January 7, 2018

Citrix Synergy 2017

Citrix Synergy

is a conference for customers and partners to hear about the newest updates on solutions and company direction.  It is the better part of a week dedicated to a healthy mix of learning and networking culminating with a party on the final night.


I am writing this on the eve of Citrix Summit nearly six months after Synergy took place.  In the vacuum of any announcements pre-Summit, I find it a great time to look back to the last big conference.  It is also a good time to check in on promises and see how we did.  A lot of people do not know this but Citrix sales engineers typically do not attend Synergy. We all get to attend Summit and an employee only conference called ServTech so it makes sense to make room for customers and then just sync with them when they get back.  Obviously, I was one of the exceptions this year and attended the full week.

Current State

Before we talk about announcements, let me set the stage a bit.  Prior to Synergy, the current release of XenApp and XenDesktop was 7.13.  The Long Term Service Release was 7.6.  Receiver 4.7 for Windows had been out for a few months.  XenServer 7.1 LTSR was released in February.  NetScaler firmware was at 11.1.

Major Citrix Cloud services included: XenApp and XenDesktop Essentials (sold through Microsoft, provided by Citrix), XenDesktop Service, the XenApp and XenDesktop, XenMobile Service, ShareFile and the Gateway Service.



Company Announcements

  • Workspace Service is announced
  • Citrix Analytics is announced.
  • NetScaler Secure Web Gateway is announced.
  • New security practice for Citrix Consulting Services.

    Product Announcements

    Product enhancements have settled into a quarterly update for products that customers setup and run themselves.  Changes happen much more frequently for customers who subscribe to services hosted out of Citrix Cloud.  Of course, for those customers who want to slow down the rate of change there is always the Long Term Service Release of XenApp and XenDesktop and now XenServer.

     Guest Speakers

    Citrix really stepped up their guest speaker game and had both General Colin Powell and Marcus Gladwell do keynotes.  From the minute General Powell opened his mouth, it was clear that he has lived an amazing life.  What's I found really fascinating is how open, honest, and approachable he was on stage.  I honestly could have sat there for hours while he told stories.  Unfortunately, you needed to be there as it was not recorded but if you ever get a chance to hear him speak about anything--I recommend it.



    Malcolm Gladwell was not as well known as General Powell to some of the audience--including the guy sitting next to me.  I have read a couple of his books and knew that no matter what he talked about it would be interesting.  Here is another guy that could have double his time and no one would have left.  Halfway through his keynote, the guy sitting next to me asked, "who is this guy again? He is so interesting".  I found him to be smart, thought-provoking, and to get a glimpse into his thought process was amazing.


    Innovation Award

    Every Synergy, three customers from around the world are featured for doing innovative things with Citrix solutions.  It was exciting enough to have Denver, Colorado-based healthcare organization, SCL Health, as one of the three finalists.  But when they brought home the award it was especially gratifying to see all of their hard work pay off.  I know they made everyone in Colorado proud.



    In summary, the overall message is that the world is getting complicated.  Productivity is more challenging than ever because our apps and data are spread across many data centers and possibly even the public cloud.  Citrix is taking this challenge head on to reduce the complexity while also increasing the security.  A big key is making apps and data easier to consume by providing these products as services out of Citrix Cloud.  I expect the individual products to deepen their integration and allow for rapid deployment and simpler consumption.

    Brian Olsen @sagelikebrian







    December 14, 2017

    Build an App Factory




    Eric @ericlieven and I presented, "Build an App Factory" at the Colorado CUGC in December 2017.

    A few years ago, Eric and I built a couple of XenApp farms to support an SAP rollout.  That part is fairly straightforward but the aspect of the project I am proud of is the way we helped change the culture of an organization.

    Our big challenge is that we inherited a bad Citrix environment.  It was really, really bad.  The entire farm crashed almost daily.  Logons were two and a half minutes.  The previous Citrix administrator was considered the app owner of all 80+ applications.  Citrix was a four-letter word throughout the company.

    With the support of upper management, we set out to build something better.  The old culture reminds me of the most interesting man in the world meme.


    It really was not their fault. There was no good way to test.  There definitely was not a process to follow.

    When I look back at the project, it feels like we built an application factory.  At a very high level, you put some bits in one side and a perfect app comes out the other side.  The actual process in between is what is important.  Eric and I discussed the process we used to build and run the app factory.  The end result is apps that are now continuously available from anywhere on any device, are smoking fast, and quite secure.

    We knew that we were on to something when the application owners that once hated us became our best friends.  By the end of the project, they begged us to host more and more of their applications on the Citrix environment.  This is even how they evaluate new applications before they purchase them.

    We made some design decisions that resulted in more work for us, the administrators--especially in the beginning.  But it allowed for an update process that works better for everyone.  Like any good-sized project, we made some missteps along the way, but in the end, it was all worth it.

    Here is the link to the slides hosted on Citrix ShareFile

    I often think about how I would build an even better App Factory in 2018.  More on that in a future blog post.

    Brian Olsen @sagelikebrian


    June 29, 2017

    Okta SSO - Error "Non-HTTPS url redirect is not supported in webview"

    Purpose:
    This post explains how to address the error "Non-HTTPS url redirect is not supported in webview" when using Okta SSO with Azure AD or other Azure SSO

    Symptom:
    When users try to log into their applications when Okta is implemented they get an error that states "Non-HTTPS url redirect is not supported in webview" This error may only occur on certain application but not all of them. Below is an example for SSO for MS Visual Studio.



    Resolution:

    Within your Okta administrative console navigate to Security>Authentication and scroll down to the Desktop Single Sign-On portion. Within there navigate to the Integrated Windows Authentication (IWA) Web applications. Within this configuration area review what you have setup and most likely this configuration is setup for http://oktaserver.domainname.com/iwa.

    Cause:

    The redirect from the Okta cloud to your on-prem SSO servers is not encrypted. 

    SageLike Post ID: SL0019

    Applies to:

    Okta SSO and Azure AD

    May 20, 2017

    Citrix Summit 2017

    Citrix Summit 

    is a conference for employees and partners to hear about the newest updates on products and solutions.  It is the better part of a week dedicated to a health mix of learning and networking culminating with a big party on the last night.

    I have been going to these conferences for so long that one of the best parts is catching up with old friends.  This Summit was no exception.

    Before I even left Denver I saw this ad

    Current State

    Before we talk about announcements, let me set the stage a bit.  XenApp and XenDesktop 7.12 had just been release around Christmas time along with Receiver 4.6, and it was the one year anniversary of the initial LTSR announcement.  XenServer 7.0 had been released the prior March and NetScaler was at firmware 11.0.  Citrix Cloud had been up and running for a little over a year.

    The Anaheim Convention Center

    Company Announcements

    Product Announcements

    • New XenDesktop Essentials
    • New XenApp Essentials
    • New XenMobile Service (as in Citrix Cloud hosted)
    • Announced XenServer 7.1 which is the first ever LTSR for XenServer
    • SD-WAN 9.2 announced (see Tweet below)
    • Citrix Lifecycle Management rebranded as Smart Tools
    • By far the biggest announcement, Citrix acquires Unidesk for their app layering technology!



    Maybe one of the more interesting things was the lack of major announcements related to XenApp and XenDesktop.  In part, this is because the products are being updated every quarter if you are traditional on-prem, more frequent if you are using Citrix Cloud.  The speed of innovation was a big part of @cloudappcal keynote presentation.  In years past, I used to list off all the new features coming in the next release.  The number of features that were released in 2016 is shocking and it would be too much work to just list them here.

    If you noticed the date of this post and are wondering, "who posts about Summit on the eve of Synergy"?  I guess the answer is me.  Months later I still think that we are going to look back at Summit 2017 and think that it was a major conference and interesting point in time for Citrix.





    April 24, 2017

    Windows 10 Store Apps Missing


    Purpose:
    This post explains how to reinstall the Windows 10 Calculator app after it has been uninstalled

    Symptom:
    Windows 10 Calculator App missing

    Resolution:

    Issues reinstalling Win10 Store apps after removing them. This is specific to the Windows Calculator app.

    Requirement is to have Base Filtering Engine and Windows Firewall service turned on.
    *Note* - This is also a requirement for Windows 10 Updates to function correctly.

    If the folders in the C:\Program Files\WindowsApps directory have been deleted or are missing find another machine that does have these folders and copy them into your machines directory. I also had to copy the VCLibs directories (highlighted below - You'll see why in a minute why these are needed.)



    After you have these directories open up an elevated powershell window and register the apps using this command (specific to Calculator)

    Add-AppxPackage -Register "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.WindowsCalculator_10.1703.601.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe\AppxManifest.xml" -DisableDevelopmentMode




    However when I ran this command I got an error about the VCLibs missing. So  I registered these VCLibs first with these command:

    Add-AppxPackage -Register "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.VCLibs.140.00_14.0.24123.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe\AppxManifest.xml" -DisableDevelopmentMode

    Add-AppxPackage -Register "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.VCLibs.140.00_14.0.24123.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe\AppxManifest.xml" -DisableDevelopmentMode



    And then re-ran the command to register the Calculator app.

    Add-AppxPackage -Register "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.WindowsCalculator_10.1703.601.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe\AppxManifest.xml" -DisableDevelopmentMode

    Cause:

    The uninstall of Windows 10 Apps by various means

    SageLike Post ID: SL0018

    Applies to:

    Windows 10

    References:
    http://www.intowindows.com/reset-and-reinstall-calculator-in-windows-10/
    https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-reinstall-default-apps-in-windows-10/