Category Archives: Architecture

Citrix XenMobile MDM… To DMZ or not to DMZ? I might need your help one this one!

About four months ago I wrote an article on SSL offloading for the Citrix XenMobile MDM server and talked about how this new feature helps us in placing the MDM server on our more secure corporate LAN as apposed to the DMZ. And although I still feel that this is a valid, robust and decent set up, I must admit that the idea of placing the MDM server in the DMZ doesn’t sound that bad after all, considering all that comes into play. During my last article on XenMobile I gave it a bit more thought and just recently I discussed it with a few community members as well. Let’s just say that, for now, I’m in doubt. Please feel free to share your thoughts on the matter, I might need your help on this one!

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XenMobile prerequisits, what do we need and how does it all fit together? Technical overview included!

Don’t underestimate the power of prerequisites! No really, although this may seem like a straightforward topic, there’s a lot to think about, for example, we have to deal with firewall ports and protocols, IP numbers, DNS, AD, certificates, authentication, hard and software, licensing and more. By pre inspecting the prerequisites section, and thinking things through, not only will it tell you if you got what it takes, so to speak, it will also save you a lot of time once you start building and deploying your XenMobile infrastructure. And since I’ve been on the subject for the past few weeks, I thought I’d summarize some of the more important sections and subjects to focus on during the prerequisites and deployment phase, and ultimately show you how it all fits together (Visio included)  from an architectural point of view.

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XenDesktop 7 Site Configuration Database… What about it?

XenDesktop 7, and some of the earlier XD editions as well, is based on the FlexCast Management Architecture or FMA in short. Simply put you could state that the FMA is primarily made up out of Delivery Controllers and Agents, of-course there’s more to it but for now lets just leave it at that. Have a look here for a complete overview on FMA. Delivery Agents are installed on all virtual and or physical machines provisioned by XenDesktop 7, they communicate (and register themselves) with the Delivery Controller(s) which on their turn contact the license server and communicate with the central Site configuration database, lets have a closer look.

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How to… Application creation in XenDesktop 7

I’m sure we’ve all seen the XenDesktop 7 installation screenshots by now, we all know the differences between IMA and FMA and have read about Machine Catalogs and Delivery Groups, right? I’m just kidding, I’ve already seen multiple Blogs explaining the above subjects in great detail, it’s always fun to see how enthusiastic people get when new products are released! Me being one of them :-) Although the amount of info being published can be overwhelming, it can also be very enlightening. I’d like to have a closer look at the application creation process within XD7, talk about Machine Catalogs, Delivery Groups (which are both a requirement) and some other related technology along the way.

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Citrix Provisioning Services 7… A sneak preview

With the approaching release of XenDesktop 7 also comes Provisioning Services 7 (PVS from now on) I’m not sure if both products will be released at the same time but it won’t be a surprise, let’s just leave it at that. Although the basic functionality and underlying architecture haven’t changed over the past few years, at least not significantly, it has become a very popular platform and continues to grow each day. With Machine Creation Services (MCS in short) on its heels, especially with the introduction of XenDesktop 7 in which MCS has again been improved and the EOL of Windows XP nearing, PVS will have to dig deep to keep up. I guess it’s up to Citrix which one will come out on top eventually.

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A little something about Share vs NTFS permissions

Another article I wrote as a guest blogger for Intense School, partly based on one of my previous Blogs posted a few months ago, I altered it slightly. It’s easy to get lost in the share vs NTFS permissions maze, especially when the two get combined creating shared folders, the main focus of this article. Not a new topic by any means, but still definitely one worth mentioning. I’ve seen multiple medior and even senior admins struggle with this, and unfortunately it’s not as ‘basic’ as everybody thinks. Although I’m not the first to touch the subject and I’ve also seen and read multiple blogs discussing the matter, I think we can still find new ways around this predicament. Having said that…

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FlexCast Management Architecture

Or FMA in short. Did you hear? Citrix officially launched XenDesktop 7 just a few weeks ago. One of the biggest releases in years! Of-course I’m just kidding, who could have missed that?! Citrix also announced XenApp 6.5 FP 2 which will be released in June, once again enhancing and extending XenApp’s life, a good thing if you ask me. Although it seems that the Independent Management Architecture (IMA) will probably be around for many more years to come, it’s all FMA from now on when it comes to future developments. I thought it might be a good idea (and time) to have a closer look at FMA. Is it new technology? No. Is it improved? Definitely! Detailed overview? Scroll down!

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Excalibur Courses Roadmap

With all the Summit & Synergy madness going on you might have overlooked or missed the latest education / training news from Citrix (www.citrix.com/tv). Yesterday Citrix revealed their new Excalibur training roadmap or the ‘Excalibur Learning Journey’ as they like to call it, see below. It includes two introduction level courses (among others) of two hours each. The first one explains what Excalibur is all about and walks you through some of its new and improved features, the other one points out some useful tips and tricks to work with right from the get go. Both are here to help you decide to go with Excalibur right away or to wait another month or two :-) There might be a small fee to pay, not a 100% sure yet.

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End of Life… to Migrate or not to Migrate?

What if you want to merge four separate XenApp 6.0 Farms into one and upgrade to 6.5 along the way? Just one of many challenges at work :-) This made me think about some of the possible migration and upgrade scenario’s out there. With Excalibur on the horizon and multiple ‘End of Life’ dates passed (can be found on the Citrix Product Matrix, give it a Google) I guess there won’t be many admins migrating their 4.5 / 5.0 Farms to 6.0. I mean, why would they? 6.0 isn’t that different from 6.5 and we all know an even newer version will be released shortly. I know… there are some distinct differences between the two and I can also think of several reasons on why not to migrate, but you get my point right?!

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The Citrix CloudGateway

Cloud computing… A bunch of computing resources delivering some kind of service over the network, typically being the Internet. It includes, or should include, on demand self-service capabilities like: requesting access to certain applications and data, automated account provisioning or perhaps the ability to manage your own VM’s. It’s hot and everybody wants a piece! Services like Google Apps, Amazon cloud drive and Microsoft’s Azure, to name a few, are examples that do just that. These are the cloud solutions often referred to when the Cloud hype gets mentioned. But what about an on-premises solution, building your own private cloud which can be safely accessed from anywhere?!

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Troubleshooting one on one

During the past few weeks I’ve collected a set of tools which assist in troubleshooting XenApp and XenDesktop orientated architectures. Before you continue make sure you have a look at the Citrix Brief Troubleshooting Guide: support.citrix.com/article/CTX106727 and the Citrix Logon Optimization Guide: support.citrix.com/article/CTX128277. Both are a MUST read with lots of tips and tricks, what and when to ask, and dozens of knowledge base articles including explanations on the logon processes etc…

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Citrix Printing Pathway… an overview

Citrix printing can be, or at least can be made, pretty complex, unfortunately I had to find out the hard way myself. When troubleshooting print issues the path a print job follows throughout your infrastructure is always a good place to start especially when its performance related. However, you do need to understand the differences between the various routes a print job can take, why and where it could impact performance. I remember a few years back all this got me buzzing… Let’s start and see what comes up.

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The Shadow key… what’s it all about?!

One of those lesser known Terminal Server (Citrix) concepts which is often overlooked.

What is it and what does it do?! I learned about the shadow key in more detail about 6 years ago and since then I noticed that not all, or very few to be honest, system admins know about its existence, or that they do know, but don’t know how to treat it… does that make any sense? First I’ll briefly try and explain the use, advantages and disadvantages. Also, there have been made a few small changes to the overall architecture with the introduction of 64 bit systems and Server 2008R2 which I’ll address later on

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