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5 Blindspots in Citrix XenApp Management

 

Managing XenApp environments can be very difficult because there are not a lot of tools out there that let youfalse

December 2012

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Managing XenApp environments can be very difficult because there are not a lot of tools out there that let you see into Citrix let alone let you see all of the systems that Citrix touches. 

Now that customers are moving from Presentation Server 4.5 to XenDesktop 6.5, the problem is even more complicated because Citrix is being virtualized on VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V or Citrix’s own XenServer hypervisors, adding another layer of complexity.

It is very frustrating to see so many Citrix environments facing the same challenges and having no tools to effectively identify and resolve the issues. 

Natively, Citrix does not come with a management tool.  If you have the Platinum editions, you have access to Citrix EdgeSight for reporting.  EdgeSight is not really a management tool and certainly will not help you build a proactive support desk.

IT Support Dallas   Citrix IT Services Visibility

Figure 1:  Any of these areas can be impacting Citrix’s performance.  Citrix EdgeSight will only tell you what is happening inside of the Citrix environment (red circles.) 

it support dallas   Citrix IT Services Visibility 2 resized 600 

Figure 2:  VMware vCenter adds some additional visibility into the hypervisor or virtualization layer (purple circles), but the majority of the environment is invisible or visible only with manual log files or a variety of small third party tools. 

it support dallas   Citrix IT Services Visibility 3

 Figure 3:  Is your Citrix problem SQL, Active Directory, the SAN, the Network? Who knows

 To truly understand why Citrix is misbehaving, you need a tool that will let you see into each of these systems to find symptoms and correlate all of the data from those systems to point you to root cause.

If you are beginning to evaluate Citrix management tools, look for tools that can accomplish all five of these objectives: 

  1. Total Performance Visibility – To manage Citrix effectively you need to be able to see into every layer and every tier of the infrastructure.  Network, Servers, Applications, Storage, Hypervisor, and Edge Devices, including complex multiple domain environments.

  2. Automated Root Cause Analysis – Citrix environments are famous for throwing up a small stack of issues, but which issues are side effects and which issue is the root cause?  Hours of down time can be saved if you have an effective tool that can help identify the likely root cause.

  3. Monitoring & Reporting on Every User Session – Monitoring resources, application usage, application performance management (apm,) and latency in every user session is important to learn the size and scope of a problem and to begin to draw commonalities and correlations.

  4. Proactive Alerting Before End Users Complain – This one is critical to our Citrix Managed Services practice.  We want to know when there is an issue (and hopefully have it fixed) before the end users call the Support Desk.

  5. Monitor Capacity & Configuration Changes – A great management tool will be able to help you answer the age old question how many users are you going to get per host, per XenApp server.  This will help you right-size your virtualization environment, and accurately determine your maximum densities.  A Citrix management tool that can monitor configuration changes will help you identify and weed out changes that are causing issues in your environment.

Having the right tools to manage Citrix environments and the ica protocal can turn problems that currently take hours-to-days to resolve and reduce them to minutes.  If you have a Citrix environment that is mission critical to your operation it only makes sense to put proper management tools around Citrix so that you can see what is happening and address issues proactively before 500 users call you because they cannot connect. 

Empower your IT support desk with the right IT solutions that give them the ability to solve issues before they become tickets.

If you need help making EdgeSight a valuable tool for your environment or need more visibility into your Citrix/VMware/Microsoft virtualization environment than you are getting with your present tool set, Whitehat Virtual can help.

If you do not have an IT support management team or lack Citrix or virtualization expertise, Whitehat can help you fill the skills gap by helping you manage your Citrix environment remotely with Whitehat's Managed IT Support Services. 

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