Getting Legacy Apps to work on StoreFront 3

With many customers upgrading to Citrix StoreFront – I have been asked several times how you go about getting older Presentation Server 4 farms (Yes, its still out there!!) to work and present the apps inside your StoreFront.

Don’t forget these apps , operating systems and the PS4 platform will be long out of support, but still in use for legacy reasons.

The same fix applies for Web Interface 5.4 and comes from two settings that you need to change – which refer to Launch References.

So, to fix this – If using Web Interface:

Go to your WebInterface.conf on your web interface site – eg:

C:\inetpub\wwwroot\Citrix\XenApp\conf\WebInterface.conf

and change RequireLaunchReference and OverrideIcaClientname to Off and On respectively:

RequireLaunchReference=off
OverrideIcaClientname=on

If using StoreFront:

C:\inetpub\wwwroot\Citrix\Store\web.config  – and search for the two settings – set the same.

Then go to a admin command prompt – and do IISreset.
In StoreFront, add settings for a additional farm under Manage Delivery Controllers.
sfapp
Then go into your desktop Receiver, and refresh the applications – and test the app works. Above, I tested an old copy of Visio from a 2003 Citrix server with Presentation Server 4.0.through latest StoreFront v 3.
Advertisements

KMS – Quick Guide for Citrix Provisioning Server Devices

Microsoft Key Management Server can be a tricky role to setup,  but it’s an important part of a solution that needs deployed carefully in AD and configured for Citrix virtual machines booting from the same vdisk. There are lots of detailed articles on how to setup KMS, and trouble shoot issues – this is a very quick guide to the main issues I have came across when setting up 2012 Server and Office 2010 and 2013.

This guide assumes you are using Windows 2008 R2 or 2012 server, and either Office 2010 or Office 2013 – and that you have created a vdisk from a gold-image build. The downloaded media maybe KMS or MAK – but needs to be KMS for Citrix Provisioning Server in most scenarios. The same steps apply for 2012 Server.

KMS Server

The KMS product licenses for your organisation must be install on a KMS server in your Active Directory. For Windows 2012, and Office 2013 – you will need the Office 2013 Volume License Pack installed on the 2012 KMS server hosting that role.

To install  2012 KMS have a look at this article – http://blogs.technet.com/b/askcore/archive/2013/03/14/installing-volume-activation-services-role-in-windows-server-2012-to-setup-a-kms-host.aspx

I would also recommend the Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) is installed. This is very helpful and enabled you to see what clients and software have registered and been granted a license. The tools are part of the Windows 8 deployment kit.

For PVS machines, KMS clients keys are required for the OS and for Office 2010 and 2013 – each version (ie Professional, Pro Plus, Std) has its own KMS or GVLK (see References). If you have Office, and separate licenses for Project or Visio – you need to add these separately.

The process to make a PVS machine a KMS client involves these steps:

  1. Make server OS KMS client
  2. Make Office KMS client
  3. Re-arm Office
  4. Re-arm OS
  5. Shutdown – Set vdisk to use KMS, then reboot.

STEP 1   – Make server OS KMS client

Check vdisk is set to “none” in the Volume Licensing section of the Properties, and read/write mode enabled (Private mode)

At an Admin command prompt, type “slmgr /dlv – this will return something like:

kms1

To Change OS from MAK to generic KMS client:

Windows 2008 R2 Std –  Command Prompt: slmgr.vbs /ipk YC6KT-GKW9T-YTKYR-T4X34-R7VHC

Windows 2012 Std –       Command Prompt: slmgr /ipk XC9B7-NBPP2-83J2H-RHMBY-92BT4

To check it’s now KMS – use “slmgr /dlv” again – it should show the following;

kms2

“VOLUME_KMSCLIENT” will now be listed, along with the Partial Product Key – the last 5 digits of the generic KMS client key.

STEP 2  – Make Office KMS client

Install the Office KMS keys using the ospp.vbs script – located C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14 (eg Office 2010 x32) – of search for the location and move there in command prompt.

cscript ospp.vbs /inpkey: VYBBJ-TRJPB-QFQRF-QFT4D-H3GVB

 

STEP 3 – Re-arm Office

Locate the folder where the ospprearm.exe is located – for x32 bit Office its here:

C:\Program Files(x86)\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\ OfficeSoftwareProtectionPlatform

At a command prompt – move to that folder – and run the following command – ospprearm.exe

You should see a “successful” message to confirm this has worked.

rearm

STEP 4 – Re-arm the server OS

Type “slmgr /rearm” – a pop-up should return a successful rearm message.

STEP 5 – Shutdown the server

Do not reboot when prompted, shutdown. Go into PVS and set the Vdisk to KMS, then restart.

kms3

Test

Provided your KMS server has licenses, your VMs should now be able to ask it for a KMS key, and activate successfully.

Note, server clients like 2008 and 2012 require 5 machines to register before the server actually dishes out the license. So, you may need to spin up 5 PVS devices, even if you are only using 2-3 devices in production. Check in the machines system properties to see if it has been Activated.

Or, you could make some of your management servers use KMS ie a StoreFront server, or Delivery Controller. Office 2010/2013 has similar requirements in terms of numbers, while Windows 7 machines in XenDesktop need 25.

Useful links

Citrix Configuring KMS Licensing for Windows and Office 2010 and 2013

http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX128276

KMS Server

Office 2013 Volume License Pack – install on KMS server.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=35584

Troubleshooting KMS error codes

http://blogs.technet.com/b/askcore/archive/2009/03/09/kms-error-0xc004c008-activating-client.aspx

Generic Keys

http://www.bonusbits.com/wiki/Reference:KMS_Client_Keys

Office 2013 https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn385360.aspx

Office 2010 http://www.bonusbits.com/wiki/Reference:KMS_Client_Keys

Office 2010 Config Tools

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee624350(v=office.14).aspx

VAMT tools

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30652

Some Generic KMS Keys

Office 2013 Professional Plus        YC7DK-G2NP3-2QQC3-J6H88-GVGXT

Office 2013 Standard                     KBKQT-2NMXY-JJWGP-M62JB-92CD4

Project 2013 Professional              FN8TT-7WMH6-2D4X9-M337T-2342K

Project 2013 Standard                   6NTH3-CW976-3G3Y2-JK3TX-8QHTT

Visio 2013 Professional                 C2FG9-N6J68-H8BTJ-BW3QX-RM3B3

Office Professional Plus 2010       VYBBJ-TRJPB-QFQRF-QFT4D-H3GVB

Office Standard 2010                    V7QKV-4XVVR-XYV4D-F7DFM-8R6BM

Office Home and Business 2010   D6QFG-VBYP2-XQHM7-J97RH-WRC

Get Certified

Along with experience and academic qualifications – product certification is essential for systems engineers AND software engineers in the modern IT world. I have worked a lot with Microsoft, Citrix and VMware in their partner programs over the last ten years for my company, for both individual staff requirements and partner status.

The latest Citrix certifications focus on XenDesktop/XenApp design, deployment and management. You can get certified on most of the Citrix product line but its best to start with products you work with every day, have just been trained on or are targeting a new career path. Starting at the bottom, Citrix Certified Associate – Virtualization covers XenApp/Desktop, some licensing and basic deployment. You can then add a few more separate exams for enterprise management, basic NetScaler and work towards the high end exam for Citrix Certified Professional (CCP-V) and Expert (CCE-V). Most recent additions are the Citrix Certified Professional – Mobility (CCP-M) which covers XenMobile design and deployment.

Why bother?

Throughout my career I have had to do certifications for PC’s, server operating systems and especially Citrix products, as well as mentor younger staff and colleagues and point them down the right certification track for their career development. In the last ten years for example, I have completed forty certifications. Some have expired, and some are very recent such as CCP-M, CCP-V. I would not be in my current job, earning a good salary if I had not kept my certifications up to date.

The disadvantages of certification are few. You will need to spend time, usually your own, studying and installing products, following training guides and best practice papers in order to pass any exams. You may not always get on a training course. Passing the exams also requires a certain amount of determination and calmness, along with exam technique.

A training course, if you need one is usually not free – and exams cost between £100 and £250 in the UK. Another disadvantage is that certifications expire, hence  it is important to keep up to date. To do this, you should target 2-3 exams per year as a minimum. That way, you will be refreshing exams every year, gaining new knowledge and keeping ahead.

The advantages are plenty. For one, you will gain more in depth knowledge of the products and maybe one or two products you don’t use if you are following a “track” system like Citrix and Microsoft’s where you must complete 5-6 exams to become a Citrix CCP-V, or Microsoft Certified Professional Developer , MCPD.

A typical “track” may take you down the MCPD :“Design and Development of Web Applications in .NET Framework” for example. If you’re considering a Citrix path – start with a single product like XenApp server, then XenDesktop. You can then try the enterprise exams and work your way towards CCV-E and CCP-V for Virtualisation.

Most partner companies will also provide study guides, access on online training and videos and special partner programs with a specialist contact that can assist you and your team with certifications in their “tracks”. You may even get exam vouchers. There are many good exam preparation books availably, study guides and “brain dumps”. I often recommend http://www.citrixxperience.com.

Microsoft, Adobe and others are constantly updating products, and often require certification in order for your company to sell the new products or retain your status. This may mean that a team of developers may need to have 10-15 certifications as a minimum just for the company to be a Gold Partner. In a few years, this may change and a new product release will force an update to the certifications.

When applying for jobs, a person with certifications will almost certainly be in with a better chance of employment than a person without. Your current employer should also recognize your studying and reward you financially. Indeed, your whole career path should be based on experience, project success, work competence – and your certifications.

When I interview for staff – I also think the person with more certifications is more interested in their career, in IT and in developing themselves than someone who hasn’t bothered. If you are really “into” IT – you will be keen to get certified in products you are working with.

Product certification is essential for the employer.

Partner status with Microsoft come in different levels –Core,Silver,Gold etc. These are partly based on sales, but also on the number of certified engineers or developers you have. This in turn can impact your companies’ discount purchasing and reselling in the supply chain. You may also be given sales leads, and involvement in new product releases ahead of non-certified companies.

Partners often get free partner licenses. This not only saves your company money, but gives them access to nearly all the partners’ products for free, as well as getting beta releases and access to software “api”’ that non-partners won’t get access to.

Partner status is an important status symbol. Potential customers will compare company certifications and individual CV’s to award contracts. Certifications for staff could make the difference between your company winning the business – or closing down!

I don’t see too many areas where certification is not possible. You can be certified in developing, Prince II, Ethical Hacking, security, HP hardware, EMC storage, VMware, Citrix,ITIL, ISO Auditing – the list is almost endless.

The one area you can’t be certified in is your own communications skills, personal interaction, and ability to talk to customers and present your solutions. This really comes with experience and practice – so get some colleagues together and practice on them to hone your presentation skills.

Certification is not a replacement for great experience, but in my opinion is essential for IT staff, engineers and developers alike – if they want to progress their career, keep skills up to date and be regarded as subject matter experts in their field or specialist area. Having both, means you know the products in depth.

In terms of actually doing exams, these are typically done in exam centers with monitored rooms in industry approved organisations. Pearson-View and Sylvan Prometric are two such companies, and will have an office or training partner in most countries and big cities. Individual product exams typically have about 60 multiple choice questions. The Citrix Professional and Expert have a split of about 30 multiple choice and the rest are based on a scenario or analysis report and you then have to make choices, and backup your design. Good luck!

References:

Citrix http://training.citrix.com/cms/education/certification/

Citrixxperience http://citrixxperience.com/

EMC https://education.emc.com/guest/certification/default.aspx/

ITIL http://www.itil-officialsite.com/Qualifications/ITILQualificationScheme.aspx

Microsoft http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/certification-overview.aspx

Sylvan-Prometric https://www.prometric.com/en-us/Pages/home.aspx

XenDesktop & XenApp 7.5 – time to get planning!

Time is moving on for the current XenApp 6.5 platform with only some two years left to go on the standard Life Cycle, that will come around sooner than you think.

There are many things to consider when moving to a new XenApp platform, not least of all changes in operating systems, application compatibility and printing (as always). Since my early days of working on MetaFrame 3, Citrix has been promising reduced management overheads, fewer consoles and better support for mixed OS environments. However, while they did do away with the old Citrix Management Console eventually, you were still left with Web Interface, Licensing and AppCentre to manage different parts of your environment. Then of course XenDesktop came along and brought new consoles, new management protocols and another database – and a StoreFront. Nearly forgot –  a Provisioning Server farm, console and database just to keep you on your toes!

My previous blog post on AppDNA touched on the challenge of making applications compatible with new desktop and server operating systems. But what about the management challenge of hosting virtual desktops, shared desktops and publishing your applications?

Citrix has been working hard on that chestnut for a couple of years and the recent launch of XenDesktop/XenApp 7.5 now provides administrators with the ability to manage and deploy various operating systems and applications from a more unified console, namely Citrix Studio.

Key to this new platform is the FlexCast Management Architecture, or FMA. FlexCast was previously used in licensing terms only. For nearly twenty years now Citrix Presentation Server based products including XenApp 6.5 have relied on IMA – Independent Management Architecture for the underlying farm communications, load balancing, policies, and admin etc etc. A tried and tested product, many millions of users have been relying on IMA all over the world for application and desktop delivery.

Here are a few of the new terms to get your head around –

Instead of this in XenApp 6

Think of this in XenApp 7

Independent Management Architecture (IMA)

FlexCast Management Architecture (FMA)

Farm

Delivery Site

Worker Group

Session Machine Catalog, Delivery Group

Worker

Virtual Delivery Agent, Server OS Machine

Desktop OS Machine

Zone and Data Collector

Delivery Controller

Delivery Services Console

Citrix Studio and Citrix Director

Publishing applications

Delivering applications

Data store

Database

Load Evaluator

Load Management Policy

Administrator

Delegated Administrator Role

(Source, XenApp eDocs – http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp-xendesktop-75/cds-previous-xa-admins.html )

FMA however introduces some new capabilities that IMA could not deliver. The main being the ability to deploy the Citrix Virtual Desktop Agent (VDA) to both Windows desktop operating systems, and servers –  and manage both in the same place. Think about that for a second. No more multiple farms with different version of Windows and XenApp. A single console where you manage desktops, machine images and applications. You can even use the VDA on physical PCs – useful for administrator or power users with heavy graphics and connect directly with HDX.

Key Components:

fma

Of course, with change – there are some things that are no longer. User Shadowing, Oracle Database support, SSO for Win 8.1/2012, Local Text Echo, Legacy Printing (XP/DOS clients) –  are no longer supported. Secure Gateway, still in use by some customers, is no longer supported and customers are advised to move to NetScaler Gateway as a replacement for remote access. Web Interface is still supported but customers are also expected to migrate to StoreFront with Web Interface having a limited shelf life and no further development.

So get planning! A two year window to get all your old x32 or 16 bit applications tested, upgraded or redeveloped is really not very long. Some will be easier than others. With an AppV now bundled, you could give that a try or look at Unidesk. Licensing, print strategy, remote access and your hyper visor platform all need careful consideration. I’ll be looking into those in more depth in my next few blogs.

Useful Links:

XenApp 7.5 and XenDesktop 7.5

XenApp/Desktop 7.5 – Not supported

XenApp Support Matrix

 

Citrix Synergy 2014 Review

My preview of Citrix Synergy 2014 a few weeks back highlighted the ever growing focus on mobility and data sharing that was certain to be a big topic this year. Following on from the purchases of Zenprise and ShareFile, Citrix have finally got to grips with integrating these products into the brand and with NetScaler and XenApp/Desktop – which have also seen several enhancements. So off to LA on a long Virgin Atlantic flight for a few days.

The first day keynote from CEO Mark Templeton was a stirring opening. Some great use cases for Citrix Cloud services (BT) and AutoDesk winning the heralded Innovation award. “Autodesk??” you say.. “The 3D CAD people?”  Yes Sir! That’s the one.

Image

 

Above, Citrix CEO Mark Templeton

An emotional speech at times, with Mr Templeton due to stand down this year – there were certainly a few teary eyes among the crowd. His successor may not have been announced just yet, but his parting words “Leave it better than you found it” will certainly be remembered.

The main Expo hall had plenty to see and do with many great products from numerous partners. We spent a good bit of time at the CA Nimsoft stand and got a great demo of their monitoring tools for XenApp and XenDesktop.

Image

A welcome product update due in Q3 is the latest Citrix Receiver X1. For anyone using Worx Home for XenMobile – this is will integrate the on-boarding and corporate app store features of app Controller with a built in Citrix Receiver client. No more having to configure two clients, one with dummy settings to avoid the prompts etc. 

Image

Other new features include easy branding for your app store. This was previously very tricky to do on StoreFront with hardly any on mobile devices. The new X1 will allow you to add corporate logo and colour schemes to your heart’s desire.

“Big News”

Another key announcement was Citrix Workspace Suite. This suite bundles XenDesktop, XenApp, XenMobile and ShareFile into one customer license for $450 per user. This is said to represent a saving of some 70% on purchasing the individual products. That’s a lot of product for your $ or £.

Back to mobility. Several really nice tools will be out soon for mobile devices including Worx Desktop which connects back to your PC and gives seamless access to documents. Worx Notes, a simple note taking utility that will give you access to save a quick note back to ShareFile or your corporate folders. ShareFile has shipped over 1,000,000 licenses in the past year and can now hook into GoToMeeting and other cloud storage services.

XenDesktop and XenApp have had some major enhancements to HDX with the addition of Adaptive H.264 encoding, double the speed frame refreshing on 3G connections, a reported 100% increase in bandwidth efficiency across a WAN for video quality and 10x reduced bit rate for HD video on low speed connections. Citrix certainly are not taking the foot of the gas on the virtual desktop front.

Putting all this together in a cloud infrastructure sounds daunting – or great fun if you’re a techie! To help with all that hosting Citrix now have WorkSpace Services. You can start from the bottom and use an automated tool called “Design and Automation” to build it all. Ideally a platform for service providers – it sure looks impressive on the demo.

Of course to access all of this you need the Citrix Receiver and apart from the X1 release, new HTLM5, MAC and Chrome book versions are able to provide even better user experience with added support for USB3, flash, webcams and  Microsoft Lync enhancements for Linux and iOS devices.

There’s lots more over on Citrix TV and YouTube   – for now, here are a few links to the key topics and announcements.

References:

AutoDesk Innovation Winner:

Receiver on Chrome:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UN3ORK8P9fM

Receiver X1:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIjCXnPB4XE

ShareFile update:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJsrxns-BYc

Workspace Suite:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYVx7dyotN8

Works Desktop:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTRmcSgsyco

What’s New in XenDesktop and Xenapp:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fD9SdceZOfo

WorkSpace Services – Design and Automation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-l4cc0y-E8

Securing Mobile Devices – Use Case:

http://youtu.be/6yYOwfr-pYY

Session Printers in XenApp 6.5

Citrix has several ways to enable printers in user’s sessions including network print server based printers. These are called Session Printers and are configured in the Policies node in the Citrix AppCentre Management console.

Printers can also be mapped using a login script or Vb-script. In this case, all the print server drivers for individual printers need install on the XenApp server of PVS image. Printers mapped in scripts are outside of the control of Citrix Policies and management.

By Using Citrix Policies, administrators have more control over when and how printers are made available.

For example, a set of Printer Policies filtered by IP Subnets could be used to enable roaming printers on mobile devices or laptops. Users would then find printers in session that are close to the department they are working in at the time. Other filters include Groups/Users and client device names.

So, you could have a Policy that is enabled by “IPAD*” for example where all devices called IPAD will get that policy – and enabled printers and other settings.

Client connected printers (not addressed here) are either locally attached OR may be mapped network printers on a PC or Mac client machine. These can be controlled in Citrix AppCentre Management and are known as Client Connected printers.

Citrix XenApp servers can use server printers in two ways:

  • Citrix Universal Print Server (requires UPS server and client install, on XenApp media).
  • Native Manufacturers Printer driver.

To install a native driver

  • login as an admin to the XenApp server.
  • browse the print server and find the printer (must have x64 drivers).
  • double click and install the printer as normal.
  • then delete the printer from the Control Panel/Devices and Printers – leaving the driver installed.

Creating a Policy with Session Printers

The three steps you need to enable Session printers are:

Create a new User Policy

Under Policies – select the User tab, and click on New – or edit an existing policy. Givr your policy a name.

Assign the Session Printers

Go to Settings and look for Printers

Click on Add/Edit at Session Printers – when prompted type the name of the print server – and browse the servers printers – select the printer you need.

Add in other printers if required – you can also set the Default printer as shown above.

Filter by AD User Group

Click on the item you want to use as the filter – for example, User of Group.

You should then test the policy by using a suitable test account or known user. If the UPS service is compatible with the printer – the device should be shown as an available printer in the users session and applications.

Issues:

  • Citrix UPS is not compatible with manufacturers Universal Drivers.
  • If the Citrix UPS Driver does not print to the device – the native driver will need to be installed. The server policy should be set to “fallback” to native in this case.
  • Some printer drivers may not be Citrix ready. It is recommended to check the vendors support or documentation regarding suitable models and drivers.

Some manufacturers support references:

HP Supported Printers in XenApp

http://support.citrix.com/servlet/KbServlet/download/10498-102-649930/HPprinters_CitrixXenApp_1053.pdf

Ricoh Terminal and Citrix supported printers

https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX121349

Sharp

https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX135670

Xerox

http://www.office.xerox.com/support/dctips/dc14cc0492.pdf

Brother

http://www.brother.co.uk/g3.cfm/s_page/257810/s_name/citrixreadybrotherdevices

What’s up at Synergy 2014?

If you have never been to a Citrix Synergy event – Synergy is the best conference for Citrix engineers, sales and geeks everywhere. The event used to be held in both the USA and Europe until Citrix split up the event in the EU to 4-5 separate product days instead.

As you can imagine, the whole event is about the many great products in the Citrix portfolio. This has changed somewhat since my first one ten years ago when it was nearly all about Presentation Server, some remote access, best practice for terminal servers and what thin client worked best.

Today, the event is a very busy and full featured show with many industry leading products like XenDesktop, ShareFile, XenMobile, AppDNA and Netscaler being just a few.

In fact, the tricky part is fitting in everything you want to see in the three days. Along with experts on the various products and real customer experiences, you can also indulge in technical labs and even have a crack at some certifications in between sessions.

This year promises a feast of information and best practice for anyone interested in Mobility. With product like ShareFile, Worx Mail not to mention XenMobile taking up many of the sessions. There are also a load of specialist breakout sessions focused on specific technologies from real live customers and partners. You can catch me at 1630 pm on Thursday 8th May talking about XenMobile use cases.

I’m looking forward to some exciting demos from Brad Peterson – why do his demos always work?

What’s that? You can’t make it to LA? Don’t worry you can catch up on all the best sessions and demos at Citrix TV.