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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 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 have made it nice and easy for us to deploy the new NMAS system, and on initial 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 have 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.
Thats it – your now ready to get into the meat of the appliance.
I have to say that I am very impressed with how Citrix have 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.
Thats 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 coming up very soon will be information about the long awaited NetScaler CPX Appliance. I know a friend of mine is itching to get his hands on it and write some cool blog entries about it. He is Marius Sandbu and his blog can be found here:
Hope this gives you a good initial look at NetScaler Management and Analytics System and will get you excited about some pretty cool monitoring you will be able to do very soon.