Product Documentation

Overview

May 20, 2015
NetScaler Insight Center is a virtual appliance that collects and provides detailed information about web traffic and virtual desktop traffic that passes through your NetScaler appliances. It has two components:
  • Web Insight, which monitors HTTP traffic (web-application traffic) passing through load balancing and content switching virtual servers defined on a NetScaler appliance.
  • HDX Insight, which monitors ICA traffic (virtual-desktop traffic) passing through NetScaler Gateway virtual servers defined on a NetScaler appliance.

NetScaler Insight Center collects information about applications from the virtual servers to which the applications are bound as services.

The objective of a NetScaler Insight Center virtual appliance is to retrieve AppFlow logging information for each monitored application, analyze the information, and present it as visual reports.

Note: ICA is a Citrix proprietary protocol used in XenApp/XenDesktop traffic. It is composed of virtual channels. A virtual channel is a bidirectional, error-free connection used for the exchange of generalized packet data between a Citrix host for online delivery (XenApp or XenDesktop) and the Citrix Receiver online plug-in. Connections for sound, graphics, client drive mapping, printing, and end user experience monitoring are a few examples of the virtual channels.
The following figure depicts the network deployment of a NetScaler Insight Center.
Figure 1. Network Deployment of NetScaler Insight Center


Web Insight

Web Insight provides visibility into web applications and allows IT administrators to monitor all web applications being served by NetScaler ADCs. It generates visual reports that provide critical information such as user and server response time, enabling IT organizations to improve web application performance. Key features of Web Insight include application-specific reports and URL-specific reports. Information about client-side parameters enables you to evaluate user experience. Along with other capabilities, you can identify the top web applications accessed by clients and track their peak usage.

HDX Insight

HDX Insight provides administrators of Citrix XenApp and Citrix XenDesktop environments with an easy way to monitor users and the performance of the applications hosted on those products. HDX Insight captures data about the ICA traffic that flows between the clients and the servers, generates AppFlow records by doing deep inspection of the data, and presents the records as visual reports on the HDX Insight tab on the dashboard. HDX Insight enables IT administrators to troubleshoot as well as proactively monitor customer issues in matter of minutes.

Note: HDX is built on top of the Citrix ICA protocol.
HDX Insight supports collecting ICA data from NetScaler appliances in the following scenarios:
  • Single-Hop Mode: This is applicable when a NetScaler Gateway appliance is used to connect to the XenApp and XenDesktop applications.
  • Transparent Mode: This is applicable when the user is local to the XenApp and XenDesktop applications.
This release does not support Multi-Hop mode. Also, NetScaler Insight Center does not generate reports for ICA traffic when a CloudBridge appliance is placed between the NetScaler and the client.
This release of NetScaler Insight Center is compatible with the following XenApp and XenDesktop version and builds.
Table 1. Software versions and builds

Software

Version and Builds

XenApp

6.5, build 6682 with HRP01

XenDesktop

5.6, build 56060

7.0, build 3018 and later

CloudBridge

7.3.0.61 and later

Note: NetScaler Insight Center can also be integrated with Desktop Director. In that case, to enable HDX network analysis, you must configure the NetScaler Insight Center virtual appliance in Desktop Director. For more information, see Configure HDX Insight.

Features and Benefits

Because NetScaler Insight Center is installed on a XenServer server, it has no dependency on an external database and requires no additional hardware. It provides visual reports that administrators can use to:

  • Monitor and help improve performance of web applications being served by the NetScaler appliance (Web applications are served by content switching and load balancing virtual servers).
  • Monitor users of Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop environments.
  • Monitor performance of applications hosted on Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop environments.
  • Identify problem areas without accessing individual devices.
  • Identify user experience with respect to client-side parameters.
  • Know the top applications accessed by clients.
  • Track peak usage.
  • View the performance of applications in the last 5 minutes, 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, and 1 month.
  • Identify URL-specific information: URL-level response time, render time, and load time.
  • Navigate from one report to another.

Limitations

The limitations of NetScaler Insight Center are listed below:

  • NetScaler Insight Center does not support IPv6 address.
  • You can enable a maximum of four AppFlow collectors on a NetScaler appliance.

Licensing Information

The data collected by the NetScaler Insight Center depends on the version and licenses of the NetScaler appliance being monitored.

Web Insight

Web Insight reports are displayed for NetScaler appliances running releases 9.3, 10, and 10.1 as shown in Table 1, where indicates that the reports do not include response time, load time, render time, server processing time, client network latency, server network latency, or waterfall charts.
Table 2. Web Insight License Information
License/ Version 9.3 10 10.1

Standard

Enterprise

Platinum

HDX Insight

HDX Insight reports are displayed only for NetScaler Platinum and Enterprise appliances running release 10.1 and 10.5.

Table 3. HDX Insight License Information
License/Duration 5 minutes 1 Hour 1 Day 1 Week 1 Month

Standard

Enterprise

Platinum

For appliances running a Platinum edition of XenApp or XenDesktop, HDX Insight reports can also be integrated with Director.

Important: On NetScaler appliances running release 10.1 or later, you must install a Platinum license if you want to use third party collectors to extract HDX Insight reports.
Note: For information about reports, see Viewing Reports.

Ports

Updated: 2014-09-12

NetScaler Insight Center uses the NetScaler ADC's NetScaler IP (NSIP) address to communicate with the ADC. For communication purposes, the following ports must be open between the NetScaler ADC and NetScaler Insight Center.
Table 4. Ports

Component

Type

Port

Details

NetScaler Insight Center

TCP

80/443

For NITRO communication from NetScaler Insight Center to NetScaler

TCP

22

For SSH communication from NetScaler Insight Center to NetScaler

UDP

4739

For AppFlow communication from NetScaler to NetScaler Insight Center

ICMP

No reserved port

To detect the network reachability from NetScaler Insight Center to NetScaler