Carl Stalhood is at it again, with new build guides for Citrix ADC (formerly NetScaler). He has been so helpful over the years so I thought I’d boost the signal to his site a bit. He is a big reason I don’t currently make my own guides. Why would I need to? His are great! We will keep this post up to date as best we can – Carl moves faster than we do, though!
Those of you that have read a lot of what I write know that I am very much about being proactive in IT. Proactive means you are aware of issues before they affect work or worse, production. One of the major risk areas I have been seeing, however, is when applications are not tested against system changes or validated prior to being placed into a Citrix solution. Teams are forced into being reactive. And that’s bad.
Reactive = Bad
What is happening here is that IT is RE-active not Proactive. Today we’re going to look quickly at two primary problem areas and I’ll tell you about some friends that are trying to help.
That Compatibility Problem
I’ll be bold here and say that one thing that seriously irks me is when people just assume an application will work virtually – often without any testing in a physical realm. I’ve lost count of how many times this year I have heard teams frustrated because there is an initiative to upgrade to Windows 10 but management just assumed the apps on their Windows 7 (or Server 2008 – not R2) environment would ‘just work’. That’s bad.
Without good proactive tools, what ends up happening is that IT just tries to make it work and spends countless hours when it doesn’t. The worst part is that they typically don’t even know it doesn’t work until they are into the validation phase of a project, in most cases after several months have already been spent building the new environment. That’s really bad.
That Patch Tuesday Problem
What we *haven’t* yet addressed is updates. The other area that often causes a scramble is testing patches against the system. Problem as in… it is rarely done at this point. There may be a quick validation process before patches go out in maybe 1/3 of the customers I visit.
The vast majority of IT Teams managing Citrix are so overwhelmed at this point they rarely even test. They just deploy and hope for the best. They quite literally deploy and cross their fingers, knowing they’ll just react when the trouble tickets come in.
How Reactive Affects Work
The reality is that IT is being hamstrung before they even start. How can they address a backlog of work when they are constantly reacting to new issues or having to re-engineer solutions because they didn’t have the info they needed in advance?
Proactive = Good
So maybe I’m talking more to management here – what your IT team needs here are two things:
Proactive Mindset of Management (solution AFTER problem, not before it)
Proactive Tools (force multipliers with automation)
When you are constantly chasing the latest issue, there’s only so much time in the day. Improving becomes relegated to lower and lower on the list, and in no time at all the team is only ever break-fixing. This problem has become so extreme that I have seen IT teams split between deployment and administration tasks completely, often trading roles mid-year just to retain sanity. Others have teams that don’t specialize at all, they just deploy and are never tasked with upkeep.
The problem here is that both of these solutions make innovation either not happen at all, or be so disconnected with user needs as to become worthless. I believe that the IT team supporting an environment needs to be in some way committed to improving it. Both in terms of them knowing the issues very closely and just raw sanity. Most folks in EUC do not want to spend most of their time doing only one thing. They want to grow. And this is where having a completely reactive mindset makes such things impossible.
What is required here is a cultural shift in the workplace to identify issues before they become production outages or “Resume Generating Opportunities”. Management needs to drive this – not the IT teams. Leadership must lead. There; I said it now I’ll jump off my soapbox and we can continue.
Once the mindset is set towards being proactive instead of reactive – workflows need to change to accommodate it. What one quickly realizes is that being proactive requires an investment of time and faith. The time is obvious, but the faith is knowing that historically, teams that invest proactive time spend less overall time troubleshooting issues and chasing outages. It is easy to forget this and take it as a given, falling back into old habits. Mind the new culture!
But today I have some good news. Automation can be a ‘force multiplier’ for IT to accomplish the same goals in less time, especially with repeatable tasks.
Login AT from LoginVSI is an automated testing tool for applications that can tell you if applications are going to be able to run in a scenario… without the difficulty of maintaining AppDNA or ‘relying on the testing army’ to give proactive results before deployment. The software is able to automatically perform key tests against the software in a consistent manner (something that is often missed relying on human testing) and inform you in advance of potential trouble.
By doing this proactively and automatically, you can save your team a lot of wasted effort hours in finding the same thing.
Login AT Express = Free
I love the attitude at LoginVSI. If you’ve followed me for any length of time you know that I’m on a mission to Leave the World Better Than I Found It.
Here’s some text from LoginVSI’s press release about Login AT Express:
Current Login AT customers are very large enterprises with very large numbers of applications. In the past year we learned that small and medium sized enterprises are also suffering the same problem. As of the start Login VSI has always been active to help ‘make the VDI world a better place’. With our product Login VSI as a free tool for the first years, our support of VDIlikeaPRO, the performance tests in our own lab and the active support of 3rd party labs with free licenses (such as ICT-R and others). With so many organizations struggling to keep their applications running after each software update, and our relatively small organization to effectively help them all, we chose to adopt the freemium distribution model for this new product to enable us to reach the market in the most efficient way.
LoginVSI Login AT Express Press Release
I’m happy to announce that Login AT Express is now free for up to 50 applications. All you need to do is renew your 1 month license as often as you like.
I’m willing to bet this will benefit well over 3/4 of my audience, so I’m thrilled about this announcement.
Let’s get proactive and stop the grind!
Here’s what to do. Click the button below and fill out the form. Under Product of Interest, make sure you select Login AT Express (and the others). Do me a favor and let them know you heard it from ctxpro.com as a blogpost!
You know how Facebook has that whole flashback/timehop “X years ago today” feature? How cool would it be to have that in the IT world?
“3 years ago today you said you were going to quit because your Citrix session took 5 minutes to load…”
I had a reminder of this recently when I was doing some work at a client having a comparatively minor problem. When I was called in initially, they had staff wanting to quit.
I’m not joking. In fact I’ve encountered this more than once where staff were literally threatening to resign their means of working because they were so frustrated in how their employer was making them work. And to them- it was a “Citrix” problem. These guys were, however, especially desperate. Things were really, really bad. Like 12 minute logon bad.
Now they are one of my favorite success stories for why you should apply leading practices. In their case it literally kept staff from quitting because they couldn’t work. Surely it can’t be pure irony that a month later another Citrix environment I served had a similar issue. It was like a theme for that year.
I found myself wishing there was some way to give perspective to those we serve about just how much better things are without just bragging about it. Timehop for EUC (but, you know, without the data breaches). Flashback for Citrix.
But that got me thinking… why do I do this stuff. I mean, why really?
For all of you facing another day with more tickets, complaints and a seemingly never-ending series of providing praise-less solutions – I’ll simply ask you:
Are you *really* doing it for the money?
Or for recognition?
Both of those will fail you.
I encourage you to connect with#WHY you are doing it. If you’re fine-tuning Citrix for a 5 second faster logon – is it the achievement that drives you, perhaps?
This too will pass unnoticed.
I feel my mission in life comes down to a simple statement- one that actually resonated with former Citrix CEO Mark Templeton.
“In whatever you do, Leave it Better Than You Found It”
Why do heroes do what they do? Why endure hardships, pain and rejection… why live a solitary life?
Because that’s what heroes do. They leave what they found better. Not because they are obligated but because it is their mission or that they are seeking praise. They just can’t help it – it’s how they are wired. Maybe they were born that way. But most have been forged from circumstance and hardship, and emerged with an overwhelming sense of one thing:
All that matters is that I have mattered. Therefore I must endeavor to Leave it Better than I Found It.
This may not be you. And that’s okay. But I submit to you that if you really want to advance in your career it is more about serving than attaining. More about leading than advancing.
In the coming months, I will be opening up opportunities for learning from myself and others just how to do this. Until then, consider your own motivations…
We may not be the hero they always deserve. But we *are* the Hero they *need* right now.
I don’t do this for the praise.
I do this because I KNOW I’ve made their life better.
Whether they choose to recognize that or not really isn’t the point in#EUC (End User Computing). The point is that, as my friendDane Young reminded me of recently…. sometimes we are a lot more like Batman. We may not be the hero they always deserve.
But we *are* the hero they *need* right now.
So step up. Be the Hero.
So what can you do? Here’s a few tips to get you started.
Connect with WHY you are working. Not why you are doing what you are doing… why you are WORKING.
Make sure WHAT you are doing matches WHY you want to do it.
Serving others should be your primary focus in life.
Spend more effort learning how to be a better person than to be a better tech
CELEBRATE the wins you have
Don’t dwell on failures
Be INCLUSIVE instead of exclusive
Find a mentor
By the way- if you want to be coached by me – “TheCitrixCoach” isn’t just a fancy title. I do actually coach individuals and teams on how to improve their careers. It isn’t just teaching Citrix skills. It’s about going on the journey together!
Welcome to the LAST Newsletter in this format! That’s right. Going forward I will be shifting to a more irregular publishing model. Why? Because making a pretty blog with lots of information is not as easy as you may think. At least not right now. The second reason is that April was a great example where information moved waaaay too fast to keep up.
So while I’m hoping to get you some great information this month – going forward we will be shifting to a new delivery method for up-to-date information. More about that at the end of this newsletter!
What’s New with Citrix
May is the biggest month for Citrix … but April has not been a slouch for new developments! Let’s dive in! Of course we start off with a release that happened right after my last newsletter and then talk about a release that I purposely waited for this month’s newsletter to make sure was included (and stable)!
Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) 1903
If you are on the Current Release (CR) track (upgrading at least every year), this is an exciting release.
What I’m most excited about feature wise is that we are FINALLY getting the ability to use the clipboard between Desktops and Published Apps. If you have ever wanted to have a published desktop where the applications are provided by central servers instead of the VDI (which is a huge resource savings and much easier to maintain in a lot of cases) – this overcomes a HUGE problem that has existed in the clipboard not being able to pass information from your machine, to the VDI, to the published app… and back again.
Do you use this feature? I’d love to hear from you! There are still some limitations, and I’m curious to know if what you need has been covered (for example, drag and drop and cut functions are not supported)
I’m also curious to see how many of you think DPI matching is important (new feature) but I think most all of you will enjoy the new Profile Management duration in the Profile Load metrics from Director.
XenDesktop 7.15 LTSR CU4
According to our latest survey the overwhelming majority of you are using 7.15 LTSR rather than legacy or current releases. Needless to say, I’m proud of you. While I enjoy new features, in the enterprise… I crave stability and predictability. Of course I do. You know I’m obsessed with Leading Practices!
That said, a complex system like Citrix can’t be perfect out of the gate and even a long term support/stable release needs to keep up to date. LTSR doesn’t introduce new features but applying Cumulative Updates are actually very important
For me, I’m actually most excited about some fixes for HDX MediaStream Windows Media Redirection that I have encountered issues with at multiple clients in the past 4 months.
As always, when deploying updates to LTSR, keep in mind that ALL baseline components must be updated to retain support. When in doubt, use the LTSR Assistant as part of the Supportability Pack to be sure.
Citrix Hypervisor 8.0
Xen’s dead baby, Xen’s dead. The first to bear the Xen name just became the last as Citrix retired “XenServer” for “Citrix Hypervisor. I have to admit, I’m a little sad. After all, for awhile there, XenServer was my thing. Between that and XenApp, I decided to launch the “TheXenMaster” Twitter handle… but those days are over. But the good news for you is that the name may be gone, but I still think Citrix Hypervisor is a very strong offering for high-performance workloads. Sure, it doesn’t have a lot of the Enterprise level features that VMware has – nor should it. After all- the more you add, the slower you get in a lot of ways. Citrix Hypervisor is basically the hot rod of hypervisors. Worth learning, and it is basically free.
8.0 continues to lead with enhancements to 3D and vGPU workloads, support for 2019 VMs, UEFI boot and more. Learn more here.
Other News of Note in the Citrix World
Hint- it’s all Microsoft news this time…
Windows Virtual Desktop
WVD (Windows Virtual Desktop) is the talk of the town. For a few months now we’ve been hearing that Microsoft intends to do away with RDSH and focus on the Windows 10 platform for multi-user. Great, you say… the only problem is confusions surrounding how this will actually work. Initially, Microsoft has said that this will only be available in Azure. As I’m writing this, that is becoming uncertain. I haven’t had the time to get around to looking at this in depth. Unfortunately, I’m still getting my head around what to say about it myself and what I could add that others haven’t already. What I will say is that Multi-User is only part of the picture. WVD is a management architecture that relies on RDP completely… so don’t look for RDSH to be going anywhere anytime soon is my thought.
At this point my advice to you is… don’t worry about it yet. I mean, when was the last time you heard about a new OS or product and launched it immediately? Pretty much never. Because you know better!
I heard a great quote from a book I’m reading today: “Pioneers get Shot. Settlers get Rich.” So when it comes to this new direction Microsoft is taking, best to let the dust settle. Another way to say this is “Do not worry about tomorrow… today has enough trouble of its own.”
So don’t worry about WVD for now, okay? I’ll be sure and let you know when to duck and cover! But by all means try it out… I will say that just as Citrix Cloud eliminates a lot of architecture, WVD is basically the same concept – they handle the brokers, interface, etc. You just supply the workloads (in Azure, of course). Given how good RDP is lately – in certain smaller markets and temporary scale models, this could be a good alternative to a full-on Citrix environment. Time will tell but I just don’t see Citrix losing much sleep over this. So please don’t email me wondering if the sky is falling or Citrix is going to be irrelevent in a year. They said the same thing in 2008 and… here we are.
Man that was odd to type. Right up there with Disney acquiring, well, pretty much everyone, Microsoft bought FSLogix. But there’s some really good news for this: FSLOGIX is now basically FREE for most circumstances, including if you have RDSH licenses that are current.
Unfortunately there’s been some confusion as to how to actually get said licenses but my advice at this point is to contact your Microsoft rep and express interest. At least one of my clients were granted licenses to use right away.
Why FSLogix? I don’t want to sound overly biased, but I’ve been impressed with these guys for quite some time now. The ability to have smart containers for profiles is one thing – heck even Citrix now has this capability to some degree… but what FSLogix can do with Office 365 is hugely important in the modern Citrix world. Hands down, one of the biggest complaints I hear when companies move to O365 is that Outlook is very slow, or they need to support OST files which is… painful. FSLogix O365 containers not only take care of this, but do it better because it uses a virtual disk attachment rather than a file share. Windows likes this. Outlook LOVES this. I’m hoping to put together a guide soon but let’s just say I’m waiting for a reason. *wink*
The biggest news for me is that the Citrix Hero Program is now OPEN for enrollment. The program was born out of my frustrations with education courses and other programs that miss the really big things! Every time I do an assessment, design or health check I find things that are done wrong. I put the big list of them in a list of 12 topics I call the Dirty Dozen (in fact, you can now view an automatic replay of that webinar right here).
The program teaches you how to address the most common gaps that I find in consulting assessments; in other words if I could choose 12 things for you to focus on- it would be these first.
Every month I share a newly-minted chapter of my Become a Citrix Hero (ch 1 to 3 are available for free at the moment- register here to download.)
We have a live video teaching and Q&A around that month’s topic. This is a unique opportunity to get access to me and ask questions!
Future features will include audiobook chapter recordings, advance access to courses and more.
We have our own social network to support the program, powered by the same Mighty Network at community.citrixhero.com by what we call a “Cohort” group.
I will admit that I’m fatigued with Facebook’s distraction economy, frustrated with LinkedIn’s way of approaching community (read- I’m tired of non-stop recruiters) and am not feeling a sense of community with forums. So I decided to do something about it.
Over the past year or so I’ve been surveying people and have found a few interesting things:
You want a place not just to get tips and tricks… but to BELONG
You want to be able to connect with myself and other experts on a more personal level
You don’t like Facebook (or at least, not when it comes to geeky stuff like Citrix)
You don’t want to participate socially where you’ll just have a bunch of ads and tracking going on
You want a mobile app
DONE. I’ve decided to launch just exactly that. And for the time being- it’s completely free, sponsored by the Citrix Hero program (more about that in a moment).
All you have to do to belong to my network is click here! Answer a few quick questions so I know you’re not gonna try and sell everyone in my network a bunch of stuff… and you’re in!
This really is under my complete control. No sponsors, no ads, no worries. I’ve got a few great volunteers that are helping me moderate content who I’m hoping to introduce you to soon. We’re better together, and this is a huge step forward! Join us today at https://community.citrixhero.com
Citrix Hero Program Lessons
April was Active Directory Month
The one area that really shouldn’t be messy is the one that I find most chaotic in more than half of the assessments I did in the past 2 years: Active Directory.
In this month’s lesson I lay out my strategy for managing Active Directory with three major goals in mind:
Getting along with other teams while not introducing risks to your Citrix environment
Faster logons – a good design here can sometimes be the ONLY difference between a 5 minute logon and a 15 second logon. No joke!
Better organization and consistency to better handle challenges like acquisitions
The lesson is live now in the League of Heroes area (this is the private area for those enrolled in the Citrix Hero program). I’ll be publishing a summary preview for everyone else in the next few months – but my Program members always get first access!
May Lesson – Citrix Turbo Tuning Framework
I’m excited to announce that next month I’ll be unveiling my framework for getting smart and prioritizing how to tune Citrix workloads. I’m tentatively calling this my Citrix Turbo Tuning Framework until I come up with a cooler name.
You’ll learn how to divide optimization as a concept into 4 phases so you can make informed decisions about when to pursue certain kinds of optimizations that may only yield results in certain circumstances, and at times are efforts you don’t really need to put forward.
We’ll be covering everything from Hardware to the Citrix Optimizer and go even deeper than Chapters 1 and 3 from the Become a Citrix Hero eBook! I’m looking forward to it. Learn more in the League of Heroes Cohort in the Community site!
The Citrix Hero Program is a premium service I offer that helps me pay for this site and also quite literally buys time with me so that I can impart the most important elements of my knowledge to you.
If you want to be part of the program – there are annual and monthly options both found at https://ctxpro.com/citrixhero-membership Do I need to say it? Go sign up! Learn from me and become a Citrix Hero! But do it NOW before this enrollment class ends and the prices go up!
Citrix Hero Enrollment Closes
Snagit and Camtasia are game changers for Technology Documents
I wanted to take a moment and tell you about two tools I have been using for all sorts of things lately.
The first is TechSmith Snagit. Snagit has gone way beyond just a tool to capture screenshots. I have been using it to document processes for customers, even create screenshots automatically from scrolling thru menus during remote help sessions and assessments, designs and such. That barely scratches the surface.
Camtasia is how it all comes together. I have replaced my previous video workloads nearly completely with Camtasia because of how much easier the interface is to work with – and a new feature that is especially useful- Transcription! That’s right- you can now put captions on your videos from capturing text from the audio! It’s fantastic! This new version has a lot of great graphics and transitions making YOU look good just for having used it.
TechSmith is one of our affiliates. If you make a purchase from our affiliate link– you are supporting this site financially even though you aren’t paying anything more for the products!
So I have two reasons to recommend them! Give them a try– I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
A new section for this time around is giving you a little behind the scenes and seeing what I’m up to.
Here’s some books I’m reading or just read (note- these are affiliate links. We participate in the Amazon Affiliate program to support the costs associated with running this site.)
Fun fact- it was actually this book that inspired me to move from Facebook to Mighty Networks for our community site. I’m starting to see that the Attention Economy is damaging my life more than making it better. The more time we spend ‘latched’ to digital entertainment, community and tools – the more I question if it’s beneficial. The suggestions in this book have been very helpful for me to prioritize
If you are thinking of running your own business or side business – let me introduce you to one of my virtual mentors! This book has been eye opening for making the right choices in terms of starting a business teaching others what I know. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I think this book will help me better help you!
I mentioned this will be the last Newsletter. Now here’s where to find information going forward!
1) Current Events and News – Posts to Community.CitrixHero.com – This is our free community for YOU. Because it is a faster method of posting for us and is organized by topics we will begin posting ‘in the moment’ information there. So, information about product updates, events and such will all be placed in the community so we can discuss. Another major reason for this is the fact that there is a mobile app for this platform which is great. So Join NOW!
2) Longer Term Information – Posts to CTXPro.com – If it is a tip, lesson or trick- for now, right here on CTXPro.com. I’m working on shifting where content will live. The vision here is that CTXPro.com will become the place for professional guidance. CitrixHero and ctx.academy will focus on skills and a learning path. I have several other sites I am not yet utilizing – CitrixAdmins, focused on the beginner and those tasked with maintaining environments. I have a site reserved called citrix.tips I have not actually got going. The reality is as one person, this is difficult. If you’d like to help or provide content… contact me! I would love to not be the only voice here!
So why all the different sites? I feel it is important to limit distractions and mindlessness. I want you to know exactly why you are visiting each site, which ones give you value and why.
…that and I want to rule the internet.
3) Coaching and Encouragement – YouTube and… – I want to be doing more to encourage you, and I’ve decided to do this weekly. From my car. Watch for my new series – Citrix Coach in a Car Getting Coffee… or going to the Chiropractor. Initially, I’ll be posting supporting materials right here but the intention eventually is to create a blog at CitrixCoach.com. I also intend to post weekly to LinkedIn so make sure you follow us there! NOTE- I REALLY need you to subscribe to the channel. Otherwise we can’t do live broadcasts from mobile!
4) News Aggregator – CTXPro.com – Any time there are significant posts I think you should see either from myself or others, the intention is to start a feed right here… the problem is figuring out how! So stay tuned!
5) Announcements – Email Lists – This is something I’ve not wanted to use too often… however, the statistics show me that even though sometimes people aren’t engaged or unsubscribe… more of you are getting value out of the emails than are not. So my intention is to start sending post highlights via email about twice per month. This will replace the ‘Newsletter’ format in email completely.
I’m excited to announce that the Nashville, TN Citrix User Group Community local group has the honor of hosting the 500th local group meeting! If you are within a reasonable distance of Nashville – believe me when I tell you that this one is going to be worth the trip.
eGInnovations – 7 Secrets to Becoming a Citrix Hero
On March 12th, I gave a presentation called “7 Secrets to Becoming a Citrix Superhero” on behalf of eGInnovations. You can register for the replay here. However, I have something special for you to grab before you watch the replay. I’ve put together a special printable guide you can use to walk thru the presentation! To get this emailed to you along with my Top 3 eBook (if you don’t have it already), click here:
This is going to be an awesome day of knowledge share. And the best part? You don’t even have to leave your home or office to attend! I’ll be giving a report on the 12 “Worst Offenders” or my Dirty Dozen; the things I find most wrong during assessments. Due to the timeframe I’ll be cutting this down to a simple report and offering the full webinar separately. That said check out this lineup of other speakers and sign up! https://xenappblog.com/agenda/
Citrix Hero Program – Live Q&A
For Current Citrix Hero Program members- don’t forget we’re talking about PVS and MCS performance Friday, March 22nd from noon to 2 Central US!
The Nashville CUGC met on March 15th. It was a great time with my friends from Nutanix joining us.
What’s up in April?
April is going to be a big deal! We will re-open the Citrix Hero Program to the public (get on the waitlist here) April 15th. I’m putting together quite the celebration around it which will have even MORE presentations and fun activities to get excited about! Join our email list for those announcements!
We will also be doing a special for Active Directory you won’t want to miss!
PVS (and MCS) are amazing – but very often misunderstood – technologies. I have been in the reluctant camp with MCS (Machine Creation Services) mostly because of the huge impacts I have seen PVS (Provisioning Services) have on organizations workflow and performance. For many years the issue I find in the field is that people tend to focus completely on Storage performance with these technologies.
I won’t spoil this for you. Storage is a minimal impact compared to the more modern ability to cache in RAM. RAM of the OS is always… ALWAYS faster than your storage can ever be. So while I do hold that Hyperconverged infrastructure does wonders for improving MCS (which has since the beginning suffered from poor read speeds and very poor deployment speeds) nothing improves performance like even a small amount of RAM caching.
But MCSIO (the caching in MCS) is unstable, you say… Only if you don’t give it enough to work with and don’t properly defragment your system. As I found in recent cases you’ll get better results spending on RAM than storage… but let’s not jump too far ahead.
This is a teaser article for Chapter 4 of the Citrix Hero Program. The chapter given to the current subscribers is 19 pages, nearly 7000 words of content. What you see here is more of the “WHY” not all of the how. But I didn’t want to leave you completely out in the cold. So I’ve included some links and other content that I hope will be helpful to you.
So what is the Citrix Hero Program?
Each month we tackle a new leading practice and dive in deep to make sure you understand it. We have a live Q&A and video lessons to supplement the full chapter. Members in good standing will have access to key past articles. This means that if you subscribe next month, you’ll get access to this full article right away!
Enrollment will re-open in April – I encourage you to try it out then to lock in a special price!
Problem 1 – VDA Performance Lags
User experience suffers, especially later in the day. The problem seems to be worse for Machine Creation Services managed Server VDA hosted Desktops that are open all day long, however MCS Desktop VDAs seem to have similar symptoms. While not as high impact, a similarly configured Provisioning Services (PVS) target device exhibited similar symptoms. System pauses are experienced without subsequent CPU utilization spikes. While OS Optimization helps slightly the overall user experience seems to suffer regardless of how many programs are open. Workspace Environment Manager has helped memory and CPU issues but not solved the overall slowdowns issue.
The Administrators note that the problems do seem to increase with additional sessions being active, but cannot explain when the same amount of sessions at an earlier point in the day are not experiencing the slowdowns so they suspect that the number of sessions may not be the primary factor.
Storage Engineers are concerned as IOPS do increase toward the end of the day, but are still way below what the system is rated to perform. A recent move to an all-flash array has not had a noticeable impact so they have encouraged looking more at the programs themselves or that it is a ‘Citrix problem’. Network Engineers report no issues or notable differences between beginning and end of the workday.
Solutions to Test
This problem tends to be caused because either the Cache In RAM with Failover to Disk feature has not been configured or has not been configured with adequate RAM. So… increase the RAM cache if you are experiencing these slowdowns and see if that helps.
Defragment the master image prior to deployment
Assure Antivirus software does not have scheduled scans for non-persistent MCS or PVS-provided VDAs
Properly configure Citrix Optimizer (see Chapter 1 of the Become a Citrix Hero ebook – it’s free!)
Use Citrix Workspace Environment Manager to control CPU and Memory resource priorities and to free up RAM, especially on Server OS VDAs
Want to go deeper? Every month we take problems just like this and dive deep into the solutions in the Citrix Hero Program. Enrollment opens April 15th.
Problem 2 – PVS Target Device (VDAs) lock up randomly or are slow at times
When PVS Target devices are configured properly (enough Cache, optimizations, etc) users are noting apparent lock-ups which clear after a few seconds. Programs are sometimes slow to load, especially early in the mornings. The problems are often much worse after new vDisk versions are deployed.
Monitoring the VDAs indicate no unusual CPU activity- in fact at the times users note issues, Administrators may note that there is little to no CPU activity. Event logs do not indicate any OS configuration issues that are related.
The Citrix team confirmed that caching, optimization and the above recommendations have been configured properly. By further troubleshooting they found that many VDAs are indicating high retries.
Network Engineers note there are no packet loss issues or utilization issues on the network (note- be careful here; I have seen would-be Citrix Heroes not accept this explanation and blame the Network, only to later be embarrassed by the real cause…)
Solutions to Test
One of the most common causes of Retries is actually the PVS server not being able to meet read requests rapidly enough. Most typically this is caused by inadequate RAM on the PVS Server. When vDisks are read Windows Server will automatically cache the data. This reduces reads from disk because the non-persistent VMs are always reading the same data. However, because the cache is FIFO (First In First Out) if the amount of reads exceed the cache, the PVS server must read from it’s vDisk Store. Even with very fast storage, seek times and transfer can cause delays.
Citrix has guidance on how to get started with proper RAM sizing for PVS (see below). A common misconception is that it would be better to have faster storage- in fact some customers use physical hardware or dedicated Flash-Based or RAM-Based storage only to find that the improvement is minimal. RAM is far cheaper a solution. We’ll discuss in far more detail in the main lesson.
Want to go deeper? Every month we take problems just like this and dive deep into the solutions in the Citrix Hero Program. Enrollment opens April 15th.
Writing a book is… really hard. But what if you could easily help one be written?
Well, that is exactly the opportunity in front of you!
Instead of writing chapters, editing, more writing, more editing and then distribution, worry, stress and…
okay, I may be relating some personal experience here…
As I mentioned in my February Newsletter – You can participate in a unique project… by submitting just 250 words.
This is the collaborative effort of Christiaan Brinkhoff and Bas van Kaam – the Byte-Sized Book Project.
The question is – do you have something you’d like to say about Cloud design principles, leading practices or even recommended reference builds you’d like to relay to the world? This is your shot to be heard!
This is all about creating value for the community as a whole, but not asking for a ton from each person. I think it’s a brilliant approach!
So I encourage you to go for it! But don’t wait- the plan is to get the book edited and done in the next few months!
THE IDEA BEHIND THIS PROJECT IS SIMPLE, WE ARE LOOKING FOR AS MANY CLOUD DESIGN PRINCIPLES, BEST OR COMMON PRACTICES, QUOTES, AND ARCHITECTURAL RECOMMENDATIONS AS POSSIBLE. FOR THE COMMUNITY, BY THE COMMUNITY!
Did you know that 10% of our revenues go to charity? That means if you have a paid membership, buy our courses or do coaching or consulting with us… 10% goes to a charity each quarter. This is before taxes, before payroll or expenses! It is our commitment to Leaving this World Better than We Found It.
This post will be updated with highlights of what our Citrix Professionals community has been able to do!
Feeding the Hungry
For this season, we are supporting One Generation Away, an organization dedicated to ending world hunger within our generation.
Here’s a message from Chris, founder of One Generation Away – to YOU!