Roberto Alves

Scripting and server based computing

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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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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Automating project documentations with AutoIT

One picture say more than a thousand words. Because this in some cases I like to include a lot of images on my project documentations. Generally, these pictures are PrintScreens of consoles and their configurations and diagrams that explain some funcionality.

Benefits when you use pictures instead pure text on project documentations:

  • You are sure that all configurations of that screen was documented;
  • It’s easy to read and find what configuration you want (if you organize on chapters);
  • Is more simple to update the documentation, after change configurations;
  • Is more clear that you made the documented configurations;
  • Using scripts you can document everything using a read-only console, without “admin” access to controls or configurations;

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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

.VBS to search non-auto created printers on profiles

I made little modifications on this script created by Jakob Heidelberg to search for printers manually created on user profiles. This is very usefull when you wanna ensure that eveybody has only auto created printers, from Citrix or ThinPrint.

This script load ntuser.dat on each profile, check some registry keys, write a log and unload ntuser.dat. Some users can have problems to load their profiles if you use this script on the same time that they try logon.

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