Many companies are beginning to use cloud or hybrid cloud solutions for the advantages they offer compared to pure on-premises solutions. In the monitoring space, the Microsoft Operations Management Suite is a key cloud solution.
Currently, several Microsoft Management Solutions for OMS exist but not many from third parties. The scene is changing as more companies are beginning to provide management solutions for OMS. With the release of the technical preview of Citrix Management Solutions for OMS, Citrix has joined the OMS journey.
Citrix Management Solutions for OMS is the new monitoring solution for Citrix XenApp & XenDesktop. It extends Microsoft’s Operations Management Suite by covering two critical monitoring aspects of XenApp and XenDesktop: User Logon Experience and Delivery Group Availability.
Using Citrix Management Solutions for OMS, you can monitor the XenApp and XenDesktop Sites deployed on-premises or on Microsoft’s Azure IaaS platform.
The technical preview is available to Citrix Partners and to XenApp and XenDesktop Platinum customers with valid Subscription Advantage/Software Maintenance program as of Feb 15, 2017. Even if you’re not a Platinum customer, you can still evaluate the product with the XenApp and XenDesktop Platinum evaluation license.
First, let’s have a quick introduction to OMS.
Operations Management Suite
The Operations Management Suite (OMS) is a cloud-based IT management solution that helps you manage and protect your cloud and on-premises environments. Rather than being deployed on-premises to manage your resources, the OMS components are hosted entirely in Azure. The required configuration is minimal, and you can be up and running literally in a matter of minutes.
The core functionality of OMS is provided by a set of services that run in Azure. Each service provides a specific management function, and you can combine services to achieve different management scenarios.
|Log Analytics||Monitor and analyze the availability and performance of different resources, including physical and virtual machines.|
|Automation||Automate manual processes and enforce configurations for physical and virtual machines.|
|Backup||Backup and restore critical data.|
|Site Recovery||Provide high availability for critical applications.|
A management solution is a prepackaged logic set that implements a particular management scenario leveraging one or more OMS services. Various solutions are available from Microsoft. Citrix is one of the first partners of Microsoft to provide OMS Solutions that support application management.
Citrix Management Solutions for OMS
Citrix Management Solutions for OMS is a part of Log Analytics in OMS. It is now available as a preview feature in Azure Marketplace, under the Monitoring + Management, Management Solutions group.
These solutions help administrators detect end-user problems in XenApp and XenDesktop environments, such as connection failures, slow logon times, and availability of Delivery Groups, which is crucial for application and desktop uptime.
What’s in the package?
Citrix extends OMS with two management solutions:
- User Logon Experience for XenApp and XenDesktop
- Delivery Group Availability for XenApp and XenDesktop
Each of the solutions can be installed separately and covers different aspects of XenApp and XenDesktop monitoring. For a complete experience, we recommend you to add both solutions to your OMS workspace.
Both solutions provide dashboards (a high-level overview of the monitored data) and links to more detailed information that help you analyze issues and find root causes.
How do you install and configure?
No connected sources need to be configured in OMS for the solution to work. This means that you don’t have to install or connect the OMS Monitoring Agent to your Citrix environment, or connect your SCOM Management Groups to the OMS.
However, you must install the Citrix Agent for OMS for XenApp & XenDesktop on each Citrix Delivery Controller. The agent serves as a data source for the OMS solutions. It uses the OMS HTTPS API to communicate between Citrix and OMS, so you must have an open HTTPS connection to OMS on each Delivery Controller.
Follow the steps below to install Citrix Management Solutions for OMS:
- Add the solutions from the Azure Marketplace.
As prerequisites, have your Azure subscription and your OMS workspace configured. Log in to the Azure portal and search the Marketplace for Citrix Management Solutions. Add the solutions from the Marketplace. Two new tiles appear on your OMS overview page. These tiles are starting points to the solutions’ dashboards. Each displays high-level information from its respective management solution.
- Install the Citrix Agent for OMS for XenApp and XenDesktop.
You can download the agent from the Citrix download portal. Install the agent on each XenApp and XenDesktop Delivery Controller. During installation, you must configure the agent’s service account and the OMS workspace settings (get the values from the OMS portal). Test the connection to OMS to be sure that it works.
For the complete installation process, see the User Guide.
For the step-by-step description of installation and configuration of the OMS workspace and the Citrix Management Solutions, see “Getting started with Citrix Management Solutions for OMS.”
User Logon Experience for XenApp and XenDesktop
The User Logon Experience for XenApp and XenDesktop solution focuses on monitoring the logon experience, helping administrators detect end-user experience degradation. If the logon duration on the Site increases, Citrix users will eventually experience issues launching their desktops or applications.
The User Logon Experience for XenApp and XenDesktop tile displays a numerical and graphical representation of the number of failed connections in the XenApp and XenDesktop environment for each Site.
Clicking the tile displays the User Logon Experience dashboard.
With this solution you get:
- Average logon duration per Site
A list of the top ten Sites with the highest average logon duration, calculated from all user logons on a Site within the specified time range. Click a Site link to display a line chart that shows average logon durations on the Site on a time line.
- Number of failed connections
A list of the top ten Sites with the highest number of failed connections. Click a Site link to run a log search that returns all failed connections, including information such as the user name, machine name, failure type, and reason.
- Slow user logons
A list of all user logons that took more than 30 seconds.
- Top reasons for connection failures
A list of the number of connection failures, grouped by failure type and reason.
Delivery Group Availability for XenApp and XenDesktop
By using the Delivery Group Availability for XenApp and XenDesktop Management Solution, you can detect Delivery Group uptime issues. If a Delivery Group is unavailable, users cannot start their applications or desktops. Using this solution, you can identify Delivery Groups that are not available for a certain period.
The solution also monitors Desktop OS and Server OS usage. Usage and availability information helps you act and extend Delivery Group capacity before the lack of machines severely impacts users.
The solution also shows the number of ready desktops. To keep the user logon experience good, it is important to have desktops ready for users to connect. Using this solution, you can also see the trends for each Delivery Group.
The Delivery Group Availability for XenApp and XenDesktop tile displays the number of Delivery Groups that have high and low availability. Low availability lists Delivery Groups with less than 90% uptime, and high availability lists Delivery Groups with more than 90% uptime.
Clicking the solution tile displays the Delivery Group Availability dashboard.
With this solution, you get:
- Delivery Group availability
A list of the top ten Delivery Groups with minimal uptime. Delivery Groups that do not meet the uptime criteria are marked Critical (< 70%) or Warning (<90%).
Click a Delivery Group link to display a line chart showing Delivery Group availability over time.
- Number of ready desktops
A list of the top ten Delivery Groups with the highest number of ready desktops. This value is applicable only for Desktop OS Delivery Groups. To keep logon durations low, it is important to have the number of ready desktops > 0.
Click a Delivery Group link to display a line chart showing the number of ready desktops per Delivery Group over time.
- Delivery group usage
- Usage (%) by Random Desktop OS Delivery Groups
A list of the top ten Desktop OS Random Delivery Groups with the highest desktop usage as a percentage.
- Load / capacity usage (%) by Server OS Delivery Groups
A list of the top ten Server OS Delivery Groups with the highest capacity usage as a percentage. Load/capacity usage is the percentage of the actual load index versus the total load index potential. Actual load index is the sum of load indices of all servers in the Delivery Group. Total load index potential is the sum of the potential load indices of all server machines in the Delivery Group except the ones in maintenance mode. Each server machine has a potential load index of 10,000.
- Usage (%) by Random Desktop OS Delivery Groups
Is it extendable?
Yes! The nice thing about OMS is the capability to run custom log queries on collected data. Solutions installed in OMS are actually just a set of views, based on the results from log queries. When you drill down a particular view, the Log Search opens with a predefined query. You can then customize the query to best suit your needs.
For example, in the User Logon Experience dashboard, there is a predefined query that shows the number of failed connections grouped by Failure Type and Failure Reason.
To dig deeper to understand where the most failed connections occurred, you want to see the failed connections by Delivery Group. So, you modify the search query and add a Delivery Group to the “group by” statement.
You’ll see that Delivery Group DG2 had the most issues.
Can you check the time period during which users had most issues connecting to desktops? Of course, just add a command to display the results as a line chart and that’s it. The chart is generated, displaying failed connections on a time line.
You can further analyze the data collected by the Citrix Agent for OMS for XenApp and XenDesktop using the OMS Log Search. All you need to know is the log type and the field names for the data collected by OMS (see the User Guide). More information on using the Log Search can be found here.
Creating your own dashboards
Citrix Management Solutions for OMS displays different types of data gathered from the Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop Delivery Controllers. Data is stored in the OMS repository for the following entities:
- Delivery Groups
- Server OS machines
- User connections
Using a Log Search, you can save custom queries and then use them to create custom dashboards. Here is a sneak peek into the possible searches:
- Logon count per Site
- Average logon duration per Site
- Delivery Groups sorted by number of desktops
- Availability of Delivery Groups as a percentage
- Delivery Groups that are in maintenance mode
- Server OS machines by highest load index
- Number of unique users per Delivery Group
- Users with slow logon time.
Creating a custom dashboard is easy. Find out how in an upcoming blog post.