From WIRM to Splunk – Translating the Past to the Present

I get to do a lot of cool things at Splunk.  One of the things I have been wanting to do is incorporate the visualizations I built a long time ago for Web Interface for Resource Manger in Splunk applications.  All of those past visualizations were built using Microsoft ASP.NET and Flash.  So, I have had to use alternate methods to accomplish what I want.

 

Calendar Visualization

One of the first things I tackled was the calendar visualization that shows how many users log in each day in a month.  Here is the old calendar from WIRM:

WIRM Calendar

Here is what the calendar looks like in Splunk:

Splunk Calendar

If you want to see how to use this calendar visualization in your own Splunk environment, check out my Splunk blog post.

The cool thing about having this available in Splunk is that it is reusable for various types of data including security, XenDesktop/XenApp, Microsoft Windows, Unix, etc.

Web Interface for Resource Manager is Dead

I have gotten several comments (online and offline) and emails asking about future developments surrounding Web Interface for Resource Manager. Well, Web Interface for Resource Manager as you know today is officially dead. There are actually several reasons for this. Read on for more information…

I have gotten several comments (online and offline) and emails asking about future developments surrounding Web Interface for Resource Manager. Well, Web Interface for Resource Manager as you know today is officially dead. There are actually several reasons for this. Read on for more information…

MFCOM
The last update I gave on Web Interface for Resource Manager indicated that MFCOM (MetaFrame COM – the Citrix XenApp API) support would be included in order to get real-time statistics. As it turns out, MFCOM is being re-architected with PowerShell technology. So, there will be some re-writes for this type of integration. This also means no remoting (for the time being).

EdgeSight
Going forward, Citrix Resource Manager is being re-architected with EdgeSight technology. This means that the back-end database schema will be drastically different. The EdgeSight schema has a lot of the same information as the Resource Manager schema, but queries required to get that information will be a lot different. That means a lot of code re-writing.

This shift also got me to thinking whether I should focus on writing SQL Server Reporting Services Reports, or stick with the ASP.NET (web application) route. I finally concluded that the ASP.NET route is still the best way to go in order to take advantage of AJAX, Silverlight (I am looking at some Silverlight charting to replace the Flash charts), Web Services (although SSRS does support Web Services to an extent), etc. FYI: since EdgeSight is built around Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), you can say goodbye to Oracle support.

What does this mean for the future of this project?
To boil things down to the main point – yes, Web Interface for Resource Manager is dead, but out of the demise of WIRM a new project is underway. This new project is called “Project Raley” for the time being. The components of Project Raley were first displayed at BriForum 2008 in a session I did with Kevin Goodman titled “The Data Puzzle – Putting the Pieces Together”. The “Pieces” in that session were Web Services. Putting those “pieces” together involved writing little to no code (although the Web Services require quite a bit of code). All that being said, Project Raley uses these Web Services to create a composite application. The Web Services developed so far are:

  • Active Directory
  • Configuration Logging
  • Event Logging
  • MFCOM
  • Resource Manager
  • RTO PinPoint

Web Services currently under development are:

  • Citrix Licensing (via the Citrix Licensing WMI Provider)
  • General System WMI
  • EdgeSight

 

The inevitable question – “When is this going to be released?”
The broad answer is – “this year”. Using these SOA techniques has required quite a bit of ground-up work. But, on a positive note, I am able to knock out two projects at the same time. The Configuration Logging Web Service will be consumed by both Project Raley and Project S-Bend. I will also try to post some videos of alpha code to let you see some of this in action as well.

Please feel free to shoot me an email if you would like to beta test.

Web Interface for Resource Manager 3.0 Architecture Update

When the Web Interface for Resource Manger Roadmap was posted, I mentioned that Web Interface for Citrix Resource Manager version 3.0 would include a major architectural shift toward a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). This shift is well underway and the purpose of this post is to share some of the progress as well as some of the nuts and bolts behind the architecture.

When the Web Interface for Resource Manger Roadmap was posted, I mentioned that Web Interface for Citrix Resource Manager version 3.0 would include a major architectural shift toward a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). This shift is well underway and the purpose of this post is to share some of the progress as well as some of the nuts and bolts behind the architecture. Disclaimer – the following may get a little boring.

Web Services
I have been toying with this idea for a while and finally made the decision to move everything to Web Services. Web Services allow for a greater separation of presentation and data. The thought behind creating sets of Web Services in Web Interface for Citrix Resource Manager is to allow other applications to consume the data WIRM produces. Other applications such as Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services, SharePoint, custom portals, Project S-Bend, etc. can all consume these Web Services. And remember, WIRM is moving beyond the bounds of the Citrix Resource Manager Summary Database so there will be Web Services for the Configuration Logging database, Active Directory, MFCOM, WMI providers, third party data sources, etc. as well as the Web Services for the Citrix Resource Manager Summary Database.  Here is a screen shot of some of the Resource Manger Web Service’s rendered WSDL:

Web Services


Generic Database Access, DAL, and DAAB

One of the challenges of querying the Citrix Resource Manager Summary Database from a generic application is that the database can be Microsoft SQL or Oracle. What I have done in the past with Web Interface for Citrix Resource Manager is maintain separate data access blocks – one for SQL and one for Oracle. Depending on the database provider specified in the database connection string in web.config, I would utilize the System.Data.SqlClient or System.Data.OracleClient namespace. This has proven to be a cumbersome and time consuming process to code and test.

Enter the Microsoft Enterprise Library Patterns and Practices Data Access Application Block (a.k.a. DAAB). Web Interface for Citrix Resource Manager implements a Data Access Layer (DAL) which is a common SOA component. The DAL is responsible for physically getting the data from the source(s) and delivering the data to the Web Service(s) – sometimes there is a façade’ in between, but that is another discussion. One of the major pieces of the DAL for Web Interface for Citrix Resource Manager is the DAAB. The DAAB allows for generic database access which means one (reduced) set of code that allows access to either Microsoft SQL or Oracle (or any other ODBC compliant database for that matter).

SOA Architecture

“Sneak Peek” of Version 3.0
The above mentioned architecture makes the information aggregation possible in version 3.0.  To get a better idea of how this all fits together, I have included this screen shot of the new configuration page.  The more information you provide on the configuration page, the more information you get in the Web Interface.

So, stay tuned, there is still more to come…

Web Interface for Resource Manager Roadmap

Web Interface for Citrix Resource Manager has been steadily growing since it was first released back in April 2006. Find out where this project is heading in this roadmap and what it will take to get there.

Web Interface for Resource Manager has been steadily growing since it was first released back in April 2006. The purpose of this post is to serve as a roadmap for the direction of where Web Interface for Resource Manager is heading. Version 1.0 of Web Interface for Resource Manager included a few basic usage reports and user reports. Since then, many new features have been added including:

  • Report Filtering
  • User Level Reporting
  • Client Level Reporting
  • Concurrent Usage Reporting (for both applications and users)
  • Server Metric Reporting
  • Support for exporting reports to Microsoft Excel
  • Configuration GUI
  • Support for Microsoft SQL and Oracle
  • Multiple Language Support including:    English English
        Dutch Dutch – provided by Michel Roth
        French French – provided by Laurent FALGUIERE
        German German – provided by Josef Zeiler
        Italian Italian – provided by Francesco Dipietromaria
        Spanish Spanish – provided by Gustavo Gurmandi
  • Configuration Encryption
  • Etc.

That is where we have been, so where are we going?
As I stated earlier, this is a roadmap of what is to come. So, here is a list of a few of the new features slated for future releases:

AJAX Enhancements – this will improve the user experience.
MFCOM Integration – this integration will allow real-time reporting.
Farm Level Reports – these reports will aggregate information to give more of a “bird’s eye view” of your Citrix farm. These reports will include drill down capabilities in to some of the more granular existing reports.
Citrix Presentation Server 4.5 Configuration Logging Integration – this will allow reporting on historical changes.

How do we get there from here?
Since Web Interface for Resource Manager is moving beyond the bounds of the Resource Manager Summary Database, a major architectural shift will occur. This shift will implement SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) principles. This will allow a loosely coupled layer approach. Why is this important? This will facilitate implementing a provider model where each provider is something you can turn on or off. Depending on what you have turned on, you will get more information in the reports. The providers currently in development are:

» Summary Database Provider
» MFCOM Provider
» Configuration Logging Provider
» Third party providers (stay tuned for more on this in the future).

That’s great – when do we get this stuff?
In order to get to the next (provider model) release, I first need to complete the architectural shift I talked about earlier. The good thing about this re-architecture is that it will allow more flexibility. The bad news is that it will not add any new features for end users. So, the next release of Web Interface for Resource Manager will include this new architecture and the AJAX enhancements. This will be a 3.0 release. Each new piece I add after that will be an incremental 3.x release. So, stay tuned, there is more on the way.

Web Interface for Resource Manager is now in Spanish

The latest version of Web Interface for Resource Manager is now available in Spanish (other languages supported are English, Dutch, French, German, and Italian). Web Interface for Resource Manager is an ASP.NET 2.0 web application that contains several SQL queries to display useful information contained in the Citrix Resource Manager Summary Database.

Thanks to Gustavo Gurmandi, Web Interface for Resource Manager now has a Spanish translation. That makes Web Interface for Resource Manager available in six languages:

    English English
    Dutch Dutch – provided by Michel Roth
    French French – provided by Laurent FALGUIERE
    German German – provided by Josef Zeiler
    Italian Italian – provided by Francesco Dipietromaria
    Spanish Spanish – provided by Gustavo Gurmandi

If you are interested in providing a translation, feel free to send me an email.

Download Web Interface for Resource Manager version 2.2

Web Interface for Resource Manager is now in Italian

The latest version of Web Interface for Resource Manager is now available in Italian (other languages supported are English, Dutch, French, and German). Web Interface for Resource Manager is an ASP.NET 2.0 web application that contains several SQL queries to display useful information contained in the Citrix Resource Manager Summary Database.

Thanks to Francesco Dipietromaria, Web Interface for Resource Manager now has an Italian translation. That makes Web Interface for Resource Manager available in five languages:

    English English
    Dutch Dutch – provided by Michel Roth
    French French – provided by Laurent FALGUIERE
    German German – provided by Josef Zeiler
    Italian Italian – provided by Francesco Dipietromaria

If you are interested in providing a translation, feel free to send me an email. Even if you don’t speak Italian, you might still want to download the latest version as it has a few minor bug fixes in it. Speaking of bug fixes, the next version of Web Interface for Resource Manager (version 3.0) has a few more bug fixes as well as some new features. Here is a list of some of the features that are in the works:

Farm level reports will provide statistics on a farm-wide basis.
ASP.NET AJAX enhancements will provide UI and performance improvements.
MFCOM integration will provide real-time application and server statistics.
Citrix Presentation Server 4.5 configuration logging database integration will provide reports on historical farm changes.

Hmm, I might have to rename this thing since it is starting to reach beyond Resource Manager. Until then, go get Web Interface for Resource Manager version 2.2

Web Interface for Resource Manager 2.2

Got Citrix Resource Manager? Try out Web Interface for Resource Manager! Web Interface for Resource Manager is an ASP.NET 2.0 web application that contains several SQL queries to display useful information contained in the Citrix Resource Manager Summary Database.

version 2.2

UPDATE March 1, 2007 – The resolution to errors received when saving your configuration is posted in the Known Issues section of this article.

Got Citrix Resource Manager?  Try out Web Interface for Resource Manager!

Web Interface for Resource Manager is an ASP.NET 2.0 web application that contains several SQL queries to display useful information contained in the Citrix Resource Manager Summary Database.  Web Interface for Resource Manager displays this information in a drill-down graphical and tabular manner.

What’s new in version 2.2?
Web Interface for Resource Manager version 2.2 includes everything in version 2.1, plus the following new features:

  • New information on the Client report
    • When no client version is stored in the Citrix Resource Manager Summary Database, the Client report performs a lookup based on the build number.  Special thanks goes to Alex Danilychev for creating a Client Build vs. Version chart.
    • The Client report has an icon that will show all workstations that have used a particular client. 
    • When you click on the user icon in the Client report, the workstation the user used to launch the session is displayed in the report.
  • There are 3 new features on the Client report:

  • Microsoft Excel exports on every tabular report
    The ability to export viewed results to Microsoft Excel is now on every report that presents tabular data.
  • Active Directory group security for Configuration options
    The configuration page is now optionally securable by specifying an Active Directory group in the configuration page.
  • Web.Config connection string encryption
    When you enter your database connection details in the configuration page, the resulting connection string that is stored in Web.Config is now encrypted.

 

  • Active Directory group security for Configuration options
    The configuration page is now optionally securable by specifying an Active Directory group in the configuration page.

 

  • French Translation
    Thanks to Laurent FALGUIERE, there is now a French translation of Web Interface for Resource Manager.  Resource Manager for Web Interface is also in German (thanks to Josef Zeiler), Dutch (thanks to Michel Roth), and English.

 

  • Farm name display in page titles
    The name of your farm is now displayed in the title of each page.  This helps keep things straight when you have multiple farms and an instance of Web Interface for Resource Manager for each farm.

Another thanks goes to Michel Roth for creating a Web Interface for Resource Manager Premo.  What is a Premo? “A Thincomputing.net Premo is a crossover between a preview and a demo of a new (version of a) product or technology in the field of Server Based Computing and Virtualization.”  Be sure to check it out…

  Download Web Interface for Resource Manager version 2.2 (for Presentation Server 3.0 and above) 

What’s on the radar for the future?

  • More “higher level” reports – meaning more reports that show entire farm data.  These reports will include drill down capabilities in to some of the more granular existing reports. 

Known issues

Issue
You receive a message stating “In order to modify configuration settings, the ASP.NET process account (either the local ASPNET or Network Service account, by default) must have write permission granted for the Web.config file in the web site directory.”

Resolution
Make sure the NETWORK SERVICE account (or whichever account is configured for the IIS Application pool identity WI RM is in) has write access to the directory where Web.Config resides. This is due to the way the Configuration.Save() method works in the .Net Framework. When this method is called, a temporary config file is created before overwriting the Web.Config file. If the NETWORK SERVICE account does not have write access to the directory, the temporary file cannot be created and you will receive the error message stated above. Also, ensure Web.Config is not a Read Only file.

If all database tables are not owned by dbo, you will receive errors. For more explanation on this phenomenon, see this article.

If you do not properly set up your database authentication, you will not be able to view any reports. Please refer to this article for database authentication guidelines.

Note: Version 2.2 is only intended for Presentation Server 3.0 and above. This is due to the differences in the Resource Manager Summary Database schema.  The MetaFrame XP Summary Database schema does not include the tables necessary to generate these new reports. Please use Web Interface for Resource Manager Version 1.1 for MetaFrame XP.

Screen Shot of Web Interface for Resource Manager’s GUI Configuration Tool


Click to enlarge

Be sure to check out Access Tracking Manager (ATM) from XTS as well. ATM leverages Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services and OLAP Cubes to provide even more detailed reports for your Citrix environments.

Web Interface for Resource Manager 2.1

Got Citrix Resource Manager? Try out Web Interface for Resource Manager! Web Interface for Resource Manager is an ASP.NET 2.0 web application that contains several SQL queries to display useful information contained in the Citrix Resource Manager Summary Database.

version 2.1

Got Citrix Resource Manager?  Try out Web Interface for Resource Manager!

Web Interface for Resource Manager is an ASP.NET 2.0 web application that contains several SQL queries to display useful information contained in the Citrix Resource Manager Summary Database.  Web Interface for Resource Manager displays this information in a drill-down graphical and tabular manner.

What’s new in version 2.1?
Web Interface for Resource Manager version 2.1 includes everything in version 2.0, plus the following new features:

  • Graphical Configuration Tool
    In the past versions of Web Interface for Resource Manager, you had to manually edit the Web.Config file to set up your database connections and time zone overrides. This new graphical tool allows you to set up your options much like you set up an ODBC connection using Windows.
  • Oracle Support
    Many of you have asked for an Oracle version of Web Interface for Resource Manager. Version 2.1 has Oracle support integrated. Just open the configuration tool, select Oracle as your Database Server Type and supply your TNS Service Name. One thing to note though, you will need to have the Oracle client installed on your web server.
  • Multiple Language Support
    Web Interface for Citrix Resource Manager has been globalized to support more languages. Currently, Web Interface for Resource Manager supports the following languages:
    • US English
    • German (thanks goes to Josef Zeiler for the translation)
    • Dutch (thanks goes to Michel Roth for the translation)

  Download Web Interface for Resource Manager version 2.1 (for Presentation Server 3.0 and above) 

What’s on the radar for the future?

  • Using MFCOM and WMI to move reports beyond the Summary Database.
  • Of course, more reports.

Known issues

If all database tables are not owned by dbo, you will receive errors. For more explanation on this phenomenon, see this article.

If you do not properly set up your database authentication, you will not be able to view any reports. Please refer to this article for database authentication guidelines.

Note: Version 2.1 is only intended for Presentation Server 3.0 and above. This is due to the differences in the Resource Manager Summary Database schema.  The MetaFrame XP Summary Database schema does not include the tables necessary to generate these new reports. Please use Web Interface for Resource Manager Version 1.1 for MetaFrame XP.

Screen Shot of Web Interface for Resource Manager’s GUI Configuration Tool


Click to enlarge

Web Interface for Resource Manager version 2.1 is coming soon

Check out the new features coming in Web Interface for Citrix Resource Manager. Web Interface for Citrix Resource Manager will be easier to configure, easier to read, and will be available to a entire new audience.

Web Interface for Resource Manager version 2.1 is coming soon and there are three new features. The first feature is a GUI for setting up configuration parameters. No more fumbling with the Web.Config file to set up your connection to the database. Check out the screen shot below:

You may notice the other two features from this screen shot. First, Web Interface for Citrix Resource Manager is now poised to support multiple languages. Second, you may also notice that Web Interface for Citrix Resource Manager will finally support Oracle as a database server for the Citrix RM Summary Database.

Okay, so now you know what is coming out but, I need some help with this one. The first thing I need help with is testing the Oracle release since I only have an Oracle server running in a test Virtual Machine with copied data from a SQL server. If you are interested in testing out the Oracle functionality, please drop me an email. Second, if you would like to see Web Interface for Resource Manager in a language besides English US or German, I need help with translations. (Thanks Josef Zeiler for the German translation!) Again, if you are interested in contributing some translation skills, drop me an email and I will send you the resource file that contains all the text for the web application as well as the help files.

Stay tuned…

Web Interface for Resource Manager 2.0

Got Citrix Resource Manager? Try out Web Interface for Resource Manager! Web Interface for Resource Manager is an ASP.NET 2.0 web application that contains several SQL queries to display useful information contained in the Citrix Resource Manager Summary Database.

version 2.0

Got Citrix Resource Manager?  Try out Web Interface for Resource Manager!

Web Interface for Resource Manager is an ASP.NET 2.0 web application that contains several SQL queries to display useful information contained in the Citrix Resource Manager Summary Database.  Web Interface for Resource Manager displays this information in a drill-down graphical and tabular manner.

What’s new in version 2.0?
Web Interface for Resource Manager version 2.0 includes everything in version 1.2, plus the following new features:

  • Concurrent usage of applications report
    See the concurrent usage of you applications within a specified date range. Also, this report will show you when the maximum number of concurrent sessions was reached.
  • Server metrics report
    See captured metrics for a particular server on a specified date. Any metrics you capture via the Citrix Presentation Server Console will be reported here.
  • Concurrent usage of servers report
    See how many concurrent sessions you are getting per server within a date range. This report will also show you when this max count was reached. Clicking on a row in this report will take you to the server metrics report for the particular date you reached the max count – showing you how your server was performing under the load.
  • Exporting reports
    You can now export reports to CSV for further analysis using an application such as Microsoft Excel
  • New calendar filtering option
    A new option on the Usage Calendar allows you to view all sessions that started per hour on a given day, or just unique users per hour. For example, if user1 started 2 or more sessions during the 11:00 hour, user1 would only be counted one time.

  Download Web Interface for Resource Manager version 2.0 (for Presentation Server 3.0 and above) 

What’s on the radar for the future?

  • Graphical configuration – no more editing Web.Config by hand.
  • Multiple language support.
  • Oracle Database support.
  • And, of course, more reports.

Known issues

If all database tables are not owned by dbo, you will receive errors. For more explanation on this phenomenon, see this article.

If you do not properly set up your database authentication, you will not be able to view any reports. Please refer to this article for database authentication guidelines.

Note: Version 2.0 is only intended for Presentation Server 3.0 and above. This is due to the differences in the Resource Manager Summary Database schema.  The MetaFrame XP Summary Database schema does not include the tables necessary to generate these new reports. Please use Web Interface for Resource Manager Version 1.1 for MetaFrame XP.

Screen Shots of Web Interface for Resource Manager

New buttons on the Sessions by Hour graph to show all sessions or just unique user sessions
(filters out multiple sessions started by the same user in the same hour).

Click to enlarge

Report showing max concurrent sessions per server and the date this max count was reached.

Click to enlarge

Report showing server metrics for a specified day.

Click to enlarge