Troubleshooting: Logon Duration – Root Cause Citrix Broker Service 

Problem

End-users complaing of slow logon issues.

Identifying Root Cause

When trying to identify the root cause of a Citrix end user experience issue, the main display to  view all of the Citrix user sessions is the XenApp & XenDesktop session display. To access this display, click View then XenApp & XenDesktop. This page is divided into 3 areas: App Servers and Published App & Desktops (for Citrix XenApp environments) and Virtual Desktops (for XenDesktop environments). You’ll want to navigate to the applicable section for your environment (Published App & Desktop or Virtual Desktops) to troubleshoot further.

These displays include user session data (both past and present), and allow you to track the complete user experience through the environment, from the login at the endpoint, all the way through the environment back to the underlying infrastructure, and present these data points over the course of the session so you can troubleshoot any issue that takes place during a user’s session.

In the case of logon duration and the issue where long logons are occurring for different users at different times of the day, you’ll want to use the search button at the bottom of the page to filter the page to match the time period at hand.

Once the page is filtered, you will see the sessions with high logons by sorting the page by the Logon column. Once the page is sorted, you can then use the other columns on the page like Machine NameUsernameGroup Name and Start Time to confirm whether or not any patterns can be identified.

To analyze the 33+ stages of the users logon process, you can click on any of the user session to drill into the session metrics. Once you’ve drilled down navigate to the logon duration tab. This tab is broken into three sections. The top level provides the logon summary showing the high-level stages of the overall logon process, and then the next two sections break down the details of what is happening in the brokering stages and the launch of the session on the App Server or VDI.

The brokering stages in the middle of the dialog enable you to identify slowness due to Citrix Delivery Controller brokering issues including Authentication, Logon Script, Profile Load time, delays in Windows session creation on the session host. On the client side, you can identify delays in establishing the micro-VPN connection, receiver launch, ICA file download, and more.

At the bottom of the dialog each stage of the logon process at the session host process is displayed including authentication at the domain controller, determining how long it took to copy over the policy files to the session host, logon script execution, drive mapping, printer mapping, and folder redirection. Each policy and script which is executed is included in this stage.

Figure 1 – Session dialog – Logon Duration tab 

When you have many users in the environment complaining about the same issues, in this case logon duration, finding patterns can be key for identifying root cause. One item that is important when troubleshooting logon duration and often the cause of widespread issues, is the time it takes for the brokering stage, which relates to the delivery controller that was used. When the brokering time is consistently high, you’ll want to turn to investigating the Citrix Delivery Controller. By going to the Dashboard > Dashboard page of the technology, this page focuses as a color coded heat map of the entire environment and allow you to drill in on a machine basis to see faults that have triggered on the machine (driven by our monitoring rules), as well as drill into the resource utilization.

In many cases with our customers, when they drilled into the delivery controller faults they found events that triggered for high process utilization. In some cases, the process in question was actually the broker service process itself hitting the memory or page file memory thresholds.

Once seeing the high process utilization, it is then suggested to drill into the server performance to ensure that the Citrix Delivery Controllers are properly resourced. In the screenshot example below, our customer was easily able to see that their Citrix Delivery Controllers were constantly using lot of page file memory.

Root Cause

In the case demonstrated above, reviewing the logon duration metric trends resulted in identifying high brokering times. With deeper investigation, the root cause of the high logon times was a result of an under-resourced Citrix Delivery Controller.