Monthly Archives: August 2012

Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 what’s new

Since the release in April, Microsoft has been working hard to finish the service pack 1 for System Center 2012. This is needed because the regular System Center  2012 release does not support Server 2012. Therefore Microsoft has to move fast to release SP1 so customers can start building Server 2012 + SC 2012 infrastructure.

With the release of Service Pack 1 for System along with it comes loads of new functionality especially for ConfigMgr 2012.
* Support for Windows 8 (This includes Windows To Go) and deploy AppX Applications (and links to the Windows Store) And OS deployment with UEFI mode.
* Support for Windows Server 2012 and SQL Server 2012
* Support for Mac computers, and on Linux / UNIX Servers( ill go more into detail on that later)
* PowerShell cmdlets
    -> get-command -module ConfigurationManager
* More flexible hierarchy management which allows you to join a stand-alone primary site into a new CAS site.
* Support for multiple SUP for redundancy
* App-V 5 support
* Windows Embedded Support for Endpoint Protection.

When regarding the Mac & Linux/Unix support.
For Mac you have the following capabilities
* Hardware Inventory
* Compliance Settings
* Application Management (Deployment)

  • Apple Disk Image (.DMG)
  • Meta Package File (.MPKG)
  • Mac OS X Installer Package (.PKG)
  • Mac OS X Application (.APP)

* Software Updates

And remember that the client only works on OS X 10.6 & 10.7

For Linux/UNIX you have the following capabilities
* Hardware Inventory
* Compliance Settings
* Application Management (Deployment)

And it is now supported for the latest RHEL, Solaris, SUSE Distroes.

Something I didn’t find in the new documentation is news about Endpoint protection settings for Mac & Linux/Unix in SP1, since Microsoft stated that this would be available in the SP1 release, still it remains to see.

You can read more about the SP1 at Technet –> http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj591552.aspx

Integrating XenApp and Configuration Manager 2012

Finally the day has come, as I mentioned in the previous post the TechPreview of XenApp connector for Configuration Manager 2012 is now released on Citrix.
or as they call it “Project Thor” it allows for a flexible application delivery solution that combines the best of both worlds (Configuration Manager and XenApp)
I’ve managed to deploy the connector and give you a demonstration of how it works.

The package consist of the client components ( Reciver etc) PCM (Power and Capacity Management Components ) And the Connector itself.
The Client Component XenAppDTHandler (Has to be installed on all the clients before you can use XenApp published)

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And we start by installing the connector on the SCCM server.
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Start and accept the license terms,
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Include all the roles and extensions, click next and Install!

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After the install is finished the setup will run the Integration Configuration itself,
So you should create a separate Service Account for this purpose.
You see the requirements it needs.
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Note that if you have created a service account and forgot to add it to “log on as a service” rights Citrix will handle this for you.

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So just click Yes and move forward,

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After that specify a Citrix server that the connector will use. In my case I choose my only Citrix server, (Which has the Data store and the XML service )
Then the setup verifies that I can connect to the server, it not you will get an error message during verification.
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After that you need to enter the Configuration Manager site (the Setup will automatically read the local site it is connected to)
And verify the connection.

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If you get this error message you need to run the following commands.
Enable-PSremoting –Force
Set-item WSman:localhostClientTrustedHosts hostname.domain.local –Force
Restart-Service winrm –Force

Then press Yes and continue.
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Now you get the summary screen, press Apply.
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If everything goes as planned you will get this screen Smile
(NOTE: you can also see these applications appear after the installation )

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Now you can open the Configuration Manager console and under Software –> Application Management you can now see XenApp.
As you can see here we only have 1 option, which is “Create Publication”
This will create an published application on the XenApp server which is avaliable for Configuration Manager
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We can start by publishing an application –>
In this case Notepad (This will by default appear under Applications/ConfigMgr12 on the XenApp console)
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Click next –>
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Choose a XenApp installed application –>
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Choose the Command line click next –>
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This wizard is much like the wizard in XenApp same configuration settings and so on. Click finish.

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And here you have all the advanced settings like encrytion etc.If you open XenApp AppCenter you can now see the application (This update goes every 10 min but you can force an update to the XenApp server by running the sync tool installed)
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so now we can create an deployment type with XenApp.

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With the possibility which comes with SP1 (Mac and Linux support we have loads of options!)
Here we can add the newly created Notepad ( I fixed the display name before running the wizard Smile
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Click next –> And we can create requirements for this deployment.
ill write more about this feature as soon as I have the time, with integration of SP1 as well, stay tuned Smile

NOTE: If you have some issues with the connector you can review the log files found under C:Program FilesCitrixXenApp Connector for ConfigMgr 2012Connector Servicelogs
NOTE: There is also created an Collection which consists of the XenApp servers. Do not edit this, the connector will add all the XenApp servers automatically from the farm.

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vSphere 5.1 Pricing

when regarding to the newly released vSphere 5.1 and pricing. Vmware has just announced the death of vRAM pricing (and now you can have unlimited vRAM at no extra cost) , and here are the new prices for vSphere 5.1
-> https://www.vmware.com/products/datacenter-virtualization/vsphere/pricing.html

Remember the prices here are at PER CPU basis. So for instance if you wish to have a server with 2 x CPU you need 2x Licenses.
Here are the different versions and the feature sets –> https://www.vmware.com/products/datacenter-virtualization/vsphere/compare-editions.html

vSphere 5.1 announced

Vmware has just announced vSphere 5.1 and it has alots of new features.

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.1?

•    Larger virtual machines – Virtual machines can grow two
times larger than in any previous release to support even the
most advanced applications. Virtual machines can now have
up to 64 virtual CPUs (vCPUs) and 1TB of virtual RAM (vRAM).

•    New virtual machine format – New features in the
virtual machine format (version 9) in vSphere 5.1 include
support for larger virtual machines, CPU performance
counters and virtual shared graphics acceleration designed
for enhanced performance.
Storage

•    Flexible, space-efficient storage for virtual
desktop infrastructure (VDI) – A new disk format
enables the correct balance between space efficiency and I/O
throughput for the virtual desktop.
Network

•    vSphere Distributed Switch – Enhancements such as
Network Health Check, Configuration Backup and Restore,
Roll Back and Recovery, and Link Aggregation Control
Protocol support and deliver more enterprise-class networking
functionality and a more robust foundation for cloud computing.

•    Single-root I/O virtualization (SR-IOV) support
– Support for SR-IOV optimizes performance for sophisticated
applications.
Availability

•    vSphere vMotion® – Leverage the advantages of vMotion
(zero-downtime migration) without the need for shared
storage configurations. This new vMotion capability applies
to the entire network.

•    vSphere Data Protection – Simple and cost effective
backup and recovery for virtual machines. vSphere Data
Protection is a newly architected solution based EMC
Avamar technology that allows admins to back up virtual
machine data to disk without the need of agents and with
built-in deduplication. This feature replaces the vSphere
Data Recovery product available with previous releases
of vSphere.

•    vSphere Replication – vSphere Replication enables efficient
array-agnostic replication of virtual machine data over the LAN
or WAN.  vSphere Replication simplifies management enabling
replication at the virtual machine level and enables RPOs as low
as 15 minutes.

•    Zero-downtime upgrade for VMware Tools – After
you upgrade to the VMware Tools available with version 5.1, no
reboots will be required for subsequent VMware Tools upgrades.
Security

•    VMware vShield Endpoint™ – Delivers a proven endpoint
security solution to any workload with an approach that is
simplified, efficient, and cloud-aware. vShield Endpoint enables
3rd party endpoint security solutions to eliminate the agent
footprint from the virtual machines, offload intelligence to a
security virtual appliance, and run scans with minimal impact.
Automation

•    vSphere Storage DRS™ and Profile-Driven Storage
– New integration with VMware vCloud® Director™ enables
further storage efficiencies and automation in a private cloud
environment.

•    vSphere Auto Deploy™ – Two new methods for deploying
new vSphere hosts to an environment make the Auto Deploy
process more highly available then ever before.
Management (with vCenter Server)
•    vSphere Web Client –The vSphere Web Client is now the
core administrative interface for vSphere. This new flexible,
robust interface simplifies vSphere control through shortcut
navigation, custom tagging, enhanced scalability, and the
ability to manage from anywhere with Internet Explorer or
Firefox-enabled devices.

•    vCenter Single Sign-On – Dramatically simplify vSphere
admin- istration by allowing users to log in once to access all
instances or layers of vCenter without the need for further
authentication.

•    vCenter Orchestrator – Orchestrator simplifies installation
and configuration of the powerful workflow engine in vCenter
Server. Newly designed workflows enhance ease of use, and
can also be launched directly from the new vSphere Web Client.

Again the gap between VMware and Windows is close, they share much of the same features and limits for instance vCPU & vRAM.
Some features like SRV-IO and I can also see that vmware also has upgraded vMotion to have “shared-nothing-migration” as Windows has, still it remains to see how the pricing is going to be Smile

Administer Other Windows Server from Server Manager 2012

Now the new Server Manager is a lifesaver, it allows to manage multiple servers from one console. By default it is only supported for Windows Server 2012 but by downloading Windows Management Framework 3.0 and .Net 4 you can manage older versions as well. (2008, 2008R2)

You can download the needed files from here –>

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=29939
http://www.microsoft.com/nb-no/download/details.aspx?id=17718

(If you try to manage an older version you can get this error)

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And you need to install these on the servers you need to manage.
After these are installed you need to run some commands.

Set-ExecutionPolicy -ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

Configure-SMRemoting.ps1 -force -enable

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After that is done, you can now manage your other servers.

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You can see that now the AD server (DC) is added and AD role is added on the side as well Smile

Where did PowerShell ISE go?

This will be a rather short post, but after I’ve been trying Windows 8 (the final release) for the last couple of days, and I started to wonder “Where is PowerShell ISE?”
For those that don’t know what PowerShell ISE is it’s a scripting enviroment for PowerShell (You can read more about it here –> http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd315244.aspx)

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If I searched for Powershell under Apps I only found the regular PowerShell, (By default all the administrative apps are not visible, not even by Windows Search (wierd?!) So you have to enable “Show  Administrative Tools”
Open the Charms button (Windows button + I) Press the Tiles button.

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And press on the button Smile
Now by default all these tools will show on your start screen. But they will also now appear when you search.

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NOTE: You can also just do Run –> “Powershell ISE” and it will appear, and I could also just search for PowerShell ISE under regular search and it would appear ,kind of strange thou that It didn’t appear when I typed PowerShell.

Software Metering ConfigMgr 2012

Software Metering is a feature in ConfigMgr 2012 which allows for inventory software usage. For instance you can see how many copies of an application has been deployed to computers and among these you can see how many actually use the application. And how many licenses of a particular software you need.

Now in order to use ConfigMgr for Software Metering we must first active “Enable Software Metering on clients” in the client settings.

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By default the data is gathered every 7 days. If your site or the agent is unable to deliver the data. The Client will cache the data and will deliver the data when connection is established.
Now that Software Metering is enabled on the client, we have to define which software we wish that the agent should report on.
If you have enabled for Software Inventory as well you can choose from the file types you have inventoried. If you we have to create a new monitor.
First of lets check the metering options.

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Right click on software metering and choose Properties –>
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Now here you specify the retention length. 90 days Is standard. And also by default” is “Automatically create disabled metering rules from recent usage inventory data” This means that when ConfigMgr inventories an application (Via Software inventory) is will automatically create a rule for software metering for that application but it is disabled until you activate it. Now it depends on how many files you inventory but I recommed that you don’t activate this. If you have a large enviroment and inventory all .exe files you’re going to have a HUGE list here. I Recommend that you create the rules manually.

If you have some issues with metering doublecheck the mtrmgr.log
On client computers that serve as management points, this log is located in the %ProgramFiles%SMS_CCMLogs folder.
On all other computers, this file is  located in the %Windir%System32CCMLogs folder.

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Now press OK, and you should see the rule appearing as enabled.

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Now in order to see any results for this you have to review the Reports (So you would need a reporting role server)

Integrating Configuration Manager and RES Workspace Manager

As I stated in a earlier post is that you have the ability to integrate RES Workspace Manager with Configuration Manager.
http://msandbu.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/res-workspace-manager-2012/

Workspace Manager is a product that allows you to design how the desktop should appear to the user.
Instead of using Group Policy and slow login scripts you can move all those tasks into Workspace Manager.
For instance Printer mapping, drive mapping, +++
I has a lot of features but take a look at my previous post if you wish to know more about it Smile

Workspace Manager also allows for a lot of integration. With for instance XenApp, App-V, RDS, Vmware Thinapp and Configmgr.
With Configmgr integration you can allow for Workspace Manager to deploy application (Automation task) to a users desktop.

When a user logs on for the first time, and clicks a predefined shortcut for that application, Workspace Manager will automatically deploy the software to the desktop by contacting the MP that is configured.

First we start by adding the ConfigMgr integration, Click Setup –> Microsoft System Center,

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Now on the Menu, click Settings. Click on the “Enable Microsoft System Center ConfigMgr Integration” And remember as it states there. You need a Configmgr agent and a Workspace Manager agent installed on the client where you are going to use this.
Enter credentials, and choose which version of ConfigMgr you have in your environment.
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And Click Test Now (A list of packages that are deployed should now appear). Remember that it only supports ConfigMgr Packages not Applications as with 2012.
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After this is applied you should get this message. (Even thou the integration is in place, the software distribution option is not enabled, so we have to enable this )

Exit the setup mode and go back to composition, and enable Software distribution.

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And before we can deploy the software we have to attach the package to a application that is defined within Workspace Manager.

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Click Start and press “New Application” if you are unfamiliar using the different options you can choose the wizard. I have created a “Lync planning tool” application. Right click and choose Edit, go down to configuration and press Add. From there choose ConfigMgr

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Now press the package you need to add. IF not mark the “Program” option and choose the button on the right side and add the package.

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Then Press OK and close.
For all Managed desktop (With RES Agent and ConfigMgr Agent) Will now get this application.

MDT 2012 Update 1

A Couple of days ago, Microsoft released MDT 2012 Update 1.
This release included support for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.
Other features include:

  • Support for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 CTP: Added support in MDT for deploying Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 with Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 CTP, while supporting all new Configuration Manager functionality (offline BitLocker, UEFI, and Assessment and Deployment Kit).
  • Support for DaRT 8 Beta: Updated MDT to support DaRT 8 for Windows 8 deployments, while continuing to support DaRT 7 for Windows 7 deployments. Added DaRT support for Configuration Manager scenarios.
  • New “Build Your Own Pages” User-Driven Installation (UDI) feature: Enhanced the UDI wizard and designer to enable IT pros to design their own wizard pages with little effort.
  • New System Center 2012 – Orchestrator support: Provided the ability to add steps into an OS deployment task sequence to execute Orchestrator runbooks as part of the deployment process.
  • Other improvements: Added support for Windows PowerShell 3.0, reworked Roles and Features installation logic for Windows 8, improved “boot from VHD” deployment scenarios, and added support for Configuration Manager monitoring.

    ill do a coverage about MDT 2012 and Windows 8 deployment in a couple of days Smile
    Stay tuned!