Desktop probing

Desktop probing automates the process of checking the health of Citrix Virtual Desktops that are published in a Site. The results of desktop probing are available in Director.

In Director’s Configuration page, configure the desktops to be probed, the endpoint machines to run the probe on, and the probe time. The agent tests the launch of selected desktops using StoreFront and reports the results back to Director. The probe results are displayed in the Director UI – the last 24-hours’ data on the Applications page and historical probe data on the Trends > Probe Results > Desktop Probe Results page. Here, you can see the stage when the probe failure occurred - StoreFront Reachability, StoreFront Authentication, StoreFront Enumeration, ICA download, or Desktop launch. The failure report is sent to the configured email addresses. You can schedule your desktop probes to run during off-peak hours across multiple geographies. The comprehensive results can help to proactively troubleshoot issues related to provisioned desktops, hosting machines or connections before the users experience them. Desktop probing is available for Premium licensed Sites. This feature requires Delivery Controller(s) version 7 1906 or later and Probe Agent 1903 or later.

Requirements:

  • Delivery Controller runs version 1906 or later.
  • Endpoint machines running probe agents are Windows machines with Citrix Receiver for Windows Version 4.8 or later, or Citrix Workspace app for Windows (formerly Citrix Receiver for Windows) Version 1906 or later. Workspace app for Unified Windows Platform (UWP) is not supported.
  • Director and StoreFront support the default form-based authentication.

User accounts or permissions required to run Desktop probing:

  • A unique StoreFront user to probe on each endpoint machine. The StoreFront user need not be an administrator; the probes can run in a non-admin context.
  • User accounts with Windows administrator permissions to install and configure the Citrix Probe Agent on the endpoint machines
  • A full administrator user account or a custom role with the following permissions. Reusing normal user accounts for desktop probing might log off the users’ active sessions.
    • Delivery Group permissions:
      • Read-only
    • Director permissions:
      • Create, Edit, Remove Alert Email Server Configuration - if the email server is not already configured
      • Create, Edit, Remove Probe Configurations
      • View Configurations page
      • View Trends page

Configure desktop probing

You can schedule your desktop probes to run during off-peak hours across multiple geographies. The comprehensive probe results can help to troubleshoot issues related to the desktops, hosting machine or connection before the users experience them.

Step 1: Install and configure the Citrix Probe Agent

The Citrix Probe Agent is a Windows executable that simulates the actual desktop launch by the user through StoreFront. It tests desktop launches as configured in Director and reports back the results to Director.

  1. Identify endpoint machines from where you want to run desktop probing.

  2. Users with administrative privileges can install and configure the Citrix Probe Agent on the endpoint machine. Download the Citrix Probe Agent executable available at https://www.citrix.com/downloads/citrix-virtual-apps-and-desktops/components/app-probe-agent.html

  3. Start the agent and configure your StoreFront Receiver for Web credentials. Configure a unique StoreFront user on each endpoint machine. The credentials are encrypted and stored securely.

    Probe agent

    Note:

    To access the Site to be probed from outside the network, type the Citrix Gateway login page URL in the StoreFront URL field. Citrix Gateway automatically routes the request to the corresponding Site StoreFront URL. This feature is available for Citrix Gateway version 12.1 or later, and Delivery Controller(s) 1811 or later.

  4. In the Configure To Display Probe Result tab, enter your Director credentials and click Validate.

    Probe agent

  5. Select your Site and click Next.

Step 2: Configure desktop probing in Director

  1. Go to Configuration > Desktop Probe Configuration.

  2. To create a probe, enter the details and click Save.

    Director Configuration

Note:

Configure your email server in Alerts > Email Server Configuration.

After desktop probing configuration is complete, the agent takes 10 minutes before it is ready to start probing. Then, it runs configured probes starting the next hour.

Step 3: Probe execution

The agent executes desktop probing as per the probe configuration it fetches from Director periodically. It launches selected desktops serially using StoreFront. The agent reports the results back to Director via the Monitor database. Failures are reported in five specific stages:

  • StoreFront Reachability - configured StoreFront URL is not reachable.
  • StoreFront Authentication - configured StoreFront credentials are invalid.
  • StoreFront Enumeration - StoreFront Enumerate desktops list does not contain the desktop to be probed.
  • ICA download - the ICA file is not available.
  • Desktop launch – the desktop cannot be launched.

Step 4: View probe results

You can view the latest probe results in the Desktops page.

Director Desktop Analytics page

To troubleshoot further, click the probe result link to see more details on the Trends >Probe Results > Desktop Probe Results page.

Director desktop probe results

The consolidated probe results data is available for the last 24 hours or last 7 days’s time periods on this page. You can see the stage in which the probe failed. You can filter the table for a specific desktop, probe failure stage, or endpoint machine.