XenDesktop 7 hidden management features


XenDesktop 7 hidden management features

In the last two blog posts I reviewed Citrix XenDesktop 7 and went a bit more indepth with the App edition. In this blog I will continue with that and show you the advanced management features that are kinda hidden from the console.

Management in Citrix XenDesktop 7

As shown in my previous blog post management has changed drastically in version 7, what we used to know as XenApp with all of it consoles has been integrated in XenDesktop. I think this is the first real integration from Citrix that is really the way it should be, no more extra console but one neat console to manage both VDI and SBC (can I still call it that??).
What happened with Citrix XenApp also happened with Citrix Edgesight, it has been integrated in the new product, still lacking a lot of functionality but for the common administrator this will be a good start. Recent contacts on Twitter with Citrix showed that they are listening to the community and will enhance the product with added features to bring back more Edgesight functionality… let’s hope and see.

User management

In my last blog post I showed you that user management is tucked away in the console.  The main console only show sessions and the average logon duration. Further on the console has options to show all the failures, but hey if you don’t have any failures this screen is pretty boring.
First a little bit of review to get you on the same train..
I would like to have a button there that would bring me to the users that are connected. there is an option that brings me to the sessions, but sessions in the console are machine related items.

To get to the user you have to search for them, in the right hand corner of the management screen this option is available.

Now from there you’ll see the user and can shadow them if you want, but this you already knew if you read my previous blog. Now let’s see if you also saw the button in the right hand corner.
When you click the details button you get more details, details you might like when you troubleshoot.

This screen is the same as you might remember from the previous XenDesktop console, now it’s also available for the App edition. Let’s take a quick look at details of this screen, on the machine detail part we can see the virtual machine details. With a Shared desktop environment (trying to get a alternative for XenApp) this is the “XenApp” server. From the console we can initiate several command, where the shutdown/restart command seems odd to me. Perhaps these should not be available from this user perspective, it’s a shared server environment, restarting the machine will have a negative effect on multiple user sessions… Guess this is an inheritance from the XenDesktop console.
On the left side the activity manager, the applications and processes from the user are visible and can be killed.
When you scroll down a new neat feature is introduced, the average logon duration as shown in the main screen is also shown for the specific user. In the user details screen you can see what the logon duration was for that specific user over a period of time. This will give instant insight if the user is experiencing issues and if they are getting worse.
Like in the previous XenDesktop management console the HDX monitor screen is also incorporated. HDX monitor is a different topic but as you all know it gives very good indepth information about the session and is helpful with troubleshooting.
A personalization option is introduced in the new version of XenDesktop, I guess this will only work when you implement Citrix profile management. In my project that is never used, we use a mandatory profile and a UEM solution like RES Workspace Manager or Liquidware Labs Profile Unity to handle the user workspace.

Conclusion

The new management option in XenDesktop Director are nice additions and a welcome from the old Citrix XenApp consoles. It’s a pity they are so hidden in the console, for me it would seem obvious that you have a shortcut option on the main screen to enter the user management part of Director. For many service desk employees the user view will be the first and only view. Service desk employees don’t manage up-times of servers and infrastructure but manage hanging of applications and other user question. They need instant access to the users workspace.
When looking at the whole package I have to say that the integration of both products in one console feels good, it finally makes sense to say to customers that Citrix has both VDI and SBC and that you can offer one or both to your users depending on their needs… Next step is to bring PVS into the console I guess???

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