Blue Medora “Cake Frosting” my Citrix Environment With vROps

Citrix Xen admins are faced with a complicated set of challenges when it comes to managing their Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) environments. Application performance—often recognized as one of the key indicators of user satisfaction and productivity—can be affected by a number of issues in both the Citrix VDI and VMware virtual layers.

From time to time I like to bring guest authors :-D. This post was written by Ember DeBoer from the good folks @ Blue Medora.

Blue Medora’s VMware vRealize Operations Management Pack for Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp centralizes the monitoring of Citrix VDI environments. Using out-of-the-box dashboards provided by the Management Pack, Xen admins can effectively troubleshoot, diagnose, and remediate issues that arise within their XenDesktop & XenApp on VMware environments, minimizing the proliferation of issues that lead to decreased application performance (and, in turn, lowered user productivity).

In this post I’ll give you a run down of my Top 5 Most Useful Dashboards from the management pack.

  1. XenDesktop Overview Dashboard

When in doubt, start at the top! The XenDesktop Overview Dashboard provides a high-level, at-a-glance view of your Xen environment using health-related heat maps. This dashboard allows Xen admins to “see the forest for the trees,” a perfect starting point for further investigation of any resources displaying sub-optimal health (indicated by yellow, orange, and red colors as shown in Figure 1 below).

Figure 1: XenDesktop Overview Dashboard
  1. XenDesktop Site Overview Dashboard

In many cases, the next step in your monitoring tasks as a Xen admin would be to check in on the stats for the Xen site(s) you’re responsible for. The XenDesktop Site Overview Dashboard is a perfect place to get a feel for what’s going on with your applicable site(s), including staying on top of alerts; session metrics such as total session count, sessions in active connection state, and connection count; resource counts such as application count, desktop count, and VDA machine count; and other KPIs such as effective load index and average log on duration. As you can see, this dashboard provides an abundance of site-related data in a single dashboard.

Figure 2: XenDesktop Site Overview Dashboard
  1. <Resource> Details Dashboards

Okay, so technically we’re talking about more than one dashboard here. In fact, we’re talking about seven different dashboards, all devoted to digging deeper into specific key performance indicators for the following Xen resources: sites, delivery groups, (machine) catalogs, hypervisors, VDA machines, and desktops. Each Details Dashboard allows the user to select a specific resource from the list in order to investigate (as needed) metrics related to resource instances, average load index, session counts, session connection state counts, and connections.

Figure 3: Application Details Dashboard
  1. Users and Sessions Details Dashboard

The Users and Sessions Details Dashboard provides a detailed breakdown of users and sessions along with their associated Xen and VMware resources, such as application, desktop, VDA machine, and virtual machine. Using the vROps action framework, the user can run the Find Users and Sessions action, selecting the number of hours in the past they’d like to search. The dashboard is then populated with the user and session data, including total and average session durations and current and average latencies.

Figure 4: Users and Sessions Details Dashboard
Figure 4: Users and Sessions Details Dashboard
  1. VDA VM Mashup Dashboard

Last, but certainly not least, the VDA VM Mashup Dashboard brings visibility to the relationship between your VDI and the virtual layer. When you select a VDA machine, the dashboard will populate its related VMware virtual machines (VMs) and datastores, along with key performance metrics for each resource to help admins determine where in the stack an issue might be originating.

Figure 5: VDA VM Mashup Dashboard
Figure 5: VDA VM Mashup Dashboard

For more information or a free trial of the Management Pack for Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp, visit the product page on Blue Medora’s website.

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