Troubleshooting Xenserver Networking Problems….

Over the course of our time in the field spent working on Citrix Xenserver issues, we have encountered networking problems within Xenserver a few times.  These networking problems included symptoms like packet loss in VM to VM communications across a Xenserver host.  Some of the Xenserver networking problems included packet loss or latency from a Xenserver host’s physical interface out to the WAN.  In order to make troubleshooting a little easier for us next time, and to share with the community – We’ve compiled this little Xenserver networking troubleshooting guide:

Step 1: Collect a server status report from the Xenserver host, and upload it to the Citrix automated tool for analysis online at http://taas.citrix.com — This is a new feature that Citrix has added to their website, which will analyze Citrix Xenserver status reports and provide quick feedback.  Some of the feedback you might get would be to update your BIOS on the xenserver host, or maybe change a network interface driver out, etc.  We’ve seen recommendations to change BIOS settings also, as well as recommendations to engage the physical hardware manufacturer for support.  Overall this has been a very useful tool that Citrix has made available via the web!

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Citrix Xenserver 6.1 – New Features! Our favorites…

Citrix Xenserver has been a great hypervisor for many years now, and continues to get better with new features and benefits that come out with every revision.  Xenserver 6.1 is no exception as it packs some powerful new features that are sure to make your life easier, and allow you more control and flexibility over your Citrix virtualization solution.  Let’s take a look at a few of them:

Storage XenMotion:

Storage XenMotion allows running VMs to be moved from one host to another. This includes the case where (a) VMs are not located on storage shared between the hosts and (b) hosts are not in the same resource pool. This enables system administrators to:

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Getting Citrix Certified

So you want to become a Citrix certified enterprise engineer, or maybe an infrastructure architect?  Well, the road is long — and the exams are hard, so let’s quickly discuss what it will take to complete this arduous task!

There are a number of certification paths you can take when you decide you want to get your Citrix certifications.  The good news for you is that Citrix makes their certification program fairly intuitive, and each certificate they offer usually flows into the next.  Once you have achieved a high level Citrix certification like the CCEE (Citrix Certified Enterprise Engineer), for example — you’ll only need to take a single exam every few years to keep up your certification level to the most current level.

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Setting Up The Citrix License Server Appliance

If you haven’t checked out the Citrix License Server Appliance yet, it’s something that is worth your time.  While traditionally, Citrix licensing has been accomplished through a Windows server based tool (The Citrix License Server Management Console), it can be now be done through a lightweight linux based VM that can be hosted anywhere on your Xenserver deployment.

Traditional Windows baased licensing servers have their ups and downs (Literally!).  They can crash, need to be rebooted, have services get hung, or even eat license files occasionally, corrupting them beyond repair.  Our initial testing on the Citrix license server appliance seems to reveal that none of those issues are present on this cutting edge little VM.

You will find the new Citrix License Server Appliance listed when you log into MyCitrix under the Downloads section here:

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Help! Lost or Forgot my Citrix license server password…

Environment:  Citrix License Server

Problem: Client can not get into the license console because they forgot the password used to set up licensing server when it was first configured.

Resolution: Reinstall Citrix License Server over the top of itself, and it will prompt you to create a new password.  All settings and license files should be retained without issue.  The password for license server console seems to be localized, and does not query active directory or any other type of external security.

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Citrix Xenapp: XML Service is Missing!

Environment: Citrix Xenapp 6, on Windows Server 2008

Problem: Client found that the Citrix XML Service was missing in the services MMC console.  There appeared to be no Citrix errors in the event viewer of any kind, but the server was not acting as an XML broker, even though it had Citrix properly installed, and was specified as an XML broker on the Citrix Web Interface.

Troubleshooting: It was determined that Microsoft IIS was installed on this server.  It is a known issue that having IIS installed on the same server as Citrix XML (if sharig port 80) can cause the XML service to vanish. The customer did not know why IIS was installed, and confirmed there was no valid reason to have it on the server.  Explained that there are two options available:

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Why use Citrix for Application Delivery?

Citrix Application Delivery is big business, and something many of us have made a career of for over a decade. While many of us have bet our careers on Citrix Application Delivery, and it has become second nature to us — I still get a lot of questions from people who are new to Citrix on this topic. They ask me why Citrix is so popular right now, and what is it about Citrix that makes application delivery so efficient in a virtualized environment? Let’s take a look at some use cases, and do our best to explain why Citrix is the leader of the application delivery market space.

1). Ease of Delivery

When I say that it’s easy, I don’t mean for the administrators, because it’s obviously a lot of work to deploy a virtualized Citrix environment! I say it’s easy for the end users, who have to do nothing except install a small Citrix receiver or ICA client on their PC. Some don’t even have to do that much, because there are many Citrix admins out there who are successfully deploying receiver and client to thin clients via software delivery packages like SCCM so that the users don’t have to lift a finger at all. The benefit to the users is great because they don’t have to do anything other than turn on their PC, and they see some application icons appear in their start menu.

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Help! My Citrix Xendesktop VDA is Not Reporting In!!!

Citrix Xendesktop relies on a VDA, or virtual desktop agent to maintain communication with every virtualized desktop in the environment, and the associated desktop controller. One of the most common calls you may get regarding Xendesktop might be that your virtual desktop agent is not reporting in, or is not appearing in the administration console on the Citrix DDC. In this article, we’ll discuss how to troubleshoot this condition, explain why it happens, and hopefully give you some good resolutions to try!

What are some reasons this might occur?

- A network problem may be preventing the virtualized desktops from having a valid routable path to the Xendesktop DDC

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Autotask: Web Customer Service Software that Just Works!

As someone who has worked for Citrix Platinum providers, and Platinum partners — People ask me quite often what my favorite Web Customer Service Software is.  I think it’s important to mention that I have worked on all sorts of service management software platforms over the years.  These have included Clarify, Remedy, Openview, Oracle, Siebel, etc.  In this article I will outline why Autotask is my favorite web customer service software bundle, and why you should use it.

1). Speed

Autotask is quicker than any other CRM software I have used.  Because it’s web based, and build on a very lightweight backbone – it comes up very quickly.  Being a web based customer service software package is key to being my first choice.

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Virtualization: The Future Of Your Business

Ask one hundred people what virtualization means to the future of their business, and you’ll get a hundred answers.  Ask a hundred people what virtualization is, for that matter, and you’ll get a hundred answers.  The spellcheck on the PC I’m using now doesn’t even recognize the word virtualization.  While we may not agree on what virtualization is, or what the word virtualization even means — We should agree that companies who focus on virtualization will lead, and companies who ignore virtualization will follow over the coming decade.

What is virtualization?  Virtualization is the decoupling of software from hardware for the purpose of centralizing IT infrastructure management, and maintaining absolute control of your environment.  Virtualization enables a company to focus on their business, and not their IT infrastructure.

Why virtualize?  The question has been asked in board rooms across America and the world.  The benefits of virtualization are many, including cost savings, ease of management, scalability, and deploy-ability.   If you buy into virtualization, you will quickly unlock untold savings to your IT budget bottom line.  You will no longer need to maintain such a huge IT services staff, because your environment will be easier to manage, and more centralized.  You can scale up or down depending on business cycle, or season.  You can maintain a smaller hardware footprint, and move towards a true “lights out” datacenter design.

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