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XenDesktop Broker Integration

With the looming release of ControlUp version 6, I’m super excited to talk about the new Citrix XenDesktop / XenApp broker integration built into the console!

With this new release, ControlUp will have full visibility of every aspect of XenDesktop and XenApp site health. From VDA’s, to controllers, to databases and services, from a single management console for all day to day tasks.

Note: Throughout this blogpost I refer to ControlUp and XenDesktop integration, It’s worth noting that this will work just as well with customers running XenApp 7.x too.

Great, but why?

Why is this so important you may ask? With the changes to XenApp and XenDesktop in version 7.x, much of the environments health metrics were moved to Citrix Director.

The problem with Citrix Director is, it’s not watching all the data required as frequently as you wish.

ControlUp does a much better job in Monitoring and Management of desktop and user metrics of user’s resources. Even still, Citrix Director has some very pertinent health checking abilities for the health of the overall infrastructure in a XenDesktop and XenApp environment as below:

Hosting Infrastructure Health:

XenDesktop Broker Health:

Sadly, these health check items are excluded from Citrix Directors Notifications, forcing our administrators to maintain both the ControlUp Console and Citrix Director… which can be a real pain.

Changes with ControlUp Version 6 release:

With version 6.0, ControlUp have spent a large amount of time integrating the Console itself and ControlUp Monitor with the Citrix Broker and Director API’s, to extract health Metrics, tie the data between machines and delivery groups and even offer the ability to perform XenDesktop related tasks directly from the console.

The net result has been a seamless integration point with the simplicity and richness of ControlUp console.

In short, ControlUp have built a fully featured, fully integrated experience for XenApp and XenDesktop admins, from a single pane of glass.

If you are currently running XenApp or XenDesktop 7.x today, you can avail of this functionality on the day of release.

Let’s get to it!

So less talking more showing! Let’s get started on how to plug your sites into the ControlUp architecture and start reporting:

Before we start, we’re going to need to install the XenDesktop SDK on the ControlUp monitor server. To do so, mount the XenDesktop installation ISO on the server that runs the ControlUp monitor and browse to:

D:\x64\Citrix Desktop Delivery Controller*

*Assuming d: is your cd drive

Below this folder, you will find a number of MSI’s containing the word “PowerShell”, these items need to be installed. For convenience, here’s a quick PowerShell one-liner to run if you wish that will install them all sequentially:

if (test-path ‘D:\x64\Citrix Desktop Delivery Controller’){get-childitem “D:\x64\Citrix Desktop Delivery Controller” -Filter “*powershell*” | %{start-process msiexec -ArgumentList “/i “”$($_.fullname)”” /qb” -Wait}}

Got them installed? Great! Let’s go!

Adding a broker:

The process of adding a broker is really simple. Open the ControlUp console, then simply “right click” your organisation at the top of the left hand tree view and select > “add” > “XenDesktop Site”.

From here, simply populate the name of a single broker (Don’t worry, we’ll discover the others for failover), specify your credentials to connect* and click “OK”.

Assuming you installed the XenDesktop PowerShell SDK on the monitor server, the console and monitor will now begin testing the connection to the XenDesktop site and begin to build the view as below:

Did I mention you can have multiple sites too? How convenient is that!

As you can see above, ControlUp will logically create a XenDesktop Site structure for you as follows:

  • Site
    • Delivery groups.
      • Individual delivery groups.

Site:

Focusing on a site, will give you a full overview of all objects in the site. This will give you a holistic overview of the Brokers, Delivery Groups as a summary and specific delivery groups with the pertinent XenDesktop health measurements.

Brokers:

Focusing on the brokers now, within this view you will see the pertinent XenDesktop related health checks for the brokers. ControlUp have included all those lovely, but elusive Broker Related Metrics within Director within the console for view.

Delivery Groups:

So reporting on the infrastructure is nice and all, but the real value comes here when we look at our delivery items as pools of resources. Within the Delivery Groups you get visibility of the resources in use, ready and failed at a glance. You get a count of User sessions and a stress level per delivery group too.

No more manually added folders and sorting, no more custom views, it’s all there, preconfigured leaving you to organise the machines in whatever way you like.

A really, really nice metric ControlUp spent some time on creating, is the “XenDesktop Availability” metrics. These metrics, at a glance will give you a real-time view of how many resources, desktops or servers in each delivery group are available to process incoming user connections.

In the example above, the “XD % Available Delivery Groups” is alerting me in real-time to tell me that there are two delivery groups (out of the ten I have) unavailable due to administrative configuration (i.e. silly me removed the computers!), therfore this metric shows 80%.

But there’s more!

 

 

 

 

Viewing the data and metrics in your environment is one thing, ControlUp can now interact with the XenDesktop site directly from within console to perform tasks such as put delivery groups into maintenance mode.

And finally a little comparison…

I like data… So I figured I’d sit down and put a few items into a table to really help show just how much value ControlUp offers over Citrix Director today:

Once again, ControlUp is striving to add real and needed value to their console to not only provide best in class user and machine based monitoring and alerting, but to also better integrate with the infrastructure you’re using today to host your virtual desktops.

With this approach, ControlUp, once again, provides an even better single pane of glass, to monitor and manage your numerous infrastructure types.

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