy but glad to see it implemented.   I assume target/client side hotfixes are still manual due the intricacies of streaming but I would still like to see them packaged up proper.  Maybe in 2014.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

King for a Day - What would you change?

So over the past few weeks, I've had some really good discussions around patch management.  The reasons why some people don't patch, the reasoning behind why people do patch, where it fits into an organization and who's role it typically falls under.  All of the conversations have been great and it is clear to me that patching is not just clicking update and walking away.  Patch management should be part of a robust, important and thought out procedure in almost every organization.  Big and small alike, the processes and challenges are pretty similar for all of us.

For this discussion, I thought it would be interesting to play King (or Queen) for a Day.  Looking back at the Patch Management process, if you had supreme powers, what would you change?  How different would/could the processes look?  No need to even ground it in reality if you feel strongly enough about it! :)

Let's start with reboots becoming a thing of the past.  Patch an application or OS and NOT have to restart or incur downtime penalties?!?  Revolutionary!

Expulsion from my computerized Kingdom for any vendor requiring manual patching.  If you've packaged it up in a way that requires me to manually copy files or change registry entries, you haven't put enough time into your patch.  This would be considered a capital offense in my fiefdom.

What would you do if you could just summon your subjects, wave your hand and make it so?

Originally published on http://thwack.solarwinds.com/thread/54104 - Please direct any comments there.
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