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Editor’s note: this post is from Jacob Rutski, an accomplished virtualization engineer who holds specialized certifications for technology products from Citrix, VMware, NetApp, Microsoft, and Cisco. You can connect with Jacob on LinkedIn, Twitter, and through his blog, SeriousTek.

For this post, I have decided to create a feature-to-feature comparison between EdgeSight 5.x, Desktop Director/Insight, and Goliath Performance Monitor. With this comparison, it should be clear that GPM is more than capable of replacing your existing EdgeSight deployment and Desktop Director, while a useful utility, it isn’t and wasn’t meant to be an Enterprise monitoring solution for Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop.

The following charts show a breakdown of features between Citrix EdgeSight products (not compatible with XenApp/XenDesktop 7.x and later), Citrix Desktop Director (see notes about specific version requirements) and Goliath Performance Monitor. A status of ‘Basic’ indicates that there is limited or basic support for that item.

EdgeSight vs Goliath Performance Monitor: Gathering The Performance Metrics

The first category is general monitoring data – the basic metric gathering for the environment. The only area EdgeSight is lacking in this category is hypervisor monitoring.

Monitoring Data        
  Citrix EdgeSight 5.x Desktop Director Goliath Performance Monitor Explanation
Basic system configuration data Yes Yes Yes System IP address, OS, hostname, CPU, memory
CPU and Memory performance data Yes Basic Yes CPU utilization, memory utilization
Session process details Yes Basic Yes Session process memory and CPU usage
Full process metric data Basic No Yes Detailed process memory allocation (committed, working), thread and handle count
Eventlog monitoring Yes No Yes Monitor the event log for specific event IDs or event strings
Windows service monitoring Yes No Yes Windows and Citrix service hangs or crashes
Network utilization and throughput Yes No Yes Network interface receive and transmit data, network latency
Storage metrics Basic Basic Yes Session IOPS, latency, disk queue length
Basic hypervisor hosting data No Yes Yes Hypervisor connection, hosting server name, VM name
Hypervisor CPU and memory data No No Yes CPU ready percentage, VM memory allocation, memory overhead, memory balloon

EdgeSight vs Goliath Performance Monitor: ICA Session & ICA/HDX Data

Next, is the ICA session data – both EdgeSight and Director have a strong showing, gathering all ICA/HDX data.

ICA Session        
  Citrix EdgeSight 5.x Desktop Director Goliath Performance Monitor Explanation
Basic session information Yes Yes Yes Connection type, endpoint, time in state, session ID
Detailed session information Yes Yes Yes Agent version, client receiver version, client name
Session virtual channel status Basic Yes Yes Individual HDX channel status (graphics, audio, printing, media), ICA latency
Session virtual channel metrics No Basic(1) Yes Individual channel metrics, ICA RTT
Session logon duration breakdown Yes Yes Yes Breakdown of logon timings including brokering, GPO, profile load, and interactive session
         
*Note(1): Requires NetScaler Insight      

EdgeSight vs Goliath Performance Monitor: Real Time Performance Data & Hypervisor Metrics

The real time data and analysis capabilities of EdgeSight were excellent and are clearly lacking in Desktop Director – Goliath Performance Monitor has you covered with the added benefit of real time hypervisor metrics.

Real Time Data and Analysis      
  Citrix EdgeSight 5.x Desktop Director Goliath Performance Monitor Explanation
Basic system health dashboard Yes Basic Yes Easily readable dashboard showing faults and alarms
Compute and Storage dashboard Yes No Yes Dashboard showing CPU, memory and storage metrics
Customizable dashboards Yes No Yes Modify dashboard view my modifying servers and desktops in focus, sorting, and grouping
Realtime alarms Yes No Yes Set alarms based on any number of counters – compute, eventlog, or session issues
Alarm threshold customization Yes No Yes Modify the threshold of alerting for individual alarms to fit the environment
Hosting infrastructure compute data No No Yes View CPU, memory and storage metrics of the underlying virtual infrastructure

EdgeSight vs Goliath Performance Monitor: Troubleshooting Performance Issues & Reporting

Troubleshooting performance issues requires historical data in order to draw conclusions about exactly what happened. Reporting was a strong suit for EdgeSight – while GPM may not have the sheer quantity of in-box reports that EdgeSight does, it does have a good number of quality reports without the reliance on SQL Reporting Services.

Trending and Reporting      
  Citrix EdgeSight 5.x Desktop Director Goliath Performance Monitor Explanation
System CPU and Memory trends Yes No Yes Graphical CPU and memory utilization over time
Session connection trends Yes Basic Yes Session counts over time including active and disconnected sessions
Logon duration trends Yes Yes Yes Session logon duration counts over time
Session logon detail historical reporting Yes Basic Yes Historical session logon performance details
Historical XenApp application usage Yes Basic(2) Yes Historical XenApp application usage by user
Report export functionality Yes Basic(2) Yes Export configured reports to other formats for viewing
Schedule and send reports via email Yes No Yes Schedule reports to be run with results sent via email
Report custom branding No No Yes Apply custom logos and URLs to reports
         
*Note(2): Only available in Director build 7.6.300    

EdgeSight vs Goliath Performance Monitor: Performance & End User Experience Alerting

One of the most-missed features from EdgeSight is alerting – Desktop Director simply does not have any sort of alerting engine.

Alerting        
  Citrix EdgeSight 5.x Desktop Director Goliath Performance Monitor Explanation
Email based alerts Yes No Yes Send emails based on alarm thresholds
Advanced alert actions Basic No Yes Send alerts via SNMP, syslog, tap, or beeper services
Advanced alert configuration Yes No Yes Set alerts based on multiple rules or a schedule
Remediation actions Basic No Yes Automatically act on specific alarms by running a program or script
Create custom alerts Yes No Yes Create custom alerts on objects in addition to pre-configured alerts

EdgeSight vs Goliath Performance Monitor: Monitoring the Entire Citrix Environment

When you talk about monitoring software as a whole, it should be clear what the product is capable of doing. As I mentioned before, Director is a help desk tool first and a monitoring product second; and unfortunately Citrix EdgeSight is end of life. IT staff are being left in the dark when it comes to knowing exactly what is going on in their Citrix environment in the XenApp/XenDesktop 7.x world – Goliath Performance Monitor fills the gaps left by Desktop Director and adds much needed functionality to get a complete picture of performance.

Infrastructure        
  Citrix EdgeSight 5.x Desktop Director Goliath Performance Monitor Explanation
Monitor XenApp & XenDesktop systems Yes Basic Yes Gather performance metrics about the XenApp servers and XenDesktop systems
Monitor Citrix infrastructure servers No Basic Yes Gather performance metrics from supporting citrix infrastructure – DDC, Web Interface, Storefront
Monitor hypervisor compute No No Yes Gather CPU and memory performance metrics from the underlying virtual infrastructure
Monitor hypervisor storage No No Yes Gather performance metrics from the hypervisor storage layer
Monitor synthetic user sessions Yes(3) No Yes(3) Launch and monitor synthetic user logons to the environment
Monitor nVidia GRID virtual graphics No No Yes Gather performance data from virtualized GPU adapters

*Note(3): Synthetic transactions require EdgeSight AAM or Goliath Logon Simulator

As you can see from the above feature comparisons, Desktop Director simply cannot replace EdgeSight – and even if it could EdgeSight had some pretty significant feature holes. Goliath Performance Monitor is an agile monitoring tool that was purpose built to monitor your Citrix infrastructure as well as the virtual infrastructure as a whole.

If you’re ready to replace EdgeSight or get (vastly) more information than Desktop Director can provide, get a fully-supported 30-day free trial today of Goliath Performance Monitor today. Lastly, I encourage you to download a free copy of the official Citrix EdgeSight Replacement Guide to help inform your decision making.

Free Live Webinar: The Process to Replace Citrix EdgeSight & Enhance Desktop Director with a Viable Solution

During the live webinar, you will learn the process and selection criteria to choose an EdgeSight replacement and Director enhancement that meet the strict technical requirements of Citrix Engineers, and which provide proactive end user experience functionality missing in EdgeSight and Director. Learn more or register now.

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About 

Jacob Rutski is an accomplished virtualization engineer who holds specialized certifications for technology products from Citrix, VMware, NetApp, Microsoft, and Cisco. You can connect with Jacob on LinkedIn, Twitter, and through his blog, SeriousTek.

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