XenServer Central

XenServer, while not as mature an enterprise product as VMWare’s offerings is bridging the gap quickly (competion is a good thing :).)  Citrix has recently released XenServer 5.5 which we are looking at to virtualize our XenApp servers.  Today, Citrix has created XenServer Central to consolidate all the information available for this product.  I plan on installing the free version at home in my lab and will post my experience soon.

The release of the free enterprise-ready XenServer virtualization infrastructure in February lowered the adoption barriers for a full managed platform, and the subsequent release of XenServer 5.5 last week has kicked the excitement up a notch.

One of the things we have noticed, though, is that some new XenServer users have had a difficult time navigating our web presence and finding all of the XenServer-specific information. The fact that we offer the compete Citrix Delivery Center solution, with powerful end-to-end delivery of all types of applications, offers a powerful set of capabilities — but all that information can make it difficult when what you’re trying to do is find all of the product information, news, and support resources for one product.

So we are now launching XenServer Central – a home on the web for all things XenServer.

You’ll find everything there from pointers to product information and documentation to the latest press releases and articles to white papers to informational videos… even an easy way to follow our XenServer Army feed on Twitter (as well as other Twitter posts about XenServer).

You’ll even find some surprises, like our “How I Found Xen” contest rules.

Check it out, bookmark it, and stop back often.  It’s the quickest and easiest way to stay up-to-date on all things XenServer.

Read the entire article here.

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

A hard, rough, abrasive look at camel spotting…no dromedaries…no virtualization.

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