Citrix NetScaler Monitoring with Command Center Setup Guide

Citrix NetScaler Monitoring with Command Center Setup Guide

Citrix NetScaler Monitoring with Command Center Setup Guide

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Something I often get asked is “How do I monitor our NetScalers and the Virtual Servers we have hosted on them?”  There are a number of monitoring solutions out there that can do this for you, and no doubt they will all do it well but this article will run you through configuring Citrix Command Center 5.2 to monitor and alert on the status of your NetScalers and Virtual Servers.  Best of all, its free!  Citrix offer this as a complimentary download to support your NetScaler installs.  This blog post from Citrix will describe the licensing for Command Center.

This post is not going to run you through the install of Command Center but rather the configuration of the system once installed.  If you want a guide on installing Command Center you can get one here or here.

Adding NetScalers to Command Center

The first thing you will want to do when you have a fresh Command Center set-up is add and Define your Citrix Network (NetScalers) you want monitored.  To do this click the “Citrix Network” tab at the top of the console and select “Device Profiles”, select Add and enter a descriptive name for your NetScaler device profile as well as the root username and password you use to log into the NetScaler.

Once you have the Device Profile setup select “Device Inventory” and “NetScaler”  fromt he list on the left.  Here you are able to add your NetScalers to the Command Center and start monitoring them!

Click on “Add” and enter the NetScaler IP Address and select the Device Profile you set up in the previous step.

add-device

Click “Continue” and repeat this for every NetScaler you want to monitor.  NOTE: If you add a HA Pair of NetScalers during this process BOTH NetScalers will appear in the Device Inventory list.

Once you have added your NetScalers they will appear in a list within Command Center.  An initial inventory will be done on them and Command Center is not monitoring them using the default alarms.

Monitoring Specific Virtual Services

A common issue with leaving monitoring at its default is the flood of alarms you tend to get, this will lead to technical staff being complacent and starting to ignore the alerts.  Something you should consider doing is defining alarms to trigger when a complete service failure occurs rather than a single node in a HA pair.  This is not to say you don’t want to know about single server failures but the distribution list for this event may be different to a complete service failure.

In this example I will explain how to monitor a Virtual Server hosted on the NetScalers consisting of 2 Services load balanced in a HA Pair.  An alert will be sent to the specific service owner in the event of a single node failure (so they can resolve the issue) and a different alert will be sent in the event of a complete virtual server outage.

Details

  • Node 1: server1.bretty.me.uk (Name on NetScaler: svc_server1)
  • Node 2: server2.bretty.me.uk (Name on NetScaler: svc_server2)
  • Virtual Server: storefront.bretty.me.uk (Name on NetScaler: vs_storefront)
  • smtp Server: smtp.bretty.me.uk
  • Service Owner e-mail: storefront@bretty.me.uk
  • On-Call Resource: callout@bretty.me.uk

First thing you need to do is define the trigger on Command Center.  Navigate to “Fault” on the top of the admin console then expand “SNMP” and “Alarms” and select “Triggers”.  Click on “Add”, this is where you will define what you want to monitor to trigger the Command Center Alarm.

Setting up the Service Monitor Trigger

First we will define a trigger to alarm in the event that a service hosted on our NetScaler fails.  In the senario we have described above we need to alert if svc_server1 or svc_server2 fails.

  • Click Add to create a trigger
  • Enter a Name for the trigger
  • Select Enable for the status
  • Select NetScaler for the Device Type
  • Select Critical and Major for the severity
  • Select the NetScalers from the devices list that host the services
  • Select EntityDown from the Categories list
  • Expand the “Filter based on alarm description” and enter the following in the textbox: *ServiceName : svc_server* (This is going to look for any alarm of the type entity down that has a Service Name of svc_server*, this will include both svc_server1 and svc_server2 and will therefore alert if either service goes down)

service-down

  • Click “Add Action”
  • Fill out the form as shown below, click “Test Mail” to ensure the e-mail sends and click OK then OK again to save the alert.

service-down-alert

At this point you will start to receive e-mail alerts when you have a service failure for any service hosted on the NetScaler starting with svc_server*

Monitoring Specific Virtual Servers

We will now define a trigger to alarm in the event that a Virtual Server hosted on our NetScaler fails.  In the senario we have described above we need to alert if vs_storefront fails.

  • Click Add to create a trigger
  • Enter a Name for the trigger
  • Select Enable for the status
  • Select NetScaler for the Device Type
  • Select Critical and Major for the severity
  • Select the NetScalers from the devices list that host the services
  • Select EntityDown from the Categories list
  • Expand the “Filter based on alarm description” and enter the following in the textbox: *VirtualServerName : vs_storefront* (This is going to look for any alarm of the type entity down that has a Virtual Server Name of vs_storefront*)

vs-down

  • Click “Add Action”
  • Fill out the form as shown below, click “Test Mail” to ensure the e-mail sends and click OK then OK again to save the alert.

vs-down-alert

At this point you have 2 custom triggers alerting you if storefront fails.  One for the individual services and one for the virtual server.

Hope this helps you out configuring your Citrix Command Center alerting.

 

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