White Paper: Manage Application Performance | NETSCOUT

White Paper: Manage Application Performance in a Virtual Environment from the Perspective of the End–User

Citrix provides Desktop Virtualization, Networking, Datacenter/Cloud and virtual meeting solutions to their customers. These solutions work together to reduce costs while enhancing flexibility of the services IT provides to the business, through initiatives such as Desktop Virtualization, Enterprise Cloud Networks/Convergence, Bring-Your-Own Device, Executive Mobility and Work Shifting among others. In this whitepaper, we will focus on how to manage application performance, from the perspective of the end-user experience, in virtual desktop environments.

  • What makes monitoring Citrix a challenge
  • Citrix adds a tier of "screen scrapes"
  • User typically communicates that the "network is slow"

What Makes Monitoring Citrix a Challenge?

Citrix VDI and XenServer are increasingly popular as a way to save money, enable BYOD, centralize desktop security and control, reduce costs and even improve performance of legacy applications. Unfortunately, leveraging these Citrix solutions also has the downside of increasing the complexity of the application delivery chain. This introduces a new set of challenges when troubleshooting end user complaints about performance. Is it the delivery of the Citrix ICA traffic that is slow? Is it the Xen/VDI environments itself? Is it the applications being accessed from the virtual desktop? What about the back end dependencies of those applications?

Citrix Adds a Tier of "Screen Scrapes"

As a user enters a VDI session, they engage with the Citrix XenDesktop/XenApp server/servers. These host virtual sessions with configured access to specific services as defined and configured by the administrator; often these rights rely on outside interactions with Active Directory, a separate transaction where the Citrix access gateway through the advanced access control web server is now the client in a separate request. From there, the user gains access to a session with their Citrix solution, however, this session is largely "screen scrapes", or the emulation layer of traffic. When users begin to experience delays or lag on the ICA protocol the challenge becomes isolating where the problem really is. This leads the user to blame the easiest target…

User Typically Communicate that the "Network is Slow"

The blame game typically gets targeted at the network first, and with Citrix in the mix there’s little information about where the problem really is rooted, because the end user can’t differentiate between delay caused by their device, the network, the servers or the services they're accessing. Troubleshooting in this complex environment can take hours or days to even identify that there is in fact a delay. While Citrix is capable of providing some indicators of performance, that data is often not accessible to the network team, or is not presented in an enterprise wide view that allows for easy consumption. Citrix should be monitored like all of your other applications, centrally from a network perspective; that is to say without the need to check multiple tools and portals to see application and network performance. Only by tying the infrastructure together with application performance, does an organization truly gain insight into what may be impacting their end-user’s experience.

TruView™ has the ability to provide visibility into this front tier Citrix performance, as aggregated by site with per user comparisons as well as views of behavior and performance per published application and per Citrix server. TruView allows you to view the performance and health of your Citrix deployment, quickly identifying which Citrix Machines and Resources are experiencing delays with quick access to the exact user inputs and Citrix responses through deep packet inspection.

This can then be correlated with transactions that are spawned by the Citrix environment to those standard n-tier application architectures behind the Citrix front end, using a simple all-in-one UI. This is proven to save our customers considerable time when troubleshooting reactively, as well as provide a clear means by which they can become proactive in managing the performance of this application delivery scenario. TruView™ provides unparalleled ease of "problem domain isolation" within a guided workflow that our customers find intuitive. Be sure to check out more about TruView's capabilities and see why TruView is a perfect five stars by users on IT Central Station.