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Author: Created: Thursday, March 15, 2007 8:06:54 AM RssIcon
These blogs contain various of items of interest to me in the areas of server based computing, windows server administration, security, virtualization, and home theater PCs.
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 3:32:18 PM
IMHO, Reflector is probably the single most important .NET software development tool next to Visual Studio itself.  Don't believe me?  See Scott Hanselman's "The Big 10 Life and Work-Changing Utilities" list from 2007.  I use it constantly when trying to decompile someone's existing .NET code to fix a bug or rewrite it, etc.

So today I got an email in my inbox today from Lutz Roeder mentioning that he was ceasing development and that the tool was being taken over by Red Gate Software.  Before I make any comments, I'd like to first express my gratitude to Lutz for 8 long years of development on a tool that he shared with everyone for free.  The tool has been indispensible to me over the years.

Now on to my thoughts:

First I think that something like Reflector might be best served by being opened up to the open source community rather than existing within the realm of a commercial entity.  That being said, Red Gate software has already agreed to continue making a community edition of Reflector (and plugins) available for free from it's website.  While I always question the motivation of a commercial entity behind free versions of software, I also have a lot of respect for Red Gate software as they make some really cool tools.  My personal hopes are that they do continue development of Reflector and continue to increase the features in the community version that they make available for free.  I just hope they don't require people to purchase in order to get new features.

By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, July 09, 2008 1:15:18 PM
A client of mine has standardized on Virtual PC 2007 for desktop virtual machine needs (not for their VDI or Server VMs, but just simple desktop VM needs).  They recently created a transform for customizing the default install, but after deployment noticed that there was one major issue with the package.  The issue is that VPC picks a subfolder of "My Documents" named "My Virtual Machines" as it's default store location when creating a new virtual machine.  This would obviously be a very bad choice when using Group Policy enforced managed folder redirection (just imagine how slow the VMs would be if they were stored on the network!, not to mention issues around home drive quotas, etc).  Anyway, the packaging team couldn't find an option in the app, nor a registry setting anywhere to change the default folder location for this.  Also, since we're dealing with a network location, you can't get by with a subst command or junction point.  While I didn't know the answer myself, I figured Google might.  After a quick...
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, July 03, 2008 2:43:55 PM

Daniel Feller from the Citrix Worldwide Consulting Solutions group has posted a nice set of Visio Stencils for the new Citrix Delivery Center components.  This includes visio shapes for all the new XenApp branded components as well as XenDesktop, XenServer, Password Manager, Netscaler, WANscaler, Branch Repeater, etc.  I definitely recommend picking up a copy if you frequently do Visio diagrams of Citrix infrastructure components.  And thanks to Daniel for sharing this with the community.

By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, July 02, 2008 12:14:44 PM
I received an email yesterday that I was nominated and approved for a Microsoft MVP in Terminal Services.  What can I say other than I'm honored to be included in such a great group of people who contribute so much to the community at large.  Thanks to everyone for their support.  My MVP page can be found here.  One of these days (when I get free time) I'll actually update my profile to include all the relevant info.  Also, Congrats to the other new Terminal Server MVPs:  Seung Heun Noh: Terminal Server: Engineering, Greg Shields: Terminal Server: Author, and Joe Shonk: Terminal Server: Architecture.  

By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, July 01, 2008 2:28:24 PM
The age old question of whether or not you should virtualize a Citrix server.  It use to be a diffcult question because the virtualization platforms were not very optimized for a Terminal Server workload.  Many things have changed in this regard, and now it's not such a crazy decision anymore.  There are certain use cases where it's a no brainer (license servers, web interface, secure gateway, etc).  However, for pure Presentation Servers it was always a bit of a toss up.  On one hand you have a situation where you know you're going to get less users than on physical hardware, versus the other side that says since 32-bit Windows is limited to 2 GB of kernel memory, then virtualizing some Citrix servers on a 16GB or 32GB server carved up into several Terminal Server VMs will scale more users than a single physical instance on th equivalent server hardware.  But that's comparing a physical install using 32-bit Windows, not 64-bit.  Still, it does make a lot of sense to at least consider virtualizing your Terminal...
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, July 01, 2008 2:24:00 PM

I recently came across this blog entry posted on the App-V blog stating that Process Monitor was recently updated to support the new App-V Release Candidate that was just released last week.  You can get version 1.35 of Process Monitor here.   Also, did you know that you can launch the SysInternals tools directly from the web by visiting live.sysinternals.com  Check it out, it's pretty helpful.

By Shawn Bass on Monday, June 02, 2008 8:52:24 AM

Al Solorzano recently posted a nice article on Group Policy Preferences over here.  If you're not familiar with Group Policy Preferences, it's the technology that Microsoft acquired from Desktop Standard.  GPP is a nice way of extending management reach to registry settings that were previously not able to be managed by Group Policy (at least not without those PITA Administrative Templates anyway).  There's also some powerful capabilities for filtering that are largely lacking from Group Policy.  While out at Citrix Synergy a little over a week ago, I had the pleasure of some great conversation with Al at a group dinner outing.  Al is extremely knowledgable about a variety of technologies and I highly recommend following his blog (if you don't already).  Al's blog can be found here.

By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, May 14, 2008 10:09:41 PM
Vishal Ganeriwala from Citrix has recently posted a blog entry about a social networking contest that's being conducted at the Citrix Synergy event next week in Houston.  If you happen to be attending, here's how the process goes:

You comment on Vishal's blog entry stating that you'd like to borrow one of the FlipVideo cameras. You record some 5 minute video segment capturing your thoughts (or someone elses if you don't have any LOL) regarding the Citrix Synergy event. You turn the camera back into Vishal the following day. All the videos get uploaded to YouTube. The top 5 most viewed submissions will receive the FlipVideo camera for free....
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, May 14, 2008 8:39:35 AM

Justin Zarb recently blogged about a video he found from a TechEd session where John Sheehan gave an overview of the new features in SoftGrid / MAV 4.5.  I'd love to give all sort of nice comments about the video, but I'm plagued by the Silverlight Download Error 4001 so I can't even watch the video.  Anyway, I'm passing it along in case you haven't seen Justin's blog entry about it.

By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, May 06, 2008 2:47:44 PM

Microsoft has officially re-released Windows XP Service Pack 3 today.  Get the full download here.

By Shawn Bass on Friday, May 02, 2008 9:36:45 AM

Vishal Ganeriwala from Citrix sent me a tip that Dr. SDK (head Citrix MFCOM jockey) has updating his SDK Guide "Scripting MetaFrame".  The new guide can be found here and is a must read for anyone attempting to use MFCOM from VBScript/PowerShell, etc.

By Shawn Bass on Thursday, May 01, 2008 2:39:24 PM
Gus Pinto has blogged recently about a utility developed by the internal IT organization at Citrix that was used to assist in minimizing the amount of time required to get people into their Citrix apps.  You can see a "veedio" [ LOL @Gus ;) ] of this in action here.  Gus also did a follow up interview with the creators of the utility here.

One thing to know up front about this utility is that it will be released to the web as an unsupported utility on CDN.  It won't be an "official" Citrix product.

Now before I comment on this, let me first state that I have no inside knowledge of how this thing was developed, nor am I an expert at the inner workings of it.  That being said, let me state some assumptions about how I *think* this thing is working and some potential shortcomings of it. ...
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 3:56:57 PM
For those not familiar with SQL injection, it's in it's simplest form a method of injection a SQL statement into a database server by way of hiding it in a web parameter.  There's a more detailed explanation here.

Anyway, I wanted to throw together a quick blog entry on this because SQL injection is a very common issue that affects a large number of public websites.  Most of the webmasters are not even aware that their web site exposes them to SQL injection.  Recently, there's been a flurry of activity and news...
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 7:26:56 AM

With only three weeks to go before the Citrix Synergy event in Houston, TX Barry Flanagan has posted up a list of technical sessions from the Citrix Synergy conference.  While anything could happen, I'm getting the general feeling like this might just be the most technical Citrix iForum ever.  Even if not, I'm just happy that Citrix is actually publically recognizing the Citrix Technology Professional program as opposed to treating it like the ugly red-headed stepchild (no offense to ugly red-headed stepchildren).

View the list of technical sessions in Barry's blog entry.

By Shawn Bass on Sunday, April 27, 2008 12:31:51 PM
I have been a long time supporter of the Citrix Online GotoAssist product as an excellent way for organizations to provide remote support to their internal associates, but specifically for their remote office workers, work from home employees, and third party customers/partners.  Whenever I'm able
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 9:26:23 AM
Never in a million years did I ever expect to hear a reference to Brian Madden in a public video from Mark Templeton, but that day has come.  I was reading a blog item from Jeffrey Muir where he mentioned a video that Citrix was sending throughout the company as a commercial advertisement to re-enforce the reasons why people should attend Citrix Synergy.  Jeff posted a link to the video and I gave it a listen.  Surprisingly, Mark talks about the Geek Speak Live section of the conference that several of the Citrix Technology Professionals (including myself) will be speaking at.  This is a great thing as it's becoming clear that Citrix is really beginning to recognize the CTP program and evangelize it within the organization.  If you're going to Synergy, I recommend you stop in on the Geek Speak Live sessions.  I'm sure...
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 7:21:57 AM
I have a customer that is performing an upgrade to Presentation Server 4.5 right now.  The way I setup their deployment is that the server is built with 2003 SP2 and then an unattended build of PS 4.5.  Then after the server is joined to the farm, there's an Installation Manager package group of about 50 core components that are pushed to the server.  From a Citrix hotfix perspective, the following items are deployed:

PSE450W2K3R01.msp  - Hotfix Rollup Pack 1

PSE450R01W2K3003.msp PSE450R01W2K3004.msp PSE450R01W2K3007.msp PSE450R01W2K3008.msp PSE450R01W2K3009.msp PSE450R01W2K3010.msp PSE450R01W2K3029.msp PSE450R01W2K3033.msp PSE450R01W2K3036.msp PSE450R01W2K3042.msp

PSE450R01W2K3032.msp -  Limited Release hotfix

These hotfixes were generally deploying well to all servers, but I've noticed an odd situation that's sometimes occurring when I push the entire package group to a brand new server.  It seems that during the deployment of PSE450R01W2K3008.msp it sometimes stalls the installation of the IM Package Group (i.e. it does ever seem to finish).  Upon further investigation of the MSI log, I'm seeing where the problem is occurring.  Here's a snippet of the MSI log with the relevant MSI action that's hanging the install:

By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 7:12:32 AM

Well sort of an answer anyway...

The Technical Marketing team (isn't that a oxymoron?) from Citrix and Microsoft recently got together and published a 14 page PDF (what no XPS?) where they've compared the technical features of a Server 2003 TS, Server 2008 TS, and Citrix implementation.  While I personally think that both teams have been biased in certain areas of the document, it is a good general comparison of the features between the two products.

Click here to read the Citrix blog entry that links to the pdf.

By Shawn Bass on Thursday, April 03, 2008 9:18:06 AM
On April 1st, 2008  Brian Madden had posted up an April Fool's day joke in the form of a blog entry describing how some new Australian firm had developed technology that would allow you to suspend a session running on a Terminal Server and take it offline in the form of VDI on a laptop.  While some people initially commented that they wanted more info about this, etc.  it became clear in the comments that people eventually realized that this technology doesn't exist. Brian later confirmed that it was truly a joke, but then questions why some of this is not possible.  What I'm going to do in this blog entry is discuss the reasons behind why this technology isn't possible. Suspend TS session and resume on a desktop VM (VDI): This one is so ridiculuous...
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, March 27, 2008 7:13:00 AM
It's no secret that Citrix is planning on moving large parts of the Citrix farm configuration into Group Policy.  One of the many reasons for doing this is that you could build a new server, drop it into an OU, and have it preconfigured for use.  While this group policy based farm configuration won't be coming for a year or two, there's some important things that Juliano has discussed in a blog entry with respect to how you get from IMA-based farm/server config to Group Policy based farm/server config.

Essentially what Citrix is planning on doing is creating a Migration Utility that would read the farm information from your current PS 4.5 environment, export the entire thing to an XML file (which you could then edit to make minor modifications and then import it into the new XenApp environment that is Group Policy based.  While I applaud Citrix's thoughts in this manner, I also feel like this type of utility is about 7 years overdue. If a farm migration Wizard existed back in MetaFrame XP, or 3.0, or 4.0,...
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 2:57:09 PM

I just noticed on Frameworkx.com that Gus and Rich have officially joined Citrix Systems as Technology Evangelists.  This isn't entirely surprising as both of them worked for Citrix in previous lives, but what is interesting is the timing.  Citrix has recently lost several of their Citrix Technology Professional (CTP) members.  One wonders if this isn't some tit for tat with Provision/Quest...  Of course with Gus gone, there goes another CTP.  Don't worry Gus, I'll hold down the fort for ya!

See this blog entry on Frameworkx for the details.

I know both Gus and Rich very well and I wish both of them the best of luck with Citrix.

By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 3:43:38 PM
I'm at a client side right now working on a large SoftGrid implementation project. I'm going through the motions sequencing applications when I came across one application from Reuters named StockVal. While I initially figured that this would be a slam dunk sequencing process, I discovered that it was anything but that. You see it's become apparent to me that application virtualization doesn't actually save you from your own stupidity. What do I mean by this? I mean that one of the biggest challenges with traditional software packaging is that packagers do stupid things. What kind of stupid things?  Well here's some that I've personally solved over the last year: 1) Packager snapshots MDAC 2.5 RTM version registry key (the Data Access version key) and distributes said package to over 3,000 desktops. Those desktops that attempt to install anything that requires MDAC 2.7+ fail as they are stating that the machine needs MDAC 2.7. Well XP doesn't come with MDAC 2.5, so you begin to realize that the packager...
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 9:48:11 AM
There's a lot of buzz in the security industry right now after a paper was published by some researchers from Princeton University that demonstrates how whole disk encryption systems can be completely thwarted by obtaining the encryption keys from a laptop's RAM.  How is this possible?  Well, when an Operating System is in sleep mode the decryption keys are stored in memory to allow the operating system to boot back up and continue accessing the encrypted disk.  In addition, different RAM chips decay their memory contents at different rates when power has been removed from the RAM chips.  Cooling the RAM chips can slow that decay rate upwards of 10 minutes by using a simply air duster can turned upside down.  Once the RAM chips are cooled, their contents can be dumped by booting to a USB disk with memory extraction tools, or if you're unable to change the boot order, the chips can be removed and transferred to another system where the contents of the RAM chips can be extracted.  Once the contents of RAM is extracted,...
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 8:01:04 AM
Citrix has posted my second technical video this time covering an Introduction to Citrix Streaming and Virtualization (or Isolation as Citrix loves to call it) As Brian Madden alluded to here and here, Citrix has begun to post more and more technical videos on the XenApp landing page. Within the last week they've posted up the video I created that describes what Citrix Streaming is all about and demonstrates a walk through of creating a streamed application for both a Presentation Server and an ICA Client.  The video is 33 minutes long and gives a good overview of how Streaming works as well as some best practices for streaming your applications.  If you like this video, please post a comment and let me know your thoughts.  I'm considering doing a more advanced streaming video in the future, so please...
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 4:31:02 PM
At a customer site I recently ran into an issue in their PS 4.5 farm (PS 4.5 with HRP1 and AMC 4.6 updates).  The issue manifests itself as certain icons appears a black squares.  The strange part is the icon doesn't look like a black square while you're adding the published app, but the minute you click Finish to save the published application, you see the AMC display it in all of it's blackness like so:

If you then go to view one of these icons in Web Interface, you'll see it show up like this:

Obviously this will result in confusion for the admin as well as frustrated users since they won't be able to easily identify their icons.  The root cause of this issue is an apparently conflict between the fact that the AMC can only...
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, February 14, 2008 3:34:50 PM

Citrix finally put out a public hotfix to replace limited release hotfix PSE450R01W2K3021.  The new hotfix PSE450R01W2K3033 fixes several issues with Installation Manager including one that's existed since MetaFrame XP!

By Shawn Bass on Thursday, February 14, 2008 9:06:51 AM
Citrix has recently announced a new product called Workflow Studio that is a tool for putting together a visual workflow for completing repetitive tasks.  This workflow would then leverage PowerShell scripts to complete the individual tasks.  What's interesting about this tool is that Citrix has mentioned that it came from an unmentioned technology acquistion/partnership.  From my perspective, it sounds an awful lot like FullArmor's Workflow Studio product that was announced in July 2007.  It's also got the PowerShell community wondering the same thing.  Folks like Karl Prosser of the amazing PowerShell Analyzer and PowerShell Plus products questions the same thing in a blog entry on his site. ...
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, February 14, 2008 8:23:15 AM
Trying to play catch up on the industry as I've been extremely busy lately.  I've come across several blog items from other community guys that I thought were important to share.  All of these items have something to do with Terminal Server scale / performance.

First Michel Roth of ThinComputing.net pointed me to a new free utility from Warren Simondson of Ctrl-Alt-Del Consultancy called TSLoadStat.  This is a command line utililty that measures a few server performance stats and reports them on the command line.  While I don't personally find static measurement tools a good indication of server performance (especially because often these tools induce their own load that artificially makes the server look terribly busy when it's not, it's still worth mentioning here).  You can find the information on TSLoadStat here.

Next, Al Solorzano has a nice writeup on 32-bit vs 64-bit from...
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, February 13, 2008 8:14:58 AM

PubForum is a conference that is put on by Server Based Computing experts as a community gathering / learning experience.  I presented at PubForum 2005 in Nice, France and it was a great experience.  If you plan to be in Dublin during May 9th through 11th, or if you've ever wanted to go to Dublin, I highly recommend this conference.  The conference costs a nominal €175 so it's not very expensive.  Although with the current weak dollar, that's about 1 billion USD LOL.  It's actually around $260-275 US.

More details about the conference including scheduled presenters and topics can be found at the following link.

By Shawn Bass on Monday, February 11, 2008 6:11:11 PM
A ton of things have been happening in the Exchange world that I've not been keeping up with very well, but I did come across two items that were of particular interest to me that I thought I'd share.

First, the MS Exchange Team has put up a blog item discussion a feature of Exchange that's been around a long time (Single Instance Storage).  SIS is a technology that was introduced in Exchange 4.0 that allows for an email to only exist once in the Information Store for multiple different users (if those users are on the same system).  So if an email (especially an email that contains attachments) is sent out to 10 different users, the Exchange server will only keep one copy of the email and all users will reference that copy.  There are some changes with SIS in Exchange 2007 namely that it only performs Single Instance Storage of message attachments, not of message bodies.  This makes perfect sense when you think about it considering that most of the storage that you'll consume on your Exchange server is...
By Shawn Bass on Friday, February 01, 2008 8:30:23 AM

According to Microsoft's Press Pass website, Microsoft has extended another offer to Yahoo for a corporate merger.  From the sums of money involved, it would seem that Google is a bigger threat to Microsoft than VMWare is.  The question is, would this truly position Microsoft in better territory to fight Google?  I'm not so certain of that, but they would definitely get a higher chunk of the advertising revenue that's out there.

By Shawn Bass on Sunday, January 20, 2008 1:36:11 PM

Al has a very nice overview of Citrix XenServer 4.01 and areas that it compares/differs to VMWare ESX.  It's a great read.

By Shawn Bass on Sunday, January 20, 2008 1:33:15 PM

Aaron has a great snippet about Adobe Flash 9e breaking Citrix's SpeedFlash acceleration as the ActiveX OCX that Citrix is looking for isn't present in this version.  You probably want to give this blog entry a read before upgrading your Flash components on your servers.

By Shawn Bass on Saturday, January 19, 2008 8:19:37 PM
A few weeks ago I set out to get a test rig running for lab VMs running under Citrix Xen and Server 2008's Hyper-V.  However, my lab (READ: basement) already has 4 rack servers, a Citrix Access Gateway, several routers, a 1.5TB NAS, and a 3000kva UPS.  I was a bit concerned that bringing another rack server that sounds like a jet turbine into the basement might be a bit too much for the boss (READ: wife)

Since I wanted this rig to be used only for lab VM (my prod VMs run on the redundant rack servers), I decided that a simple white box system with a good proc and sufficient RAM should do the trick perfectly.  The biggest concern that I had was I knew that both Citrix Xen and Server 2008 Hyper-V require that you use 64-bit CPUs (not a big deal today) and a BIOS that supports setting Intel-VT or AMD Pacifica to enabled (this is the setting that will often leave you with a whitebox system that won't...
By Shawn Bass on Friday, January 18, 2008 8:02:02 AM

Citrix is beginning a series of webinars to talk about the various SDK components.  I personally think this is very valuable as there's always a need to script some component leveraging the Citrix SDKs.  What a great way to learn about it from the Citrix developers themselves.

The first webinar in the series will on the Virtual Channel SDK and will be held on Friday January 25th 2008.  The webinar will cover the following topics:

• Brief Introduction to ICA protocol
• What is ICA virtual channel?
• Possible uses of custom virtual channels
• Virtual channel components
• Client-Server data exchange
• Introduction to Virtual Channel SDK
• Sample virtual channel demo

Click here to view the information on the webinar and to find the registration link.

By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, January 16, 2008 10:20:41 AM

Problems installing Office XP on Terminal Server while trying to suppress the installation of Outlook.  This is a confirmed bug in the Office installation routine.

By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 11:34:39 AM

What is Project S-Bend?  In it's simplest form, it's a mechanism of notifying a Citrix admin of audit related events that are occuring on your Presentation Server 4.5 farm.  Ok, so what is it really?  It's a Windows Service that Jason wrote that identifies changes to your Configuration Logging database (new in PS4.5) via a SQL Trigger.  When new events are written to the Config Logging database, Jason's windows service will dispatch an email to you letting you know what changed.  Here's a link to where you can read about S-Bend and download it.  And here's a link for basic setup instructions.  Awesome stuff.

By Shawn Bass on Monday, January 14, 2008 10:48:48 AM

I'm not sure how I missed this KB article in December, but Citrix released the tool to recreate the Citrix Print Service user account.  The tool can be downloaded from CTX113554.

Thanks to Thomas Koetzing for the link.

By Shawn Bass on Monday, January 14, 2008 10:43:52 AM

From the SoftGrid Team Blog I learned that Microsoft recently published a guide that provides information on how to setup Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 (formerly SoftGrid) and how to implement the different modes of Streaming/Virtualization that are available in 4.5.  The guide can be found here.

By Shawn Bass on Thursday, January 10, 2008 9:24:08 AM

Al has a nice tip on improving the performance of RDP and ICA connections on Windows Vista.  Read the full details here.

By Shawn Bass on Thursday, January 03, 2008 4:41:38 PM

One of the Microsoft folks in Indonesia put a new spin on the otherwise boring TS Web Access in Server 2008 by putting a Siverlight front end to it.  While it may not be practical for business people to launch their apps this way, it does look pretty!

Check out the demo here.

Download and explanation of how you can set it up here.

And thanks to Thincomputing.net for the link.

By Shawn Bass on Friday, December 21, 2007 8:25:38 AM
Whether your company has started it or not, companies all over the world are investigating what it would take to become more green.  What does "more green" mean?  Well, it means finding ways to reduce your companies electrical power consumption when you're not needing it.  Many companies have done simple things like ensuring that all desktop PC monitors have a Power Saver timer after 20 minutes of inactivity.  However, many organizations still leave their desktops (and servers) powered on 24x7.

Citrix is attempting to do their part by releasing their Citrix PowerSmart Management Utility.  What is PowerSmart?  In essence, it's a utility that let's an administrator control which servers in a farm are able to be powered off when their session count drops, and then power those servers up on a schedule.  More detail about PowerSmart can be found in Ray Yang's original post announcing PowerSmart.  Some organizatons may not be willing to go down this path as it's a bit risky, but sooner or later all companies...
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, December 20, 2007 10:25:45 PM

Ok, I'll admit it that it's not a business reason to use a software product, but it is ridiculously cool.  Derek Thorslund posted a video about a month ago that demos the features that Project Pictor brings for OpenGL acceleration.  While acceleration of Catia CAD software is really exciting stuff, it leaves a little to be desired for those folks who aren't familiar with how poorly CAD software runs on Terminal Services.  If you're in for a more true to life demonstration, then watch the end of the video when they play Quake 3 in OpenGL acceleration via Project Pictor.  That's some amazing stuff.

Thanks to Doug Brown for the heads up on the video.


By Shawn Bass on Thursday, December 20, 2007 9:58:37 PM
There is a bug in the installation routine for PS 4.5 HRP01 that in certain server configurations will cause MSI Self Healing to be triggered on systems where HRP01 has been installed. There are very specific conditions that cause this problem and there are several workarounds/fixes.
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, December 20, 2007 9:21:14 PM
If you've been following my blog you'd know that I'm a recent Mac convert trial (can't call it a convert when I have 15 other Windows PCs in the house).  Anyway, when I bought my Mac it came with OSX 10.4 on it, but there was a 10.5 Leopard disc that was shipped in the box as a free upgrade.  Well, you can't go sticking a free software upgrade in the box and let it sneak by me without immediately installing it.  So I've been using Leopard since I first got the MacBook Pro.  Generally I've had a lot of success with it, aside from a minor nuance with the wireless that never seems to work unless I reboot my wireless router (seems to be Mac related though since other Windows systems are able to use the wireless router during this time).  The inexcusable problem though has been a frequently occuring loss of keyboard functionality that varies from 30 to 60 seconds.  During this time, the touchpad continues to work but no keyboard keys register (including the function keys).  For a while I considered that maybe my inept...
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, December 11, 2007 4:48:19 PM

VMware has recently released version 3.5 of their Virtual Infrastructure suite.  This release proves yet again that VMware is king in the virtualization space.  I'm not going to go into details of all of the new features as it's already been well covered on other sites.  Here are two great overviews of the new features from VMblog and Virtualization.info.

By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, December 11, 2007 4:22:30 PM

Citrix has finally integrated an official blog site into their public presence.  I have to say I've been very happy with the content that has come out of Citrix in the previous Citrix Community and Citrite.org blog sites, and I'm hoping to see even more content coming out of the official site.  Go visit them and give them some feedback on the new site.  Between this site and the Knowledge Center updates, Citrix has really been investing heavily in overhauling their web presence.

By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, December 11, 2007 4:11:11 PM

Jason Conger has published a development road map for the amazing Web Interface for Resource Manager.  If you're not using this tool, I highly recommend that you download it (it's free) and start using it.  You need to have an RM Summary database as it uses that info, but it's one of the greatest free utilities for Citrix server environments.  Anyway, Jason recently published the roadmap which hints at some fantastic new features such as AJAX, MFCOM Real time performance data, and integrated Configuration Logging database reports, etc.  I can't wait for the new version.

By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, November 28, 2007 5:21:14 PM

Aaron Parker posted a follow up article to his initial work in trying to get Adobe Acrobat 8 as a virtualized package under SoftGrid.  It seems as though Aaron has decided that it's just not going to be practical to deploy Acrobat via SoftGrid as there are a lot of technical issues that involve separation of the app and it's not practical for real world deployment.  What's interesting about this is that Aaron was able to get Acrobat 8 working in Altiris SVS.

By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, November 28, 2007 1:48:11 PM
For those who are using Citrix Installation Manager as a deployment strategy for MSI packages and hotfixes, etc. you should be aware that if you deploy HRP01 for PS4.5 and then attempt to deploy MSI packages that include transforms (MST files) the installation via IM will fail.  Citrix has a private hotfix named PSE450R01W2K3021.msp that resolves this issue.  However, there's still a number of issues which are:

1) The fact that this is still a private hotfix and it came out in August 2007.  Come on Citrix, where's the final public hotfix for this thing already?

2) The fact that it's private and most people don't know that it exists.

3) The fact that it seems to be invalidated by newer hotfixes.  I've done test deployments of hotfix numbers greater than 21, and it seems from my testing that if you don't deploy limited release hotfix 21 at the very end of your Citrix hotfixes, then you lose the ability to deploy further MSIs that include transforms.  So I've been putting limited release hotfix...
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, November 27, 2007 3:15:25 PM

Brian Kelly has posted a two part series titled "SoftGrid Operations Guide" on the SoftGrid Team Blog.  This two part guide covers some topics that would be useful to any SoftGrid admin such as moving a Softgrid datastore, publishing apps in Citrix, how to preload applications, etc.  Check out Part 1 and Part 2.

By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, November 27, 2007 1:21:43 PM

Aaron Parker has a great blog entry on trying to get Adobe Acrobat 8 sequenced via Softgrid.  He's solved the issue of separating out the print driver install and also figured out the SxS/manifest issues.  However, the bad news is that there are several thing that are not working properly with the app. 

Let's hope he makes some more progress as I'm sure there are lots of people interested in getting that app to work virtualized.

By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, November 27, 2007 8:29:11 AM

As indicated by Justin Zarb, the SoftGrid ooops Microsoft Application Virtualization Team has posted some good details about how dynamic suite composition (similar to contexting or inter-isolation communication or whatever you want to call one virtual environment that's able to talk to another virtual environment) works.  Read the TechNet forum post over here for more details.

By Shawn Bass on Monday, November 26, 2007 10:40:41 AM

Al has put together a decent review of VDI technology and compares the current offerings from VMware vs that of Citrix.  It's a nice read.

By Shawn Bass on Monday, November 26, 2007 10:16:28 AM

While this whitepaper is coming from a vendor and is partial to their profile management solution, it's still a very nice review of the Windows Profile Management headaches and provides info on how the sepagoProfile solution resolves this issues.  It's definitely a nice read.

By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 11:46:38 AM

I'm moving my existing RSS feed as I'm changing modules out that supplies my RSS feed.  To prevent this kind of thing from happening again, I've setup a 301 permanent redirect of http://www.shawnbass.com/rss.aspx which will permanently link to my RSS feed no matter where I decide to relocate it in the future.  For now, it will move to FeedBurner, but the above link is what you should point your readers to.

By Shawn Bass on Monday, November 19, 2007 3:51:18 PM

Brian Madden has recommitted himself to completing the upcoming CPS 4.5 book.  Brian is approaching this book in a slightly different approach than previous books.  In the new CPS 4.5 book, Brian will be writing chapters and releasing them online immediately in a brand new content management system built by Brian's web developers.  This will allow for immediate release of new information, as well as corrections and community feedback.  To this end, Brian has released Chapter 3: Network architecture.

By Shawn Bass on Sunday, November 18, 2007 7:12:34 AM
A client of mine is just putting in Secure Gateway 3.0 with WI4.6 (and PNA).  I noticed that they didn't have Session Reliability enabled and I was going to set it up for them.  I noticed that they didn't have any hotfixes for Secure Gateway 3.0 (which is a no-no since you'll have problems connecting in with newer ICA Clients 9.2+ when using Session Reliability).  Citrix fixed the issue with the hotfix SGE300W003 (CTX110661), but that hotfix was later superceded by SGE300W008 - CTX114059.  So you go off and download CTX114059 and attempt to apply it to your Secure Gateway 3.0 setup.  During the installation the hotfix stops and tries to restart the Secure Gateway service.  However, you receive an Error 1920 from Windows Installer stating that it's unable to start the Secure Gateway Service.  The reason for this error is that the Secure Gateway hotfix is dependent upon a Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime...
By Shawn Bass on Friday, November 09, 2007 2:34:41 PM

So my Toshiba laptop started acting up this past week while I was teaching a class in Orlando.  I didn't want to risk the laptop locking up on me while in class, so I went out one evening and picked up a new laptop.  I'm writing this blog entry from the new laptop.  Here's a quick photo of it:

Now do you understand why I feel dirty?  I can't even begin to tell you how much crow I'm gonna have to eat when my sister-in-law (longtime Mac bigot) finds out that I bought one.  It'll be never ending "I told you so"'s

By Shawn Bass on Saturday, November 03, 2007 3:34:03 PM

Ruben Spruijt from PQR posted a blog entry over at BrianMadden mentioning that Citrix support has released a video of their CSEIT session that covers troubleshooting tools for CPS environments.  I attended this session myself and it's a overall good session, though much of the tools covered are things I'm already using.  Still, a great review of the available tools.  Ruben is kindly hosting the video/PPT download on his site here.

By Shawn Bass on Saturday, November 03, 2007 11:02:30 AM

Justin Zarb has posted a blog entry with some sample examples of scriptbody blocks for OSD files.  Nothing earth shattering there, but additional examples are always nice to have.

By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, October 31, 2007 1:48:56 PM

I love the Idokorro Rove Mobile Citrix ICA Client for Blackberry.  Rove Mobile recently announced the release of version 2.0 of the Mobile Citrix client that adds support for Secure Gateway connections and an improved web interface.  Read the press release here.  View the FAQ here.

By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, October 31, 2007 1:22:51 PM
Thinstall has announced the release of v3.3 of their virtualization platform.  In this release are the addition of MSI Autogeneration support (technically this came in 3.2).  Specifics of MSI auto generation are:

Support for machine-wide wide (All Users), and per-user “installs”   Per-user installs do not require Administrator rights MSI deployments instantly integrate with existing management and deployment systems, inventory scanning, and usage monitoring systems Support for automatically attaching pre-determined file types to virtual associations Support for creating user accessible Desktop shortcuts No application data or registry settings are written to PC during MSI registration, thereby eliminating any need to perform cross-application regression testing. Read the full press release here.

Also at the same time, Thinstall has announced an integrated partnership with Macrovision to...
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, October 31, 2007 1:08:03 PM

On a blog entry at CitrixCommunity Derek Thorslund has posted a link to a video clip showing some pretty advanced graphics acceleration that Citrix is working on for remoting things like Vista Aero to remote systems over ICA.  It's a pretty impressive video.

By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, October 31, 2007 12:31:58 PM

Michael Burke has released a set of Visio stencils for SoftGrid.  Get them here.

By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, October 31, 2007 12:30:39 PM

Michael Burke has a nice whitepaper that he co-authored for Kingston and VMware on memory allocation and optimization.  Read the full item here.

By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, October 31, 2007 12:25:50 PM

Michael Burke has put up part 4 of 4 of his Troubleshooting TS Licensing on MSTerminalServices.org.  This article deals with the following items:

  • An in-depth look at the MSLicensing registry key
  • Using the TSCTST resource kit utility for decoding client CALs
  • Popular event IDs and corrupt CAL issues
  • Transferring CALs from one client to another
  • Some notes on thin-client devices

Read the full article here.

By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 10:45:44 AM

Justin Zarb (MS) recently published a blog entry that Microsoft is now able to virtualize fonts on Terminal Server using the fairly new SoftGrid 4.1 SP1 Client.  This is great news as it use to be a PITA to need to push font installs to a base system before deploying virtualized apps that relied on those fonts being present.  That being said, I really wish that Microsoft would publish a full change log of things that are in each client/sequencer release.  It's unfortunate that these things have to be discovered through blogs instead of a nice readme.

By Shawn Bass on Thursday, October 25, 2007 9:38:23 AM
The SoftGrid Team has put up a blog entry explaining a bug in the management console that causes it to crash when it processes icons that are non-symmetrical pixels (i.e. not square).  Here's a link to the KB article with the details.  Unfortunately, there's not a fix for the console.  You just need to make your icons symmetrical.  Then again, there shouldn't be all that many icons that are affected by this issue.
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, October 04, 2007 6:55:54 AM
The SoftGrid Team blog published an entry today that describes the three methods for upgrading Softgrid applications.  The three types are:1) Active Upgrade - You open the existing package up in the sequencer, install your updates and add the package version to the Management Console.  New launch requests for the package will begin using the new version.2) Completely new sequence - You build a completely new sequence.  The new sequence will need to be streamed down to new clients, but a client can run both versions simultaneously.  The downside is the user preferences from the old version of the app are not carried into the new package.3) Branched package - You approach a branched package like an ActiveUpgrade, only you perform a Save As function which will create a separate package GUID and asset folder.  This operates like a completely new sequence in that both can operate at the same time, the difference is that you avoid having to recreate...
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 7:21:41 AM
HD Moore's Metasploit is an invaluable free tool that's used by many to perform penetration testing of their systems.  Recently, HD blogged about buying an iPhone and beginning the process of porting pieces of the Metasploit platform to the iPhone.  What does this mean?  It means a portable handheld pentesting platform!  Perhaps HD should get a copyright on iSploit now

Read the entire blog entry here.  Good times ahead!
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 7:12:49 AM
Michael Burke has posted part 3 of 4 in his series on troubleshooting Terminal Server licensing.  This entire series is a great read and reference to hang on to.

This topic is on:
  • Corrupt license databases
  • Activation issues
  • Problems adding CALs
Read the full article here.
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 9:59:49 AM
Since server hangs is an often reported issue on Terminal Server environments due to high resource depletion, I thought it would be best to post this blog entry under the SBC blog even though it largely applies to all Windows Server environments.  The Windows Server Performance Team blogged about methods to troubleshoot server hangs today and it boils down to these steps:Is this a hard or soft hang?  If this is a hard hang, then the odds are that there is an underlying hardware issue, so contact your hardware vendor. Check the Event logs for any events in the System Log at the time of the hang.  In the case of Pool Depletion, you will see Event ID's 2019 or 2020 with the Event Source being SRV Launch Performance Monitor and check the starting value for Free System PTE's under the Memory object.  If a system is booting up with fewer Free System PTE's than is normal (around 15,000 or fewer), then that is not a good sign.  That means that...
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 9:54:22 AM
Michel Roth has written a nice article about tuning file server performance.  The Windows Performance Team has recently blogged about settings that can be tuned for Windows Explorer to reduce the amount of SMB traffic generated.  These would be great settings to apply to a Terminal Server environment since you have a lot of instances of Windows Explorer or File Open/Save dialogs running that could create a lot of SMB traffic.Some of the suggested optimizations would disable the following Windows Explorer behaviors:Searches for Desktop.ini files used for folder customization Periodic refreshes of folder contents Searches for supporting library (.dll) files Individual file details and attributes pulled for each file Thumbnail extractionAnd the settings to accomplish these changes are as follows:Windows...
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 7:25:12 AM
From an entry on John Howard's blog, I've learned that Server 2008 RC0 with Vridian just hit MSDN last night.  I'm off to download it now.  BTW, John also posted a nice entry on the steps required to install Vridian (no server core option just yet).
By Shawn Bass on Saturday, September 22, 2007 10:58:12 AM
I recently had a need to convert a few SoftGrid-related VMs from VMware Server 1.02 VMs to one of my ESX 3.x hosts.  I needed to do this because VMware Server only allows for a single snapshot/revert path.  While sequencing/testing applications in SoftGrid, it's ideal to have multiple VM snapshots to be able to revert back to a variety of timelines.  I have explained many different methods of converting VMs and have detailed a few of the processes (complete with screeshots).  I hope this helps someone out there who may need to do the same thing.  Read the full article here.

By Shawn Bass on Friday, September 21, 2007 11:08:15 PM
Microsoft has definitely embraced blogging as a means of providing feedback to their partners and customers alike.  It's often difficult to know whether or not a particular team within Microsoft has an official blog or not.  Brandon LeBlanc over at The Windows Experience Blog has created a list of the known official Microsoft team blogs.  Check out the list here.
By Shawn Bass on Friday, September 21, 2007 9:43:54 PM
Skywing's debugging/reverse engineering blog is one of many RSS feeds that I keep try to keep current on.  He posted an entry a few days ago titled "Never, ever, EVER wake a computer from suspend without user consent" regarding a situation where the Windows Update service woke his PC from standby at 3:00am on a Patch Tuesday.  While waking a PC to apply patches isn't a horrible situation, it definitely becomes one when your laptop is zipped up inside a backpack or laptop carrying case.  I personally have had this happen to me only once, but it wasn't related to Windows Updates.  It was related to a failed standby that I didn't notice for an hour or two (when I finally pulled it out of the bag, the laptop was ready for egg frying).  Anyway, the fact is this is a legitimate issue that should be handled by the operating system. ...
By Shawn Bass on Friday, September 21, 2007 9:47:46 AM
Charles Aunger pointed me to a recently published KB article on Citrix's website that relates to best practices in profiling and delivering applications using their Streaming Server technology.  While much of the info in this article is common sense, it's a nice refresher.
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, September 20, 2007 8:38:54 PM
In a previous blog entry I linked to a blog entry from Helge Klein where he tested the bandwidth impact of enabling ClearType over RDP.  At the time, it appeared that ClearType was responsible for a double in bandwidth requirements.  In conducting further testing, it appears that 32-bit color depth with font smoothing enabled causes the greatest increase in bandwidth consumption (a factor of 6).  Read the updated article here.
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, September 20, 2007 8:25:25 PM
While Citrix stated they were moving away from Feature Packs, they've released Feature Pack 1 for Presentation Server 4.5.  Michel Roth of Thincomputing.net has a nice review of the primary features included.
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, September 20, 2007 8:22:28 PM
I came across a blog post from Dave Caddick referencing an article from Channel Register that seemed to indicate that Microsoft's Viridian hypervisor is under 1MB footprint???  There's been a lot of conversation around VMware's introduction of the ESX3i Embedded virtualization platform that boots off flash memory in less than 32 MB, but 1MB? that's pretty insane.  According to the article, it came from Mike Neil (Microsoft) who should be a trusted resource on the matter.  I'm a little unsure on Mike/Microsoft's lack of value seen in an embedded virtualization platform as their reasoning for not wanting to do it is that you still have to store your virtual images somewhere....duh! of course you do, but that's what SAN disk is for.  However, the question still remains as to whether it's more...
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, September 20, 2007 8:06:59 PM
The Terminal Services Team Blog has a great blog entry published recently where they describe the support that has been added for dynamic virtual channel drivers within RDP.  Most of us are aware that virtual channels exist within Terminal Services and Citrix ICA to allow for the exchange of information between server and client such as clipboard contents, file transfer, etc.  Those virtual channels are statically defined by the protocol and are moderately difficult to implement.  The blog entry posted illustrates the process for creating a dynamic virtual channel driver that is implemented as a plugin server side that allows to a content menu to be added to send a file to the TS Client's Desktop.  Personally I think this feature would be HUGE as file transfer to the client network is one of the biggest complaints from a useability perspective.  Hopefully Citrix will get on the bandwagon and create similar functionality...
By Shawn Bass on Monday, September 03, 2007 12:12:42 PM
Wilco van Bragt has a fantastic whitepaper on his website that details the steps necessary to utilize Citrix Presentation Server within an Ardence OS Streaming environment.  I personally have not used Ardence at any customer sites, but it's definitely something in the queue of things to get up to speed on.  I highly recommend reading this whitepaper.
By Shawn Bass on Monday, September 03, 2007 9:52:57 AM
PowerShell 1.0 was released in November 2006 and has already received over a million downloads.  I recently came across an article published a few days ago where SearchWinIT.com interviewed Jeffrey Snover (creator/architect of PowerShell) where Jeffrey has confirmed that PowerShell 2.0 will have support for remoting.  One of the primary limitations with PowerShell...
By Shawn Bass on Sunday, September 02, 2007 10:51:32 PM
vonagelogo.gif        So, I'm a huge fan of Vonage VoIP service.  I'm also a huge home theater PC (HTPC) freak.  So I had an idea that much like peanut butter and chocolate, these two technologies must merge!  So a while back I created a plugin for Meedio that allows me to dial telephone numbers in my phone book from the comfort of my couch.  Ok, so it is completely the laziest thing in the world, but someone had to do it, eh?  Anyway, this update to the DialMee plugin was simply to fix a bug that was causing an error beep on exit of Meedio.  I described in my previous post what Meedio...
By Shawn Bass on Sunday, September 02, 2007 4:29:11 PM
Ok so I'm way behind on the home theater blog, but I uploaded a new stable release of my Meedio plugin for EvilLyrics integration a few weeks back.  The plugin update contains the fixes for the new release build from EvilLyrics as well as a fix that was causing an error beep when the plugin was shutdown.  What is this plugin?  It's a fulltime plugin for the HTPC frontend called Meedio (which I run on all of my HTPC systems connected to every TV in my house...yes my wife loves me dearly to tolerate this crap).  The EvilLyics plugin receives messages from the music player and passes the Artist/Song info to the EvilLyrics COM object, which then performs a web request...
By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, August 21, 2007 10:23:07 AM
Aaron Parker has two very interesting blog entries on automating the creation of Citrix Administrator accounts using VBScript.  The first part of the article focuses on using MFCOM to read the permissions of the admin accounts as well as walking the folder structure of the management console.  The second part of the article is the complete code for adding the new admin account and setting the necessary permissions at each folder within the management console.  I recommend  checking them out if you're into automating your Citrix management tasks.
By Shawn Bass on Monday, August 20, 2007 2:43:06 PM
In a blog post from the VMGuru site, I learned that the upcoming VI3 book from Ron Oglesby, Mike Laverick, and Scott Herold has three free chapters that were released on Friday.  The three free chapters can be obtained on the homepage of the book vi3book.com

Looks to be a good read...
By Shawn Bass on Monday, August 20, 2007 11:16:35 AM
Helge Klein (from sepago) has an interesting blog entry on the bandwidth usage of ClearType font smoothing and it's impact on RDP bandwidth consumed.  I'd recommend a read of the entire article, but to summarize it appears that enabling ClearType would impose upwards of a 300% increase in bandwidth utilization.  YUCK!
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 9:02:56 AM
Citrix announced today that they are acquiring XenSource for $500 million.  I don't personally understand such a high price for an acquisition where the existing company had less than $5 million in revenue last year.  Also, Citrix has stated that they expect this acquisition to result in $50 million in revenue for fiscal year 2008, but at an expense of $60-70 million in total cost of revenue and operating expenses.  Again, I don't get it, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed...considering I actually own shares in Citrix

There's additional commentary over at Brian Madden's site here.


By Shawn Bass on Thursday, August 09, 2007 8:43:17 PM
DefCon 15 Day 1 review
By Shawn Bass on Monday, August 06, 2007 12:52:49 PM
While I've still not caught up (READ: recovered) from the 3 day conference in Las Vegas, I can definitely say that I'm glad I went.  I don't have all of my thoughts organized yet on the sessions that I attended, but over the coming days I'll be blogging on a DefCon 15 wrap up where I'll cover my perspective on the sessions that I attended...and those that I walked out of   Stay tuned.
By Shawn Bass on Monday, August 06, 2007 12:49:32 PM
Jeff Muir has a blog entry on something that he's calling "Aggregate Computing" which is to say a merger of the client and server environment in such a way that the end user doesn't know the difference between them, but rather just has access to the resources to get their job done.  I agree with this thought process and I too think that server based computing really needs to improve the end-user seamless factor to increase the user acceptance factor.  To that end, Citrix is working on things to deal with some of these aspects, so it's certainly an exciting time to be in server-based computing.
By Shawn Bass on Monday, August 06, 2007 12:38:39 PM
The SoftGrid Team blog has two nice blog entries that illustrate the communications between a SoftGrid Client and a SoftGrid server during Desktop Config refresh as well during an application launch.  These articles are quite informative if you're not familiar with the networking protocols/ports that are used during these actions.
By Shawn Bass on Monday, August 06, 2007 12:33:05 PM
I'm sure everyone has experienced problems searching the Citrix support site at one time or another.  Citrix has recently introduced a new search tool to search the Knowledge Center.  I personally have mixed feeling about it since it has already let me down on a few searches (though that's what a feedback form is for, eh?)  Anyway, check it out here and make sure you send them feedback so it gets improved.  I'm off to do that myself.
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, August 01, 2007 9:33:30 AM
Tim Mangan directed me to an article from Mary Jo Foley where states that since the inception of the MDOP (Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack) Microsoft has sold 2 million licenses.  Without argument, most of those sales were probably due to the SoftGrid acquisition (though I wouldn't complain about getting the fantastic SysInternals tools too).  While many people (including me) would like to see Microsoft separate SoftGrid from the SA requirement, it seems pretty clear that they are definitely driving value to the SA business through SoftGrid.  Therefore, it seems unlikely that Microsoft would separate SoftGrid.  In either case, this clearly demonstrates the demand for SoftGrid.  Interesting times ahead....
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, July 05, 2007 2:38:13 PM
While I'm not entirely sure why they call it brief at just over 70 pages, Citrix has released an update to their Brief Troubleshooting Guide which is IMHO one of the best docs that's come out of Citrix (ok, aside from Jay Tomlin's WI/CSG troubleshooting guides).  It's essentially a workflow guide that can be used when trying to troubleshoot problems in a Citrix environment.  There's also links to all of the admin/troubleshooting guides as well as important KB links for well known problems.  Yesterday's update to the guide adds in information on Netscaler, WANscaler, EdgeSight, and of course Presentation Server 4.5.

Get it here:  CTX106727

By Shawn Bass on Thursday, July 05, 2007 2:04:03 PM
Over at the SoftGrid Team Blog, Microsoft posted information that the new Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack 2007 has been released (which includes SoftGrid 4.2).  The VAS components have not been updated since SG 4.1 SP1, so no update is required on your servers (just the client and sequencer).


By Shawn Bass on Monday, July 02, 2007 7:41:31 PM
Ok, so...It's not a joke and it doesn't involve a bar.But it is a burning question of mine.  What exactly consitutes a twitter versus a blog entry versus a full-fledged "article".  There are a variety of websites/blogs/article columns, etc. out there that have differing content.  When does a simple twitter become a blog entry?  When does a blog entry become an article?  And finally how does one avoid joining in on the throng of bloggers who do nothing more than aggreggate content that's found on thousands of other blogs?  While I find myself re-reporting some of the same content that may be available elsewhere, I should make it known that I only post information on about 1 out of every 20-30 things that I read elsewhere.  Why is that?  Simply because I feel that there's enough other people already reporting on a particular...
By Shawn Bass on Monday, July 02, 2007 7:37:23 PM
NetMon 3.1 is released and available on the Microsoft Connect site (the final release on the MS Download site will be posted in a few weeks).  Here's a rundown of the new features:Wireless (802.11) capturing and monitor mode on Vista – With supported hardware, (Native WIFI), you can now trace wireless management packets. You can scan all channels or a subset of the ones your wireless NIC supports. You can also focus in on one specific channel. We now show the wireless metadata for normal wireless frames. This is really cool for t-shooting wireless problems. See signal strength and transfer speed as you walk around your house! RAS tracing support on Vista – Now you can trace your RAS connections so you can see the traffic inside your VPN tunnel. Previously this was only available with XP. Right click add to filter – Now there's an easier way to discover how to create filters. Right click in the frame details data element or a column field in the frame...
By Shawn Bass on Monday, July 02, 2007 7:27:58 PM
So how many times have you plotted directions between two points and thought to yourself, I really wish these directions showed me taking this highway instead of that, etc.  While planning a trip to head down to Citrix's offices later this month, I noticed that Google had added a new option in Google Maps that allows you to do just this!  While viewing a resultant map, you can simply drag and drop the designated highways to choose an alternate route path.  How cool is that?

See the Google Maps help site for more info on this and other features (such as their traffic info that was recently added).

By Shawn Bass on Monday, July 02, 2007 5:01:16 PM
The Spanish Flu (aka 1918 flu) was a worldwide pandemic virus killing between 50 to 100 million people worldwide within 18 months.  These numbers completely dwarfed that of World War I which was occuring during the same time.  Arguably, World War I contributed significantly to the spread of the 1918 flu due to the increased mass movement of people worldwide.  Mortality rates varied greatly between countries, but one thing is known for sure:  Those countries that limited their maritime travel had significantly less mortality than those that did nothing to control the travel of people.  For example, Japan had a 0.425% mortality rate from the flu due to restrictions in travel.  Many other countries had mortality rates in the 5-10% range or more.  With increased global travel is the world of today equipped to handle such a lockdown on travel?The 1918 flu is also known as the Spanish Flu, but recently developments suggest that it actually first appeared near Fort Riley, Kansas...
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 10:27:01 AM
Wilco van Bragt has a nice article in a series of articles describing alternative products to Citrix Presentation Server.  It's definitely worth reading.

MSTerminalServices.org - Alternatives to Citrix Presentation Server (Part 1)

By Shawn Bass on Thursday, June 21, 2007 8:05:29 AM
In a recent blog entry titled "A brief architecture overview of VMware ESX, XEN and MS Viridian", Massimo does a great job explaining the architectural differences between the competing virtualization products from VMWare, Microsoft, and the open source Xen.  While it's clear that there's no true winner from an architectural perspective, my personal thoughts are that many people are going to adopt Viridian simply because it will be made available more easily and cost effectively.  Time will tell though.


By Shawn Bass on Thursday, June 07, 2007 8:21:36 AM
So those Mac user's out there that have been using the Coherence feature of Parallels virtualization product, you need to checkout this video posted on VMWare's VMTN blog.  It's pretty amazing!


By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, June 06, 2007 7:50:41 AM
Michael Burke has a nice article up on MSTerminalServices.org on high availability and recovery strategies for TS Licensing Servers.  Hopefully most of you are aware that in the absense of a functional TS Licensing environment, your entire Citrix environment is useless.  To that end, Michael has some great info on how you should design your TS License servers for high availability.

Read the full MSTerminalServices.org article.

By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 1:44:14 PM
Tim and Kevin (both regulars on SoftGridGuru.com) have announced that they have built training courseware on SoftGrid and will be conducting independent training classes on the courseware.  While this is unofficial training, I'm extremely excited to see this type of thing available for the SoftGrid platform.  I think it's going to be a great opportunity once SoftGrid starts to gain more traction in the industry.  Besides, I'm already biased on supporting independent training.

Read the forum posting on SoftGridGuru.  Add read more about the training on the GridMasterTraining.com.

By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 12:49:21 PM
In a forum post on SoftGridGuru, smileyej posted links to download locations for SoftGrid 4.1 SP1.  The strange thing is that the download links are public?!?!  Mistake?  Get 'em while they're hot!


By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 7:10:41 AM
Citrix has posted information that their acquisition of ThinGenius's load testing product has been productized as Citrix EdgeSight for Load Testing and will be available beginning June 24th, 2007.  This announcement came with the official launch of EdgeSight 4.5.  Pricing for the load testing product is $7500US for 100 virtual users (approximately 1k more than previous pricing under ThinGenius).  Frankly I'm surprised this was launched as quickly as it was.  It seems Citrix is really getting this M&A thing down pat now.

Read the official press release for full details.

By Shawn Bass on Monday, June 04, 2007 3:49:39 PM
Microsoft has posted additional details on the SoftGrid Team Blog about the outstanding survey for participation in the SoftGrid 4.5 Technology Adoption Program (TAP).  Here are some of the interesting plans for SoftGrid 4.5 (bold emphasis is mine): ·         Enhanced client scalability: improvements to allow very large deployments and integration with ESD systems, such as System Center Configuration Manager

·         Availability and maintainability: the most stable and reliable version of SoftGrid to date

·         Security tightening: the first SoftGrid release to go through the Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) and enhancements to support internet-facing scenarios

·         Globalization and localization: support for both virtualizing non-English language applications and running the SoftGrid user interface in certain non-English languages

And here are the requirements of the TAP:Requirements for participating in the SoftGrid 4.5 TAP:

·         Executive...
By Shawn Bass on Monday, June 04, 2007 8:51:49 AM
While it can't be used in a production environment, Microsoft has posted a Tech Preview release of SoftGrid 4.2.  SoftGrid 4.2 brings support for Windows Vista and Side-by-Side (SxS) support for things like Office 2007 and Visual Studio Express.  The release of 4.2 is slated for July 2007.  Read the full details at the SoftGrid Team blog entry.

By Shawn Bass on Saturday, June 02, 2007 10:07:35 AM
From this forum thread on the official Citrix Support site, I found a link to a published KB article about the effects of WAN optimization technology on Citrix ICA traffic.  View the whitepaper from Citrix Consulting at the following link:

CTX113505 - FAQ - Truths and Myths of Presentation Server and WAN Optimization

By Shawn Bass on Thursday, May 31, 2007 8:41:25 AM
Via Scott Hanselman's blog I learned that Google has recently added Street View support to Google Maps (basically it's stitched together photos at street level view of major cities).  While this type of technology is going to take a while to provide this kind of detail for many of the major cities, I think it's a really cool concept.  Of course, the REAL value of something like this would be to have it available in a mobile form with good network bandwidth and a GPS unit.  You'd never get lost Here's a URL to part of Times Square in NYC to get the hang of it.  I really love how you can use the arrow keys to basically walk around the city.  Again,...
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 1:25:21 PM
While much of the information is already well known, the SoftGrid Team Blog was updated a few days ago to include some SoftGrid sequencing best practices.  More importantly, the blog article points to a MS KB article that includes more best practices (again most of this is well known info).

Link to the SoftGrid Team blog entry
Link to the MS KB article on sequencing best practices


By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 9:12:41 AM
Jason has done it again and released another tool that probably should have come from Citrix.  Project Mobius is a beta1 release that at the present time is capable of drag-n-drop of published applications from one farm to another.  (PS3 through PS4.5).  A future release will bring the same support for policy objects.  Read up on the Project Mobius Beta1 here.

By Shawn Bass on Monday, May 21, 2007 2:18:54 PM
I thought I would share this issue with everyone as it's a pretty odd one.  At a client site of mine that is running Web Interface 3.0, the server group had deployed 2003 SP2 to the Web Interface servers over the weekend.  After this, two Web Interface servers hosting different sites both started displaying the typical "Error: An internal error occurred. Please contact your system administrator." messages.  After disabling the Custom Error handler messages per CTX111722 a more descriptive, but still largely useless error message appeared on these servers.  Here is the message that was displayed: Server Error in '/Citrix/MetaFrame/default' Application. Compilation Error Description: An error occurred during the compilation of a resource required to service this request. Please review the following specific error details and modify your source code appropriately. Compiler Error Message: CS0007: Unexpected common language runtime...
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, May 17, 2007 6:00:03 AM
For those who have ever written an MFCOM script, you may find it's a daunting task once you start examining the MFCOM Class.  There's multiple different interfaces depending upon which platform and version of PS that's involved and it's generally confusing to know the relationships of all of the components.  Fred Liu (a.k.a. Dr. SDK) has posted a blog entry explaining why the MFCOM class is so complicated and what Citrix is doing with CPSCOM to make things better.  If you want to get a view at MFCOM, see this class diagram.  Otherwise, continue on here to Dr. SDK's blog entry on CitrixCommunity.com

By Shawn Bass on Thursday, May 10, 2007 8:42:38 AM
There are several threads on the official Citrix support forums of people who have noticed a variety of strange things in their environment (after migrating to PS 4.5) ranging from increased WAN utilization, to increased CPU utilization for the Winlogon process and XTE service.  The culprit is our old friend the Smart Card hook.  If anyone remembers the joys that smart card redirection caused for 2000 servers with the Update Rollup 1 Patch this will be a painful reminder.  Anyway, Citrix appears to be creating a private hotfix for this at the moment.  In the meanwhile you'll want to disable the smart card hook via the registry entry or via the Terminal Services group policy entry for smart card redirection.  See the following forum threads for more info:PS 4.5 and Wyse v30 winlogon.exe 3% - 8% CPU per connectionWAN usageShawn
By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, May 09, 2007 9:07:38 AM
From a blog post from Mike Laverick's site, I was directed towards this VTMN forum post with a great collection of hyperlinks to various VMWare-related whitepapers, articles, etc.  It's definitely one you'll want to bookmark.  Here's the link to the VMTN posting.

By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, May 08, 2007 3:11:29 PM
While viewing a blog entry over at baeke.info, I was directed to this fantastic document from Microsoft that lists the functionality differences between 2003 Server and Longhorn server.  While this covers many things above and beyond the Terminal Services changes, it does have lots of info explaining the new features of Terminal Services that I'm sure you've read about in hundreds of other blog posts (Easy Print, RemoteApp, TS Gateway, etc.)  In addition to the terminal services stuff, there's a wealth of information on the changes to Active Directory, info on the inclusion of Windows Firewall in Longhorn, and good stuff about Server Core (which I personally think is going to be an awesome feature of Longhorn server).  Anyway, download the entire 272 page doc over here and make a pot of coffee before you start on this one ;)Shawn...
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, May 03, 2007 10:27:32 AM
Around June of 2006 I created a video for Citrix that explains how the UPDv3 printing engine works in Presentation Server 4.0.  That video is available on the Presentation Server landing page under Technology Videos.  Brian Madden has also done several videos on farm design, Speedscreen technologies, etc.  I personally think that some of these videos are a great way at getting a better understanding of how these technologies work in a quick 30 minute view versus spending tons of time reading documentation and white papers.  I highly recommend that you check them out.Here's a link to the Citrix Technology Videos for Presentation ServerAlso, I'd love to hear feedback on what other topics that you'd like to see in a Citrix Technology Video?  Would you like to see more information on Streaming Server/Tarpon, Web Interface/Secure Gateway, Health Monitoring in PS4.5?  Please post your thoughts below.Shawn...
By Shawn Bass on Thursday, May 03, 2007 10:22:02 AM
Al Solorzano has published an article that provides an overview on how to setup the Configuration Logging feature of Presentation Server 4.5.  Configuration Logging is the new feature that Citrix added that audits all farm changes made via MFCOM (i.e. it covers changes made via the CMC/PSC, ASC/AMC, as well as scripts that utilize MFCOM).  Anyway, Al's got a great article up that covers the step-by-step of how to set it up as well as the basics for creating a report of the Configuration Logging database.

Read the full article here.

By Shawn Bass on Thursday, April 19, 2007 10:36:43 AM
The MS SoftGrid team has added a blog entry describing how to use scripts within .OSD files to modify the behavior of the application launch.  They've also provided some basic examples of how one would use them.

Read the entire article at their blog here.

By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, April 17, 2007 9:07:39 AM
Massimo has a great blog entry questioning whether or not Microsoft's Viridian hypervisor (coming slightly after Longhorn server) will have any effect of being able to knock vmware from it's dominence in the x86 virtualization market.  Also discussed is the impact of Xen in the x86 virtualization market.  I'm not going to attempt to summarize all of Massimo's points as I don't think I would do it the same justice.  It is a fantastic read though, and coming from a marketplace where everyone is always stating that Microsoft will bury Citrix, my personal .02 is that vmware will be in much the same boat (always staying one step ahead).

By Shawn Bass on Thursday, April 12, 2007 8:12:49 AM
Per the Terminal Service's team blog, Microsoft has enabled support for revokation of TS Device licensing in Longhorn Terminal Services.  This should come as great news for the 3 people who are actually running 2003 Terminal Services in Per Device mode

Read the complete blog entry here

By Shawn Bass on Thursday, April 05, 2007 3:33:07 PM
I've blogged previously about the release of the Idokorro Mobile Blackberry client, and at the time I mentioned that there were some instances where you would receive a Terminal Services error that you weren't part of the Remote Desktop users group.  I'm happy to say that Idokorro has released a beta client that fixes this issue.  I don't want to share the download URL that they sent me privately, but you can contact them for a beta URL link to test this.

I'm loving this new way of using Citrix.

By Shawn Bass on Thursday, April 05, 2007 1:24:59 PM

I came across this blog post on Jungsonn Studio's blog the other day where they demonstrate how Google Adsense is vulnerable to a type of cross-site scripting attack that when the suspect javascript code is executed and you visit your Adsense account in another browser tab, they are able to switch your Adsense account over to them.  Pretty interesting find, and it really makes you think about all the times that you authenticate into a variety of different sites within different browser tabs all the while having done lots of surfing of other pages (of which you don't know that you can trust).  It's definitely something that all of the bloggers out there that use Google Adsense should be thinking about when they pop into their account from a browser tab


By Shawn Bass on Thursday, April 05, 2007 7:03:58 AM
The Terminal Services team at Microsoft have posted the first in a series of blog entries on what's happening with TS Licensing in the Longhorn timeframe.  Many people know that TS user licensing is not tracked in 2003 Server, and every is fully expecting that to change in Longhorn.  However, the startling piece of this article (for me anyway) was this line:

"Note that in Longhorn, per-user licenses are only tracked and not enforced."

I'm not sure if this is in reference only to the beta product, or if it's the plan for the actual product launch.  I'd be very surprised if per user licensing wasn't enforced, though I'd have to say I'd be very happy if that was the case.  Licensing enforcement sucks!

View the blog entry here.

By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 3:05:49 PM
Though I didn't find this weeks tips to be particularly interesting, they may be news to someone who is new to SoftGrid.  Hopefully the team will keep blogging new tips every week (that would be fantastic!)  Read this week's tips on their blog entry here.

By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 3:04:00 PM
If you haven't had a chance to test 2003 SP2 AND you're configured to automatic updates, you may be interested in knowing that Microsoft has a fix that will allow your servers to bypass the forced install of 2003 SP2 that will begin on June 12th, 2007.  If you're interested in using this opt-out, visit Microsoft's download site here for the download and instructions.

By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 2:29:56 PM
I've always known that you're not supposed to use PST files across the network (LAN or WAN), but up until recently I did not have the specific proof as to the magnitude of problems it can cause (outside of corruption in the PST).  I was recently looking for this information to pass to a client of mine, and I came across a great blog article from the Server Performance Team at Microsoft.  Turns out there's all sorts of issues from I/O deadlocking to paged pool depletion, etc.  Head over their blog and view the article.

By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 2:37:17 PM
MS07-017 is a re-release of an earlier patch against a vulnerability in Animated Cursors.  Apparently when the code was created for the first fix, the rest of the code wasn't audited and another vulnerability was recently found.  The patch can be found on Microsoft's website over here

This vulnerability affects all versions of Windows from 2000 through Vista, so you'll definitely want to patch this one.  Also, there's at least 4-5 public exploits available for this one.  You can be certain that it's being exploited in the wild.

By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 7:21:45 AM
Citrix has been working on a project called Timpanogos which is the feature set to bring some of the Advanced Access control features from the regular Citrix Access Gateway with AAC into the Netscaler product line (the Enterprise Edition).  Jay announced availability of the 8.0 firmware that enables this feature set on the Netscaler hardware.  NOTE:  You will need Netscaler hardware to run this firmware.

Read Jay's blog entry for detailed information.


By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, March 27, 2007 10:50:37 AM

The Metasploit Project has just officially released version 3.0 of the framework on their website.  3.0 is a complete rewrite of the framwork and is written in Ruby.  It currently contains 177 exploits, 104 payloads, 17 encoders, and 3 nop modules.  It is a fantastic tool for penetration testing, and best of all -- it's completely free.

Read their blog entry on the new of the 3.0 release here

And get yourself a copy of Metasploit 3.0 over here



By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, March 27, 2007 8:35:14 AM
This is beyond cool!  Idokorro (makers of two other very cool products Mobile Admin and Mobile Desktop) have just launched the first public Citrix Client for the Blackberry platform.  One could argue that a Citrix client on a Blackberry is not the ideal platform for getting work done, but I've been using it as I used the Mobile Desktop product - for on the go deperate troubleshooting (i.e. I don't have a laptop near me, but need to get in a reboot a system, etc).  Anyway,  checkout their website for a download link (they even have an OTA download available from mobile.idokorro.com

On one of my Presentation Server 4.0 boxes, I'm receiving the typical TS error message that you're not a member of the Remote Desktop Users group.  This is weird since this system works perfectly fine locally as well as via WI/CSG.  I've exchange emailed with the Idokorro folks who mentioned that they've seen this on about 4-5% of the downloaded installs.  They are currently researching a fix and expect it to take no longer than 1-2 weeks (how's that for support!). 

UPDATE: Idokorro has released a beta client that fixes the TS error message.  Contact them down a download URL.

Anyway, one of the REALLY cool things about this product is that it supports either connecting directly via TCP/IP through your carrier (for externally facing Citrix connections) or more appropriately you can tunnel through your existing BES/MDS service (which is awesome if you're trying to fix a problem with your WI/CSG config).  I just can't speak enough about how cool this product is.

By Shawn Bass on Monday, March 26, 2007 7:49:10 AM

Exchange 2007 Outlook Web Access includes a functionality called WebReady document viewing that functions much the same as the HTML Preview functionality in Citrix's Advanced Access Control.  Currently 2003 versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, as well as PDF document types are supported, but this this able to be customized/extended for additional document types as well.  I realize that AAC provides greater control over the documents than this feature within Exchange, however it's still a great feature to include out of the box in Exchange 2007.

Read more at the MS Exchange Team's blog entry about WebReady document viewing


By Shawn Bass on Wednesday, March 21, 2007 9:02:14 AM

In a recent press announcement LanDesk (makers of systems management/electronic software distribution products) has noted that they are in partnership with Thinstall.  Apparently LanDesk is eager to not be the only one left out of the growing software virtualization market.  Either that or they just want to make clear to everyone that they've still got what it takes since being taken over by a company that makes KVMs.

Thanks to dabcc.com for the news.


By Shawn Bass on Tuesday, March 20, 2007 8:04:41 AM
MSDN has a great review up on IIS 7.0.Some of the highlights of the new IIS 7.0:Lean server core component (similar to server core in Longhorn).  Additional components can be enabled on an as-needed basis.  This of course helps to reduce the attack surface of the server.No more metabase (finally!).  All settings for IIS are now in an XML-based config file (much like the asp.net .config files)IIS Manager has been completely redone.  I personally think this is a huge improvement over the old admin tool.Improved diagnostics and tracing facilities for quickly locating problems in your web server or application pools.Improved performance through caching (ASP sites are dynamic which unfortunately leads to performance issues if the content has to be generated dynamically all the time.  IIS 7.0 has features that allow for output caching to reduce the amount of database calls, etc.Lots of other things...follow the link above for more info.Thanks...
By Shawn Bass on Monday, March 19, 2007 9:23:32 PM
Citrix has acquired a load testing technology from thinGenius Ltd. of Edinburgh, Scotland.  Hopefully this is one of those products that will be made available to channel partners because I personally am always looking for a good efficient way of scale testing Citrix environments.

Read the press release from Citrix here