Now, the Proactive Notifications and Alerting feature in Citrix Director is equipped with 7 more alerting categories and a new policy “User Policy” type, to monitor and troubleshoot user-specific scenarios.
The proactive notifications and alerting feature introduced in Director with the release of XenDesktop 7.7 helps administrators keep an eye on XenDesktop environment. Configuring simple Notification Policies, specifying environment thresholds, then leaving the rest to Director and Monitoring Service to notify the administrator when a threshold breaches. This way the administrator can then take action to resolve the issue at an early stage.
New Alert Conditions for Site Policies
Director introduces two new alert conditions to monitor site’s health. An admin can now configure site level CPU and Memory notifications.
Percentage CPU and Memory Usage Alert Categories
These alert categories allows monitoring average percentage CPU or Memory Usage for the entire XenDesktop site. An administrator can configure warning and critical thresholds for XenDesktop Site. Along with thresholds an administrator can also specify the duration for which the condition should persist before an alert is triggered. This duration is specified in ‘Alert me after’ text boxes.
For example, from the screenshot above, an administrator configures a CPU warning alert, for a threshold of 70% with ‘Alert me after’ set to 60 minutes. This would result in a warning alert, if the average percentage CPU at the Site level is consistently above 70% for a duration of 60 minutes.
Similarly, an admin can configure a Memory usage policy as well.
Note: The ‘Alert me after’ duration for CPU and Memory alerts by default is set to 60 minutes, but can be modified by the administrator. It is recommended to set this value ≥ 10 minutes to ensure the environment is persisting an anomaly.
The CPU and Memory alert policy at Site level is more of a capacity indicator and a notification triggered out of this policy would indicate a need to revisit capacity plan and to provision resources accordingly.
New Alert Conditions for Delivery Group Policies
Director introduces five new alert conditions to monitor health at Delivery Group level. Apart from CPU and Memory notifications that an admin could configure for a specific Delivery Group, an administrator can also monitor ICA Roundtrip time via 3 different alert conditions. ICA Roundtrip time is a metric used as one of the proxy for measuring the perceived user experience. It is the first impression of starting a virtualized application or desktop using Citrix. Proactive notifications can help an admin gauge the same at a broader level.
Percentage CPU and Memory Usage Alert Categories
These are configured in a manner similar to Site Policies. Here an administrator can select specific delivery groups one intends to monitor. Delivery Group policies are helpful in scenarios where an administrator has created a new delivery group and wants to monitor it.
The CPU and Memory notifications arising out of a specific delivery group allows an admin to compare usages across similarly provisioned delivery groups and pin-point anomalies. It may also indicate a need to provision more resources or to re-provision some applications so that their launch does not affect the other applications running on the VDA.
ICA Roundtrip Time Alert Categories
There are 3 new alert categories which allow an administrator to monitor ICA Roundtrip time (ICA RTT). These are:
- ICA RTT – Average
This alert category triggers a Warning/Critical notification when average ICA RTT across all sessions in delivery group crosses the corresponding threshold value.
- ICA RTT – No. of Sessions
This alert category triggers a Warning/Critical notification when ICA RTT value is more than the corresponding threshold value for N or more sessions in a delivery group.
For example, with this policy an administrator can specify ICA RTT threshold as 80 ms and 120 ms for Warning and Critical alerts respectively. Additionally, an administrator specifies the number of sessions 50 and 100 for Warning and Critical alerts respectively.
Now, if there are 60 sessions running in a delivery group and, 50 of them have an ICA RTT value above 80 ms then, a Warning alert is triggered.
Later, if there are 70 sessions with an ICA RTT of 140 ms, and a Warning alert is persisted, no Critical alert will be generated as a Critical alert is configured for 100 sessions with an ICA RTT over 120 ms. For an alert to trigger both thresholds (ICA RTT and Number of sessions) should breach.
- ICA RTT – Percentage of Sessions
This alert category triggers a Warning/Critical Notification when ICA RTT value is more than the corresponding threshold value for N percent of sessions in the specific delivery group. This is similar to “ICA RTT – No. of Sessions” category on how it is evaluated, but here instead of specifying count of sessions, an administrator specifies percentage of sessions.
New Alert Conditions for Server OS Policies
Director introduces five new alert conditions to monitor health at Server OS level. These alert conditions are the same as ones introduced with Delivery Group policy.
For a server OS policy, an administrator specifies a delivery group to monitor, but the alert conditions are evaluated for each Server OS machine in the Delivery Group. Hence, every Server OS VDA where alert condition threshold is breached would result in a notification.
Server OS Policies are helpful while troubleshooting a specific scenario. For example to monitor if sessions from a specific VDA are slow or jittery, an administrator can configure Server OS policy around ICA RTT and CPU/Memory Usages to determine if a Server OS VDA is loaded heavily and take a preventive action.
Director introduces a new alert policy type, i.e. User Policy. These policies are aimed at monitoring user experience for specific users. For example, a user calls the helpdesk for frequent slow connections and longer times before a desktop session or application is launched. Here, the administrator can create a user policy for this user to monitor the user experience. The administrator may observe a high ICA RTT and conclude there’s something wrong with the network or he notices a long logon duration and check if there’s something wrong with the startup scripts, profile size or the VDA itself.
There are two alert categories that an administrator can configure for a User Policy:
- ICA RTT
This category allows administrators to set thresholds for the ICA RTT values.
- Logon Duration
This category allows administrators to set thresholds for the Logon Duration values.
If any of the user session breaches a threshold, an alert of the corresponding severity is generated for that specific user.
An administrator can add users he intends to monitor by clicking on the “Assign” button in the “Scope” section of the policy, which opens up a dialog where administrator can search, add or remove users.
Once, a user is added, it is shown in the Added Users list.
Then, clicking ‘Done’ sets the User Policy scope to the added users.
To see these alerts in action, please upgrade the Controller (DDC) and VDA to 7.11 or higher.
That’s it for this edition!
Hope these new policies will help improve monitoring XenDesktop environments.