Citrix Session & Application Timeouts, a Great Solution

July 21, 2009

I had a great day on Tuesday. An AppSense client had an issue where their remote workers experienced their Citrix applications timing out on them.

After connecting, and using application 1, by the time they go to use application number 2, it had timed out, and when they try to restart it, Web Interface had timed out as well.

So the clients question was  “How can AppSense help me?!”.

Enter “ENVIRO-MAN” from the left of screen. All dressed in pretty green and looking surprisingly like the Environment Manager Product Manager :-)

“Your session timeouts do not scare me” he roared as he landed awkwardly on the photocopier, injuring his knee.

While “ENVIRO-MAN” proceeded to bore one of the office staff with stories about the mighty Blackpool Football Club, I decided to dig in and fix the problem.

Session Timeouts are controlled by a number of parameters – as examples, there are some per server settings based on type of connection (RDP or ICA) and some user based settings set in Active Directory.

However, if you require more granularity, that’s where AppSense Environment Manager lives…

By using a Group Policy Action (Set ADM Policy / Set ADMX Policy), I was able to load in the ADM settings from the “C:\Windows\inf” directory.  I then typed “session” into the filter, and up came the Terminal Server Session Timeout setting…  Magic :-)

By using EM Rules/Conditions I could now vary the Session timeouts based on IP address, Client Name, or even by integrating it into the results of Citrix AAC filters :-)

I demoed it to the client (they were blown away), thanked ENVIRO-MAN for his help and left to help the next client in need.

All in a good days work :-)

Group Policy Objects (GPO’s) & AppSense Environment Manager

July 1, 2009

Background information on GPO’s
Group Policy Objects are a common part of most organizations IT policy, while they are a needed tool for controlling the desktop, applications and security settings presented to a user, they are also one of the most complicated and time consuming policies to set up and maintain in an enterprise environment.

The main challenge with GPO’s is quite simply the management overhead required to keep on top of the ever changing requirements of the enterprise. Given that Policy is typically applied [within the AD] at Domain level, Computer Organizational Unit (OU) level and at User OU level, it can easily and rapidly become a management nightmare to ensure that the complexity does not overcome the needs of policy configuration in the first place. This along with the GPO’s inability to have fine enough granularity (limited to AD Groups and OU as the means of depicting whether Policy is applied) make GPO’s a difficult method to accurately deliver the policy to the corporate end points and end users.
Managing GPO’s with AppSense Environment Manager.
AppSense Environment Manager resolves the above issues, reducing complexity and saving on time and cost by completely replacing the admin intensive process with an easy to use graphical user interface, complete with wizard based actions.

Actions can be selected and then applied at a user or device level, based on environment variables, without the need for any complex scripts. Furthermore, the GUI ensures consistency between Administrators, meaning any other support worker can quickly troubleshoot and amend any existing configuration.

AppSense Environment Manager builds on the GPO technology, but instead of relying on complex scripting and applying settings at an OU level or computer level, Environment Manager uses a GUI interface to present the administrator with an easy to read list of ADM templates and GPO settings, and then enables them to be applied at a user level based on a flexible rules list.

With the Environment Manager flexible rule set, Group Policy actions need not be applied at a group level.. but instead, to whoever or whatever you want..