Troubleshooting Citrix XenDesktop

by Scott Walsh on April 30, 2018

Background

The Professional Services team at Blue Medora has customized hundreds of vRealize Operations management pack dashboards for customers to meet their unique needs. But many of these dashboards share common approaches that appeal to nearly all customers.  Full Stack dashboards highlighting system dependencies and relationships is one example. Another is Application-centric dashboards focusing on end user impact.

Application-centric dashboard approach

Let’s explore this approach with the example of a User Driven Dashboard built for the Citrix XenDesktop management pack.  The key to this dashboard is the ability to start troubleshooting from the user and move up the chain to discover where your latency issues are being caused.  Consider the use case:  A user calls IT and says their session is extremely slow.  The next step for the XD administrator is to start investigating to find the offending session in their XD management software.  Once they find it, if the issue doesn’t lie with a XD artifact, troubleshooting pretty much ends.  The XD admin really doesn’t have a good way to trace from the User to the Session, and on up to the VDA, VM, and Host.  We attacked this problem by utilizing the relationships our XenDesktop management pack provides. By doing so, we are able to provide real value to a XD admin.

Moving through chain of objects

In the following dashboard, we can either select a user or filter by the user’s name.  Once we make this choice, we instantly see a list of User Sessions.  From here, we move to the VDA, VM, and Host.  In addition, we provide the capability to view additional details for chosen objects by adding columns to our Object Lists.  For added detail, we added an Object Relationship widget to show other VM’s on the Host to see what might be causing the Host stress, or what other VM’s might be affected by the Host having problems.  It’s a simple dashboard, but one that provides immense value.

Troubleshooting Citrix XenDesktop Blog

Troubleshooting Citrix XenDesktop Blog

Troubleshooting Citrix XenDesktop Blog

Here are instructions for creating the dashboard. They focus on moving through the chain of objects.  Once you have the relationships, you can decide what types of metrics to show.

  1. On the Dashboards page in vROPs, choose Create Dashboard from the Actions menu.
  2. Add 5 Object List widgets to the dashboard, and arrange them according to the images above, and name them accordingly.
  3. Set the Session User list to Self mode, filter by XenDesktop User and turn on Auto-Select First Row.
  4. Set the Citrix Session List to Children mode, filter by XenDesktop Session, and turn on Auto-Select First Row.
  5. Set the VDA List to Parent mode, filter by XenDesktop VDA, and turn on Auto-Select First Row.
  6. Set the VM List to Parent mode, filter by Virtual Machine, and turn on Auto-Select First Row.
  7. Set the Host List to Parent mode, filter by Host System, and turn on Auto-Select First Row.
  8. If you want to see the Noisy Neighbor VM’s, add an Object Relationship widget, and turn Self Provider off, and select Virtual Machine in the filter tags.
  9. In Widget Interactions, set the following:
    1. Set Citrix Session List to be driven from the Session User list.
    2. Set VDA List to be driven from the Citrix Session lIst.
    3. Set VM List to be driven from the VDA list.
    4. Set Host List to be driven from the VM list.
    5. If using the Noisy Neighbor Object Relationship, set it to be driven from the Host list.
    6. Test your relationships by choosing a User in the first object list.

Taking the approach of working from the end user’s impact to understand the chain of system components and application inter-dependencies can really help out your XenDesktop administrator.  I encourage you to explore the wide range of visualizations available through Blue Medora management packs for vRealize Operations. For assistance customizing dashboards to meet your environment’s unique composition, reach out to Blue Medora Professional Services.

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