Roberto Alves

Scripting and server based computing

Simple and better solution to redirect local drives in XenApp sessions

ICA or RDP are not the best protocols to copy files between DataCentres and remote workstations. But, some times is very difficult to implement a different solution to provide access to users local files from Citrix XenApp or Terminal Services, and even if the idea was rejected in the design of your environment, one day you will be faced with this problem and may be your easiest and better option will be enable redirection from local drives to remote sessions.

Well, you can select if you want map/redirect floppy disks, cd roms, remote drives or local drives. If you are worried with the impact of this configuration in the logon time of your users, probably you will enable just the redirection for local drives and unfortunatelly you will consider that many users can have more than one local drive and this can affect their logon.
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Is Citrix FastLaunch a good option to improve logon time of Citrix XenApp sessions?

In this month Citrix released a new utility called FastLaunch. This is not a official supported utility or even a tech preview. It is just a very small utility made by IT guys in Citrix to “hold” Citrix sessions, providing to users reconnect their sessions every time, instead to logon again.

This tool was created some time ago and Citrix didn’t made available because they faces a interesting problem caused by the community involvement. Someone shows the utility in a Citrix event, then other one put a video in internet talking about the utility, and a lot of people become to ask for downloads or to Citrix include the utility in XenApp.

But, the “magic” utility is not a dream for almost Citrix administrators pissed off by users complaining about slow logons. In almost cases, this utility can be a major problem, witch means that you need to be very careful before publish to production users.
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Impact of PDF Readers in Citrix/TS environments

Day by day, PDF files are becoming more and more popular and in some cases, more used than .doc files! And I bet that many Citrix administrators never stopped to think how much the PDF Readers are affecting the server performance and scalability in a Citrix farm, considering that memory consumption of PDF readers can be very interesting and frightening for Citrix administrators.

Multi functional printers with scanners that send scanned documents through email in a pdf file are very common, large documents found in internet generally are in PDF, many companies are using pdf format to protect copyright, some companies prefer use pdf against other formats thinking into document sizes, etc. Result: PDF is becoming the most used format at many companies and PDF Reader are affecting directly on Citrix Farm performances.
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Different procedure to rename Citrix XenApp 5 Servers

Rename a Citrix XenApp Server (Presentation Server/Metaframe) Is a very common administrative task, but many administrators ignore that Citrix has recommendations to be followed. And this recommendations are different from XenApp 4.0/4.5 than XenApp 5.

Basically, there is only one item that was included by Citrix on the procedure to rename servers. But is very important, and you can have serious problems if you don’t follow the instructions below to set in Registry to IMA service force a Localhost replication with datastore.
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Building quickly a XenApp 4.5 server for demonstration

Sometimes we need install a simple XenApp environment for some porprouse like training, pre-sales, show some funcionality, test something before put in production, test an application to see if is compatible, etc. and depending of the propourse, you might spend some hours doing this boring task.

But for XenApp 4.5, you can use a freeware called VisionApp Experience 2007 that does all (or almost) work for you. Is quite simple, and you need just inform the path of XenApp 4.5 installation files and Windows 2003 installation files. Also, is recommended to you run a Windows Update before start the installation and run the tool locally.
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White Web Interface for Citrix XenApp 5

Citrix brought some benefits launching XenApp 5, and the majors were support to Windows 2008 and a reformulated Web Interface. The new Web Interface 5 is very cool, using the most new CSS techniques and is more smart, recognizing the browser capabilities that each user is using (including mobiles).

Also, the new Web Interface 5 brings the pass-through built-in functionality from the previous version 4.6. Almost administrators didn’t had enough time to upgrade to WI 4.6, and now they can update direct to 5 and get the most updated version. But (there is always a but), Citrix include a black background on WI 5 and this background is not easy modified by console.

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Considerations about Link consumption for XenApp/TS

To measure the Citrix XenApp (Presentation Server/Metaframe) or Terminal Services link consumption for an application the best is: publish to users and watch. Yes! Users are totally unpredictable and is very difficult to know every thing that they can do in some scenarios.

But, you always need know how much bandwidth an applications needs to be workable or how many users you can fit in a specific link. To do this you can simulate a user working in your workstation through XenApp or Terminal Services and watch the link traffic in your network card with any link analysis tool that show results in charts. Doing this, you can get some estimate results that can be useful on starter projects.

If you intend give internet access through XenApp or Terminal Services to your users, forget the analysis because anything that you write you will be designated to the near litter available, when an user open a web site with animations or high definition graphs.
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Most hidden configuration on Citrix consoles (SMTP email alerts)

To receive emails from Citrix Resource Manager, you can set a MAPI or a SMTP address. On many organizations, is much more simple set a SMTP address than configure MAPI but since Metaframe XP 1.0, Citrix insist on “hide” this configuration under a context menu on Resource Manager option of Presentation Server Console (Java).

Even on XenApp 5, the option still there. Is funny because is total different path of Email tab configuration on Resource Manager and is a Properties menu dedicated only to this option. Forgetting the fact that this console still existing, splinting configurations and administration between too consoles.
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Forcing PN Agent address with Group Policies

On last year, with Presentation Server client version 10.x Citrix finally introduced a template .adm to administration of clients configurations through Windows Group Policies. This icaclient.adm template is very useful to ensure to you that all configurations were applied to all users that you want.

With this .adm you can do somethings like:

  • Configure single Sign-On for Web Interface
  • Set other user authentication configurations
  • Force policies of drive mapping, printers, microphone, clipboard, etc
  • Force graphics settings like SpeedScreen Browser Acceleration and SpeedScreen Latency Reduction
  • Simple client version control

*Remember that some configurations will Continue reading