Fixing an app that just won’t play nice with XenApp

Now that we’ve completed the initial buildout of our XenDesktop/XenApp infrastructure, we’ve begun the long process of installing and/or profiling all of our applications so we can publish them via XenApp.  We’re starting with some of the more beastly applications like ArcGIS as well as the Autodesk suite, thinking we’ll deal with the most complex and painful applications first.

ArcGIS seems to be running fine under XenApp, and we thought the Autodesk suite was as well, as AutoCAD 2012, AutoCAD Mechanical 2012, and AutoDesk Inventor 2012 all ran fine during testing with the PVS image in private mode.  Once we switched the image to standard mode to test it across multiple servers and users, however, we quickly discovered that AutoCAD & Mechanical continued to run fine, but Inventor crashed immediately on launch.

To make a long boring troubleshooting story short, we spent quite a while trying to identify, isolate, and eliminate the problem, and nothing we did had an impact.  Fresh user profile?  Nope.  Registry trimming?  Nope.  No matter what we did, Inventor 2012 worked fine in private mode, and crashed every time, for any user, in standard mode.  After many various Google searches, my coworker came across the solution, and once we tried it and verified it solved our problem, we kicked ourselves for not thinking of it sooner.

So what was it?  The EdgeSight Endpoint Agent was causing the crash, and even though this article, CTX130140, refers to Inventor 2010, it was the same problem we were having with Inventor 2012.  As soon as I followed the procedure described in CTX122209 to exclude Inventor’s executable from being monitored and forced a refresh of the config on our test XenApp server, the problem vanished.

This taught me a few things:

  • We haven’t worked with provisioned XenApp or EdgeSight long enough for something like this to flip the “remember to check here” switch in our brains.
  • Sometimes when you’re tweaking a search phrase, less can be more.  The search for (no quotes) “autodesk inventor xenapp crash” won’t lead to the helpful CTX article, however (no quotes) “autodesk inventor xenapp” will, especially when you limit the search to citrix.com.
  • Even if you beat on a problem for a couple of days, then find out that the solution is, in hindsight, pretty simple, don’t be too hard on yourself.  The important thing is the problem is fixed.
Finally, I can testify that “check to make sure the EdgeSight agent isn’t causing an issue” was the very first thing we tried on our next crashing application.  No, it wasn’t the problem, which is good because I don’t want to have to make a habit of excluding apps from monitoring, but it did give me a good laugh as we temporarily became That Guy who tries his new fix on every problem because it’s so shiny and new.  Fun times.
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One Response to Fixing an app that just won’t play nice with XenApp

  1. Chris Calaf says:

    Good to here success with CADD apps in a VDI environment. What are the specs on the VM’s that use ARCGIS, Inventor and AutoCAD? Was the decision to go with PVS vs MCS was based on storage cost of performance?

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