XenDesktop Farm Migration Utility

Overview

The XenDesktop Farm Migration Utility allows you to seamlessly migration VM’s between different XenDesktop farms. This can be done on a per VM basis or in batches of up to 500. As well as providing migration functionality, it can also be used for Disaster Recovery, allowing you to back up and restore your VM’s on your farm.

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SYN326 – Seamlessly Migrating 20000 VDI Between XenDesktop Farms

Today Shane and I presented SYN326 – Seamlessly Migrating 20000 VDI Between XenDesktop Farms.  This was a lot of fun for us and if you missed seeing it here’s the latest iteration of the PowerPoint we used.  Yes, sorry Citrix, we made changes after the “Final Version” :).  Let us know if you have any questions and check out the awesome free tool we provided.

Our Amazing Presentation!

Boom… Citrix Mic Drops on VMware with Strategic Microsoft Alliance

Today at Citrix Synergy, Citrix announced what might be a game changer for VDI.  For the first time ever Microsoft is going to allow you to run Windows 10 VDI in a shared Cloud and Citrix is going to be the sole provider for it.  That’s right, the SPLA war is over (or will be soon)!  But of course there’s caveats :).  First, this is ONLY applicable to Azure.  So those of you who want to use VMware, Amazon, Google, etc; are out of luck.  Learn to love Azure.  Second, organizations need to bring their own licensing.  You must have Per User licensing with current SA and you must use Current Branch for Business.  But make no mistake, this is a HUGE step forward for VDI in the Cloud.  And this is far from the only area that Citrix and Microsoft are working closely on.  Think about the huge push Citrix is making to the Cloud, look at who the new Citrix CEO is and where he worked at, and think about the many overlapping areas Citrix and Microsoft have.  I think you will start to see a long term picture emerge.

I will leave you with this CTP photo from yesterday.  Some of you might recognize that bald guy towards the right (Brad Anderson, Vice President at Microsoft)

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I’d like a slice of Citrix-Pi!

At Synergy 2016 Citrix announced a brand new thin client ecosystem, the HDX Readr Raspberry Pi!  OEM’d by Micro Center and Viewsonic, these ultra-cheap thin clients come ready out of the box with everything you need to get them up and running on your Citrix ecosystem.  Based on the Pi3 boards, these plucky little thin clients seriously kick some butt.  And they are so cheap that they become essentially disposable assets.  If it breaks, toss it!  This is a direction-setting decision by Citrix and for many organizations it will allow cheap WAH scenarios where support becomes far too expensive to make it cost effective.  So check out the new Pis and everything they can do!

 

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Synergy 2016 Announcements Coming Tomorrow!

Lots of good stuff coming tomorrow so stay tuned… I will express some thoughts on several of the announcements soon 🙂  I think anyone who watches will agree this is definitely a different feel.

Sometimes I hate Citrix SSO

So I spent a couple hours troubleshooting Single Sign On with a customer today.  I swore I’d done it all correctly!  SSONSRVR was running, StoreFront was set to allow domain pass through, both machines were in the same login domain, I used the .adm to allow single sign on, the site was in trusted sites, heck I even changes the provider order… but it still wasn’t working.  That’s when I finally came across this nugget:

Trusated Sites

 

This probably isn’t news to most folks, but I only happened to stumble across it on an old blog post from like 6 years ago so I thought it deserved a rehash.  For those who aren’t aware, Citrix Receiver (specifically the Program Neighborhood Agent) uses Internet Explorer settings when it makes the connection behind the scenes to your StoreFront server on IIS.  This is true by the way even on Windows 10 with Edge as the default browser.  So with the default settings, Automatic logon is only allowed for sites in the Intranet zone.  If you for instance put your internal sites in say Trusted Zone instead, pass through doesn’t work.

You have two fairly simple choices here… put the StoreFront in Intranet Zone instead of Trusted Zone, or change the setting in IE to “Automatic logon with current user name and password” instead.  The choice is yours.  Both however are user-specific settings so require a policy push across your organization to stick.  Hopefully the next person who has this issue doesn’t have to spend 2 hours trying to track it down :).

Fun with the VDA 7.6 & HDX Encoding

The Citrix Virtual Delivery Agent. The VDA. The piece of technology that bring many of our Citrix products to life and allows us to delivery resources to our end users. Without it, our Citrix environment simply wouldn’t function. So we love it, right? Well yeah. But in that same breath you can also come to hate it. Especially when it goes wrong.

Last year, we undertook a project to upgrade all our persistent Windows 7 VDI from the VDA 5.6 to the VDA 7.6. With an environment that consisted of 35,000+ VM’s so this was never going to be an easy task.

I could write a short novel on all the issues that we encountered. From installation failures, to black screens, to application conflicts, something new always seemed to crop up with each deployment. And when it did go wrong, there was a lot of manual intervention involved. Even if we had a deployment success rate of 95%, on a batch of 1000 VM’s, that would mean 50 VM’s that were inaccessible and would impact the customer. Many hours were spent over countless weekends performing clean up and repair. Rather than delve in to all the various issues that we ran in to, I want to focus instead on one interesting problem that came up towards the start of the project as this might be something that others could easily overlook, just like we did. All the VM’s were running the VDA 5.6 and they were residing on a XenDesktop 7.1 farm. Continue reading »

Congrats to the CTP Class of 2016!

Today Citrix has announced the CTP Class of 2016!  6 new members have joined the ranks, and I am honored to be now one of the veterans.  The CTP program has been an excellent opportunity for me to interact directly with Citrix in a variety of ways, and given me the ability to talk with peers in the field that are a lot of the time so much smarter than I am 😉  So welcome newbies and I look forward to seeing you all in May at Synergy!

Official announcement: https://www.citrix.com/blogs/?p=174219087

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Citrix Acquires Comtrade SCOM Monitoring Technology

In announcements made at Citrix Summit today, one of the most interesting tidbits to come out is that Citrix has entered into a deal with SCOM monitoring pack provider Comtrade to license their monitor packs for Citrix.  Some of you may remember that years ago Citrix actually used to realease their own SCOM packs, although they weren’t the greatest in the world :).  Eventually though they started directing customers that wanted SCOM integration to buy what Comtrade offered.  With this new deal Citrix will provide the monitoring capabilities as part of their Platinum licensing and also eventually offer a new SKU to buy them individually.  Citrix will be the sole provider for these SCOM packs, meaning customers can no longer get them from Comtrade.  What that means for existing Comtrade customers has yet to be determined.  Please note, Citrix is NOT buying Comtrade!  They are licensing only the packs that deal with Citrix.  Comtrade does a lot of other stuff too and is a really valuable tool for an environment running a lot of SCOM.

So what do I think about it?  I think it’s a great acquisition.  Citrix knows their monitoring efforts haven’t exactly been stellar since the demise of Edgesite (love it or hate it there was soooo much good data there) and providing these packs will help close the gaps in environments that already use SCOM.  And make no mistake, a LOT of Enterprise customers already have some sort of SCOM install.  Remember last January Citrix did a massive survey on the state of monitoring, and SCOM was the clear leader.  That won’t do anything to help customers who aren’t SCOM shops, and their are pieces that still aren’t covered by the SCOM packs Comtrade has.  But it will meet the needs of a lot of customers for free (free of course being licenses with an active SA).

When will this be released?  There’s still details and integration to be done, but I would expect to see something available within months.  Great decision by Citrix, and a good win for a lot of customers.

Citrix sells CloudPlatform and CloudPortal Business Manager

In an interesting news release, Citrix has announced they are selling their CloudPlatform and CloudPortal Business Manager technologies to Accelerite, a cloud services company.  This is an intriguing move for Citrix because it continues to prune away the outlier technologies and let’s Citrix focus on their core app and desktop delivery message.  This follows the stated intention to sell off the GoTo product line and the elimination or reduction in other areas.  Citrix said they were going to make the focus Apps and Desktops and so far they are definitely following through on that message!

So is this a big deal?  It’s hard for me to judge.  I’ll be honest the one time I saw CloudPlatform tried at scale it fell down badly :).  This does take Citrix completely out of the on prem cloud automation business, so I’m sure you will hear from the competition about how “complete” they are in comparison.  I’m glad to see Citrix carrying through on their promise and let’s see how it translates in the new year!