Citrix Director: it’s the ultimate management & monitoring console in the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops platforms that allows administrators to control and monitor virtual desktops and applications. With a plethora of features ranging from simple logging to advance analytics, Citrix Director has evolved from a simple monitoring tool to a sophisticated mechanism with abilities to handle massive data & also providing complete security and integrity.
Citrix Director is the Citrix Service Provider (CSP) administrator’s best friend for a number of capabilities that it includes like efficient management, performance optimization, forecasting & capacity planning, user management, convenient troubleshooting, health monitoring, logon optimization, artificial intelligence/machine learning-based analytics and all the information that matters to you.
Citrix Director is all that’s required to monitor your virtualization platforms from a single pane of glass, here are a few spellbinding features that will make you want to use Citrix Director.
You can now export real-time monitoring data in the filters tab to CSV format files. The export feature is available from the machines, sessions, connections, and application instances filters pages. You can select a predefined custom filter or select suitable filter criteria, choose required columns in the table, and export the data. Data of up to 100,000 records can be exported.
The Logon Duration panel in the user and session details view includes information on the interactive session phase of the logon process. The time taken for each of the three subphases (pre-userinit, userinit, and shell) is displayed in the interactive session bar as a tooltip. This provides more granular troubleshooting and remediation of this phase of the logon. The cumulative time delay between the subphases and a link to the documentation is also provided.
The logon duration panel in the user and session details view contains the GPO (Group Policy Objects) duration. This is the total time taken to apply the GPOs on the virtual machine during the logon process. Now, you can see the drill-down of each policy applied as per CSEs (Clients-Side Extension) as a tool tip in the GPO bar.
The following historical data containing machine analytics is now available through the OData API. This data is collected on an hourly basis and rolled up for the day.
- Number of powered on machines (for power managed machines)
- Number of registered machines
- Number of machines in maintenance mode
- Total number of machines
The data is aggregated for the time period during which the monitoring service is running.
The application probing feature helps you proactively monitor the health of the applications via an agent that is installed on a user’s machine. This agent launches the configured app and reports back the health of that application to Citrix Director.
A set of built-in alert policies with predefined threshold values are available for Delivery Groups and Server OS VDAs scope. You can modify the threshold parameters of the built-in alert policies in Alerts → Citrix Alerts Policy. These policies are created when there is at least one alert target delivery group or a Server OS VDA defined in your site. Built-in alert policies are created only if no corresponding alert rules exist in the monitor database.
Citrix Director now supports Personal Identity Verification (PIV)-based smart card authentication to log on. This feature is useful for organizations and government agencies that use smart card based authentication for access control. Smart card authentication requires specific configuration on the Director server and in Active Directory.
The Monitor Service API uses the Open Data (OData) protocol, which is a Web protocol for querying and updating data, built upon Web technologies such as HTTP.
The Monitor Service API is a REST-based API that can be accessed using an OData consumer. OData consumers are applications that consume data exposed using the OData protocol. ASP.NET Web API Framework supports OData Version 3 and Version 4. You can use either endpoints to run your queries.
From Director, use the shadow user feature to view or work directly on a user’s virtual machine or session. You can shadow both Windows or and Linux VDAs. The user must be connected to the machine that you want to shadow. Verify this by checking the machine name listed in the user title bar.
Most Citrix Service Providers (CSPs) have similar environment set-ups consisting of the VDAs, DC(s), and Director in what we can call the Infrastructure forest while the users or user-group records belong to the Customer forest. A one-way outgoing trust exists from the Infrastructure forest to the Customer forest.
CSP Citrix Service Providers administrators typically create a domain local group in the Infrastructure forest and add the users or user groups in the Customer forest to this domain local group.
Director can support a multi-forest set-up like this and monitor the sessions of users configured using domain local groups.
You can access the consoles of Desktop and Server OS machines hosted on XenServer Version 7.3 and later directly from Director. To troubleshoot a machine, click the Console link in the corresponding Machine Details panel. After authentication of the host credentials you provide, the machine console opens in a separate tab using noVNC, a web-based VNC client. You now have keyboard and mouse access the console.
You can record ICA sessions using the Session Recording controls from the User Details and Machine Details screen in Director.
Here are a few more features of Citrix Director that will interest you.
- Application failure monitoring
- Application-centric troubleshooting
- Disk Monitoring & GPU Monitoring
- Transport protocol on Session Details panel
- User-friendly Connection and Machine failure descriptions
- Increased historical data availability in Enterprise edition
- Custom Reporting
- Automate Director Notifications with SNMP traps
- source utilization reporting
- Alerting extended for CPU
- Memory and ICA RTT conditions
- Export report improvements
- Automate Director notifications with Citrix Octoblu
- Integration with NetScaler MAS
- Logon Duration breakdown
- Proactive monitoring and alerting
- SCOM integration
- Windows Authentication Integration
- Desktop and Server OS Usage
- Support for Framehawk virtual channel
- Session recording integration
- HDX Insight integration
I could probably write a book on the capabilities that director has, however for now let’s just say there’s more in store for you. We’re always trying to improve and empower our customers run their businesses seamlessly. If you have any feedback or suggestions for us, please reach out to us here. There’s never been better time to use Citrix Director & Citrix solutions than now!
The features presented in the blog are subjective different releases. For more information, see the Technical documentation article, Feature compatibility matrix.
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