Deployment

VMware Horizon View Enable/Disable Teradici APEX PCoIP Offload Card Indicators

Here’s a good tip for testing your Teradici APEX PCoIP Offload cards to make sure they’re working properly in your VDI environment.

On your ESXi hosts, run the following commands to enable and disable an indicator that displays in the upper-left corner of your Virtual Desktops:

Enable indicator:

/opt/teradici/pcoip-ctrl -P “offload_indicator 1”

Disable indicator:

/opt/teradici/pcoip-ctrl -P “offload_indicator 0”

Red = PCoIP display is being offloaded

Blue = PCoIP not being offloaded

I found out about this when I stumbled upon the following VMAdmin UK blog post while researching how to properly configure the APEX cards. The blog has some other good information and tricks that are worth checking out if you’re interested.

http://www.vmadmin.co.uk/vmware/53-view/300-teradiciapexmanage

-Rick

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VMware Horizon View Client Login Fails While Using the “Log in as current user” Option

You may run into this issue when attempting to use the “Log in as current user” option in the VMware Horizon View client. This option allows the user to log in to Horizon View using the currently logged on user’s credentials on Windows clients, so it avoids the need to authenticate twice.

To make a long story short, if “Log in as current user” isn’t working then make sure that your Connection Server’s SYSTEM account has “Access this computer from the network” rights on the local system. You can add it via Group Policy if necessary via the Computer Configuration\Policies\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\User Rights Assignment\Access this computer from the network policy setting.

For more details, see VMware’s KB on the topic.

-Rick

System Center 2012 R2 Infrastructure Planning (Part 2) (SCCM)

This is part 2 of my System Center 2012 R2 Infrastructure Planning series, which aims to serve as a central resource to aid you in your System Center deployments.

This part focuses on Configuration Manager. Once again, in no particular order:

Configuration Manager

Supported Configurations for Configuration Manager
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg682077.aspx

“Configuration Manager requires several prerequisites to support deploying operating systems. The following prerequisites are required on the site server of each central administration site or primary site before you can install the site or upgrade the site to a new version of Configuration Manager. This requirement applies even when you do not plan to use operating system deployments:

  • For System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with no service pack: Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK)
  • For System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with service pack 1: Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit 8.0 (Windows ADK)
  • For System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager: Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit 8.1″

Planning for Sites and Hierarchies in Configuration Manager
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg712681.aspx

Configuration Manager 2012 Sizing Considerations
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/scstr/archive/2012/05/31/configuration_2d00_manager_2d00_2012_2d00_sizing_2d00_considerations.aspx

Planning for Hardware Configurations for Configuration Manager
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh846235.aspx

“For best performance, use RAID 10 configurations for all data drives and 1Gbps Ethernet network connectivity between site system servers, including the database server.”

“…consider the following general guidelines when you plan for disk space requirements:

  • Each client requires approximately 3 MB of space in the database
  • When planning for the size of the Temp database for a primary site, plan for a size that is 25% to 30% of the site database .mdf file. The actual size can be significantly smaller, or larger, and depends on the performance of the site server and the volume of incoming data over both short and long periods of time.
  • The Temp database size for a central administration site is typically much smaller than that for a primary site.
  • The secondary site database is limited in size to the following:
    • SQL Server 2008 Express: 4 GB
    • SQL Server 2008 R2 Express: 10 GB”

Determine How to Manage Mobile Devices in Configuration Manager
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg682022.aspx

“System Center 2012 Configuration Manager offers limited management for mobile devices when you use the Exchange Server connector for Exchange Active Sync (EAS) capable devices that connect to a server running Exchange Server or Exchange Online.”

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Best Practices
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/11215.system-center-2012-configuration-manager-best-practices.aspx

“SQL Collation must be set to “SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS”

“Why is it important ? well firstly because it is a setting that most people don’t change (as it’s hidden from view) and secondly it’s set based on your regional settings. When you install SQL Server (which ConfigMgr needs to host it’s database) the SQL Collation is ‘set in stone’ during setup, that’s why knowing what your SQL Collation is and what it should be are important prior to running ConfigMgr setup.”

Determining Whether to Extend the Active Directory Schema for Configuration Manager
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg712272.aspx

Install and Configure Site System Roles for Configuration Manager
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh272770.aspx

About the Asset Intelligence Synchronization Point
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc161864.aspx

Technical Reference for Ports Used in Configuration Manager
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh427328.aspx

SCCM 2012 SP1 SQL Reporting Services on the same server
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/5e8d5790-fdce-4c9d-a0c0-f48f9af35b14/sccm-2012-sp1-sql-reporting-services-install-on-same-server?forum=configmanagergeneral

Configure Reporting in Configuration Manager
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg712698.aspx

-Rick

System Center 2012 R2 Infrastructure Planning (Part 1) (SCOM)

So I’ve spent most of this week working on an infrastructure plan and design for System Center 2012 R2 and I wanted to share with you the resources that I found helpful in this endeavor.

The initial plan focuses around Configuration Manager and Operations Manager only, and rather than dump everything into a single post I’ve decided to break them up; so stay tuned for future posts on this topic. Once SCCM and SCOM have been implemented I’ll likely be exploring the other System Center products as well and will continue the series accordingly.

Everyone’s environment is different so I won’t make any specific recommendations, but hopefully this will serve as a useful resource to help you plan your own System Center deployments.

This first post in the System Center 2012 R2 Infrastructure Planning series focuses on Operations Manager and a few SQL Server references that I found handy.

In no particular order….

Operations Manager

Key Concepts
http://technet.microsoft.com/library/hh230741.aspx

System Requirements/Firewall Exceptions
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn249696.aspx

“Operations Manager does not support hosting its databases or SQL Server Reporting Services on a 32-bit edition of SQL Server.”

“SQL Server collation settings for all databases must be one of the following: SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS; Latin1_General_100_CI_AS, // EN, IT, DE, PT-BR, NE, PT-PT; French_CI_AS; French_100_CI_AS; Cyrillic_General_CI_AS; Chinese_PRC_CI_AS; Chinese_Simplified_Pinyin_100_CI_AS, // CN simplified; Chinese_Traditional_Stroke_Count_100_CI_AS, // CN traditional, CN-HKJapanese;_CI_AS; Japanese_XJIS_100_CI_AS; Traditional_Spanish_CI_AS; Modern_Spanish_100_CI_AS; or Latin1_General_CI_AS; Cyrillic_General_100_CI_AS, // RU; Korean_100_CI_AS; Czech_100_CI_AS; Hungarian_100_CI_AS; olish_100_CI_AS; and Finnish_Swedish_100_CI_AS. No other collation settings are supported.”

“If you plan to use the Network Monitoring features of System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager, you should move the tempdb database to a separate disk that has multiple spindles.”

Distributed Deployment of Operations Manager
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh298610.aspx

Single Server Deployment of Operations Manager
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh298612.aspx

Considerations for High Availability and Disaster Recovery
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh920812.aspx

“You should always have two management servers in ANY environment. A second management server allows for failover and easy restore, and a second management server can take on the load if one fails. All management servers are members of the All Management Servers Resource pool, which balances the monitoring load of your management group as new management servers are added, and provides automatic failover for monitoring. The impact of failure of a management server in a distributed environment is minimized, but it increases the workload on additional management servers in the management group until the failed management server is restored.”

Security Considerations
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh487288.aspx

System & Database Sizing Helper Tool
http://blogs.technet.com/b/momteam/archive/2012/04/02/operations-manager-2012-sizing-helper-tool.aspx

Audit Collection (ACS) Database Size Calculator
https://blogs.technet.com/b/momteam/archive/2008/07/02/audit-collection-acs-database-and-disk-sizing-calculator-for-opsmgr-2007.aspx

Operations Manager and VMware…
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/systemcenter/en-US/51b2d19d-b783-4828-9b7d-bc59f4a44c2b/operations-manager-2012-and-vmware-virtual-hosts-supported-for-installation?forum=operationsmanagerdeployment

“Microsoft supports running all System Center 2012 – Operations Manager server features in any physical or virtual environment that meets the minimum requirements that are stated in this document. However, for performance reasons, we recommend that you store the operational database and data warehouse database on a directly attached physical hard drive, and not on a virtual disk. Specifically, virtual computers that are running any Operations Manager server feature must not use any functionality that does not immediately commit all activity on the virtual computer to the virtual hard drive. This includes making use of point-in-time snapshots and writing changes to a temporary virtual hard drive. This is true for every virtualization technology that is used with Operations Manager.”

Understanding and modifying Data Warehouse Retention and Grooming
http://blogs.technet.com/b/kevinholman/archive/2010/01/05/understanding-and-modifying-data-warehouse-retention-and-grooming.aspx

How to Configure Grooming Settings for the Reporting Data Warehouse Database
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh212806.aspx

Database Size Limits…
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/systemcenter/en-US/22efc287-a77d-4534-8d68-eb1b32d53b3a/database-size-limits-for-operations-manager-and-operations-manager-data-warehouse

Network Bandwidth Utilization for OpsMan 2007
http://blogs.technet.com/b/momteam/archive/2007/10/22/network-bandwidth-utilization-for-the-various-opsmgr-2007-roles.aspx

Audit Collection Services Capacity Planning
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh212872.aspx

Collecting Security Events Using Audit Collection Services in Operations Manager
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh212908.aspx

How to Install the Operations Manager Reporting Server
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh298611.aspx

Management Packs Installed with Operations Manager
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh212701.aspx

ACS Configuration Help
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/systemcenter/en-US/e8682287-a4ac-4ebe-942a-b4a71c894a94/scomacs-configuration?forum=operationsmanagergeneral

SQL Server

Hardware and Software Requirements for Installing SQL Server
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms143506.aspx

Managing SQL Server Workloads with Resource Governor
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb933866(v=sql.105).aspx

Considerations for Installing Reporting Services
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms143736(v=sql.100).aspx

-Rick

WSUS Best Practices

Here’s a very good blog post I came across with some WSUS best practices for anyone else looking to implement WSUS for the first time or review your patching strategies.

http://microsoftguru.com.au/2013/07/19/windows-server-patching-best-practices/

Some highlights:

Consultants should take time to test the patches in a non-production environment prior to being deployed to production. This will help to gauge the impact of such changes. Ideally you will have the following patching groups:

1. UAT (UAT1, UAT2, etc)

2. Test Environment (Test1, Test2, etc)

3. Development Environment (Dev1, Dev2 etc)

4. Production (Prod1, Prod2, etc)

If you have clustered environment like SQL, Exchange and SharePoint then create Prod1, prod2 group and place each node on each group. “

System administrators should maintain a log, written or electronic, of all changes to the operating environment, to include hardware, system security software, operating system, and applications. Prior to any changes being implemented on a system, the system administrator should receive approval of stakeholders.”

A scheduled maintenance window must be agreed with business so that application outage and server reboot can maintain a respectable Service Level Agreement (SLA). If you have a large infrastructure with thousands of servers and many regions working round the clock then you must consider application dependencies. A patching schedule can be considered in between every Friday of every month at 6:00 P.M. Friday to 6:00 A.M Monday. Setup maintenance window in system center or deadline for WSUS to make sure patches are applied when you want instead of when patch is available. In this way you will have a complete control over change windows approved by change advisory board (CAB). Do not allow end users to update patches on their client machine according to their wishes and happiness! then user will never install any patch. “

Microsoft strongly recommends that you create the following backups before you install an update rollup, service pack and patch on Exchange and SQL:

  • A full backup of all databases on the server.
  • A full backup of transaction log and log backup
  • A system state backup of the server.
  • A snapshot of virtualized exchange server. Delete snapshot after successful patching and updating. “

Here are some other useful resources for WSUS: