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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…

Magic Quadrant for Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing – #ShareFile, #Citrix, #EMC, #Box, #Microsoft

October 10, 2014 Leave a comment

It’s not new but it’s something that I discussed the other day with a customer; who is the market leader when it comes to “corporate dropbox” solutions for enterprises? Gartner did update the Magic Quadrant for Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing services/solutions and it’s a good read I must say.

You know I am a Citrix fan and a like their story and think that they from an overall virtual workplace offerings are far superior to the other players if you look across the stack from providing “legacy” services like Windows Apps and Desktop, Enterprise Mobility Management capabilities and all the network capabilities to provide the end-to-end service delivery. So it’s really nice to see that they are picking up in the ability to execute and are competing with EMC in the Leaders box!

I just hope that Citrix can stay int he lead and ensure that they price and capacity wise stay in synch with the up comers that are starting to offer really large storage capacity as a part of their cloud offerings. I still see that the capabilities and features of ShareFile are really great, and in some aspects others like Box, Microsoft and others are coming with nice features as well. So let’s see who will rule this market, but currently I think that ShareFile is a really strong player for enterprises but Microsoft will continue to grow and I just wish they add the additional features around security etc that enterprises often require so they can go into the bigger companies as well.

Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing
Figure 1.Magic Quadrant for Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing

Source: Gartner (July 2014)

Market Definition/Description

This document was revised on 14 July 2014. The document you are viewing is the corrected version. For more information, see the Corrections page on gartner.com.

EFSS refers to a range of on-premises or cloud-based capabilities that enable individuals to synchronize and share documents, photos, videos and files across multiple devices, such as smartphones, tablets and PCs. File sharing can be within the organization, as well as externally (e.g., with partners and customers) or on a mobile device as data sharing among apps. Security and collaboration support are critical capabilities of EFSS to address enterprise priorities.

Beyond file synchronization, sharing and access, EFSS offerings may include different levels of support for:

  • Mobility, with native apps for a variety of mobile smartphones, tablets, notebooks and desktops, as well as Web browser support.
  • Security, for protection of data on the device, in transit and in cloud services (or servers), such as password protection, remote wipe, data encryption, data loss prevention, digital rights management (DRM), access tracking and reporting. Mature products ensure that files leaving the sharing location are DRM-encrypted and only readable by those authorized to access the data. Audit and compliance support are also present in complete products.
  • Administration and management, including integration with an Active Directory and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) policy enforcement.
  • Back-end server integration, e.g., with SharePoint and other corporate platforms. Integration is achieved through connectors (e.g., based on the Content Management Interoperability Services [CMIS] standard and APIs).
  • Content manipulation, such as file editing, PDF annotations and note taking.
  • Collaboration, such as cooperative editing on a shared document using change tracking and comments; and document-based workflow process support.
  • Simplicity and usability, with optimized UIs and interactions, such as file drag and drop and file open in applications.
  • Storage, i.e., cloud-based EFSS services often include cloud storage as part of the bundle to implement the EFSS repository. Software EFSS products, instead, may integrate with repositories on-premises or be implemented with a separate repository on-site.

Typical architectures for EFSS offerings are:

  • Cloud: Corporate files are accessed via mobile devices, or shared and are stored in the provider’s cloud. Organizations that want to replace the personal cloud services adopted by employees with an enterprise-class alternative under IT control, while preserving the user experience and enhancing mobile collaboration, prefer the cloud method.
  • On-premises: The remote access, synchronization and sharing component is deployed on-premises and integrates with corporate data repositories, without file replicas. This method is preferred by organizations under strict regulations about data storage.
  • Hybrid: The user and device authentication, security and search mechanisms are implemented in the provider’s cloud. Files and documents are kept in their original location, or can be in third-party clouds. Organizations that want to simplify mobile users’ access to corporate data through the cloud, without creating data replicas in someone else’s cloud, prefer the hybrid method.

There are two types of EFSS offerings:

  • Destinations — Stand-alone products with file sync and share as a core capability, which represents a new purchase for an organization.
  • Extensions — File sync and share capabilities added, and wrapped around established products or applications — e.g., for collaboration, content management or storage. Organizations can use extensions as part of the broader platform (see “Destinations and Wraparounds Will Reshape the Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing Market”).

Continue reading here!

//Richard

Read more…

#Citrix #StoreFront 2.5.2 is released – #DaaS, #XenDesktop, #XenApp

Citrix has released Citrix StoreFront 2.5.2 with some good fixes…

Issues fixed in StoreFront 2.5.x

Updated: 2014-06-18

Issues fixed in StoreFront 2.5.2

Fail to launch a XenApp session from the second delivery site.

The StoreFront server had problems with load balancing between two XenApp farms. When the first farm was completely loaded, StoreFront did not use the second farm and the application launch failed. [#432279]

Enhanced enumeration fails with socket pooling enabled.

Enumeration failed for two or more farms when socket pooling was enabled in the store configuration file. [#470666 and #458139]

Issues with finding the domain controller for a domain.

Slow logon times occurred when geographically distant domain controllers were chosen. [#479210]

Submitting the logon form after the authentication service session timed out results in an HTTP 400 Bad Request.

When the logon form was submitted after the authentication service session timed out, an HTTP 400 Bad Request response was generated preventing the user’s credentials from being resubmitted. [#479200]

Directory queries are not thread-safe.

Citrix default Domain Services crashed because the Directory services account look-up was not thread-safe. [#479188]

Issues fixed from StoreFront 2.1 to 2.5

Changing an expired password on next logon fails.

When prompted to change a password, client domain users using Windows would not be able to successfully change their passwords because of Windows Server 2003 domain controllers failing to handle the operation correctly. Microsoft has issued an update that resolves this problem. The update is available via Windows Update or may be downloaded from Microsoft support directly at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2927811. [#438725]

A user with a large number of subscriptions loses the ability to manage subscriptions.

When logging on, users with 353 or more automatic app subscriptions would receive the following error: “Citrix Receiver cannot currently add, remove, or reposition apps.” [#432086]

The wrong user name is sometimes shown.

Clients would erroneously display a different username. [#430823]

PNA resource IDs do not match requirements of local launch logic.

PNA resources from XenApp were in a format different than StoreFront’s usage. This inconsistency led to slower performance due to excessive ICA connections.[#429055]

Partial wildcard certificates cause issues in the admin console.

The admin console would improperly display configured host names from the IIS bound certificates. [#424708]

Change password option is not available for some users.

Some users were not given the option to reset their password even though they were enabled to do so. [#416373]

Subscription export/import loses subscription properties.

StoreFront was not properly maintaining multiple subscription properties. [#408668]

DAC smart card authentication updated to use domain account services rather than IIS certificate mapping.

Desktop Appliance Connector certificate authentication with smart cards required manual configuration with IIS certificate mappings rather than using the default domain account services. [#406945]

A SAN web server certificate with no CN causes issues for the admin console.

StoreFront admin console was improperly handling common name entries in certificates which would cause console crashes.[#401815]

StoreFront home farms support gives a user access to all farms when they should have access to none.

When a user was configured without access to any farms, all farms were enumerated for that user.[#400869]

The admin console being closed would overwrite some manually applied changes made to the configuration file.

Some manual configuration changes were being lost when the admin console was closed. [#440946, #424460, #439887, #395155]

Read more…

GotoMeeting Free – yes, free collaboration!! – #Citrix, #GotoMeeting

Well, I can’t count the number of times that I’ve heard people saying that they wished they had GotoMeeting licenses or a similar capability that is free… and what just happened!?! Citrix released a free version! :-)

It of course has some limitations and lack of capabilities compared to the full service you get when being it, but if you can survive with using a Chrome browser to collaborate with you colleagues, friends and loved ones then this is a great service!

Citrix GoToMeeting Free

Mathieu Hofman, researcher and developer of GoToMeeting Free, and Eric Bensley, GoToMeeting Senior Product Manager, explain what motivated them to create the newest member of the GoToMeeting product line, GoToMeeting Free.

Hi, Mathieu and Eric here. We are really excited about the launch of GoToMeeting Free! This started simply as technology innovation and now has evolved into the latest addition to our award-winning communications solutions. GoToMeeting Free is an entirely free, browser-based (Chrome), unlimited-use video conferencing product for up to three people. And we made it simple: no need to log in, download additional software, or enable plug-ins.

When our teams first began working on this product it was not about adding to GoToMeeting but rather seeing what would happen if we took great technology – Chrome and WebRTC – and created something that would let people connect instantly in a face-to-face experience. In our efforts there were a few things we aimed to address:

  • Eliminate the need for downloads by running from a browser
  • Make getting into sessions fast and efficient – no sign up, no access codes, just click and go
  • Deliver a high quality video and audio experience
  • Available in Chrome Web store

The result: GoToMeeting Free is like the “casual coffee” of meetings by removing the barriers to quickly connecting with anyone in a meaningful way…

And here you have some other details from the GotoMeeting blog:

What You Need to Know about GoToMeeting Free

The cost of doing business these days can be daunting. And with the growth of small-business startups comes the need for low-cost and highly collaborative software solutions. Enter GoToMeeting Free.

What is GoToMeeting Free? It’s an entirely free addition to the Citrix collaboration suite that offers unlimited-use video conferencing for up to three people. And did we mention it’s completely browser-based in Google Chrome? Meaning no need to download any additional software.

Who can use GoToMeeting Free? Everyone. GoToMeeting Free was designed with lean startups and entrepreneurs in mind, but this software is open to anyone with Chrome, a webcam and a reliable Internet connection.

Why use GoToMeeting Free? If you are hosting small informal meetings for dispersed teams or your office doesn’t have the budget for a company-sponsored video conferencing account, then this is the solution. There’s no limit to the amount of meetings you can host, and it allows you to connect instantly with a face-to-face experience.

We wanted to build tool that was something that we would use ourselves, so here are a few of the areas we looked to address:

  • No pesky software downloads. Because GoToMeeting Free runs from a browser (Chrome), there’s no need to download additional software. Just send your attendees the link and join the meeting – it’s that easy.
  • Faster join times. Because there is no software to download, no sign-up required and no access codes needed, all you need to do is simply click to connect instantly.
  • High-quality video and audio experience. Using WebRTC technology we were able to create a product that would allow small audiences to connect seamlessly with no dial-in required.

We’ve gotten rave reviews so far on the simple and straight-forward experience of GoToMeeting Free. And we are in development for additional features that will allow teams an even higher lever of collaboration in the near future. We hope you’ll try it out.

Continue reading here and here!

//Richard

#XenMobile and the #Citrix Mobile Workspaces Architecture – #BYOD

This is a great blog post by Christopher Campbell and good picture to show the overall capabilities and architecture of the Citrix offering!

You’ve heard us talk about Mobile Workspaces and if you’re a techie you’re probably wondering if Citrix really has the architectural components (a complete, comprehensive and fully integrated architecture) that can deliver any app and data to any user on any device over any network?

Well let’s first identify a few of the market leading technologies that make up the Citrix Mobile Workspaces solution:

  • XenApp mobilizes and secures Windows apps on any device
  • XenDesktop securely delivers virtual Windows desktops and apps on any device
  • XenMobile manages and secures mobile, web and SaaS apps on mobile devices
  • GoToMeeting empowers people to meet and collaborate with anyone, anywhere
  • ShareFile shares and syncs corporate data securely from any location
  • NetScaler optimizes and secures app delivery and on any network
  • CloudPlatform orchestrates and provisions apps, desktops and IT services from any cloud

OK, OK. We know you have the products but do they really integrate?

Yes. Don’t believe me? Well as they say a picture is worth a thousand words. This is what the Mobile Workspace Architecture looks like.

OK. I get it.  You have the architecture but that doesn’t necessarily translate to a seamless user experience.

Still don’t believe huh? Well this is what the user experience looks like.

XenMobile is a key ingredient in delivering a mobile workspace.  Along with XenApp and XenDesktop it allows organizations to deliver on giving users access to any app from any device. In fact, if you’re an existing XenApp or XenDesktop customer, XenMobile seamlessly plugs into your existing architecture.

If you’re a XenDesktop or XenApp customer this is what your environment probably looks like.

Now this is what you need to enable EMM for BYO and COPE (Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled) devices and add that MDM, MAM, Secure Email, Secure Data…

Continue reading here!

//Richard

 

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