AppSense computer startup actions using standard mode vDisks
By James Rankin | 7th February 2012
I was recently on-site for a customer where we were using Citrix Provisioning Services to build the XenApp and XenDesktop farms. Naturally we were utilizing standard mode vDisks to provision the servers. Whilst publishing SAP, I discovered that there was a file that needed to be removed to ensure that Outlook integration for SAP didn’t occur (as the customer didn’t want it). The file that had to be removed was called sapcalex.ecf, and to get things done quickly, rather than updating the master image, I opted to use an AppSense Environment Manager Computer Startup Action to get this done.
However, once I had applied the necessary File Delete action to the Environment Manager configuration and deployed it to the XenApp servers, I was a bit perturbed to find that, after a restart, the Computer Startup action hadn’t happened. Luckily, I checked the configuration version numbers in the AppSense Management Console and I realised what had occurred.
As we are using standard mode vDisks, when the computer is restarted, the server reverts to the “old” AppSense Environment Manager configuration at reboot – i.e., the one that was installed when the vDisk was created. When the server starts up, the AppSense Client Communications Agent checks in and picks up the new configuration we just updated, but as the server is already started, the Computer Startup action doesn’t run. If you restart the system, you simply repeat the process I just described.
So with standard mode vDisks, if you need to configure a Computer Startup action in Environment Manager, you simply have no option except to update the master image with the new Environment Manager configuration, and then push out the new vDisk to your XenApp/XenDesktop systems. As a lot of places have strict change controls around updates to vDisks and insist on a rigorous testing regime, sometimes getting this done quickly is not a possibility.
Luckily there is another option that allowed me to remove the file in the meantime until the vDisk could be updated. Group Policy Preferences has an option to manipulate files or folders (Computer Configuration | Preferences | Files). It’s not often I fall back on GPO or GPP instead of using AppSense, but in this situation it did the trick quite nicely until I could get the master image updated with the new Environment Manager configuration.