Archive for the ‘Windows Server 2012’ Category

Xenapp Essentials the replacement of Azure Remote App ? or #NoGo #ARA #Citrix #CXE #Cloud #RemoteApp

Well it is here it took some time but now you can start testing with the Xenapp Essentials. Is it any good and Can I use it for production. Well I was a little disappointed  I was charged upfront and the VM image I used was not usable because the Xenapp Essentials can’t handle Azure managed disks, As azure is pushing use managed disk. is Citrix Xenapp Essentials not capable of using managed disk. therefore I had to rebuild a new Image. The look and feel is the same as in Azure RemoteApp the nice thing is you can change sizing and scaling and to save money a time schedule. But for testing in a MSDN subscription I hate the upfront billing and Citrix did not tell this.

But why not build a RDS farm in Azure ? will show this in a the post below and using a Profile Cluster in Azure is also supported.

For those who are unfamiliar with Azure Remote App check my blog post below.

In this part I show you how to set things up. there are multiple ways and each has is own choices. Citrix is delivering a default Image and this is a Windows 2012 Image, well I’m not going for a default image but a custom. this need some work. This will be a log blog post and tons of pictures in it, As I tried to do step by step but some items you just need to know in Azure. Else it is gonna be a real long blog. But If you need more info on any item just ping me.

Well first I thought lets do this and writ a quick blog on hoe great this is. The amount off steps it took to get thing running is more than I expected. but it is not a bad thing. But be prepared it takes time!

The interesting part is should I use the Same Image or is there an easy migration path. Well it all depends as most things in IT.

The Deployment Xenapp Essentials workflow in just 7 tiles you are done. but some tiles takes several other little steps.

localized image

Do you want to stay on Windows server 2012R2 ? Well I don’t think so but there are good reasons to migrate as is but will this work. As this blog post is just on how to setup the Citrix Xenapp Essentials, the next post would be this integration and migration

As the Citrix Xenapp Essentials is in the Azure market place we also need a Citrix Account.

You can easily create a new Citrix Cloud by going to the following site:

there are a couple of questions and then you are ready to use the account.


In case you have an issue with your account just open a support ticket and the Citrix Support will fix your issue quickly.

So In the Azure portal you can add the Citrix to the menu and go from there.



You can only manage from here and not add any this, so go to the Azure Marketplace (click NEW or  +)  do a Citrix search.


Select the Citrix XenApp Essentials


Do Create. and pick a name for the resource and use or create a resource group.


Give it a name and create or use an existing Resource Group.


As things are default you can change it and read the Text. Default it creates 25 users  Cost Estimate : $456.25 per month

Well for my demo I don’t need 25 users In need just 1.


Oh the minimum usage is 25 Ok then I need 25 users.


$12.00 per user per month for XenApp Essentials Service, including Citrix NetScaler Gateway Service for secure access and 1 GB data transfer per user per month.

Users added today will be charged at the a prorated rate of $11.60 for the remainder of the current month. This amount will be charged immediately.

$6.25 per user per month for Microsoft Remote Access fee to use XenApp Essentials Service without purchasing a separate RDS CAL for this workload. Contact your Microsoft representative to bring your own RDS CAL.

Users added today will be charged at the a prorated rate of $6.04 for the remainder of the current month. This amount will be charged immediately.

You can purchase additional 25 GB Data Transfer Add-on. The cost is $12.00 per add-on per month

When you add users and data transfer add-on to the service, the new charges apply immediately. You can change the number of users and data transfer add-on each month. Your subscription renews automatically at the end of each month unless canceled.


Well the deployment took 6 seconds. that is the Place holder and not the VM’s self An order may take up to 4 hours to provision your service.


Shown from the Azure Portal


Visit Citrix Cloud to simplify the provisioning, on-going management and monitoring of Windows apps hosted on Azure. Here in the Azure portal, purchase additional seats and data transfer add-ons on-demand to meet the needs of a dynamic workforce.

Manage through Citrix Cloud

An order may take up to 4 hours to provision your service, and you will receive an email from the Citrix Cloud when your service is ready. If you do not receive an email within this time, please contact Citrix Support

Log into the XA Essentials Portal


If you need more users you can add them in Azure.

Log into the XA Essentials Portal



An order may take up to 4 hours to provision your service, and you will receive an email from the Citrix Cloud when your service is ready. If you do not receive an email within this time, please contact Citrix Support

In almost 4 hours I got the email  image


Your Citrix product has been shipped via electronic delivery on April 01, 2017, to the email specified on your
purchase order.
Your Citrix order is completely fulfilled. All items on your purchase order have been shipped to the requested


Depending on your other Citrix product you choose the Xenapp Service.


There are 3 steps needed Linking the Subscription and upload a master Image and last create your catalog.


image image

The Microsoft login dialog box us prompting for credentials . You mus use an account that has admin privileges to your Azure Subscription.

Remember : If your user account is not working. the Account MUST be an Azure AD Account.



Next step is creating the XA Essentials Catalog. In these steps the Image will be mounted ,AD connections ,Network,Applications.

A important step with full of options. To setup XA Essentials you need:

  • Azure Subscription
  • Resource Group’s for Cloud connector,Images,etc but you can also use just one Resource Group
  • Domain Controller with Active Directory Domain Services and DNS
  • Virtual Network configured for domain usage
  • A Subnet with free IP addresses

Click Create Catalog.

image    image

Select the Network and the Resource group


As I need some extra resources for creating Image I’ll use Extra Storage accounts

Image Requirements

Use the following requirements to create a custom image:

  • Create the image by using Azure Resource Manager.
  • Configure the image to use standard (not premium) storage.
  • Select Windows Server 2012 R2 or later.
  • Install and configure your apps
  • Install the Server OS VDA. You can download the VDA by using the Downloads link on the navigation bar.
  • Shut down the virtual machine and note the VHD location. Do not Sysprep the image.

And DON’T use Managed Storage accounts for a Custom Image in Xenapp Essentials Can’t use this in the Citrix Images #Fail.

and a good thing there is a brake on my Azure credits. Not for the blog. Seems Citrix is charging upfront. another Failure #Fail but this is only on my MSDN subscription. at this point I can’t finish my blog post #GRRRRR


So but the nice thing are picking my machine type like an G5 just for fun or needed.


Using a default VM as a D2 and for a default of 25 users. Think again and see your Perf resources right now. the cost will be at least the double for 25 users.



Scale settings For my Current Costumers we had a custom script in place for Automatic Scaling of Remote Desktop Session Hosts in Azure Virtual Machines

but in Citrix it is all there Currently it is maximized to 200 users but If I build more collections I can scale up even in the test environment

yes there are flaws in it but it is a replacement for ARA. second building this could take up some time but as you already paid for a month that renewing every month! 

the pricing is as described on the citrix site


Requires 25 user minimum. Includes NetScaler Gateway Service with 1 GB Data transfer per user per month.  Additional NetScaler Gateway Service 25 GB Data transfer Add-on available for $12 per pack per month
Available from Azure Marketplace when purchasing XenApp Essentials. Please consult your Microsoft representative to bring your own RDS CAL.


So there are now a couple options build a RDS farm in Azure good for large Company’s  or who are in need of more flexibility or using Citrix XenApp essentials and will microsoft come with an replacement for Azure remote App, when checking my blog post I see a huge hit on Azure RDS. the Citrix solution isn’t that cheap and has a minimum of 25 users. but building it you self it could be done on 1 server but the price will be more than $486 but who wants to run >2 users on a D2. when using SaaS applications or other Webbase stuff the 3 Gb memory and 14% or more CPU usage is not uncommon


Cheap No use full yes and an Azure Remote App Replacement yes Perfect absolutely NOT

In my next post I will do a dive deep into some configuration issues. see this like Azure RDS vs CXE.


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Posted April 4, 2017 by Robert Smit in Windows Server 2012

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What is change in Windows Server 2015 (10) cluster – Setting Cluster Common Properties

In the new Windows Server 2015 ( Windows Server Technical Preview )there are a lot of new features an not all are clear what they are doing.

I call it here Windows server 2015 there is currently no indication that the server 10 will be named 2015 but as the product will come in 2015 it will make sense that it will be called Windows server 2015. 

I made a Quick compare from the old cluster Windows Server 2012R2 to the new Windows server 2015

In the GUI there is not much change the only part that is real changed is the Enclosure part. ( See my other blog about this )

image  image

But what is change is underwater. when we do a Get-cluster | fl *  We get a list of all the cluster property’s that can be set.


Check this MSDN site for more info about Cluster Common Properties


There are a lot of new options but one option is gone RootMemoryReserved is not longer available.

cluster environment variable RootMemoryReserved was introduced to ensure that clustered VM hosts have a minimum amount of physical memory reserve for the host.

The RootMemoryReserved is by default set at 512 MB. This should be sufficient for the host VM that is not performing any operation other than manage the VMs.

As above windows10 is my cluster name and must be used in the PowerShell command

(get-cluster windows10).RootMemoryReserved

To change the RootMemoryReserved, the desired reserved memory size is assigned to the PowerShell cmdlet above. Use the following PowerShell cmdlet to set RootMemoryReserved to 1024 MB:

(get-cluster <cluster name>).RootMemoryReserved=1024

So it is no longer there.!

But now what is new.

When we do a Get-cluster | fl *

It will give us a long list but I filtered out and here are only the new parts that is only available in Windows Server 2015

ClusSvcRegroupStageTimeout        5
ClusSvcRegroupTickInMilliseconds        300
ClusterFunctionalLevel        9
ResiliencyDefaultPeriod        0
QuarantineDuration        0
ResiliencyLevel        Default
ClusterGroupWaitDelay        120
QuorumArbitrationTimeMax        20
RequestReplyTimeout        60
DumpPolicy        69913

When we need to change these options that can be done with (get-cluster).ClusterFunctionalLevel=9

(get-cluster).< with the name> = Value

As I noticed there are options from 2008 back and all have to do with latency so a logical conclusion would be will the cluster go to Azure or is there something coming that we need the values to get a better cluster. and all

Let us review these Commands



These options where there in 2008 but removed in 2012 and now they are back.

Controls the amount of time, in seconds, that a node waits on other nodes in a membership stage before deciding that they have failed.

Controls the interval of time, in milliseconds, that the membership algorithm waits between issuances of periodic membership messages.


Upgrading a Hyper-V or Scale-Out File Server cluster from Windows Server 2012 R2 to Windows Server Technical Preview no longer requires downtime. The cluster will continue to function at a Windows Server 2012 R2 level until all of the nodes in the cluster are running Windows Server Technical Preview. The cluster functional level is upgraded to Windows Server Technical Preview by using the Windows PowerShell cmdlt Update-ClusterFunctionalLevel.


The default resiliency period for the cluster, in seconds


Specifies the amount of time groups will wait for their default or preferred owner node to come up during cluster cold start, before the groups are moved to another node.


Specifies the maximum number of seconds a node is allowed to spend arbitrating for the quorum resource in a cluster.


Describes the length of time a request from a node with a cluster state update will wait for replies from the other healthy nodes before the request times out. Any nodes that do not reply within the request time out period will be removed from active membership in the cluster. The following table summarizes the attributes of the RequestReplyTimeout property.


Queries that can be used to export resource type specific logs.


There a fresh new options and currently not well documented or <NDA> but I’m sure when the server product is right a lot more new features will be made public. 

When the next release of Windows Server will be available I’ll discuss the DASMode properties in a future blog

Happy clustering

Robert Smit


3 node Cluster in Azure contains “weak event was created” in FCM after install of KB2750149 #azure #templates #winserv #SQL

Just created a 3 node SQL cluster in windows Azure and used Templates with windows 2012 with SQL and find a nasty bug. All fixed with a update but still annoying.  I was hoping to get a full patched system. With atleast all the hoxfixes in them. But even in Azure keep your patching up to date!

Building Windows 2012 Clusters in Azure needs patching !



image     image

Build my Azure Cluster with AV Set on a 3 node cluster with a fileshare witness.  But even in Azure keep your patching up to date!

As you can see little bugs are still there and if you don’t know about this you could run into trouble.

Below is all the hoxfix information you need.

When installing this update to a Windows 2012 Cluster Server, you will receive the below error when you select Roles or Nodes from within Failover Cluster Manager.

A weak event was created and it lives on the wrong object, there is a very high chance this will fail, please review and make changes on your code to prevent this issue

You can still manage your Cluster from a node that does not have this fix or through Powershell.  The recommendation at this time is to remove and not install this fix.

This issue has been resolved.  After installing the KB2750149 patch for .NET Framework, please also install the below patch.

Failover Cluster Management snap-in crashes after you install update 2750149 on a Windows Server 2012-based failover cluster





But how cool is that SQL availability groups in azure and even a Cluster in Azure ! And the deployment was really fast.

More about this later My Azure credit is gone ;-(


Posted February 24, 2014 by Robert Smit in Windows Server 2012

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