If you run or regularly work with Citrix products like XenApp, XenDesktop, or XenServer (and more..) there are some tools out there that the “pro’s” use, and heck, even internal Citrix support — and they’re all available to the general public. Some history…so back in 2011 Citrix started their TaaS beta (Tools as a Service) with a goal of automating a lot of the support data collection and reporting and making it easier for their clients to troubleshoot issues in their environment. Not all of these roll up into TaaS/AutoSupport, but some of them do, and I’ve even included some that are just unofficial and unsupported scripts but help when troubleshooting various things. This article isn’t meant to be an in-depth deep dive into each product, but rather a high level overview. So hopefully if you weren’t familiar with some or all of these this post will help you…and maybe show you some you weren’t aware of.
I want to briefly touch on each tool.
Scout is health check/data collection tool that can be used against XenApp and XenDesktop (6.x and 5.x, respectively, as of this writing). By default it will capture all of the relevant logs and information, and if your experiencing a specific issue you have the option to also run a CDF trace against selected targets (helpful if your going to be working with Citrix Support). It also prompts you for your MyCitrix username and password and will automatically upload all the data to AutoSupport for analysis. I’ve put a screenshot below of the main AutoSupport page showing the results from a scan. It hits on most areas at a high level that you would want to focus on, including current hot fix levels vs recommended (per CTX129229), farm and datastore information, and a log viewer.
This is my go to tool when troubleshooting XenDesktop VDA registration, to the point I usually include it in my “bin” folder within golden images that I build so it is always handy. It has to be run from a cmd prompt window, and I usually run directly on the XenDesktop Controller or the target(s) having the issue. It will chew threw DNS, logs, firewall rules, and show any errors or warnings that would be preventing the controller and VDA from being friends. If your having VDA registration issues, start here. If your lucky, it will be your first and last tool you use to troubleshoot this all too common issue. Sorry no screenshot on this one..my home lab is in flux and I don’t have XD currently stood up.
This is another of my “go to” tools I carry. If your having Citrix User Profile Manager issues, this tool can help you track down the easy ones (before enabling logging) and also give you guidance if your varying from best practice. This script needs to be run via a PowerShell window on your target device (XenDesktop or XenApp). It will run through all the profile settings and give you errors or warnings on what to look at, as well as deviations from best practices. It basically scans all the UPM settings and at the very end spits out a list of recommended things you should look at that aren’t up to par.
The swiss army knife of troubleshooting session launches and isolating their problems. Version 3 of this tool finally came out in early 2013 with XenDesktop support and a slick new interface. From this tool you can launch published apps, connect to XenDesktops, and ever to XenApp server desktops. Take Receiver/plugins out of play, take WI/StoreFront out of play, and help you isolate down to what the problem is with applications or desktops being launched and brokered. This is the tool to do it with.
Finally, AutoSupport is the website that Scout leverages for analysis and reporting of data from XenApp and XenDesktop, but it can actually do more products than just those. It is also capable of NetScaler and XenServer reporting. I recently tested my lab NetScaler VPX 10.1 via AutoSupport and confirmed it works. For NetScaler just go to (in 10.1, Systems, Diagnostics, Generate Support File). Once its done download the diagnostic file and upload to AutoSupport. The same is true for XenServer, run a server report and upload the resulting file for a health check on your XenServer pool.
Hopefully these tools will help you save time like they have me.