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Server-based Computing golden rules

After working for some years with Server-based Computing you learn some baisc rules to keep the system up and running. Now here you can find my golden rules and I'm sure many are using almost the same ones when they are responsible for a Citrix or Terminal Services Farm.

Thomas's golden rules

  • Be in control of the Farm or Servers.
    Create a special Administration group. Add the new group to the local Administration group of the Servers and remove the Domain Administrators. Keep the new group as small as possible.
    [This is important for security and Troubleshooting]

  • Control changes made to the Farm or Servers.
    Use a change Management so you can review changes that where made to the System. Use a central mechanism for Server changes, for instance the Citrix Installation Manager.
    [This is important for Troubleshooting]

  • Stability comes before "up-to-date".
    "If there is nothing to fix, don't fix it". Don't install HotFixes, Service Packs, Feature Releases, Updates just because they exist. Create an Server Image before making major changes, for instance use snapshot.exe (30day full free version)
    [Never change a running system.]

  • Keep Servers as equal as possible.
    Keep the Servers on the same level with Service Packs, Feature Releases, Fixes, Software, Registry setting etc. 
    [This is important for Troubleshooting]

  • Check security updates before you install them.
    If there is an new Windows security update out, don't apply them automatically or blindly! Search for knowing issus before you apply them.
    [Prevent Sasser, SP4 installation disasters]

  • Install 3rd. party printer driver only if there is NO other way! 
    First use the drivers from the original Windows CD, check for printer mappings etc. and don't use PCL 6 Printer Drivers.
    [Prevent Stop errors - BSOD, wfshell issues, spooler crashes]

  • Protect the System against the working users.
    Use GPO, Policies, RegFiles, NTFS rights, Resource Kit utilities or 3rd. party Software to secure the system against the users but let them do as many as they should. Allow changing Desktop colors and fonts, let the simple Windows games installed etc.
    [Security vs. user experience]

  • Automate as many as you can.
    Automate Software installation (Administrative Installation Points, Installation Manager etc.), Software updates, Registry changes, user settings etc. but keep it under your control.
    [Make you life easy]

  • Don't install any Software only for some users.
    Always ask why, even it's your Boss. Test any software before you make it productive.
    [fight for your running system]

  • It's trivial, but work with your colleagues.
    A Server-based Computing environment depends on many "NOT SBC" things and sooner or later you need help from the Network, NDS, AD, SQL etc. Administrators.
    [everyone needs help]

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