Product Documentation

Getting Started with NetScaler MAS

Jul 19, 2017

This document walks you through how to get started with deploying and setting up NetScaler MAS for the first time. This document is intended for network and application administrators who manages Citrix network devices (NetScaler, SD-WAN WO, NetScaler Gateway, and so on) and also third-party devices such as HAProxy. You must follow the steps in this document irrespective of the type of device you plan to manage using NetScaler MAS.

If you are an existing user of NetScaler MAS, you are recommended to review the release notessystem requirements, and licensing details before upgrading your server to the latest release of NetScaler MAS.

Step 1 - Review the System Requirements

Before you begin deploying NetScaler MAS in your data center, review the software requirements, browser requirements, port information, license information, and limitations. 

  • License Information. You can manage and monitor any number of instances and entities without a license. However, you can only manage 30 discovered apps and view analytics information for only 30 virtual servers without applying a license. To manage more than 30 apps or to view analytics for more than 30 virtual servers, you must purchase appropriate licenses. Learn More.
  • Operating System and Receiver Requirements. Review this information to make sure you have the correct receiver version for the supported operating systems. Learn More.
  • Broswer Requirements. To access NetScaler MAS GUI, you must make sure you have the required browser and the correct version. Learn More.
  • Ports. Make sure the required ports are open for NetScaler MAS to communicate with NetScaler and/or SD-WAN instances. Learn More.
  • NetScaler Instance Requirements. Different NetScaler MAS features are supported on different NetScaler software versions. Review this information to make sure you have upgraded your NetScaler instances to the correct version. Learn More.
  • NetScaler SD-WAN Instance Requirements. Review this information to make sure you have upgraded your NetScaler SD-WAN instances to the correct version and you have the correct platform editions. Learn More.

Step 2 - Deploy NetScaler MAS

To manage and monitor applications and the network infrastructure, you must first install NetScaler MAS on one of the hypervisors. You can deploy NetScaler MAS either as a single server or in a high availability mode. If you are using NetScaler Insight Center, you can migrate to NetScaler MAS and avail of the management, monitoring, orchestration, and application management features in addition to the analytics features.

  • Single-Server Deployment. In a NetScaler MAS single server deployment, the database is integrated with the server and  a single server processes all the traffic. You can deploy NetScaler MAS with Citrix XenServer, VMWare ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Linux KVM. See:
  • High Availability (HA) Deployment. An HA deployment of two Citrix NetScaler MAS servers can provide uninterrupted operation in any transaction. An HA pair of NetScaler MAS servers is in active-passive mode. When two NetScaler MAS servers are configured in active-passive mode, both servers have the same configuration. You must install both the server nodes on the same type of hypervisor and running on the same version. See: Deploy NetScaler MAS in High Availability Mode

  • Migrate from NetScaler Insight Center to NetScaler MAS. You can migrate your NetScaler Insight Center deployment to NetScaler MAS without losing the existing configuration, settings, or data. With NetScaler MAS you can not only view the various analytics generated by the NetScaler and NetScaler SD-WAN instances, but can also manage, monitor, and troubleshoot the entire global application delivery infrastructure from a single, unified console. See: Migrating from NetScaler Insight Center to NetScaler MAS

Step 3 - Add Instances to NetScaler MAS

Instances are Citrix appliances or virtual appliances or third-party devices that you want to discover, manage, and monitor from NetScaler MAS. You must add instances to the NetScaler MAS server if you want to manage and monitor these instances. You can add the following instances to NetScaler MAS:

  • NetScaler MPX
  • NetScaler VPX
  • NetScaler SDX
  • NetScaler CPX
  • NetScaler Gateway
  • NetScaler SD-WAN WO
  • NetScaler SD-WAN EE
  • HAProxy

When you add an instance to the NetScaler MAS server, the server implicitly communicates with the instances and collects inventory of these instances.

Step 4 - Enable Analytics on Virtual Servers

To view analytics data for your application traffic flow, you must enable the Analytics feature on the virtual servers that receive traffic for the specific applications. 

Learn More

Step 5 - Configure NTP Server on NetScaler MAS

You have to configure a Network Time Protocol (NTP) server in NetScaler MAS to synchronize its clock with the NTP server. Configuring an NTP server ensures that the NetScaler MAS clock has the same date and time settings as the other servers on the network.

Learn More

Step 6 - Configure System Settings for Optimal NetScaler MAS Performance

Before you start using NetScaler MAS to manage and monitor your instances and applications, it is recommended that you configure a few system settings that will ensure optimal performance of your NetScaler MAS server.

  • Configure System Alarms. You should configure system alarms to make sure you are aware of any critical or major system issues. For example, you might want to be notified if the CPU usage is high or if there are multiple login failures to the server.  
  • Configure System Notifications. You can send notifications to select groups of users for a number of system-related functions. You can set up a notification server in NetScaler MAS, and you can configure email and Short Message Service (SMS) gateway servers to send email and text notifications to users. This ensures that you are notified of any system-level activities such as user login or system restart.
  • Configure System Prune Settings. To limit the amount of reporting data being stored in your NetScaler MAS server’s database, you can specify the interval for which you want NetScaler MAS to retain network reporting data, events, audit logs, and task logs. By default, this data is pruned every 24 hours (at 00.00 hours).
  • Configure System Backup Settings. NetScaler MAS automatically backs up the system everyday at 00:30 hours. By default, it saves three backup files. You might want to retain more number of backups of the system.
  • Configure Instance Backup Settings. If you back up the current state of a NetScaler instance, you can use the backup files to restore stability in the event that the instance becomes unstable. Doing so is especially important before performing an upgrade. By default, a backup is taken every 12 hours and three backup files are retained in the system.
  • Configure Instance Event Prune Settings. To limit the amount of event messages data being stored in your NetScaler MAS server’s database, you can specify the interval for which you want NetScaler MAS to retain network reporting data, events, audit logs, and task logs. By default, this data is pruned every 24 hours (at 00:00 hours).
  • Configure Instance Syslog Purge Settings. To limit the amount of syslog data stored in the database, you can specify the interval at which you want to purge syslog data.  You can specify the number of days after which the following syslog data will be deleted from NetScaler MAS: Generic Syslog Data, AppFirewall Data, and NetScaler Gateway Data.

Learn More

What's Next?

After you have deployed and set up NetScaler MAS, you can start managing and monitoring your instances and applications.

Managing NetScaler Instances and Applications. All NetScaler MAS features are supported on NetScaler instances. You can start using any of the features. 

Managing NetScaler SD-WAN Instances. Not all NetScaler MAS features are supported on SD-WAN WO instances, for example, certificate management or configuration audit are not supported. To learn about what features are supported and how to use them, see Managing NetScaler SD-WAN WO Using NetScaler MAS.

Managing HAProxy Instances and Applications. You can monitor the frontends, backends, and servers configured in an HAProxy dpeloyment. You can also use the Application Management feature to monitor real-time statistics of the frontends monitored by NetScaler MAS. To learn about what features are supported for HAProxy and how to use them, see Managing and Monitoring HAProxy Instances Using NetScaler MAS.