As I wrote in previous articles, logon simulators or availability monitors are important assets in any modern infrastructure. Goliath Technologies was one of the vendors with a solution for this, they were one of the first to offer one. Recently they released a new version of it, the Availability Monitor. The console and product have been upgraded with far better consoles and views. I thought their release was a good reason for a look into the product. So I downloaded the software, said I wanted a 30-day trial and executed the setup. The website with the download link also offers a detailed configuration document and a document with prerequisites.
- Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop
- VMware Horizon
- Microsoft RDS
In this article I will focus on a Citrix setup, I’m using our internal demo environment to test this against. You can select anything from a desktop to an application to test against. Goliath Technologies offers more than just availability monitoring but also regular monitoring. I didn’t set that up right now, this article is purely about the monitor feature.
A short view on the architecture. The environment is very basic, you have a server where the console is running and an Endpoint that will execute the task you give it. Of course you can decide to use the Goliath monitor server to be the endpoint but that can be a bad decision. If you combine both roles on one server you need to be aware of the schedule of the availability monitor. It will close your console when it starts the task, so you loose your view. I recommend you install the endpoint on a different server to be able to monitor progress as well as work in the console.
The prerequisites of the server are;
Goliath monitor server
- 4 vCPU
- 8GB RAM minimum
- Static IP
- 2 vCPU
- 2GB RAM
- Citrix Receiver 4.x
- UAC Disabled
The Citrix environment requires two simple things, a test account and an account the logoff. This last account will need more rights than the first one. If you want to test against XenDesktop/XenApp 7 environments you will need a account with full Citrix admin rights to execute the logoff. Also make sure the site you’re accessing is added to the trusted site at the endpoint server.
Let’s take a quick look at the setup of the tool before we go to the execution and configuration of it. The setup is very straightforward, you first install the Goliath Technologies monitor software before you install the availability monitor solution. So let’s first look at installing the monitoring server software.
With that the installation of the monitoring software is completed. Now you can open the console, a shortcut is created on the desktop, and configure the monitoring tool. I think you should do that to see what they offer, you will be surprised. I’m not doing that right now, I’m going to configure the Availability monitor.
Again a very easy setup. The setup files for this are available in the C:\Program files(x86)\MonitorIT\Bin folder. There is a GAAMendPoint.Exe you need to execute. Depending on where you install it, monitor server or endpoint server the configuration is a bit different. The documentation tells you all about that. I’ve installed both on the same server so the installation didn’t require anything else than shown here.
Setup availability monitor
So after that enough about installation and so on, let’s configure the availability monitor. As you can see in the screenshot below there are several options. You can configure all major desktop/app solutions to test against. I select Citrix here as that is the lab I got configured. There are several fields you need to configure here.
At first you need to set the Site URL, that is the site you access to access the Citrix environment, something like https://<url of citrix environment>. Next you enter the folder you have you icons in, if you have a default setup and the icons are available on the initial page no configuration is needed. Launch credentials are the credentials you logon to the Citrix environment with. The previous one is different from the Directory Account Name which is the account to execute the logoff. Last but not least you need to select the launch endpoint to execute from.
The selection of the endpoint is simple, you browse and in the list you will see the registered endpoints. Click the next TAB to continue configuring. The next TAB is about launch options, do you want auto-launch, run the simulation invisible and so on. You need to configure the environment to make it your own.
There are mote TAB’s with alerting and remediation but I won’t go into them right now. alerting is straight forward, you can send mail with status or use SNMP or even SysLog. Remediation is interesting but could do with a different blog, it is how to resolve when things go wrong. let’s go into the results, I’m sure you wonder how all this comes together.
Execution – the good stuff
So now that everything is configured it setup a schedule and started the monitor. As you can see below the first two tries gave an error as I had a typo in the address it had to open. The third try was a good one and it took a 55 seconds to logon. There is a User Environment Management solution running and i think it could do with some tuning 🙂 .
If you let it run a little longer you will see the differences in logon times, in your environment logon times should be consistent as when it is not a good sign if it is not. The good thing about testing this during the day and with all the details you see you can resolve issues that occur. That is the main reason you do these kind of testing. Good to see that our UEM solution is consistently slow… some work there.
If you click on the glasses you open up a detailed analysis screen. In this screen you can see per step taken what was happening, how long each step took and how the screens looked like. Each step is displayed with the tie it took for that step. So if there are issues you will see them right here. If you also configured monitoring next to this availability monitoring you will be able to deep dive into the issue even more.
The Dashboard TAB , previous one was the Analysis TAB, shows a different view of the availability monitor results. This is more a management view on things, a more high level view. For a report this dashboard would do just fine, you see where delays are occurring most with one look at the screen.
In the screen above you see the staged load time average over all the tests, so this is a combination of all tests that executed. Goliath Technologies also offers a far more detailed view on this where you see GPO load settings and so on but for that you need to configure a little bit more than just the availability monitor. In previous articles I wrote about that one already, it’s the data you would find in the old Edgesight reports of Citrix.
Hope this article gave some insight in the new launch of their product, I think it is a improvement from their old offering. Setup is easy, takes 5 minutes, configuration is a breeze and data is very detailed and useful. You can download this for 30 days to test it out, so give it a try and if only learn about your Citrix or VMware environment.