What’s your backup plan?

scyther5Spring cleaning. Getting a fresh start. Purging. These are all great things to do with your life, as it allows you to focus on what is important. But what about the data on your computer? Old documents, pictures, financial data, family movies, etc. The easiest way to purge this is to not backup your machine and then have the unthinkable happen. Your computer crashes and all your data is gone. It is just like a natural disaster that we all too often see where people are digging through the debris just trying to find a picture or teddy bear, just to hold onto memories.

I have often preached the benefits and requirement to complete backups of  important data. Twenty years ago, it was easy to keep your data intact, as there just wasn’t that much of it. We didn’t have 1,000’s of pictures or even video stored on those personal computers. Financial data, probably, but most of that was also probably printed out on nice green bar paper for cataloging.

Today, our data is EVERYWHERE. Literally, everywhere. If you have more than one computer in the house, which many households do, you have spread it across multiple machines to minimize the loss of data. You have pictures in iPhoto and music in iTunes on your mac. You have work documents on your PC at work and your laptop at home. That next great book you were writing is in word. Yikes. So many devices, so many files.

carbonite-logoMy main machine at home was our Mac. We have moved our data from mac to mac as we upgraded the hardware every three to four years as the machine started to get a little slow as newer technology leapfrogged earlier versions. Over 12 years, and thousands of pictures, songs, movies of our kids, etc. were piling up on that Mac. We had no backups, nothing. I tried to make copies of the data to keep them up to date, but it was difficult as things were constantly being added to that machine, and doing backups were a royal pain. That’s when I purchased a subscription to Carbonite for my home machine. I paid the annual price, loaded the application and let it do its things. Gigabytes of data were pushed into the cloud and were kept constantly updated.

I would say at least a year went by and then it happened. I did a very stupid thing. We were doing major home renovations and the electric in the home office was somehow not working. Not to be deterred, I ran an extension cord across the house to power the computer and monitor. Note, this is not a wise decision, as that afternoon, major thunderstorms passed overhead and then I heard it — POP! Say goodbye to the Mac Pro. It was completely fried, including the hard drive. Of course I didn’t know for sure that the hard drive was fried until we brought it to the Apple store and the tech confirmed it. They were going to try and repair it, as it still had 25 days left of the AppleCare warranty. In the meantime, we purchased a brand new iMac, as it was getting to that three to four year timeframe.

I got home that night, booted up the machine and did all that Apple stuff you have to do and the next thing I did was install Carbonite and begin the restore process and let it run. Two days later, the Mac was completely back up and running with ALL of our data. All the pictures, all my child’s videos and schoolwork. Everything.

To this day, I use Carbonite on my home machine and my office machine. It makes doing backups simple. You really don’t have to do anything much in the setup, it will save your files for you. That is the thing that makes this program work the best, it is transparent.

I will say that Carbonite is my backup solution, but to be honest, I do also take important steps on some of my more valuable information and spread it across different cloud based on-line storage just in case.

So what’s your backup plan? Share your experiences and questions below.
Michael Franchino

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Franchino, Vice President, AX ConsultingSr. Network Consultant michael.franchino@customsystems.com

 

 

©2015 Custom Systems Corporation

Chrome: Citrix Receiver Plugin Unsupported

A recent issue was brought to our attention by a client when a message appeared in the Chrome browser, stating that the Citrix Receiver plugin was not supported. I will walk you through the solution in this week’s post.

While accessing a Citrix StoreFront or Web Interface site in Google Chrome, you may see something like this:


This does not mean that Citrix will no longer support the Receiver. This is actually an issue with the Chrome browser. In order to improve security, Google has decided to disable NPAPI plugin support in the Chrome browser. This affects both Windows and Mac installations. This means that those Chrome plugins we have grown to love and count on will no longer work by default. “By default” is the operative statement here and I will get back to that.
Updates of Chrome as of April 2015 remove NPAPI support. This results of this change have already appeared for the Citrix Receiver. The Receiver Plugin is what checks to see if we already have a client installed and whether it is up to date. It is then responsible for launching applications/desktops when we click on the icon. The plugin is no longer running, so StoreFront will always ask you to install the receiver because it cannot tell if you have it:


This will also affect NetScaler implementations:

The next thing that will happen is you will not be able to launch an application by just clicking a presented icon. Instead, it will ask to be saved:
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And you will have to click on the saved .ICA file to launch the application:
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Annoying, isn’t it. So, how do we get around this?

  1. Upgrade to the latest and greatest. Unfortunately, the upgrade is not only on the client side. Citrix has just released updated versions of the Receiver (Windows Receiver ver. 4.3 and Mac Receiver ver. 12.0) and for StoreFront (ver. 3.0). The combination of the latest StoreFront and Receiver will work around this issue with Google Chrome and a similar issue with Microsoft Edge. I believe HTML 5 is used instead of a plugin, but I need to confirm that.
  2. Re-enable NPAPI support. (Note: This is opening up the security holes Google is trying to close. Do this at your own risk.) NPAPI support is disabled by default. We can change the default. Here is how:
    • In Chrome’s address bar, type “chrome://flags/#enable-npapi”:
    • In the list that appears, find “Enable NPAPI Mac, Windows” and click Enable:
    • Click the “Relaunch Now” button on the bottom of the screen. It appears after you make your changes:
    • After relaunch, you will probably still see the warning about the plugin being unsupported because that is part of Chrome. There is probably some way to get rid of it by modifying Chrome, but I am not getting into that here.

There you have it. I hope this helps. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the space below.You can also reach me directly by email.

 

AZS-3

 

 

Craig R. Kalty (CCIA, CCEE, CCA, MCITP:EA, MCITP:SA, VCP)| Sr. Network Consultant craig.kalty@customsystems.com

 

 

©2015 Custom Systems Corporation

Quick Look: This Week’s New Citrix Releases

Citrix released new versions and feature packs for a number of products this week. For some products we received new versions. For other products we received new Feature Packs. Feature Packs are additional features we have the option of including in our deployment. Keep in mind that some features are restricted by licensing.

Let’s take a look at what has been released:

  • NetScaler Gateway 11.0 – Many, many modifications, updates, and new items are included in this new version. The items affected in this new version are DNS, GSLB, Load Balancing, Application Firewall, CloudBridge, Clustering, Gateway, Insight, SSL, Optimization, Policies, etc. Because he NetScaler has many features and many different uses, the list goes on.
  • Citrix Storefront 3.0 – This is a significant face lift for StoreFront. In my opinion, it is a much better look. Enhancements include:
    • The already mentioned new look.
    • Receiver customizations enable functionality with this new look.
    • Google Chrome support has been added so the HTML 5 client is no longer the primary option.
    • An improved SDK.
  • Citrix Receiver 4.3
    • Windows 10 compatibility.
    • StoreFront 3.0 integration.
    • Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome support.
    • Improved Session Reliability
    • FrameHawk graphics mode support with XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 FP2
      For those that don’t know, FrameHawk is a technology for accelerating graphics in low latency connections to Citrix.
    • ADMX support for Receiver group policy
  • XenApp 7.6 Feature Pack 2:
    • FrameHawk enabled content
    • XenServer 6.5, Service Pack 1
    • Linux Virtual Desktop 1.0
    • HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 1.8
    • Session Recording 7.6.100
    • Storefront 3.0
    • New Receivers
  • XenApp 6.5 Feature Pack 3:
    • HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 1.8
    • Director 7.6.300
    • Storefront 3.0
    • New Receivers

Please post your comments or questions below. You can also reach me directly by email.

AZS-3

 

 

Craig R. Kalty (CCIA, CCEE, CCA, MCITP:EA, MCITP:SA, VCP)|
Sr. Network Consultant
craig.kalty@customsystems.com

 

 

 

©2015 Custom Systems Corporation