PVS 1906: Accelerated Office Activation, The Reveal!

Hello My Friends,

Do you remember when you were a kid and you first found out the secret of how a magician pulled off a trick and were let down? That's it? Slight of hand? A little disappointing to say the least, well that is unfortunately how I felt after being so excited about Citrix taking matters into their own hands to help the slow activating of Office in a PVS environment. I thought to myself, wow, they must have gotten together with Microsoft and uncovered the secret sauce on what is going on. They probably added in some deeply buried code to the PVS software itself to force the activation.

Unfortunately, it is no where near as exciting as that. If you don't want to read any further, I completely understand :-)

For all those still with me, here goes. Clicking the Accelerated Activation checkbox, will automatically activate a script on the image to be run at Machine startup that simply runs the Office Activation command CSCRIPT OSPP.VBS. This is something that I have been doing myself for probably years now and is certainly nowhere near as sexy as the checkbox looks. 

The way Citrix is getting this to run is via local Group Policy Machine startup script. There is a possibility that this may not even work for those of you who have the setting to override the local GPO's for the Domain ones, but no biggie you can easily do this yourself without Citrix help. Since learning what this actually does, I have taken to unchecking the box and handling on my own.

Here is the full reveal:

... and there you have it. At least I still don't understand how Copperfield can float across the Grand Canyon!


Hey Citrix (Director), where’s my data?

Thought I would share something that I see over and over again at countless clients when it comes to Citrix Director. I have to say that since the EdgeSight days, Citrix has come a long way. It is true that if you did not go into shock from all of the data the EdgeSight threw at you, it was one of the most powerful tools out there. For most people the tidal wave of data was just too much so most people set it up and then never looked at it again. In many cases when I would go onsite and look at the server, I would find that it was not even functioning properly.

With Director, Citrix has taken a more user friendly approach and only adds in data if it can be digested with out getting heartburn. Based on this requirement, there is still a lot of analytics missing, but again it has come a long way since the initial release.

So, we have a user-friendly product and companies are humming along using it to its fullest, hopefully this means you have integrated your NetScalers so you are seeing all of the networking traffic as well. Then one day you get a call to do a report of something from several months ago, “no problem” you respond to the boss and go to run a report, only to find that the data seems to go back only three months, huh? What is going on? You check the SQL server and all of the logs and find everything is fine. You double check the license as we know that you need to be running at least Platinum / Premium to get the unlimited data retention capabilities, but that also checks out.

Well, as it turns out, inputting the Citrix Platinum/Premium license does not actually trigger any additional data retention for Citrix Director. If you want the system to keep more than the 90 days, you have to tell it to do so. Of course this is only accomplished via PowerShell. Full disclosure, this is very well documented on Citrix KB as well as in the Edocs, but I think Citrix should add something to the console to allow administrators to configure this or at least report on how many days it is set to.

In order to change the retention time, you will need to run these commands on the Director Server:

Set-MonitorConfiguration GroomApplicationInstanceRetentionDays 365
Set-MonitorConfiguration GroomDeletedRetentionDays 365
Set-MonitorConfiguration GroomFailuresRetentionDays 365
Set-MonitorConfiguration GroomLoadIndexesRetentionDays 365
Set-MonitorConfiguration GroomMachineHotfixLogRetentionDays 365
Set-MonitorConfiguration GroomMachineMetricDaySummaryDataRetentionDays 365
Set-MonitorConfiguration GroomNotificationLogRetentionDays 365
Set-MonitorConfiguration GroomResourceUsageDayDataRetentionDays 365
Set-MonitorConfiguration GroomSessionsRetentionDays 365
Set-MonitorConfiguration GroomSummariesRetentionDays 365  

Don't forget to restart the services for the new settings to take.

Have a look at these articles for more information: