Have you ever wanted to have an insight into detailed usage of applications and desktops in your XenApp and XenDesktop environment? If so, your reasons may span multiple purposes, including:

  • Analysis of licensing needs: discover the number of unique users of a specific application. Which users are actually using specific application? From which client devices is a specific application used?
  • Checking compliance with company application usage polices: are applications accessed during allowed hours? Who is accessing them? From which client devices?
  • Checking how much a specific application is used: determine if specific application can be made obsolete. How much time is the application used by a specific user?

The newly released Citrix SCOM Management Pack for XenApp and XenDesktop 3.8 introduces two new reports that enable you to get the required insight. We’ll focus on these new reports in this blog post, so for more information please check out What’s new with Citrix SCOM management packs.

Both new reports are located in the “Citrix Management Pack for XenApp and XenDesktop (EndUser) Reports” reporting library.

Figure 1: Location of new reports in SCOM

Application – User Activity report

With this report you can see for a selected application which users have been using it and when. For each specific usage you also get usage duration, IP address of the client computer, and machine name on which the application was running.

MPXAXD-Application_User Activity-All
Figure 2: “Application – User Activity” report for selected application – Notepad_G1

In addition to individual application usage, the application usage summary is also shown. The summary data includes metrics for the total number of usages, cumulative duration of all usages, and the number of unique (application) users in the reporting time period.

Now that you have seen how the report looks like, let’s get back to the beginning. To run the report, choose one or more applications which you want to analyze. If you select multiple applications, a separate page will be generated for each application. The second mandatory report parameter for running the report is the reporting time period.

Figure 3: Parameters of the “Application– User Activity” report

To check when and how much a specific user uses a specific application, specify this user in the “Filter users” parameter.

By default, application usages are shown for the full duration of a session regardless if the session is in active or disconnected state. By setting the “Show application usages on” parameter to “Active sessions only”, you get only usages when the user was actively using the application.

To further explore this functionality, let’s compare the report output when the “Show application usages on” parameter is set to “Active and disconnected sessions” compared to “Active sessions only.”

Figure 4: Notepad_G1 application usage

Figure 2, embedded earlier in the post, displays output of the report with “Show application usages on” set to “Active and disconnected sessions” while Figure 5 (below) shows output for the same report parameter values with “Active sessions only.”

Figure 5: “Application – User Activity” report showing application usages on active sessions only

In the second report output (Figure 5), you can see more usages  and less time for overall usage duration than in the first report output (Figure 2), which has four usages and more time for overall usage duration. Number of usages in the first report corresponds to the number of lines in Figure 4, whereas number of usages in the second report corresponds to the number of active sections.

If you click on a user name in the User column, the “User – Desktop/Application activity” report opens that shows all user’s activity including selected application usage together with performance metrics on that session for the last seven days.

In addition to the information that you can read directly from the report, further analysis can be done by exporting the report to Microsoft Excel. There you can easily get information about unique users of specific application or unique client devices accessing specific application: just remove the duplicates in respective columns.

Delivery Group – Desktop User Activity report

This report shows which users have been using desktop and when for each selected Delivery Group. It is almost identical to the “Application – User Activity” report, except that the delivery group is selected instead of application and you get desktop usages in the specific delivery group instead of application usages.

Figure 6: Parameters of the “Delivery Group – Desktop User Activity” report
Figure 7: “Delivery Group – Desktop User Activity” report for selected delivery group “G1 Server MCS”

Try it out

If you are a Citrix customer who is using Platinum edition of XenApp and XenDesktop, you can download Citrix SCOM Management Pack for XenApp and XenDesktop version 3.8 here.

Already using Citrix SCOM Management Pack for XenApp and XenDesktop version 3.6 or later? If this is so, then you are already collecting all application/desktop usage data. After upgrading to the latest version, you can immediately analyze all data collected prior to the upgrade.