Category: Automation Manager

Defeating a live virus/trojan infection with AM

By Max Ranzau

 

From the Crush, Kill & Destroy Dept. This is an aricle about using RES Automation Manager to defeat a live virus infection and cleaning up the colatteral damage afterwards, in case you’re dealing with many computers. With the help of others, I’ve put together a solution, as well as providing some valuable generic takeaways, like how to change special permissions in the registry and how to use the Windows PendingFileRenameOperations queue from within Automation Manager.

doc-icon2<<< Click here to read the article.

 

Automation Manager SR2 – All the details

By Max Ranzau

From the There-we-fixed-it Dept. I guess this is one of the few downsides of living on the California coastline – the bloody 9 hour time diff to Europe! So while I certainly can't be the first to tell you about breaking RES news, I can at least fill in the blanks. Just think of me as Wolf Blitzer in his pyjamas :-) Aaaanyway, today RES Software released the Service Release 2 of Automation Manager 2012. This update and full installers can be downloaded from the RES Support Portal as usual. So what's in the box then? Well, besides the usual staple of fixes there's a handful of interesting enhancements:

  • Conditions in AM now support for Windows 8 and Server 2012.
  • Just like Worksspace Manager which can fill in it's tables into a pre-existing, empty database, AM can now do the same. This is great for situations where you are fresh out of bullets and the onsite DBA won't let you create a datastore for your pilot.
  • Finally AM now also has uppercase and lowercase functions. These are now known as @UPPER[()] and @LOWER[()]
  • A new global setting has been created to disable/enable the existing RunbookWho functionality. This setitng and associated $[runbookwho] parameter was created earlier to allow you to specify at scheduling what agent(s) should execute the runbook. See the releasenotes for further details.
  • The exchange mailbox task has been updated to support creating alternative email addresses on Exchange 2010 which stores these on the Exchange server and not in Active Directory as previously.

For more information, have a look at the releasenotes here:

 

New technote: Parsing files with AM

From the TechNote Dept: A new article by Patrick Kaak has been posted in the TechLibrary. This time around Patrick shows us the advantages of incorporating existing scripts into RES Automation Manager, illustrating by example how an otherwise semi-static script can be converted into a reusable runbook, which requires no editing what so ever. The example at hand utilizes Thomas Koetzing’s excellent Citrix Hotfix downloader script. By embedding it into an AM runbook you don’t have to ever edit it again. As usual for your convenience, an example buildingblock is included

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New Technote: Dispatcher+ and WebAPI

From the Technotes-R-Us Dept. With the Automation Manager 2012 currently available as RC2, a RESguru article describing the nuts, bolts and registry settings of the new Dispatcher+ has been overdue for a while. To the rescue comes Rob Aarts with a great article, which explains the ins and outs of the new dispatcher component. Also covered in the article is the Master Dispatcher/Cache feature. The most important registry settings to tweak the behavior of the Dispatcher are also covered. Finally the article also covers the new WebAPI for Automation Manager.

<<< Click here to read the article!

The Ultimate Citrix BuildingBlock

‘Twas a month before Xmas and through the hotel, nothing was stirring… well maybe, except for the 450+ geeks and guru’s who assembled at the Hilton Universal City, Los Angeles for the first major Citrix Technology Exchange event on Dec 2nd 2012. RES Software had been invited as a platinum sponsor of the event. Besides showing our products at the vendor’s tables, we also had a couple of presentation slots. I want to take a moment to specially thank my friend Rick Eilenberger at Citrix for putting this great event together. Be sure to check out his follow-up article here.

During one of the RES Software presentations, I had the pleasure of once again demonstrating the unparalleled awesomeness of the RES Automation Manager. This time I had the good Mr. Luca Lo Castro with me on stage, as he is indeed the evil mastermind behind this latest creation. What we have here is nothing less than one of the most awesome Run Books created for RES Automation Manager yet.  Read more »

Harry Potter and the XenClient 2.1

While Hollywood probably aren’t adopting said title just yet, there’s definitely some Practical Magic to be shared here. A couple of months back, my old partner-in-crime, British RES Wizard Mr. Grant Tiller, created a pretty cool video. In one swift go, it shows all the goodness there’s to be had with the Citrix XenClient in combination with RES Workspace Manager, Automation Mananger, and the Service Orchestration Module. All in less than 11 minutes. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can still catch it here.

I’d recommend you to watch this one, as it will be well worth your time. The good folks over at Citrix did so already, and highlighted it in their announcement of the XenClient 2.1 release last week. Read more »

XenApp 6.5 BuildingBlock for Automation Manager

From the Gold-Brick-Through-Your-Window Dept. A while back you may have read about the work that was initiated at the Citrix Servtech event in Santa Clara, CA. As it turns out RES Software and Citrix Systems found a lot of common ground in leveraging the power of the RES Automation Manager to speed up Citrix XenApp 6.5 deployments.

IMPORTANT: The buildingblock has been updated Dec 5th. See below.

There is good reason to look into automating XA6.5 installations: You may not have noticed it, but the end-of-life date for XenApp 6.0 was recently updated. In other words, within the coming year you may need to start thinking about upgrading your XenApp farms. To ease this transition, it is my pleasure already now to be able to share with you the fruits of the collaboration between Citrix and RES. You can download the building block for Automation Manager at the end of this post.

A few words about the building block: It contains a Run Book which will schedule several Modules, necessary to install and configure XenApp 6.5 – including it’s prerequisites. To try it out, you need to download and install the RES Automation Manager. You can pull down a fully functional 45-day eval copy here. Getting-Started guide is available here. Out of the box there will be enough licenses to install a handful of XenApp servers. You will also need your XenApp 6.5 ISO image handy. You will either mount the image somewhere or extract the contents to a folder. Either way, the buildingblock requires the contents of the ISO to be accessible via a share. This is important. Once you schedule the Run Book, you will be prompted to enter some information such as paths, passwords, etc. See the screenshot on the right for an example.

Those of you who are savy AM hackers may wonder what’s up with the share. As it turns out, it’s really the most efficient way to access the Citrix distribution media, simply because of it’s size, it’s not feasible to upload as a AM Resource. Second, bear in mind that the ISO contents may be updated by Citrix in the future.

I wish to personally thank the following people for their contributions to this project: Rick Eilenberger, Josh Fleming, Alex Danilychev and Brian Mirrotto @ Citrix Systems. And last but not least my fearless Sicilian friend Luca Lo Castro here at RES, who put the pieces together into a working building block. Credit also goes to Musa Cakar and Arno Vos, who took the time to expand the datastore capabilities. See below:

As mentioned, the buildingblock was updated December 5th 2011. The update consists of support of MS SQL Datastores. While the original buildingblock only supported SQLserver 2008, it now supports creating the XenApp Datastore on MSSQL 2005 and 2012 (Release Candidate 0).

Click here to download the updated XenApp 6.5 block:

Get AM and WM trained in Ft. Lauderdale / November

From the RES Tech Training Dept. Are you a new or prospective RES partner in the United States? Need to get trained in a RES product? Missed the recent invite? Then keep reading, this article is for you then!

Read more »

Referencing a NOT NULL string in RES products

From the Interesting Tidbits Dept. Here’s probably the shortest RESguru posting to date, but it’s been a little thing that has been itching to be posted for a while. In all it’s simplicity it’s about how you would reference an empty string in either Automation Manager or Workspace Manager. Since there isn’t a NULL operator per say, we have to rely on our old friend, Mr. PatternMatching. In other words for the uninitiated, RES products supports a pletora of wildcard operators within the text input fields of the products. You can also use variables and functions here. Also check out the RESpedia entry on patternmaching.

The use-cases are many, as you might need to check on environment variables, registry settings, AD properties, file versions or something completely different. Here is a quite simple one: Let’s say we want to check if a variable is set or not. All we have to do is use the pattern “?*” without the quotation marks. The questionmark determines that a single any-character must be present, and the asterisk says that any number of characters including none, may follow. Here on the right is a screenshot which illustrates the usage. PS: Thanks to Dave Bryant for sharing this nugget.

Presenting RES Online Learning

From the selfstudy dept. Last week RES Software opened up a brand new website, RES Online Learning, which will help you both get started with RES technology. The site consists of A LOT of video material that will let you learn in more detail how to wrangle both the RES Workspace Manager and RES Automation Manager. All the videos are posted on a dedicated YouTube channel, but I highly recommend using the Online Learning website, where you can track your own progress as you work through the material. As of now there are 60+ videos to chomp through. The site is free to use and can be found at tutorials.ressoftware.com.