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Centralis AXE 3.0: The ZENworks Application Publisher

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Ewen Anderson

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Posted: 21 Oct 2004
 

Introduction and Summary

Introduction

Centralis has created and updated AXE as the core ZENworks tool for our own corporate consultants, to minimise the time and effort associated with creating eDirectory application objects, and to improve standards both within environments and between consultants. Centralis AXE has sold over 250,000 user licenses worldwide, introducing thousands of ZENworks administrators to the concept of automated snAppShot processing - the ability to apply a standard set of rules which transform a snAppShot into a working application object in a fraction of the time needed for manual editing.

Centralis AXE imports ZENworks for Desktops snAppShots into a database, creating Application Profiles which can then be edited using the software's powerful processing capabilities. Centralis AXE contains a range of editing Rules to correct common problems in turning ZENworks for Desktops snAppShots into eDirectory application objects, allowing the creation of user-defined Rules so that new knowledge can be captured, stored and applied easily to future snAppShots.

AXE 2.0 simplified the process of creating your own rules, introduced publishing the application object to eDirectory and enabled administrators to work on both AXT and AOT files. AXE 3.0 builds on the success of the previous versions, and introduces a new feature - the ability to create Citrix Published Applications directly from the product.

This document examines the features of Centralis AXE 3.0, and the additional benefits they offer to the ZENworks administrator. Centralis AXE 3.0 is not designed to replace the knowledge and experience of ZENworks for Desktops administrators, but rather to provide a means of storing, applying and sharing that knowledge.

As well as increasing the functionality, with AXE 3.0 Centralis has also updated and simplified the licensing model, removing the individual "user" licenses, and replacing them with four generic license bands:

License Type Number of ZENworks for Desktops Users supported
Small Business 100
Standard 101 - 500
Corporate 501 - 5,000
Enterprise / Unlimited More than 5,000

Please note that to support the new licensing model, the Centralis software pricing has been significantly reduced, providing a reduction of up to 50% against the cost of purchasing AXE 2.0. Please see http://www.centralis.co.uk/products/purchasing/pricelist.asp for the latest pricing details.

Key Product Features

Storing Defaults AXE can store information about your ZENworks and application environment and your standard settings for application publishing. These details can be automatically provided and processed by AXE to save you time and improve accuracy. You can even read in settings from your existing objects and applications, making the whole process simpler.
Processing Rules The software is shipped with over seven years worth of commercial ZENworks consulting experience, built into processing rules. These clear text rules are easy to understand and apply, and AXE allows you to simply create and share your own rules as well.
SnAppShot Cleaning AXE will automatically find and remove many of the common problems associated with using snAppShot in environments based on Windows 2000 and above, including Terminal Server and Citrix deployments.
SnAppShot Splitting For administrators who wish to separate out User and Machine information, AXE provides a splitting option. This flexible processing tool creates two .AXT / .AOT files which can be assigned as required.
Templates AXE supports the use of one or more Templates, providing sets of standard settings (such as System Requirements) which can be merged into snAppShots to save even more time.
File Version Compare If you are considering the deployment of a new application, and would like to find out whether the file versions and locations of key files such as DLLs are compatible with your existing application set, AXE provides a simple to use diagnostic report to help you identify any issues and conflicts.
Merge SnAppShots AXE allows you to merge two or more snAppShots together. A simple drag and drop operation begins the process, and a step by step merge wizard allows you to step through the process if required.
Publish to eDir Once you have used AXE to process your snAppShot, it is a simple operation to publish it to eDir straight from the AXE window. AXE even supports a whole range of defaults to make the operation as quick, standard and flexible as possible.
Publish to Citrix If you have a deployment of Citrix MetaFrame, AXE also allows you to create Citrix Published Applications, directly from your ZENworks snAppShots. AXE allows you to define a wide range of default settings for your Citrix Published Applications as well, making the whole process simple, and using a single interface to manage both environments.
Issuing Updates You don't always want to create new applications, sometimes just a single attribute needs to be updated, so AXE allows you to specify an update process, and to change just the settings you choose.

AXE Processing & Publishing Overview

Stage 1: Creating a new AXE Application Profile
AXE Application Processing is carried out through the creation of a new AXE application profile. This normally takes place when an existing snapshot file (AXT or AOT) is imported into the AXE database. During the import, the administrator can optionally choose which processing rules to apply, and whether to use an existing Application Profile as a template, to fill in selected information such as system requirements. The result of the import is a new AXE Application Profile.

Stage 2: Exporting the AXE Application Profile
The first stage in AXE Application Publishing is to Export from the AXE Application Profile, applying the processing rules, including the Move Rules, which split the object into user & machine files if required. The result of the Export is a new set of AXT files.

Stage 3: Creating the AXE Application Object
The second stage in AXE Application Publishing is to create a new AXE Application Object from the AXE application profile. At this stage the distribution options for the eDir object are set, and may be inherited from the Global Defaults. The result of the New, Application Object is a new AXE Application Object located under the AXE Application Profile.

Stage 4: Creating the eDir Application Object
The final stage in AXE Application Publishing is to publish the Application Object from AXE to eDir. This can either update an existing Application Object, or create a new Application Object. Default options for updating existing objects can be inherited from the Global Defaults. The result of the Publish is a new eDir object created in the selected container.

Getting the Most from Centralis AXE - Five Key Features

This section outlines some key productivity features of AXE. Completing the default settings and knowing about these features will help you get the most benefit from the software. All of these can be used with both the evaluation, and full commercial editions of the product.

Important - Note that if you have purchased Centralis AXE, you should begin by importing the most up to date Rule set before using the product - please see AXE Rule Tools entry in the Advanced Features section.

4.1. Global Settings
Before you start to process any snAppShots, take a minute to fill in the AXE Global Settings. Select the AXE icon under the Global Settings menu in the AXE browser, Right Click and select Properties.

Fig 2: AXE Global Settings

Select the Tab for Default SnAppShot Settings. Filling in details about the standard snAppShot User ID, drive letters etc. will save time when processing your snAppShots.

4.2. Setting Up a Template Profile
Click on the Profile folder in the AXE browser window. Right Click and select New, Profile, and select Create a Blank Profile, then Finish. Specify a name for the Template Profile (e.g. Company Template) and a directory in which to store any files associated with the Template. Note that the Profile has picked up your default settings. You can now fill in any standard entries (e.g. system requirements - select the tab and click Add) which you would like to add automatically to future snAppShots.

Note that you can set up any number of Template Profiles with different settings, and can make one of them default through the Global Settings (see above).

4.3. Using Templates
Once you have set up a Template Profile, use Create New Profile, and select the option to use an existing profile as a Template.


Fig 3: Selecting an AXE Template Profile

AXE will automatically merge all the settings from the Template Profile into your new snAppShot.

4.4. Using the AXE Processing Rules
Take an existing, unedited snAppShot, import it into AXE by following the New Application Profile wizard, then Export it, and compare the AXT file (i.e. what AXE processing has done automatically) with what you would have edited manually.


Fig 4: Running the Export Wizard

4.5. Creating a New Processing Rule
Choose an existing, unedited snAppShot that has a setting which you regularly need to change for your environment. Create a New Profile, and Import the snAppShot into AXE. Use the Files & Directories or Registry Settings tabs to find the setting, then right click on it and select Create Express Rule. Simply follow the Create Express Rule wizard to create your own AXE rule to move the setting to the Redundant file.
Fig 5: Creating an Express Rule

4.6. Previewing your Changes
To check that your new rule works, use the Preview button on the bottom left of the Properties window. This gives detailed information about the rules which will be applied and the Export Preview at the top of the screen allows you to see what your rule will do to the setting.
Fig 6: Previewing a Processed SnAppShot

4.7. Splitting into User and Machine Objects
One of the key features for Centralis AXE is the option to "split" snAppShots. This allows administrators to separate User from Machine entries. A Machine Object contains standard settings and files which should be copied to every target machine (normally by an administrator).

The User Object contains the personalisation entries and can be allocated to the User for installation. If you choose not to split the snAppShot (available at a Global default or by Application Profile in AXE 3.0), AXE will create a single object and .AXT file based on the Machine Object.

4.8. Application Publishing
Set up your standards for application publishing. Go to Global Settings, enter your company standards for Distribution, Associations, System Requirements, etc. Note that these may be different settings for User and Machine Objects (see above).
Fig 7: Setting Application Publishing Defaults

If these settings already exist in your application objects, try reading them in from an existing object during the New Application Object creation process. (Note that application publishing is not supported in the evaluation edition. You will only be able to publish to eDirectory via ConsoleOne, and not all AXE defined settings will be applied without a commercial license.) If you are using AXE with Citrix MetaFrame, you can also set defaults for many of the Citrix Published Application settings and import the settings from your existing Citrix Published Applications.

Product Summary

Summary of Key Product Features

Application Processing

  • The AXE rule set is shipped with the product, and contains a full set of production rules, including nearly 100 rules specific to Windows XP, 2003 and MSI installs
  • "Express rule creation" dramatically cuts the time taken to create your own rules
  • "Force Move" rule makes it easy to assign a rule to just one application
  • "Move Rule" now contains a default option for whether to split into User and Machine

Application Publishing

  • Create ZENworks application objects and Citrix Published Applications directly from AXE
  • Use "templates" to store and apply a wide range of settings and information as standard
  • Import application publishing settings from AOT files, eDir application objects and Citrix Published Applications into AXE
  • Choose to either replace or update eDir Application Objects and Citrix Published Applications - choosing exactly which attributes to update if required

Interface & Usability

  • The AXE application publishing wizard gives control over the GUIDs and versioning
  • Many of the processing steps have been streamlined to simplify processing
  • Updated user interface, with redesigned menus and toolbars
  • Systems Requirements handling extended for full ZENworks 4 compatibility

What's New in AXE 3.0

Citrix Publishing AXE 3 introduces a new level of integration between ZENworks and Citrix MetaFrame. Detailed information is provided within this AppNote.
Local Caching for Conversions When AXE converts an AOT file to AXT format, and vice versa, the file is now cached and processed locally. This give significant performance enhancement when processing files in remote locations.
File Splitter Routing Options The options to split a snAppShot into 'User' and 'Redundant' files during Export can now be set "on" or "off" in the Global Default Settings and, additionally, on a per Profile basis. This is especially useful for customers who have no requirement for 'User' splitting.
AXE Rule Tools The Rule Tools, previously available as a separate tool, are now integrated into AXE. The tools vastly extend the ability of AXE to Import and Export Rules.
Create Application Object Wizard The Wizard has been extended with the addition of an optional stage where Custom Folders can be specified. This allows an Object to be created with the minimum requirements in place without the need for further editing of the object.
Application Processing

Introduction to AXE Application Profiles

The management of application profiles and processing rules in AXE 3.0 is designed to make them more flexible and easier to create.

1.1. Application Profiles An application profile is created in AXE for each application which is imported. The profile is the entry in the database which represents the snAppShot, or imported AXT/AOT file. Profiles can be organised into hierarchical folders and sub-folders, which are displayed in tree view under Profiles in the main AXE browser window.
Fig 8: AXE Application Profiles

1.2. New Profile
A new profile can be created as a Blank profile, which contains no imported entries, or as an import from AXT/ AOT file. In addition it is possible to select an existing profile to act as a template in order to inherit selected entries and settings (See Application Profile Templates below).

1.3. "Templates" and Defaults
AXE has always been associated with creating and enforcing standards to improve the quality and reduce the time required for snAppShot based application deployment. This concept was extended with AXE 2.0, to store a wider range of default settings providing the option to use sets of stored settings as "templates". These features will allow administrators to further improve standards and reduce processing time by automatically populating or updating standard entries in application objects, including:

  • System requirements
  • Registry settings
  • Support contact information
  • Application associations
  • Application flags

Working With Application Profiles

2.1. Importing an AXT/AOT File
If you choose to create the profile from an existing AXT or AOT file, the File Import Wizard prompts you to select the file and also allows you to indicate that the file has previously been processed by Centralis AXE. This prevents certain variables being incorrectly handled by being processed more than once.

If the file is in AOT format, Centralis AXE will perform a conversion and import the resulting AXT file into the database for you, prompting for details of the environment in which the snAppShot was taken, and the folder in which the application profile will be stored.

There are also options to select the processing rules which will be applied, and to change the name of the application profile at this stage (see Fig 9 below).
Fig 9: AXE Application Processing

Note that Centralis AXE will require access to the directory in which the original snAppShot (.FIL) files are located, in order to extract information for the File Version report (see below).

3. Application Properties

Once the application profile has been created in AXE, the properties can be examined using a right click to bring up the properties form. This gives access to a wide range of settings, including:

  • Profile details
  • Files & Directories
  • Registry Settings
  • INI Settings
  • Environment Variables
  • Macros
  • Icons / Shortcuts
  • System Requirements
  • Application Entries


Fig 10: AXE Application Profile Properties

Note that for each of the entries within each of these categories it is possible to do some or all of the following, depending on what is being viewed:

  • Add a new entry
  • Delete an entry
  • Display the setting and detailed properties of the setting
  • Preview how the setting will be processed and changed when the processing Rules are applied
  • Create an Express or Force Move Rule (see below)
This form also displays information about how AXE will process the application profile on Export (see below). These include the rules which will be applied, e.g. User Rules, Redundant Rules, and the ability to Preview the export results.


Fig 11: Properties, showing the Preview Button

3.1. Processing Rules
Centralis AXE Rules can be used to make adjustments to SnAppShot files by using a 'find and replace' mechanism or by moving whole data sections to an alternative output file based on either a basic or advanced text comparison criterion. Centralis AXE supports two basic rule types; Find & Replace, and Move. A new category called "Force Move" was added in AXE Version 2.0.


Fig 12: Centralis AXE Rules Folders

A section covering detailed information on Centralis AXE Rules and how to manage and create them is included in Section 7: Advanced AXE Features.

Note that processing rules are applied when the application profile is Exported (see below).

Application Publishing

Introduction

The most significant new features in AXE 3.0 are around application publishing. For the first time ZENworks administrators can process their snAppShots, apply saved global settings, then publish the resulting application object to eDirectory and create a Citrix Published Application - all from within AXE.

New Application Publishing Features

AXE provides the option to create or update ZENworks application objects directly from AXE, rather than creating an AXT for use through ConsoleOne.

Not only does this new facility make it much quicker and easier to manage application objects, AXE can also simplify and standardise many of the settings commonly used in creating applications (see Templates below).

AXE will also allow administrators to import the AOT file and settings from eDirectory object directly, without the need to convert it into an AXT file.

The key new features of application publishing are given below:

Publishing Stage 1: Exporting the Application

3.1. Exporting an AXE application profile

In order to create an application object, the application profile must be exported in order to apply the processing rules (see previous section). This is done by right clicking on the application profile and selecting Export. The Export Wizard provides a step by step guide to creating the application object, or alternatively the Express Export option provides a single step process using your default selections.


Fig 13 The Export Profile Wizard

3.2. Export includes the following stages:

  • Splitting options - selecting whether to apply the User and Redundant Move rules
  • Track Distribution per user options for directory, file, INI, registry and shortcuts
  • Flag Overwrite options for File, Registry and .INI files
  • Output options for locations, filenames and formats

Fig 14: The Export Profile Process

The Export Wizard allows selection of the ZENworks version to be used for the ZENworks application object, supporting the following versions:

  • ZENworks for Desktops 1.1
  • ZENworks for Desktops 2
  • ZENworks for Desktops 3
  • ZENworks for Desktops 4

If a version of ZENworks for Desktops is selected which is earlier than the one used to take the original snAppShot, AXE will export in the selected file format, but leave the AXE application profile unchanged to allow future exporting in the original file format.

Full support for any additional features introduced with ZENworks 6.5 is planned for a future release, however the ZENworks for Desktops 4 format is fully compatible for application delivery.

Publishing Stage 2: Creating an AXE Application Object

AXE application objects are created from the AXE application profile. This is done by right clicking on the profile and selecting New, Application Object.


Fig 15 Creating a New AXE Application Object from an AXE Application Profile

Note that multiple application objects can be created from each AXE application profile. This is particularly useful if your snAppShot contains an application suite such as Office which you wish to present as separate objects, or if you are publishing to multiple containers.


Fig 16: The New AXE Application Object Wizard

4.1. New Application Object Wizard

The New Application Object wizard allows you to:

  • Select whether the application object will be a standard application, a web application or a terminal server application
  • Select whether it will be a user or machine object
  • Identify whether the object includes distribution (i.e. the associated files and registry settings)
  • Provide an alternative name for the object
  • Select its location in the directory
  • Provide the path to the application executable if required

Fig 17: The Process for Creating New AXE Application Objects

On completion of the wizard, the properties of the application object are displayed.

Publishing Stage 3: Citrix Published Application Creation

Note that the form now displays the checkbox option to "Include Citrix Published Application".

Fig 18: Choosing to set up a Citrix Published Application

5.1. Citrix Published Application Wizard

When you select the option to include the Citrix Published Application, AXE will launch the wizard for setting up the Citrix Published Application.


Fig 19: Setting up the Citrix Published Application

The wizard allows you to accept the global default settings you have set up, specify the appropriate settings, or import settings from an existing Citrix Published Application. Please note that you will require administration access and connection to the Citrix server farm to complete the latter task.


Fig 20: Importing Citrix Published Application Settings

Once the wizard has completed, the full range of settings will be displayed as below:


Fig 21: Citrix Published Application Settings

Note that the Application Object now has a Citrix Tab (under System Requirements) which can be used to display the properties of the Published Application.

Publishing Stage 4: Publishing to eDir & Citrix

Using the Centralis AXE publishing wizard, administrators can take the processed snAppShot, and create an eDirectory object and / or Citrix Published Application from it. This can be done by right clicking on the application profile, or on the individual application objects created from the profile.


Fig 22: Publishing an AXE Application Object

Note that if multiple application objects have been created from a profile, AXE will allow the selection of one, several or all the application objects to be published in a single operation.

The Wizard provides options for updating and recreating objects (see below), then publishes the application objects to the eDirectory locations and Citrix Servers identified in the individual application objects.


Fig 23: The New AXE Application Object Publishing Wizard


Fig 24: The New AXE Application Object Publishing Procedure

6.1. Updating existing Application Objects and Published Applications

As well as creating a new ZENworks application object or Citrix Published Application, administrators can select to Update or Recreate an existing one. The publishing wizard allows the administrator to choose between Recreating or Updating an object. A number of options will be presented for controlling GUID and Application Version etc, depending whether Update or Recreate is selected.

If Update is selected, the administrator can simply update the application object or published application with all the settings from the AXE application object, or alternatively select the Advanced Update Options. This allows the administrator to select which items will be updated, down to the level of icons, registry settings etc.


Fig 25: Advanced Update Options

Centralis AXE - Advanced Features

Rules

1.1. Find & Replace

Find and Replace rules are used to find and replace all occurrences of a text string within an .AXT file (e.g. to replace the environment variable %SYSTEMDRIVE% with the equivalent internal NAL variable %*WINDISK%). Replace Rules can be applied to multiple fields across multiple data categories as required. Text comparisons for Replace Rules are not case-sensitive.


Fig 26: Properties of a Find & Replace Rule

1.2. Move Rules

A Basic Move Rule moves sections of the AXT to a particular output file based on a simple text comparison criterion. These Rules can be applied to multiple fields across multiple data categories and require only the search string and the target file to be specified. This is used to remove unnecessary and unwanted entries from snAppShots, and also to separate User and Machine elements of a snAppShot when deploying to Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server environments.

Occasionally, the simple text criterion used by the Basic Move Rule is not sufficient to select specific sections where it cannot be guaranteed that the text will not appear elsewhere, especially when dealing with registry settings. In this case, an Advanced Move Rule needs to be used to remove the update of the system shutdown time from SnAppShots where there was a reboot during the install process.

The Advanced Move Rule allows multiple criteria to be specified within a single data category, so in this case the Rule can be applied to the registry settings with the key name specified along with the value name to ensure only that particular setting is removed. Where multiple criteria are specified, ALL criteria must be met to satisfy the Rule conditions.


Fig 27: Properties of a Move Rule

1.3. Force Move

AXE 2.0 introduced a new class of rule with "Force Move". This rule applies to a specific AXE application entry only, and overrides all other rules. It can be applied to all the same settings that conventional AXE rules process, but is used where a rule is required for a single application only.

This allows AXE administrators to separate rules which are generic and those which are specific to a single application. Applying rules to specific applications rather than all applications can significantly reduce processing time.

Force Move rules are used as an alternative to deleting files and settings within the original snAppShot in order to preserve the snAppShot for future processing.

Force Move rules can be applied to any entry within the snAppShot, including those items which are not handled by generic rules, such as macros and environment variables. As with generic rules, these are then "moved" into one or both of the machine and user or the redundant sections during processing. Where a Force Move rule is required, a right click on the entry will bring up the Force Move Rule wizard (see creating New Rules).

1.4. Updated Rule Set

Centralis AXE remains the core ZENworks consultancy tool for Centralis, and new rules are regularly added by both Centralis consultants and AXE users. Customers purchasing AXE 3.0 will have access to a complete new rule set, which is more than doubled in size from AXE FR1, including over 80 new processing rules covering Windows 2000 SP4, Windows XP, Windows 2003 and MSI based installs.

1.5. Creating New Rules

To create a new rule of any type, simply right click on any entry (e.g. a file or registry setting) and all the details will automatically be entered into the new rule wizard for you. Depending on your selection, AXE will automatically fill in the full path and settings, and select between standard or advanced rules. All you need to do is select what to do with the setting.

Whenever a new rule is required, simply right click on the entry to bring up the Express Rule wizard. If the rule is to be applied to all applications, select Express Rule. If the rule is specific to the particular snAppShot, select Force Move Rule. The Rules Wizard will automatically be populated with all the information you need, so you can simply follow the process through to create the new rule.

AXE Rule Tools

Centralis AXE 3.0 is shipped with "Rule Tools" which improve the ability to Import and Export Centralis AXE Rules. The tools allow Rules to be Imported from other AXE databases or previously Exported Rule files, provide a higher level of detail on Rule content, give an indication of potential duplicate Rules, and provide more options for the placement of Rules when Importing and Exporting.

Please note the following important information:

1. The Rule Tools should be used to Import the latest Rule set (located in AXE3\Rules sub directory) before you start using Centralis AXE for the first time
2. The AXE Rule Tools do not work with AXE version 1.x
3. The AXE Rule Tools are not enabled in the Evaluation version of AXE 3.0


Fig 28: Centralis AXE Rule Tool

Importing Settings into AXE

3.1. Import and export files in AOT format as well as AXT

It is also possible to import AOT files into AXE. This is particularly useful if you have a number of existing ZENworks application objects you need to update. AXE provides a simple Import Wizard which allows you to select the AOT file, then creates an AXE application profile from the imported information.

3.2. Import eDir Application Object settings into AXE

It is also possible to import settings from existing eDirectory objects. These settings can be applied to your new application objects, or stored to create a template. This is particularly useful if you have a number of existing ZENworks application objects you need to update. AXE provides a simple Import Wizard which allows you to select the eDirectory application object, then creates an AXE application object from the imported information.


Fig 29: Import Application Object Settings

File Version Reporting

The File Version Report utility allows all application files associated with Application Profiles to be searched for file version information. This enables you to identify the potential deployment of conflicting versions of the same file.


Fig 30: File Version Report Options

You can report on all files, only files with version information, or files which match a specified pattern mask. The resulting report can be defined such that all files, only files with more than one instance, or only files with conflicts are displayed. A conflict can be defined as one or more of the following options - different file version, different file date/time, different file size, different target location for file.


Fig 31: File Version Report

Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server Integration

Many Novell customers wish to take advantage of the flexibility and cost of ownership benefits associated with Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server solutions, but also want to retain their investment in eDirectory and to take advantage of the flexibility and functionality of ZENworks for Desktops.

Centralis use ZENworks for Desktops to snAppShot applications directly on the Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Servers. This allows the customer to deploy snAppShot based applications directly to all users. There are three main benefits to this approach.

  • Applications are delivered to the users fully customised via the snAppShot and directory when they use the application for the first time. This ensures that the company standard configuration is used, that personalisation is fully supported, and that opportunity for user error during configuration is minimised.
  • Many of the advanced features of ZENworks, including Verify, can be very useful within the Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server Environment.
  • ZENworks ensures that application installation to all the MetaFrame servers is standard, reducing support costs maintaining the flexibility of making controlled changes.

The disadvantage found by many customers is that snAppShots taken of applications under Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server capture a large number of unnecessary entries do not deploy correctly. Some actions such as "user driven Verify" can also have a serious impact on the performance of the server.

5.1. Managing Citrix Published Applications

Centralis AXE is used to ensure that Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server application installations have all the necessary entries and settings modified before they are deployed.

AXE 3.0 introduces a new level of integration between ZENworks and Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server. It enables administrators to create MetaFrame published applications based on the snAppShot, directly from AXE. Overall, AXE 3.0 provides a range of features which improve the ability of ZENworks administrators to manage a Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server environment, including:

  • Under Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server, additional rules remove many more duplicated and redundant entries from snAppShots reducing object size and decreasing potential installation problems
  • Centralis AXE can automatically separate User from Shared components, meaning that user installations are faster, and the use of options such as Verify is optimised
  • Populates the Citrix published application details with information from the AXE application object, including title, command line etc.
  • Automatically fills in Citrix published application preferences from global settings for the full range of standard values, including Colour Depth, Windows Size, Encryption Level and Audio settings
  • Automatically assigns user rights to the Citrix published application from the AXE application object or allocates them from eDirectory or Domain
  • Allows the administrator to use either the application executable or a NAL command line to launch the application
  • Creates the ZENworks application object and the Citrix published application in a single operation from the snAppShot, or updates them with your latest changes

All of this can be done from within Centralis AXE, without using the Citrix Management Console, Microsoft Management Console, or Novell's ConsoleOne.

Change Location Wizard

AXE Administrators often need to work with multiple file locations and NDS / eDirectory trees, for example where pre-production test and development environments are used, or where server consolidation is undertaken. AXE 2.0 has been enhanced to provide a Change Location Wizard which simplifies the process of moving items between environments in three key areas: Profiles, Application Objects and Application Associations & Contacts.

Selecting Change Location Wizard from the Tools Menu brings up an initial dialog box allowing you to select from Profile, Application Object and Application Associations & Contacts. As this change has potentially very serious consequences, it also displays a warning message that the procedure may be irreversible.


Fig 32: The Change Location Wizard

For each type of change, the Wizard will display a form to enter the Location Reference information. This allows you to enter the current location information (e.g. file path including server name), and the replacement information. It also allows you to select either all the application profiles, or a specific folder.

AXE will then display all the application profiles within the selected folders which contain the string to be changed. You can then select one or more against which to run the text replacement, and see a preview of the changes which will be made.

For example if you have moved a snAppShot from a test server to a production server, the associated Profile in AXE must be updated to refer to the new location. The Change Location Wizard is run against the Profile to complete all the required changes.

6.1. Changing Profile Locations

The source path (snAppShot Folder) within a Profile can be changed by running the Change Location Wizard from the Tools Menu.

The source path within a snAppShot points to the associated source files. AXE uses this information to import and export AXT/AOT files and to read file versions for reporting and setting copy flags. The Wizard will find all matching text entries within the snAppShot folder path and source path macros and replace them with the text provided.

6.2. Changing Application Object Location

The eDirectory location for an application object can be changed by running the Change Location Wizard from the Tools Menu.

If the location of one or more application objects in eDirectory has been changed, the Change Location Wizard will allow you to update the application objects in AXE to point to the new location.


Fig 33: Changing the Location of eDirectory Objects

6.3. Changing Application Object Associations & Contacts

The Application Object Associations and Contacts for an application object can be changed by running the Change Location Wizard from the Tools Menu.

If the structure of your eDirectory tree has altered (e.g. due to merger or renaming), the Change Location Wizard will allow you to update the associations & contacts for application objects in AXE to point to the new location. It should be noted that the actual associations and contacts will not change and must therefore exist in the new container in order to be valid.

Appendix 1: Getting Started with Citrix Integration

Installation Requirements for using Citrix

In order to use AXE to manage Citrix Published Applications, you need to establish communication with the Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server farm. The options to do this are either:

Run AXE Locally

Install AXE on a Citrix MetaFrame XP Server with Service Pack 3 installed. No additional configuration is required for this, however you will only be able to manage servers and applications within the Farm that this Server is located in.

or

Run AXE Remotely

Install AXE on a machine which has access to one or more Citrix MetaFrame XP Servers with Service Pack 3 installed. In order for AXE to communicate with Citrix it requires the utility MFREG.EXE to enable it to use MFCOM (a DCOM Server which runs on Citrix MetaFrame XP Servers).

MFREG.EXE should be copied from a MetaFrame XP Server (e.g. c:\Program Files\Citrix\System32) to the Windows\System32 directory of the machine you have AXE installed on. Run mfreg.exe servername from a command prompt, where servername is the name of a MetaFrame XP Server to which you intend to connect to.

To enable access to MFCOM, the default impersonation level must be set to Impersonate. To configure the default impersonation level, use DCOMCNFG, a tool provided by Microsoft for configuring COM related registry settings. Use the following steps to set the default impersonation level:

  1. Run DCOMCNFG.EXE at a command prompt.
  2. View the properties for your computer and click the Default Properties tab.
  3. Select Impersonate from the drop-down list below the label Default Impersonation Level.
  4. Click OK.
  5. You will need to restart the system so that the change can take effect because the impersonation level is an RPC service property. RPC is started when the system is restarted. RPC cannot be easily restarted without restarting the system.

Using Citrix

Before adding Citrix Published Application settings to your AXE Application Objects, you should open your Default Application Object Settings (User and/or Machine) and click on the Citrix tab. You can now specify default Citrix settings. Once you have done this close the form. You are ready to add Citrix settings to your AXE Application Objects.

To add Citrix Settings to an AXE Application Object, open the Object and view the 'General' tab. An additional option is now available - "Include Citrix Application". Check this option and a Wizard will guide you through the creation of your Citrix settings. Once you have completed the Wizard, you will find that the Application Object now has a Citrix tab. You can further configure your Citrix settings by going to this tab at any time.

To publish your Citrix Settings, you should publish in the normal way, however you will now notice that the Publishing Wizard has additional options to allow publishing to either Novell only, Citrix only, or both Citrix and Novell.

Note that Centralis AXE Citrix support is currently limited to Citrix MetaFrame XP. Additional platform support for Presentation Server 3 will be added in a future release.


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