At Coretek Services, we have been successfully implementing Virtual Desktop environments since 2008.
A continuous request we receive from our customers is the ability to require a more granular approach to managing reboots and end-user and administrative notifications for reboots. We originally attempted to script reboot management via PowerShell and had varying levels of success. We ultimately decided to go our own way; and the end result was the Coretek Services Reboot Manager – now part of the Virtual Desktop Enhancement Suite (VDES).
When working with Virtual Desktop infrastructures – be it VMware Horizon, XenDesktop, or using XenApp to presented desktops or applications – one of the major challenges is the ability to reboot the operating systems with minimal impact to the end-users. But in environments which have a 24×7 user load, XenApp presented desktops are particularly difficult to drain users and schedule reboots without impacting the users or manual intervention by the administrator.
Typically, in XenDesktop infrastructures, the DHCP lease times are relatively low. With a PVS delivered XenDesktop image, this can create a problem with the DHCP conflict detections attempts if this not enabled (http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX135938), since the PVS delivered image will not request a DHCP lease extension.
Let’s take a look at the XenApp 6.5 Reboot Behavior policies:
The Reboot logon disable time policy provides a maximum of a 60 minute window before a server reboots. In an environment with users on the servers 24×7, this is inconvenient for the users and disrupts their workflow. Ideally, you would want to put the server into drain mode to cover an entire shift as to not disrupt the users.
The Reboot warning interval policy can trigger a warning to the users every 1, 3, 5, 10 or 15 minutes. If the maximum amount of time the server remains in drain mode is 60 minutes, this may not be an issue. However, if you want to allow the server to persist in drain mode for a longer period of time, a notification every 15 minutes would be quite annoying for the users.
Coretek Services has developed our Reboot Manager tool, a part of our Virtual Desktop Enhancement Suite (VDES), to offer the optimal flexibility for creating and managing the reboot processes for your XenApp and Virtual Desktop environments. We have designed the Reboot Manager to allow administrators to put servers into a drain mode for up to a 24 hour window.
Additionally, we allow for notifications to begin at a manually specified time before the servers reboot. This enables users in a 24×7 environment to reconnect to their existing session for an entire shift and allows the disconnect timers to log users off a server gracefully prior to a reboot. Users will be drained from the server via attrition as opposed to be forced to log off manually.
In our next post: We dive into the Coretek VDES Reboot Manager Console, and walk through some of the powerful scheduling settings. See you then!