When visiting a customer I’m often like to get a feel for the performance of their Citrix farm so I can see what improvements can be made. A fantastic tool for doing this is Smart-X Control-Up. Control-Up is the ultimate administration and real time monitoring tool. Not only can you see, in real time, what’s happening in your RDSH/VDI Farm but it also provides administrators with all the tools necessary to support and administer it. I like the analogy that its like a Medical ECG, you simply run the executable which then installs an agent on your VDI or RDSH hosts and then instantly you see the environments vital statistics.
VDI Environment in ControlUp
There are loads of great admin features to make life managing the environment easier. One such killer feature, I love, is being able to select a user session and kill Group Policy being applied to that user, thus enabling the admin to change a browser setting, execute admin console, regedit or whatever is being restricted by GP.
Just one of the many built in features, there are far too many to write about in this blog, I suggest you go to their website and check it out for yourself.
As well as being able to use the built in features, Control-Up is extensible by creating your own Script Based Actions. These actions can be developed in house and/or shared with the community, there are already a large selection of scripts available to perform different tasks.
Its really quite easy to do, in fact I wrote my own. All that was involved was a slight modification to a PowerShell script I had previously developed. After some verifications and tweeking from Smart-X, it has now been published and shared for all to use, they even made a video showing how to use it. http://www.controlup.com/pvs-write-cache-size/
Just one example of how admin and community oriented this product is, I urge you to download the demo and give it a try for yourselves. http://www.controlup.com/ you’ll be supprised how great it is.
I’m a firm advocate of Provisioning Services ‘Cache in RAM with overflow on hard disk’ leveraging operating system RAM for write-cache. This results in better response times and a greater number of IOPS for the write-Cache than using traditional SAN or Local storage.
However, careful planning and monitoring of the size of this cache is imperative as a breach in the available RAM will cause an overflow to the assigned slower disk which dramatically reduces performance.
Much speculation has surrounded how to monitor the write-cache with some relying on the Target Device System Tray data but this only reflects the amount of physical cache used.
I wanted to be able to monitor the amount of Ram Used so that a typical usage baseline at a customer of mine could be taken.
Buried away in the Citrix eDocs (as most things are!) is reference to the actual metric that gives an indication of how much cache in Ram is in use. This can be done by checking the Pool Nonpaged Memory and is shown in the task manager.
In this case the Write-Cache is around 913MB minus some other elements, normally in my experience equate to under 100Mb.
To test this I copied 1Gb of files to the C Drive on the target device and the Nonpaged memory increased by 1Gb. What was interesting was that by removing the 1GB’s of data released the Nonpaged Memory, I wasn’t expecting that.
Using the task manager to check usage is not very practical, so I used WMI to provide the value and obtained this by writing a PowerShell function :-
I’ve had a few questions recently about HDX monitoring integration with Director using HDX Insight and what licenses are required for the functionality. After doing some research into the matter I thought I’d share what I’ve found.
For those of you that are not aware, NetScaler Insight Centre is a Virtual appliance (VPX) which collects information about traffic flowing through your NetScaler devices. The information it collects can be used to present the data in a series of reports. They can be used to monitor both Web traffic as well as ICA and VPN / Access Gateway sessions. The collection of this information is known as Web Insight in the case of Web Traffic and HDX Insight for ICA/VPN.
When collecting HDX Insight data, information can be captured and queried about various elements of the ICA Protocol stack. For example; IE Virtual Channel Data consumption, reporting on how much bandwidth Printing is using, are users downloading files using resource redirection. More common stats are latency times which is a great indicator for laggy experience, Etc. All very useful information when monitoring a XenApp /XenDesktop deployment.
The NetScaler Insight center appliance can display all this information via its Web GUI, however since version 7 of XenDesktop it can now be integrated with the Director.
This all sounds great, however, there is a BUT! – Licensing!. Citrix tells us that the feature is available for Platinum customers but i that NetScaler Platinum, XenApp/XenDesktop platinum or both:-
First lets look at NetScaler, below is a the Citrix eDoc guide to what you get at various NetScaler Licenses levels.
Web Insight Web Insight reports are displayed for NetScaler appliances running releases 9.3, 10, 10.1, and 10.5. The details about the version and the license available on these appliances are provided in the following table.
Note: indicates that the NetScaler Insight Center does not report the details for response time, load time, render time, server processing time, client network latency, server network latency, and water fall chart.
HDX Insight HDX Insight reports are displayed only for NetScaler Platinum and Enterprise appliances running release 10.1 and 10.5. The details about the license available on these appliances are provided in the following table. This indicates the amount of historical data held based on licence level.
XenApp / XenDesktop
In addition to the above NetScaler Licenses to Integrate the Insight with Director you will need XenApp or XenDesktop Platinum licenses as a minimum.
Summary To allow users to monitor HDX Network information in Director they need XenApp or XenDesktop Platinum plus at least Enterprise NetScaler Licenses. If you require more than an hour of historical data you will need Platinum NetScaler and XA/XD Desktop licenses.
I recently upgraded a customers Netscaler to version 10.5 54.9.nc and they got an annoying screen every time they logged into the GUI. It appears as if the original configuration has not taken place.
The reason for this is the addressed used to communicate to the the back end services is configured as a MIP and not a SNIP. As there are very little differences between the two this is a supported configuration.
It appears the new front end gui is not happy that a MIP is used instead of a SNIP, so to get rid of the message the IP type needs to change.
The best way to do this is to directly edit the ns.conf file and reboot the netscaler. (Ensure the netscaler is not part of a HA pair before doing this or if it is please follow the correct method of ensuring the config is replicated correctly).
find the line that defines the MIP mine looks like this …
add ns ip 126.96.36.199 255.255.255.0 -type MIP -vServer DISABLED
And change the type to SNIP
add ns ip 188.8.131.52 255.255.255.0 -type SNIP -vServer DISABLED
after a reboot the netscaler will load the config and change the IP type.
I’ve often thought about turning a Raspberry Pi into a thin client, being a powerful and cheap device, at around £25 each, its a no brainer.
I’ve spent countless hours attempting to use one of the linux based options but didn’t really get very far. Now, however, Muhammad Dawood has released his HDX 1080p Receiver for Raspberry Pi. Heres a video of it in action…
Pretty Cool eh?
So, I’ve written this post to go through the steps from bare bones to finished receiver.
What You’ll need…
A Micro USB Power supply for the Pi
First thing is to get a compatible image on the SD Card. Some Raspberry Pi kits will come with a ready-to-go card with the distribution pre-installed, or these can be bought separately, if you wish to go down this route. The Receiver will work on both Raspbian and NOOBS. For my install I’ve decided on Raspbian. I downloaded the image from .
Once you have the downloaded image, you’ll need to format the SD Card
Formatting the SD Card
1. Download and install the SD Association’s Formatting tool from
2. Open the Application you have just installed
3. Set “FORMAT SIZE ADJUSTMENT” to ON in the Options menu.
4. Make sure you have selected the Drive your SD Card is inserted in
5. Click “Format”
1. Download and install the SD Association’s Formatting tools from
2. Select “Overwrite format”
3. Make sure you have selected your SD Card, and not something else
4. Click “Format”
Flashing the SD Card
There are lots of different ways to flash the cards using many 3rd party tools. As I’m a Mac user I’m using <> I suggest reading for the various ways to get the image on the card and these are really down to personal preference.
Once loaded I selected IMG to SD-Card and select my Downloaded Rasbian .img file.
After about 8 Minutes the Pi is nicely baked…
Configuring the Pi (raspi-config)
With the card flashed its time to connect up the pi. Connect the HDMI, Mouse and Keyboard, Ethernet Cable and insert the SD Card. Once all is connected then insert the Power cable.
THe Pi will boot for a few seconds and then the rasp-config page will be displayed.
Go through the options.
Option 1 to expand the files system size to use the full SD card.
Option 2 to change the default password to one of your choosing.
Option 3 to decide on a Desktop or command-line environment at start-up, I selected command-line here (Real Men Don’t Click 😉 ).
Option 4 to configure your regional settings.
Dont bother with Option 7 to overclock the device, this is handled by Muhamoods installer.
Once the above have been completed select finish.
The pi will then reboot and you will be prompted with the login prompt
Enter the Username : pi
Password : you changed in the configuration
Once Logged in type : – ifconfig This will display your devices IP Address, you’ll need this to get the receiver code onto the device.
Then update the pi sudo rpi-update and wait for the update to complete.
On completion reboot the Pi :-
Receiver Code install
The following steps are taken from Muhammads Blog post.
1. Download the source code from the above blog.
2. Use WinSCP or simular to copy the file from your download machine to the Raspberry pi. The ip address can be found using ifconfig on the device. I copied the downloaded cr13pi.tar. simular to /home/pi.
3. The files then need uncompressing
4. If your storefront server requires secure connection (https) then you need to copy the root certs into the certificates folder at this point. They need to be in .pem format.
5. Once done execute the configuration script sudo ./setup.sh The script will then go off and work its magic…
The script will reboot the Pi and you will be prompted with the Receiver EULA. Read and Accept and its installed.
Edit: Some of you, like I nay have had problems connecting to storefront. My next post will cover configuring the Certificates