Max Ranzau

 

 

 

 

 

Max Ranzau,  Independent RES Authority.

So what’s a RESguru anyway? Since I was the guy to originally coin the phrase, I believe it’s my prerogative to set the definition. It’s a person who knows the nuts and bolts of RES technology and likes to share that knowledge by any means necessary. So, let’s set the record straight once and for all. I don’t subscribe to being The RESguru. I am perfectly happy being A RESguru, as there are many of us out there.  I built this site back in early 2009, with the purpose of sharing information where little or no information existed outside the realm of the RES knowledgebase. My role here today is contributing author as well as doubling as an editor for my esteemed co-authors. With that established here is a little about yours truly.

In 2014 I started RESguru Consulting Services. Going independent with RCS was the natural evolution of spending 15 years in the RES universe.

Since 2010 I ran the education and partner enablement programs for RES Software in the United States. Before relocating to the US, I previously held the position as Senior Consulting Engineer for the company in London. Before that, I participated in starting the Nordic region up together with the Scandinavian RES Software team, doing presales and what-not.

Geek bias towards using RES products? Hmm, you think?! I absolutely love working with the products and did so long before I joined the company in 2007. Gurgling the corporate kool-aid? Absolutely no! Giving you the straight dope on what can and cannot be accomplished with the RES products? Absolutely Yes! That’s what the RESguru blog is all about.

As stated above, RESguru.com is no longer the work of just one guy.  As of recent I have been joined by industry professionals who have supplied materials, input and great articles, which I now have had the privilege to share with you all.

Since early 2002, I have worked with the products of RES Software, where I was originally trained by the [God]Father of User Workspace Management himself, my good friend Mr. Bob Janssen. For most of my professional career, I’ve been a international consultant and instructor in Citrix, Softricity (now MS App-V), and of course RES Software products. The RES and (formerly) Softricity products had two things in common:

  1. They have changed the way many of us IT professionals work, for the better.
  2. The products were (Windows) platform agnostic: They worked well regardless if you are dealing with Laptops, Workstations and/or terminal servers. With or without Citrix on top.

Where RES made the difference in my career, was the fact that it enabled me to once and for all get rid of all the shoestring-and-gumball solutions, which I and many others made our living fixing, maintaining, cleaning up, rebuilding or otherwise deal with. I was up to my elbows in scripts (batch files, kix, vbs – take your pick), Group Policy templates, all sorts of third party freeware point-solution utilities. But hey, c’mon – These were the only tools we had at our disposal back then. Gradually I grew to hate going on-site, having to deal with, quote “inheriting somebody else’s old pants” in the form of sifting through some 2-mile long, ultra compacted VBScript with hardly any comments except for the name of the nitwit who wrote it. In other words, SSDD.

Back then and to this day still, there is a mindset among some, to keep as much information to yourself, make whatever you made as obfuscated as possible, leaving bloody useless documentation and so on. All seemingly in a misunderstood quest for peer recognition and/or job security. I believe what kept me on the sharing side of things, was the fact that I became a CCI (Citrix Instructor back in the WinFrame days) Through teaching the product, I came to a realization which I choose to believe many instructors may have shared at one point or another:

The more you give – The more you get!

If you keep your training educational and entertaining, then no matter how many nuggets of wisdom you share with people, they would always come back for more, and guess what – they would usually bring something cool to the table and share with you. In the classroom I usually ended up leaving as educated as my students, as they would share all sorts of interesting things about Microsoft technologies, Novell, Notes, etc. etc. I would then use things I learned later on as part of the next series of courses I held. The RES Workspace Manager made the difference, that I finally had a platform on which I could store and structure all the acquired knowledge of configuration items, and I could re-use them across any Windows platform.

Okay, let’s pause right there for a sec for a reality check: Workspace Manager (previously known as PowerFuse) was originally written to work on Terminal Server / Citrix only. It was only further down the road (in series 6.something, I think) that we started to support laptops and workstations. Even then it was rather sketchy to deal with, as you had to run multiple databases as Terminal Server Site licenses back then could not be mixed with Workstation/Laptop licenses. Also we still had to deal with the fileshare-based PowerFuse database. The thing is about that fileshare – nobody had a clue 10 years ago that people one day would be wanting to use our particular brand of User Workspace Management across 10’s of thousands workstations concurrently on multiple sites world wide.

To serve as an equivalent; those of you old-timers , who remember the internal workings of the Citrix Winframe Master Browser model, might recall that it was also a complete mess which would not scale very well. In short, imagine you drew 25 boxes on a piece of paper. Connect them all with lines and you pretty much had the master browser model! Citrix recognized something had to be done about this and back then came up with the Datastore model in Metaframe XP, which essentially the same model which RES Workspace Manager 20xx uses even today. In short, something had to be done and RES did it. Incidentally, while advocates of lesser products claim that this doesn’t scale, tell that to the RES customers that run 50.000+ seat installations.

This did however not change the fact that I felt I had essentially the IT-equivalent of Tolkien’s Ring: One Console to Rule them All. The real breakthrough in the cross-environment support however came with the release in late ’07 of PowerFuse 2008. All of a sudden we could now conveniently deal with managing Citrix/TS, Workstations, Laptops, Tablet PC’s and what-have-you, from this singular point of administration.

This was in fact huge. As I saw it, what we got with Workspace Manager was a big filing cabinet, ready to receive and organize all the crap floating around in many IT environments. Here was the chance to tidy things up and keep them that way – Once and for all. The secret sauce was Workspace Containers.

The RESguru site was originally kicked into gear with the purpose of getting out as much information about RES Products as possible. Today and onwards it continues that mission while serving as the home site for my company RESguru Consulting Services. It is my intention together with my fellow Guru’s to provide you with even more quality content and helpful tips using RES products in the future.

Thanks for your interest and enjoy the site.

Max Ranzau – m.ranzau@resguru.com

2 Comments

  • By Chris Glover, April 24, 2014 @ 14:31

    Max,

    Can you think of anyway to pass input parameter values from WM to AM, e.g., creating an app in WM with an AM job in config and not having the input parameter values assigned then but rather when the user launches the app. This way the parameter values could change with each app launch. Thanks in advance.

  • By RESguru, April 24, 2014 @ 14:45

    Hi Chris,
    I’ve been tinkering with this conundrum for a while myself. Off the top of my head the only idea that comes to mind is a bit of a hack, as the challenge obviously is that AM runs in localsystem context while WM composer runs in the user’s. In my case I needed to be able to browse for a file which AM needed for something. I wrote a quick and dirty file-open dialog box app in Autoit, which writes the file path to some HKLM path. I create a WM managed app for it and run this WMapp with Dynamic Privs turned on, so the HKLM write will work. Then use the corresponding @REGISTRY function to read it from within AM.

    This is obviously not idiot proof (god always builds a better idiot). If you do this on a TS where multiple users run this simultaniously there would be no way of mapping the correct file to the right user session unless you mix in the sessionnumber, username or something like that into the value written to the registry, it’ll get complicated fast.

    Hopefully our friends in R&D will come up with a cool way of doing this. I’d love to see a new config action or something to do this.

    With best regards,
    Max R.

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