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Monitoring and Managing Citrix Server Farms White Paper Restricted Rights Legend The information contained in this document is confidential and subject to change without notice. No part of this document may be reproduced or disclosed to others without the prior permission of eG Innovations Inc. eG Innovations, Inc. makes no warranty of any kind with regard to the software and documentation, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular p
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   Monitoring and ManagingCitrix Server Farms White Paper  Restricted Rights Legend The information contained in this document is confidential and subject to change without notice. No part of this documentmay be reproduced or disclosed to others without the prior permission of eG Innovations Inc. eG Innovations, Inc. makesno warranty of any kind with regard to the software and documentation, including, but not limited to, the implied warrantiesof merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. Trademarks Microsoft Windows, Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows 2003 are either registered trademarks or trademarksof Microsoft Corporation in United States and/or other countries. Citrix ® , MetaFrame ® XenApp ® and ICA ® are registeredtrademarks of Citrix Systems, Inc. in the US and other countries.The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners. Copyright © Copyright eG Innovations. Specifications subject to change without notice.  1. Access Infrastructure Environments Thin-client environments based on Citrix ® access infrastructure software from Citrix Systems, Inc. have grown in popularity as cost-effective, efficient modes of accessing a variety of heterogeneous applications on-demand. By hosting applications on CitrixXenApp ® server farms and making them accessible over a distributed network, IT administrators can allow users in differentlocations to effectively access and share software and hardware resources and licenses. Various modes of access to Citrix-basedapplications are possible  via native clients, using a Web client, etc.Figure 1 depicts a typical Citrix access infrastructure. Typically, such an infrastructure includes a collection of diverse applications.Users access the infrastructure services using their Microsoft Windows domain username and password. Primary and secondarydomain controllers are used to validate user requests. The web interface supports browser based access to the applications onthe XenApp server. The web interface passes authenticated requests to the Citrix XenApp servers that host a number of applications.In turn, the applications may use backend databases, printers, etc., for different functionalities. 2.Challenges in Monitoring Access Infrastructure Environments While access infrastructure environments offer economies of scale, there are significant challenges in maintaining and operatingthese environments: § Independent of scale, Citrix environments are mission-critical. In order to be an effective alternative for desktop applications,these Citrix environments must deliver the same quality of service that users have come to expect from their local applications. § Citrix environments rely on the server farm for software processing, and hundreds of users may be accessing a Citrix farm atthe same time. Even a transient problem in the server farm can impact all of the users accessing the farm. Furthermore, sincedifferent applications are hosted on the same server, a performance problem (e.g., excessive CPU consumption) of oneapplication can adversely impact the performance of other applications hosted on the server. Likewise, since multiple usersaccess applications running on the same server, a careless user can impact the performance of all the other users accessingthe server farm. § Typical Citrix environments are distributed. Clients can access the server farm over a variety of network links, spread acrossdifferent geographies. The clients may be in different domains, with different access policies and rights. Since there are differentdisparate infrastructure elements  domain controllers, firewalls, network routers, databases, XenApp servers, hosted applications,etc.  involved in delivering the end-user service, a failure or malfunction of any of these elements can adversely impact theuser experience. Problem diagnosis and troubleshooting are often time-consuming, even for the expert administrator. The factthat the infrastructure elements are multi-vendor and heterogeneous in their functions further compounds the difficulty inmanaging these infrastructures. Figure 1 : A typical Citrix XenApp server infrastructure User Profile Server Domain Controller Database Server FirewallDNSRouter Web InterfaceXenApp Server XenApp Server XenApp Server Remote App Server Printer   To effectively monitor a Citrix farm, an administrator requires a solution that: § Monitors the entire infrastructure - from the network layer to the server operating systems to the individual applications; § Provides in-depth insights into the performance of all the applications in the Citrix infrastructure - for example, thesolution should be able to differentiate between user disconnects that are caused by insufficient licenses and login problemsthat occur because the domain controller is not able to handle the user traffic to it; § Offers proactive alerts  to administrators before a problem becomes severe enough to be noticeable by users; § Automatically differentiates between the source and effect of problems , so administrators can focus their efforts in resolvingthe source of problems rather than the effects; § Facilitates capacity planning  by providing administrators with insights into the performance of their infrastructure (e.g., isthe load being effectively balanced across the different servers in a farm), by assessing usage of the server resources andlicenses, thereby enabling administrators to identify and plan for potential resource/license constraints that may arise in thefuture. 3.The eG Difference Traditionally, IT infrastructure operations teams have been organized as domain experts  i.e., one expert for the network devices,another for the Citrix XenApp server, another for the database, etc. Most monitoring solutions mirror this silo-based organizationand operations approach  they have separate solutions for monitoring different network elements and applications(see Figure 2).The main drawbacks of this silo-based approach are: § There is no holistic view of the end-user service. Consequently, the administrators are unable to proactively track the end-user service performance and initiate immediate remedial actions § Since the individual applications are monitored independently, most likely using different solutions, problem troubleshootingand diagnosis are often manual processes that require a great deal of expertise. To understand why, consider a Citrix environmentwhere a database application is being accessed via a XenApp server using an ICA ® Web Client. Since the web interfacedepends on the XenApp server, which in turn uses the database server to respond to the user request, a slow-down in thedatabase tier can ripple and affect the XenApp server and the web interface (see Figure 3). Consequently, a single problemcan result in multiple alarms, and the administrator is burdened with the task of analyzing and correlating across each of theinfrastructure tiers to determine the root-cause of a problem  i.e., whether the problem lies in the network, the Web server,the authentication server, the Citrix XenApp server, or the backend database. Figure 2 : The silo-based monitoring approach Har dwar eNetwor kFir ewallSof twar e FIREWALLWEB INTERFACESERVERXENAPP SERVERDATABASE SERVER Firewall Manager Web Manager Citrix AdministrationDatabase Manager  Har dwar eNetwor kWeb Ser ver Sof twar eWebsiteHar dwar eNetwor kDBPr ocessDBStor ageDBSer viceHar dwar eNetwor kCitr ixSer ver        L    o    g       i    n       R    e    g       i    s      t    e     r      B     r    o     w    s    e
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