Virtual IPs on 2008R2 using ESX 5 U1 is Broken

In case you haven’t delved into the world of Virtual IPs on XenApp 6.5 it is a seriously strange world.  With 4.5 on 2003 the Virtual IP functionality was controlled entirely within the XenApp console.  Sure it was more than a little unclear, but it was all in one place.  In migrating to 6.5 however we stumbled across a gem of a problem with our 2008 R2 servers on ESX 5 Update 1.  Specifically, the functionality is broken.  Citrix has a great blog post here (that also links to some awesome Microsoft posts on the subject) and they mention this issue, but the implication is that it is fixed.  As we have confirmed with both Microsoft and VMWare this is not true.  Update 2, due sometime in December, will hopefully correct the issue.  Manually hard-coding them still did not work!  But in the meantime if you need to use Virtual IPs on a XenApp 6.5 server you need to:

1) Uninstall the VMWare tools.  Please note if you use the VMXNET3 NIC (and you should!) you will lose your NIC drivers.  Don’t sweat it.  Reboot.

2) Enable VIP in the RDS settings per your requirements.  You will not have a network available to bind to if you use VMXNET3 just leave it blank.  Reboot.

3) Reinstall the tools and reconfigure your NIC settings appropriately.

4) Go into the VIP settings and bins it to your NIC.

You should now see virtual IPs being assigned to RDS sessions when you log in.  When you do an IPConfig you will see is as a secondary IP.  Also in the Application logs for Windows there is an RDS VIP log that shows them being assigned and reclaimed.   Now that you know that is working you can set up your XenApp policies to assign them as well and then test with a XenApp connection.  Hopefully VMWare is right and U2 fixes this ASAP.

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