Archive | 2012

Streaming Google Chrome using Citrix Profiler 6.0 and XenApp 6.5 –Step by Step guide

27 Nov

 

With the increasing popularity of Google Chrome browser and the capabilities it can bring with the usage of its Extensions I thought why not stream Chrome to the end-user devices using the Citrix Profiler 6.0  and XenApp 6.5.

How to Profile the Google Chrome setup?

The most important thing to note here is the normal Chrome setup is available in the online mode. Now the challenge is using the online mode you cannot create the profile for Chrome. The purpose of writing this blog is the older process in which flipping the registries and lengthy process was involved can all be avoided now.

Google Chrome recently introduced a special enterprise MSI  package in which there are no hassles of tweaking the registry. Simply double click on the installer and you can profile the application.

Download Link: http://www.google.com/chrome/eula.html?msi=true.

Google Chrome Enterprise Browser

Using Citrix Profiler how to create the profile?

I am going to attach a step by step guide at the end of this blog. However, I am highlighting some important screens here.

Citrix Profiler 6.0

 

How to Publish the application on Citrix XenApp 6.5 for Streaming?

I am going to attach a step by step guide at the end of this blog. However, I am highlighting some important screens here.

clip_image002[10]

Download Link for Step by Step guide Streaming Google Chrome using Citrix Profiler and XenApp

If you like this post please leave your comments below.

Best Regards,
Aresh Sarkari

Google Chrome Remote Desktop Extension – Free Solution for Screen Sharing and Accessing Multiple devices over Internet

14 Nov

Chrome Remote Desktop Extension from Google Chrome Browser is a fantastic solution with which one can access their remote desktop/laptops/servers and also perform user-2-user screen sharing all over the Internet. The best part is the complete package comes for free and the only requirement is Chrome Browser and the extension installed on the PC/MAC/Tablets/Mobile etc.

How to install the Chrome Remote Desktop?

Go the Chrome Web Store located under your browser and search for “Chrome Remote Desktop”. It’s a 21 MB file simply click on “Add to Chrome” to install the extension.

Chrome Web Store

What are the most important features of Chrome Remote Desktop?

There are two important features of this extension as follows. Make sure you have the Google Chrome Browser and Chrome Remote Desktop extension as a pre-requisite.

Remote Assistance: This feature provides the ability to perform user-2-user screen sharing just like other screen sharing software available in the market. Click on the “Share” option it will generate a code that you need to share with the person whom you want to share your screen with. It works like a charm without any latency issues.

My Computer: This feature provides the capability to access all you desktop/laptop/server* devices that has Google Chrome installed with the extension. All you have to do is enable “Enable Remote Connections” on all the devices that you own and now you can access your devices from anywhere on the Internet.

*Servers – I had issues accessing servers I assume it’s a firewall issue as the ports wouldn’t be open for Chrome Remote Desktop

Chrome Remote Desktop

What are the typical Use Cases for such a product?

  • The support organization can use Chrome Remote Desktop to help solving tickets by doing a Screen Share and help end-user in troubleshooting issues
  • End-users want to access their multiple devices over the internet. Now its simple without buying any paid software’s one can access their devices on the Internet.
  • Helping your non-technical parents by viewing their screen and guiding them

My Verdict:
I have been using this extension since last 4 days and performed multiple screen sharing sessions with couple of my friends and accessed my desktop remotely. It was simply awesome, there was no latency issues or any screen refreshing problems. Being a free product I highly recommend trying out the extension.

If you like this post please leave your comments below.

Best Regards,
Aresh Sarkari

Insight into Windows Remote Desktop Services 2012

5 Nov

I managed to install and test the Windows Remote Desktop Services (RDS) 2012 and I would like to share my experiences with the community. If you are looking for step by step installation please check RDS TechNet Lab Guides in this blog. I’m only covering new features, functionality and things I learnt.

RDS Installation

  • With the new Server Manager, installation of Roles & Features has over simplified. Sitting on one server, we could install all the RDS roles such as Connection Broker (CB), Licensing Server, Web Access (WA) and Session Host from one console to all the servers\VM in the environment.
  • All the pre-requisites (IIS, .Net) are installed by the Role & Features wizard automatically.
  • There are two explicit options under the new RDS Wizard – “Session Virtualization” and “Virtual Desktop Infrastructure”. See more details as below.

Session Virtualization

  • After you have installed all the roles such as RDS Licensing, RDS Session Host, RDS Web Access and RDS Licensing, you can see the complete Deployment\Server overview in a picture format of the RDS farm.

RDS Deployment Overview

  • In just one step you can configure the RD Session Host by simply clicking on the “Create a RD Session Collection wizard”. Collection is nothing but the wizard where you need to specify the Users, Applications, Profile and Servers participating in hosting this application.
  • There is a very interesting feature in this wizard such as “User Profile Disks” which can allow you to store the end-user Profile and selection of folders on a centralized file server that can either be clustered or DFS (Distributed File System).

User Profile Disks

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

  • There is a latest addition to the RDS 2012 which allows you to have two types of desktop such as “Pooled Desktop 1xMany” and “Dedicated Desktop 1×1”.
  • For Pooled Desktops, Microsoft uses their own snapshotting technology just like Citrix MCS (Machine Creation Services). There is no dependency on SCVMM, the RD Connection Broker does everything for you.
  • NOTE: My lab activities were stalled because there is a requirement for a dedicated Hyper-V server (RD Virtualization Host) which should be part of the same domain as the other RD components (CB, WA & Licensing). Will perform this test later on and share my learning with everyone.

My Verdict

RDS 2012 is a superb out of the box product which comes at no extra cost other than server infrastructure cost involved in setting up the environment. The much awaited and talked about integration of “User Profile Disk”, “VDI” and “Single Management Console” has brought the product on-par with other market vendors such as Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop, VMware ThinApp/View, Ericom etc. Though, I am not equipped to test the product against its over the WAN capabilities. The flip side that I see today with RDS 2012 is its functionality on non-windows devices and environment such as iOS, Android, BlackBerry & OpenSource. I doubt Microsoft will make a client like Receiver/View for non-windows platforms.

Business Case
The perfect business case is for Application Hosting + VDI for a complete Windows Platform which involves Windows Phone 8, Windows Tablet 8 and Windows PC 8/7. I would strongly recommend RDS 2012 as it is outstanding with no additional cost.

If you like this post please leave your comments below.

Best Regards,
Aresh Sarkari

 

Documenting Citrix XenApp 6.5 Inventory Assessment Script – Windows PowerShell

22 Oct

Imagine yourself in a situation where you have to capture the entire XenApp 6.5 Farm information to understand what the customers have in their environment. The traditional way to understand the environment is  to sit down multiple times with the CTX Architects/Admins to understand the details of infrastructure and even then missing on important details. This script will document whatever you see under the Citrix AppCenter Console and the output can be copied to a txt or word document.

My Testing results

I ran the script in my environment and generated the output as per the figures mentioned below. I am listing down certain requirements and things I learnt during the execution:

Step 1:

  • Download the Citrix XenApp 6.5 PowerShell SDK and simply go through the typical installation
  • Downloaded the Citrix XenApp Group Policies and place the files under two folders
    • C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\Modules, in a new folder named Citrix.GroupPolicy.Commands
    • C:\Windows\SysWOW64\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\Modules, in a new folder named Citrix.GroupPolicy.Commands
  • Make sure you open the File Properties of Citrix.GroupPolicy.Commands.psm1 file and click on Unblock and click Apply and OK. If you don’t go through this step you will get an error during importing of module

Step2:

  • Open Windows PowerShell console and type Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned
  • Open Windows PowerShell screen and type import-module Citrix.GroupPolicy.Commands

Step3:

  • Download the script from Script and place the script under the C:\XAInventory folder
  • Click Start – All Programs – Citrix – XenApp 6.5 Server SDK – Windows PowerShell with Citrix XenApp 6.5 Server SDK
  • Navigate to C:\XAInventory folder and type .\XA65_Inventory.ps1 |out-file .\XA65Farm.txt
  • Copy the output from C:\XA65Farm\XA65Farm.txt to a Word Document for better reading and formatting.

Step4:

  • Analyze the customer environment with complete detailed information for the XenApp 6.5 infrastructure

Inventory Output Results:

XenApp Inventory Output

A lot more is captured with respect to Server, Zones, Applications etc. Check it out yourself to experience the in depth details

Source: (Thanks)
Lets give some respect and thanks to the author of this script Carl Webster because of whom we all will be saving none less than 30-40 hours of efforts in capturing details of the XenApp Environment. He has written a 13 page blog on what all information is captured in the inventory script. Note if you check out his blog there are scripts for multiple versions of XenApp 6.5/6/5

If you like this post please leave your valuable comments

Best Regards,
Aresh Sarkari

Latest Citrix RemotePC feature with XenDesktop5.6 FP1–RemotePC VS RDP

4 Oct

With the recent launch of XenDesktop 5.6 Feature Pack (FP) 1 Citrix released a great feature known as the Remote PC. The Remote PC feature allows end-users to access their laptops/desktops on any device (Tablets, Mobile Phones or even other remote laptop and desktop) and anywhere (in the office, home and road). Citrix launched this feature for enterprises that are yet not ready to move into VDI mode and this solution allows end-users to continue using their desktop/laptop devices. The device that will be accessing the office desktop/laptop will require Citrix Receive to be installed beforehand.

Architecture for Remote PC to work:Citrix RemotePC (XenDesktop 5.6 FP1)

Many of you would ask what is the difference between RemotePC VS traditional RDP?

RDP

Remote PC

Works well on Microsoft platform. However, no standard or official applications are available on cross platforms such as iOS, Android and Blackberry You can access your desktop on multiple platforms such as iOS, Android and Blackberry with a single Citrix Receiver
No Standard apps available from Microsoft. All 3rd Party un-popular applications available at the App Stores for alternatives Official Citrix Receiver application integration that offers built-in Virtual Keyboard, ShareFile
No OS/Application Shell enhancement provision available with Microsoft RDP solution Citrix Mobility Pack enhancement to make Windows OS and Applications touch and type friendly

Typical Use Case Scenarios:
Use Case 1: The customer has a desktop at his desk and is leaving for a meeting and wants to access the desktop from his/her tablet.

Solution: Simply install the Virtual Desktop Agent (VDA) on the desktop and the end-user can access their desktop on any device and from any where

Benefits:

  • The enterprise doesn’t have the CAPEX to invest in a full blown VDI infrastructure. Simply enable this feature and take advantage from your existing infrastructure and investments.
  • Access to the resources from their mobile devices such as iPad, iPhone, Windows Phone, Windows 8 RT, Android Phones, Android Tablets
  • There is no resource sharing hence no complaints from end-users regarding performance degradation
  • Whatever Access, Software, Storage end-user carries remain the same while accessing on mobile devices
  • Leverage existing Electronic Software Distribution software to deploy the VDA on Desktop/Laptops within the enterprise

Video of the RemotePC Installation:

Building a XenApp 6.5 Farm inside your Lab Infrastructure – (Part 1)

1 Oct

Recently, I am setting up a poor man’s lab of Citrix XenApp 6.5 (64 bit). The reason to call it a poor man’s lab is because of the equipment in use. Though, I am complaining about the equipment I will tell you “my way” of efficiently setting up XenApp on a desktop class  Dell machine. My configuration is as follows:

Desktop Configuration:Dell Desktop Hardware Configuration

Preparatory Steps:

  • Install Windows 2008 R2 with Hyper-V as the choice of operating system on the Desktop.
  • Connect the desktop with internet to get all the Windows Updates
  • My next big thing was to create a Windows 2008 R2 EE template to create multiple VM’s and not waste time in creating individual virtual machines
  • Create a new Virtual Machine with Windows 2008 R2 EE SP1 and install all the Windows Updates
  • Install Features such as .Net 4 and Telnet Client from the “Add Features” as its reusable component on all VM’s 
  • Enable the ICMP inbound rule under the Windows Firewall port else you would be clueless during your troubleshooting
  • Sysprep the image Selection Option OOBE === Check Generalize === Shutdown. Your VM template is ready for use

Citrix Architecture for the lab

  • Plan to install Citrix XenApp 6.5 on 4 VM’s with the following server role breakup

Virtual Machine

Role

Memory

VM1 Active Directory/Citrix Licensing/Remote Desktop Licensing 400 – 700 MB
VM2 Citrix Web Server/SQL 2008 R2 Express/File Server 400 – 700 MB
VM3 Citrix XenApp1 (Application Streaming/Publishing) Static 700 MB
VM4 Citrix XenApp2 (Hosted Shared Desktop) Static 700 MB

Note: Clubbing up of roles like I have done is strictly for lab environments. Production environments should be sized and designed in a different way

Architecture Diagram

Citrix XenApp 6.5 Lab Infrastructure

List of my Best Practices:

  • Create a reusable Sysprep template to create multiple VM’s on the fly
  • Enable the ICMP inbound rule on all VM’s else you would be clueless during troubleshooting
  • Use Dynamic Memory for all your VM’s. Predefine the values for Startup and Maximum RAM options under VM Settings. I must say this feature is a savior when building labs with restrictive resources
  • Make sure the Citrix Licensing file (*.lic) carries the exact hostname of the virtual machine as it’s case sensitive. Simply type hostname under the command prompt and copy/paste the same while generating Citrix license file from www.mycitrix.com
  • In my case, the SQL Server Express is installed on the Web server. You will have to create a custom firewall rule to open the port number 1433 for all SQL related communication between the VM’s
  • During the Citrix installation make sure you select the “Install XenApp Server” option as this option brings in the convenience of installing all the prerequisite such as RDS, IIS components etc. automatically

Though, I am not sharing the step by step information on how to install each and every role because a lot of information is already available from Citrix & Microsoft and don’t want to make the blog lengthy.

I will be writing a series of blog on topics such as:

  • Application Publishing (Applications installed locally on Citrix XenApp Server)
  • Application Streaming (Application Streaming Server/Client Side)
  • User Profile Management (Separating the user profile using Citrix Profile Management)

If you like this blog please leave your comments

Best Regards,
Aresh Sarkari

Newly launched Lumia 920/820 phones running Windows Phone 8 –My thoughts straight from the Nokia NYC event

5 Sep

I finished watching the Nokia Lumia/Windows Phone 8 launch event. Two new phones hitting the market Lumia 920 and Lumia 820. My guess is the Lumia 920 will be for US/Europe region like the previous Lumia 900 and the Lumia 820 would be launched for the Asia Pacific region. Let me highlight some of the super-duper new features that Nokia has introduced in the new Lumia phones:
Lumia 820-920 on AskAresh
Super Sensitive Touch: A nice demo on the super sensitive touch showcasing the phone works with your fingers as well as with skiing gloves. Haven’t seen other touch phones that understand anything other than the finger touch or stylus.
Wireless Charging: This the coolest thing I have seen in the last couple of years. Simply put your Lumia phone on a wide variety of sizes, shapes and colors charging dock and the phone will start charging. Isn’t this super KOOL? The important question to be asked is how long does Wireless Charging take VS traditional charging.
In-built Near Field Communication (NFC): This technology has been in previous Nokia phones and finally it has landed in Lumia series too. This piece of technology will soon replace Bluetooth. The Nokia demo showcased wireless music streaming into a JBL audio speaker + Wireless charging simultaneously.
Nokia Music: This application was out from the Beta to mainstream 2-3 months back. Application provides access to free music without sign-up.
Pure View Camera: Brings the Image stabilization allowing the Lumia to absorb more light by keeping the aperture open for a longer time. The Nokia demo showcased pictures taken from a Galaxy S3 VS Lumia 920. Interesting comparison would have been against the iPhone 4S.  However,  I must say the Pure View camera quality was exceptional compared to its previous predecessors.
Lens Enhancements: Couple of new introductions as follows:

Object Remover – The Nokia demo showcased the following – Imagine taking a picture in the mall and you have people all around you while taking the picture. This feature allows you to remove all the unwanted people from the picture. It detects unwanted objects and allows you to remove them.

Image Cinematography – Suppose you are capturing a memorable moment and you want the capture to be more than an ordinary picture. This feature allows you to capture some dynamic moments such as a waving flag in the background or a special expression such as shake hand or a kiss you were giving by taking the picture. All you appear moving in the picture.

Steve Ballmer mentioned by next year same time there would be 400 million Windows 8 devices (Phones, Tablets and Laptop/Desktop) used and it will be the single most lucrative opportunity for the Windows 8 Developers.
If you like this post please leave your comments.
Best Regards,
Aresh Sarkari