Yesterday I attended a MS Livemeeting in which Michael Niehaus and Tim Mintner showed all the new features MDT 2010 beta 2 will contain.
Here’s a summary of what I believe are the most interesting changes and new features:
Beta 1 features:
- Windows 7 and Windows server 2008 R2 Support
Beta 2 features:
- Deployment Workbench (UI) Architecture Enhancements
- More flexible
- Support for multiple deployment shares (both local and remote)
- Multi-User support for the workbench (previously more than one active instance of the deployment workbench led to strange behaviors)
- Easier and more flexible grouping
- Drag and drop support, even from portable deployment point
- Long running tasks can be cancelled (or run from a command line)
- Each deployment point can have an associated database (as opposed to a single database for all deployment points in MDT 2008)
- Each deployment point can have linked deployment points, for replication
- Each deployment point can have multiple media definitions
- Drivers can be targeted to install even if not detected
- Based on PowerShell provider
- Wizard Pages have "View Script" and "View Output" on summary (just like SCVMM2008)
- Script Architecture Enhancements
- Improved diagnostics and logging
- Better error and recovery
- Better network retry logic (no more: unable to contact deployment point errors!)
- Improved readability of default scripts
- Documentation Improvements
- Simplified documentation
- Cross linked content
- Covers both the why's and how's’
As you can see, there’s going to be enough changes! Suffice to say I will test-drive Beta 2 once it’s up for download!
Just two weeks ago i told you how to get the windows 7 beta running on XenServer. At this moment Citrix describes this method as "The hard way" (i prefer to call it "The cool way" ). As expected the problem is caused by running Windows 7 enlightened, this should make virtual machines faster because they know they are virtual. As we discovered this does not work yet.
Now the easy way to run Windows 7 on XenServer: Just download this template and install it. Remember when using this template you're machine is not hypervisor aware anymore so might perform less. Because it's called the easy way lets quote how to install it to.
After downloading and unzipping the template follow the steps below.
Getting it onto your XenServer system:
1. In XenCenter right-click on your server and select Import VM
2. Browse to the file and select Exported Template as the Import Type
Building a Windows 7 Beta VM:
1. Once the template is installed just click New VM button and the Windows 7 Template will show up at the top of the first screen
2. The rest is business as usual just be sure to add a disk drive and a NIC as you are creating the VM
Wow, app-v is hot this week, not only did Ment van der Plas release his ACDC tool, but also Ruben Koene released his improved version of the SoftGrid 4.1 Client ADM by Rodney Medina. In his most creative mood Ruben called it the: App-V 4.5 Add-on ADM v1.0.
The App-V 4.5 Add-on ADM Template configures client setting for the App-V 4.5 for Windows Desktops Client. The ADM template centrally manages common client configurations by using an existing Group Policy infrastructure and includes settings for communication, client Settings, client Interface and permissions. The App-V 4.5 Add-on ADM Template is a template that fills the gap of the Microsoft App-V 4.5 ADM template. This template is supplementary to the Microsoft App-V 4.5 ADM Template.
In case you’ve missed all the blog entries about it, Microsoft Press has made available the full text of the Windows Vista Resource Kit book, downloadable as a PDF file. See http://csna01.libredigital.com/?urws8un4p7 for the details.
Chapter 12 in this book is all about deploying with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008. There are some nice examples on how to automate LTI deployments, as well as configuring ZTI deployments. In total there are 58 pages of MDT goodness in there .
There are plenty of familiar names in the acknowledgements section, including a few names (Michael Niehaus, Jerry Honeycutt, Tony Northup, Doug Steen, Dave Field) that have worked with the MDT team over the years on the MDT documentation.
It is time to vistit www.loginconsultants.com again, Ment van der Plas created the App-V 4.5 Client Diagnostic and Configuration Tool 1.0 in short ACDC. (Not to mistake with the band or the image editor )
The App-V 4.5 Client Diagnostic and Configuration tool makes it possible for administrators or users to troubleshoot virtual applications and the environment they run in:
· Launch predefined and custom commands within the virtual environment of each application.
· See the impact of the App-V Client and the available virtual applications on your system by calculating package size, cache size, user delta file size, log file size etc.
· Diagnose problems with App-V applications by parsing the App-V Client log file (in real time) and search any message online.
· Configure settings that are not visible in the App-V Client GUI, such as "Predictive Streaming", "Allow Stream from File", "Max Package Age" and many more.
· Give an overview of application and package information by merging important WMI, registry and OSD information in one single window.
· ACDC can be run both as an Administrator and as a Limited User. Running as a limited user will limit the functionality of the tool due to the fact that it has less permission on the system.
Very nice job Ment!
How to make custom actions on resource objects within the SCCM console.
1) browse to %Program Files%\Microsoft Configuration Manager\AdminUI\XMLStorage\Extensions\Actions
2) create a folder with name: 7ba8bf44-4035-bdb4-16630291dcf6
3) place your custom actions XML within this folder
Here's some sample XML:
<ActionDescription Class="Executable" Displayname="Do Something Cool" MnemonicDisplayName="Script" Description="Something Cool"> <Executable> <FilePath>wscript.exe</FilePath> <Parameters>%TEMP%\Helloworld.vbs</Parameters> </Executable> </ActionDescription>
For a complete reference of possibilities, download the SCCM SDK here
That's right... not the Clone Wars (c'mon i'm a computer guy, ofcourse I love Star Wars) but the Virtualization Wars.
Citrix CTO Simon Crosby challenges VMware CTO Stephen Herrod for a stand-off.
It all started with a blogpost of the VMware performance team: http://blogs.vmware.com/performance/2009/01/virtualizing-xenapp-on-xenserver-50-and-esx-35-1.html
In this publication the VMware performance team claimed that ESX outperformed XenServer when running a virtualized XenApp server. That's quite the opposite of what most of us in the field are noticing... and more importantly, it's quite the opposite of the publication of Project Virtual Reality Check, an independent research and a joint venture of Login Consultants and PQR. During Project VRC the virtual workloads were generated using the Login VSI methodology, which Mark and I created together with Jeroen van de Kamp and dr. Bernhard Tritsch. VSI uses AutoIT scripts to simulate load in a user session.... hmm exactly the same that VMware did... only their testing methodology is poorly explained and not detailed at all. Quite the opposite with the VRC whitepapers, which contain a detailed description of the used methodology! 1-0 for VRC.
Allright, that's of course only my unbiased view on this situation, seeing as I was one of the team members of project VRC and one of the authors of the Login VSI tool.
Citrix CTO Simon Crosby responded with the following on the VMware publication:
As a former academic, I'd give this mumbo jumbo an F grade. Bad science, bad scientists, uneven playing field
Read and delight yourself with the furious reaction of Simon Crosby: http://community.citrix.com/blogs/citrite/simoncr/2009/02/02/VMware+Wins!+(Bad+Science+Required)
I was asked by our VP Product Management & Training to give a presentation and demo about System Center Essentials 2007 coming wednesday. So this weekend I got around to finalizing my SCE install and configuration on my VPC.
So what is SCE 2007?
Acoording to Microsoft:
Microsoft System Center Essentials 2007 SP1 (Essentials 2007) is a new management solution in the System Center family of IT systems management products. Essentials is specifically designed for IT professionals working in midsize businesses who often face IT challenges similar to those of larger enterprises—troubleshooting end user problems, automating management tasks, managing multiple systems, and diagnosing and resolving IT problems.
System Center Essentials 2007 provides a unified management solution that enables IT professionals in midsize organizations to proactively manage their IT environment with increased efficiency.
Well, I have to give them the credits for creating a unified console which contains almost everything troubleshooting, patch management and software distribution related. It's actually a pretty nice piece of software, but as with all the System Center products, it can be a hassle to get it to run smoothly in your demo environment
Allright, time to look at the technical specifications:
SCE2007 is actually a jury-rig of SCOM and WSUS 3.0, and uses the SCOM Agent and Automatic Updates on the client-side.
If you are familiar with SCOM, you will have no problems setting up SCE2007 for Monitoring & Alerts.
SCE2007 even has it's own set of MP's available for download from the MS website: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/systemcenter/cc462790.aspx
Well, that was the part I really liked about SCE2007. The ability to see if a service is failing on a client machine, and resolving it from one and the same console. Of course, if you want to tailor the Monitors and Alerts you have to be familiar with SCOM, otherwise you will not know where to start .
The second technology that was incorporated into SCE2007 is WSUS. WSUS is used for the Software and Updates distribution... This I didn't like so much, and I had a hard time pushing Updates to my Client box.... and eventually discovering that I had to resynchronize the Updates after approval... Turns out that SCE only downloads a list of available updates and descriptions... only after an update is approved, it is downloaded to the SCE server for further distribution in your network... Seeing I have a "Local only" network for my VPC's... It didn't go quite smoothly on the updates part....
Second is the Software Distribution. Software is also being pushed to clients via the WSUS mechanism...
Only disadvantage of this: You are only able to target computers. You can't push an application only to a specific group of users...
In a small or small-midsize business this will probably not be too much of a disadvantage, seeing as the amount of roaming users is little to nothing.
For software distribution (and updates as well) you have 3 options to push to the client:
Push to Add/Remove Programs in the control panel of the Client. The user (or in most cases: local admin, seeing as the regular user does not have installation permissions) can then decide when to install the update/software. This is best recommended for updates/software that are optional.
Push to client without a deadline. If you push software/updates without a deadline to a client, the client will install the software/updates based on the Automatic Updates settings on the client. By default SCE configures automatic updates to check-in with the SCE server on a 22-hour cycle and install updates at 03:00 AM. These settings can be configured in the SCE Managed Computers GPO.
Push to clients with a deadline. If you push software/updates with a deadline you set a specific time and date to install the update on the clients, overriding their default settings. Additionally you can set a deadline in the past to immediately install the update/software when the client next checks in with the SCE server. In addition to that, from the SCE console you have the possibility to manually initiate a check-in with the SCE server on the client, this way you can install an update/software in about 10 mins (Automatic Update check-in takes around 10 mins to complete).
That's it for this post.
Seeing as I had some troubles getting my SCE2007 environment to run, I will write an article about troubleshooting SCE issues soon. In the meantime, if you have any questions about SCE feel free to drop me a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.