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Posts Tagged ‘service’

Microsoft Azure IaaS Operations Guidance – #AAD, #RBAC, #ARM, #Microsoft, #Azure

Here you can find a ton of great guidance material for Azure operations by mzbowe! Really good summary!

This is a collection of Azure Infrastructure installation and operational guidance resources I provide to my customers.  By keeping these links up to date with each engagement, all of my customers may benefit.  Hopefully you can too!  The latest Azure updates will always be at Azure service updates.  Make it part of your operational procedure to review that monthly, if not weekly!  In 2015, there were over 500 updates. Wow!

The goal of this guide to highlight core installation and operational procedures for an Azure IaaS deployment which predominantly will consist of Compute, Network and Storage resources.  This article Azure Infrastructure Services Implementation Guidelines, gives a pretty good run down of what needs to be created and in what order. The resources I will keep updated below pretty much follow most of those resources in the last link. But for now, there is a very important piece of that puzzle missing.  For the newer Azure Resource Manager (ARM) model of deployment, we need to plan, design and create Azure Resource Groups. Once we have Resource Groups, we can delegate administration with Role Based Access Control (RBAC).

Besides all this, if you just need to ramp up and learn more on Azure, go to the Azure Learning Paths page.  Check it out and learn something new! I also have my Azure Certification resources (Slides and Videos) from MS Ignite 2015, to get you certified and ready to go!

Azure Active Directory

Azure AD Operational Guidance

Read more…

Finally – Citrix Workspace Cloud is GA! – #Citrix, #WorkSpaceCloud, #DaaS, #SaaS, @EnvokeIT

This is something that we at EnvokeIT have been trying out for quite a while and really enjoy, it’s a great service that will simplify a lot for many service providers and customers. Contact us at EnvokeIT if you have any questions or if you need assistance on your journey to the cloud!

Workspace-Cloud-Launch-300x183

Now your business can take advantage of Citrix Workspace Cloud, the fastest and easiest way for IT to enable business productivity with secure apps, data, device management and more.

I’m pleased to announce the general availability of Citrix Workspace Cloud, the industry’s simplest way to build and deliver a complete workspace without compromise.

Now, you can easily combine virtual apps and desktops, mobile apps and device policies and data – securely delivered from any cloud or infrastructure you choose – whether on-premises, off-premises or both in a hybrid model.

Workspace Cloud is Revolutionary

Over the past 18 months, the team has been busy engaging with customers, partners, industry analysts, media, Citrix Technology Professionals, ISVs and alliance partners around the world as we built Workspace Cloud.

The general reaction has been consistent: Workspace Cloud is unlike anything else and comprehensively addresses the biggest challenges in workspace management.

The cloud-based management and control plane accelerates deployments. The choice of infrastructure locations provides the flexibility partners and customer’s demand, and the comprehensive set of workspace services that are always up to date ensure you can meet the broad set of IT use cases.

A single unified, global, and multi-tenant SaaS platform to create complete workspaces

People do their best work when they have immediate access to their work resources – the people, apps, and files they need at any specific moment or context.

While other vendors offer a ‘workspace’ that is nothing more than virtual desktops offered in their own cloud, Workspace Cloud makes it easy to deliver a people-centric, modern workspace located on-premises, off-premises or both in a hybrid model.

Easily compose workspaces containing apps, desktops, mobile and data. Workspace management allows you to use existing corporate Active Directory domains to add, remove or change the resources from one place once and on-demand – everyone and every resource in the workspace is updated.

Stay in control and retain choice for your infrastructure and cloud selections

Want to run your contractor applications out of Amazon, your productivity apps in Azure to be near their Office 365 data, and desktops on-premises? No problem. Workspace Cloud provides the only solution that allows you to select the best infrastructure combinations based on economics, performance, existing capacity, sovereignty, and expertise. This means the selection can be made on a per-service basis. This choice extends not only to your applications and desktops, but also to your data.

Workspace Cloud accelerates deployment and management through a SaaS-based control plane and securely communicates with your infrastructure through a simple cloud connector. Driven by a simple stateless, zero-touch management architecture. After a simple installation the connector is ready to provision resources, enumerate users from Microsoft Active Directory domains, and launch session requests.

Comprehensive portfolio of workspace services available as a subscription

Workspace Cloud subscriptions contains services that address the core use cases customers face every day and are available today. Start with one offering but easily add more based upon your expanding business needs.

The core services we’re announcing today include:

  • Applications and Desktops Service – Deliver secure virtual apps and desktops to any device, and leave the product installation, setup, configuration, upgrades and monitoring to Citrix based on industry-leading XenApp and XenDesktop technology.
  • Mobility Service – Provide cloud-based, comprehensive enterprise mobility management (EMM) — including mobile device management (MDM), mobile application management, and enterprise-grade productivity apps — for a secure user experience on BYOD or corporate devices based on XenMobile technology.
  • Secure Document Service – Meet the mobility and collaboration needs of employees and the data security requirements of the enterprise with this secure enterprise file sync and sharing service based on ShareFile technology.
  • Lifecycle Management Service – Accelerate and automate the design, deployment, and ongoing management of Citrix enterprise workloads with comprehensive lifecycle management. The service provides standardized, repeatable automation technology with a catalog of blueprints – assembled scripts that capture configurations, settings and other complex details into a single repeatable solution. Read more about this new technology here.

Continue reading more here!

//Richard

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…

#XenDesktop 7.1 Service Template Tech Preview for System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager – #SCVMM

November 5, 2013 Leave a comment

This is interesting! Really good and can’t wait to try it out!

Introduction

Let’s face it, installing distributed, enterprise-class virtual desktop and server based computing infrastructure is time consuming and complex.  The infrastructure consists of many components that are installed on individual servers and then configured to work together.  Traditionally this has largely been a manual, error prone process.

The Citrix XenDesktop 7.1 Service Template for System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) leverages the rich automation capabilities available in Microsoft’s private cloud offering to significantly streamline and simplify the installation experience.  The XenDesktop 7.1 Service Template enables rapid deployment of virtual app and desktop infrastructure on Microsoft System Center 2012 private clouds.  This Tech Preview is available now and includes the latest 7.1 version of XenDesktop that supports Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager.

Key Benefits:

  • Rapid Deployment – A fully configured XenDesktop 7.1 deployment that adheres to Citrix best practices is automatically installed in about an hour; a manual installation can take a day or more.
  • Reduction of human errors and the unwanted consequences – IT administrators answer 9 questions about the XenDesktop deployment, including the VM Network to use, the domain to join, the SQL server used to host the database, the SCVMM server to host the desktops, and the administrative service accounts to connect to each of these resources.  Once this information is entered, the Service Template automation installs the XenDesktop infrastructure the same way, every time, ensuring consistency and correctness.
  • Reduction in cost of IT Operations – XenDesktop infrastructure consistently configured with automation is less costly to support because the configuration adheres to best practice standards.
  • Free highly skilled and knowledgeable staff from repeatable and mundane tasks – A Citrix administrator’s time is better spent focused on ensuring that users get access to the applications they need, rather than lengthy production installation tasks.
  • Simplified Eval to Retail Conversion – Windows Server 2012 and later, as well as XenDesktop 7.1, support conversion of evaluation product keys to retail keys.  This means that a successful POC deployment of the XenDesktop 7.1 Service Template is easily converted to a fully supported and properly configured production deployment.
  • Easy Scale-Out for greater capacity – SCVMM Service Templates support a scale-out model to increase user capacity.  For example, as user demand increases additional XenDesktop Controllers and StoreFront servers are easily added with a few clicks and are automatically joined to the XenDesktop site.

The XenDesktop Service Templates were developed and tested with the support of our friends and partners at Dell, who, in support of the release of XenDesktop 7.1 and the Service Template technical preview, are expected to launch new and innovative solutions that include these and other automation capabilities this quarter.  These solutions are based on the Dell DVS Enterprise for Citrix XenDesktop solutions.

Simplification of Distributed Deployments

The XenDesktop 7.1 in-box installation wizard is a fantastic user experience that automatically installs all the required prerequisites and XenDesktop components in under 30 minutes.  The result is a fully installed XenDesktop deployment, all on a single server, that is excellent for POCs and product evaluations.  The installation and configuration challenges occur when you want to install XenDesktop in production, with enterprise-class scalability, distributed across multiple servers.

Manual Installation Steps

XenDesktop 7 manual installation steps

Read more…

#Rackspace launches high performance cloud servers – #IaaS via @ldignan

November 5, 2013 Leave a comment

Rackspace on Tuesday rolled out new high performance cloud servers with all solid-state storage, more memory and the latest Intel processors.

The company aims to take its high performance cloud servers and pitch them to companies focused on big data workloads. Rackspace’s performance cloud servers are available immediately in the company’s Northern Virginia region and will come online in Dallas, Chicago and London this month. Sydney and Hong Kong regions will launch in the first half of 2014.

Among the key features:

  • The public cloud servers have RAID 10-protected solid state drives;
  • Intel Xeon E5 processors;
  • Up to 120 Gigabytes of RAM;
  • 40 Gigabits per second of network throughput.

Overall, the public cloud servers, which run on OpenStack, provide a healthy performance boost of Rackspace’s previous offering. The performance cloud servers are optimized for Rackspace’s cloud block storage.

Rackspace said it will offer the performance cloud servers as part of a hybrid data center package.

Continue reading here!

//Richard

#Microsoft launches its #Azure #Hadoop service! – via @maryjofoley

October 28, 2013 Leave a comment

This is really cool!

Microsoft’s cloud-based distribution of Hadoop — which it has been developing for the past year-plus with Hortonworks — is generally available as of October 28.

Microsoft officials also are acknowledging publicly that Microsoft has dropped plans to deliver a Microsoft-Hortonworks developed implementation of Windows Server, which was known as HDInsight Server for Windows. Instead, Microsoft will be advising customers who want Hadoop on Windows Server to go with Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) for Windows.

Windows Azure HDInsight is “100 percent Apache Hadoop” and builds on top of HDP. HDInsight includes full compatibility with Apache Hadoop, as well as integration with Microsoft’s own business-intelligence tools, such as Excel, SQL Server and PowerBI.

“Our vision is how do we bring big data to a billion people,” said Eron Kelly, Microsoft’s SQL Server General Manager. “We want to make the data and insights accessible to everyone.” 

Making the Hadoop big-data framework available in the cloud, so that users can spin up and spin down Hadoop clusters when needed is one way Microsoft intends to meet this goal, Kelly said.

Microsoft and Hortonworks originally announced plans to bring the Hadoop big-data framework to Windows Server and Windows Azure in the fall of 2011. Microsoft made a first public preview of its Hadoop on Windows Server product (known officially as HDInsight Server for Windows) available in October 2012.

Microsoft made available its first public preview of its Hadoop on Windows Azure service, known as HDInsight Service, on March 18. Before that…

Continue reading here!

//Richard

Performance tuning #Citrix #Storefront – via @msandbu

October 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Great article by Marius!

Read it and also have a look here at my previous post related to this: #Citrix #StoreFront Slowness, Join and Replication issue – check list!

This is something I wanted to write about for some time now, after the release of XenDesktop 7 but there are only 24 hours in one day so therefore I didn’t have the time before now Smilefjes

But the purpose of this post is to really say that Storefront is slow….. 
Don’t get me wrong it not about Citrix but the combination of Storefront and IIS that makes it a bit complex and therefore this makes it a bit slow.

Now there are a couple of tricks that can tune the perfomance.

Socket Pooling
In Web Interface you could enable it from the console, but in StoreFront we have to change it in the store config. By enabling socket pooling, Storefront maintaines a pool of sockets instead of creating a socket each time a new user connects, this will give a better performance for SSL based traffic.

You can enable this by opening the web.config file under C:\inetpub\wwwroot\Citrix\storename\

pooledSockets="off"

And Change this to “on” after that you have to do an IIS reset.

Application Initialization

(NOTE: Make sure you backup the config files before making alterations)

With Windows Server 2012 we have a new feature in IIS called always running on the application pools, this allowed for IIS to make everything ready after an application pool has restarted, before this the previous IIS was set to start loading after the first user tried to login after a restart. This caused the first user to login after an application pool has restarted to take loooong time to login. With Server 2012 IIS we can change the application pool to always running.

With 2008 R2 not so easy. But we can make it happen Smilefjes
First we need to download the application initialization feature from Microsoft
http://www.iis.net/downloads/microsoft/application-initialization

After that is done and installed…

Continue reading here!

//Richard

#Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service – #IaaS

August 29, 2013 1 comment

Market Definition/Description

Cloud computing is a style of computing in which scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as a service using Internet technologies. Cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a type of cloud computing service; it parallels the infrastructure and data center initiatives of IT. Cloud compute IaaS constitutes the largest segment of this market (the broader IaaS market also includes cloud storage and cloud printing). Only cloud compute IaaS is evaluated in this Magic Quadrant; it does not cover cloud storage providers, platform as a service (PaaS) providers, software as a service (SaaS) providers, cloud services brokerages or any other type of cloud service provider, nor does it cover the hardware and software vendors that may be used to build cloud infrastructure. Furthermore, this Magic Quadrant is not an evaluation of the broad, generalized cloud computing strategies of the companies profiled.

In the context of this Magic Quadrant, cloud compute IaaS (hereafter referred to simply as “cloud IaaS” or “IaaS”) is defined as a standardized, highly automated offering, where compute resources, complemented by storage and networking capabilities, are owned by a service provider and offered to the customer on demand. The resources are scalable and elastic in near-real-time, and metered by use. Self-service interfaces are exposed directly to the customer, including a Web-based UI and, optionally, an API. The resources may be single-tenant or multitenant, and hosted by the service provider or on-premises in the customer’s data center.

We draw a distinction between cloud infrastructure as a service, and cloud infrastructure as atechnology platform; we call the latter cloud-enabled system infrastructure (CESI). In cloud IaaS, the capabilities of a CESI are directly exposed to the customer through self-service. However, other services, including noncloud services, may be delivered on top of a CESI; these cloud-enabled services may include forms of managed hosting, data center outsourcing and other IT outsourcing services. In this Magic Quadrant, we evaluate only cloud IaaS offerings; we do not evaluate cloud-enabled services. (See “Technology Overview for Cloud-Enabled System Infrastructure” and “Don’t Be Fooled by Offerings Falsely Masquerading as Cloud Infrastructure as a Service” for more on this distinction.)

This Magic Quadrant covers all the common use cases for cloud IaaS, including development and testing, production environments (including those supporting mission-critical workloads) for both internal and customer-facing applications, batch computing (including high-performance computing [HPC]) and disaster recovery. It encompasses both single-application workloads and “virtual data centers” (VDCs) hosting many diverse workloads. It includes suitability for a wide range of application design patterns, including both “cloud-native”….

Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service

Figure 1.Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service

Source: Gartner (August 2013)

Continue reading here!

//Richard

Monitoring #Netscaler with Operations Manager 2012 – #SCOM – via @msandbu

August 8, 2013 1 comment

Another great blog post by msandbu!!

This guide has been written with Netscaler build 73 and Operations Manager 2012 SP1 (on WS2012) with the management pack from Citrix.

Operations Manager 2012 supports monitoring network devices either through SNMP (v1, 2 and 3) or through just basic ICMP.
Citrix has made a management pack solution, which you can use to enhance the monitoring capabilities in SCOM.
The pack also includes VMM PRO management pack (Which is not gone through in this guide, just the basic management pack)

The management pack can be downloaded from mycitrix (Requires login)
https://www.citrix.com/downloads/netscaler-adc/components/netscaler-management-pack-for-operations-manager-2012.html

(Just a side note: Comtrade is a Citrix Partner who is currently making a new management pack for Netscaler so stay tuned for the new release )

So when we have a functional Operations Manager server up and running we have to install the SNMP service on one of the servers.
This can be done via Server Manager.

After that is installed go into services.msc and choose “Accept SNMP packets from any host” or just enter the IP of the Netscaler server.
Make sure that firewall on the OpsMgr server allows for SNMP traffic in…

Continue reading here!

//Richard

#BYOD + #Messaging + #Collaboration + #Data securely = How??

Yes, how do you solve this?

I’m running into this topic lately with a lot of people and customers….

It’s around the whole BYOD and unmanaged devices and how useful they are in an enterprise world and all the capabilities and way of working that you’re used to in a secure and still cost effective way (and let’s not forget in a USER FRIENDLY way)!

One question that I’ve not yet found an answer to is:

How do we have all offline capabilities needed for an “Office” worker on a BYOD in our enterprise landscape? How do we ensure that you can use our Messaging, Collaboration and Data/Info services on this totally unmanaged device in a SECURE way?

This is a tough challenge! I guess that most of your users are used to using the Office suite locally on their managed device where they can use Outlook offline, work with data/files in Excel and Word etc offline. But what happens if you tell them to use an unmanaged device or their own personal device of their choice?

All of a sudden there is no real good way of providing them with offline messaging and collaboration (Outlook Anywhere and Lync for instance) capabilities in a secure manner. This BYOD/unmanaged device is not a part of your AD, you have no control and cannot enforce anything! So Outlook that is installed on it may use your Outlook Anywhere service but then its data sits on that unmanaged device unencrypted and unsecured!

Overview_BYOD_Messaging_Outlook_Anywhere

Think of the picture above (yes I know it’s a mess but I just want to illustrate the issue), you have BYOD devices that are running Windows 7, XP, 8 etc and also Mac OS X. What if you open up your Outlook anywhere service to those devices, then all your emails etc. will be unsecured on them!

Citrix and others are focusing on providing this email capability in a secure manner on all mobile OS’s like iOS and Android etc through it’s Citrix Worx apps for mail and also the newly announced Hosted MobileMail. But these are more or less just targeted against mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), but what about the standard laptop users!?!?! They need something as well!

And Windows RMS and other solutions just wont fit very well here… Citrix XenVault was something that could have worked to enable offline support for corporate Messaging services but it’s not there… I’d like to run corporate apps locally on the device offline in a secure and controllable container!!

The same issue you have with Data!!!

ShareFile doesn’t support encryption on Windows or OS X!!!

But it does on mobile devices.. I guess you have to trust your users and BYOD devices that they are encrypted using BitLocker or FileVault etc…. but can you?

So please enlighten me here what the missing puzzle piece is!! Because I have a hard time taking away a managed device form a user and tell them that they on their BYOD device HAVE TO BE ONLINE TO WORK! It’s a step back from a usability and productiveness point of view… but it may be a cost saver though… but is a BYOD/unmanaged device and a VDI or Hosted Shared Desktop always a good option to provide business apps to that laptop? NO! I guess everyone have understood that making business apps and functions web-based or mobile app based is good and a lot of focus is there, but we cannot forget the traditional productive device that the laptop is!

If you know the magic solution to these challenges please let me know! 🙂

Cheers!

//Richard

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