Enterprises that hadn’t made the shift to the cloud before today are now strongly considering it, or already moving forward due to a shift in priorities now. With enterprises working primarily remote, their ability to access their datacenters has become very challenging. While there are many cloud providers, in this article we will focus on Citrix Cloud and discuss how you can gain monitoring insights for your Citrix Cloud environment.
If you are using Citrix Cloud, you will quickly learn that while there is less management of the Citrix brokering and control tiers, it is still important to have insights into that infrastructure to understand how it affects Citrix service availability and performance. There is also the resource plane – i.e., the infrastructure that you will deploy to support your applications such as the VDAs. You could also choose to leverage your own StoreFront or NetScaler instead of the cloud offered options. It’s clear that there is still much to have your eye on if availability and performance are important to your enterprise success. Let’s break it down.
Citrix Cloud Architecture
When deploying Citrix Cloud there are several architectural design questions that will need to be answered by your team.
- Citrix Cloud Licensing – This is typically a monthly expense that is ultimately covering the cost of the infrastructure Citrix will manage plus licenses to allow users to access the VDAs. StoreFront and NetScalers could be used in Citrix Cloud or hosted by you for flexibility and performance.
- RDS License Server – Microsoft RDS CALs required to support user accesses. The servers could be on-premise or could be in a public cloud – say on an Azure VM.
- Profile Server – User profile location. If your VDAs are in the cloud, this would also be in a VM, say on Azure
- VDA Application and Desktop Servers – If deployed in the cloud, you can use cloud services such as Azure resiliency, storage, etc.
- Authentication and Domain Integration – Many organizations prefer a local domain Active Directory integration and authentication, i.e., with nothing at the cloud-level in Azure.
It’s clear from this checklist that there are many moving parts that require insights for your Citrix Cloud environment, and you will need to monitor all these elements to make sure your service is available and performing.
Monitoring Insights for Citrix Cloud
Monitoring Citrix Cloud with native tools poses challenges, and without direct integrations into your configuration and when issues arise, you may not have the visibility you need. During a recent deployment of Citrix Cloud, we used Azure hosted VDAs, NetScalers, Storefronts and a local Active Directory. Several issues occurred over time, so let’s take a look. The first issue that I experienced occurred during the POC. When updating the desktop image, at the point at which the new image would be deployed to replace the old one, the process hung. With limited visibility into the control plane, and no ability to check event logs or resources on the Citrix managed machines, I was left to open a Citrix support ticket and wait. With the right tool, I could have had insights into the Citrix control plane and had saved much time. eG Innovations recently released v7 of their eG Enterprise product which offers much in the way of monitoring Citrix Cloud. I would have still needed the support ticket, but would have had greater insights into what was going on much sooner. Figure 1 below shows an example of how this can be visualized when using their monitoring solution.
Topology view and drilldown into the Citrix Cloud control plane
Once the POC was completely and production deployment was under way, an issue occurred while testing login durations. We could get some insights into this with native tools, but only at a high level, and we had many challenges determining the root cause. Figure 2 below shows how to gain insights into the user logon experience easily.
End-to-end user experience monitoring with logon simulation and full session simulation shown for an on-prem environment, but the cloud experience is the same.
Also, at the point of POC completion, it was determined that the only way to accurately monitor the Azure Virtual Machines was to leverage a tool designed for Azure. We began evaluating options, because monitoring the VDAs, profile server and RDS server was not optional in this configuration. Figure 3 below shows Azure Virtual Machine monitoring. You can see from our experience that it is important to have a single pane of glass to see all elements of your Citrix Cloud deployment.
Monitoring Azure usage and performance from the monitoring console
Summing it Up
In our case we learned that having a single solution that could monitor all elements of our Citrix architecture was necessary for efficiently resolving issues and keeping our enterprise users up and running in a functional way. Gaining monitoring insights for your Citrix Cloud environment.
eG Enterprise is a converged application and infrastructure performance monitoring solution that addresses the toughest IT performance problem of today – i.e., answering the question “why is the application slow?”. Version 7, the latest release of eG Enterprise is a complete user experience monitoring solution for digital workspaces, web application environments, enterprise and SaaS applications and provides a unified single pane-of-glass monitoring console. Here is a 2min video of eG Enterprise v7
For more information on eG Enterprise v7, please visit: https://www.eginnovations.com/it-monitoring/whats-new