Visio Stencils for XenApp and XenDesktop 7.12


A short blog, but a good one.

New Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop Visio stencils, just in time for the 7.12 release.

visio712Items to note:

  1. Workspace Environment Manager: New component means new Visio stencil
  2. Federated Authentication Service: This feature was released in 7.11, but I didn’t have an image for it. Omission corrected
  3. Active Directory: Image is a replacement for an older image
  4. Machine Catalog: I needed an image for a diagram and realized it didn’t exist!

And because some of you continue to ask nicely, I created a set of Visio stencils in the Visio 2003-2010 format.

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
XenApp Advanced Concept Guide
XenApp Best Practices
XenApp Videos

Citrix VDI Handbook 7.6


The Citrix VDI Handbook is now available!

Let me answer a few questions about the VDI Handbook

  1. Version: The VDI Handbook is based on the XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 Long-Term Service Release.
  2. Updates: The plan is to release a VDI Handbook for each Long-Term Service Release. The VDI Handbook is based on real-world implementation experiences. Basing updates on LTSR releases (18-24+ months) allows us to include better recommendations than if we updated for the current release (every quarter).
  3. Format: PDF and HTML. The PDF version is ready now, the HTML version will be ready shortly.
  4. Content: The handbook includes information on Assess, Design and Monitor.

Grab version 1 of the Citrix VDI Best Practices Handbook for XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
XenApp Advanced Concept Guide
XenApp Best Practices
XenApp Videos

 

 

Full Clone VMs with Machine Creation Services


Since its inception, a Machine Creation Services VM was based on thin cloning technology.  Each VM would read from the same copy of the master image while any writes would be directed to a VM-specific differencing disk. Because the differencing disk only contains writes, it is often thin provisioned to save on storage space.

thin-cloneThis approach is perfect for pooled, non-persistent desktops.  But what about personal, persistent desktops?  With the XenApp and XenDesktop 7.11 release, Machine Creation Services now supports full cloned VMs.

full-cloneInstead of each VM reading from the same copy of the master image, each VM receives a full clone of the master VM’s disk. All reads come from the VM’s cloned disk and all writes go to the same disk.

If you recall, I spent some time discussing the differences between Machine Creation Services and Provisioning Services in order to help administrators better determine when to use which image management solution.  In fact, this discussion was spread across 7 different blogs

With this new capability, I need to make one addition to the summary.  Machine Creation Services now supports full cloned VMs.

compare1

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
XenApp Advanced Concept Guide
XenApp Best Practices
XenApp Videos

Citrix VDI Handbook


At Citrix Summit in January 2016, I heard from many of you asking for an updated version of the Citrix VDI Handbook.

At Citrix Synergy in May 2016, I heard from many of you asking for an updated version of the Citrix VDI Handbook.

At BriForum in July 2016, I heard from many of you asking for an updated version of the Citrix VDI Handbook.

To me, it sounds like you want the Citrix VDI Handbook to be updated.

The good news.  It is being updated!!!

The better news. We got our Citrix consulting experts to validate the recommendations

The bad news. It isn’t ready yet.

So why am I telling you this?

First, you can stop hounding me about getting it updated.  It is happening.  I am currently buried in Microsoft Word.

Second, I need to know if there are things missing that you think should be included.

And third, does this news make you happy?

 

XenApp Best Practice #5: Maintenance


It’s January. It’s midnight. It’s cold (-10F).

My telescope isn’t bringing this galaxy into focus.

My user experience is dreadful.

As I investigate, I shine a light at the front telescope and quickly see how years of dust and grit are causing my focusing issues.

IMG_5199(Click the image to see close up)

My lack of proper maintenance activities on the telescope just ruined a potentially wonderful night of observing.

When I first set up the telescope, objects were crystal clear. However, each subsequent time I rolled out the telescope, the quality degraded. The degradation was so minimal that it was not noticeable until one night things got so bad that I thought my telescope was junk.

I see the same thing happening in production XenApp/XenDesktop environments.

For example, when a new user is added, a new image is created or a new application is deployed, the experience is good. But slowly, over the course of months, the user’s logon time increases. It increases at such an incrementally slow pace, that the user doesn’t realize until their 25 second logon is now 50 seconds. The increase in time could be a result of a slowly growing profile, or new group policy preferences, or an ever-expanding logon script that supports new users and use cases.

Most of us focus on deployment and pay little attention to what happens next. That lack of focus will slowly erode the user experience. This is why maintenance is one of our core XenApp best practices.

XenApp Best Practice #5: Continuously delivering  the best user experience requires proper ongoing maintenance

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
XenApp Advanced Concept Guide
XenApp Best Practices
XenApp Videos

PVS vs MCS – Part 7: Summary


As Q said in the final episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, “All good things must come to an end” and after 6 previous blogs focusing on deciding between Provisioning Services and Machine Creation Services, it is time to end.

As I explained, over the past 5 years, improvements were made to Provisioning Services and Machine Creation Services.  While Provisioning Services simplified deployment and maintenance, Machine Creation Services improved performance and delivery capabilities.

Five years ago, if someone had to decide between the two, most likely the answer would be Provisioning Services.  But now in 2016, because of the overall improvements in both solutions, the decision will mostly focus on a few core concepts explained in the previous blogs:

Five years ago, I created a decision tree helping you select the most appropriate solution.  Developing these previous six blogs helped me do the same thing based on the latest advancements.

CompareDid I miss any criteria?  Let me know

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
XenApp Advanced Concept Guide
XenApp Best Practices
XenApp Videos

 

 

PVS vs MCS – Part 6: Architecture


This is part of a series comparing Provisioning Services and Machine Creation Services

In the previous blogs comparing PVS with MCS, I focused on functionality within each technology, but this time I’m focusing on how easy is it to manipulate.

Consider the following:

  • A single XenApp/XenDesktop (including Machine Creation Services) architecture can span multiple geographical sites.
  • A single Provisioning Services architecture can span multiple geographical sites.

However, having a single XenApp/XenDesktop/Provisioning Services farm span across multiple geographical sites might not always be the correct architecture.

Imagine you have two major data centers, each hosting virtual desktops/apps.  You have XenApp and XenDesktop hosts in each data center.  Do you define zones for each data center and implement a single XenApp/XenDesktop environment or do you deploy two environments: one for each data center?

The correct answer is based on the unique characteristics of the organization and their risk tolerance. Risk sensitive organizations will want to reduce the size of their failure domain, resulting in two separate environments. If there is a catastrophic failure, it only impacts a portion of the environment.

If you follow this path, you need to devise a plan on how to replicate the master images between sites.

  • With Machine Creation Services, the admin must work in the hypervisor and export/import the master image  to the different sites and resource pools.
  • With Provisioning Services, the admin simply copies the image file to the other site. In fact, this is the same process many Provisioning Services admins already use to keep images synchronized across multiple servers. And to streamline this process, many admins create simple scripts to copy images when changes are detected.

Even though it is possible to keep images synchronized across multiple sites if you are using Machine Creation Services or Provisioning Services, I believe the simplicity of copying Provisioning Services image files gives it an edge for this criteria.

Sites

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
XenApp Advanced Concept Guide
XenApp Best Practices
XenApp Videos

My virtual desktop journey