InfoBlox and Citrix Issues [RESOLVED]

I have heard a lot on Infoblox issues with Citrix and had the chance to meet some of the Infoblox team today for lunch and a meeting.  My first question, and Kevin Dralle’s, whom I work with, was about the apparent incompatibility of InfoBlox and Citrix, especially with PVS.  Please comment if you think this doesn’t work or has issues.

 

Some of the issue have been described elsewhere (I know Jarian Gibson has wrote and tweeted a few things on this also)

http://discussions.citrix.com/topic/307967-dhcp-issues-with-pxe-boot-and-win7-os-streamed/

http://discussions.citrix.com/topic/301193-provisioned-desktops-with-infoblox/

With Infoblox there is a CTX but it’s a bit mysterious on details

http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX200036

So what is going on with InfoBlox, anytime we have had customer with InfoBlox on and Citrix we cringe or opt for perhaps a dual NIC, isolated PVS VLAN (using Microsoft DHCP).  In any case here is what happens.

InfoBlox assigns the device a UID based on MAC but also on some of the device characteristics. So when we boot off PVS, we bring up the bin file which acts as the OS at the time of PXE boot.  We have a static MAC but since after the bin file pulls the TFTP image then brings up a windows OS, the UID changes, which infoblox assumes you’ll need another IP address.  Obviously there are use cases for this but for PVS this is an issue as you’ll get two IP addresses.

One fix has been to use reservations but this defeats the whole purpose of using an appliance or solution to manage this all.  Furthermore, when or if you get into automation and orchestration, you’ve got one more component to worry about when increasing the scope.

You do need to be on the 6.6 or higher release for this option but it is worth it if you have this issue or are an InfoBlox shop and want to rollout PVS without trying something uncommon to deployments (using BDM has a lot less collateral out there than PXE boot does).

Below are the two areas from the Grid and Member layers where you can set this (courtesy of InfoBlox!).

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Categories: Citrix Tags: , , ,

Citrix SynergyTV – SYN119 – How Atlanta Public Schools delivers virtual desktops to 50,000 students #citrixsynergy

Categories: Citrix, XenDesktop Tags:

Redirecting Folders to Office 365

May 11, 2014 3 comments

I created a script a while ago to map folders at logon to enable saving directly to OneDrive for Business (also known as SharePoint Online or SkyDrive Pro). I plan to explain more on this but it was the script I mentioned in my #SYN119 presentation at Citrix Synergy 2014.

This script is now up and published on codeplex and is under the GPLv3 license (a copyleft license). Feel free to use and modify if you can help. Below is a slight description of what the script does and why it was created.

https://office365drivemap.codeplex.com/

This project is to enable the use of Office 365 as redirected folders in Microsoft. Specifically, this script and method can be used on a Windows 7 desktop (or higher) with Citrix and roaming profiles (or any persistent profile method). What makes this unique is that no local storage is used (unless you can’t connect to office 365 and then it’s only temporary).

This script was developed by Tyler Bithell and Tom Gamull for a customer implementation. The customer desired a method to eliminate the use of local or shared storage and leverage their Microsoft Office 365 subscription.

You must have a subscription that gives you the SharePoint Online (Groove, SkyDrive Pro or OneDrive for Business). This is NOT the same as SkyDrive or OneDrive (these are just an online storage method, like Dropbox).

We leverage a method of WebDAV drive mapping utilizing NET USE. Although you can utilize OneDrive for Business for Microsoft Office applications directly, non-integrated applications are not able to be used except through navigation to the folder. This is often a problem for task works, students and others used to using My Documents or Downloads. Therefore this script was created to deal with this issue.

The script was announced but not shown at the Citrix Synergy 2014 conference in #SYN119. This script will also be discussed in the Cisco Live session Tom Gamull is presenting on Atlanta Public Schools.

XenDesktop 7.1 SQL Mirroring

March 6, 2014 1 comment

Mirroring in SQL is a great way to protect your XenDesktop infrastructure. In 7.1 deployments this can be a bit challenging since the documentation at Citrix doesn’t reflect an accurate way to accomplish this goal.

First let’s go over some basics. SQL Mirroring is a 3 server setup with a primary SQL server running a database, another secondary SQL server also running the database and a third SQL witness server which does NOT run the database (runs SQL, just no data). If you use local disk, this is an excellent setup. If you have two storage appliances, this is a great setup. If you have one big SAN, this doesn’t make much sense. To make mirroring worthwhile, you need 3 SEPERATE storage locations for each server. If you have two servers on the same storage, mirroring will not provide much value (other than a learning opportunity). I feel this is where people can easily forget why you mirror.

To demonstrate why, let’s say I have a two node management cluster, one host runs my primary SQL server and the other runs my secondary and the witness. I put the primary on the local disk of HOST1 and the secondary and witness (which is lightweight) on the local disk of HOST2. I have an issue. Let’s say HOST1 goes down, HOST2 is up and SQL stays up just fine because we have one of the mirrored servers running PLUS the witness. Let’s say I accidentally shut down the witness. No problem. Let’s say I shutdown HOST2 or do maintenance. Now I’ve got a problem. When the primary SQL server can’t see the witness AND the secondary SQL server, it stops. This is by design, it doesn’t know if it’s orphaned. It assume those two other servers don’t see it but must be serving the data. If I simply use a witness on a third unique HOST and storage area, my mirror is looking great! If I only have 2 hosts or shared storage, this is where a cluster makes sense. Clusters cannot survive storage failures, but mirrors can. However, you are writing to both storage locations at the same time. Often I’ll use two unique SANs and put the witness on local disk. I can now survive a storage appliance failure, however it’s only as good as having three different points of failure instead of one.

SQL Mirror

With that said, my main topic was how to get this done on your XenDesktop 7.1 controllers. This appears to have been posted other places but since I had to do it I thought I’d share also. There is an excellent post at Citrix on this here. here.

I did this manually below but I heavily recommend downloading his script and giving a shot before manually doing this.

I want to add one caveat, you MUST create the machine account logins in SQL on the mirror. So you’ll need to do this after a forced failover to the mirror. In addition, you may also need to delete the machine accounts and add them back if you migrate the SQL database, say from SQL Express to Standard/Enterprise for example. This is what worked for me, hopefully it helps

Now for this next part, I like to do this one controller at a time. If you mess up you can’t really go back and fix things if your controllers get orphaned. This is why during upgrades, you only partially update the farm, in case you need to roll back.


$cs = "Server=YOUR_SQL_SERVER_NAME;Initial Catalog=YOU_SQL_DATABASE_NAME;Integrated Security=True"


Set-LogSite -State Disabled
Set-LogDBConnection -DataStore Logging -DBConnection $null
Set-MonitorDBConnection -DataStore Monitor -DBConnection $null


Set-MonitorDBConnection -DBConnection $null
Set-AcctDBConnection -DBConnection $null
Set-ProvDBConnection -DBConnection $null
Set-BrokerDBConnection -DBConnection $null
Set-EnvTestDBConnection -DBConnection $null
Set-SfDBConnection -DBConnection $null
Set-HypDBConnection -DBConnection $null
Set-ConfigDBConnection -DBConnection $null -force
Set-LogDBConnection -DBConnection $null -force
Set-AdminDBConnection -DBConnection $null -force

Another way to clear the controllers out


$controllers = Get-BrokerController | %{$_.DNSName}


foreach ($controller in $controllers)
{
Write-Host "Disconnect controller $controller ..."


Set-ConfigDBConnection -DBConnection $null -AdminAddress $Controller
Set-AcctDBConnection -DBConnection $null -AdminAddress $Controller
Set-HypDBConnection -DBConnection $null -AdminAddress $Controller
Set-ProvDBConnection -DBConnection $null -AdminAddress $Controller
Set-BrokerDBConnection -DBConnection $null -AdminAddress $Controller
Set-EnvTestDBConnection -DBConnection $null -AdminAddress $Controller
Set-SfDBConnection -DBConnection $null -AdminAddress $Controller
Set-MonitorDBConnection -Datastore Monitor -DBConnection $null -AdminAddress $Controller
reset-MonitorDataStore -DataStore Monitor
Set-MonitorDBConnection -DBConnection $null -AdminAddress $Controller
Set-LogDBConnection -DataStore Logging -DBConnection $null -AdminAddress $Controller
reset-LogDataStore -DataStore Logging
Set-LogDBConnection -DBConnection $null -AdminAddress $Controller
Set-AdminDBConnection -DBConnection $null -AdminAddress $Controller
}

If the last two won’t work, try adding -force on the end. If they still don’t do the following (may need to reboot)
Get-Service Citrix* | Stop-Service -Force
Get-Service Citrix* | Start-Service

Ok now it’s time to go mirror, once you’re done setting up the mirror set the database on ONE of the servers only and verify it before moving to the next one(s)

You already set the $cs variable but if you opened a new window or lost it, set it again


$cs = "Server=YOUR_SQL_SERVER_NAME;Initial Catalog=YOU_SQL_DATABASE_NAME;Integrated Security=True"
set-ConfigDBconnection -dbconnection $cs
set-AdminDBconnection -dbconnection $cs
set-LogDBconnection -dbconnection $cs
set-AcctDBconnection -dbconnection $cs
set-BrokerDBconnection -dbconnection $cs
set-EnvTestDBconnection -dbconnection $cs
set-HypDBconnection -dbconnection $cs
set-MonitorDBconnection -dbconnection $cs
set-ProvDBconnection -dbconnection $cs
set-SfDBconnection -dbconnection $cs
Set-LogDbConnection -DataStore logging -DbConnection $cs
Set-MonitorDbConnection -DataStore monitor -DbConnection $cs


Set-LogSite -State Enabled


$testString = Get-BrokerDBConnection
Test-BrokerDBConnection $testString | fl

Now make sure you TEST FAILOVER before declaring success.

Categories: Citrix, SQL, XenDesktop Tags: , ,

Fixing Thomas the Tank wooden train tracks (or Brio)

February 1, 2014 Leave a comment
Categories: Uncategorized

Fixing Thomas the Tank wooden train tracks (or Brio)

February 1, 2014 3 comments

If you have young children like I do (4 kids, aged 5,4,3 and 1) you probably have some Thomas the Tank Engine wooden train tracks.  A few of these pieces have this plastic plug that is the “male” piece, which obviously joins with the female piece.  Try as you might, there is little that can be done if your bundle of joy pulls out the plug and loses it.  You have what I’d call a “neutered” piece.  It’s flat, but neither male nor female.  Unfortunately, some of the best pieces are usually the ones with this plastic plug male piece in them (hills, splitters, animated sections, etc).

Since this toy is not cheap (for what you get) and I supposedly can fix anything, I had to attempt to figure this out.  Searching the internet yielded no results but finally I found a random post on some forum that provided a solution (and the guy who posted it deserves all the credit!)

http://www.forums.woodnet.net/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Number=6168245

To help you out, you’ll want to get the right sized eye screws (pic is what I bought at Home Depot), also get the drywall #10 anchors.  You’ll end up cutting the anchors (about 1 or 2 ridges should protrude from the hole).  When you screw in the eye it doesn’t need to be dead center but try to get it somewhat straight.  Electrician’s pliers work very well but honestly any pair of pliers will do fine.

Now I have happy 3 and 5 year old boys.  Perhaps your 3 year old son isn’t obsessed with trains like mine, that’s fine, but if he is, I hope this helps.

Image

What you’ll need

Image

What it should look like

Image

Final Product

 

XenDesktop 7.1 and Storefront long log on times

December 23, 2013 Leave a comment

First of all this is really just a cut-and-paste from a talented co-worker, Jason Allen.

All I ran into an issue with XenDesktop 7.1 and Storefront 2.1. I was having long log on times when connecting via storefront internally (30 seconds) and it was all on the HDX connection. If I logged on via the Netscaler the logon was 10 seconds. After going through Citrix escalation we saw that the receiver/XD7 was trying to connect via 2598 and would time out and default to 1494. I had specifically disabled session reliability via policy which disables the 2598 port listener. Apparently this causes an issue with XenDesktop 7.1. I removed the session reliability policy (left it default at not configured). Rebooted the servers so 2598 listener was listening and problem was gone. So keep this in the back of your head and do not explicitly deny session reliability in XD7.1. Hope this saves you guys from some headaches!

Further research by Jason also found that the issue only appears if session reliability is disabled AND the firewall is on.  Quoting him below.

“Guys – I just tested this in my lab today, the issue only appears when session reliability is disabled AND the windows firewall is on. Even though 2598 is allowed through the windows firewall it was still causing a problem. I tested with session reliability disabled and windows firewall disabled and the connection speed was normal. I emailed this information to the Citrix Escalation engineer but thought I would share my findings.”

Hope this helps anyone.  Personally I usually leave Session Reliability on in my deployments but most people who have done this a while always leave it off.  XenDesktop 7 and 7.1 have greatly improved the feature but also the need for it is the proper determining factor. Anyone, hope this helps a few people out there and if you are a customer in Boston, know Presidio has some great engineers up that way and we’re looking out for you.

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