Delaware / XenApp 5 Test Drive (Update)

Hooray, the early release of Project Delaware, the first version of the Presentation Server under the name of XenApp, has been released to web (RTW)! See this blog entry for details.

In this article I will provide a first impression of the changes introduced by this new release.

Performance Monitor Woes

Recently, I have been working with Performance Monitor a lot and have stumbled across several peculiarities. This article describes how PerfMon behaves on Windows x64 and how counter DLLs are managed by Windows as well as the difference in behaviour of real time monitoring and scheduled traces. I will be talking about the image type of processes. It denotes whether the process is launched from a 32-bit or a 64-bit binary. Unfortunately, Task Manager does not always show the image type correctly. Therefore, I recommend using

Process Explorer by Mark Russinovich to explore Windows x64.

Jailed 32-Bit Processes on Windows x64 (Update)

The Windows-On-Windows (WoW) subsystem has been included in Windows operating systems to allow for backwards compatibility. It has enabled the execution of 16-bit applications on modern 32-bit based Windows. This abstraction layer is located in user space translating API calls to 64-bit data structures and entry points. This is called API call thunking. Windows x64 Editions include a new variant of the WoW, called WoW64, subsystem thunking API calls for 32-bit applications on the 64-bit kernel.

How to Choose a Profile Solution (Version 1.5 of the User Profile Whitepaper)

The whitepaper about user profile management has been available for several months and has reached an astonishing number of downloads. Due to the evolving strategies for delivering applications as well as desktops, we decided to expand on the issue of evaluating user profile management solutions and the subtleties involved in this process.

Continue to this article for the latest version of the whitepaper.

Inside the Windows Update Agent

I am currently working on the design and implementation of a client rollout leveraging Windows Vista. The fully automated installation process takes care of the operating system as well as the corresponding applications.

As we are striving to preserve an almost pristine installation source (WIM file), we did not include any updates in the automated installation but wondered whether the Windows Update Agent can be forced to install updates during installation instead of having to wait for the next update cycle. The resulting mechanism would allow for the patch management to be performed only in the console of Windows Server Update Services (WSUS).

Followup: First Dive Into CPSCOM

There has been a reaction in the Official Citrix Blog concerning my article about the First Dive Into CPSCOM on the CDN community site. Vishal Ganeriwala comments that MFCOM ist still the only official programming interface for Presentation Server. Apparently, the API for CPSCOM will not be disclosed directly but only through a set of cmdlets for PowerShell which will be published through a SDK.

The Future of the Data Store

Yesterday’s article got me thinking about Juliano Maldaners session from BriForum Europe 2007 in Amsterdam where he presented the details of the future architecture of policy management. In this same session, Juliano announced that there will be changes to the architecture of the Data Store which stores static configuration data for Presentation Server. As this information is not included in his slide deck, I’d like to share this with you.

Fortunately, I have taken notes.

Followup: The Future of Policy Management in Presentation Server

As I have elaborated on in a past article about the policy management in Presentation Server, Citrix has not yet moved this component into the Access Management Console, though, due to good reason.

Juliano Maldaner, who originally disclosed this information at BriForum Europe 2007 in Amsterdam, has now indulged on this topic in his article about Presentation Server and Group Policy. He explains why this step makes sense from Citrix’ perspective and how it can be expected to work.

First Dive Into CPSCOM

When the first pieces of information of Project Ohio (now: Presentation Server 4.5) were released, Access Management Console (AMC), the successor of Access Suite Managment Console (ASC), was introduced to be built on top of a new API called CPSCOM. This API was said to be .NET based and development to be focussed on stability. There were even promises of a SDK to be published in the future. Please refer to my article about the future of management consoles for Presentation Server. After having gone through a lot of pains with MFCOM, I was really excited because I was looking forward to a modern way to automate tasks integrating Presentation Server. Unfortunately, news stopped at some point so that CPSCOM is now silently used in AMC but there is no more mentioning of using this new API. Anyway, I have started exploiting the CPSCOM API using PowerShell and the reflection capabilities of .NET based objects to learn about this new way of automating Presentation Server. This article documents my findings. I strongly encourage you to reproduce the steps presented herein and provide me with comments containing additional information.

Emulating a Redirecting Load Balancer for WI and PNA

I recently had to reproduce an error concerning a load balanced Program Neighborhood Agent (PNA) installation. As this was a hardware load balancer, it was rather difficult to set up an equivalent environment because such a box is usually not available for testing purposes. So I ended up asking myself whether it is possible to build a virtualised environment with a minimum of resources, preferably in a single virtual machine. At the same time, the underlying concepts still need to apply for the error to be reproducible.