Fullscreen applications with HDX 3D Pro

If you’ve been working with GPU deployment in your virtual desktop environment (XenDesktop or XenApp), you probably also installed HDX 3D Pro. Leveraging the GPU, you can use more graphic-intensive applications. Some of these graphic-intensive applications sometimes launch in fullscreen mode by default (think of benchmarking tools or videogames). The result of starting an application in fullscreen mode could be the following error:

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Citrix HDX 3D Pro Warning!
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Full Screen Applications are not supported in Citrix HDX 3D Pro.
Press Ok to exit.
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OK 
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Planning GPU deployment in virtualized environments – Part 2

In my previous post, I explained some planning considerations when implementing GPUs in a virtualized environment. There are a few other considerations, especially in terms of hardware, when you implement GPUs in your virtualized environment. This article will contain some of these considerations.

Blade hardware

When planning to implement GPUs in existing hardware, be sure that the current hardware does support the installation of a GPU. If your current environment, for example, consists of blade servers (like Cisco UCS B-series or HP BL series), your environment will not be able to be upgraded with a GPU. This means that you have to invest in new hardware.

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Planning GPU deployment in virtualized environments

Implementing a graphics card in your server allows better performance for GPU-intensive applications in VDI and SBC environments. With Citrix and NVIDIA’s vGPU innovations, this is becoming more popular. However, if you don’t plan your GPU deployment correctly, user acceptance of these new innovations will be difficult. This article will contain some things to keep in mind while planning your GPU deployment in virtualized environment. While I created this article with XenDesktop in mind, it does apply to any other VDI or SBC technology like Vmware View, RemoteFX and XenApp.

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Gathering Performance Data in XenServer for external parsing

If you’re used to working with VMware, you probably know about the nifty little utility esxtop. This tool allows you to view real-time performance data on a ESX host. It also allows you to gather performance metrics in batch mode, which allows you to analyze the data in eg. Excel or ESXplot.

For those who are working with XenServer, a similar utility is available called xentop. The xentop utility allows you to monitor real-time performance metrics, like esxtop does. However, gathering data like in esxtop is a challenge.

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Disconnecting a Citrix Session with CTXDiscon

Windows has a command line tool which allows you to disconnect any RDS Session. The command line tool is “TSDISCON”, available in the System32 folder. Now, if you have connected using XenApp or XenDesktop, this tools does work. However, the Citrix Client will not know that the session has been disconnected, thus the Citrix Client window will remain active on the client’s end device.

There is no built-in tool from Citrix which has the same functionality as TSDISCON has. So I compiled a little tool which allows you to disconnect your Citrix sessions.

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Configuring Windows Server 2012 Core: PowerShell

As mentioned in my previous post about configuring Windows Server 2012 Core, you have multiple options. One is sconfig, but the preferred method is using PowerShell. PowerShell is a really powerful scripting language and Microsoft is pushing the use in all of their products.

In this post, I will describe how to configure your Windows Server 2012 Core installation using PowerShell. I will describe how to change your computername, set the IP address and join your server to the domain.

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Configuring Windows Server 2012 Core: SConfig

With the release of Windows 2008, Microsoft introduced the Core installation. This is a stripped down version of the Windows Operating System, without any GUI (less space, smaller attack surface). Microsoft continues this option with Server 2012 and recommends to install the core version. When you install Windows Server 2012, the core installation is even selected by default. Configuring Windows Server 2012 Core is a bit harder without the GUI, so I’m writing two articles about configuring Windows Server 2012 Core.

For the configuration, you have two options: using SConfig or using PowerShell. Microsoft is pushing the use of PowerShell harder and harder, so PowerShell would be the preferred way to configure Windows Server 2012. I will get to PowerShell in the next article, in this article I will focus on using SConfig.

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Monitoring XenApp with WMI – Part 2: Citrix Servers

In part 1 of this series I talked about the basics of the Citrix WMI providers. In this part, I will talk about getting all information about a XenApp server, like which farm it belongs to, what applications are published, etc.

Again, I will be using PowerShell to get the WMI classes. I will assume that you are logged in to the XenApp server to do the WMI calls. But all of these calls can be done from another server (as long as you have the correct permissions and WMI isn’t blocked by a firewall). See part 1 to get more information about remote WMI calls.

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ICAConnect version 1.2

I’ve update my command line tool to connect to XenApp server, ICAConnect. The new version has two new features:

  • Support 32bit color depth
    My fine colleague, Dennis Geerlings, has updated the option to connect to a XenApp server using 32bit colors. To use this, just use the “/color 32bit” switch.
  • Support seamless windows
    I’ve added support for seamless connections. Just use the “/seamless” switch to start an application in seamless mode.

Head over to the Tools section to grab the new version of ICAConnect. If you have any questions or feature requests, feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail.