Troubleshooting a XenApp and XenDesktop environment just became more actionable with fully supported integration between Citrix Director and Octoblu, a full-stack Internet of Things (IoT) messaging and automation platform from Citrix that enables companies to create IoT services with secure real-time exchange of data.

Citrix Director is the web-based real-time troubleshooting, monitoring and capacity management console for XenApp and XenDesktop environments with a strong focus on end-user experience. Citrix Director is shipped out-of-the-box with XenApp and XenDesktop and all the basic Director features are available to all XenApp and XenDesktop customers.

This blog covers a high-level overview of new features and enhancements released with Director version 7.11 and provides links to in-depth blog articles about these features for further reading.

Send SMS alerts, trigger auto-recovery scripts and more with Octoblu integration

By adding Octoblu integration to Citrix Director, administrators can configure alert thresholds on a wide range of metrics within the Director console to be proactively notified about early symptoms of an issue within a XenApp and XenDesktop environment. This alerts feature was introduced in version 7.7 and Director sends email notifications to the set of pre-configured recipient list whenever the threshold is breached.

Starting with Director 7.11, these alerts can now also be channeled through Octoblu to trigger multiple actions. This could be a self-healing action like running a PowerShell script to automatically remediate the problem or a script to activate any redundancy in the infrastructure. For example, if the load evaluator index crosses a certain value in peak-usage hours then the resulting alert may trigger a script to power-on stand-by machines.

Director-Octoblu integration also lets you:

  1. Do simple things like sending SMS based on alerts, along with email notifications
  2. Build creative IoT mechanisms with Philips Hue, that changes ambience lights based on alerts, indicating the health of your XenApp and XenDesktop set-up.
  3. Automatically create helpdesk tickets using HTTP-post based on Director alert. Email alert notifications may sit neglected in an Inbox folder but helpdesk tickets are actively managed, delegated and tracked and thus can be more effective than email notifications, for proactive monitoring and troubleshooting.


Historical resource utilization: Is overload on CPU or memory resulting in a bad user-experience?

When a helpdesk administrator receives a complaint regarding a slow or unresponsive experience from a XenApp or XenDesktop user, one of the things that he wants to ascertain is whether this happened because the CPU or memory resources on the brokered VDA machine maxed out. And if they have indeed maxed out—which could be the real cause for slowness—then which processes were incurring the heaviest load on this machine?

With Director 7.11, an administrator can look at aggregated utilization of CPU and memory resources for an entire delivery group or for a specific machine in real time as well as for a selected time period in the past. The machine resource utilization page also shows the lists of top 10 processes on this machine sorted by CPU and memory.

Besides the troubleshooting scenario described above, historical resource utilization reports also help you in doing capacity planning. You will be able to avoid under-investing or over-investing in hardware infrastructure for VDA machines once you have an accurate picture of utilization patterns, peaks, trends and seasonalities. This is especially useful for enterprises that plan to run a part or whole of their VDA infrastructure in the cloud.

Our blog post on historical resource utilization and process reports talks about the views and options available with this feature with sample screenshots and recommended configuration.

Improved Director performance and scalability

Director 7.11 comes with a set of heavy-duty architectural improvements that will result in faster interaction times for an administrator navigating through Director pages and allows exporting large amounts of historical data from Director for archiving, data-mining and sharing. Read more about the faster API and scale improvements in our blog post titled ‘Faster, better monitoring with Desktop Director 7.11’.

Richer list of alert policies

The Proactive Notifications and Alerting feature in Citrix Director is now equipped with seven new alerting categories including ICA RTT, logon duration, CPU and RAM.

Looking for more details?

Please refer to the official documentation page of Citrix Director for a comprehensive list of all monitoring and reporting features available with Director 7.11 release.