At SquaredUp we frequently get asked about Citrix monitoring and dashboards, especially by customers who aren’t paying for the premium ‘Citrix Platinum’ license and so don’t have access to SCOM management packs from Citrix.
That’s why we were very excited to hear that there is a new SCOM management pack for monitoring Citrix. It is developed by GripMatix, based in the Netherlands, and they already have SquaredUp customers creating some impressive Citrix dashboards and drilldowns using their management pack.
To answer your questions on Citrix monitoring, we are delighted to introduce to you Merijn Overgaauw – Service Monitoring and Automation Consultant at GripMatix. In today’s guest blog, Merijn will be sharing with us GripMatix’s new feature-packed Citrix MP and explaining how it works exceptionally well when used with SquaredUp dashboards.
Thanks Merijn for sharing your expertise and introducing this Citrix MP to our SCOM community!
SCOM as an Enterprise Monitoring Platform for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops
By Merijn Overgaauw, GripMatix
In my previous blog post on gripmatix.com I discussed “How to properly monitor Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops?”. The article explains the differences between Citrix Director and Enterprise Monitoring Platforms and how they complement each other when monitoring Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD), formerly known as XenDesktop/XenApp.
In this blog post I will zoom in on System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), as an Enterprise Monitoring Platform, for monitoring Server Based Computing (SBC) and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) stacks based on this Citrix technology.
Most used Enterprise Monitoring Platform
A strong aspect of SCOM is its 1st- and 3rd-party provider base, as well as its community. SCOM has been out there for more than a decade and is used by a large number of organizations. This has resulted in a huge amount of available Management Packs to monitor all types of components. It is the most used Enterprise Monitoring Platform by organizations for monitoring CVAD according to a recent survey done by VDI like a Pro.
It also led to the development of tools giving SCOM better visualization power to provide better Single-Pane-Of-Glass functionality. SquaredUp for example, is one of my favorites. Because ‘a picture is worth a 1000 words’ it really helps you to turn data into information for every layer in your organization. From bottom to top. I believe you always should use SCOM with this extra visualization power if you take the delivery of your IT services seriously.
Required SCOM Management Packs for monitoring CVAD stacks
Monitoring the whole CVAD stack requires you to have SCOM Management Packs for the following components:
- Citrix Virtual Apps & Desktops (formerly known as XenDesktop/XenApp)
- Citrix StoreFront
- Citrix Provisioning Services (if used)
- Windows Server Operating Systems
- SQL Server
- Active Directory, DNS, DHCP
- File Services
- Server Hardware
- Load Balancers, Gateways
For monitoring the Citrix components with SCOM, you have two options:
- Citrix SCOM Management Packs from Citrix Systems, which are only available for Citrix Virtual Apps and Virtual Apps & Desktops Premium (previously called Platinum) license customers;
- MetrixInsight for CVAD SCOM Management Packs from GripMatix for all Citrix Virtual Apps and Virtual Apps & Desktops license customers.
Naturally, the Citrix components form up the stack’s core and you definitely need to monitor these, but without monitoring the other parts, you are still not in control. Make sure you are monitoring the whole stack.
What do you get?
When monitoring your CVAD stack with System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) and the right set of Management Packs you can gain control delivering your Citrix End User Computing services to your end-users. The health of all Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop layers are monitored thoroughly. From user sessions to hardware components.
Control Room using SCOM with SquaredUp and MetrixInsight for CVAD monitoring
Different teams with different skills are able to manage the variety of component types pro-actively through Role-Based Event Management views and dashboards, while having Single-Pane-of-Glass stack views for Operators and KPI dashboards for IT-managers.
Especially using SCOM in combination with SquaredUp gives you absolute monitoring and visualization power. On the picture above, you can see a real-life Control Room dashboard wall delivered by SquaredUp. It concerns an organization with almost 10.000 Citrix End User Computing users. Their Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, StoreFront and Provisioning Services components are monitored by the MetrixInsight for CVAD SCOM Management Packs from GripMatix. The top display, second from the right, gives insight into the health of the whole CVAD stack, using data from these Management Packs.
MetrixInsight for CVAD SCOM Management Pack
‘MetrixInsight for CVAD’ is a bundle of SCOM Management Packs for monitoring Server Based Computing (SBC) and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) platforms based on Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD). Formerly known as Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop.
It is designed and developed by GripMatix, Bv to basically provide an alternative to the SCOM Management Packs provided by Citrix Systems, Inc. which they acquired from Comtrade. These Comtrade Management Packs are only available for customers having Citrix Virtual Apps and Virtual Apps & Desktops Premium (previously called Platinum) licenses.
With the MetrixInsight for CVAD SCOM Management Pack from GripMatix, all Citrix Virtual Apps and Virtual Apps & Desktops licensed customers can monitor Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, StoreFront and Provisioning Services using SCOM. The first release was launched November 2018. New features are added regularly.
The Management Packs discover and visualize your CVAD stack topology in a drilldown dashboard, using the different layers that exist in a typical End-User-Computing platform deployment and provide the monitoring and reporting services that are essential to keep end-user computing platforms up and running and end users happy.
The solution has a lot of features and regularly new ones are added.
A nice feature to highlight is its dynamic topology integration with monitoring objects from other Management Packs, to get a Single-Pane-of-Glass view for the whole CVAD stack. Currently, objects for monitoring Windows Server Operating Systems, SQL Server databases and Active Directory Domains are integrated from their respective Management Packs. More objects will be added soon, such as those for monitoring Hyper-V, VMWare ESX and Nutanix, etcetera.
MetrixInsight for CVAD supports Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop 7.x deployments and Citrix Cloud Virtual Apps and Desktops Service will be in the near future.
Supported Citrix components are:
- Citrix StoreFront 2.6 or higher
- Citrix Provisioning Services 7.x
- Citrix Virtual Apps & Desktops (formerly XenApp/XenDesktop) 7.x
A free trial is available and provides you a full operating MetrixInsight for CVAD SCOM Management Pack that is active for 30 days. You can get the free trial here.