Monthly Archives: May 2013

vmware vCenter 5.1 Update 1a Available

VMware Logo

Iconic as vmware partners, are pleased to announce vCenter 5.1 Update 1a, released May 2013. This is the release that we, at Iconic, have been waiting for, as full official support of Windows Server 2012 as a vCenter Host is finally here.

As soon as the latest release was available we immediately downloaded it and upgraded both of our vCenter servers – Live and Demo Environments. We are pleased to report that all has worked flawlessly and operations are as expected – although ote if doing an in place Windows 2008 R2 Upgrade see our additional blog of minor issues we found – but nothing to worry about as long as you do it in the right order ! If you do encounter issues and require our help please contact us at enquiries@iconicit.co.uk

The ability to utilise the latest Windows 2012 Operating System has been welcome as Iconic were early adopters of Windows 2012 throughout our network..

A brief feature list has been included below to let our customers know what is included in this release.

What’s New

This release of VMware vCenter Server 5.1 Update 1a offers the following improvements:

vCenter Server is now supported on Windows Server 2012

vCenter Server now supports the following databases.

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2

vCenter Server now supports customization of the following guest operating systems:

  • Windows 8
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Ubuntu12.04
  • RHEL 5.9

vCenter Essentials no longer enforces vRAM usage limit of 192 GB

With vSphere 5.1 Update 1, the Essentials and Essentials Plus licenses no longer restrict virtual machine power-on operations when the vRAM usage limit of 192 GB is met.

Full details of this release and important information can be found here

http://www.vmware.com/support/vsphere5/doc/vsphere-vcenter-server-51u1a-release-notes.html

If you have any questions about the blog post please direct any questions to blogs@iconicit.co.uk

Citrix XenApp 6.5 Feature Pack 2 Announced

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Citrix Announce XenApp 6.5 Feature Pack 2

Enhance seamless delivery of apps across devices and extend 3D graphics experiences to more users

It is reconginsed by Iconic and Citrix that the existing customers of Citrix XenApp 6.5 may be reluctant to move to the new XenDesktop 7 experinece just yet – so with this in mind Citrix has released Citrix XenApp 6.5 Feature Pack 2. Iconic will be releasing this into the Demonstration Suite for our customers to experience as soon as it is available. Check back soon for any updated blogs and installation guides / issues that may arise.

Citrix XenApp 6.5 FP2 provides new functionality, sharing many of the innovations with the XenDesktop 7 release. The latest functionality includes seamless delivery of apps through a newly redesigned unified app store and clientless Citrix Receiver. Hardware-based GPU sharing of OpenGL-based apps lowers the cost of delivering powerful 3D graphics apps. The latest Windows app compatibility and management tools from Citrix and Microsoft accelerate physical to virtual (P2V) migrations and deployment.

Unified app store for desktops, apps, mobile and data*

  • Redesigned Citrix StoreFront unifies app and desktop access through a seamless user experience, whether on the corporate network or remote through Citrix NetScaler Gateway.
  • Updated Citrix Receivers are so easy to install that users can do it themselves. Users simply enter their corporate email address after installation to automatically configure Receiver.
  • Clientless Receiver experience renders apps and desktops in a browser in the event that a native Receiver cannot be installed on a user’s device.

3D professional graphics delivery at lower cost

  • Unique GPU-sharing technology for XenDesktop hosted-shared sessions extends the reach and value of delivering 3D professional graphics apps to non-designers that view and edit 3D data.
  • Latest OpenGL, Direct X, CUDA and CL versions supported

Windows app compatibility and management

Virtualize apps faster with AppDNA**
  • Analyse existing Windows apps for use in hosted shared environments and then automatically remediate and prepare the apps for immediate use on XenDesktop.
Latest Microsoft integrations including Hyper-V3 support
  • Microsoft Lync 2013 VDI plug-in for Citrix Receiver for Windows enables optimized audio and video performance of the latest Microsoft Lync 2013 client for VDI and hosted-shared delivery technologies.
  • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2012 Connector enables administrators to deliver any Windows application to any user on any device through Citrix Receiver as a XenApp deployment type.

If you have any questions about the blog post please direct any questions to blogs@iconicit.co.uk

Citrix XenDesktop 7 Released Today

Iconic can announce the news that Citrix XenDesktop 7 (formerly Project Excalibur) is now available for download and install today – 26th June 2013.

We have already downloaded XenDesktop 7 and started an install- we will keep you posted how this goes.

New updates to this blog will include a step by step screenshot guide on a basic install so check back on our blogs to be kept up to date as this will be available shortly.

Iconic will deploy XenDesktop 7 to our Demonstration Environment – if you want to arrange a preview look at the new features please feel free to have a look.

Below is a copy of the reference architecture which XenDesktop 7 brings to the table. The ability to publish applications and desktops – both server and VDi Desktops from one console is quite simply brilliant. Above and beyond this the new storefront is pretty great as well.

Below is a list of features listed about XenDesktop 7 and how we anticipate a great take up from new and existing clients.

Citrix XenDesktop 7 offers integrated Windows application and desktop mobility, easier deployment options and simplified management, all delivered through cloud-style architecture console. Current XenDesktop and Citrix XenApp® customers will find the new architecture easier than ever to deploy, manage and support. XenDesktop 7 represents the state-of-the-art in application and desktop virtualization, enabling any business to mobilize Windows apps and desktops and deliver them as a cloud service to any device.

Feature List

New HDX Mobile™ Technologies Deliver an Intuitive, Mobile-Friendly Experience

Enterprises are under mounting pressure to respond to the demands of an increasingly mobile workforce and BYOD. However, most businesses use Windows apps that were never meant to be mobile. Breakthrough technologies in XenDesktop 7 enable any Windows app to function intuitively and transparently on mobile devices, providing a seamless experience on devices of any type. Innovative touch screen capabilities translate multi-touch gestures and finger swipes into smooth navigation and scrolling commands. Native menu controls streamline interaction with the application by translating pull-down lists and complex mouse navigation. Powerful compression and redirection technologies automatically adjust to accommodate mobile broadband networks. Industry-leading HDX technologies now fully incorporate H.264 compression for a 100 percent increase in WAN bandwidth efficiency. New HDX compression capabilities can dynamically optimize the bit rate of full HD video so it is viewable over 3G mobile networks. New Citrix StoreFront interface unifies and secures app and desktop access through a seamless user experience – whether on the corporate network or away from the office via the Citrix NetScaler® Gateway solution.

Simple to Deploy, Manage and Support

XenDesktop 7 simplifies administration and operations with purpose-built consoles for managing and deploying virtual apps and desktops:Simplified workflows and automated configuration checking to eliminate as much as 80 percent of the time and effort needed to deploy new services. Wizard-driven installation gets deployments up and running in 20 minutes. Advanced cloud management capabilities provide a purpose-built help desk console and real-time troubleshooting with EdgeSight® end-user experience analytics tools.

Cloud-style Architecture Designed for Automation and Scale

XenDesktop 7 integrates the market-leading XenApp and VDI desktop virtualization technologies into a unified FlexCast Management Architecture (FMA) for the most scalable solution for delivering Windows apps and desktops as cloud services. Simplified architecture can deliver Windows Server (RDS) or VDI desktops from a single console, speeding production deployments by as much as 80 percent. Automated physical to virtual app migration tools powered by Citrix AppDNA software speed application migration time by 90 percent compared to manual validation. Powerful new administration features automate common tasks while integrating the configuration of profile management, StoreFront, publishing and storage optimization. Built as an open platform that can be deployed on any hypervisor or cloud management solution, including Citrix CloudPlatform™, powered by Apache CloudStack, or Amazon Web Services.

Availability

XenDesktop 7 will be available in June 2013. XenDesktop 7 is available in Platinum, Enterprise and VDI editions on a per-user, per-device or concurrent basis. In addition, the new XenDesktop App edition is available for all hosted-shared (RDS) app and desktop workloads. XenApp Enterprise and Platinum customers with active Subscription Advantage can update to this edition at no additional charge and migrate their environments at their own pace.

Forefront TMG and UAG TCP Offload

Introduction

TCP Chimney Offload Overview

TCP Chimney Offload is a networking technology that helps transfer the workload from the CPU to a network adapter during network data transfer. In Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, TCP Chimney Offload enables the Windows networking subsystem to offload the processing of a TCP/IP connection to a network adapter that includes special support for TCP/IP offload processing. TCP Chimney Offload is available in all versions of Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Vista. Both TCP/IPv4 connections and TCP/IPv6 connections can be offloaded if the network adapter supports this feature.

More Information

We have come across various problems at customer sites where their ISA, TMG or UAG was behaving in a very strange way. The configuration within the management console seemed to be OK, and all other network components with which the ISA / TMG / UAG Firewall communicating with also seemed to be configured just fine. Still, we’d see strange problems like:

· OWA Web Publishing Rules performing very, very poorly

· PPTP VPN access failed to establish a connection, while L2TP did not experience any problems.

· Adding a second site-to-site VPN tunnel caused the existing VPN tunnel to go down, and no VPN connectivity was possible until the new tunnel was removed from the configuration.

· SMTP server publishing returned lots of failed connection attempts. Some mail would come through, but a lot of mail just failed to be delivered.

Over time we realize that all of these problems were caused by advanced Network card features that are supported in newer versions of Windows. ISA, TMG and UAG are sometimes unable to work properly if these options are enabled. Somewhere deep within the Microsoft documentation these options are mentioned, with the advice to turn all these options off.
Issue

Issue with slow connectivity to UAG portals, end point scanning and general behaviour issues

Resolution or Work Round

Disable TCP Offload

Please be aware that when modifying the network card, you will lose connectivity to the server for a short period of time and I would recommend that you can get console access to the server

The following configuration should be added to the registry:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\Tcpip\Parameters]

“EnableRSS”=dword:00000000

“EnableTCPA”=dword:00000000

“EnableTCPChimney”=dword:00000000

“EnableSecurityFilters”=dword:00000000

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To confirm the settings use the following command – netsh int tcp show global

The output should look something like this:

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If receive side scaling and/or chimney offloading are enabled, you can disable them with the following commands:

netsh int tcp set global chimney=disabled

netsh int tcp set global rss=disabled

Installing and Running Splunk on CentOS 6.4

To be able to download the Splunk RPM you will need to create a free Splunk account to do this go to the following Web Site and signup:

https://www.splunk.com/page/sign_up

Once you have Signed up and logged in you will be able to download Splunk for a multitude of operating Systems for this tutorial we will be using the latest Linux 2.6+ Kernel version for CentOS:

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If you would like to check what Kernel version you are currently running you can run uname –a at a shell prompt and this will tell you the current version as you can see from the following screenshot our copy of CentOS 6.4 is running kernel version 2.6.32

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Click the link for the RPM version as we are using a Red hat derivative, and on the following page you can select the wget link to download the RPM directly from your Linux machine:

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This will open a new window with the full wget command to download the RPM so make sure you are in a directory with enough space to store the rpm such as /tmp, once you press return wget will download the Splunk RPM into your current directory ready for installation.

Once the download has completed to install Splunk simply enter rpm –ivh splunk.*.rpm [Replace .* with the current version you downloaded]

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Once the installation ahs been completed you will see a several importnat things to note:

  1. Splunk was installed into /opt/splunk – program files will be found in this directory
  2. To start he application /opt/splunk/bin/splunk start
  3. To control the application the website will be running on port 8000 on your server http://<yourserver FQDN>:8000

So firstly we need to start the application running so from a shell prompt /opt/splunk/bin/splunk start

You will then be prompted with the EULA you should read through this and scroll to the bottom and enter Y if you agree to the EULA

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At this point Splunk will recognise this is the first time running the application and will run a file check, ensure nothing is listening on the TCP ports that it requires for its operation, it will set itself up to auto start with the machine and finally start the application listening.

Now open a web browser and marvel in amazement how easy your deployment of such a great tool was, you will need to change the admin credentials.

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Once you have changed the password you are ready to go

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Citrix XenApp 6.5 Hotfix Rollup Pack 2 BETA

Citrix has recently announced Hotfix Rollup pack 2 for XenApp 6.5 into Beta.

We have successfully deployed the Hotfix Rollup into our Test environment and so far we have no issues to report.

The following Citrix hot fixes have been added into the rollup:

XA650R01W2K8R2X64001, XA650R01W2K8R2X64002, XA650R01W2K8R2X64003, XA650R01W2K8R2X64004, XA650R01W2K8R2X64005, XA650R01W2K8R2X64006, XA650R01W2K8R2X64007, XA650R01W2K8R2X64009, XA650R01W2K8R2X64010, XA650R01W2K8R2X64011, XA650R01W2K8R2X64012, XA650R01W2K8R2X64013, XA650R01W2K8R2X64014, XA650R01W2K8R2X64015, XA650R01W2K8R2X64016, XA650R01W2K8R2X64017, XA650R01W2K8R2X64018, XA650R01W2K8R2X64019, XA650R01W2K8R2X64020, XA650R01W2K8R2X64021, XA650R01W2K8R2X64022, XA650R01W2K8R2X64023, XA650R01W2K8R2X64024, XA650R01W2K8R2X64025, XA650R01W2K8R2X64026, XA650R01W2K8R2X64027, XA650R01W2K8R2X64028, XA650R01W2K8R2X64029, XA650R01W2K8R2X64030, XA650R01W2K8R2X64031, XA650R01W2K8R2X64033, XA650R01W2K8R2X64034, XA650R01W2K8R2X64036, XA650R01W2K8R2X64037, XA650R01W2K8R2X64038, XA650R01W2K8R2X64039, XA650R01W2K8R2X64040, XA650R01W2K8R2X64042, XA650R01W2K8R2X64043, XA650R01W2K8R2X64044, XA650R01W2K8R2X64045, XA650R01W2K8R2X64046, XA650R01W2K8R2X64047, XA650R01W2K8R2X64048, XA650R01W2K8R2X64049, XA650R01W2K8R2X64050, XA650R01W2K8R2X64051, XA650R01W2K8R2X64052, XA650R01W2K8R2X64053, XA650R01W2K8R2X64055, XA650R01W2K8R2X64056, XA650R01W2K8R2X64057, XA650R01W2K8R2X64058, XA650R01W2K8R2X64059, XA650R01W2K8R2X64060, XA650R01W2K8R2X64061, XA650R01W2K8R2X64062, XA650R01W2K8R2X64063, XA650R01W2K8R2X64064, XA650R01W2K8R2X64065, XA650R01W2K8R2X64066, XA650R01W2K8R2X64067, XA650R01W2K8R2X64068, XA650R01W2K8R2X64069, XA650R01W2K8R2X64070, XA650R01W2K8R2X64071, XA650R01W2K8R2X64074, XA650R01W2K8R2X64077, XA650R01W2K8R2X64078, XA650R01W2K8R2X64080, XA650R01W2K8R2X64082, XA650R01W2K8R2X64083, XA650R01W2K8R2X64084, XA650R01W2K8R2X64086, XA650R01W2K8R2X64087, XA650R01W2K8R2X64088, XA650R01W2K8R2X64090, XA650W2K8R2X64032, XA650W2K8R2X64033, XA650W2K8R2X64034, XA650W2K8R2X64036, XA650W2K8R2X64R01

As you can see this will save a lot of post implementation patching, and if like us you like to keep things as up to date as possible, will save you time in the long run

The Citrix Patch can be downloaded from here:

http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX137585

If you would like any assistance in deploying patch or remedial work to your Citrix environments please feel free to give us a call on 0330 088 3338