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Last week, I was working with a top 25, US-based law firm who was deploying Goliath Performance Monitor to track end user experience, and ensure their 50 VMware hosts and 400 Citrix XenApp 7.6 servers were healthy and not contributing to performance problems.

To accomplish this, we deployed the technology and configured 3 specific reports that come right out-of-the-box with Goliath Performance Monitor: 

  1. XenApp Server Health Report
  2. Memory Status Report
  3. Logical Drive Status Report

These Citrix and VMware performance reports are used to make sure the administrators had all the data they needed at the tip of their fingers.

Step 1 – Deploy Intelligent Agent to Get Critical Citrix XenApp Session Data

The first thing we did is bring in the law firm’s VMware ESX Hosts using our APIs for VMware, and then we continued through the wizard to add in Citrix XenApp 7.6 environment using our APIs for Citrix. Once the VMware and Citrix infrastructure was listed in the inventory, we deployed our Intelligent Agent to the Citrix session hosts and role servers to gain deeper visibility into the virtual machine OS and Applications running on it.

The Intelligent Agent was the key to get the deep metrics necessary to ensure End User Experience — at less than 0.1% CPU, 1.5 MB on disk, about 50 to 80 MB RAM, the Intelligent Agent was hardly going to impact the server’s performance. The agent was deployed to the environment within minutes and instantly started to collect the key Citrix XenApp session activity.

Step 2 – Schedule the Citrix XenApp Server Health Report to Run at Key Intervals 

To achieve their goal of maintaining a healthy and properly resourced Citrix XenApp environment, the law firm scheduled the Citrix XenApp Server Health Report to ensure they could track key metrics.

Depending on the time of day, different metrics would carry different priorities so we sorted them differently depending on the relevant metric.  Here is how we scheduled the reports and why:

  • 6:00 am: The report was sorted by server uptime and was used to confirm that the servers had restarted the night before. If a server’s uptime was too high they could disable logons or forcibly log off disconnected sessions and restart the servers so it was fresh and available for the day’s usage.
  • 10:00 am: The report was sorted by active users and was used to confirm the users were being load balanced appropriately and identify if there were servers with logons enabled and no users. This would indicate servers may not able to accept incoming sessions.
  • 2:00 pm: The report was sorted by server load and was used to understand if there were any CPU or Memory resource availability concerns before the peak usage time at the end of the day.
  • 6:00 pm: The report was sorted by disk availability to see if there were any disk space issues before the next day started that would need to be addressed.

In addition to the use cases above, this report was also used to proactively identify high CPU conditions on overloaded VMware servers, Citrix user growth, or XenApp servers that never got rebooted to pick up an updated PVS image.

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Step 3 – Utilize the Memory Status Report & Logical Drive Status Reports  

If the Citrix and or VMware team saw a problem with regards to memory usage they would then turn to the Memory Status Report to investigate further. The law firm would then run this report on-demand to quickly identify the total allocated memory versus what was available.

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Likewise, when the XenApp Server Health Report resulted in low disk free for a given XenApp server, the teams would turn to the Logical Drive Status Report. One of the many conditions that the law firm was able to identify was that by the end of the day the server’s differential (diff) disk would get filled causing errors and faults for the users on that server. By tracking through reporting and alerting, they were able to validate increasing the size of the diff disk to negate future problems.

logical-drive-status-report-goliath-technologies

The Citrix XenApp Server Health Report, Memory Status Report and Logical Drive Status Report featured in this post all come out-of-the box with Goliath Performance MonitorAside from scheduling the reports to fit the usage patterns of this customer’s Citrix environment, no additional configuration was needed. All of the reports were configured to be sent straight to the administrators via email, and in some cases, they were also exported to CSV for further reporting activities. 

By scheduling the Citrix XenApp Server Health Report to run multiple times a day with actionable data delivered right into their mailboxes, administrators were able to take proactive measures before it impacted the end user’s experience. Goliath offers 66 Citrix, VMware & NetScaler reports that give you full visibility into your Infrastructure, Performance Issues & End User Experience.

 

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About 

Heather Hanlon is a Senior Technical Analyst with Goliath Technologies and as such, works with customers daily to help them move from reactive to proactive in IT. Heather is an author on IT Insights from the Front Line where she shares her experiences working with customers to solve the formidable challenge of Being Proactive.

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