(1Y0-A36) Citrix Networking for Data Center Specialist Practicum – Passed

Passed the (1Y0-A36) Citrix Networking for Data Center Specialist Practicum exam which is needed for maintaining Citrix Partner Gold Status with the Citrix NetScaler for Datacenter specialization.

My experience from this practicum is already a lot better then the previous one I took (1Y0-A34), well organized and prepared by Citrix Education and Skytap. I would say this practicum is technically a little more challenging then the 1Y0-A34 is, but that could be a matter of opinion, depending on your field/level of expertise or experience.

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(1Y0-A34) Citrix Networking for Apps & Mobile Security Specialist Practicum – Passed

Passed the (1Y0-A34) Citrix Networking for Apps & Mobile Security Specialist Practicum exam which is needed for maintaining Citrix Partner Gold Status with the Citrix NetScaler for Networking for Apps & Mobile Security specialization.

Although taking the practicum was a little trial and error on it’s own (difficulties within the test lab, confusement on the time to start and how much you actually have for taking the practicum) I like the idea of the flexibility and creativeness of different ways a solution can be created within a Citrix NetScaler solution. I can imagine it can be challenging for the Citrix practicum evaluators to interpret the different approaches that can be taken when configuring Citrix NetScaler.

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“Secure Connection Failed” using Firefox to administer NetScaler

When administering different Citrix NetScaler appliances you can run into the below error message.

“Secure Connection Failed” and to be more specific “Error code: sec_error_reused_issuer_and_serial” which basically means that the serial number found within the certificate has already been trusted by you. This makes sense because NetScaler uses a self-signed certificate which is the same across all NetScaler appliances.

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Block Windows XP using selective Ciphers on Citrix NetScaler

As you probably know Windows XP is no longer being supported by Microsoft. No (security) updates will be made available for Windows XP making it possibly vulnerable for future exploits.

As an organization you will have to decide what you are going to do about these (probably unmanaged) Windows XP workplaces. There will still be a lot of home workers that use Windows XP and see no reason to upgrade since ’’it works fine’’, from an organization perspective these work places could potentially form a threat to the business. Especially when al sorts of direct connections are being made such as SSL/VPN, but let’s not forget the still very popular Citrix client drive mappings.

From a technical stand point of view we can easily block incoming Windows XP connection to our Citrix NetScaler Gateway virtual server or AAA virtual server (or any other SSL publication) using a selective group of Ciphers.

Quoted from Wikipedia: “a cipher (or cypher) is an algorithm for performing encryption or decryption—a series of well-defined steps that can be followed as a procedure”.

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Choose your NetScaler … wisely

I spend a lot of my time breaking down the different models of Citrix NetScaler appliances and different Software Editions within the Citrix NetScaler portfolio.

I decided to set up a blog about this since the path is usually pretty much (lengthy but) the same. This does not mean the answer is always easy because there are a lot of questions that need to be answered.

The first thing I would like to get off my chest is the following: Stop seeing/selling the Citrix NetScaler as a replacement for Secure Gateway. It is so much more than that. I often have discussions with various engineers and consultants telling me that Citrix NetScaler is so expensive for a Remote Access solution because Secure Gateway always used to be free. No offense but a Citrix NetScaler solution belongs to the networking department, not the Citrix XenApp sys admin department. Or maybe limited.

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Creating user customizable announcements for NetScaler Access Gateway

A customer would like to designate a number of people for customizing announcements on the Access Gateway Enterprise page.  This way the organization can announce important changes, planned downtime or other announcements. The advantage of this is that a network engineer does not need to be bothered for displaying all sorts of messages on the Access Gateway by fiddling with the files on the appliances.

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[BUG] ERROR: Feature(s) not licensed [AAA]

This week I was implementing a pair of Citrix NetScaler Standard Edition appliances, mostly to be used for Access Gateway features. As always I started of with the latest Citrix NetScaler firmware which is 73.5 as of this writing. I was configuring Pre-Authentication Policies within GUI, later on I was testing HA failover and noticed that the Pre-Authentication policies were missing after doing a HA Failover.

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To EPA or not to EPA …

For anyone who has not worked with NetScaler Gateway Endpoint Protection Analysis before. It is pre-check before the user get to see the Gateway Logon page it has to comply certain rules that we have programmed the Gateway with. Sometimes I here people say that there is no future for EPA, but I would like to show a use-case which still is actively deployed using NetScaler Gateway and EPA’s.

This feature was already present with the Citrix Access Gateway Advanced using Citrix Advanced Access Control Option Server, yes did it! :-).

What it does is that upon client request it will launch a small piece of Citrix client software to check if the client meets our requirements for connecting. This is triggered by using an ActiveX component within Internet Explorer of Firefox. If the software is not installed it will prompt the user to do so.

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Contributing to Citrix Education

Last week I was off to Citrix Systems, Santa Clara for attending the next Citrix NetScaler-based CCA exams IDW (Item Development Workshop). An IDW is a workshop that lasts about a week in which you and others will create exam questions (or items) that will appear on the next (or revised) Citrix exam(s). In this particular IDW we are concentrating on the follow-up exams of the old Citrix NetScaler 1Y0-A11 and Citrix Access Gateway Enterprise 1Y0-A13 which are based on the Citrix NetScaler 9 software version.

Citrix NetScaler IDW 2012-01

Unfortunately we forgot to take a picture of all the participants together, so to name a few: from left to right: Lourdes Soler (Citrix), Henny Louwers, Stuart Souter, Alejandra Garcia (Citrix), Craig Pickford and Robert Zehnder.

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Installing Citrix NetScaler VPX into VMware Workstation

I hope I don’t need to explain that this is for testing/evaluating purposes only and is not at all supported by Citrix in any way.  The reason for me to create this how-to is because I am stumbling on a lot of forum posts asking if is at all possible to install Citrix NetScaler VPX into VMware Workstation and if it passes traffic when it is installed within VMware Workstation. Well, I’m doing this all the time for testing purposes with every new version of Citrix NetScaler VPX that comes out.

In this guide I will only show how to get a working Citrix NetScaler VPX into VMware Workstation VM.

Materials used for this:
– Citrix NetScaler VPX for ESX 10 Build 54.6 (link);
– VMware OVF Tool 2.1.0 (link);
– VMware Workstation 8;
– WinRAR.

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