Automating Citrix NetScaler 11.1 with Octoblu and your Apple Watch

Automating Citrix NetScaler 11.1 with Octoblu and your Apple Watch

Automating Citrix NetScaler 11.1 with Octoblu and your Apple Watch

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I have been meaning to take a look at Octoblu for some time now but due to other commitments and workload I just have not had the time.  Over the past few days I have started to delve into the world of IoT and Octoblu and I have to say – I am very very impressed.  The possibilities here if you are willing to think outside the box are endless!

In this article I will walk you through setting up an Octoblu flow to connect to your internal Citrix NetScaler and add a vServer to your inventory.  I know that this is not something that you would do too often and it may seem like overkill but, if you think about it like this:

Scenario – You have a load balanced Citrix StoreFront cluster serving your remote users.  There is a massive storm forecast by the weather people.  Octoblu can repeatedly check the weather and when it picks up snow coming it can automatically add some servers to your Service Group on your NetScaler to cater for the extra users that you will no doubt get!  Now that is cool – load scaling based on real time weather reports!

I will get that working once I get more involved with Octoblu but baby steps.  Lets first get Octoblu to add a new Server to our NetScaler using my Apple Watch.

First, head over to https://app.octoblu.com/login and log in.  If you dont have an account then you will need to set one up.

01 - login

Once logged in you will be presented with your dashboard.  I have nothing configured on my account just yet.

02 - options

The first thing you will need to do is add the NetScaler as a thing.  Things are how Octoblu refer to, well things, that you can connect to!

03 - all things

Select All Things and scroll down until you see Octoblu Official Connectors

04 - octoblu connectors

Select NetScaler – this will begin the process of creating your NetScaler Meshblu Connector

05 - use latest

Select the latest version and then download the installer that is relevant to the operating system you will be installing the connector on.

06 - download installer

Once you have downloaded the ZIP file copy it to your server that will run the Meshblu connector.

NOTE: I have put this into a folder for all Meshblu connectors then a folder for what the connector is going to do.  This is just so that I can easily identify what connectors are doing what job as you will end up with more than one connector on the same server and the naming of the folders is pretty generic.

07 - copy to server

Right click to extract the Connector Installer

08 - extract all

Click on extract all.

NOTE: DON’T change the folder path here or the installer will fail

09 - leave folder the same

Once extracted run the MeshbluConnnectorInstaller

10 - extracted

Click Begin Install

11 - run installer

Let it download and install all the components

12 - installing

Once done close the installer window.

13 - installed

If you want to check that the installer has worked, go into services on the server and you should see a Meshblu service installed and running

14 - service for meshblu

Switch back to the Octoblu web portal and click on Configure Thing

15 - configure thing

Give the NetScaler a reasonable name, add your admin username and password and put in the endpoint address for the NetScaler.  You will need to put the HTTP or HTTPS in here – leaving it out will cause the flow to fail (Flows are how Octoblu refer to running things in their system)

16 - configuring thing

Click on save and when you navigate to “My Things” you should see your NetScaler listed in there

17 - thing configured

Switch over to the Flows menu and click on Add New Flow (+)

18 - flows

Over on the right under flow inspector give the flow a name and description

19 - give flow a description

Now below that you will see a menu for tools.  Locate the Trigger item and drag it over to the left hand side of the screen

A trigger is what you will use to trigger the flow

20 - add trigger

Give the trigger a meaningful name as this will be what appears in your iOS or Apple Watch App

21 - configure trigger

Next switch to Things and locate your new NetScaler from the list.  Drag this over to the left hand side of the screen as well

22 - add netscaler

Under Thing Inspector give this step a meaningful name, select Create Server from the drop down list and enter the details of the Server you want added to the NetScaler

23 - configure netscaler

Now in the left hand window drag the flow from the Trigger to the NetScaler Thing creating a link between the items

24 - link trigger and netscaler task

Next you want to add a Message and e-mail thing to the window.  Configure both of them as shown below and link the NetScaler Thing to the e-mail and message Thing.

Message Config

25 - message inspector

e-mail Config

26 - e-mail inspector

Linked Things.

NOTE: I have added a debug thing here to see if the NetScaler Thing is working as expected.

27 - add debug

On the right click to update the permissions for the flow

28 - update permissions

Click the Play icon to publish the flow

29 - publish flow

Now – onto the fun part.  I have downloaded the Blu app for my iPhone and also added the application to my Apple Watch.

If I open the Apple Watch app you can see that my Flows are listed there.  Press Add vServer (The trigger name) on your Apple Watch

30 - trigger flow from watch

Watch it Fire

31 - flow fired

Then once done it will say Triggered

32 - all done

This has executed the Octoblu Flow and should have added a Server to my NetScaler

I instantly get a text telling me that a new Server has been added to my NetScaler

33 - text received

If I check my in-box there is also an e-mail waiting for me

34 - e-mail received

Finally checking on the NetScaler you can see that I have a new server created by Octoblu

35 - server added

That’s it – hopefully this will give you a slight peek into how Octoblu can change the way you think about automation, IoT and the Citrix product stack.  There are so many possibilities with this combination, you just have to dream up the flow!

One thing I do want to say is the Octoblu community seems to be on par with the CUGC community.  I was recently chatting to some guys about the powershell Meshblu connector not working as it should.  This was picked up and resolved be the community and Octoblu teams within 24 hours!  Now that is great service and how more people should think about listening to their users!

You can follow Octoblu on twitter @octoblu or find them on-line at https://www.octoblu.com/

That’s it for now.

Laters,

b@m

6 thoughts on “Automating Citrix NetScaler 11.1 with Octoblu and your Apple Watch

  1. Pingback: Using Octoblu to generate a Citrix NetScaler vServer Status Report using NITRO API | bretty.me.uk

  2. Pingback: Automating Citrix NetScaler 11.1 with Octoblu and your Apple Watch

  3. Daniel

    I’m getting an issue in debug where it says “forbidden” for my email and sms nodes. My NetScaler trigger is “get service groups”. Have any ideas? Can’t find documentation on the issue.

    1. Bretty Post author

      Did you update permissions and deploy?
      There are some reported issues in the Slack channel with the forbidden error in the Slack channel. Will find out what’s going on.

      1. Daniel

        Yeah, I can get sharefile integration to work just fine, and I can get a Citrix receiver configured and working as well.

        1. Bretty Post author

          Drop me a copy of your flow. Save it as a blue print and email me the link at Dave at Bretty dot me dot uk and I can take a peek over the weekend. Maybe get a GTM going on Monday and get your flows going :)

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