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Microsoft Ignite 2015 summary – #MSIgnite, #EnvokeIT, #Azure, #Office365, #OneDrive, #EMM, #PaaS, #IaaS

Hi all,

We at EnvokeIT participated and collaborated at Microsoft Ignite 2015 in Chicago. And it was one of the most intense events I’ve visited in years with a lot of happening in the business and Microsoft really showed that they are the leading innovator in many areas!

I hope that you enjoy my report and that it gives you a condensed overview of what happened and please contact us at EnvokeIT if you want assistance within any area below! And thank you Microsoft for such a great event and also all you bloggers out there that I’ve linked to in this material.

I must say that this event was positive and a bit scary at the same time. Microsoft is for sure pushing as visionairies and innovators in a lot of areas, and I think that competitors will have a hard time competing in the coming years.

These are the areas where A LOT have been released already and where Microsoft according to my oppinion will increase its market share significantly:

  • Cloud and Mobile services, and with this I don’t mean IaaS service for just running a VM in their public Azure cloud or building a hybrid cloud with connectivity to on-premise datacenters. They are delivering so many capabilities now as PaaS and SaaS services. Just look at the sections below, it’s everything from Enterprise Mobillity Management (EMM), Business Intelligence, Database, Storage, Web Apps/services, Service Availability services (DR, Monitoring/Reporting, Backup etc.), Development, Source Control, Visual Studio Online etc. It’s amazing!!
  • Open Source/Linux support – It’s so cool how much Microsoft have shifted to become an adopter to support more open source technologies and way of thinking than just a couple of years ago! Just have a look at all the Linux support they have in Azure, the Linux support they now have in System Center, Docker support to deliver more DevOps capabilities and all the other services in Azure. It’s amazing and so fun! So now both Microsoft have opened their eyes and realized that they can’t ignore this anymore just like Citrix has with their addition of XenDesktop for Linux with SuSE and RedHat support!

The first day kicked off and was a bombarding of product announcements aimed at helping IT pros secure and manage the new Universal Windows Platform.

CEO Satya Nadella presided over a three-hour keynote, which focused on how Microsoft’s new wave of software and cloud services will enable IT and business transformations that are in line with the ways people now work. Nadella talked up Microsoft’s focus on “productivity and platforms” and how it’s tied with the shift to cloud and mobility. He also highlighted the need for better automation of systems and processes, and better management of the vast amounts of data originating from new sources such as sensors and other Internet-of-Things-type nodes.

As mentioned there where a lot of updates and below I’ve tried to gather these and I hope it gives you a good insight on the infromation we received and also guidance on how you can get more information about the topics.

Included below are links to detailed overviews of each of the demos (from Microsoft blog post) – including information about how to use them, where to learn more, and what you’ll need to get started.

The following picture is a sketch of the keynote and is also quite good at summarizing the message of Mobile and Cloud first!

 

vNiklas also created a great powershell script that automates the downloading of all MS Ignite content with PowerShell and Bits from Channel 9 that you can find here!

Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) – MDM, MAM, MCSM/MIM etc…

Microsoft’s next chapter in Enterprise Mobility, great blog post on where Microsoft is going etc. http://blogs.technet.com/b/enterprisemobility/archive/2015/05/04/ignite-microsofts-next-chapter- in-enterprise-mobility.aspx …

Windows 10 Continuum – this is cool, think about docking your smartphone to your external screen, keyboard and mouse! That’s try mobility of youre device, this looks really cool and something that I’d like to try out once released!

Have a look at the feature demo at Ignite in the video below.

What’s New and Upcoming with Microsoft Intune and System Center Configuration Manager | Microsoft Ignite 2015

This session outlines the latest enhancements in enterprise mobility management using Microsoft Intune and System Center Configuration Manager. See the newest Microsoft Intune improvements for managing mobile productivity without compromising compliance, and learn about the futures of Microsoft Intune and Configuration Manager, including new Windows 10 management scenarios.

Microsoft Intune and Configuration Manager, including new Windows 10 management scenarios.

https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/2015/BRK3861/player

In the CloudEnterprise Mobility Management table of content:

Office 2016 public preview available!

Over the last 12 months, we’ve transformed Office from a suite of desktop applications to a complete, cross-platform, cross-device solution for getting work done. We’ve expanded the Office footprint to iPad and Android tablets. We’ve upgraded Office experiences on the Mac, the iPhone and on the web. We’ve even added new apps to the Office family with Sway and Office Lens. All designed to keep your work moving, everywhere. But that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten where we came from. While you’ve seen us focus on tuning Office for different platforms over the last year, make no mistake, Office on Windows desktop is central to our strategy.

In March we introduced an IT Pro and Developer Preview for the 2016 release of our Office desktop apps on Windows, and now—as a next step—we’re ready to take feedback from a broader audience. Today we’re expanding the Office 2016 Preview, making it available to Office users everywhere in preparation for general availability in Fall 2015.

Office 2016 previewers will get an early look at the next release of Office on Windows desktop, but more importantly they’ll help to shape and improve the future of Office. Visit the Office 2016 Preview site to learn more about the Preview program and if it’s right for you.

New in Office 2016

Since March, we’ve shared some glimpses of what’s to come in Office 2016. Today, we’d like to give a more holistic view of what customers at home and work can expect in the next release. In Office 2016, we’re updating the Office suite for the modern workplace, with smart tools for individuals, teams, and businesses.

Read more…

Synergy 2015 – A condensed recap of everything you need to know – via @gkuruvilla, #Citrix, #CitrixSynergy

This is a great summary recap that George Kuruvill has done of Citrix Synergy 2015! Great work and enjoy this blog post!

For those of you who were not able to attend Citrix Synergy this year & dont have the time to sit through the key note recordings, I decided to put together a condensed version of some of the key announcements. So here goes!

Citrix Workspace Cloud

  • Citrix hosted control plane that enables customers to deliver a comprehensive mobile workspace to end users.
  • Gives customers the flexibility to host workloads on premises, in public or private clouds.
  • Control plane also provides end to end monitoring of user connections.
  • Evergreen infrastructure since Citrix maintains all core infrastructure components.
  • Workspace Cloud Connector installed on premises on a Win 2k12 server that establishes SSL communication between control plane and customer environment. Used to talk to infrastructure components like Active Directory and hypervisors hosting workload

I wrote a blog on CWC and the value proposition a month back that you can find here.

SYN 217 –  Workspace Cloud – Technical Overview [Video]

 

Citrix Lifecycle Management

  • Comprehensive cloud based service that can be used to design, deploy and manage both Citrix and other enterprise applications.
  • Based on the ScaleXtreme technology.
  • Lifecycle Management enables customers/partners to deploy infrastructure not only on premises but also public/private clouds (resource locations)
  • Customers/Partners have the ability to create blueprints to automate infrastructure deployments end to end. Examples of blueprints include a XD deployment for instance where you could not only install all the XD infrastructure but also automate the installation of all supporting infrastructure like Active Directory, SQL etc.
  • Vendors have the ability to create blueprints as well that can then be consumed by customers and partners alike.
  • Customers/Partners also have the ability to incorporate scripts (new/existing) into the deployment.
  • Once a blueprint is developed, its added to a library. Any resource within the library can then be deployed to a resource location (on premises, public/private cloud)
  • Another key benefit of the Lifecycle Management technology is the ability to automate application upgrades.

XenApp/XenDesktop

  • Xenapp 6.5 maintenance extended till end of 2017, EOL extended till 06/2018. Details here
  • New Feature Pack for XA 6.5 (enhance storage performance, Lync support enhancements, UPM enhancements, Director “Help Desk” troubleshooting”, Storefront 3.0, Receiver.next)
  • XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 FP2  (End of Q2)
    • New Receiver X1
    • Lync 2013 on Mac
    • Touch ID Support
    • HDX with Framehawk
    • Native Receiver for Linux
    • Linux Apps and Desktops (Redhat and SUSE support)
    • Desktop Player for Mac 2.0 (June)
    • Desktop Player for Windows (Tech Preview)

SYN 233 – Whats new in XenApp and XenDesktop [Video]

SYN 319 – Tech Update for XenApp and XenDesktop  [Video]

Read more…

#Citrix Workspace Cloud Setup on Microsoft #Azure – #EnvokeIT, #DaaS, #XenDesktop, #NetScaler

This is just so cool and great! Finally we who have seen and played with it can talk about it in the open and Citrix is showing the new Workspace Cloud services!

You can also login and try it out at http://workspace.cloud.com

Of course it’s not 100% ready for all use cases etc. but the concept is just great! There are so many customer out there that don’t want to manage their XenDesktop infrastructure components and just want to purchase XenDesktop or XenMobile like a true cloud service.. and this is it!

Gunner Berger created this great demo video on how he just spins up a couple of Windows server with RDS in Azure and then installs the components on the servers and connector in order to be able to connect the domain and workers to the Workspace service, really cool!

Have a nice weekend and contact us at EnvokeIT if you like to know more about this or if you need help with Azure, Office365, Microsoft Infrastructure or Citrix XenDesktop, NetScaler or XenMobile! ;-)

//Richard

PLEASE Citrix fix integration with Azure Stack! – #AzureStack, #CitrixCSP, #CitrixSynergy, #MSIgnite

Hi,

Ok, Microsoft have made some really cool announcements of Azure Stack, yes STACK not Pack. Azure Stack is NOT version 2.0 of Windows Azure Pack.. this is really important to note!

Azure Stack is basically the Azure technology used by the public Azure cloud but you can take that on-premise to your datacenter to deliver your own Azure cloud. No need of VMM or the traditional Fabric Management infrastructure!

AzureStack

This is how Microsoft puts it:

Microsoft Azure Stack brings proven innovation from Microsoft’s hyper-scale public cloud into your datacenter, providing agility and productivity for application owners, flexibility and control for IT, and assurance that corporate assets are protected.

So then we come to the topic of this post, if we know get this really 1st class IaaS and PaaS capabilties on-premise using Azure Stack HOW can we then leverage that to provision Desktop-as-a-Service offerings with Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop on top of it?

My dream would of course be that Citrix provides Workpace Services and the main XenApp/XenDesktop infrastructure as a SaaS service, and that you internally just build your Azure Stack Resource Groups with all components needed for the DaaS tenant (network, storage, AD, VM’s to slap the VDA on etc.) using Visual Studio to leverage intellisense and builtin objects/IDE capabilities to add resources to your json deployment template file. So when you provision this deployment into your Azure Stack IaaS solution you spin up everything for the tenant and then slap the VDA on there that just connects to the XenApp/XenDesktop infrastructure in the Citrix cloud to automate this and reduce the need of managing that part!

That would be awesome!

Please Citrix deliver this instead of App Orchestration!

//R

How to monitor your Internet facing service globally – #Azure, #ApplicationInsights, #Citrix, #NetScaler, #EnvokeIT

Hi again all!

It’s been quite a long time since I wrote a blog post.. I’ve just been too busy working! :-)

But this is a really cool capability that I think that many of you will like, how often do your company or service provider have a good way of monitoring availability, performance etc. from the public Internet? And if they do then most of the time the larger service providers will build a service and install their own probes on different geographical locations and then they charge quite a lot for this service, and every time you change your application the charge you again for modifying the scripts that the probes use etc.

What I’ve tried and now think is going to be great for both smaller and larger organisations is the Azure Application Insights service. It’s really great and can assist with just this, it’s a service that microsoft provide from their locations globally where you can test your apps in Azure or course but also any web site out there on the Internet. And it doesn’t stop there, you can also use the server installer to also provide metrics from your Windows IIS server up to Azure to get more detailed statistics about the web server itself and requests etc.

Just think about how much it would take for you to setup monitoring from APAC, Americas and Europe for your NetScaler environment.. that would not be done in 10 minutes if you talk to your standard service provider. It took me 10 minutes to setup this reporting to ensure that the NetScaler is available from different locations around the world:

Availability

 

And this is just a simple url ping test to ensure that we get a proper 200 OK response from our EnvokeIT Lab environment that my colleague Björn have setup and modified so nicely with the X1 StoreFront look & feel.

NetScaler_StoreFront_x1_look_and_feel

 

URL_ping_test_netscaler_bear_lab_envokeit

Of course you can make a more proper test than just a url ping test like in this case, the service supports multi-step tests and also content matching etc. It’s also very easy to create one application/service that then consists of multiple locations that you want to monitor, for instance if you’re using GSLB FQDNs as well as regional to ensure that you get the full picture.

More information about what can be done you can find on the Azure Application Insights  pageRead more…

#Citrix #XenMobile 10 news – #MDM, #MAM, #EMM, #Mobility, #BYOD

January 13, 2015 Leave a comment

Citrix have released a couple of good blog posts on the new version of XenMobile 10:

Ten Benefits XenMobile 10 Offers To Channel Partners

XenMobile 10 marks the simplification milestone in our Enterprise Mobility Management journey.  Today, at Summit Las Vegas we are happy to announce the release of XenMobile 10.  XenMobile brings great benefits for both end users and IT administrators.

And here are ten benefits I can think of, from the top of my head that XenMobile 10 brings to our Citrix channel partners:

  1. Better for Business:
    With the 20+ enterprise workflow efficiencies and design improvements that enable business users’ productivity on smartphones and tablets, XenMobile is focused on empowering mobile users.  With Citrix’s dedicated focus on user experience, the Worx apps and the Worx Gallery apps are designed to enable enterprise user workflows.
  2. Enterprise-grade Product: XenMobile architecture is built for complex and sophisticated network topologies that exist in a typical large enterprise with its offices and users across the world.
  3. Consolidated Architecture:  XenMobile 10 integrates the mobile device and application management consoles along with some NetScaler Gateway controls, into one product.  This consolidated architecture in this release makes it easy to use and deploy thereby ensuring our channel partners remain successful in their service engagements.
  4. Intuitive Dashboard:XenMobile 10 brings a fresh look with the redesign of the administrative dashboard.  Channel partners can now manage and deploy XenMobile with a complete understanding of the deployments.
  5. Faster Deployment: With the consolidated architecture for mobile device and application management along with the additional controls for NetScaler Gateway, the deployment time with XenMobile 10 is reduced by 75%!
  6. Mobile User Workflows: True Mobility is about enabling the user not with a bunch of applications, but with the applications that let the user get their job done without exhaustingly navigating through multiple apps.  XenMobile has always focused on enabling user workflows; XenMobile 10 now delivers additional enhancements to allow the end users remain productive without having to be tethered a specific device or a location.
  7. Automation: We recently announced the automation of APNS Certificate Signing process with which partners can now renew the APNS certificates for their customers.  The concept of automation is now extended to ISV partners’ self-verification of their wrapped applications and a self-service portal for end users that allows them to location, track and wipe their lost/stolen device themselves.
  8. Faster Migration: With the migration tools that will be released for XenMobile 10, channel partners can easily migrate the existing XenMobile customers.
  9. Security and best-in-class User Experience: Traditionally, security and user experience of products never coexisted.  However, XenMobile is proud to bear an exception for this norm by delivering an end user experience that is Better For Business without compromising security.  XenMobile offers end-to-end FIPS compliant solution for mobility.
  10. Specialization Benefits:…

Read more…

Deploying #SCCM 2012 Packages and Programs with the #Citrix Connector – #DaaS, #XenDesktop

January 13, 2015 Leave a comment

This is a really good blog post by Christopher Fife, it touches on a couple of scenarios and explains the solution to how best you would accommodate the solution to them. Good work Christopher! :-)

The Citrix Connector 7.5 for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, also known simply as the Citrix Connector, integrates XenApp and XenDesktop 7 with Configuration Manager 2012 (CM). The Connector streamlines use of Configuration Manager deployment technology to automate Citrix server and desktop image management. The Connector leverages the new Application/Deployment Type (App/DT) feature of Configuration Manager 2012 to orchestrate deployment to the right images at the right time. Administrators can optionally use the App/DT model to deliver the actual application publications.

Many of our customers are still early in migrating to the App/DT model. They are still leveraging their extensive library of Packages and Programs developed with great care over many years. These Citrix customers want to know how to use all the goodness of the Connector with these Packages and Programs. So, if you are interested in using the Citrix Connector to deploy Packages and Programs to your Citrix servers and desktop, this post is for you.

In many cases deploying Packages and Programs with the Citrix Connector is a straight forward process familiar to any CM administrator. However there are two scenarios in which specific actions are required to avoid unintended consequences when deploying Packages and Programs with the Citrix Connector.

Scenario 1 – Deploying to Image Managed (MCS or PVS) Citrix hosts

The first scenario that requires special consideration is deploying Packages and Programs to VMs created with Citrix XenDesktop Machine Creation Services (MCS) or Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS). As an administrator, you want to deploy software on the master image of a Machine Catalog and rely on XenDesktop/XenApp to clone worker VMs. Deploying directly to VM clones wastes compute, storage, and network resources because each clone will discard the changes on reboot.

Thus, the Citrix Connector is optimized to only install applications on the master image of a Machine Catalog while entirely skipping application installation on the clones of the master image. The key enabler that allows us to selectively install applications is a CM client policy that puts a 3rd party agent like the Citrix Connector in charge of when to install application or updates.

Here’s the problem. CM client policy does not stop the installation of Packages and Programs or Task Sequences; it only applies to the App/DT model and Windows Updates. This means that the Citrix Connector cannot prevent the installation of Packages and Programs on MCS or PVS clones, leading to unnecessary resource utilization.

Solution

Create a device collection that contains just the update device and deploy Packages and Programs to this device collection instead of the device collection created by the Citrix Connector.

Scenario 2 – App Publishing from the CM Console

The second scenario comes into play when using the CM Console to publish the Package/Program as a XenApp-hosted application. The Citrix Connector uses CM application detection logic to ensure that the application is installed before publishing it to Citrix Receiver. This is to prevent an icon from appearing in Receiver before all the servers in a Delivery Group have the application installed.

Unfortunately Package/Program deployments do not have reliable, ongoing application detection logic. Consequently, this orchestration feature of the Citrix Connector cannot be supported when using the Citrix Application Publishing Wizard to publish apps from the Configuration Manager Console.

Solution 1

Use Citrix Studio to publish the application instead of the Citrix Application Publishing Wizard in the CM Console.

Solution 2

If you are using CM Application Catalog and want the Citrix hosted version of the installed program to appear there, you will need to create a new application with a Script deployment type and a Citrix deployment type. The Script DT supplies the application detection logic by looking for the application’s executable, while the Citrix DT creates the application publication in XenDesktop.

 

Solution Details

 

The remainder of this post is divided into two sections and will give specific examples of how to implement the solutions discussed above. The first focuses on image management and precisely targeting the program deployment at the update device for a Citrix device collection. The second section focuses on publishing the program installed by CM as a Citrix hosted app.

Solution for Image Management and Resource Utilization

As previously mentioned, the Citrix Connector cannot prevent the installation of Packages and Programs on pooled Citrix session hosts created with Machine Creation Service (MCS) or Provisioning Service (PVS). To prevent this potential inefficiency, a new device collection must be created that only contains the update device. There are 4 steps to accomplish this:

  1. create the new device collection,
  2. deploy the program to the new device collection,
  3. monitor for deployment success on the update device, and
  4. update the pooled Citrix session hosts with the updated image.

These steps are detailed below.

For background information about master image management with the Citrix Connector and the role of the update device, watch the Master Image Management video http://www.citrix.com/tv/#videos/11534 on CitrixTV.

Before you start, use the machine catalog properties to make sure there is a designated update device, the Update Method property value is “update device”, and the Update Device property value contain a machine name. This is a very important step. If an update device is not defined for a Citrix image managed device collection, the steps outlined below will result in a new device collection with zero members.

Machine Catalog Properties

Step 1: Use the Configuration Manager Console to create a device collection

  • In the Assets and Compliance section of the Configuration Manager Console, click the “Create device collection” action on toolbar ribbon.
  • On the General Page of the Create Device Collection Wizard,

Read more…

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