EdgeSight: What’s the Point?

Intro

In my experience, EdgeSight is not typically deployed in XenApp environments. The reasons for this are many including, it seems redundant and overlaps with an already installed solution, it’s hard to use (sorry Citrix, this is a great tool, but it almost requires a dedicated resource to manage it), most XenApp administrators/managers do not know why or how it should be used, and finally you need a platinum license in order to run the agent in advanced mode which is a deal-breaker for some companies.

In this post, I will cover a use case for EdgeSight that measures memory utilization of IE after a registry change is made.

Why Internet Explorer will kill your memory

Trond Eirik Haavarstein at XenAppBlog wrote a 2-part series on running Internet Explorer 7 or 8 in a terminal server environment and its impact on memory utilization. He shows how memory is used by multiple tabs in IE and references an MSDN Blog about a registry change that will modify the Tab Process Growth.

Any XenApp/Terminal Services environment is an exercise in resource management so we wanted to apply this change in our staging environment (prior to applying it in production) to determine if it will have a positive impact.

EdgeSight – Oh I get it!

After applying the registry change via a GPO, we waited a few days in order to gather enough data in EdgeSight to make a before/after comparison. Now we will walk through selecting the report we need and running it with the correct criteria.

Log into EdgeSight and go to the Browse Tab to select the report we need:

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Here’s what you see (click on the picture to make it bigger)…

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What! 143 reports? How do I get what I need? Well, we need to report on the performance of Internet Explorer. EdgeSight refers to applications as processes.  These can be executables launched by users (published applications) or processes run by system accounts. Click on Process under the Object Type table. Now we see (click on the picture to make it bigger)…

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We’ve filtered our report list to just 33 items. If we wish to further filter our results, we can select Historical for the time frame and Performance for Data Type which gives us 15 reports to look through.  Since we know we’re looking for a report related to memory, we could have just as easily typed “memory” in the search field which gives us the following…

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Then click on Processes for the Object Type would give us just 3 results…

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You can see that you can narrow your choices in a couple of different ways.  The report we need is the Process Memory Usage. Let’s click on this report and see what the default result is.

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As you can see above, we are looking at the entire environment monitored by EdgeSight and looking at the top 20 processes for the past week. The resulting report is grouped by Process, then Device, and then user…

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We need to narrow the parameters of this report to give us the info we need for Internet Explorer…

We can first choose to limit the Department to just our XenApp servers where we made the registry change. Next we can hit the Category drop down and select Web Browsers.

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If you only have IE installed on your XenApp servers, this makes it easy. Otherwise, you will have to check the Optional Parameters and find the process in the Process Picker Window…

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Type iexplore.exe into the Filter window, make sure the By File Name radio button is checked and click filter

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Select it and click Ok. Now Internet Explorer is the selected process in the Optional Parameters section.

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Clicking on Go will show us the top 20 instances of Internet Explorer’s usage of Virtual, Private, and Working Set memory over the period of 3/22 to 3/29. For a detailed explanation of memory, I would refer to Mark Russinovich’s blog post here.

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We want to track the change in memory usage over time, so we have to modify how the data is grouped. Changing the grouping to Date, Process, and All gives us the following:

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Now it’s a matter of selecting the correct dates and comparing the results to show how the change we made has positively impacted IE memory usage.

Here are the results I recorded with EdgeSight in our staging environment:

Before:

After:

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I found that the IE memory footprint was reduced by 10,000 – 30,000 kb after applying the registry change. That works out to around 10-30 MB per user which isn’t too bad in shared environment.

Have you tried this registry change and if so what was your result? How did you measure it? Comment Below

Thanks,
Alain

Article: Enabling or Disabling HDX Plug-n-Play for USB Storage Devices

Intro

Sometimes your security team will be your best friend. They will be the “bad guy” in your IT organization and prevent certain applications from being installed or they will require that remote users have reduced access. Recently, I was approached by my security team to prevent access to the clipboard, local printers, and local drives for a certain group of users.  This better secures our environment and  reduces ICA bandwidth and speeds up login times. When I created a new Citrix policy to put these restrictions in place, I found that USB hard-drives were still being mapped.

Solution

Searching the Citrix eDocs site, I came across the following detail at the bottom of the Drives Folder section in the Policy Rules Reference:

Enabling or Disabling HDX Plug-n-Play for USB Storage Devices
HDX Plug-n-Play for USB storage devices is enabled by default. To change the settings for HDX Plug-n-Play for USB storage devices, manually change the key specified below on the XenApp server. Changes apply to all users.

Caution: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that can require you to reinstall the operating system. Citrix cannot guarantee that problems resulting from incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk. Make sure you back up the registry before you edit it.

Toggle USB drive redirection on and off using the following registry key on the server:

On XenApp 32-bit edition
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Citrix\Policies\DisableUSBDriveRedirection

On XenApp 64-bit edition
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Wow6432Node\Citrix\Policies\DisableUSBDriveRedirection

Type: DWORD

Values:
1 = redirection disabled
0 = redirection enabled

Note: HDX Plug-n-Play for USB storage devices is enabled when the registry key is not present.

Once I added the registry setting (and logged back in), I was no longer able to see any mapped USB hard drives. This is also referenced in the following CTX articles: How to Prevent Manual Mapping of Client Connected USB Drives and How to Disable USB Drive Redirection

Thanks,
Alain

Article: SSL 38 Error when Launching Applications via Citrix NetScaler

[NOTE: I recently ran into this issue and the webinterface.conf changes mentioned in this Citrix forum post solved my issue. I’m also re-posting a Citrix article that covers the same problem.]

SSL 38 Error is Displayed when Launching Applications

Document ID: CTX128812   /   Created On: Apr 26, 2011   /   Updated On: Aug 24, 2011
Average Rating: not yet rated

Symptom

When trying to launch an application using ICA Proxy to XenApp via Access Gateway Enterprise the following error message is displayed:

Cause

Cause 1

This is possibly because of licensing restrictions as indicated in the article CTX119980 – SSL Error 38 when Launching Applications using Access Gateway Enterprise Edition

Cause 2

This issue can also be because of problems with Domain Name System (DNS) name resolution. When launching an application, the Access Gateway Enterprise Edition appliance uses the method specified in the WebInterface.conf file for name resolution. The Web Interface generates the ICA file. If the WebInterface.conf file is set to dns-port and DNS resolution is not possible, either because no DNS server is specified in the Access Gateway Enterprise configuration or the appliance being in a DMZ where no DNS server is reachable, then the launch of the application fails with the preceding error message.

Resolution

Option 1

The first option to resolve this issue is to specify a DNS server in the Access Gateway Enterprise Edition appliance within the Name Servers pane as shown in the following screenshot:

Option 2

The second option is to edit the WebInterface.conf file on the Web Interface server for that site, to resolve through ipv4-port rather than dns-port. The default location of the WebInterface.conf file is C:\inetpub\wwwroot\Citrix\sitename\conf\. Replace the sitename with the name of your site; the default sitename for a Web site on Web Interface is /Citrix/Xenapp. The following screenshots are sample screenshots of the WebInterface.conf file:

Before

After

Restart the IIS Web Server after saving the WebInterface.conf file.

This document applies to:

Thanks,
Alain