Use Citrix Director Historical Trends

It is amazing how much data gets captured as we interact with people and things throughout the day. Do you ever look at it?

I DO! I love data. I find it fascinating to see what trends you can observe.

The other day, I was reviewing how much water we use at home. Our city tracks usage, which I can view. For the past 12 years, my water usage was 48, 59, 46, 59, 56, 55, 62, 71, 62, 69, 73, 83.

Not super helpful until we turn that data into a graph.

Two things immediately pop out:

  1. Over the past 12 years, our water usage has steadily gone up, which makes sense as my kids get older and take longer showers (I can’t even imagine what happens to this graph when they become teenagers).
  2. Three points in time, my yearly water usage dropped. Why? After a little research, I concluded that each one of those years corresponds to the year where I replaced one of our 3 toilets, which were 20+ years old. You’ve probably heard that new toilets use less water than older ones, so much so that I can see the impact on my yearly water usage. Fascinating

For XenApp and XenDesktop admins, many of you know that Director includes real-time tracking and historical usage trends. Ever wondered how you can use this capability effectively?

Let’s say you have to install a cumulative update, a security patch or an app update on a XenApp host. Are you concerned about the potential impact on the scalability of the server? You should be. Who knows what it will do to the overall user density.

Because we are unsure about the potential impact of an update, we should follow a cloud-thinking strategy with updates by using a canary model where we patch a small subset of systems first to identify any issues before rolling out to all of production servers.

Let those servers run and bake for 7 days, if possible, to gather enough real-user data to generate useful historical trends in Director.

Here I did 2 hour historical trend, and although I can see increases in RAM and CPU, the insights can get lost with all of the minor fluctuations within real user behavior.


By using a longer time period for the trend, those minor fluctuations smooth out and better insights can be gathered.

Those insights are critical to the ongoing stability of your environment. Did CPU increase/decrease? Did RAM? Did user load? If there is an increase, you need to determine if the percent increase is greater than your available extra capacity within your environment. If so, you have to allocate more resources BEFORE you roll out the update to all production servers, or else you will end up with a lack of server resources to service all of your user requests.

In the end, if you don’t plan properly, your usability gets flushed down the drain.

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
XenApp/XenDesktop On-Prem Poster
XenApp/XenDesktop Cloud Service Poster
Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.15 VDI Handbook


XenApp and XenDesktop Service Architecture Poster

I’ve spent many years focusing on delivering applications and desktops to users with XenApp & XenDesktop.  I, like many of you, started with on-premises deployments and am witnessing a growing shift towards cloud deployments. Regardless of the reason and justification for a move to the cloud, those of us focusing on the technical aspects of such a decision need to understand how the pieces fit together.

When subscribing to the XenApp and XenDesktop Service in Citrix Cloud, I’ve asked myself the following:

  • What components do I need?
  • What deployment options do I have?
  • How will users authenticate?
  • What network ports do I need?

In fact, these questions are very similar to the ones I often hear for on-premises deployments, which was the basis for the XenApp and XenDesktop On-Premises Architecture Poster.

To help all of us techies better understand the XenApp and XenDesktop Service in Citrix Cloud, I’m happy to announce the XenApp and XenDesktop Service Architecture Poster. (PDF FILE)

And for those of you who want the original diagrams, I’ve added them into the latest revision of the Citrix Visio Stencils.

Finally, I’d like to give a huge shout out and thank you to Joel Stocker who helped me create these diagrams.

Change Log:

  • June 5, 2018: Modified traffic flow based on new functionality in section – Citrix Cloud Traffic Flow (Cloud-hosted Workspace and NetScaler Gateway Service)
  • January 9, 2018: Original poster released


Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.15 VDI Handbook

XenApp Best Practices

XenApp Video