donderdag, mei 24, 2007

WTS: Using ThreadMaster to Tame Rogue Applications

Duane Bradley has written an excellent tutorial on how to deploy & configure the free tool Threadmaster to "tame" CPU usage for specific applications on a Terminal Server or Citrix box. Read the article here

dinsdag, mei 22, 2007

Microsoft: Technet Magazine A guide to deploying WTS

James D. Silliman has written a short but insightful article in Technet Magazine on deploying Windows Terminal Services on a Windows 2003 platform. In the article, he discusses GPO’s, security filtering, Folder redirection, installing Office using templates and admin installl, some licensing info, etc.

Definitly a good read for people new to Terminal Services. Read the article here

Microsoft: Its all about Virtualization now...

Yesterday, I attended the TechNet Webcast: Windows Server 2008: Server Virtualization Solution Scenario. It was quite interesting (although not as technical as I had hoped).

To summarize, Microsoft’s virtualization strategy is divided in 4 types of “virtualization”:

  1. Desktop virtualization: desktops/servers can be virtualized on your local desktop using Virtual PC technology. Nothing new here.
  2. Application virtualization: Microsoft bought Softricity a few months ago, one of the leading companies for applications virtualization. They are now selling Softgrid as their application virtualization solution (and a good one I might add). Softgrid 4.1 is now the current version, and version 4.2 will be released soon. Zerotouch (a web portal front end) was dropped.
  3. Presentation virtualization: this one is quite funny (and the most surprising). As you might know, Server 2008 will have a bunch of new “Citrix-like” features for Terminal Services like load balancing, TS Web Access, TS gateway (SSL tunnel), remote (published) apps and UPD (called “easy print”). So now, Terminal Services is looked upon as being “presentation virtualization”. BTW, Citrix already uses the term “application virtualization” for its Metaframe Presentation Server solution.
  4. Server virtualization: Oh yes, the combination of Virtual Server 2005 R2 (SP1) and/or Windows Server 2008 virtualization (“Viridian”) and System Center Virtual Machine Manager (now in Beta 2). SC VMM version 1.0 will be released in 2007, mainly to manage VS 2005 R2. A new release of SCVMM 2.0 will be released as soon as Viridian is ready (stripped of some features or not ;)) in 2008. So stay tuned!

During the presentation, a comparison was made between VMware ESX server and Windows Server 2008 with Windows Server Virtualization. The thing to note here is that VMware uses drivers in its hypervisor model, while WSV uses no drivers in their hypervisor. Instead, they deploy drivers directly in Virtual Machine instances. I can’t wait to compare it (even with hot-add & live-migration features stripped) to ESX!

maandag, mei 21, 2007

VMware: deploying a VM using a custom sysprep.inf answer file

You can create a template VM and use sysprep to rename, reSID, etc. a new VM. The difference between the default approach and my approach is that in my approach you can completely configure your VM as you would like (for example, use the correct regional settings).

In our example below you will notice that the regional settings default to Belgium/Dutch. You can change this (or other settings) using the setupmgt.exe found in de DEPLOY.CAB on your windows 2003 CD-ROM.

The steps:

  • Create a template VM, install the latest VMware tools and convert your VM to a Template

    IMPORTANT: make sure the VM is not joined to a domain, otherwise the Join to Domain section during the sysprep will fail.
  • Download the sysprep 1.1 files from and unzip them in the following directory on your VirtualCenter server: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\sysprep\1.1 (you can also use the unzipped content in the on the windows CD-ROM located under SUPPORT\TOOLS)
  • Create a custom sysprep.inf file using the setupmgr.exe file found in The content should look similar to the following:

    JoinDomain=<NetBIOS Domain Name>
    DomainAdmin=<administrator name or delegated user>
  • In the VI Client when connected to your VirtualCenter, go to Edit => Customization Specifications. Create a new customization file.
  • Select the appropriate OS type (in our case Windows) and check “Use custom sysprep answer file”. Fill out an appropriate name (like “Sysprep Windows 2003 SP2”)
  • In the next screen, select Import a file and browse to your sysprep.inf file or copy/paste the contents in the sysprep.inf text field
  • When using DHCP, select Typical Settings in the next screen. Select Custom settings when using a static IP.

    IMPORTANT: Make sure to fill out the default gateway & alternate gateway with the same gateway IP (this is a known issue)
  • Make sure Generate New SID is selected in the next screen
  • The Sysprep customization should know be available to use in combination with your template.

vrijdag, mei 18, 2007

Microsoft: WTS Step-By-Step guides in upcoming Win2K8

Microsoft has released some very interesting step-by-step guides related to (amongst others) Terminal Services:

  • Windows Server Longhorn Beta 3 Release TS Gateway Server Step-By-Step Setup Guide.doc
  • Windows Server Longhorn Beta 3 Release TS Licensing Step-By-Step Setup Guide.doc
  • Windows Server Longhorn Beta 3 Terminal Services RemoteApp Step-By-Step Guide.doc
  • What's New in Terminal Services for Microsoft Windows Server Code Name Longhorn.doc

Download them here

Microsoft: Requesting TSCALs for Win2K8

To be able to test the new features in WTS Windows Server 2008, Microsoft has made available test TSCALs (Terminal Services Client Access Licenses). You can request batcehs of 20 Per-user or Per-device licenses. Go to this website to request & have fun!

Microsoft: Terminal Services in Windows Server 2008

Patrick Rouse has written an excellent article on new TS features that will be available in Windows Server 2008.

To summarize:

  • TS Easy Print: this will be Microsoft’s answer to Universal Printer driver solutions. As you know, there was already a “fallback” mode available in Windows 2003. TS Easy Print will be available with the new RDC 6.1 client
  • Per-Session default printer: This feature ensures that different sessions logged on with the same user name retain session specific default printers
  • SSO (Single-Sign on) when using Vista/Server 2008 combinations. 
  • Dual-monitor support
  • Terminal Services RemoteApp: his feature provides Seamless Windows & Session Sharing functionality to users with Remote Desktop Client 6.x. Also, Session sharing will be available (as seen in Citrix MPS releases)
  • Terminal Services Load balancing: With the new Terminal Services Session Broker, Win2K8 Terminal Servers can be effectively load balanced based on:
    • Session Count
    • Weight
    • Black hole avoidance (avoid a new TS from being overloaded with new logon requests)
    • Drain mode (aka redirect new logins to other TS servers)
  • Terminal Service Web Access: Similar to Citrix Web Interface, this IIS Portal delivers RemoteApp Connection information to a client with the Remote Desktop 6.x Client.
  • Terminal Services Gateway: Similar to Citrix Secure Gateway, this feature provides RDP over HHTPS (443) traffic from DMZ to your trusted network.

Definitely check it out here

dinsdag, mei 15, 2007

VMware: May patches for ESX 3.0.1

VMware has released new patches for ESX 3.0.1:

ESX-4825991 Patch | 05/15/07 | Critical Patch
ESX-5095559 Patch | 05/15/07 | Security Patch
ESX-5140477 Patch | 05/15/07 | Security Patch
ESX-6657345 Patch | 05/15/07 | General Patch
ESX-6704314 Patch | 05/15/07 | Security Patch
ESX-7281356 Patch | 05/15/07 | General Patch
ESX-7302867 Patch | 05/15/07 | Critical Patch
ESX-7408807 Patch | 05/15/07 | General Patch
ESX-7557441 Patch | 05/15/07 | General Patch