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7 Secrets to Becoming a Citrix Hero


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Among all the administration, maintenance and troubleshooting chaos in your daily life as a Citrix admin, don’t you dream of becoming a Citrix hero?

Watch this on-demand webinar where DJ Eshelman, Citrix Coach, CUGC Leader and a CTA, walks us through seven essential dos and don’ts for Citrix professionals, based on over a decade’s worth of real-world experience.

In this session, you’ll learn:
• The methods and practices that successful Citrix professionals adopt
• How to take cues from users and data to build Citrix environments that run smoothly and efficiently, and yet cut down on risks and workarounds
• How being proactive instead of reactive unlocks a world where you are less stressed and more fulfilled in what you are doing

Every Citrix admin can become a Citrix Hero. By applying these seven lessons, you can spend less time worrying about your next Sev1 outage and more time enjoying life outside the office.

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7 Secrets to Becoming a Citrix Hero

  1. 1. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Lessons From The Field: What To Do & What Not To 7 Secrets to Becoming a CITRIX HERO
  2. 2. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Know Your Speaker Vinod Mohan Sr. Product Marketing Manager eG Innovations Moderator DJ Eshelman Citrix Coach, CUGC Leader, and Citrix Technology Advocate (CTA) Srinivas Ramanathan Founder and CEO eG Innovations Over 15 years of experience working with Citrix technologies. | • Specializing in Citrix since 2005 • Citrix Consulting Services – 2011-2015 Resident Consultant – 2016-Present Ad Hoc Consultant • • CTA / CUGC Leader • Founder and • Author of “Become a Citrix Hero” • Citrix Career and Technical Coach | | @TheCitrixCoach |
  3. 3. © eG Innovations, Inc. | 7 Secrets to Becoming a Citrix Hero • Start With Why • Methodology Matters • Optimize Your Way Out of Default • Respond to Your Users Before, During and After • Being Proactive Saves You Pain, Time and Money • Don’t Go in Blind: Get End-to-End Visibility • IT Needs to Sell Management on Tools 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  4. 4. © eG Innovations, Inc. | #1 Start With Why, Or Fail Before You Try • Before making any non- critical change, UNDERSTAND the use case • LISTEN to users • ENGAGE with management to understand business needs DO THIS
  5. 5. © eG Innovations, Inc. | #1 Start With Why, Or Fail Before You Try • Do things because a website or whitepaper told you it was best • Assume users are idiots that don’t know what they are talking about • Avoid management because they’ll assume you’re not qualified DON’T DO THIS
  6. 6. © eG Innovations, Inc. | #2 Methodology Matters: It’s Not Just About The Tech! • Adopt a Services, ITIL-ish or DevOps- ish Methodology as appropriate • Get your team on-board • Follow a well-thought out design and watch for changes needed proactively according to the process • Develop, Test, Deploy...Repeat DO THIS
  7. 7. © eG Innovations, Inc. | #2 Methodology Matters: It’s Not Just About The Tech! • Randomly do work that is in front of you or that you feel like doing first • Do it alone • Leap before you look – Deploy with no design – Don’t monitor – Rush through the process • Test in production DON’T DO THIS
  8. 8. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Services Methodology DJ’s RiskLESS Methodology Understand Plan Change Maintain Citrix Consulting Methodology Assess Design Deploy Monitor
  9. 9. © eG Innovations, Inc. | #3 Optimize Your Way Out of Default! Default Settings are Costing Your Company $$ • Optimize the Operating System – Use the Citrix Optimizer – Keep in mind User needs • Optimize NetScaler/Citrix ADC – Defaults are used with the assumption you will secure and optimize later – Review quarterly • Optimize your hardware/cloud DO THIS
  10. 10. © eG Innovations, Inc. | #3 Optimize Your Way Out of Default! Default Settings are Costing Your Company $$ • Trust the ‘out of box’ experience • Blindly follow whitepapers on ‘best practices’ • Throw VMs into a hypervisor and trust it’ll sort them out DON’T DO THIS
  11. 11. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Logon Time with Default Configuration • Server 2012R2 7.15 CU3 VDAs • Machine Creation Services • User Profiles Management + WEM • HyperV – workload spread between all 5 hosts • 4 vCPU 16 GB RAM • Apps and Desktops published Average logon time: 90 seconds
  12. 12. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Logon Time After Configuration Optimization • Phase 1 (Late Nov) – Applied Citrix Optimizer tunings – Antivirus changes • Scan on WRITE only • Corrected Exceptions • Eliminated Scheduled Scans of VDAs • Phase 2 (Early Dec) – Isolated ALL Server VDAs to 3 hosts • 6 vCPU (12 core CPUs) • 48 GB RAM • Phase 3 (Late Dec) – Tuned MCSIO Caching from 4 to 16 GB – New Sealing procedures, cleaned, defragmented and pre-scanned (yes, it made a difference!) Average logon time: 20 seconds Cost to implement: 6 to 8 hours
  13. 13. © eG Innovations, Inc. | #4 Respond to Your Users Before, During and After You Know What They Say If You Assume… • Conduct design reviews with reps from each user grouping • Review trouble tickets and watch for patterns • Watch for workarounds and provide a solution • Monitor user activity proactively DO THIS
  14. 14. © eG Innovations, Inc. | • Assume you know what users need • Ignore trouble ticket trends. You don’t have the time... • Users will always do what they want anyway, so why bother? • Director is good enough. But I forgot how to get to it. DON’T DO THIS #4 Respond to Your Users Before, During and After You Know What They Say If You Assume…
  15. 15. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Step into the User’s World
  16. 16. © eG Innovations, Inc. | #5 Being Proactive Saves You Pain and Time And Your Company’s Money • LEARN LEADING PRACTICES • The goal should be to know about problems before your users do • Be alerted to what matters • Quick resolution (Hint: It’s very rarely Citrix!) • Be able to trace problems & trends DO THIS
  17. 17. © eG Innovations, Inc. | • Assume it all works ‘out of the box’ • Helpdesk will let you know when something is wrong • Rely on service monitoring • Stop what you’re doing and spend the rest of the day searching for what caused your SQL server to go down... • Rely on your ‘experience’ to guide your troubleshooting #5 Being Proactive Saves You Pain and Time And Your Company’s Money DON’T DO THIS
  18. 18. © eG Innovations, Inc. | The Dirty Dozen Common Consulting Findings & Leading Practice Misses • User Environment Configuration – Profile Management – GPO / Logon Scripts – User Devices and Workspace App • Access Layer Security • NetScaler Configuration • Unused Citrix Features • Resource Layer Not Optimized • Operational Sprawl • PVS and MCS Misconfiguration – Server-Side RAM, Ports, CPU – VDA RAM caching • Data Security Holes • Legacy Components • Hardware/Hypervisor Not Optimized • No Proactive Monitoring • Lack of Training/Confidence 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  19. 19. © eG Innovations, Inc. | #6 Don’t Go In Blind: Get End-to-End Visibility • Monitoring needs to be end-to-end – Endpoint simulation – Citrix experience – Backend and Applications • Document your environment so others can help you • Learn about features of new releases before deploying DO THIS
  20. 20. © eG Innovations, Inc. | • Just monitor Citrix and logon times • Become used to being woken up at 2 am because you’re the only one who knows the environment • Just deploy updates and new releases. There isn’t time to learn new things. #6 Don’t Go In Blind: Get End-to-End Visibility DON’T DO THIS
  21. 21. © eG Innovations, Inc. | You Need Real Data to Get Real Results Before – Citrix VDAs wrote the most disk (~8 MB/sec each)
  22. 22. © eG Innovations, Inc. | You Need Real Data to Get Real Results After – Citrix VDAs… 0 (Zero), File Servers ~2 MB/sec
  23. 23. © eG Innovations, Inc. | #7 Sell Your Management on Tools, Not Toys Waste Not or Get Not… • Explain the BENEFIT of a tool, not what it does • Make sure management hears about tools that will reduce effort hours – You Don’t Scale • Be prepared for budget reviews and to be able to justify the tool • Be prepared to expand the use of a tool DO THIS
  24. 24. © eG Innovations, Inc. | • Make demands or threats • Hand your management someone else’s presentation or a link to consider • Results sell, not drama • Get protective of YOUR TOOL (aka your toy) DON’T DO THIS #7 Sell Your Management on Tools, Not Toys Waste Not or Get Not…
  25. 25. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Top 3 Citrix Mistakes, Fixes and Tips How to Become a Citrix Hero EVERY Citrix environment has something wrong with it. Avoid the big Citrix mistakes and be a Citrix Hero.
  26. 26. © eG Innovations, Inc. | How to Do Monitoring The Right Way Best Practices from eG Innovations
  27. 27. © eG Innovations, Inc. | #10YearChallenge ─ How Citrix Architecture has Evolved • Physical servers • Virtual apps & desktops with separate deployments • XenApp server central to remote access • Access from thin client devices and desktops • Virtual servers and/or cloud, hybrid infra • Unified deployment architecture for virtual apps and desktops • Multitude of tiers: Citrix ADC, StoreFront, PVS, WEM, Delivery Controller, etc. • Heterogeneous devices (mobiles, tablets) and platforms (Linux)
  28. 28. © eG Innovations, Inc. | #10YearChallenge ─ Citrix Monitoring Has Changed Too • CPU, memory, disk utilization • Focus on XenApp metrics • Simple to manage, few tiers • Manual analysis and interpretation of data • Planning was simpler to do • Focus on user experience • Need to monitor all Citrix tiers in depth • Single pane of glass to include supporting infra (network, AD, virtual, cloud, etc.) • Automated analytics, correlation and root cause diagnosis is necessary • Insights needed to right-size, optimize and plan capacity for best ROI
  29. 29. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Life as a Citrix Admin is NOT Easy Pressure due to technology Pressure from management Pressure from end users • Functionality, capabilities, complexity increasing • Many tools: Citrix Director, Analytics, ADM, Smart Tools; no centralized visibility • Dependencies on other tiers • Challenge to prove it’s not a Citrix issue • User expectations are high • Complaints need fast resolution • Do more with less • Fewer staff • More deadlines and SLAs
  30. 30. © eG Innovations, Inc. | How eG Enterprise Can Help You Become a Citrix Hero Single-pane-of- glass visibility Expert in a box to aid you Ensure a great user experience • Centralized monitoring of Citrix and supporting infra from one console • No need to juggle between multiple tools • Track all aspects of user experience • Proactive alerts before users are impacted • Ability to distinguish client-side issues • Automated monitoring • No need for experts • Faster troubleshooting • Increased efficiency
  31. 31. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Synthetic and Real User Experience Citrix and Supporting Infrastructure End-to-End Performance Correlation Reports, Analytics, Machine Learning Monitor Every Layer, Every Tier For End-to-End Visibility Pinpoint Root Cause of Problems for Troubleshooting Right-size & Optimize for Maximum Performance Measure All Aspects of Citrix User Experience 1 2 3 4 How to Perfect Citrix Monitoring
  32. 32. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Measure All Aspects of Citrix User Experience  Emulates users  Imposes the same workload again and again  Provides a measure of experience EVEN when there is no real load  Monitors real users  Actual workloads  Direct measure of what users are seeing Synthetic Measurements Real User Experience Measurements User Experience Measurement  Simulate logon; launch different applications  Synthetic monitoring from multiple locations  Real user monitoring from the client, network, server  Must use a combination of both approaches #1
  33. 33. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Monitor Every Layer, Every Tier For End-to-End Visibility • Logon time • Profile load time • Application launch time • Screen refresh latency • User network quality • StoreFront response time • EDT performance User Experience • Bandwidth speed • Line speed • Audio bandwidth • Video bandwidth • Printer bandwidth • Drive bandwidth • Framehawk fps HDX Channels • Active/idle time • Top users by CPU, memory, IOPS, GPU • Top applications by CPU, memory, IOPS, GPU • URLs accesses by users User & Application Activity • Who logged in and when • What applications did they access • When disconnects happen • Idle time in session • Top users by session duration Virtual Apps/Desktops Sessions • Citrix ADC • StoreFront • Citrix Provisioning • Citrix WEM • Delivery Controller • License Server • Microsoft SQL Server Citrix Tiers • Virtualization platform • Storage • Network in data center • Network to user terminals • Infra services – AD, DNS • Cloud Supporting Infrastructure #2
  34. 34. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Universal Monitoring Technology One Monitor for All of IT #2
  35. 35. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Pinpoint Root Cause of Problems for Accurate Troubleshooting StoreFront Delivery Controller Citrix ADC Citrix End Users License Server Citrix Provisioning Active DirectorySQL Server Citrix Virtual Apps Server Hypervisor Internet/ WAN Storage Client Side Citrix Delivery Infrastructure Supporting Infrastructure Citrix End Users Firewall Corporate Network Client Network Corporate Network #3
  36. 36. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Right-size & Optimize for Maximum Performance Right-Sizing Planning Auditing Optimization • Analyze usage patterns • Load-balance your IT infrastructure • Measure resource utilization against availability • Get the most out of your infrastructure • Predict when you will run out of resources • Forecast future requirements • Make information available for audits • Get reports for regulatory compliance Out-of-the-Box Analytics & Historical Reports #4
  37. 37. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Right-Size Your Citrix Environment Get insights for right sizing: Is the VM oversized?
  38. 38. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Migration Analysis: Comparing Performance Before and After Before Migration After Migration Migration from XenApp 6.5 to Citrix Virtual Apps 7
  39. 39. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Capacity Planning Memory bottleneck preventing addition of more desktops Identify and resolve bottlenecks and excess capacity, and right-size your environment
  40. 40. © eG Innovations, Inc. |
  41. 41. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Thank You! Contact eG Innovations for more information on Citrix monitoring: Contact DJ Eshelman about: Citrix coaching: Citrix consulting: