Netscaler Insight and Integration with XenDesktop Director

This is another one of Citrix hidden gems, Netscaler Insight. This product has been available from Citrix some time now, but with the latest update in became alot more useful. Insight is an virtual applance from Citrix which gathers AppFlow data and statistics from Netscaler to show performance data, kinda like old Edgesight. (NOTE: In order to use this functionality against Netscaler it requires atleast Netscaler Enterprise or Platinum)

Insight has two specific functions, called Web Insight and HDX insight.
Web Insight shows traffic related to web-traffic, for instance how many users, what ip-adresses, what kind of content etc.
HDX Insight is related to Access Gateway functionality of Citrix to show for instance how many users have accessed the solution, what kind of applications have they used, what kind of latency did the clients have to the netscaler etc.

You can download this VPX from mycitrix under Netscaler downloads, important to note as of now it is only supported on Vmware and XenServer (They haven’t mentioned any support coming for Hyper-V but I’m guessing its coming.

The setup is pretty simple like a regular Netscaler we need to define an IP-address and subnet mask (Note that the VPX does not require an license since it will only gather data from Netscaler appliances that have a platform license and it does not work on regular Netscaler gateways)

After we have setup the Insight VPX we can access it via web-gui, the username and password here is the same as Netscaler nsroot & nsroot

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After this is setup we need to enable the insight features, we can start by setting up HDX insight, here we need to define a expression that allows all Gateway traffic to be gathered.
Here we just need to enable VPN equals true. We can also add mulitple Netscalers here, if you have a cluster or HA setup we need to add both nodes.

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After we have added the node, just choose configure on the node and choose VPN from the list and choose expression true.

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Now for Web insight we need to define an expression for instnace I can use an hostname expression and define a website that I have using DNS. This will start gathering appflow data when clients are accessing websites having the hostname web in it.

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After a while now we can see that info is starting to appear in Insight, we can “drill” down in the data to show different metrics.

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I can go into a user and show his sessions

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And I can show what kind of applications the user has been running

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For web insight we can see what kind of URLs that are accessed

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And I can see what clients have accessed the URL

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Now that is the first part, the Insight will not just sit there and gather data. The next part is to integrate this with Director to allow helpdesk users to user this data together with the Edgesight feature which is now a part of XenDesktop 7.

To integrate this we need to install Director on a server, next we need to run a command C:\inetpub\wwwroot\Director\tools\DirectorConfig.exe  /confignetscaler

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After this is done do an IIS reset and log into Director again.
We can now go into the Network pane and see the data that is collected.

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Note: There are some requirements that need to be in place in order for it to function properly.

  • NetScaler HDX Insight must  be v10.1 or above.
  • XenDesktop VDA version 7.0 and above are supported by HDX Insight and NetScaler.
  • Storefront from the XenDesktop 7.0 installer or above versions can be used to launch the user sessions.
  • Receiver for Mac v11.8 and Windows Receiver 14.0 (4.0) and above are required for accurate ICA RTT metrics.

#citrix, #insight-center, #netscaler, #xendesktop-7

Netscaler releases!

So alot is happening on the Netscaler front from Citrix this day!
Citrix just released a new build version for all of their platforms.

The latest build is 120.13
Which can be downloaded from here –> http://bit.ly/1eMoKFP (Requires mycitrix)
This includes some new features in the wizard for XenDesktop and the setup wizard and alot of bug fixes.

https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/downloads/netscaler-adc/NS_10_1_120_13.html

Citrix also released a new version of Insight Center (Still not for hyper-v) but this comes in version 120.13 as well (so it looks like Citrix is releasing Insight at the same time a new build for Netscaler is released)

But Citrix hasen’t released the release notes for 120.13 yet so hard to know what is new Smilefjes
There is some of the new features in the download page.

With this release we extend the Insight visibility offering from Web traffic (Web Insight) to HDX traffic (HDX Insight) analytics.

It will now collect ICA AppFlow records generated by NetScaler ADC appliances and populate analytical graphs over Layer 3 to Layer 7 statistics. The HDX Insightwill provide in-depth analysis over real time and historical data across last 5min (real time) and last one hour, one day, one week, one month as historic data.

You can download it here –> http://bit.ly/1aIumfa

Citrix as well! released a new management pack for Netscaler 10.1 which also supports 2012 SP1 but they haven’t released a new documentation for it but still it offers a lot of new options.  You can download it here –>
http://bit.ly/1a1m9Sq

Anyways interesting times ahead! still waiting for Insight center to be released for hyper-V ! Smilefjes

#insight-center, #management-pack, #netscaler