Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Xendesktop 5 MCS and Office 2010 Activation via Microsoft KMS

I have just completed a XenDesktop 5 project for 450 users whereby I needed to create a KMS infrastructure with VM's deployed via MCS in a Windows 2008R2 and Windows 7 environment. The Citrix official stance is that this is supported via a workaround. You need to create the KMS server, add Office 2010 KMS functionality and finally enable XenDesktop 5 MCS to deploy pooled images with unique CMID's that successfully authenticate with KMS.

The process is fairly simple but these are the basic steps that are needed:

Step 1: Create KMS Server

The first step is to enter your KMS key on your Windows 2008 R2 server you have chosen to host the KMS service.

1. Login into the MS volume licencing centre at the following address:  https://www.microsoft.com/licensing/servicecenter/
2. Go to the licences tab and the MAK and MS keys assigned to your organization will be visible.
3. Copy the product key labelled Windows 2008R2 Std/Ent KMS B.
4. Go to Control Panel >System and change product key and enter the key.
5. If you already have an existing MAK key installed on the server you can replace the key. Open a command prompt and run > slmgr /ipk *Your KMS B key*
6. Run > slmgr /ato to activate the KMS server.
7. Install the Microsoft VA Management tool 2.0. This allows you to have a GUI snap-in interface for KMS for easier mangement. To install this software go to the following link:  http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=11936
8. Create a KMS DNS service entry. Go to your DNS server and open DNS > Your domain > TCP and edit the _VMLS service property with your relevant server name.
9. Open the relevant firewall port on the server (1688) or allow the listed Key Management Services as a exception.
10. Check that the KMS server can publish its SRV records in your domain by running the following command > nslookup -type _vlmcs _tcp.
11. Check the KMS server has the correct key installed and is listening for a connection by running the following command > slmgr.vbs /dli*

Step 2: Create Office 2010 KMS Server

1. Install the Microsoft Office 2010 KMS host pack from the folowing link:http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&lc=1033&id=25095
2. Install the KMS key for Office 2010 when prompted. This is located at https://www.microsoft.com/licensing/servicecenter/
3. Check the Office 2010 KMS Key has been successfully installed on the KMS Server by opening a command prompt and navigating to c:\windows\system32 and running > cscript slmgr.vbs /dlv all.
4. All Office 2010 clients come installed with a generic KMS key. Test activation and run > cscript slmgr.vbs /dlv all. You will see the current count or Office KMS increment by 1. This is to be expected as the KMS server will not start activating until it has received 5 unique requests.

Step 3: Create XenDesktop MCS Gold image

1. Create a fully patched Windows 7 image with Office 2010 installed and place in snapshot mode. Use the the relevent client KMS key listed here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff793421.aspx
2. Use the instructions in the following Citrix support article to rearm Windows 7:  http://support.citrix.com/article/ctx128580
3. Run ospprearm.exe in %installdir%\%Program Files%\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\OfficeSoftwareProtectionPlatform. This will rearm Office 2010. 
4. Shut down the image and use MCS to create your XenDesktop pool.
5. You can use slmgr.vbs dlv to check for Virtual desktop KMS activation. You will see the KMS activation count increment once 25 Windows desktops have registered and 5 Office 2010 clients.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


I have just spent the last week getting to grips with product called App-DNA, and I must say I am impressed. OK so what is App-DNA and where does it fit in todays landscape?

I think its best to take a high level view.The simple facts are there is a fundamental shift to IT as a service. If we look at desktop virtualization, it is a key enabler for IT organizations to modernize their existing desktop architecture and how they consume services. Modernization of the desktop environment enables organizations to evolve from a device-centric world to an user-centric model where users can flexibility access their applications and data from any device while providing IT with greater control to deliver increased efficiencies linked to centralization.

Thanks to cloud based mechanisms and faster and more resilient links, the future of end-user computing is shifting away from the traditional desktop. The future will be about the secure delivery of applications anywhere, anytime and on any device type. Whether its a desktop application such as Word, a SaaS application such as Salesforce.com, what is key is that the user will be able to gain access to the tools they need from the device they have whatever the location.

I think in 10 years time we will all be casting our minds back to the days when the guys from CityLink would arrive at goods in with a pallet of Dell workstations.

Many IT organizations have already engaged a thought process shift to modernizing their entire desktop environment. In this environment, both the desktop, applications and user workspace are virtualized. Virtualization provides IT and end users an abstraction layer that isolates the applications and the desktops from the operating environment. A virtualized application (such as App-V) is much more stable in its behavior as it does not have write acesss to local machine registry

A classic example would be a shift from a Windows XP platform with locally installed applications to a Windows 7 platform with Virtualized applications or even a session based applications via a 64 BIT XenApp environment. To reach this promised land we need to know how applications will function and how long this takes to get there.

This is where App-DNA fits. In any project, the analysis phase is key in providing timelines attached to deliverables. If we were to perform the application migration and packaging manually it would be in all probability ran with a "finger in the air approach" and a loss of credibility for all involved. App-DNA essentiality provides intelligent remediation, detailed reporting and in my eyes most importantly; reduced risk and cost.

Great product and great guys as well.
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