View from the Edge
Tired of your users blaming Citrix for connection problems? EdgeSight can help you get a handle on what's really going on.
EdgeSight for Presentation Server 4.5
and EdgeSight for Endpoints 4.2
1: Virtually inoperable or nonexistent
5: Average, performs adequately
"Citrix is slow today!" Have you ever heard that complaint before?
You probably have if you're a Citrix administrator. Citrix often gets the blame
in many environments, but often the real problem lies elsewhere.
Other components, like an overloaded server processor or network connection,
are sometimes the culprit. How do you tell the user that the problem lies on
their end? Without the right monitoring tools and reports to back it up, you
You can with the Citrix EdgeSight client-side monitoring tool. When Citrix
Systems Inc. acquired Reflectent Software, it added edge-of-the-network client
monitoring software to its product suite. The two offerings, Citrix EdgeSight
for Presentation Server and Citrix
EdgeSight for Endpoints, give you a performance and availability-monitoring
solution that can see all the way down to your user's client.
Citrix EdgeSight monitors performance across all applications delivered by
the Citrix Presentation Server. You can monitor user activity independent of
connection method, device and network in real time. You can generate detailed
historical reports from a central data repository, as well. This end-point monitoring
gives you the vision into client performance you've been craving.
Now You Know
The EdgeSight architecture is made up of several components: The EdgeSight Server
itself, a Web server, database server, license server and reporting server.
It uses two agents, one for Presentation Server and another for the client end-point.
[Click on image for larger view.]
|Figure 1. Citrix
EdgeSight provides valuable current and historical performance information
to help you understand the user's experience.
There are several key monitoring capabilities that separate it from the competition,
including its ability to drill down into user session data and provide real-time
monitoring and alerts on client and server-side performance, application usage
and network connections. Along with other Citrix-specific metrics, this data
can help you track down the real cause of connection problems.
Summary reports are one of EdgeSight's more exciting features. There are several
helpful summary reports available right out of the box, and you can create custom
reports using SQL Reporting Services in conjunction with Visual Studio .NET.
Integrated with the Microsoft Reporting System, the EdgeSight reporting interface
is easy to use. Simply choose the type of report that represents the problem
or its associated real-time alert. What stands out here is that you don't need
to choose the exact report if you're uncertain. All reports are hyperlinked
with interactive content that lets you drill down to more specific information
and reports. Choose a single date or date range and EdgeSight will generate
a report summary page.
This reporting information is critical for identifying and resolving problems
with user slowdowns and reduced user experience. For example, on the Device
Summary report, there are four graphs that display CPU and memory usage by device
or group, longest delay per day, reboots by day and error, hangs and faults
by day. Being able to drill down through these reports helps you narrow down
the data and get to the issue causing the bad user experience.
Depending on the type of problem, a real-time alert may be the preferred approach
to troubleshooting. From applications with memory leaks to processes that are
hung or running out of control, real-time alerts notify you about mission-critical
events that need your attention as problems occur.
There are two types of alerts: event-driven and polled. When a system event
happens, event-driven alerts notify designated personnel that a pre-configured
event has occurred. Polled alerts are based on regular queries of the Agent
database. Event-driven alerts include application errors, new processes or hung
processes. Polled alerts can show high application-resource usage, system-disk
bottlenecks or device reboots.
Application Usage is another feature that makes EdgeSight well worth the price.
You can use this to report on actual application usage on the server and at
the client. This report shows the amount of time an application or process was
running and actively being used.
You can also expand the report to find process name, file name and the version
of the file being accessed. The file vendor, the running time and the number
of devices that are using it are displayed further down. This information helps
you make more informed purchase decisions for application licenses. Being able
to harvest unused licenses is worth the price of admission.
Knowing Is Half the Battle
Having all this information isn't all that useful unless you can easily share
and act on it, so Citrix EdgeSight gives you the flexibility to delegate tasks.
You can set up users, groups and roles in the EdgeSight Server console, and
assign those contacts for report and alert administration.
The agents are easy to install, non-intrusive and send a plethora of information
to the database for building detailed reports. The agents collect information
at regular intervals and store the data locally, until it's time for them to
upload the data to the central database.
As EdgeSight is part of the Citrix suite of products, you can break out the
components onto different hardware or keep them together. You could move some
of the more robust features, like Reporting Services, to separate hardware to
Speaking of hardware, the hardware requirements for EdgeSight are fairly standard.
For the Web server, you'll need a dual processor server with 512MB of memory.
The database server is a bit hungrier, requiring a dual processor and 1GB of
memory, although 2GB is recommended.
The product is impressive, but not without a few minor sore spots. Licensing
is not a part of the centralized console used for Citrix's other products, and
you'll have to install the licensing console on the EdgeSight server itself.
Another potentially huge requirement is that the Web server certificate must
be issued from a commercial Certificate Authority. Microsoft Certificates need
Also, there are a number of prerequisites you must fulfill prior to installing
the software. Don't take the installation guide and readme files lightly. Taking
the time in the beginning will save lots of time and canceled installations.
Citrix EdgeSight for Presentation Server and EdgeSight for Endpoints are much-needed
performance and availability management solutions for your Citrix environment
all the way down to your Citrix clients. If you're tired of those "Citrix
is slow today" complaints, consider adding this powerful monitoring tool
to your management quiver.
Greg Shields (firstname.lastname@example.org),
MCSE: Security, CCEA, is a contributing editor to Redmond and a popular speaker
at TechMentor events. He's also the resident editor for Realtime
Publishers' Windows Server Community, providing daily commentary and expert
advice for readers. Brian Casselman is a principal consultant for 3t
Systems in Denver, Colo., where he leads a consulting team that specializes
in secure remote-access architecture and deployment utilizing Microsoft and