How to Resolve a Complex IT Problem in Just a Few Clicks with eG Enterprise


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One of the most common and yet difficult things for any admin to accomplish is to trouble shoot end user “slow-time” issues. Application, database, network and server unresponsiveness or “slow-time” negatively affects enterprise performance and end user productivity ten times more often than downtime and can originate from just about anywhere within the enterprise.

Misconfiguration due to human error, missing drivers, intermittent memory faults, network IP cache errors, unbalanced workloads and constrained virtual resources can all be the root-cause of slow-time, or they could just be a resulting symptom, the key to resolving such issues is getting to the root-cause quickly before they spread to other systems and bring productivity to a standstill.

In the following walkthrough, I detail how such a scenario can be resolved quickly and easily before end users notice with the help of eG Enterprise. This example focuses primarily on Citrix and vmware but eG Enterprise can help IT departments maintain maximum productivity for millions of combinations of enterprise components.

eG Enterprise is a 100% web based solution making it possible for anyone in IT from the CIO and IT Managers to admins and helpdesk specialist to proactively monitor their environment anytime, anywhere on any device.

eG Alarms Window for Blog

When a “slow-time” error occurs, eG Enterprise automatically generates an alarm to the appropriate admin so they can take action immediately. The solution correlates and color codes the minor, major and critical alerts and displays them using a layer model with the most critical alert at the top.

eG Alarms Window Details for Blog

According to the alert Virtual CPU usage in the vmware ESX system console is high. The system console is a bootstrap operating system of ESX and should only be using about 2% of the CPU allocated to it, by scrolling over the description we can see the usage has suddenly increased to 100%; left alone this would surely affect Citrix performance and generate a large number of support calls to IT from end users.

eG Detailed Diagnosis Window for Blog

Fortunately, eG Enterprise patented detailed diagnosis technology makes identifying the root-cause a breeze. By scrolling to the right and using the magnifying glass icon, the root-cause is revealed within the Detailed Diagnosis window. The window is displaying information for the top 10 processes using virtual CPU resources; to the right of the window those processes are listed as SAMBA backups.

eG Fix Feedback Window

The root-cause is simply this, the vmware admin is performing a normal backup but it is taking place before the end of the workday potentially affecting Citrix users when they attempt to log on and access applications. The best solution is to contact the vmware admin, explain the situation and either agree to reschedule the backups or adjust virtual resources.

In this case, the Citrix and ESX admin agree to reschedule the backups and then the Citrix admin uses the Fix Feedback feature within eG Enterprise to document the event, as well as the agreed solution and save the record. Resolving the issue took just a few clicks and a quick phone call between admins.

eG Enterprise provides universal insight across platforms and domains whether they exist in the Cloud, the data center or in virtual space, it is for this reason that the Citrix admin had the visibility they needed to identify the root-cause as a virtual resource constraint within the vm’s that support Citrix.

The following is a more detailed look at the Citrix admins view of the eG Enterprise Universal Insight dashboard as well as the methodology and technology behind the solution.

eG Universal Insight Dashboard for Blog

The color codes of eG Enterprise are familiar, green is “Normal”, yellow is a “Minor” alert, orange is a “Major” alert and red is a “Critical” alert requiring immediate attention.

The dashboard provides universal insight for the 12 different components that comprise the two Citrix services they are monitoring. The Component Type panel lists the details for each of the 12 components.

Clicking on the listed services in the middle of the Infrastructure Health panel on the left will reveal which of the two services is generating alerts.

The Measure at – A – Glance panel at the bottom left lists the measurements and tests conducted for each of the 12 components that comprise the two different Citrix service being monitored. Details include CPU utilization, Free memory, Active Citrix sessions, and more.

The bell icon on the top right of the window is a link to the alarm window details viewed previously.

eG Infomart Services Window for Blog

After clicking on the Services panel eG Enterprise presents two Citrix service icons for the different services, it appears that Infomart is the service experiencing major issues, clicking on the Infomart icon opens the list of Web Transactions for the Infomart service.

eG Informart Transactions Window for Blog

The list indicates that Application Access and User Logons are experiencing errors. The Citrix admin may click on the Topology tab or the transactions themselves for a service topology graph for the Infomart service.

eG Citrix Topology Window for Blog

Navigating the Infomart service topology from left to right, end users are connecting to Infomart through a network node, then a web server that is experiencing minor errors; the requests then reach a Citrix Zone Data Collector, which sends the request to one of the Citrix XenApp servers, which is experiencing major errors. The XenApp server then accesses the appropriate file, print or database server on the backend.

Based on the color codes eG Enterprise is indicating that the primary focus should be on the Citrix XenApp servers. Clicking on them will present the Citrix admin with either a physical or a virtual topology for Citrix XenApp depending on the supporting host.

eG Virtual Citrix XenApp Topology Window for Blog

The virtual topology indicates that the vmware ESX virtual machine hosting the Citrix Zone Data Collector, the Web server and Citrix XenApp are experiencing critical errors, that is where the focus needs to be. Clicking on that area of the virtual service topology reveals the elements that support those virtual machines.

eG Layer Model Window for Blog

This is the eG Enterprise Layer model for the Citrix XenApp service topology. On the right are all of the elements that support the virtual machines as well as the various tests that correspond to that layer. As an example within the OS layer for the virtual hypervisor are measurements and tests for the System Console, CPU, Disk Space and more; depending on which layer is selected the information within the right panel changes accordingly.

eG Detailed Diagnosis Window for Blog

eG Enterprise has already identified that virtual CPU resources within the system console are constrained. Using the magnifying glass icon on the far right opens the same Detailed Diagnosis window previously accessed from the Alarms window and the same SAMBA errors are viewable, this confirms the previous diagnosis.

Regardless of the path an admin chooses to use, identifying the root-cause of a complex IT problem takes just a few clicks with the eG Enterprise.

eG Infrastructure Health Reporting Window for Blog

The last thing I will cover are some of the reporting benefits that eG Enterprise provides. By returning to the Universal Insight dashboard and selecting the Reporter tab, anyone in IT can pull performance reports for the infrastructure.

Reports are available based on Function, Component, Service, or Segment; two of the more important are Operational KPI and Capacity Planning. Easy access to comprehensive reporting make it possible to maintain business continuity, predict peak needs, ensure future readiness for emerging technologies while keeping costs down and increasing productivity.

The eG Enterprise methodology is simple, the technology is powerful and the universal insight is comprehensive.

For a free trial, to schedule a live demo or obtain more information about eG Enterprise send a request to info@eginnovations.com or go to our website at www.eginnovations.com

How to Protect an eG Installation from POODLE Attacks


A POODLE attack is an exploit that takes advantage of the way some browsers deal with encryption. POODLE (Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption) is the name of the vulnerability that enables the exploit. POODLE can be used to target browser-based communication that relies on the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) 3.0 protocol for encryption and authentication. The Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol has largely replaced SSL for secure communication on the Internet, but many browsers will revert to SSL 3.0 when a TLS connection is unavailable. An attacker who wants to exploit POODLE takes advantage of this by inserting himself into the communication session and forcing the browser to use SSL 3.0.

The attacker is then free to use an exploit design flaw in SSL 3.0 that allows the padding data at the end of a block cipher to be changed so that the encryption cipher becomes less secure each time it is passed. To prevent a POODLE attack that forces a browser to degrade to SSL 3.0, administrators should check to see that their server software supports the latest version of TLS and is configured properly.

The eG Enterprise system is vulnerable to a POODLE attack when the eG manager is configured with SSL. Even though the communication between the eG agents and the manager or between the manager and user browsers does not contain business sensitive data, administrators may still want to avert a security attack. For instance, user login information (possibly even to an Active Directory domain) can be compromised.

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How a POODLE attack happens

To protect against unauthorized access and probable abuse by unscrupulous POODLE attackers, you will have to disable SSL 3.0 on the eG manager. To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the eG manager’s Tomcat configuration file: <EG_INSTALL_DIR>\manager\tomcat\conf\server.xml
  2. Find the Connector configuration corresponding to the eG manager. This should have the attributes: SSLEnabled=”true” scheme=”https” secure=”true”.
  3. If you are using JDK 1.6 for running the eG manager, then remove the attribute sslProtocol=”TLS” from the above configuration and replace it with:  sslEnabledProtocols=”TLSv1″
  4. If you are using JDK 1.7 , then remove the attribute sslProtocol=”TLS” from the above configuration and replace it with:  sslEnabledProtocols=”TLSv1,TLSv1.1,TLSv1.2″ 
  5. Now, restart the eG manager for the changes to be effective.

Reduce Downtime and Slow-time in the Borderless Enterprise


nextgov-mediumThe era of the borderless enterprise is here!

Ensuring on-demand availability of apps, data and seamless collaboration via the cloud, across the web, virtual networks, servers and storage requires complete and total visibility across platforms, domains, time zones and geographies.

When apps and databases are unavailable or slow and unresponsive the downstream impact can be truly devastating. Customer loyalty suffers, industry reputations become damaged, and strategic partnerships dissolve, legal liabilities increase, stock values decrease and financial markets collapse.

Do you know how many man hours are affected by downtime and slow-time each year by just the Fortune 500?

Do you know the estimated compensation cost of downtime and slow-time compared to annual GDP?

Are you a CIO or IT Executive and want to know more?

Within our most recent Enterprise Solution Brief “Reducing Downtime and Slow-time in the Borderless Enterprise” you will discover the following;

  • 3 key benefits of eG Enterprise Universal Insight within the Borderless Enterprise
  • The REAL Cost of Downtime and Slow-time
  • Why “Universal Insight is Required”
  • How eG Enterprise Universal Insight is “Ready for the Future of the Borderless Enterprise”
  • How eG Enterprise Universal Insight is a “Force Multiplier for Enterprise IT”

Read the brief then let us show you the numerous ways that eG Enterprise Universal Insight can help you reduce downtime and slow-time, enhance IT service performance, increase operational efficiency, ensure IT effectiveness.

Email info@eginnovations.com

Call 866.526.6700

Enhance Healthcare IT and Improve Patient Care


innovationwordcloud400FACT: Preventable medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States right behind heart disease and cancer. It doesn’t seem possible but according to “Death by Medical Mistakes Hits Record” in Healthcare IT News it’s true and the related financial costs may be as high as $1 trillion dollars.

Certainly many of the deaths are due to situations Healthcare IT has no influence over, but some are due to preventable problems such as inaccurate and missing records or systems which are completely down, experiencing application or database slow-time when doctors, clinicians and patients are in critical need.

According another Healthcare IT News article “The True Nature of Recovery: 5 Ways to Mitigate Downtime, Data Loss” there are a number of things that Healthcare CIOs and IT managers can do to mitigate the risks to both patients and the bottom line of healthcare organizations. Though the article is focused on disaster recovery it is very quick to point out that knowing your systems, avoiding points of failure and ensuring that you have the data necessary to right-size, avoid cost over runs and prepare for emerging technologies are highly important.

What Healthcare IT organizations need is a solution that helps reduce IT complexity, increases performance, tracks app adoption, offers role based reporting and grants CIOs, Managers and admins “universal insight” across the solution stack as well as all other interdependent physical and virtual layers; and they need the ability to do it all from just a single interface instead of multiple silo-centric tools.

Within our most recent Enterprise Solution Brief specifically for Healthcare IT you will discover

  • 4 key benefits that improve Healthcare IT efficiency and result in enhanced patient care
  • What factors are driving “Healthcare IT Transformation
  • How to “Enable Successful Healthcare IT Transformation
  • How eG Enterprise Universal Insight is “Ready for the Future of Healthcare IT”
  • How eG Enterprise Universal Insight is a “Force Multiplier for Healthcare IT”

Read the brief then let us show you the many ways that eG Enterprise Universal Insight can enhance your Healthcare IT department, improve patient care and save lives.

Email info@eginnovations.com

Call 866.526.6700

In 2015 CIOs Will Need Universal Insight Across the Enterprise


Imagekid Silo-centric monitoring and management tools are fine for supporting a confined infrastructure with very limited interdependencies but for CIOs seeking to prevent drains on CAPEX and ensure they are contributing to OPINC they aren’t enough.

Resolving IT pain and avoiding unscheduled downtime is the traditional focus of APM and NPM solutions and it will continue to be important in 2015 but emerging technologies like Cloud, mobility and XaaS are reinventing the role of the modern CIO.

Those who virtualized and consolidate their data center servers over the last ten years are now extending virtualization across the enterprise to include networking, storage, cloud and mobility deployments.

With the new era of the borderless enterprise upon them CIOs are keenly aware of the need to research and adopt solutions that both resolve traditional IT pain while giving them universal insight across the enterprise so they can ensure emerging technologies deliver greater value to the business.

Below are some of the predictions for 2015 that will shape the need for CIOs to have universal insight across the enterprise…

Enable workspace flexibility. IT executives are being challenged to adopt and integrate mobile solutions at a blinding pace but 70% of end user devices cannot pass basic compliance and security tests, so introducing foreign devices on the corporate network poses serious risks. CIOs will need to ensure availability while managing access, device and user compliance and security, having universal insight across user and device profiles, approved and blacklisted apps, databases and domains will be critical to success.

XaaS becomes the new IT stack for Hybrid Cloud. The era of everything as a service has arrived. The development of virtual cloud and mobility apps are driving IT innovation and the consolidation of intellectual properties at a blinding pace. To maintain market share and demonstrate thought leadership traditional product centric companies will accelerate efforts to bring new XaaS offerings to market. The rollout and adoption of new service offerings like vDaaS, DRaaS, IaaS, MWaaS, PaaS, and WPaaS with grow and mature in 2015 and throughout the remainder of the decade.

The borderless enterprise explosion will usher in a new era of compliance and security. The gaps and interdependencies between cloud, mobility, virtual and shared infrastructures, social media platforms and SaaS will inspire a renewed focus on compliance and security the way email, malware and network security have before. APM providers will be faced with some interesting choices; either acquire or develop additional internal compliance and security expertise, partner with an existing security provider or remain focused on their existing silo niche. CIOs will be left with deciding to go all-in with a security provider, purchase silo-centric solutions that provide limited compliance and security visibility, or evaluate and choose an APM NPM solution that meets most of their needs now as APM NPM compliance and security maturity continues to grow.

Containerization remains a test and development play, for now. Game changer, disruptive and death knell are all phrases tossed about when containerization solutions are discussed as an alternative to traditional virtualization but the reality is much less dramatic. Container solutions are well suited for accelerating Linux app portability and reducing associated overhead, Google and Facebook have deployed containers very successfully but their demands for rapid deployment and scale are different from most corporate customers. Until container solutions are cross compatible, offer mature management options and enhanced security capabilities expect containers to remain a solution for Linux test and development environments while traditional VMs meet the majority of data center production demands.

Data is the new natural resource and almost as important as air and water. Ensuring on-demand availability of data and seamless collaboration via the cloud, across virtual networks, servers and storage will require that CIOs have complete and total visibility across platforms, domains, time zones and geographies in 2015. Ensuring maximum uptime, preventing downtime and performing root-cause analysis are now IT table stakes. Whereas having universal insight across the enterprise, providing a seamless user experience, preventing slow-time and increasing productivity via the borderless enterprise are the new business goals CIOs must be aligned with and focused on.

Ensure IT effectiveness and business alignment. CIOs must align IT initiatives with desired business outcomes for productivity, growth and profit. APM historical performance reports provide the empirical data they need to help them balance workloads, right-size the enterprise and eliminate cost overruns so capacity planning meets the business needs of today while preparing for the emerging technologies of tomorrow.

Deliver a positive user experience through enhanced service performance. End users judge their experience relative to their ability to be productive and complete an end goal. Whether end users are employees and partners seeking to work seamlessly between the office and a mobile device as they move across domains or customers accessing a web cart, they all expect apps and databases to be available, accessible and responsive. CIOs will rely heavily on APM solutions to provide KPI for user logons, average response time, page loads, app adoption, abandonment rates and other metrics to ensure that end users are happy and productive.

Expanded use of KPI metrics. What started with call center, helpdesk and customer service metrics is expanding rapidly. APM solutions that can be adapted to collect KPIs for industry and role specific applications are influencing the decision making of CEOs, CFOs and other executives. APM solutions will be used to measure and determine the viability of pilot programs, industrial expansion and even the purchase of competing intellectual properties.

Improve operational efficiency. Reliance on command line interfaces and technology trees is functional but outdated. CIOs will arm and empower IT managers, admins and specialists with APM solutions that are customizable, intuitive, integrate easily with existing NOC tools and provide a unified view of the enterprise. The end goal will be to accelerate time to resolution, eliminate guesswork, reduce dependency on multiple silo-centric tools with limited visibility and mitigate the impact that natural attrition has on tribal knowledge.

For CIOs to achieve these goals and remain future ready they will need universal insight across the enterprise and timely, correlated information that enables data driven decision making. 2015 will be a very interesting year as CIO thought leaders seek to improve the end user experience and enhance productivity within the enterprise.

About eG Innovations eG Innovations is dedicated to helping businesses across the globe transform IT service delivery into a competitive advantage and a center for productivity, growth and profit. Many of the world’s largest businesses use eG Enterprise Universal Insight technology to enhance IT service performance, increase operational efficiency and ensure IT effectiveness. Visit here for more information.

eG Innovations Announces Release of eG Enterprise v6 Performance Monitoring Solution


servicetopeG Innovations today announced a major new release of eG Enterprise for performance monitoring, diagnosis and reporting of business-critical IT infrastructures. The v6 release features a sleek new user interface, new customizable dashboards, advanced reports, a mobile application, and broader and deeper monitoring of applications, virtualization platforms and storage.

eG Enterprise v6 introduces new capabilities that make it faster and easier for customers to diagnose problems and manage their IT environment. eG Innovations will be demonstrating eG Enterprise v6 for the first time at VMworld in San Francisco in Booth # 2047 (come to the booth and see us).

“Monitoring IT performance across increasingly complex layers of infrastructure, then gaining visibility of the end-user experience of that performance remains a vexing challenge for enterprise IT,” said Dennis Callaghan, Senior Analyst at 451 Research. “The new features in eG Enterprise V6 are designed to meet this challenge head on.”

“Enterprise customers are looking for intuitive, total performance visibility across every layer and every tier,” adds Bala Vaidhinathan, CTO, eG Innovations. “To achieve this, they often have to use multiple diverse tools to monitor, diagnose and report on the entire infrastructure. eG Enterprise v6 provides different stakeholders customized dashboards and drilldowns that offer deeper and broader visibility end-to-end, across every layer and every tier of the service infrastructure. This allows enterprises to minimize the number of tools they have to use to determine the root-cause of problems. eG Enterprise v6 enables organizations to reduce operations costs, improve IT productivity and enhance end-user productivity and satisfaction.”

New in eG Enterprise v6:

  • One-View Dashboards: With the one-view dashboards, administrators do not have to traverse across multiple screens or tools. They can now get a simplified, aggregated overview of IT services through a single dashboard. The one view dashboards are fully customizable and provide custom views for the different stakeholders in an organization. Executives can view service demand and popularity, while IT managers can get a quick overview of the key service performance metrics. Service demand, resource consumption and service quality are all presented in the same dashboard so IT managers can make intelligent decisions and pre-empt issues that can impact the user experience.
  • Next-Gen User Interface: eG Enterprise v6 delivers a modern Web 2.0 interface providing enhanced ease-of-use, accessibility and personalization of the management console. This seamless interface allows administrators to manage their entire IT environment, whether it utilizes physical or virtual servers and private, hybrid or public clouds.
  • eG Mobile App: eG Enterprise v6 introduces a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. Administrators can now track the performance of their key IT services from anywhere, at any time using their mobile and tablet.
  • AnyCloud Technology: eG Enterprise now delivers a consolidated way to manage the entire IT infrastructure, applications and users irrespective of the means and location of the delivery. The universal agent architecture and one-view dashboard provide a unified platform to manage a myriad set of cloud based services and technologies. Administrators have a clear way to demarcate between services delivered to the customer/user and the different types of infrastructure used to deliver it. They can easily keep track of the performance of their dynamically changing environments and the impact on service delivery, SLAs and user experience.
  • VDI Console for End-User Self-Service: With eG Enterprise v6, VDI administrators can configure and publish a console with virtual desktop session usage and performance metrics. This console empowers end-users, providing them the ability to perform basic diagnosis to determine what may be causing a slowdown during virtual desktop access – e.g., their network connectivity, bandwidth usage within their session, system resources used by the session, etc. This self-service console helps reduce user complaints to the help desk and thereby reduces support costs and enhances IT productivity.
  • Enhanced Desktop and Server Virtualization Monitoring: eG Enterprise includes enhanced Citrix XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V monitoring capabilities. V6 also extends eG Enterprise’s patented In-N-Out monitoring technology for servers using the Linux KVM hypervisor. For application virtualization and virtual desktop environments, eG Enterprise now includes powerful, new browser monitoring capabilities. Deeper visibility into user logons release to allow administrators to quickly identify and solve slow login issues is also part of the enhancements in this release.

Take a first look at eG Enterprise v6 here.

Visit us at VMworld today – booth 2047 – and see the new eG Enterprise v6 live in action!

Citrix XenApp Edgesight Implementation in 7.5


This is a re-post of “Citrix XenApp Edgesight Implementation in 7.5” by Rob Beekmans from his excellent blog vThoughts of IT:

In this blog I will talk about the improvements made to Citrix XenApp 7.5 and specifically to Director for that’s where all the XenApp administrators have to go to to manage the users.

Director instead of Edgesight

Let’s start by pointing out that since XenDesktop 7 Edgesight no longer is a separate product, it’s integrated in XenDesktop and now XenApp. It’s not really integrated, it’s more like a complete rebuild of the product. Just this week I was visiting a customer with Citrix to help them with an Edgesight 5.4 environment and we were surprised by the old console, felt nice but still so 90s to work in it again.

With Xendesktop 7 the rebirth of Edgesight has brought us a few nice features but many still are lost. Edgesight has an awful lot of data that you could use to troubleshoot. The current version of Edgesight in 7.5 has only a fraction of that.

When 7.x came out we had a few nice twitter conversations with Citrix to point out what we were missing. With the release of 7.5 I expected a few more additions but haven’t found them yet. I will show what of Edgesight is integrated or reborn and then you can decide for yourself.

Edgesight

I think it’s fair to say that the screenshots in this blog represent the complete Edgesight implementation. When we take a look at the dashboard you would see when you log on you notice that you see the sessions connected and the average logon duration.

User management

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The sessions connected is an interesting one, I think I wrote about it before but I’m not sure so let’s get into that one for a moment.

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When you click on the number of the sessions connected you are taken to another screen where you will see all session with details, some details. This is the equivalent of the management console you had with XenApp. So an administrator who manages a 1000 concurrent user farm, sorry site, will have this screen open en see the session listed. If however the unlikely event would happen that a session had issues you only could log off this session or disconnect it (now why would you do that).

From this console you can’t do shadow or kill a process or anything you would like to do. This console is there for the overview for them that want overview. My advice is, don’t use it… you only need it when you want to search for sessions etc with the filter. I hoped that they would add the shadow option here that would been very useful to this screen.

When you need to support your users you will stay in the dashboard screen and search for them, like you see in the screen at the top. How you will manage users from there is written here.

Administrative management

Another screen that is of interest is found from the dashboard under trending. There are a number of options that are useful from a management perspective. One of the most useful screens there is the load evaluator option where you can see if you set that up right.

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The other options are connection failures, failed server, failed desktops, logon performance and network. Logon performance is pretty nice but I rather see this from a user perspective, but nice nevertheless.

 

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Session duration details

The most wanted report in Edgesight was the session duration details report where you could see the client and server side of the session and the time all actions took.

With the report shown in the screenshot above and the details at the user level they’ve done a good job. I was afraid this one would be put in Platinum like they do with all nice features (reverse seamless) but thank goodness it’s in all edition available.

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This screen is a good starting point for troubleshooting when users call for slow logons. Profile load should never be higher then 2-3 seconds, anything higher is a roaming profile.

And that’t is.. there are no more Edgesight features in XenDesktop or XenApp 7.5

..ah wait there is one more but somehow it’s never working and I can’t seem to find any info on it either.

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this option is there on a global level and per user but I guess I will need Netscaler HDX insight running to get any data here… would be nice if they add a line that says “you ain’t got no Netscaler son” but it says open the help, which opens a 404.

Conclusion

Edgesight is reborn but still a toddler compared to his successor. The features that are included are nice but management in general compared to what XenApp administrators were used to are minimal. Hopefully in the next versions this will be taken care off.

For now for real monitoring of your environment I would suggest to take a look at eG Innovations and use Edgesight only for troubleshooting.