Citrix XenDesktop 7.7 and Citrix XenApp 7.7

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Citrix have released a new version of Citrix XenDesktop 7.7 and XenApp 7.7

My first impressions of this release is, this is the release you should update to if you are running Citrix XenDesktop 7.x, the speed improvements in the GUI is incredible, its snappy realiable and makes you work without waiting it for loading when you click around the catalogs and the delivery groups. The 7.7 release is an important release from Citrix where Citrix is now fully supporting Microsoft Azure, so you can provisioning VDI or XenApp machines on Microsoft Azure with MCS technology. Another long waited feature is “Zones” this feature will be loved by customers that have branch offices where there is a requirement to install local Citrix infrastructure components such as Studio, Director, Site database, Zones was very common used in IMA architecture and now its finally implemented in FMA, great job Citrix. These are just some of the all the new huge improvements and this is the best release of XenApp/XenDesktop. Other new product release that is included in the XenDesktop/XenApp 7.7 media is HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 2.0, License Server 11.13.1, Profile Management 5.4, Citrix Provisioning 7.7, Citrix Receiver 4.4 is not in the iso, but you have to download this seperated, which i highly recommends.

What a great year to finish with and happy updating and I wish you all a Happy New Year.

Citrix XenDesktop 7.7 & Citrix XenDesktop 7.7 contains following software updates and new features and enhancements, this blog post covers all whats new in the architecture and components. Citrix Provisioning 7.7 is covered in a seperated article here.

Whats new in release 7.7 FMA

This product release includes the following new and enhanced features.

  • Zones

citrix xa xd 7.7

Deployments that span widely-dispersed locations connected by a WAN can face challenges due to network latency and reliability. Configuring zones can help users in remote regions connect to local resources without forcing connections to traverse large segments of the WAN. Using zones allows effective Site management from a single Citrix Studio console, Citrix Director, and the Site database. This saves the costs of deploying, staffing, licensing, and maintaining additional Sites containing separate databases in remote locations.

Zones can be helpful in deployments of all sizes. You can use zones to keep applications and desktops closer to end users, which improves performance.

For more information, see the Zones article.

  • Improved database flow and configuration

When you configure the databases during Site creation, you can now specify separate locations for the Site, Logging, and Monitoring databases. Later, you can specify different locations for all three databases. In previous releases, all three databases were created at the same address, and you could not specify a different address for the Site database later.

You can now add more Delivery Controllers when you create a Site, as well as later. In previous releases, you could add more Controllers only after you created the Site.

For more information, see the Databases and Controllers articles.

  • Application limits

Configure application limits to help manage application use. For example, you can use application limits to manage the number of users accessing an application simultaneously. Similarly, application limits can be used to manage the number of simultaneous instances of resource-intensive applications, this can help maintain server performance and prevent deterioration in service.

For more information, see the Manage applications article.

  • Multiple notifications before machine updates or scheduled restarts

You can now choose to repeat a notification message that is sent to affected machines before the following types of actions begin:

Updating machines in a Machine Catalog using a new master image

Restarting machines in a Delivery Group according to a configured schedule

If you indicate that the first message should be sent to each affected machine 15 minutes before the update or restart begins, you can also specify that the message be repeated every five minutes until the update/restart begins.

For more information, see the Manage Machine Catalogs and Manage machines in Delivery Groups articles.

  • API support for managing session roaming

By default, sessions roam between client devices with the user. When the user launches a session and then moves to another device, the same session is used and applications are available on both devices. The applications follow, regardless of the device or whether current sessions exist. Similarly, printers and other resources assigned to the application follow.

You can now use the PowerShell SDK to tailor session roaming. This was an experimental feature in the previous release.

For more information, see the Sessions article.

  • API support for provisioning VMs from hypervisor templates

When using the PowerShell SDK to create or update a Machine Catalog, you can now select a template from other hypervisor connections. This is in addition to the currently-available choices of VM images and snapshots.

  • Support for new and additional platforms

See the System requirements article for full support information. Information about support for third-party product versions is updated periodically.

By default, SQL Server 2012 Express SP2 is installed when you install the Delivery Controller. SP1 is no longer installed.

The component installers now automatically deploy 32-bit and 64-bit Microsoft Visual C++ 2012 runtimes, as well as 2008 and 2010 runtimes. Visual C++ 2005 is no longer deployed.

You can install Studio or VDAs for Windows Desktop OS on machines running Windows 10.

You can create connections to Microsoft Azure virtualization resources.

The product ISO no longer includes versions of the Citrix Receiver for Mac and the Citrix Receiver for Linux. You (or your users) can download and install the Citrix Receivers from the Citrix website. Alternatively, you can make those Citrix Receivers available from your StoreFront server (see the Make Citrix Receiver installation files available on the server section in the StoreFront 3.0.x documentation, or the equivalent documentation for the StoreFront version you are using).

Whats new in Citrix Director 7.7

The Citrix Director version provided with this release contains the following new and enhanced features:

  • Proactive monitoring and alerting

You can now configure proactive alerting and notifications when thresholds are reached. This enables quicker responses even when you are not viewing the monitoring console.

For more information, see Alerts and notifications.

  • SCOM integration

Deployments that use Microsoft System Center 2012 – Operations Manager to monitor deployments can now view alerts provided by the Operations Manager on the Dashboard and in other high level views in Citrix Director. For example, if connections to supported hypervisors fail, the administrator can check Citrix Director for Operations Manager alerts. After reviewing alert details in Citrix Director, the administrator can then switch to the Operations Manager console for additional troubleshooting, if needed.

For more information, see SCOM alerts.

  • Windows Authentication

Citrix Director now supports Integrated Windows Authentication. For single sign-on, a user’s Windows credentials are automatically used to access Citrix Director. This support allows users to log on to their machines using any credential provider and supporting hardware, and use that logged-on identity to access Citrix Director.

For  more information, see Use Citrix Director with Integrated Windows Authentication.

  • Desktop and Server OS usage

The Trends view now shows the usage of Desktop OS by Site and by Delivery group, and it shows the usage of Server OS by site, by Delivery group, and by Machine. This gives you a real-time view of your OS usage, enabling you to quickly assess your site’s capacity needs.

For more information, see Monitor historical trends across a Site.

  • Application limits in Citrix Director

Application limits configured in Studio are shown in existing views and counts in Citrix Director. For example, the User Connection Failures on the Dashboard will indicate when a connection attempt fails because it would exceed an application limit.

For more information, see Application limits.

What’s new in HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 2.0

Citrix Licensing Manager – Enables downloading and allocation of license files from the License Server on which the Citrix Licensing Manager is installed. You can specify a date range for the historical usage and export it to a CSV file.  The CSV file provides daily usage information including the number of licenses in overdraft. License Server VPX does not support the Citrix Licensing Manager.

  • Simple License Service is replaced – The Citrix Licensing Manager replaces the Simple License Service web UI.
  • Partial allocation of licenses – When using the Citrix Licensing Manager to download your licenses, you can specify how many licenses to download for a product. Previously, the Simple License Service allowed only a complete download of licenses for a product.
  • Citrix Licensing Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) and Call Home support for License Server VPX  – Voluntary data collection programs in which Citrix products gather anonymous or identified configuration, performance, error, and usage data from your deployment and automatically send the data to Citrix. For more information, see “Citrix Licensing Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) and Call Home” in Technical overview.
  • License Administration Console defaults to Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure  – When the License Administration Console installs, it defaults to https

What’s New in Profile Management 5.4

When upgrading Profile management, the installer removes the old version along with the WMI Provider, and then installs the new version. If you perform the upgrade after separating the two components, the WMI Provider is not upgraded. In this case, install it separately to ensure the two components remain compatible with each other and your VDAs.  You must provide the standalone WMI MSI file or installer for Versions 7.5 and 7.6 of the VDA so that the correct version of the WMI Provider installs after upgrading Profile management.

If you upgrade to Profile management 5.4 on a VDA earlier than version 7.7, use profilemgt_x64/x86.msi to do so. If you upgrade on a Version 7.7 VDA, Profile management 5.4 and WMI Provider 5.4 are automatically installed (by profilemgt_x64/x86.msi and UpmVDAPlugin_x64/x86.msi).

Source

Download Citrix XenDesktop 7.7 here (Require MyCitrix ID)

Download Citrix XenApp 7.7 here (Require MyCitrix ID)

Download Citrix Profile Management 5.4 here

Download Citrix HDX Optimization Pack 2.0 here

Download Citrix License Server 11.13.1 here (For Windows or VPX appliance)

Download Citrix Windows Receiver 4.4 here

Citrix XenDesktop 5.6 – Desktop Studio DB Connection fails after installing Hotfix Update 4

I am doing a HDX 3D Pro POC in Oslo with Morten Waler, and we bumb into an critical issue with a vanilla Citrix XenDesktop 5.6 Controller, after applying Hotfix update 4 for Citrix XenDesktop 5.6.

If you install a fresh new Citrix XenDesktop 5.6 Controller installation and apply the latest Hotfix update 4, normal you would have a button in the XenDesktop Studio dashboard saying if you want to upgrade the database this is the case with Hotfix update packages before Hotfix update 4. With Hotfix update 4 applied on a vanilla XenDesktop environment there is no upgrade database button, and if you configure the environment and create “Desktop Groups” and assign users to them, you will get and DB connection error.

Doug Nuveen from the Citrix forum, came up with this solution:

  • Uninstall Desktop Studio
  • Uninstall Broker Service
  • Uninstall Broker Powershell Snap-In

Next, install the same components from the XenDesktop 5.6 iso.

Here comes the critical part, CREATE YOUR FIRST DESKTOP GROUP! There is clearly some bug in Hotfix Update 4 that does not enable the DB Upgrade button in the Dashboard if you dont have any Desktop Groups when you run the update.

Next, install the updates from Hotfix Update 4.

  • Broker Service
  • Broker Powershell Snap-In
  • Desktop Studio from XD560DStudioWX64002

Open Desktop Studio and go to Dashboard, you should now see a button to upgrade. Hit it, select Automatic. BAM! It’s all good. Well for us that is, other users are reporting that they have problems doing the upgrade automatic and manual.

Source

Kudos to Doug Nuveen & Morten Waler for confirming this issue and the above solution works 😉

A message to Citrix

Citrix, could you please test your XenDesktop Hotfix Update’s on your vanilla systems, before you ship them to the market.

How to Restore a XenDesktop 5 Database on a SQL 2008 Server

Summary

This article contains information about restoring a XenDesktop 5 database on a SQL 2008 Server

Requirements

It is assumed that the administrator has basic knowledge for SQL administration or has appropriate resources to assist with the execution of the SQL statement command.

Background

When using Microsoft SQL Server, consult the Database Server product documentation for scheduling automated backups of the Data Store. In most cases, daily backup is sufficient to prevent loss of farm data.

In this scenario, it is expected that the Citrix Data Store is unavailable until the procedure is complete. Therefore, complete all the steps in the following procedure within the same change window.

Notes:

  • It is strongly recommended that no administrative changes be attempted until the Database is back online and verified.
  • All Management Consoles should be closed.

Review throttling and idle pool settings as soon as you restore the DB to mitigate the possibility of boot storms

The following environmental data is used as an example:

Procedure

  • Restore the most recent database backup onto the target server.

Refer to the Copying Databases with Backup and Restore web page of Microsoft msdn library for more information

  • Verify that all DDCs have valid logins for their machine account in the form DomainName\Computername$ on the database server. If verified, move to Step 3.
  • To create machine logins for all DDCs on the database server, complete the following procedure:
  • Start SQL Server Management Studio or SQLCMD,
  • Run the CREATE LOGIN [DOMAIN\MACHINE$] FROM WINDOWS query, as displayed in the following screen shot:
Note: Use upper-case for the Domain and Computer Name
  • Each DDC Machine Login should have a corresponding user account under the restored Database. Locate these accounts and verify that their Database role membership is set to the following role, as displayed in the screen shot:
  • ADIdentitySchema_ROLE
  • chr_Broker
  • chr_Controller
  • ConfigurationSchema_ROLE
  • DesktopUpdateManagerSchema_ROLE
  • HostingUnitServiceSchema_ROLE
  • MachinePersonalitySchema_ROLE
  •  Redirect DDCs to the new database:
  • At each DDC, open a PowerShell window and run the following commands where <dbserver> is the name of your SQL server, which is the instance if defined and <dbname> is the name of the XenDesktop database. This process loads the Citrix PowerShell Snap-in, clear the database connection and then configure the correct connection for each service:

    Add-PSSnapin Citrix.* Set-ConfigDBConnection -DBConnection $null Set-AcctDBConnection -DBConnection $null Set-hypDBConnection -DBConnection $null Set-ProvDBConnection -DBConnection $null Set-pvsvmDBConnection -DBConnection $null Set-brokerDBConnection -DBConnection $null Set-ConfigDBConnection -DBConnection “Server= <dbserver>;Database= <dbname>;Trusted_Connection=True”
    Set-AcctDBConnection -DBConnection “Server= <dbserver>;Database= <dbname>;Trusted_Connection=True”
    Set-HypDBConnection -DBConnection “Server= <dbserver>;Database= <dbname>;Trusted_Connection=True”
    Set-ProvDBConnection -DBConnection “Server= <dbserver>;Database= <dbname>;Trusted_Connection=True”
    Set-PvsVmDBConnection -DBConnection “Server= <dbserver>;Database= <dbname>;Trusted_Connection=True”
    Set-BrokerDBConnection -DBConnection “Server= <dbserver>;Database= <dbname>;Trusted_Connection=True”

Note: It is important to verify that all the preceding Set-<service>DBConnection commands have returned a result of OK. In case, when the result is other than OK for any of these commands, it might be necessary to enable logging or tracing to determine the cause of the connection failure.

The XDDBDiag utility can be used to verify the consistency of your database after the move.

If any Virtual Desktop Agents were running when the DDC services were shut down in Step 1, then it could take up to 10 minutes before the Virtual Desktop Agents re-registers. No other action should be necessary.

More Information

Refer to the following Knowledge Center articles for more information:

  • CTX128364 – Error: An error has occurred while connecting to the requested resource

Source

Using Marathon everRun MX 6.1 with XenDesktop 5 Service Pack 1

Introduction

XenDesktop 5 relies on the use of an SQL database to store “state information”: which Virtual Desktop groups are available, which Virtual Desktop Appliances are in use, and which users are using them.

Because of the real-time nature of this “state information”, it is not appropriate for updates to be lost or delayed in the event that the SQL database becomes unavailable. For this reason, some users may feel that they need a highly available SQL database to support their business needs, and HA (High Availability) can be an important requirement for these deployments.

This document explores the possibility of using Citrix XenServer and Marathon everRun MX 6.1 to support a highly available Microsoft SQL Server.

Executive Overview

A number of tests were performed to see whether Marathon everRun MX 6.1 could support a highly available Microsoft SQL Server for use by XenDesktop 5 Service Pack 1.

These tests included setting up a constant stream of SQL traffic between a XenDesktop 5 Service Pack 1 broker, and the SQL Server. High Availability events such as loss of a host or loss of network connectivity were then induced to see if the SQL traffic could be interrupted.

The result of the tests showed that Marathon everRun MX was able to handle the High Availability events, and was able to keep the SQL Server running without service interruptions, loss of data, or loss of in-flight transactions that might have caused problems with XenDesktop 5 Service Pack 1.

Performance tests were not appropriate with the available hardware.

Marathon everRun MX 6.1 (description by Marathon Technologies)

Marathon’s everRun MX is a software product that provides zero-downtime fault tolerant protection for Windows application operating in a XenServer pool. With everRun installed, the administrator uses a wizard-based GUI to simply select and protect a VM. Once protected, everRun provides continuous, uninterrupted application availability. Unlike traditional failover technologies there is no downtime or restart of the VM required. In the event of a failure, the application automatically continues without loss of data or interruption of network sessions and all in-flight transactions are completed. everRun protects any Microsoft application without requiring scripting, modification or specialized administrative skills. In addition, everRun’s disk mirroring technology permits use of local disk storage without the requirement for costly and complex shared storage devices.

everRun operates by running redundant VM’s operating across 2 XenServer hosts. Marathon’s Lockstep technology synchronizes the redundant VM’s so they execute identically. In the event of a failure, the surviving VM simply continues to operate without interruption. When a failed component is repaired, redundancy is transparently and automatically re-established .

For full details of Marathon everRun MX see http://www.marathontechnologies.com

Read the full document here

Scaling to 1,000 XenApp6 servers in a single farm

Introduction

XenApp is an on-demand application delivery solution that enables any Windows application to be virtualized, centralized and managed in the datacenter and instantly delivered as a service to users anywhere on any device. This means subscribers can use whatever device they choose—laptop, tablet, smartphone—but still access familiar Windows desktops and business applications that the service provider manages. XenApp enables service providers to centrally manage a single instance of each application and deliver it to users for online and offline use, providing a high-definition experience. It delivers 99.999 percent application availability and is proven with 25 million applications in production and over 100 million users worldwide.

Citrix XenApp 6 introduces exciting new enhancements for advanced management and scalability, a rich multimedia experience over any network and self-service applications with universal device support from PC to Mac to smartphone. With full support for Windows Server® 2008 R2 and seamless integration with Microsoft® App-V, XenApp 6 provides session and application virtualization technologies that make it easy for service providers to centrally manage applications using any combination of local and hosted delivery to best fit their unique requirements.

This whitepaper examines the architecture and design of the Citrix XenApp solution and its ability to provide a scalable and high availability infrastructure while delivering on-demand access to applications (SaaS) and desktops (DaaS) from the cloud.

Download white paper here