Archive for May, 2010

Citrix Receiver for Android version 1.1 (released)

Written by Thomas Poppelgaard. Posted in Reciever

New in Citrix Reciever for Android version 1.1

• Application list caching on the device: No more need to wait while your application list downloads each time you connect.
• Support for a variety of new user configuration options including the ability to specify session size, display modes, screen orientation, and others.
• Support for large screen devices.
• Support for Access Gateway new PIN mode and next tokencode mode: With Citrix Access Gateway Enterprise Edition and Standard Edition, you can now change your PIN or provide the next tokencode from your device. With Citrix Access Gateway Advanced Edition you are notified that the PIN needs to be changed or the next tokencode required.
• Support for changing expired domain passwords: If your domain password expires you can change it directly from Receiver.
• Session reliability: If your wifi or 3G network drops, the Citrix Receiver will attempt to reconnect in the background while your session stays visible.

you can find it on the Android Market by searching for “Citrix”.

Citrix XenServer 5.6 (released)

Written by Thomas Poppelgaard. Posted in XenServer

Dynamic Memory Control.  Let’s say you have a few XenServer hosts.  You need to spin up some more VMs, but your VMs are configured to use all available resource pool memory.  However, you know that some of the existing VMs aren’t using all the physical memory you’ve allocated.  With XenServer 5.6, you can set memory ranges for VMs so that you can squeeze the physical memory used for existing VMs in order to let new ones on.  If you find that one or more VMs operating near the lower limit requires more memory, you can increase the minimum level on the fly without rebooting.

Role-Based Administration and Audit.  You’re the primary XenServer administrator.  You have a junior admin that you want to provide a lower level of access within XenCenter so that they can start/stop/reboot/snapshot VMs without either 1. bothering you to do it for them all the time, or 2. Giving them full access to the XenCenter console where they have access to networking and storage configurations.  If that junior admin deletes a VM, you’ll have an audit trail with a record of this change, and when it was performed.

Heterogeneous Pools. Let’s say you have a pool of 5 XenServer hosts, which run on year-old hardware with Intel Xeon 5400 processors.  Now you buy a couple of new servers, which have new Intel Xeon 5500 processors. With XenServer you can join them to the same pool and enable XenMotion, HA, Shared Storage, and Workload Balancing. In the past, you could “force join” the newer servers to the existing pool, but you’d have to be careful not to XenMotion between different processor types.  This feature works with Intel processors with “Flex Migrate” capability and AMD processors with “Extended Migration” features.  Note that live migration between Intel and AMD does not work. We’ve added a new section on the HCL with the tested configurations.  Those that aren’t listed can be added by running through the Citrix Ready XenServer hardware test kit.

Memory Snapshots and one-click revert.  In addition to disk snapshots for backup, now you can snapshot the live running state of a VM.  In previous versions of XenServer, reverting to your snapshot was a multi-step process that was not ideal.  Now you just click “revert” in the snapshot manager.

Dynamic Workload Balancing with Power Management.  If you have a XenApp farm running 24×7,there is quite a bit of power wasted by those servers during nights and  weekends when only a handful of users are accessing applications.  Workload balancing can be scheduled to consolidate all of your idle XenApp servers on as few hosts as possible while powering off the newly vacated XenServer hosts. In the morning or after a weekend, those machines will power on and the VMs will be redistributed to handle the load.  Additionally, Workload Balancing includes a fully-automated mode with some new configuration options.  Example: if you have some VMs that you don’t want moving around, simply start those VMs on a specific host and exclude that host from WLB computations.

Increased scalability.  We’ve doubled support limits for logical processors and memory to 64 and 256 GB, respectively.  Up to 16 NICs per host are supported as well.

Updated Support for Provisioning Services (PVS).   PVS 5.6 has been updated, and includes a helpful new vDisk imaging wizard.   XenCenter is now more aware of PVS boot scenarios, namely through “boot from network” options in the new VM setup wizard.  One thing we’d like people to try (call it a “Tech Preview”) is streaming of XenServer bits themselves, in addition to VMs.  The eventual goal here is to greatly simplify management of XenServer updates and upgrades, just as PVS has done for XenApp and XenDesktop VMs.

Enhanced XenCenter. Did you run the XenDesktop setup wizard incorrectly and create a bunch of VMs that you now need to delete?  Use the multi-select feature, right-click, and select “delete.”  Need to start or shutdown a bunch of VMs at the same time?  Another good use for the multi-select option.  Other useful additions include one-step “VM move” (powered down) from array to array. Try right mouse clicking on a custom template and select “Instant VM from template.” You won’t be prompted to accept all the defaults, which you probably click right through anyway.

Enhanced support for iSCSI arrays with multi-IQN / IP configuration.  DataCore SANMelody is an example of an iSCSI array that advertises multiple IQNs with multiple IP addresses.  With 5.6, we aim to make the setup of XenServer with SANMelody arrays much easier with the wildcard IQN scan option.

OEM edition simplification.  We used to assist with the creation of HP and Dell-specific versions of XenServer, which they shipped onboard their servers.  This had some issues.  One key example: though “Update” releases were made available for OEM editions, individual hotfixes were not.  No more.  Now we have one set of bits and HP and Dell apply hardware specific “supplementary packs” which contain their management agents and other hardware-specific components.  You can also support BIOS locking if you have an OEM version of Windows that you want to run as a virtual machine on your XenServer host.

Advanced Edition.  HA, Dynamic Memory Control, Alerting, and Performance History for $1,000 per server. Note: for a full list of the features in each edition (including Free) see here:

Server-based pricing. This isn’t “new” per se, however it’s starting to matter a lot more when you compare costs of XenServer and vSphere on some of the latest servers.  Dell R815 and HP DL385 G7 servers now ship with 12-core Opteron 6000 processors.   The problem for VMware customers is that they won’t allow you to run vSphere Standard or Enterprise Edition on those servers.  In other words, VMware hates Moore’s Law.  With XenServer, we don’t care how many cores or sockets the server has; you pay the same price with any configuration.  Citrix loves Moore’s Law.

Initial SR-IOV platform support for NetScaler VPX. If you’ve got a server with an Intel SR-IOV capable NIC, you will soon be able to achieve near line-speed network performance to a XenServer virtual machine.  Initial tests within Citrix have shown ~ 108 Gbps of aggregate bandwidth to a NetScaler VPX virtual machine.  Note that the real benefit of this will arrive when we have a version of the NetScaler VPX that can use this platform capability (later this year).

StorageLink Site Recovery.  You’ve got a secondary site where you want to replicate all your virtual machines in case disaster strikes your primary site.  StorageLink Site Recovery simplifies the process of setting up this replication and recovering virtual machines in the DR site. Check the StorageLink HCL for arrays that initially support Site Recovery.

Citrix License Server integration.  Paid versions of XenServer now require a Citrix License Server.  Here’s what you need to know:

1. The Free version of XenServer continues to use the file-based activation process, so a license server isn’t required if you are using Free XenServer.

2. Unlike with prior versions of XenServer, licensing is enforced.  Before you upgrade any existing 5.x systems to 5.6, verify that you have the right number of licenses allocated to you via your mycitrix.com account. Note that there is a 30 day grace period after an upgrade, which gives you plenty of time to get your License Server set up.

3. In addition to the existing Windows-based License Server, we’re making a License Server virtual appliance available as well.  Just import it, run through a short configuration, and use a browser to upload your license files.

For more information on 5.6 licensing, see CTX125301.

Was anything removed from the product in 5.6?

Not much.  The legacy Linux P2V tool in the installer is gone, though it wasn’t of much use any more since it only worked for very old distros. We’ve also dropped Debian Etch (4.0) support since it no longer receives security updates.  Those of you who look closely might find that the new “Demo Linux VM” template is, shall we say, eerily similar to Debian Etch.  It’s not recommended for production use, and we have this solely because so many of you told us you liked the built-in Linux distro for testing and demonstration purposes.

What’s not available quite yet?

While nearly everything in XenServer 5.6 is available today, a couple of things have yet to be posted:

  • Citrix License Server Virtual Appliance.  If you don’t already have a Citrix License Server running in your environment, you may want to wait to upgrade until this virtual appliance is available.  It will be posted no later than June 30.
  • Updated Lab Manager.  This will be available by June 4.

Citrix Provisioning Services 5.6 (released)

Written by Thomas Poppelgaard. Posted in Provisioning

New in Citrix Provisioning 5.6 Release
  • Imaging Wizard
    New wizard on client to create a vDisk.
  • Enhanced Store Creation
    New Validation and Store Creation in Config Wizard.
  • Silent Configuration
  • Updated Config Wizard to run from an Answer File.
  • Enhanced AutoAdd
    New AutoAdd Wizard
  • Database Resiliency
    Support of SQL Server Database Mirroring.
  • Streaming a XenServer Host
    Streaming of XenServer hosts is available as a non-supported technical preview feature with this release.
  • Enhanced Read-Only File System
    Support for Read-only LUN operation.
  • Enhanced Failover
    Optimized load balancing algorithm.
  • Jumbo Packet Support
    Support for 10 GigE Network performance.
  • Cross Forest Active Directory Support

Download Citrix Provisioning 5.6

XenApp 5.0 for Windows Server 2008 supports Novell

Written by Thomas Poppelgaard. Posted in Novell

Novell Domain Services for Windows (DSfW) is now Citrix Ready for XenApp 5.0 for Windows Server 2008 R1. This means that customers can leverage their Novell infrastructure in combination with XenApp 5.0. The functionality is the same as the support we included in XenApp 6.0 for Windows Server 2008 R2.

Domain Services for Windows (DSfW) is verified to be compatible with :

Citrix ProductVersionOperating System
XenApp5.032-bit
XenApp5.064-bit
XenApp664-bit
XenDesktop3.0 
XenDesktop4.0

European company virtualizes CAD workstations globally on Citrix

Written by Thomas Poppelgaard. Posted in Citrix

Intensiv-Filter virtualizes CAD workstations globally

  • “We used to have to estimate total costs of 28,000 Euro for a single new developer workstation—through the use of XenDesktop these costs are reduced to a fraction,” Michael Paga, Intensiv-Filter GmbH & Co. KG.
  • Developers can work with centrally provided CAD tools from almost anywhere, “… even in Brazil the response times are fully sufficient.”
  • Simplifies provisioning of standard and high performance desktops.
  • Increases data security by centralized data and SSL-VPN.

Intensiv-Filter

Intensiv-Filter GmbH & Co. KG with its headquarters in Velbert in Nordrhein Westfalen is one of the largest system suppliers of dust removal technology and product recovery. Founded in 1922, the company produces high-grade components like process tubular filter systems and secondary dust removal or CIP filters, and also offers its customers extensive services—from planning and engineering to system startup. Demand for services provided by Intensiv-Filter is increasing in view of ever more stringent pollution abatement guidelines. In past years, the company was able to continuously open up new business areas and build up its international presence. Today, Intensiv-Filter is not only represented in Germany and Europe, but also by affiliates in Brazil, India and Korea.

The Challenge – Increasing IT requirements by company expansion

In order to be able to support dynamic development of the company as efficiently as possible, the IT department set up a largely centralized IT infrastructure at an early time: “In principle we try to keep current administration expenses as low as possible and therefore have been using Citrix technologies for many years to provide applications,” says Michael Paga, IT manager at Intensiv-Filter. Business applications like Microsoft® Office and the client software for the ERP system units are made available to users in the individual branches via a central Citrix® XenApp™ server farm. “We originally introduced the technology in order to enable developers on UNIX workstations to also have access to Windows® applications,” explains Paga. “However, we then quickly recognized that we save a lot of work if we move standard applications in general from the distributed end equipment to the server farm. Thus, we only have to maintain and keep updated one instance of each application. The principle of centralized data also simplifies the backup process enormously and ensures continuous data consistency.”

However, not all applications can be virtualized via the central server farm. In particular, the graphics-intensive 2D and 3D CAD applications were still installed locally on workstations with high performance hardware equipment for performance reasons. This developed into an increasingly greater challenge when, in the course of internationalization of Intensiv-Filter, additional developer workplaces were added at different locations. “On the one hand, the running administration expense rose very quickly—software updates and patches had to be installed on each individual end device. On the other hand, there are also security aspects,” says Paga. “Protection of sensitive design data has the highest priority here but is not that easy to implement in a distributed client architecture.”

Desktop virtualization for CAD developers

The IT employees of Intensiv-Filter were therefore very interested when Citrix presented a new solution for the central operation of complex user desktops last year. With Ciitrix desktop virtualization, not only standard desktops can be virtualized: the technology also makes it possible to provide high performance desktops via the datacenter. Citrix XenDekstop™ directs the connection to a dedicated physical computer for example, as a Blade PC in a server rack. For operation of more resource-hungry applications this computer is equipped with corresponding CPU power, sufficient working memory and if necessary a special graphics chip. Access to the Blade PC occurs via the Citrix ICA® protocol, which provides special optimization and acceleration methods for graphics applications by the integrated Citrix® HDX™ technologies.

“Together with our IT partner of many years, arvato systems, we set up a test with Citrix XenDesktop and Blade PCs from IBM and very quickly found that the solution corresponds to our requirements,” says Paga. “With it we can provide complete CAD workplaces via standard DSL connections at any location. At the same time, we have complete control in the data center over the developer desktops and are in a position to execute all administrative activities very efficiently.” Intensiv-Filter therefore decided to gradually introduce the desktop virtualization solution in its international branches for all 30 CAD workplaces.

Instead of high performance workstations, the developers of Intensiv-Filter work on normal PCs, notebooks or thin clients. After logging on to the terminal device, XenDesktop connects the user to one of the Blade PCs in the computer center on which the applications are executed. No application data is exchanged via the network between the client and server but only screen updates, keyboard inputs and mouse movements. During access via the Internet all communication is encrypted by the SSL-VPN solution Citrix® Access Gateway™, Enterprise Edition. “We therefore achieve a very high degree of security and make sure that design data do not leave our computer center in Velbert,” says Paga.

According to Paga, the feedback of the first users was quite positive. “The developers can work with the centrally provided CAD tools almost as they do with locally installed applications—even in Brazil the response times are fully sufficient.” For a fluid representation of the screen surface, Paga recommends that a sufficient dimensioned graphics memory also be installed in the terminal devices.

Lower costs, greater flexibility

Central operation of the CAD workplaces has significantly reduced the administration cost in many areas: “For example, we no longer have to give much thought to how we will bring the workstations to our users and what will be done during hardware failures—if a terminal device fails, the user can immediately continue working on another computer,” says Paga. For user support Intensiv-Filter utilizes the online service Citrix® GoToAssist®: The user grants the help desk employee access to his workplace in a protected support session. Technical questions can be solved reliably and quickly via the Internet.

Through more efficient administration and support processes, Intensiv-Filter can consistently reduce the costs for its CAD workplaces. Moreover, the company is achieving significant savings in client hardware. Since the developers are active in different time zones, several users within a day can work with the same physical Blade PC. A central license pool also makes sure that only as many software licenses are called up as are actually necessary.

“We used to have to estimate total costs of 28,000 Euro for a single new developer workplace. Through the use of XenDesktop these costs are reduced to a fraction” says Paga. “With this solution, however, we are not only saving money but are especially gaining flexibility: in the future we will be able to temporarily involve external developers without having to be concerned about the security of our data.”

Recent Comments

Server 2016 Support

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Wonderful website. A lot of useful info here. I am sending it to a few friends ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks for your sweat!

Server 2016 Support

Thomas Poppelgaard

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Thanks Jose, I have corrected the map plus updated the map so 29 datacenters are now alive.

Jose Brenes

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Your map of Australia is wrong. You have put the state of Victoria inside the West Australian state.

Tobias K

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Note that on XenServer 7.1, installing VDA 7.13 also works to enable vGPUs running XenDesktop 7.11 even using the newer “NvFBCEnable.exe -enable -noreset” command. Tested with an M60 using various profiles.

Alex

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So how come version 3.11 doesn’t work for application switching?