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

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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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Planning your next XenDesktop deployment? Have a look at Citrix Project Accelerator

Have you ever used the Citrix project Accelerator? No? You should! At least have a look and see what you make of it, so did I. Currently there are over 12.500 projects (active and closed) known by Project Accelerator, I’ll get to the how and why in a minute. According to the release notes it has been online and available in beta since December 2012, but I assume they’re only referring to the (upgraded) XenDesktop 7.1 version, right?! For those of you unknown with the concept, I’ll try and explain what it’s about and how it’s done.

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Google Chromebooks, where do they fit in?

Google Chromebooks are beyond new, but although they’ve been on the market for a few years, it seems that 2013 has finally been the year of their ‘big’ breakthrough. The everlasting cloud hype combined with their low pricing and simplicity, make that Chromebooks are now being adopted faster than ever, and with good reason if you ask me. They just needed some time to warm up I guess. I agree, they’re not for everyone, and if we look at them from a business perspective use cases are still limited. So where do they fit in?

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Citrix Summit 2014… What a ride!

When I first heard that my request to go Citrix Summit in Orlando Florida, about three and a half months ago, got approved I couldn’t be happier. I mean going to a three day conference with non stop, back to back high quality, technical and pre-sales / partner orientated sessions is awesome on its own (it really is). But when it’s organized by Citrix, celebrating their 25th anniversary, you know you’re in for something special! As the event date got closer my expectations began to rise, and when the time finally came I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I can honestly say that looking back the whole experience was even better than I hoped it would be!

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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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Desktop as a Service a.k.a. DaaS

This article was originally written as a guest blogger for Intense School IT educational services. During the past few weeks I repeatedly talk about virtual desktop infrastructures (XenDesktop, VDI-in-a-Box), some of the technology involved, features and probably the most important one, use cases. Especially with Windows XP coming to an end, see my previous article on this, this might be a good time to rethink your alternatives when it comes to replacing your (fat) client infrastructure and the accompanying back-end systems that come with it. That being said, there’s another concept I’d like to discuss since it’s closely related to VDI and could prove to be a valid solution for a great deal of use cases out there, especially when it comes to small(er) and mid sized companies. I’m referring to DaaS, or, Desktop as a Service in full.

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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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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 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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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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