Deploying Citrix MetaFrame XP

If your MetaFrame XP environment will consist of more than a few servers, then you will probably want to consider some method of automating their deployment so that you don't have to manually install and configure each one.

If your MetaFrame XP environment will consist of more than a few servers, then you will probably want to consider some method of automating their deployment so that you don't have to manually install and configure each one.

There are two different methods that you can use to deploy MetaFrame servers:

  • Server Drive Imaging
  • Unattended Installations

Server Drive Imaging

As the name implies, server imaging involves creating a server image (or "clone") that will be used as the base image for target servers, then copying that image to other servers. To do this, you need to use third party drive imaging software, such as Norton Ghost (www.symantec.com) or StorageSoft ImageCast (www.storagesoft.com).

You can also create hardware-based images. These drive images can be created with an imaging machine that copies a source hard disk to one or more target disks. Alternately, you can configure your source server with two hard drives configured for RAID 1, and then break the mirror and use one of the drives in your target server.

Server imaging works well if all of your servers are going to be identical-both in terms or hardware and software. In order to use imaging to deploy your MetaFrame XP servers, create a source server with a generic configuration. Then, after that server's image has been deployed to your target servers, perform some minor configuration tasks on those servers to get them ready for production use. (These minor tasks include changing the server name and IP address.)

Even though imaging requires that you spend some time configuring the clone and then finalizing each server that has been imaged, you can usually save quite a bit of time overall, even with only a handful of servers. The more servers that you have to deploy, the more time you can save.

Advantages of Server Imaging

  • No need to install the base operating system on target servers before you image them.
  • Applications can be imaged in addition to Windows and MetaFrame XP.

Disadvantages of Server Imaging

  • Target servers must be "cleaned up" after they are imaged.
  • All server hardware must be identical.
  • You need to take the time to create a source server that is good enough to image.

Imaging a MetaFrame XP server involves three steps:

  1. Create the source server that will be imaged.
  2. Create the image and deploy it to your target servers.
  3. Finalize the target servers by making any post-image modifications.

Step 1. Preparing the Source Server

There are a few considerations that you need to take into account when choosing the server that will have its drives imaged for your server deployment.

Your source server should not be one that hosts the data store. Also, if you chose to use MetaFrame XP's automatic drive letter remapping, be sure to test your imaging software. Sometimes the remapped drive letters confuse the software and the images that result are no good.

Once you choose your target server, following these steps to image it:

  1. Install the base operating system, but do not add the server to a domain.
  2. Install MetaFrame XP. Configure it to access the IMA data store that you want for your environment.
  3. If your IMA data store is on an Oracle, SQL, or DB2 server, edit the file \Program Files\Citrix\Independent Management Architecture\mf20.dsn. In the [ODBC] section, remove the line that reads WSID=YOURSERVERNAME.
  4. Delete the wfname.ini file from the root drive.
  5. Stop the IMA service.
  6. Set the IMA service startup method to "manual."
  7. If you're running Resource Manager (see Chapter 16), delete both the files in the %Program Files%\Citrix\Citrix Resource Manager\LocalDB\ folder.
  8. Install all of your applications, but do not publish any of them.

Step 2. Copy and Deploy the Image

Once you've prepared your server, perform the imaging process and deploy the image to your target server or servers.

Step 3. Clean up the Newly-Imaged Target Server

The following steps will need to be performed on each newly-cloned MetaFrame XP server before it can be used:

  1. Turn on the server, but ensure that it is not connected to the network.
  2. Give the server a new Windows Security Identifier (SID) because it has the same one as the source server (kind of like how two cloned humans would have the same DNA). Technically, when you add the server to the domain, it will receive a new domain SID, but you should also use a tool to create a new local SID for the server. If your cloning software doesn't come with a tool to change the SID, there are many SID changing tools available on the Internet.
  3. Configure the server with its permanent IP address.
  4. Configure the server with its new computer name.
  5. Turn off the server.
  6. Plug in the network cable.
  7. Turn on the server.
  8. Add the server to the domain and reboot.
  9. Start IMA service.
  10. Change the startup of the IMA service to "automatic."
  11. Run the qfarm utility to verify that everything looks okay. This new server should show up in the list.
  12. Configure the server's membership. After you image a MetaFrame XP server, the membership settings are not retained, and the server joins the default when IMA service starts.

Once you've completed these steps, your server is ready to go. You can configure it just like any server.

Unattended Installations

Instead of imaging your MetaFrame XP servers, you can perform unattended installations. When you perform an unattended installation of MetaFrame XP, the standard setup.exe installation file is executed on a server. However, an installation script is used to automatically specify MetaFrame XP installation options so that you don't have to manually install the MetaFrame XP software on each server.

Advantages of Unattended Installations

  • MetaFrame XP unattended installations can be sent to many different types of hardware.

Disadvantages of Unattended Installations

  • You must manually install the base operating system
  • You must manually install the applications.
  • You must create the unattended installation script.

There are two methods that you can use to perform unattended installations of MetaFrame XP. The one you choose to use depends on the version of MetaFrame XP you are to install.

If you're going to use MetaFrame XP without any Feature Releases or with Service Pack 1 or Feature Release 1, you need to install MetaFrame XP by itself and then install SP-1 or FR-1. This is done by creating an unattended answer file.

If you're on using Service Pack 2 or Feature Release 2, the SP-2/FR-2 installation program can be used to install the base MetaFrame XP product that is automatically at the SP-2/FR-2 level. SP-2 and FR-2 have been "slipstreamed" into the standard product installation. This installation program is available as an .MSI package, which means that there are several advanced options available to you. Of course you could choose to install MetaFrame XP without any Service Packs and then install SP-2 later, but installing the slipstreamed version of MetaFrame XP with SP-2 saves you a step.

Creating an Unattended Answer File

The procedure for performing an unattended installation of MetaFrame XP without any Service Packs is very straightforward:

  • Install the server of your server farm. This is necessary so that the server farm will be in place for future MetaFrame XP servers to connect to.
  • Copy the contents of the MetaFrame XP CD to the network.
  • If your IMA data store is based on a SQL, Oracle, or DB-2 database, copy the IMA data store DSN to a network share. This DSN is \Program Files\Citrix\Independent Management Architecture\mf20.dsn.
  • Edit the copied mf20.dsn file with a text editor. Remove the line WSID=YOURSERVERNAME.
  • Edit the unattend.txt file included with the MetaFrame XP installation files that you copied to the network in Step 2. Follow the instructions in the file to customize all the sections for your environment except for [Farm Settings], [Direct Connection Settings], and [Indirect Connection Settings].
  • From the server that will have MetaFrame XP installed, map a drive to the network location.
  • Execute the installation program, specifying the "unattended" option, such as setup.exe /u:e:\unattend.txt. (The "e:" in this example represents the drive letter that you mapped in Step 6.)

When you use the unattended method for installing MetaFrame XP servers, be careful that you do not install too many servers at once. Each server locks certain tables in the IMA data store when it needs to add its own information. The MetaFrame XP servers are smart enough to try again if they find that the data store is locked when they attempt to update it. However, if you try to install a huge amount of servers at once, the data store lockouts may cause the installation to fail on some servers.

Creating Unattended Installs from the SP-2/FR-2 .MSI File

If you to install MetaFrame XP from the SP-2/FR-2 installation file, all of the source installation files are available in a single .MSI file instead of a standard setup.exe file. Because .MSI files are easy to work with and because most people use Service Pack 2, this method of installation is the one used most often.

In order to perform an unattended installation of an .MSI file, you need to apply "transforms." Transforms are files containing configuration options that are used to modify the installation of an .MSI file. Transforms are in the form of "transform files" with the .mst file extension.

The SP-2/FR-2 MSI file that is shipped from Citrix includes several sample transform files in the \support\install folder. These transform files contain generic settings, so they cannot be used directly. However, you can edit them to apply the properties that are appropriate in your environment.

To edit a transform file, you need a transform file editor. You can download a transform file editor from Microsoft for no charge. (To find this editor, go to msdn.microsoft.com and search for orca.exe.)

Once you have specified your installation options in your transform file, initiate the MetaFrame XP installation with the following command line:

msiexec.exe /i:mfxp001.msi /t:yourtransformfile.mst

After this command is executed on your all of your servers, you can start to think about your applications.

 

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