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Hotfix XS61E009 & XS61E010 for XenServer 6.1 support for PVS & VVS

Citrix have released Hotfix XS61E009 & XS61E010 for XenServer 6.1 and now you are able to have Citrix Provisioning Services with XS 6.1 and use VVS.
I have been waiting for this for a while.

Issues Resolved In This Hotfix XS61E009

  1. Virtual Machines (VMs) with out of date XenServer Tools, may not be flagged as “out of date” in XenCenter. This hotfix resolves this issue and enables customers to be notified in XenCenter when new XenServer Tools are available.
  2. Booting a Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS) target device using a Boot Device Manager (BDM) image can take an extended time to complete. This hotfix resolves this issue.

Issues Resolved In This Hotfix XS61E010

  1. Customers using XenServer Platinum Edition to license Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS) may find that one PVS license per VM is checked out, rather than one PVS license per XenServer host. This may lead to a shortage of PVS licenses and an inability to provision VMs. Installing this hotfix along with CTX135672 – Hotfix CPVS61016 (Version 6.1.16) – For Citrix Provisioning Services 6.1 – English resolves this issue.
  2. Attempts to shut down Microsoft Windows Vista and later VMs can cause intermittent blue screen errors, with a "STOP: 0x0000009f..." error message.
  3. Adding more than eight NICs to Microsoft Windows Vista and later VMs, using the xe CLI can lead to a blue screen error on reboot.
  4. Copying data to a Microsoft Windows 2003 VM can cause the VMs to hang and lead to a grey screen error.
  5. When Dynamic Memory Control (DMC) is enabled, attempts to migrate Microsoft Windows XP and later VMs using XenMotion can cause the VMs to hang and lead to blue screen error.
  6. When the Citrix Xen Guest Agent service is running, Cut and Paste will not work between a XenDesktop virtual desktop and the endpoint device.
  7. Microsoft Windows XP and later VMs may hang during the boot process and may have to be forced to reboot.
  8. Attempting to install or upgrade the XenServer Tools on Microsoft Windows Vista and later VMs, which do not have access to a paravirtualized or an emulated network device can cause the installation process to hang.
  9. Manually installing the Legacy XenServer Tools without changing the device_id to 0001 can result in a "STOP: 0x0000007B..."error when rebooting a Windows VM. After installing this hotfix, customers will not be able to manually install the Legacy XenServer Tools by running xenlegacy.exe. When customers start the XenServer Tools installation process, the installwizard.msi will be launched automatically.
  10. Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS) (required for third party backup solutions) was unavailable on Microsoft Windows Server 2008 in the original version of XenServer 6.1.0. After installing this hotfix, XenServer 6.1.0 customers will be able to take quiesced snapshots on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 VMs.Note VSS is not supported for Windows Server 2008 R2.

Source

Download Hotfix XS61E010 – For XenServer 6.1.0 here

Download Hotfix XS61E009 – For XenServer 6.1.0 here

Citrix Project Thor Tech Preview 2

Citrix have released a new version of Project Thor Technical Preview 2.

There is lots of new improvement, lets dig in.

 

Whats new in Project Thor Tech Preview 2

  • Support for the new App-V 5 DT.
  • Numerous Tech Preview 1 customer issues (and “customer experience” issues) addressed.
  • Numerous visual supportability improvements to “hand-hold” the administrator through the initial configuration steps to make the first-use experience simple and delightful.
  • Highly simplified XenApp publishing experience for MSI DT based apps.
  • Full Command Line/Silent install support of the Connector.
  • High-availability built in.
  • Fully supports SCCM 2012 SP1.
  • Fully supports Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8.

What is Project Thor

Project Thor Technical Preview (XenApp Connector) extends the deployment capabilities of Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager (Configuration Manager), delivering any application, to any user, on virtually any device.

XenApp Connector integration with Configuration Manager provides administrators with a single infrastructure and tool to manage all enterprise applications including on-demand XenApp applications. Use XenApp Connector with Configuration Manager to:

  • Deploy to XenApp servers, farms, and worker groups:
    • MSI-based applications
    • App-V sequences subsequently made available to users as XenApp published applications
    • XenApp published applications (using the XenApp deployment type that XenApp Connector adds to Configuration Manager, seamlessly extending the console)
  • Extend Configuration Manager’s rules-based delivery mechanism to choose the most appropriate deployment type based on the user’s environment.For example, an application might be best delivered as an MSI (installed locally) on a user’s primary device, but deployed virtually using the new XenApp deployment type to enable the same user to access the application from a non-Windows device such as an iPad.
  • Control how users access applications:
    • Configuration Manager Application Catalog
    • Citrix Receiver
    • Citrix Receiver for Web site or Citrix XenApp services site
  • Coordinate updates to XenApp vDisk imagesXenApp Connector fully integrates with Citrix Provisioning Services, allowing you to publish applications that are deployed to a base vDisk for a XenApp image.
  • Maintain high availabilityXenApp Connector uses the optional XenApp Power and Capacity Management Concentrator to manage the power states and load consolidation of XenApp servers when installing Configuration Manager applications or Windows Software Update Management (SUM) updates, with minimal disruption to user sessions.

Components

The XenApp Connector for Configuration Manager 2012 consists of the following components:

  • XenApp Connector service
  • Configuration Manager console extension
  • XenApp Agent service
  • XenApp deployment type handler

The XenApp Connector interacts with these related components:

  • XenApp Group Policies
  • Provisioning Services (PVS) Agent
  • Power and Capacity Management (PCM) Concentrator and Agent
  • Citrix Receiver, Receiver for Web sites, and XenApp services sites

XenApp Connector architectural diagram

XenApp Connector Service

XenApp Connector service is the bridge between a XenApp farm and Configuration Manager and performs the following tasks:

  • Application publishingThe XenApp Connector service manages the association between XenApp servers, applications, and users by creating a published application in XenApp that end users can then install from the Application Catalog and access with Citrix Receiver.The XenApp Connector publishing task processes publishing items that are linked to a XenApp deployment type. Items published to a XenApp device collection appear under the Applications\ConfigMgr12 folder in the XenApp AppCenter console.By default, the Publishing task runs every hour. Use the XenApp Connector Configuration wizard to change the publishing interval. Use the Start menu shortcut (Run Publishing Task) to manually run the task.
  • Synchronization of farm and worker group device collectionsThe XenApp Connector service processes all worker groups in a XenApp farm (and all farms, in multi-farm environments) and creates or updates the corresponding device collections in Configuration Manager. By default, this task runs every 24 hours. Use the XenApp Connector Configuration wizard to change the synchronization interval and the maintenance schedule. Use the Start menu shortcut (Run Synchronization Task) to manually run the task.
  • Software OrchestrationXenApp Connector determines which application deployments are pending for the XenApp workers in the deployment device collection, and then uses the Power and Capacity Management feature to start draining users off the targeted servers.

Configuration Manager Console Extension

The Configuration Manager console extension enables the Configuration Manager console to work seamlessly with XenApp. Installing the console extension adds these items to the Configuration Manager console:

  • A Citrix XenApp Farms node under Assets and Compliance > Device Collections. After synchronizing data from a XenApp farm, XenApp Connector updates the Citrix XenApp Farms node with all XenApp farms, servers, and worker groups.
    • Device Collections > Citrix XenApp Farms > farms
    • Device Collections > Citrix XenApp Farms > farms > Worker Groups > groups
  • A XenApp Publications folder under Software Library > Application Management. Items in this folder are published to XenApp.
  • A Citrix XenApp Client Settings item in Administration > Client Settings, with a Computer Agent setting, Agent extensions manage the deployment of applications and software updates, enabled. That setting enables the Configuration Manager idle policy feature.
  • A Citrix XenApp entry in the Type drop-down menu in all Configuration Manager console pages where deployment types are selected, such as in the Create Deployment Type wizard.

XenApp Agent Service

The XenApp Agent service runs on each server in a XenApp farm. It coordinates application and software installation and updates, through integration with the following components:

  • The XenApp Power and Capacity Management feature. See the PCM Agent and PCM Connector component descriptions in this section for more information.
  • Citrix Provisioning Services. See the PVS Agent component description for more information.
  • The XenApp Agent service can work with the Configuration Manager idle policy feature to defer software installs, allowing the XenApp Agent service to trigger the installation of applications and software updates.

The XenApp Agent service runs at the next known maintenance window or at other times when users need to be notified in advance, such as when a forced logoff is pending.

XenApp Deployment Type Handler

The XenApp deployment type handler detects and manages publications associated with an application configured with a XenApp deployment type. The handler communicates with Receiver and the Self-Service Plug-in, enabling managed devices to subscribe to published applications that are installed by the user through the Application Catalog or that are pushed as a mandatory deployment.

XenApp Group Policies

Computer group policies configure how the XenApp Agent service handles items such as advanced warning messages, forced logoff messages, XenApp Agent service maintenance frequency, and Provisioning Services integration. For more information, see Managing XenApp Connector for Configuration Manager 2012.

Provisioning Services (PVS) Agent

The XenApp Agent service running on a production XenApp vDisk image detects when a new vDisk image is available and delivers the new image after Power and Capacity Management drains the server of user sessions. The PVS agent is required only for shared images and must be installed on the master XenApp image.

Power and Capacity Management (PCM) Concentrator and Agent

For XenApp servers managed by the optional Power and Capacity Management feature:

  • XenApp Connector uses the PCM Concentrator to coordinate the power states and load consolidation of farm servers when installing applications. The PCM Concentrator monitors and manages the XenApp servers in the PCM farm and interacts with the PCM Agent running on each XenApp server to get and set the PCM tier and PCM control mode.
  • The PCM Agent registers host XenApp servers with the PCM Concentrator and acts on requests issued by the PCM Concentrator.

Citrix Receiver for Windows, Receiver for Web sites, and XenApp services sites

After a user subscribes to XenApp deployment type applications using the Configuration Manager Application Catalog, icons for those applications appear in the user’s Start menu, on the Receiver for Windows home page (if Receiver is configured with StoreFront), and on Receiver for Web and XenApp services sites. When the user clicks the icon for a subscribed application, Receiver launches the application.

Note: Receiver for Web and XenApp services sites provide browser-based application access to users accessing applications from managed or unmanaged devices (mobile devices and Macs).

Source

 

Download Citrix Project Thor Tech Preview 2 here (Require MyCitrix ID)

 

Citrix Provisioning Service 6.1 Target Device Hotfix Installation Guide

Summary

This article contains instructions for installing Citrix Provisioning Service 6.1 Target Device hotfixes.

Background

Previously hotfixes for Citrix Provisioning Services 6.1 were delivered as loose binaries and that resulted in overhead for customers and required many manual steps to track and deploy the hotfixes correctly. To improve the customer experience, the hotfixes will now be provided as an installation package instead. The advantages of having an installer include:

  • Reducing manual tasks for deploying hotfix
  • Tracking what hotfixes are installed on the local machine

Procedures

Important Note: Target Device hotfixes can be deployed only on the Master Target Device. You can install Target Device hotfix on a device that has not been imaged to a vDisk as a fresh installation, or on a device that has been imaged to a vDisk as an upgrade installation.

For fresh installations, see eDocs, the Citrix product documentation library.

For upgrade installation, complete the following steps:

Uninstalling Provisioning Services from the Original Hard Drive on Master Target Device

  • Start from the vDisk in Private or Shared Image Mode.
  • Right-click My Computer, and select Manage. The Computer Management window appears.
  • Under Storage, click Disk Management.
  • Get the drive letter of the local hard disk (Disk 0) from where the vDisk was created. Ensure the partition is Active.
  • Run the Image Builder utility on the target device. The utility is located at \Program Files\Citrix\Provisioning Services\BNImage.exe
  • Under Destination Drive, specify the drive letter of the local hard disk from Step 4.
  • Click Build to start vDisk image cloning to the local hard disk on the Master Target Device, then restart.
  • Configure the Master Target Device to start from local hard drive.
  • On the Master Target Device, uninstall Provisioning Services from ARP.

Uninstalling Provisioning Services from a Newly created Hard Drive on a Master Target Device

  • Start from the vDisk in Private or Shared Image Mode.
  • Right click My Computer and select Manage. The Computer Management window appears.
  • Under Storage, click Disk Management.
  • Create a new primary partition as the first partition, assign a drive letter, format, and mark it as Active.
  • Delete the boot.ini file from the root of the vDisk.
  • Run the Image Builder utility on the target device. The utility is located at \Program Files\Citrix\Provisioning Services\BNImage.exe
  • Under Destination Drive, specify the drive letter of the local hard disk from Step 4.
  • Click Build to start vDisk image cloning to the local hard disk on the Master Target Device, then restart.
  • Configure the Master Target Device to start from local hard drive.
  • On the Master Target Device, uninstall Provisioning Services from ARP.

Installing a Target Device Hotfix and Imaging New vDisk

  • From the Provisioning Services Console, delete the Master Target Device.
  • On the Master Target Device, run the Provisioning Services Device installer included in the hotfix.
  •  Run the Provisioning Services Imaging Wizard to create new vDisk.
  • After the image is created but before restarting the device, check the Device properties on the Console to ensure the device is set to start fromHard Disk.
  • Restart the device and configure it to start from local hard drive then perform a PXE boot of the device. This will cause the system to automatically start running Citrix Converter to finalize VDisk imaging.
  • On the Console, modify the Device properties to force the device to start from vDisk.
  • Restart the Master Target Device and ensure that the new vDisk is running without issue.
  • On the Console, associate the new vDisk with other Target Devices if necessary.

XenServer Tools for XenServer 6.1 workaround for VVS & PVS

Summary

XenServer 6.1.0 is supplied with two versions of the XenServer Tools (sometimes known as the Windows PV drivers). The standard version (as installed using the installwizard.msi wizard), and the legacy version (installed using the xenlegacy.exe wizard).

The standard XenServer Tools do not include support for Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) or Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS). For customers who wish to use VSS or PVS, the legacy XenServer Tools must be used.

This document contains procedures on how to install the legacy XenServer Tools and procedures for switching between the standard and legacy XenServer Tools. This includes the following scenarios:

  1. Installing the legacy XenServer Tools on a new VM.
  2. Installing the legacy XenServer Tools on a VM which already has the standard XenServer Tools installed.

This document also describes how to reinstall the standard XenServer Tools having previously uninstalled them.

WARNING: Customers should take great care when carrying out these instructions. Failure to do so may result in unbootable VMs.

Requirements

Administrative access to a XenServer host console either directly, through SSH, or by using the Console tab in XenCenter and administrative console access to the VM.

Note: During this procedure, network access to the VM may be lost temporarily.

Background

The standard XenServer Tools do not support VSS which is used for quiesced snapshots. Additionally, these Tools contain a known issue, where PVS delivered VMs are unable to identify their resident host. This means that customers using XenServer Platinum Licensing are unable to license their PVS VMs.

Installing legacy XenServer Tools

Before installing the legacy XenServer Tools, customers who have already installed the standard XenServer Tools must remove them:

Removing the standard XenServer Tools

  1. In the VM, click the Start button, point to Control Panel, select Programs and then Programs and Features.
  2. Select each of the following programs, and then click Uninstall:
    1. Windows Driver Package – Citrix Systems Inc. (xenbus) System
    2. Windows Driver Package – Citrix Systems Inc. (xennet) Net
    3. Windows Driver Package – Citrix Systems Inc. (xenvif) System
    4. Windows Driver Package – Citrix Systems Inc. (xeniface) System
    5. Windows Driver Package – Citrix Systems Inc. (xenvbd) SCSIAdapter
    6. Citrix XenServer Tools Installer
    7. Citrix XenServer Windows Guest Agent

Note: When uninstalling the Windows driver packages, a Remove Driver warning dialog box will be displayed. Click Yes to this dialog.

Installing legacy XenServer Tools

Before the legacy Tools can be installed, the VM metadata must be switched to a state that is compatible with them. To do this, execute the following commands on the XenServer host console:

  1. Run the following command to find the VM UUID:

     xe vm-list

    This returns a list of all VMs, note the UUID of the VM.

  2. Set the state of the VM to be compatible with the legacy tools by running the following command:

     xe vm-param-set uuid=<vm_uuid> platform:device_id=0001

  3. Reboot the VM.

The VM is now in a state compatible for use with the legacy XenServer Tools.

  1. Ensure xs-tools.iso is mounted in the VM’s virtual CD/DVD drive.
  2. In Windows Explorer, navigate to the XenServer Tools CD. Select it, right-click and from the shortcut menu, select Open. This displays the contents of the CD.
  3. Double click xenlegacy.exe.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions, rebooting the VM when prompted.

To reinstall the standard XenServer Tools

Customers who wish to return to using the standard tools should carry out the steps in the procedure below.

WARNING: This procedure should only be used after following the uninstall procedure above. Carrying out the procedure below before manually removing the standard tools may result in the VM becoming unbootable.

Note: Failure to follow the procedure below may result in the XenServer Tools installer hanging, this can be resolved by cancelling the installation and following the procedure.

  1. Ensure that the xs-tools.iso is mounted in the VM’s virtual CD/DVD drive.
  2. In Windows Explorer, navigate to the XenServer Tools CD. Select it, right-click and from the shortcut menu, select Open.This displays the contents of the CD.
  3. Depending on your operating system type, right-click on citrixxendriversx86.msi or citrixxendriversx64.msi and from the shortcut menu, click Uninstall.
  4. Double click on installwizard.msi, and follow the on-screen instructions, allowing the VM to reboot automatically.

If the XenServer Tools Installation Wizard hangs, customers should carry out the following steps:

  1. Cancel the XenServer Tools Installation wizard.
  2. Open the Windows Device Manager, and find the devices under Other devices. For each device:
    1. Right click on the device, and from the short-cut menu, select Update Driver Software…. This displays the Update Driver Software Window.
    2. Select Search automatically for updated driver software.
    3. At the next prompt, select Don’t search online.
    4. This installs the Citrix driver. When the installation has completed, click Close, and if prompted restart the VM. Repeat this procedure for the other devices in the Other Devices list.
  3. When the VM restartrs, in Windows Explorer, navigate to the XenServer Tools CD. Select it, right-click and from the shortcut menu, selectOpen. This displays the contents of the CD.
  4. Double-click on installwizard.msi. This displays the XenServer Tools Installation Wizard, click Remove.
  5. When the uninstallation has completed, click Install tools.

The XenServer Tools should now display as Optimized in the VM’s General tab in XenCenter.

Source

Whitepaper – XenDesktop Planning Guide: Provisioning Service Networking

I highly recommend you read this whitepaper from Citrix Consulting if you are using or planning to use Citrix Provisioning in your enviroment or if you are an Citrix Consultant/Architect and you design Citrix XenDesktop solutions with Provisioning.

Overview

Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS) is a software streaming technology that allows servers and desktops to be provisioned and re-provisioned in real time from a single shared-disk image. The service is commonly integrated within a Citrix XenDesktop architecture to deliver virtual desktops efficiently. One of the many benefits of PVS is the ability to scale, however when called upon to delivery high volumes PVS servers have significant network requirements. Therefore when planning the implementation of PVS it is important to take these requirements into consideration.

This planning guide provides Provisioning Services networking guidelines. It provides best practices, and recommendations to consider when planning to deploy PVS. It is not intended as a comprehensive guide for planning and configuring network infrastructures, nor as a networking training handbook.

The guide assumes the reader has knowledge of PVS, servers are running Windows Server 2008 R2,
and clients have 1 Gigabit interfaces.

Source

Download Citrix Consulting Whitepaper – XenDesktop Planning Guide : Provisioning Service Networking here