by David Brett, CTP
I have been fortunate enough to be able to play with the new Citrix NetScaler Management and Analytics System in beta from the awesome NetScaler team at Citrix.
The following article will give you a first look at what it is, how to initially deploy it and start to monitor some of your virtual servers running on your NetScaler.
Lets get going…
Deploying the NetScaler Management and Analytics System Appliance
Log into your hypervisor client (in this case VMware ESXi) and select the relevant option to deploy a template. Select the NetScaler Management and Analytics System (NMAS) image file you have downloaded from citrix.com.
Give your new appliance a name.
Select a location for the image to be deployed.
Select your disk format – in this case Thin Provisioned.
Select the network that you want to have attached to the appliance.
Check everything and click deploy.
Wait for the deployment to finish and power on the appliance.
As you can see from this, Citrix has made it nice and easy for us to deploy the new NMAS system, and at first look it looks like this will replace NetScaler Insight and Command Center and wrap it into a single appliance. This will not only save you time in deployment, it will also save you a Windows Server license that you would normally run Citrix Command Center from.
Next we will do the initial configuration of the appliance. Thankfully Citrix has also made this nice and simple for us!
NMAS Initial Configuration
Boot up the appliance.
Let the boot cycle finish. Once done you will be asked what type of deployment you want to do with the NMAS appliance. Since I am running this in my lab, I will select option 1, NetScaler MAS Server.
You are then prompted for a hostname for the appliance and networking details. Fill those out, save and quit the wizard, then when prompted restart the appliance.
That’s it – you’re now ready to get into the meat of the appliance.
I have to say that I am very impressed with how Citrix has dealt with the deployment and initial configuration of the NMAS appliance – it really is a 5 minute job to get running – then you are ready to get onto the interface.
Logging in and Setting up NetScaler Management and Analytics System
To get to the User Interface for NMAS you need to go to the IP address you gave the appliance during the initial configuration, then log in with the default user credentials shown below.
You will need to answer the option to send feedback to Citrix.
Once logged in, the first thing you will need to do is add a NetScaler to the NMAS system to be monitored. Head over to the Infrastructure tab and select the type of NetScaler you want to monitor (MPX, VPX etc).
Initially click on create profile. This will enable you to create a profile for NMAS to connect to your NetScaler. In this case I am using nsroot to connect to the NetScaler but this could be different if you have globally bound LDAP to your NetScaler.
Once you have a profile created click to add a NetScaler, put in the NSIP and select the profile you created from the list provided.
Click on OK and NMAS will go and discover the NetScaler and add it to your inventory.
Once added you get a nice dashboard showing the status of your NetScaler(s) you have added to NMAS.
If you head over to the Certificates tab you will see some nice graphics showing you the state of all your certificates you have on the NetScaler.
Clicking on the Applications Tab will display the status of all your Load Balancers configured on the NetScaler.
You can drill down and check the status of individual Virtual Servers and enable / disable the services direct from NMAS.
Setting up AppFlow to Monitor your NetScaler Gateway
To start to get AppFlow data into the NMAS appliance you will need to enable it. I am going to enable it for my Unified Gateway.
Head back over to Infrastructure, Click on your NetScaler you added earlier and from the manage menu select Enable/Disable Insight.
Click to enable Geo Data if required, Select VPN from the View drop down, select your gateway from the list provided and select Enable AppFlow.
When asked enable ICA and HTTP and select the expression true.
Once enabled you can go to the Analytics, HDX Insight tab.
Once there you can see that status of your currently logged in users. In this case I have launched a Published Desktop from my Mac. As you can see below NMAS is collecting data from the NetScaler.
That’s it for the initial configuration. Over the following weeks, I will put more information up about using AppFlow on NMAS and using the configuration function of NMAS to manage and maintain your NetScaler estate.
Something also coming up very soon will be information about the long awaited NetScaler CPX Appliance. I know a friend of mine and fellow SIG leader (Marius Sandbu) is itching to get his hands on it and write some cool blogs about it.
Hope this gives you a good initial look at NetScaler Management and Analytics System and will get you excited about some pretty cool monitoring/management you will be able to do very soon.