Have you ever done a jigsaw puzzle and found that you’re missing just one piece? It’s just one piece, but it’s a gaping hole right in the middle of the picture you’ve been working to complete. That missing piece ruins the puzzle and makes it feel like all your effort was for naught. What you want is the whole picture and the gratification of seeing everything through to the end.

For many admins, monitoring your infrastructure comes with a giant missing piece. The endpoints your users connect into your infrastructure can be black boxes whose performance characteristics are missing from view. The lack of visibility can drive you to chase ghosts, hampering your efforts to resolve issues quickly.

ControlUp gives you deep visibility into your back end environment — your Citrix/RDS/VMWare servers or VDI. This capability gives you great information on how your environment is performing on the back end. We can even measure performance down to the application level with the new User Input Delay metric.

But what about the front end? ControlUp could monitor and provide information on Windows endpoints, giving you front-end-to-back-end visibility, but Windows endpoints are expensive, have a high management cost, and Windows is a fat operating system wasted on such a singular task. Eliminating these challenges has spawned a large industry of “thin” OS’s led by IGEL. IGEL has solutions and flexibility for your environment, from repurposing old, existing hardware investments, to new fast endpoints, to full hardware thin clients.

Traditionally, monitoring these endpoints and measuring their performance is difficult. Tools that provide this capability are vendor-specific and add yet another thing to an IT technician’s already-heavy tool belt. They can also lack consistency or ease of use, historical reporting capabilities, or provide limited visibility.

Now, imagine a world where you have complete visibility into everything. Your thin clients, your back end servers, your VDI.

This is the holy grail for monitoring your environment.

With ControlUp, you can have it all. Agentless monitoring of your IGEL endpoints.

ControlUp integrates into IGEL, providing visibility into the endpoint. This gives you the capability to see how the endpoint itself is performing.

IGEL Integration – Feature Overview

When Citrix came out with their new “Build to Lossless” policy feature, I thought it was perfect for a use case I was dealing with in a past role working for a healthcare organization. We had ultrasound technicians who needed good quality when studying an image, but also good performance when reviewing the animation of their ultrasound. I tested the “Build to Lossless” policy with the technicians on a Windows endpoint and they loved it! Great performance and the image switched to lossless faster than the previous configuration.

But, due to a previously scheduled project, those ultrasound technicians’ endpoints were scheduled to be switched over to embedded thin clients. Regrettably, these were not IGEL thin clients. When I tested the embedded thin clients, the performance was terrible and the lossless images were full of artifacts. It was very obvious that the problem was with the thin client, but it was impossible to determine why. Was the CPU not powerful enough? Was it the embedded Citrix version?

From this experience it was clear that thin clients can be black boxes and image quality policies can have a major impact on the performance of the client. This was a disappointing lesson and I had to spend more time testing various quality settings to see if they fit within the devices’ performance. In the end, we had to go with something inferior so the performance wasn’t painful.

But — if I had IGEL and ControlUp we could have seen into the endpoint device. Testing would have gone much faster, and I could have accurately profiled our device characteristics.

With ControlUp, you can clearly see the performance impacts:

A wealth of information. Individual process performance, overall device performance, network utilization, and path to executable — including version in the path!
Figure 1: A wealth of information. Individual process performance, overall device performance, network utilization, and path to executable — including version in the path!

You can also measure the Citrix Receiver CPU load or see the overall endpoint CPU load. All of this information is stored in ControlUp Insights!

ControlUp Insights

ControlUp Insights showing different IGEL devices and their performance.
Figure 2. ControlUp Insights showing different IGEL devices and their performance.

With ControlUp, you can actually test and measure policy changes to review the impacts over time! It’s now possible to test and measure the impacts to ensure your devices are capable of working with the features you want to enable! THIS IS HUGE. You can even measure the performance differences between IGEL versions by comparing the data in ControlUp Insights!

Drilling into the IGEL appliance and reviewing the CPU utilization and which processes on the IGEL device are the top consumers.
Figure 3. Drilling into the IGEL appliance and reviewing the CPU utilization and which processes on the IGEL device are the top consumers.

ControlUp – Grouping with IGEL

ControlUp’s native Grouping feature gives the ability to quickly organize and sort your IGEL devices by numerous properties, including OS version:

Organizing IGEL devices by property.
Figure 4. Organizing IGEL devices by property.

If you’ve ever wanted to stagger upgrades of the IGEL firmware, ControlUp makes it quick and easy to see your progress — and keep in mind this data is real-time so it’s always up to date.

ControlUp – IGEL Management Script Actions!

We are also releasing a pack of Script Actions to help manage your IGEL devices.

IGEL-specific scripts.
Figure 5. IGEL-specific scripts.

Using the IGEL REST API, ControlUp can execute management actions against your devices, like pushing an update configuration from the UMS against selective IGEL devices, rebooting devices, list assigned profiles and more!

IGEL – Script Actions Configuration

The IGEL script actions must be configured to point to your IGEL UMS server. There are two ways to do this within ControlUp. You can edit each of the script actions to change the default value, or you can edit the value when you execute the script at runtime. If you change it in the script action then the effect is global. However, if the community scripts are updated then you will need to re-edit them if you apply the update.

Editing a script action by modifying the default value.
Figure 6. Editing a script action by modifying the default value.

The other option is to modify the script at runtime. Modifying at runtime will store your changed value for that user. If you run ControlUp in a EUC environment with profile management, it’s important to ensure all the ControlUp cache files are roamed or else the user will have to enter their values each time they launch ControlUp.

Modifying a script action at runtime.
Figure 7. Modifying a script action at runtime.

If this is the first time you have launched an IGEL script action you will be prompted for your IGEL credentials. Enter your credentials and click OK. ControlUp will then execute and return the results.

IGEL – Available Script Actions

IGEL – Get Machine Details

output information about your IGEL device as noted by the IGEL UMS

This script will output information about your IGEL device as noted by the IGEL UMS.

IGEL – List assigned profiles

Display all profiles assigned to your IGEL devices

This script will display all profiles assigned to your IGEL devices. ControlUp’s automatic grouping of similar output makes this a very fast way to compare your IGEL device configurations to see what’s different between all your devices.

IGEL – Reboot

reboot the selected IGEL devices via the IGEL UMS interface

This script will reboot the selected IGEL devices via the IGEL UMS interface.

IGEL – Send wake up

Tells the IGEL UMS to send a wakeup command to the device

Tells the IGEL UMS to send a wakeup command to the device.

IGEL – Shadow Terminal

Starts a VNC connection to the selected IGEL terminal.

Starts a VNC connection to the selected IGEL terminal.

IGEL – Update configuration from UMS

IGEL - Update configuration from UMS

Pushes the latest configuration from UMS to the IGEL device. Successes and failures are automatically grouped by ControlUp so you know which devices failed and which devices had the config applied correctly.

Conclusion

With all of these new features, the visibility and capability of ControlUp + IGEL is absolutely incredible. Not only does ControlUp give you the ability to see the performance of your endpoints, you can also manage your IGEL devices! Ensuring those devices are all on the correct version of the firmware, updating configurations, and even shadowing terminals is made easy with ControlUp.

And, using ControlUp Insights, you can profile the performance of your devices. Is that 6-year old ARM terminal really up to snuff compared to that old ATOM processor? How much network are your devices consuming? When you change policies or enable new features, what’s the impact?

The fact that you can NOW measure and answer all of these questions is fantastic! With ControlUp, you can be confident that your environment is operating at peak efficiency.

To get started, download the custom partition files.

Learn how to set up your IGEL environment for integration by clicking here. For a step-by-step ControlUp Knowledge Base article, or watch the videos on ControlUp integration with IGEL, file import, and profile creation.

New to ControlUp? Download our free trial here.

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