01/15/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/15/2020 10:53
Having released this functionality in an Preview Release back in September 2019, we're now happy to announce the General Availability of our Citrix monitoring extension. This extends Dynatrace visibility into Citrix user experience and Citrix platform performance.
Citrix is a sophisticated, efficient, and highly scalable application delivery platform that is itself comprised of anywhere from hundreds to thousands of servers. It delivers vital enterprise applications to thousands of users. SAP GUI and other thick-client Windows applications are often delivered via Citrix. Therefore, it requires multidimensional and multidisciplinary monitoring:
Dynatrace is naturally suited to address these requirements with its automatic and AI-powered full-stack software intelligence platform.
Dynatrace automation and AI-powered monitoring of your entire IT landscape help you to engage your Citrix management tools where they are most efficient. Dynatrace isolates the fault domain for you, and if it turns out to be Citrix, you'll be certain that the deep dive with Citrix-focused tools makes sense. When Dynatrace finds culprits in applications delivered via Citrix, you'll have a single, independent source of truth to confirm that Citrix is not the source of performance bottlenecks.
Dynatrace automatically discovers and maps all components of Citrix landscapes and maps their dependencies in order to provide AI-powered answers on performance challenges or delivery issues. It provides the bottom line of Citrix virtual application and desktop (formerly XenApp and XenDesktop) infrastructure performance.
Dynatrace OneAgent monitors all Windows hosts that comprise the Citrix landscape, including your virtualization stack, tracking basic infrastructure performance and usage. All processes on these hosts are recognized, and Citrix processes are grouped together in order to characterize the combined Citrix overhead on the infrastructure. Citrix user processes are also monitored, and when a user process starts to consume significant resources on a shared machine, it is surfaced by Dynatrace.
Therefore, OneAgent is the first and most important ingredient of Citrix monitoring on every Citrix server.
As a part of the Citrix monitoring extension for Dynatrace, we deliver a OneAgent plugin that adds several Citrix-specific WMI counters to the set of metrics reported by OneAgent. These metrics help you understand whether your Citrix landscape is sized correctly for its load. They provide important characteristics of the Citrix Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) usage and performance:
These metrics are grouped under the Citrix process group, in the Citrix sessions tab:
Citrix isn't an application in and of itself, but rather an application delivery channel, which makes measuring real user experience in the presence of Citrix different. Ideally, Citrix's presence should be transparent to a desktop application user: when the user clicks an icon, the application should behave as if it were executing on the user's machine. Citrix internally collects the data necessary to measure two aspects of real user experience: application launch time and screen latency.
Dynatrace makes use of these internal Citrix events and counters and expresses application launch time and screen latency measured individually per user in the simple, universally understood terms of Apdex. This helps in understanding the client location in relation to user experience. So the Citrix monitoring plugin extends OneAgent to collect the Citrix real user monitoring-specific metrics and, with the help of OpenKit, reports Citrix application launches and latency measurements at the individual user and individual application launch level, using simplified Dynatrace real user monitoring workflows.
With the Citrix monitoring extension, you specifically get insights into:
Deploy OneAgent on Citrix VDAs in order to monitor the infrastructure performance, compute and disk resources, and infrastructure dependencies. This is part of a regular OneAgent installation. Note that while Citrix RUM can run without OneAgent, we don't recommend it, as it limits the value of the entire solution.
RUM measurements for Citrix will appear under a custom application that you need to create in Dynatrace prior to deploying the Citrix extension. Go to Deploy Dynatrace > Monitor a custom application and create an application with a meaningful name. Then use this name when installing the Citrix RUM extension.
Install the Citrix extension on all Citrix VDAs using the MSI distribution package. When installing, provide the Application ID and Beacon URL of the Citrix RUM application you've defined earlier in Dynatrace. You can use Citrix orchestration such as Machine Creation Services (MCS) or Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS) to install the extension on the VDA template in order to roll it out to all Citrix VDAs.
The MSI installation adds the OneAgent plugin for Citrix, which collects metrics characterizing the number of open and active Citrix sessions, ICA latency on VDAs, and session bandwidth.
To summarize, the Citrix monitoring extension runs two Dynatrace services on the Windows OS of Citrix VDAs: OneAgent and the CitrixAgent (i.e. the base Dynatrace agent and the Citrix-specific agent which is watching the Citrix's WMI counters and events).
Note: Don't forget to upload the OneAgent plugin configuration files to the Dynatrace tenant as well. The files let the environment know that it should expect these new metrics. Use the Settings > Monitored technologies page to upload the OneAgent plugin for Citrix.
The image below shows the two services run by the Dynatrace Citrix monitoring extension on the Windows OS of Citrix VDAs;
The NetScaler application delivery controller is often the initial interface for Citrix infrastructures. Dynatrace provides a dedicated extension for monitoring NetScaler. This extra infrastructure monitoring component completes Citrix application delivery channel monitoring with Dynatrace.
We don't aim to deliver a complete Citrix management solution. Your Citrix deep-dive performance management tools will still be needed. Likewise, your Citrix lifecycle management solution will be needed. The power of Dynatrace comes from its straightforward, yet holistic, view of the entire application delivery chain and infrastructure stack, including Citrix context where it's applicable. We aim to help you track Citrix performance incidents to specific infrastructure bottlenecks and to clearly delineate application performance from application delivery performance.
The quickest way to get started is by contacting a Dynatrace ONE product specialist. Just select the chat button in the upper-right corner of the Dynatrace menu bar. Also, make sure you watch this Performance Clinic webinar to learn more and start your Citrix platform and user experience monitoring with Dynatrace today!