Tag Archives: migration

How do I define failover servers for delivery groups


Although XenApp 6.5 worker groups do not exist in XenApp 7.x, we’ve seen how similar functionality is available.

Instead of comparing XenApp 6.5 with XenApp 7.x, let’s put some of these new technologies into practice by solving the following design requirement.

  • Define a set of XenApp hosts as failover servers for a group of XenApp hosts delivering the primary app? In addition, the failover servers have the following conditions:
    • The failover servers are a subset of servers hosting their own set of apps
    • The failover servers only host the primary app in the event the primary hosts are unavailable

Continue reading How do I define failover servers for delivery groups

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How do I increase Delivery Group (Worker Group) capacity


As described in the blog How do I migrate a XenApp worker group structure, we saw how the use of Delivery groups, application groups and tags allow us to replicate XenApp 6.5 worker group capabilities to XenApp 7.x. There are some operational differences between Worker Groups and Delivery Groups, namely, how do increase the capacity of the delivery/worker group.

One of the more interesting capabilities of XenApp 6.5 worker groups was in the ways an admin could increase worker group capacity.  By adding a server into a worker group, the capacity of the worker group increased.

Many organizations took this approach a step further by basing worker group membership on Active Directory group membership or Active Directory OU membership.  In the XenApp console, each worker group was assigned to a single Active Directory group or OU. Any server in the Active Directory group or OU would be a member of that worker group.

Continue reading How do I increase Delivery Group (Worker Group) capacity

How do I migrate a XenApp worker group structure


In XenApp 6.5, there is the concept of a worker group.  Before that, we called them load managed groups or application silos.  Basically, it is  group of XenApp servers publishing the same set of applications.  If you publish an app on one server, that published app is also available across every other server in the worker group.

workergroup

In XenApp 7.x, you can think of a delivery group like a worker group.  A delivery group is associated to a machine catalog, which is a group of XenApp servers.  If I publish an app within the delivery group, all XenApp servers in that delivery group also publishes the application.

deliverygroupThis is basic functionality, which has been around for a very long time.

However, worker groups also had an interesting characteristic in that XenApp servers could belong to multiple worker groups at the same time.

This means I could have a group of XenApp servers hosting a set of applications.  A subset of those servers could also belong to another worker group publishing another group of applications. The list of resources a particular XenApp server delivers is the sum of the apps from all assigned worker groups.

wgadvBased on this example,

  • XenApp servers 1 and 2 deliver applications 1-4 and 5-6.
  • XenApp servers 3 and 4 deliver applications 1-4 and 7-8.

With XenApp 7.x, the rules for a delivery group are more strict.  A XenApp server can only belong to a single delivery group.  In order to create the same structure in XenApp 7.x that we had in XenApp 6.5, we have to change our approach.

In XenApp 7.x, we need to create a superset of published resources and assign at the Delivery Group layer.  We then use VM and app group tags to create subsets by limiting which applications can be hosted from which XenApp servers.

dgadvThe result is the same as XenApp 6.5.

  • XenApp servers 1 and 2 deliver applications 1-4 and 5-6.
  • XenApp servers 3 and 4 deliver applications 1-4 and 7-8.

Remember this:

  • In XenApp 6.5, you create subsets and merge into supersets
  • In XenApp 7.x, you create supersets and divide into subsets

And to make your move from XenApp 6.5 to XenApp 7.x easier, use your XenApp 6.5 worker group names as your XenApp 7.x app group tags and VM tags.

If you wish to learn more, tune in to Tech Talks To Go, with the first episode focusing on Worker Groups.

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 VDI Handbook
XenApp Best Practices
XenApp Videos

How Do I Create ICA Files


In older versions of XenApp (6.5 and earlier), we could create ICA files, which were essentially shortcuts, and email them to users or place them on a static web page.

With XenApp 7.x, ICA files are no longer available.  However, StoreFront provides an alternative with a little option called “Website Shortcuts”.

It is a feature I was unaware of until I needed it for a project.

After you setup your environment with StoreFront servers, Delivery controllers and VDI resources, you do the following:

  1. Launch the StoreFront console
  2. Select “Stores”
  3. Select your store
  4. Select “Manage Receiver for Websites”
  5. Select “Configure”
  6. Select “Website Shortcuts”

This should give you a screen like the following

websiteshortcutIf you plan to host the resource links from an internal web site, you want to add the website’s URL into the websites section. This will trust launches from that location only.  (note: A URL must be entered or the resource will not start)

Once the trusted websites are defined, selecting the “Get Shortcuts” link will send the admin to StoreFront, where each resource will contain a unique shortcut.  Those shortcuts can be added into the web site.

appshortcuts

But what if you want to email the link to users?

Those same links can be used, but because they are not on the trusted list of websites, users will receive a warning message they must acknowledge.

untrusted

This prompt can be disabled by going to “Advanced Settings” and deselecting “Prompt for untrusted shortcuts”.  (Note: A URL must still be added to the list of websites or else the resource will not launch.  Any URL can be used).

trustconfigAdditional options:

  1. Pass through authentication: If users must use their domain credentials to launch the resource, it might be worthwhile to setup pass through authentication so the users are not subjected to authentication challenges.
  2. Unauthenticated users: If the application incorporates its own authentication, it might be worthwhile to enable unauthenticated user access to the resource.

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 LTSR Handbook
XenApp Best Practices
XenApp Videos

Hello, DNA


I love seeing crazy comparisons and statistics, especially if it has anything to do with science

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)

  • If laid out end-to-end, all DNA within your body would go from the Earth to Pluto and back to the Earth (too bad Pluto is not a planet anymore.)
  • Humans share 99% of their DNA with everyone else (makes the 7 degrees of separation game kind of pointless.)
  • If you could type 60 words per minute, eight hours a day, it would take approximately 50 years to type the human genome (Well, I can type 61 words per minute).
  • Humans have roughly 40-50% of the same DNA as cabbage (I don’t like cabbage, which means I don’t like 1/2 of me).
  • Back in 2001, it cost roughly $100,000,000 to map the genome, while in 2014 the cost dropped to around $6,000

By understanding the DNA, we can better understand how something works and how it interacts with other things. However, trying to map the DNA is not something you would ever think about doing manually, it would take a lifetime and be prone to many mistakes (plus it would be a pretty boring life). By understanding how something works and how it interacts, we can take preventative actions.

Apps (Hello, World)

  • There are roughly 200,000 lines of code in a pacemaker
  • The Space Shuttle contained 400,000 lines of code
  • The Hubble Space Telescope has 2,000,000 lines of code
  • While Microsoft Office 2001 had 25,000,000 lines of code, Office 2013 has grown up to 45,000,000 lines
  • Guess what has the same number of lines of code as Windows Vista? How about the Large Hadron Collider. Each with roughly 50,000,000 lines
  • And to top things off, it is reported that the United States healthcare.gov website has 500,000,000 lines.

As we all know, upgrading from Windows XP to 7 to 10, from Windows 2003, to 2008 to 2012, from Office 2010 to 2013 to 2016 is not something we do overnight. Just look at the amount of code that is involved in these things. We often spend months and years debating if we should upgrade and then how we should upgrade. We do this because it is not easy as we have a nagging fear that our applications might not work, and for good reason considering Windows 7 had 40 million lines of code. We’ve been bitten too many times by the compatibility bug, so we are willing to forego the added value of the latest releases because we don’t want to experience that nasty bite again.

This is why understanding your application’s DNA is so important. This is why there were a couple of sessions at Citrix Synergy 2015 that focused on AppDNA.

To get you started, we’ve put together the following video demonstrating what you can do with AppDNA

Therefore, my question for you is “Why haven’t you looked at AppDNA to help you with Windows upgrades, XenApp upgrades, application upgrades?”

DNA source: http://chemistry.about.com/od/lecturenoteslab1/a/10-Interesting-Dna-Facts.htm

Code source: http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/million-lines-of-code/

Genome mapping: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whole_genome_sequencing

From the virtual mind of Virtual Feller

Upgrading from XenApp 7.5 to XenApp 7.6


After delivering the XenApp 7.6 Upgrade webinar, I received a few questions asking if it is a good idea to upgrade from XenApp 7.5 to XenApp 7.6. My first reaction is, “Of course you should. Why wouldn’t you?”

But I’m a little biased J

You need to ask yourself if the new features within XenApp 7.6 are important enough to upgrade. Look at the following subset of features and determine if they are something that would be valuable for your users and admin:

  1. Unauthenticated Logons: This feature allows a user to access an application without being required to authenticate. This feature is mostly used in healthcare. If you need this, you must go to XenApp 7.6 feature
  2. Connection Leasing: You ever watch Star Trek and you hear the engineers talk about having secondary backups? A secondary backup won’t let your starship reach Warp 9, but it will keep your ship from exploding. That is essentially what connection leasing does for your XenApp site. Your first layer of backup is configuring your database to be highly available (mirroring, clustering or AlwaysOn). If that fails, you want to have a secondary backup, which is connection leasing. Another XenApp 7.6-only feature
  3. App Usage: Provides additional reporting capabilities for admins so they can see usage patterns for the applications. It’s good to know what your users are using.
  4. Fast App Access: “Patience you must have, my young padawan” is great if you are a Jedi. Unfortunately, my patience decreases waiting for my logon. A Windows logon includes a list of things (policies, logon scripts, drive mappings, etc.) that must execute before you can get to an application. Fast App Access essentially does all of the session creation processes before you request an app, greatly reducing logon times. In a production environment, the logon process that the user experiences is as follows:

    Take a look at the Session Prelaunch video to see how it is configured and functions.

What’s nice about being on XenApp 7.5 and upgrading to XenApp 7.6 is that the upgrade path is very easy. At a high-level, you essentially do the following:

You will notice that these are all upgrades. No need to rebuild. Of course, if you want more detail and guidance, then take a look at the following eDocs article.

The XenApp 7.5 to 7.6 upgrade is probably one of the smoothest upgrades I’ve ever done, and I’ve been upgrading since WinFrame.

 

From the virtual mind of Virtual Feller

Migrate from MCS to PVS


When installing XenDesktop 5, I bet many people were interested in using Machine Creation Services. And why not? It is easy to setup and configure because there is nothing to setup and configure. What could be easier? However, as many of you start to grow your desktop virtualization implementations to include more users, more desktops and more scenarios, you might realize that MCS is no longer able to meet all of your demands. What if you want to do Hosted Shared Desktops or Streamed VHD desktops? No MCS allowed.

If you want single image management, you are going with Provisioning Services. And if you start using PVS for these new use cases, will you also go back and update your other pooled VDI desktop users to also use PVS? Probably. It will make the operational aspect easier with only being required to support a single provisioning solution. Of course the big issue with moving from MCS to PVS is how to migrate your images.

Chances are, you spent a lot of time installing, configuring, and optimizing the base desktop image to align with your business. Do you really want to start over and create a new image for PVS? No way. Well, luckily, it isn’t too difficult to migrate images from MCS to PVS. A new Implementation Guide has just been added to the XenDesktop Design Handbook that provides the steps required to migrate images. Now you don’t have to figure this out on your own, just follow the steps. Take a look at the latest: Implementation Guide: Migrating from MCS to PVS.

Daniel – Lead Architect
XenDesktop Design Handbook