Citrix introduced the Call Home (v1) technology in XenApp 7.6.300 VDA in Sep 2015. Customers using the XenApp 7.6.300 or the XenApp 7.7 VDA can use this feature to collect diagnostics information.
Development of this technology is initially aimed at collecting diagnostic information pertinent to two categories of the most commonly reported issues
- VDA Registration Failures
- Failures to launch an app or desktop successfully
Future versions of the XenApp release may extend this technology to include diagnostic information from other components such as Storefront, the Delivery Controller and other categories of issues as well.
What is Call Home?
Call Home runs as a background service in the VDA and constantly collects diagnostic information. The service runs under the name Citrix Telemetry Service.
As you may be aware, VDA components use the Citrix Diagnostic Facility (CDF) tracing to log a variety of information useful for troubleshooting purposes. The Call Home Service constantly listens for a small subset set of special events relating to VDA registration and App, Desktop launches. The Call Home service does not collect any other ETW information nor can it be configured to. In addition to trace information, the Call Home service is capable of collecting other information that help troubleshooting issues. These include
- Registries created by XenApp/XenDesktop under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Citrix
- WMI information under the Citrix namespace
- List of processes running
- Crash dumps of Citrix processes that are stored in the “%PROGRAM DATA%\Citrix\CDF”
Note: These additional information are not collected until the administrator interacts with the service (via PowerShell) to create a diagnostic bundle.
The trace information is continuously collected, compressed on the fly and stored within the Call Home service. The service retains about 20MB of compressed trace information. Typically this should contain information about the past 24-48 hours (depending on the volume of trace generated in that time period).
- Compressing data allows Call Home to maintain a small footprint on the VDA.
- The traces are held in-memory to avoid IOPs on provisioned machines.
- The trace buffer uses circular buffer mechanism to retain traces in memory
Diagnostic information can be uploaded to a network share or to the Citrix Insight Services platform. When the VDAs do not have direct access to the CIS platform administrators may upload the diagnostic bundle to a network share and further upload to their Citrix Insight Services workspace independently.
- Customers who would like to upload diagnostic data directly to Citrix Insight Services should allow for secure HTTP traffic to cis.citrix.com and rttf.citrix.com sites.
- Uploading to Citrix Insight Services requires a Citrix login.
- When uploading to a share the Citrix Call Home service impersonates the user invoking the POSH command. For security reasons, the user should have Local Administrator rights in order to save the diagnostic bundle to a share.
Always ON Logging concepts
Citrix has tools available today for collecting diagnostic traces such as CDF Control. These utilities can collect the Citrix Diagnostic Facility (CDF) data when launched and configured. The data collected by these tools can be voluminous and are generated only when the tool is launched.
With the XenApp 7.6.300 and 7.7 VDAs, Citrix introduced the concept of ‘Always On’ trace information.
Always ON Traces (AOT) are a very small subset of traces purpose generated to help troubleshoot VDA registration and App/Desktop launch failures. The Call Home service listens for these specific traces alone. Always ON traces may not be visible via CDF Control.
Interacting with Call Home
Call Home (v1) offers a simple PowerShell cmdlet to upload diagnostic information.
Upload to CIS
<span class="s1">#set my citrix credentials</span>
<span class="s1">$cred = Get-Credential</span>
<span class="s1">Start-TelemetryUpload -Credential $cred –IncidentTime <time-string> –Description <text> –SRNumber <Support Case #></span>
Upload to network share
Start-TelemetryUpload –IncidentTime –Description –SRNumber –Output \\network-share-location\<filename.zip>
How to upload a diagnostic bundle to CIS manually
- Logon to Citrix Insight Services using your myCitrix credentials
- Navigate to ‘My Workspace’
- Click on the ‘Upload Data’ button and navigate to the location of the saved diagnostic bundle.
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