One of the challenges in maintaining and managing a large scale XenApp farm is automating application publishing. Servers may have dozens of applications published to them and manually managing these applications is time consuming and impractical.
At the moment, organizations have the option of using Citrix’s Installation Manager or third party solutions such as Enteo’s Citrix Management Suite to assist in automating these tasks. Both can introduce management overhead and can be tedious to maintain especially if the organization is invested in another software distribution platform. Management through scripting is currently possible leveraging MFCOM, but these scripts are cumbersome and not intuitive. Introduce, “XenApp Commands” (currently in Technology Preview). XenApp Commands will give administrators the ability to manage a XenApp farm using PowerShell.
PowerShell scripting for XenApp introduces a potent method of managing and maintaining a XenApp environment. Functions such as application publishing, policy maintenance, and load evaluator application can all be accomplished through PowerShell cmdlets. Full list of cmdlets are available here, and a cursory look shows a fairly exhaustive list. XenApp Commands will make automating tasks and functions significantly easier then in days past. More importantly, XenApp Commands will give organizations more flexibility in how they deploy and manage applications to their XenApp farm.
Obviously, maximizing the use of “XenApp Commands” will take working knowledge of PowerShell, but with Microsoft incorporating PowerShell in Windows Server, Exchange, SQL, and the System Center suite of products, administrators should already be exposed to this technology (or should already be familiar with this technology.). XenApp Commands is still in “Technology Preview”, but looks to be released for XenApp 4.5 and 5.0. Download it here (login required).