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ControlUp NetScaler Monitor

Again the team of ControlUp created an nice and cool freeware utility called NetScaler Monitor. As this Citrix product is becoming more and more important in many organizations it’s nice to see that there is something available which keeps an eye on your infrastructure. In this Glance at Free article I’m going to provide you more insights about this new freeware utility.

 

Installation




When I saw the first preview of the utility I was directly impressed by this utility, especially as it not a monitor tool only. In that timeframe it was mentioned as single executable, but it is now available as small installer via the website of ControlUp (https://www.controlup.com/controlup-netscaler/). The installer is really simple and I guess it just unpacks the executable actually. You can install this part on any machine as long as the machine can reach the management IP address (NSIP) of the NetScalers you would like to monitor.

 After the installation, all actions are done via a web browser. You can connect to the IP/DNS name of the machine you installed the utility on port 3333.

The next step is to add your NetScaler’s to the tool. Therefore you need to provide a name (just for administration), the NSIP, a username with a corresponding password and the protocol to connect to the NetScaler. You can add as many NetScaler’s as you want.

After adding the NetScaler, we are ready to use the capabilities of the product.

Using ControlUp NetScaler monitor

By default you will start with the dashboard pane. In this dashboard you get an overview of the NetScaler(s). Per NetScaler you can see het amount of (active) load balancers, gateway, basic system usage, connected (HDX) users) and logically the status of the machine itself. From the view you have two options. You can select the different services via the left menu, but you can also click on a NetScaler within the Dashboard to see the services per NetScaler as shown in below figure.

For the kind of information it does not make a difference, the same information is shown. Which view depends what you are searching for. If you have a great amount of NetScalers and you don’t know on which NetScaler the service is running, the left menu is the best option. If you are looking for issues on a specific NetScaler probably using the dashboard and selecting the NetScaler is the easiest method.

Let’s go into more details per component, starting with the Load Balancers. For the Load Balancers you can see on which appliance the service is running, the protocol/port the IP address of the service, network traffic and the amount of connections. Logically you can also see which actual servers are handling this service including the information of this server (protocol, port, IP adres, network traffic, connections and state). Besides a monitoring the services, the can also enable/disable the service. This is done with the small arrow at the status component (check the image at the Gateway section to see in it in action).

Next also the Gateway(s) are shown. For the NetScaler Gateway the following information is shown: Gateway, Appliance, IP Adress, Port, Network Traffic and the status. You also see the configured STAs for the Gateway. Personally I would like to see more information about services being used by the Gateway, for example the configured authentication services, StoreFront services and (less important) configured certificate (with expiration date?).

You can also see which HDX session (connections via the gateway) are currently running including the appliance connected, the client IP, the Citrix session IP address and the port connected. When you have a big environment an search option is available to quickly find a user. The tool also offers the option to kill the session.

Last but not least there is a system tab available, which shows more detailed information about the NetScaler like Packet CPU usage, Management CPU usage, configuration information, version number and start time.

Summarization

It is always nice to see a supplier delivery a freeware utility additional to their product suite. Logically the information will be integrated in their product suite, but providing this to the community is great. The tool is still in beta so probably they will enhance the tool in the near future. I think the tool is providing real value-add. It would be nice if the Gateway information can be extended, but further it is offering a good overview of the NetScaler services. I like the additional functionality to enable/disable services and the possibility to kill a user session.