Monitoring Citrix – a vendor overview


Monitoring availability, performance and uptime. Topics that are utmost important in 2019 for any organisation. Citrix is one of most used solutions providing end users access to applications, desktops or data. To ensure the availability, performance and uptime monitoring is required. There are numerous products on the market to monitor a Citrix environment. In this article, I will show the most seen vendors out there and give an overview of their capabilities. Let’s start looking at the market.

Market players

If we take a look at the market the following players (alphabetic ordered) are the ones that stand out;

Market players – an overview

Not all monitoring solutions are the same and provide the same functionality. The difference in features makes the market so interesting. Differences can be small and very specific. Before we look at the vendors in this space, let’s take a quick look at Citrix and what they provide to monitoring.

Why no Citrix alone?

Citrix is not like some vendors where you are stoked of monitoring. We can debate if you need 3rd party solutions or could do with Citrix only solutions. Depending on requirements one perhaps could do without 3rd party solutions but in many scenarios not. I see the 3rd party solutions as a value add to Citrix monitoring. Environments are simply bigger and more complex than just Citrix components.

Citrix monitoring Citrix

Citrix Studio is a good tool to manage your environment but is limited to monitor your whole application stack. The Citrix monitoring is, of course, focused on Citrix. Your stack is broader than just Citrix and you might want to have a holistic view of your environment. Citrix studio is useful for pool management and management of the workloads from an availability point of view. For a holistic view, with e.g. a hypervisor, you need different solutions. Citrix will only show the high-level connection status. Good enough for day to day Citrix management but in need of value-add products for a whole Enteprise application stack.

Citrix Director is a very useful helpdesk tool to support your user when they experience issues with sessions. It provides an insight in session connected to, insight in channels, login duration breakdown and application processes. I think Citrix Director is one of the best tools on the market from a user-session management perspective. Of course, every tool is designed for a purpose and has its limitations or shortcomings. Director is not designed for end-to-end management of your whole Enterprise environment, nor is Studio. I think for some management tasks other products can help out and add value. That’s why partners are so important, the Citrix Ready program is an extensive partner program, unmatched in the industry.

10000 feet overview

Different vendors have a different solution and different ideas about monitoring. At Citrix monitoring is designed to act in a certain way and vendors have their ideas about it. If we look at monitoring itself differences between e.g. ControlUp, eG innovations and Goliath shows how diverse the market is. Let’s look at some differences.

eG innovations designed monitoring around application chaining insights. They look at the whole picture, endpoint device to the application(s) to data. Of course, they can also monitor a host, a device, a desktop by itself without the chain. They do more but more on that later.

logon simulator

ControlUP designed their product around monitoring and management. with their product you can, next to monitoring, also manage your Citrix environment, update, remote connect to server, fix issues and more.

logon simulator

Goliath Technologies is designed around the concept of monitoring components of Citrix environments and go deep with metrics and they also do more but also more about that later.

logon simulator

If we look at Microsoft SCOM we should take SquaredUp into account. Microsoft SCOM is a bit overwhelming in the data it is showing and it could fill up the mailbox easily. It would make it hard to find good info in there. SquaredUp built a solution to extract the data from Microsoft SCOM and show it in a readable format. Suddenly that filled-up mailbox becomes a dashboard with useable information.

Market

There are more, of course, Liquidware has Stratusphere that goes deep into user experience to show what is really happening inside a session. They are used for sizing and troubleshooting a lot, just like Lakeside is (sizing/scaling).

The trick is to find the best solution to fit your needs. You need to make sure you know what your missing with the Citrix delivered tooling before you go on a hunt for s solution. You can’t hunt if you don’t know what you’re aiming for.

Citrix ready partners

Now let’s take a deeper view at each vendor in the Citrix monitoring field and see what they provide. It’ll write a short summary of them and list the features they provide. There will be no listing to show who is best as the best one is the one that suits your needs. I will list the vendors seen most in this space, the others are listed above. I added a link to their website in you want to find more info. In a future blog, different aspects of these vendors will be highlighted. This blog is an overview to give you a quick insight.

ControlUp

ControlUp provides several ways to monitor your Citrix environment. Real-time monitoring, ControlUp insights and free tools like the logon simulators. Let’s take a look at the products.

Real-time monitoring: For day to day management real-time monitoring is the product to use. it allows real-time monitoring but also real-time management of your Citrix environment. The following key-features are available;

  • Real-time view with drill down with a 3-second update schedule
  • Community-based script actions
  • Notifications and alerts

ControlUp insights; ControlUp Insights is designed to make sure you focus on what you need to know. With analytics powering this product it shows trends and gives insights required for good management. The following key features are available;

  • Top insights
  • Sizing recommendations
  • System health
  • Windows health
  • User Experience
  • Application usage

Management; ControlUp is one of the vendors that provides management capabilities next to monitoring and this is rather unique. With ControlUp you can remote control your Citrix environment, kick off scripts, remotely support users and much more. Interesting if you are looking to relieve your IT admins and want to combine monitoring with management

Free utilities: Three utilities are available. These are tools that are free and can be very helpful as an addition to your monitoring and management. The following tools are available;

A different blog will go into the logon simulator. To see more about all three tools, click on the link in the list.

eG innovations

eG innovations has a number of tools to monitor your Citrix environment. The following products are available for you;

  • End to end monitoring of your Citrix environment
  • Logon simulator
  • Synthetic transaction monitoring
  • Real-time User Monitoring
  • Java monitorin

End to End monitoring: The monitoring product, which is the core solution they provide. They provide end-to-end visibility in your Enterprise environment. By building application communication flows it understands how to show alerts. If we look at what else the monitoring solution provides feature-wise, the following list comes to life;

  • End to end performance visibility
  • User Experience monitoring
  • Application code-level visibility
  • Enterprise application monitoring
  • Cloud performance assurance
  • Topology and dependency mapping
  • Automatic, infrastructure-wide root cause diagnosis
  • Configuration change checking
  • Report and alerting

Real-time user monitoring: With more of your business going on online, you want to make sure the user experience is optimal. Datacenter monitoring is different from monitoring the real user experience accessing web pages. By adding a bit of code to the web page the whole transaction is monitorable. The image shows the way it works, RUM shows what part of the process is slow so an IT admin can zoom in on that.

Goliath Technologies

Both monitoring of Citrix environments and monitoring of your Enterprise environment is provided by Goliath Technologies. Goliath performance monitor is designed to anticipate, troubleshoot and prevent end-user experience issues. With monitoring and automation combined in one product, they deliver a very comprehensive product. Their Citrix monitoring has always bee very thorough with many detailed dashboards.

Goliath Technologies provides two products;

  • Performance monitoring
  • Goliath application availability monitoring

The screenshots below give a very good insight into the product, all screenshots are from Goliath Technologies web site.

Services provided by Goliath performance monitor are;

  • Troubleshoot end user experience issues
  • Monitor end to end visibility
  • Embedded intelligence and automation
  • Reports & dashboards
  • Self-healing / remediation

The easiest way to explain the self-healing and remediation, the graphic on their site is self-explaining. Through some automated actions

The application availability solution they provide will be one of the products in another blog regarding logon simulators. Their availability monitor solution, to give a sneak peek, is designed for Citrix, lots of healthcare solutions like Cerner and Epic and other Citrix-like products.

Liquidware

Liquidware Stratusphere is a monitoring product that is used a lot to scale environments. By measuring what user, desktops and applications use for resources one can calculate how much resources are required in future environments. Stratusphere provides the following features;

  • Diagnostics & Drill down
  • Performance validation & optimization
  • Baseline & onboard users
  • operations & first tier support.

a few notes

A few notes on the features provided. Baseline & onboard users is a feature that is very powerful when enabling new environments for users. Very important in those scenario’s is to measure if the new environment is performing better than the older one. By defining a baseline of a good environment one can score performance per desktop, user or application. These scores are shown in a dashboard and admins can drill down to see what is going on.

Another important dashboard is the before and after dashboards. These overviews are again very important in projects as one wants to know if changes (any changes) worked out. So very important dashboards to work with. Of course, there is more to tell about Liquidware but in this blog, a high-level monitoring overview was the goal, for other products please visit their site.

The rest

There are many more vendors and they also could fill in your requirements. I decided to show the most used products in this blog. The list is bigger, you find a link to their website in the overview.


Written by 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.