Apple MacBooks in the (Windows) Enterprise, do they mix and match?!

Just over three months ago I purchased my first Apple computer, a MacBook Air 13.3 Inch to be exact, and to go short, I love it! Sure, after working with Windows for over 14 years, I needed a few weeks to adjust, who wouldn’t. Although I now use it on a daily basis I haven’t really dug that deep into OS X, I mean, it all just works, so why would I? Lately I’ve been spending some more time on how Apple, and OS X in particular, actually works, what’s the magic behind it all? Closely related, enterprise readiness is another subject that drew my attention. During my visit at Citrix Summit in January I also attended a session named ‘Bring Your Own Mac’ a way to allow MacBook’s onto your private (Active Directory) domain, without compromising security, centralised management and.. the ability to use Windows applications!

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Last week Nutanix opened their Dutch HQ and I was there, here are my thoughts.

Last week, Wednesday the 19th of February 2014 to be exact, I was invited for the ‘grand’ opening of the new Dutch Nutanix headquarters in Hoofddorp, near Amsterdam. Before the partner reception took off and everybody arrived we had a private get together which lasted around an hour and a half or so. Of course I wasn’t alone, a group of 10 to 12 technicians, bloggers and pre-sales engineers (Nutanix employees excluded) gathered to hear what Dheeraj Pandey (founder and CEO), Howard Ting (Vice President of product and marketing) and Mark Fisher (senior director, demand generation marketing) had to say. It turned out to be a very interesting and informative conversation.

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XenDesktop Single User Server VDI

Using the Server VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) feature in XenDesktop 7 allows you to deliver a desktop from a server Operating System for a single user on a one to one basis. Now if you’re not quite sure what to make of this think back to Amazon’s big DaaS announcement just a few weeks ago. Remember how they got away with true one on one VDI based machines in the cloud? We all know that client based Operating System VDI’s aren’t allowed due to Microsoft’s, still limited, licensing structure, so how did they manage to get around this? Well, using the Server VDI feature is one way of doing it. I’ll try and provide you with, not only information on the Server VDI feature itself, but some general background information as well.

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How to… Install and configure your Host Infrastructure

Just a quick note I’d like to share with you all. During the setup of my XenDesktop 7 lab environment not to long ago I ran into an error (because I wasn’t paying attention) when configuring my Host Infrastructure, which, in my case is Microsoft’s Hyper-V. While were on the subject I’ll fisrt start by explaining and showing you the concept behind the Host Infrastructure which is often used in combination with either Machine Creation Services and or Citrix Provisioning Services. Of course, ‘normal’ provisioned virtual machines can be hosted on there as well.

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DaaS has grown up… Has it?

Amazon WorkSpaces. Fully managed desktop computing service in the cloud. Amazon WorkSpaces allows customers to easily provision cloud-based desktops that allow end-users to access the documents, applications and resources they need with the device of their choice, including laptops, iPad, Kindle Fire, or Android tablets. As stated by Amazon. However, when we look under the hood, it’s still good old Windows Server 2008 R2 (with a Windows 7 user experience) serving us our desktops. Old news, is it?

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VDI, storage and the IOPS that come with it. Part 1 & 2.

This article was originally written as a guest blogger for intense School IT educational services. One of the topics I’d like to discuss throughout this article is VDI and some of the  common issues we (might) run into when it comes to storage, IOPS and image management. At the same time I’d also like to point out some possibilities, or better said, technologies, we have at our disposal in addressing these issues and talk a bit more on IOPS, block vs file level storage and image management. During part one I’ll primarily focus on VDI in general, describing its use and some of the common pitfalls we might encounter with part two primarily focusing on some real world solutions.

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A closer look at the Cloud, based on Server 2012 R2

This article was originally written as a guest blogger for intense School IT educational services. Let’s continue where we left off. Windows server 2012 R2 has been available as a tech preview download as of June 2013 and was officially released on October 18, 2013, together with Windows 8.1. It’s now more enterprise-class, application-focused and cloud-oriented than ever. High-performance multi-tenant storage, software-defined networking, and multiple VDI and RDP enhancements are some of the new and improved technologies that have been included in the R2 release.

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Delegated Administration… I’m just saying

If you are used to working with XenApp, then being able to create custom administrator roles is nothing new, it’s just there like it’s supposed to be. However, if you are a hardcore XenDesktop admin then this is probably something you’ve been waiting for. The predefined administrator roles (5 in total) in XenDesktop 5 just don’t cut it, and we want, or need, flexibility. Well… with the release of XenDesktop 7 it’s now all there. You’ll still find a set of predefined roles but with the added possibility of creating a custom role, finally!

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Citrix Summit… Just the tip of the iceberg

Last week I got some great news, next year I will attend Citrix Summit in Orlando Florida! I just found out a few days ago but I already made all arrangements, I bought my plane tickets, booked my hotel en registered for the event itself, in short, I’m ready to go… Just another 109 days to go from here. I will be there the whole week, 8 days in total to be exact, so I can also do some, not much though, sight seeing. I’ve never been to the ‘Sates’ before so I’m really looking forward to the experience. A special thank you to for making this possible.

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XenDesktop (MCS) Personal vDisks

So, I’m back from my holiday (Tenerife Spain) but still have a couple of days off from work, although I’ll probably be back working by the time this goes online, anyway… Since I’m preparing for, and putting together a presentation on XenDesktop 7 which is due on October 1st I thought it might be smart to invest some of my spare time to get things organized. As I’m working on my slides, in which I also highlight Machine Creation Services, MCS in short, as part of the XD7 architecture, I came across Personal vDisks, kind of a hard one to miss I guess. Now, I’m not sure if this will make it into my presentation since it’s not a direct XD7 feature (although it has been updated to version 7.x have a look here) and it has been ‘on the market’ for over a year and a half, I still think it’s definitely one worth having a look at.

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XenDesktop on Azure continued…

Last week I had a great talk with Mr. Kurt Moody from Citrix. We discussed my Blog post: Why you shouldn’t deploy XD7 on Azure just yet, together with some of my remarks regarding the Citrix XenDesktop 7 on Windows Azure Design Guide which I used as a reference throughout and, in the end, lead to my conclusion of Azure not being as XD7 ready as we hoped it would be, at least not for now. I know, last week I was a bit more ‘outspoken’.

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Upgrade and or migrate to XD7… What’s involved?!

Although Citrix has done an excellent job describing both the upgrade and migration process on their E-Docs website, I still feel it’s a subject that somehow needs to be part of my Blog series on XD7 as well. And since I did the same for the XenApp upgrade and migration tools out there it just wouldn’t be fair now would it?! Citrix already announced that, at the moment, there are no upgrade or migration paths available for existing XenApp customers. They are however working on a toolset, including a bunch of scripts, to assist customers in their migration from XenApp 6.5 to XenDesktop 7, which will be included in one of the future releases. Let’s get started, I’ll try and keep it short :-)

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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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