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Configuring Citrix MetaFrame XP for Windows: Including Feature Release 1
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Configuring Citrix MetaFrame XP for Windows: Including Feature Release 1

by Syngress, Syngress Publishing Staff

Syngress's best-selling Citrix MetaFrame author to delivers world class support for this new product

As the newest member of the Citrix MetaFrame product family, Citrix MetaFrame XP and recent add-on Feature Release 1 is making a slash in the IT community.

Configuring Citrix MetaFrame XP for Windows offers system administrators and network engineers an


Syngress's best-selling Citrix MetaFrame author to delivers world class support for this new product

As the newest member of the Citrix MetaFrame product family, Citrix MetaFrame XP and recent add-on Feature Release 1 is making a slash in the IT community.

Configuring Citrix MetaFrame XP for Windows offers system administrators and network engineers an in-depth look at configuring, optimizing, implemnting and troubleshooting their Windows applications deployed using Citrix MetaFrame XP. Real-world examples and step-by-step exercises will help system administrators maxinise the capabilities of this revolutionary product from Citrix.

The only book to-date to provide comprehensive coverage of the eagerly awaited Feature Release 1 add-on
Citrix MetaFrame is a rapidly growing technology; as companies adopt thin-client technology, the number of Certified Citrix Administrators (CCAs) is set to skyrocket
Unrivalled web based support at solutions@syngress.com

Editorial Reviews

This guide provides information for design, installation, and management of a Citrex MetaFrame XP server and server farm, with information oriented toward solutions for real-world problems. Coverage includes farming MetaFrame XP servers, routing and remote access, designing the thin client solution, wireless and mobile solutions, and building a portal. This edition contains new material on designing, planning, and configuring sidebars. Broomes is a network analyst in the private sector. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

Elsevier Science
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.44(w) x 9.15(h) x 1.67(d)

Read an Excerpt

An Introduction to XP Server Farm Management In order to properly implement and maintain a Citrix MetaFrame XP server farm, you must first understand the underlying architecture. Several key items weigh heavily on how your farm is designed. The IMA defines the underlying infrastructure that allows Citrix MetaFrame XP to operate. In addition, you must identify and account for bandwidth requirements when developing your implementation plan. Furthermore, listener ports directly impact client performance and availability. Each item plays a critical role in your server farm implementation and is therefore covered in detail in this section.

Independent Management Architecture

Arguably the most critical component of Citrix MetaFrame XP, the IMA defines the structural design. The IMA was designed to address the limitations of earlier releases of Citrix MetaFrame and WinFrame services. Several items, such as the dependency on broadcasting for services or the use of the ICA browser service, were defined as weaknesses in these older products suites. This led to scalability and reliability concerns that have been addressed with this new architecture.

For example, broadcast-based services, except for backward compatibility, have been removed to allow Citrix MetaFrame XP server farms to scale easily to large enterprise environments. The IMA represents the architecture and services that facilitate the operation of a Citrix MetaFrame XP server farm. IMA services such as the data store, the data collector, and zones are critical to the operation of any Citrix MetaFrame XP farm.

The IMA Data Store

The first component of the IMA is the data store. The data store is used to store informationwithin the Citrix MetaFrame XP server farm that remains relatively static. Items such as installed licenses, published applications, and server listings are among a few found in the data store. In earlier releases, these items were typically stored in the registry of each Citrix MetaFrame 1.8 server. With the new IMA, the ability to centrally manage and maintain this information became critical.

Based on standard database formats, the data store can reside on a Citrix MetaFrame XP server or on a dedicated host. A single data store is used for each individual server farm. Currently, three databases are supported for use with Citrix MetaFrame XP: Microsoft Access, Microsoft SQL, and Oracle. Table 2.4 describes each database format and situations in which each should be utilized. Supported database formats for the Citrix MetaFrame XP data store include:

· Microsoft Access 4.x
· Microsoft SQL 7 SP2, 2000
· Oracle 7.3.4, 8.0.6, 8.1.5, 8.1.6
Table 2.4 Data Store Usage
Scale Servers Applications Databases
Small 1–50 1–100 MS Access, MS SQL, Oracle
Medium to large 51–100 100–1000 MS SQL, Oracle
Large to enterprise 100+ 1 000+ MS SQL, Oracle

Another factor to consider about the data store is the access mode. Citrix MetaFrame XP offers two modes of access to connect to the central database managing the data store for a farm: direct mode and indirect mode. In direct-mode access, servers located within the farm talk directly to the database hosting the data store. For example, if you set up a dedicated Microsoft SQL server to act as the data store, all servers communicate to the database using direct mode. Direct mode can also be used when databases are stored on the same server as Citrix MetaFrame XP. Direct mode is used primarily when Microsoft SQL or Oracle is used as the database product. NOTE

Disk space requirements for the data store are approximately 20MB for every 100 servers.

Indirect mode uses a Citrix MetaFrame XP server to communicate with the data store. This occurs when the IMA server requests access to the data store on behalf of another server. Indirect mode was designed to work around the limitations of Microsoft Access. When multiple users (or servers, in this case) try to access the same records, Microsoft Access has limited capability to prevent issues from arising. Indirect mode limits communication from multiple users by allowing a single server to communicate directly with the database on behalf of other servers. Indirect mode is most commonly used with data store implementations using Microsoft Access. During installation of MetaFrame XP, you select the access mode you want. The installation choice associated with selecting the access mode is shown in Figure 2.10.

Figure 2.10 Selecting Data Store Access Mode

Designing & Planning

Which Data Store to Use?

With the availability of three solutions for the data store, how do you tell which one best fits your environment? Microsoft Access was designed for very small server farms consisting of a few servers or very few published applications. Microsoft SQL and Oracle were designed for medium-sized to large enterprise server farms. SQL and Oracle are generally recommended, especially if you’re using advanced tools such as Load Manager, Installation Manager, or Resource Manager.

When choosing between Microsoft SQL and Oracle, select the one your organization is most comfortable with. Both solutions provide scalability for large farms, but the staff at your organization might have no experience with one of the database formats. For example, if you primarily use Microsoft SQL within your organization, Oracle would probably not be the best choice.

IMA Zones

The next component associated with the IMA is a zone. Zones represent administrative boundaries for managing servers within a Citrix MetaFrame XP farm. Multiple zones are common in a single farm and are used to designate boundaries for servers within a farm. The most common boundary used with zones is geographic location. For example, you might have five servers in one location and three servers in another. The first location may participate in one zone while the other location is configured for another zone. Zones provide two primary functions:

· Efficiently manage data from all servers within a zone
· Distribute updates to servers in a timely manner


By default, the TCP/IP subnet is used as the zone name. For example, a server with TCP/IP address of with a mask of would reside in zone

The IMA Data Collector

Data collectors are another component of the IMA. The data collector serves a function similar to that of the data store. They are used to manage information that changes frequently, such as current sessions, active licenses, and server and application load values within a zone. For example, when the server load values change for a Citrix MetaFrame XP server, it notifies the data collector of this change. Similar to the ICA browser in older versions of Citrix MetaFrame, the data collector acts as the central point of information when clients connect to your server farm.

Every zone with a server farm consists of one data collector. Although multiple Citrix MetaFrame XP servers can be configured to operate in this role, only one can be active within a zone at any time. To ensure this system operates correctly, an election process occurs. Based on a preset list of criteria, the election determines the most eligible server within the farm to take this role. An election starts if any of the following events occur:

· Zone configuration is modified.
· A server within the farm is started.
· The current data collector becomes unavailable.
· The QUERYDC utility is used to force an election.
If an election occurs, a set of criteria is used to determine which server will become the data collector. Any servers matching the first item are selected. If multiple servers match the first item, they are selected by the second item, and so forth. The criteria for selecting the data collector are:

1. What is the Citrix MetaFrame version? (Citrix MetaFrame XP always “beats” older versions.)
2. What is the current ranking as defined in the Citrix Management Console?
3. What host ID is randomly chosen at installation?
Although you cannot alter items 1 and 3, the preference can be modified to ensure that the designated servers win the election process. Figure 2.11 displays the option within the Citrix Management Console to designate the preference for data collectors. By default, the first server installed into the Citrix MetaFrame XP server farm is set to Most Preferred. All other servers are set to Default Preference.

Figure 2.11 Setting Preferences for Data Collector

Bandwidth Requirements for a Server Farm

One of the key reasons for using zones is to manage the way that bandwidth is consumed within your Citrix MetaFrame XP server farm. The optimization of network bandwidth can be an ongoing effort. To manage the way in which your network links are affected by the use of Citrix MetaFrame XP, you must understand the normal bandwidth usage parameters.

In several scenarios, bandwidth utilization is key. For example, server-to-data-store communication must occur successfully for users to be able to locate resources throughout the farm. In addition, processes such as data collector elections must complete without latency, or your user base could be affected.

Server-to-Data-Store Communication

When a server starts and communicates with the server farm, it must query the data store to inquire about items such as published applications, other servers, and licenses. The amount of traffic generated by these updates is directly dependent on the amount of information included. As the number of servers or published applications increases within the farm, so does the traffic required to update a server. The following formula represents the amount of traffic associated with a server update at startup:
KB = 275 + (5 * Servers) + (0.5 * Apps) + (92 * Print Drivers)
For example, in a case in which you have a server farm with four servers, 12 published applications, and six print drivers, you would calculate the bandwidth used as follows:
KB = 275 + (5 * 4) + (0.5 * 12) + (92 * 6)
KB = 275 + (20) + (6) + (552)
KB = 275 + (578)
KB = 853

Data Collector Communication
Another item that can consume a fair bit of bandwidth for server farm communications is the data collector. Data collectors must manage updates between servers within a zone. Although they only send changes during a normal update process, at times complete updates are required. For example, if a new server comes online, a complete update must occur so that the server is aware of the information it requires. The following formula is used to calculate the bandwidth used for a complete data collector update to a server:
Bytes = 11000 + (1000 * Con) + (600 * Discon) + (350 * Apps)
In a case in which you have a server with 20 connected sessions, four disconnected sessions, and nine published applications, you would calculate the bandwidth used as shown here:

Bytes = 11,000 + (1,000 * 20) + (600 * 4) + (350 * 9)
Bytes = 11,000 + (20,000) + (2400) + (3150)
Bytes = 11,000 + (25,550)
Bytes = 36,550or 36.55 KB

Listener Ports

One of the key components of terminal services and Citrix MetaFrame XP is the use of listener ports. Listener ports play a key role and must be carefully managed; without them, clients cannot access your terminal server. Listener ports work in cooperation with internal system components and client connections.

When a servers boots up, the terminal services components start the listener process. The listener service monitors for new client connections and manages the idle sessions. Once the listener service is operating, the session manager starts the idle ports to allow incoming connections. Idle sessions start the core Windows process required for connecting clients. Once the process is completed, idle sessions wait for incoming connections. When a client connection is made, the idle session is turned over to the incoming client. The incoming client then continues the logon process and begins the session. Another idle process is then started and waits for new client connections. When each connection comes into the server, the server assigns it a session ID, and the connection is started. Figure 2.12 displays listener and idle ports within the Citrix Management Console.

Figure 2.12 An Example of Listener Ports

NOTE To add listener ports, you must modify the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\IdleWinStationPoolCount Citrix recommends adding only what is necessary, because additional listener ports can degrade performance. Increase this counter from two to the number of listener ports needed.

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