Remko Weijnen's Blog (Remko's Blog)

About Virtualization, VDI, SBC, Application Compatibility and anything else I feel like

Archive for the ‘Altiris’ Category

Apply IP Configuration from a Database

I am currently deploying 64 Citrix XenApp servers with Altiris. The deployment consists of an OS Image, OS Configuration and finally Citrix XenApp and Applications.

In the OS Configuration part the IP configuration needs to be applied and I decided to do this with a database.

The database consists of 2 tables; one table with the per host settings and one table with the global settings (such as DNS).

In the Altiris job both tables are read from an embedded VBScript and assigned to the NIC.

Database configuration

I created a database (SQL Server) called IPManagement with 2 tables:

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Tips for using SysPrep with Altiris

Altiris has built in support for Sysprep when creating or distributing images.

The documentation doesn’t mention some things that are worth knowing so I will try to address them in this post.

Sysprep support can be added to Altiris during the install where it will ask you for the Sysprep install files (deploy.cab) per selected OS.

If you didn’t add Sysprep during install you can copy deploy.cab to one of subfolders in the Sysprep folder. Eg for 32 bit Windows 2003 deploy.cab goes to Sysprep\DotNet\x86:

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As I wrote earlier in this post it’s very important to use the correct Sysprep version as each OS has it’s own version.

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  • Filed under: Altiris
  • Add VMXNET3 driver to Windows PE PXE Image

    After compiling the VMWare VMXNET3 Driver for Linux I needed a driver for the Windows PE Image as well.

    Compared to what I needed to do for Linux this was a breeze!

    First we need the VMWare tools again so I grabbed windows.iso from /vmimages/tools-isomages.

    The driver files are in a cab file, VMXNET3.cab, extract this cab file somewhere and open the Altiris PXE Configuration tool.

    Select the Windows PE Entry and click Edit:image

    Then click Edit Boot Image:
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  • Filed under: Altiris, VMWare
  • In the previous part we have already setup the Ubuntu Virtual Machine and we did a build of the kernel image.

    So now we can finally compile the driver, in my case I needed a driver for VMWare’s VMXNET3 Network Card.

    VMXNET3 is VMWare’s paravirtualized network driver and offers better performance with less host processing power compared to the default e1000 driver.

    First we need the source for the driver, we can obtain this from the VMWare Tools either from a running Linux VM or like I did by transferring the file linux.iso from /vmimages/tools-isomages from the vSphere server.

    In the iso file is a single file, VMWARETO.TGZ and after unpacking we get a folder called vmware-tools-distrib.

    In vmware-tools-distrib/lib/modules/source we find the vmxnet3.tar file that contains our sources. Copy the tar to the Virtual Machine and unpack it, then start a Terminal and cd to the directory where you unpacked the tar.

    The first time I attempted a compile I received an error indicating that the file autoconf.h could not be found. After I found this bug report I was able to fix this by creating a link:

    We can compile the driver with the make command, referencing the kernel image we created earlier:

    (more…)

    First we need to setup a Linux Virtual Machine with a distro of choice (I recommend a 32 bit version). I will be using Ubuntu here and the first step is to download the iso.

    At the time of writing Ubuntu 10.10 was the Latest version so I used that one.

    Create a new Virtual Machine and use the iso as install media, I am using VMWare Workstation and it recognises Ubuntu and performs an “easy install”:

    image

    The install is unattended (when VMWare Tools are installed you need to perform a login) and took only 6 minutes on my laptop!

    Now we need to install gcc (the compiler), open the Ubuntu Software Center:

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  • Filed under: Altiris, VMWare
  • STOP: 0x0000005D when booting Windows PE

    I was booting a new VMWare Virtual Machine with Windows PE through Altiris for initial deployment but Windows PE halted with a BSOD:

    image

    0x0000005D means UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR (defined in bugcodes.h) so I expected there was a x86 vs x64 problem.

    The VM was configured for a 32 bit OS:

    image

    The Altiris Job was configured to use Auto Select:

    image

    But instead of the x86 version of Windows PE, Altiris attempts to boot the x64 version and this explains the BSOD: VMWare prevents the CPU from going to x64 mode and thus Windows has no choice but to halt.

    Workaround is to change the Automation pre-boot environment in Altiris to x86:

    image

    Note that it’s no problem to deploy an x64 OS using the x86 version of Windows PE so I don’t see any real problems with this workaround.

    Script to install SNMP

    In my project the monitoring group required that SNMP was installed and configured on all servers.

    I wrote scripts for Windows 2003 and Windows 2008 that I deploy from my Altiris Server.

    This is the script for Windows 2003:

    Restart Altiris Client Agent Service Tool

    After a restart of the Altiris Services or the Altiris Server some machines refuse to reconnect.

    They are shown in the Computers Tree with the Inactive state icon:

    image

    The fastest way to resolve this is to restart the “Altiris Deployment Agent” service.

    I wrote a little commandline tool to make this easy for myself, it’s called AClientFix.

    If you don’t specify any parameters it will restart the services on the local machine. If you specify a Computername as parameter it will restart the services of a remote machine (admin rights needed of course).

    image

    AClientFix (1353 downloads)
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  • Filed under: Altiris
  • I wrote a PowerShell script to install all printer drivers on a Citrix or Terminal Server.

    Actually the script isn’t specific to Citrix or Terminal Server but on such environments we need to preload all drivers because users do not have the permissions to do that.

    I have chosen for PowerShell because you can do it in a one-liner which makes it easy to run this script from my Altiris server on all Citrix Servers.

    The idea is that we enumerate all the shared printers on a Printer Server and make a connection to each printer. This will make sure that the driver is installed if it wasn’t already present.

    The script could even be scheduled to enforce that newly added printer drivers are added to each Citrix Server.

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    Kofax VRS Unattended Install

    Recently I needed to create an Unattended Install for an application that uses a piece of software (for scanning) called Kofax VRS.

    This Kofax software comes with an .msi file but there was no documentation on the install options.

    In fact it didn’t seem like the Vendor anticipated on an Unatttended Install.

    I browsed in the msi file using Microsoft’s Orca tool and tried some of the properties I found in the public properties table.

    (more…)

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