As 2016 draws towards a close and people start planning for the holiday season, Citrix announced availability of Director 7.12 – a feature-packed release that will make a XenApp/XenDesktop administrator’s job simpler and less time-consuming. The list of new features and enhancements with this release includes the ability to mine the monitoring database with custom reporting, context-specific troubleshooting tips, a surprise gift for customers with Enterprises licenses, alerts via SNMP and more. Read on for details.

Custom Reporting

The experimental version of custom reporting plug-in was widely adopted and tried by a number of Citrix partners and customers. We received a lot of rich feedback and rave reviews on this plug-in from XenApp/XenDesktop administrators, who used phrases like ‘just the capability that I was looking for’ and ‘this is a game-changer’ to describe it. With such high traction and acceptance, we decided to jazz it up and make it a fully supported feature that ships out-of-the-box with Director 7.12.

Custom reporting enables XenApp/XenDesktop administrators to mine the Citrix monitoring database for the set of metrics they are looking for to generate a customized report. Administrators can choose to apply filters to narrow down the resulting report data by time-period or specific conditions like username or application-name string. The custom report data is exported into a CSV file, which can be further processed to depict, pivot or aggregate the data according to the business needs. We are extremely interested in knowing how you use this feature so do tell us about your unique report creations in the comments section below.

Also, as some XenApp/XenDesktop experts may have already guessed, the custom reporting feature uses the Odata API under the hood. So if an administrator wants to write Odata queries to periodically pull data from the Citrix monitoring database, custom reporting can help bypass the learning curve involved in Odata scripting. Now, we only need to select drop-down options in the GUI and the Odata query corresponding to the selections is automatically generated and displayed on the screen.

Please note that both DDC and Director should be updgraded to version 7.12 for custom reporting feature to work as expected. Custom reporting is available in the Platinum Edition Director deployments.

Connection and Machine failure descriptions

Each connection failure and each machine failure reported in Director 7.12 comes with a knowledgebase-type stub that contains details such as possible failure cause and recommended actions. This helps to facilitate easy and quick troubleshooting. The failure type is used to map failure instance to the knowledge stub containing failure description, and hence it brings a context-specific perspective for the administrator.

These failure descriptions have been carefully curated by Citrix experts based on their extensive experience installing and troubleshooting XenApp/XenDesktop deployments in multiple customer environments over many years. And we sincerely hope that cataloguing of all this diverse expert knowledge and displaying it as failure-context-specific tips in Director will help all administrators to identify and troubleshoot problems much faster than ever before.

A catalogue of failure descriptions is also published in PDF format as Failure Reasons Troubleshooting Guide.

One-month historical data for Enterprise edition

This particular holiday gift is for our XenApp Enterprise edition and XenDesktop Enterprise edition customers.

With Director 7.12, we are changing the historical data-retention entitlement enjoyed by XenApp Enterprise edition and XenDesktop Enterprise edition customers within Director from 7 days to one month. These customers will now be able to see trend reports for longer time in history and hence make more informed decisions on capacity planning, budgeting and usage-based chargeback.

PS: Please note that this entitlement change will not be effective for Director versions earlier than 7.12.

In addition to sending email notifications and initiating Octoblu services, alerts captured within XenApp/XenDesktop deployments can now also trigger SNMP traps and forward them to a listening SNMP server. SNMP is a standard protocol for network management and used in enterprises to collate alerts from multiple sources within the environment.

Please note that proactive alerting is limited to Platinum Edition Director deployments.

To try out these features and much more, upgrade to XenApp and XenDesktop 7.12 today from the Citrix download page.  Let us know what you think of these new capabilities by using the comments section below.

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