How To Guide: Streaming Microsoft Office with Citrix XenApp 5 – Best Practice Guide & Licensing Overview

August 27, 2009

Citrix Technology Professional (CTP) Alexander Ervik Johnsen has written a very useful piece on how to Profile and Stream Microsoft Office 2007 using Citrix XenApp 5.0

This is a great guide and covers how to stream Office to a desktop, or, into a Citrix XenDesktop session.  His article and guide can be found on his website here.

Further to the actual process of profiling and streaming the Office application, I also want to ensure everyone is aware of the Microsoft Per Device Licensing Model for Server Hosted Applications.

Many Microsoft applications, including Microsoft Office™, Project™ and Visio™, are licensed on a per-device basis. This means a desktop application license is required for each and every device that is able to potentially access the application or server where the application is installed, regardless of whether a user executes and runs the application of not.  This makes licensing Microsoft applications in virtual environments a tricky, potentially very costly, and misunderstood subject. 

One misconception is that by ‘publishing’ or ’streaming’ applications to a limited “user” group, that group is compliant with the Microsoft license agreement – in other words, Microsoft licenses their applications per user.  This is in fact in breach of the Microsoft licensing model, and can lead to legal action.

I have written a blog, which also includes official Microsoft approved whitepapers on how to control and enforce application access and license compliance on a per device basis  in such virtual environments,  that blog can be found here

In addition to helping ensure compliance, effective license control and management can also reduce Microsoft License requirements and associated costs – more information on this can be found here.

If anyone has any questions or comments, as always, please do let me know.

Thanks
Gareth


Citrix XenApp & Citrix Edgesight recommendations when using Anti-Virus

August 26, 2009

Citrix Technology Professional (CTP) Alexander Ervik Johnsen has written a very useful piece on how best to configure Citrix XenApp and Citrix Edgesight when using Anti-Virus solutions.

AV is recognized as a major drain of shared resource in a Citrix XenApp environment, Ervik provides some recommendations to reduce the aggressiveness of the AV scans.

“The following are suggestions to help ease the negative affect that standard Anti-virus settings can cause on Citrix XenApp servers. As these servers are not used in the normal sense of the word Server, the scan and realtime aggressiveness needs to be adjusted for the Antivirus Software or performance will be affected.”

The main article can be found on his website here.


NEW FEATURE No. 3 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Improved compression and data handling protocol

August 26, 2009

This is the third installment in a series of posts about the new features and options in AppSense Version 8 Service Pack 2.  (If you have not yet downloaded this latest release, you can read more info and download it from here )

AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 introduces a new protocol for transferring data between the endpoint device and the server database which holds all the user personalization settings.

The change means that the Personalization Server now benefits as it has to do a lot less processing in order to insert or extract the required data from the database, and can therefore support a lot more users and even faster response times.

Part of this change is to store the user’s personalization data in a compressed format in the database, which means the required database footprint is a lot smaller (in some cases by a factor of 10).

Internal performance tests yielded the following results:

  • 87.5% increase in performance scalability between version 8.0 and 8.0 SP2.
  • 45.0% increase in performance scalability between version 8.0 SP1 and 8.0 SP2.

Note: On upgrade to Service Pack 2, User Personalization data is in the old protocol format. This data is upgraded to the new format, in the database, on demand as applications are used and such, will incur a small performance hit on first launch. However, once all endpoints are upgraded to Service Pack 2 and all data in the database has been upgraded, the performance of User Personalization will be much higher than previous releases and scalability will be dramatically improved.

As always, if you have any questions or require any further information, please do get in touch.

P:S
As this is an ever growing blog topic, the previous posts on the other new features we have detailed can be found below:

NEW FEATURE No. 1 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Run As

NEW FEATURE No. 2 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Connect As

NEW FEATURE No. 3 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Improved compression and data handling protocol

NEW FEATURE No. 4 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Manipulation of files in Personalization Analysis

NEW FEATURE No. 5 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Run Once

NEW FEATURE No. 6 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Group SID Refresh

NEW FEATURE No. 7 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Trigger Action Time Audit Event

NEW FEATURE No. 8 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Stop If Fails

NEW FEATURE No. 9 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – New Application Categories in the User Interface

NEW FEATURE No. 10 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Refresh

NEW FEATURE No. 11 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Registry Hive Exclusions


Citrix, Microsoft & AppSense Roadshow with VAR MTM

August 25, 2009

MTM Technologies, a leading Citrix VAR, team up with Citrix, AppSense and Microsoft to and go on the road in a series of seminars across the USA to show how you can build a dynamic and flexible virtual infrastructure based on proven cost-effective technologies.

There will be demonstrations enabling you to learn about:
 –  Reducing LAN and WAN bandwidth requirements
 –  Providing best user experience
 –  Cutting desktop TCO
 –  How to use single image of OS and Apps across the enterprise
 –  Enable user personalization without Roaming Profile issues
 –  Automatically configure desktops without complex logon scripts

Register Today and you have a chance of winning a $100 Best Buy Gift Card.

The road show will be visiting the following cities, please click on the link to find more about the seminar date and venue location, along with registration form.

Irving, TX

Houston, TX

Chicago, IL

Los Angeles, CA

San Francisco, CA

Cincinatti, OH

Atlantic City, NJ

St. Louis, MO

We look forward to seeing you there!

TheGenerationV have also blogged on this exiting event


NEW FEATURE No. 2 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Connect As

August 25, 2009

Here is the second installment in a series of posts about the new features and options in AppSense Version 8 Service Pack 2.  (If you have not yet downloaded this latest release, you can read more info and download it from here )

AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 introduces a new option – Connect As.

Similar in functionality to the Run As option (see previous post), the Connect As option is only available from the Drive and Printers Actions.

This new feature can be used in conjunction with the existing AppSense Environment Manager policy actions, one example is that of mapping a shared network drive or folder, where multiple users would connect with the same user name and password.  By using AppSense Environment Manager and the new Connect As command, all required users will have the drive automatically mapped with the shared user name and password.

Note: When connecting as a specified user, AppSense Environment Manager impersonates the current user. This ensures the connection is added to the correct location in the registry

P:S
As this is an ever growing blog topic, more posts on the other new features we have detailed can be found below:

NEW FEATURE No. 1 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Run As

NEW FEATURE No. 2 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Connect As

NEW FEATURE No. 3 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Improved compression and data handling protocol

NEW FEATURE No. 4 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Manipulation of files in Personalization Analysis

NEW FEATURE No. 5 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Run Once

NEW FEATURE No. 6 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Group SID Refresh

NEW FEATURE No. 7 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Trigger Action Time Audit Event

NEW FEATURE No. 8 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Stop If Fails

NEW FEATURE No. 9 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – New Application Categories in the User Interface

NEW FEATURE No. 10 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Refresh

NEW FEATURE No. 11 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Registry Hive Exclusions


Does Citrix XenDesktop Help Companies during Natural Disasters?

August 24, 2009

Jon Wallace from www.InsideTheRegistry.comwrites an interesting piece on how Citrix XenDesktop may be able to help organizations during natural disasters and power outages..

“I’m currently building out a demo rig for an upcoming tradeshow and while I was installing the various bits and bobs for the XenDesktop solution it got me thinking as to its unusual uses.

I live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and during the summer, power outages are normal due to thunder storms and other bad weather.  This along with hurricanes, tropical storms and other activity makes working at home especially interesting at times.

When the power goes out, so does my communication.  I lose my internet, my landline and depending on the duration my laptop but one thing can be assured, the local Starbucks is always on – obviously people need coffee when they have downtime.  Anyway, back on track…

Imagine I was a columnist for a newspaper or magazine and I was working on the latest scoop that some celebrity has been caught eating a burger when the power went out – without connectivity I can’t upload the article to my corporate servers and get it out before my competitor does…”

Click here to read the rest of the article and learn how Citrix XenDesktop can help in this case…


NEW FEATURE No. 1 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Run As

August 24, 2009

This is the first installment in a series of posts about the new features and options in AppSense Version 8 Service Pack 2.  (If you have not yet downloaded this latest release, you can read more info and download it from here )

AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 introduces a new option – Run As.

This emulates the Microsoft Run As command and allows actions to be executed in the context of another, specified user.  For example launching an application in a different user context.

When selecting the Run As tab in an action you are presented with one, two or three options:

Current User: Available on all relevant User actions. This is the default selected method and runs the action in the context of the logged on user.

System: Available on all actions. This is the default method for Computer nodes and runs the action in the context of the System user.

User: Available on all relevant User actions. On selection of this option the administrator is prompted to select a friendly name to run as. If no friendly name exists, the Run As Library can be launched where friendly names, usernames and passwords can be stored for re‐use.

The friendly names are stored in the configuration in a reusable library section. Each friendly name is accompanied by the username and password. The password is encrypted using a one‐way public key. This prevents passwords from being reverse engineered.

During installation of the AppSense Environment Manager Agent, the private key is added to the machines key store. This is a write only store, i.e. it cannot be read.

When an action is run as a specified user the associated username and password are used to impersonate said user. AppSense Environment Manager uses a handle to the private key to decrypt the password at this point.

Note: The Run As specified user only impersonates that user. This means the user’s profile and registry hive are not loaded from the domain due to the associated overhead. This results in the environment variables for the action representing the System user and not the currently logged on user or specified user.

Note: This is both a very powerful and potentially dangerous function. Even though the password is encrypted, the username and password pair can be applied to any action and a malicious user may be able to alter the configuration to possibly bypass security. Therefore, this function must be used with extreme care.

P:S
As this is an ever growing blog topic, more posts on the other new features we have detailed can be found below:

NEW FEATURE No. 1 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Run As

NEW FEATURE No. 2 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Connect As

NEW FEATURE No. 3 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Improved compression and data handling protocol

NEW FEATURE No. 4 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Manipulation of files in Personalization Analysis

NEW FEATURE No. 5 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Run Once

NEW FEATURE No. 6 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Group SID Refresh

NEW FEATURE No. 7 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Trigger Action Time Audit Event

NEW FEATURE No. 8 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Stop If Fails

NEW FEATURE No. 9 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – New Application Categories in the User Interface

NEW FEATURE No. 10 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Refresh

NEW FEATURE No. 11 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Registry Hive Exclusions