Offer: SoftwareFX Powergadgets

I consider PowerShell to be a “must have” in your windows administration toolkit.   As a result, I’ve written several popular posts about how I’ve used PowerShell to solve issues in the virtual environments I manage.  I recently took advantage of SoftwareFX’s PowerGadgets ISV program.  This program allows you to get a free copy or special pricing on this great product.

From http://www.softwarefx.com/sfxTrial/isv.aspx

Do you need multiple PowerGadgets licenses? Are you an influential individual in the PowerShell or IT community? Then the PowerGadgets ISV program may be the right starting point for you. It can not only give you access to a free copy of PowerGadgets but also to special pricing and licensing scenarios.

If you can take advantage of this program I would encourage it (I was able to leverage my blog).  This product can present data gathered by PowerShell in attractive ways for yourself, your team, and your management.

Thanks,
Alain

Creating a Green Dashboard – Part 2

In the first part of this series, we covered gathering data on external users and how to parse that data into a database.  To generate the data to show how your Citrix farm positively impacts the environment and quality of life for your teleworkers, you need to get the average statistics for them.  Governments gather this data as it pertains to their own telework programs.

The U.S. government site, telework.gov, provides a one-stop-shop for general information, but no hard data except for number of participants at the various agencies.  We need a site that will give us savings on money, fuel, and pollutants. 

The Telework Exchange has a lot of papers and studies, and it provides statisics for yourself, based on location and miles driven.

The most detailed information I’ve been able to find so far, is the Undress4Success site.  This site has quite of bit of information as well as links to job boards and details of “work at home” scams.  They also have done a lot of the work of analyzing many telework studies and making it available to visitors.

For this example dashboard, I’ll track gas saved and green house gas savings.

For gas saved in my geographic area, this is 2,847,724 gallons saved per year or approximately 177 gallons per teleworker (16,058) or roughly 0.50 gallons saved per person/per day teleworking.

Following the same method for greenhouse gases, 26,991 metric tons are saved annually.  Using Google to convert this to pounds, gives us 59,504,969 pounds saved.  This breaks down to 10 pounds saved per person/per day teleworking.

Using these amounts to start with we can show the amount of gas and greenhouse gas emissions someone is saving per day when they use our Citrix farm.   This is just a starting point, we could expand this to other cost savings for the teleworker and for the company as well which I’ll cover at the end of this series.

Creating a Green Dashboard – Part 1

Using tools to gather external logins to the Citrix Farm

There are a variety of ways to distinguish internal and external users of your Citrix farm.  The method we employ is to utilize the logging that’s part of any Citrix Secure Ticket Authority (STA) in your Citrix Farm.  You can turn logging on your designated STA’s by following the information in this Citrix article: CTX101997.  Turning this on gives us the following data in logs (located in %PROGRAMFILES%\Citrix\Logs\)

...
INFORMATION 2009/05/20:00:13:22 CSG1305 Request Ticket - Successful. A995AD36B87524A208BB23A804AC3110 V1 CSGTestData Thisistheextendeddata
INFORMATION 2009/05/20:00:13:22 CSG1303 Ticket timed out. A8478127C7971E4CD95C28FFD2B85BBE
INFORMATION 2009/05/20:00:13:23 CSG1305 Request Ticket - Successful. FF985D4B11DA3AE7B6CBBAA9CA833415 V1 CSGTestData Thisistheextendeddata
INFORMATION 2009/05/20:00:13:23 CSG1303 Ticket timed out. CDE1751C367B45506481C26727C3E6C1
INFORMATION 2009/05/20:00:13:23 CSG1305 Request Ticket - Successful. 19078A551F501BCC0F77E7361EE76CAD V1 CSGTestData Thisistheextendeddata
INFORMATION 2009/05/20:00:13:23 CSG1303 Ticket timed out. 414CB490647B8A2FCE023D66E7D0850E
...
and so on.
You will need to parse for a line like the following:
INFORMATION 2009/05/20:00:13:24 CSG1305 Request Ticket - Successful. 5C6C67EB127CFDB0821DC88CA1C10972 V4 CGPAddress = XXX.XXX.XX.XXX:2598:localhost:1494 Refreshable = false XData = <!--DOCTYPE CtxConnInfoProtocol SYSTEM "CtxConnInfo.dtd"-->XXX.XXX.XX.XXX:1494USER@DOM.COMRemote Desktop AccessICA ICAAddress = XXX.XXX

From the above line we can get the ticket status, the username, the published application, and the target server that hosts the application. When this is parsed and placed in a database, we can associate a time and date with the ticket creation and determine how long the user is logged in and what applications they are running.

To accomplish the data gathering, we use tools from InterSect Alliance like Epilog Agent for Windows to tail the stalog files.  This raw data is then sent to a server running Kiwi SysLog.  Kiwi parses the data (using a script) and then inserts it into a database table.  We’ve found these tools to be inexpensive and have a low resource utilization.

So, to sum up we have external users connecting to our Citrix farm and STA logs generating when they connect, what they run, and what server they connect to.  We parse the logs into a database and that gives us a real-time/historical record of the user’s use of our Citrix farm.    Next post will cover gathering average telecommuting statistics from the Internet.

Thanks,
Alain