Citrix Analytics – Performance

Posted by

The idea of this blog came off the back of recent requests around Citrix Analytics and how it was helping prior to the pandemic and, even more so, now as large percentages of us are working remotely –  trying to manage that from an IT point of view isn’t easy.  Unpredictable devices, networks and more means that gaining powerful insights into providing an excellent experience is more important than ever. 

Citrix Analytics is enabling IT teams to get a holistic view of the end user experience and become more sophisticated at troubleshooting.  With Citrix Analytics, Support are now are able to figure out issues much faster than ever and because Analytics is both proactive and reactive we see service desks resolving issues before a user reports it, this is crucial with remote environments today.

In this blog I will cover what Citrix Analytics is and focus on setting it up from a Performance point of view in order to get the best insights so that you know what is happening before it is reported.  I think the most useful part here is if you are looking to set this up is the networking insights and how we see this.  Many times I have been asked ‘how we do this’ or people saying ‘why can’t I see my DC/WAN latency of the host delay’ and ‘why it’s this information is not aggregating to Analytics’….stay tuned below to find out how this is done.

What is Citrix Analytics:

Citrix Analytics, or CA for short, is a cloud service that spans across the Citrix suite of products.  It pulls data from the Citrix product suite and uses built-in ML algorithms to find anomalies in the behaviour of a user or entity firstly.  It can also be utilised as a way of monitoring as well as troubleshooting user sessions, as well as being able to visualise usage metrics for users, micro app and share links across the organization that uses the Citrix suite of services.

If you want to have a look yourself at CA then you can head over to the following link as there is a prebuilt demo environment for all customers to use – you just need a Citrix Cloud account: https://analytics-demo.cloud.com/.

Solution Areas:

Citrix Analytics for Security

Collates and gives visibility into user and app behaviour.  You can keep an eye on all aspects behaviour, utilising advanced ML algorithms you can easily see the difference between normal behaviour and a bad actor, therefore allowing you to proactively see and control internal / external attack vectors.

Citrix Analytics for Performance:

Performance gives you valuable insights into all your CVAD Sites, cloud or on premise.  Performance is determined based on the User Experience Score which measures factors that define the experience a user has while using a CVAD environment.  Metrics are measured through an holistic view of the end user experience the life cycle of a session from its launch attempt to session end.  Everything from logon duration, round trip time, session availability and more contributes to the calculation of the UX Score.

Citrix Analytics – Usage

Usage Analytics is available to all Citrix Customers on supported products.  You can see a timeline view of active / top users with granular drill-downs, some basic product usage, and insights in an easy to understand way.  This can be particularly useful for Content Collaboration so you could free up licensing and enable even more users to collaborate securely.

Citrix Analytics for Performance – Set up

For us to have the above information collected and scored in Analytics there are a few steps that we need to achieve in order to make this happen.  The diagram below shows a typical on-premise environment and how that information then flows to Analytics.  We need to get the database information from Director, as well as the networking insights from your gateway where these sessions are flowing through.

Director:

To configure Citrix Analytics for Performance from Director, you need to make sure of the below:

Once we are good on the above, head over to Director and you should see the following.  Select Analytics:

From here you just need to click on connect site:

At this point a code is generated for you and all you need to do is copy same and click register on Citrix Cloud.  From here you will be redirected and will need to enter that code.

Once registered come back to Director and you should be all set up and ready to start seeing some insights shortly:

Remember the information that we want to gain insights on relies on the VDA having the UPM WMI plugin installed as part of the VDA install…without this we will not be able to gain an understanding of the users experiences, so make sure this is part of the install when setting up the VDA.

Networking Insights:

To feed networking based insights into Citrix Analytics for performance we need to incorporate Application Delivery Management (ADM).  So the steps will be to activate the ADM service, use the ADM agent to speak to your Citrix ADC, enable Analytics against your gateway where the users are flowing through and,  lastly, enable the agent as a source in Analytics.

Agent:

Head over to ADM, in my case I am using the Citrix Cloud ADM service.  Then navigate to Networks > Agents.  From here you can select ‘Set Up Agent’.

Once in the wizard for the agent set up click on ‘Get Stared’ and you will see this:

My environment is in Azure so I will click custom deployment.  Followed by Azure again in the deployment environment window below.

Once in the wizard for the agent set up click on ‘Get Stared’ and you will see this:

My environment is in Azure so I will click custom deployment.  Followed by Azure again in the deployment environment window below.

And then I am going to go for an external agent so this is separate to the option of the built in agent on my ADC.

Now we see the screen below to enable communication and we need to have the agent that we will install next speak with our ADC so we can then pass all the insights to the Analytics service. Have the service URL and activation code in your clipboard as we will need them in the next steps.  The service URL is different per region so don’t give up if yours is different.  Our team tenant is in the US so that is why you can see below railay; EU customers will see whitehaven.

Head over to the azure marketplace and create a new VM.  The latest at the time of writing this is the 13.0 agent.  If you want step-by-step on creating this in azure you can have a look at our docs.

So now the agent is installed we just have a few more steps to complete to get it registered. SSH to the agent, default credentials are:

Username: nsrecover

Password: nsroot

Obviously you should change this by going to the shell and typing passwd nsroot.

Once in the SSH window enter deployment_type.py .  Then take the Service-URL and Activation code that you copied earlier from the Set Up Agents page in Citrix ADM.  The agent will use this service URL to locate the service (US or EU) and the activation code to register with the ADM service itself.  Once you enter the above, registration happens and the agent will restart to finish the install.

When the ADM agent comes back online, access the Citrix ADM service where we left off copying the service URL and code and click on register agent.  Last steps then is to select the ADC instances that are connected to the agent we just registered.  Make sure the instance is green and in an online status and click ‘Next’.  Lastly select ‘Done’ to complete the setup.  If, for any reason, you cannot see your instances please review the following how to add an instance(ADC).

Now in the ADM console move to Networks > Instances Dashboard > Citrix ADC  and Configure Analytics for your instance by highlighting your instance and use the select action button:

Then from here you can see all your instances, for me I will highlight my gateway where all users go through to login and enable analytics.

On the Enable Analytics window that appears next, select all that applies so we can get these insights from our gateway sent to ADM but ultimately into Citrix Analytics. More details in enabling analytics insights in ADM here.

After you click OK above, Citrix ADM goes through a process of enabling analytics on our selected virtual servers.

Were now done with ADM so lets just over to the Analytics service to finish off. Navigate in the Analytics service to Settings > Data Sources > Performance and select the Gateway source to turn on Data Processing and you should now see your agent.

After a few minutes you should start to see events flow in.

Confirm you see the below where the gateway source is now enabled and that data processing shows as on.

Now you can navigate back to Performance to start seeing the results of everything we just set up.

The UX Factors page above gives us holistic insights into the reasons as well as sub-factor level experience of the users you highlight in the UX dashboard.

Everything here is clickable in the charts as well as any of the Excellent, Fair, or Poor UX categories in the UX dashboard to open the factors page. It will highlight the effect of factor and also the sub-factor metrics on the users experience. The factors are going to be – Session Availability, responsiveness, resiliency, and logon duration. From what we can see above, the users are also classified based on their experience with respect to the sub-factors within these factors. This drilldown view also you to find out the actual sub-factors causing the poor experience of users in your environment.

Clicking into one of the factors lets say Users with Fair UX will drill down into the sub-factors site wide and as you can see we have one cloud site as well as five on premise sites to look after and manage.

As we can see just two name two sub-factors Session Availability here is calculated by failure rate. It is the rate of failed sessions with regard to the total number of attempted session connections. When end users are having problems highlighting that its an client connection problem can be very useful.

Similarly what we configured earlier for our networking insights we now see once a session is established, the Session Responsiveness factor measures the screen lag that a user experiences while interacting with an application or desktop. Session Responsiveness is calculated based on ICA Round Trip Time which represents the time taken from when the user pushes down a key until the graphical response is displayed back.

Overall the qualification of the user experience really gives us an end to end visibility while providing multi-site aggregation. Performance Analytics is a great tool for proactive monitoring of your environment that will provide insight into how to optimize your environment. Multi-site aggregation provides us with multiple sites, or if you have a cloud/on premise hybrid environment a cohesive view. Citrix Analytics for Performance is a cloud service. It also supports cloud and on premise Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops deployments.

There is so much more here to see with Citrix Analytics and Performance so I would suggest trying it out. It’s self service in Citrix Cloud so you do not need a Sales Engineer or PM to turn this on for you. Give it a go today from https://analytics.cloud.com/

I hope you enjoyed this blog and it help, any questions or thoughts just let me know.

Links for more details on Analytics:

See what customers are saying with this case study: https://www.citrix.com/customers/compeer-financial-en.html

Citrix Analytics for Security

Citrix Analytics for Performance

Citrix Analytics – Usage

ADM videos:

One comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.