How to Monitor Globally Distributed Sites

As a network administrator, you might have to monitor and manage network instances deployed across geographical locations. However, it is not easy to gauge the requirements of the network when managing network instances in geographically distributed datacenters.

Geomaps in NetScaler MAS provides you with a graphical representation of your sites and breaks down your network monitoring experience by geography. With geomaps, you can visualize your network instance distribution by location and monitor network issues.

The following sections explain how you can monitor datacenters in both NetScaler MA Service and in NetScaler MAS.

Monitoring Globally Distributed Sites in NetScaler MA Service

NetScaler MA Service site is a logical grouping of NetScaler instances in a specific geographical location. For example, while one site is assigned to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and another site might be assigned to Azure™. Still another site is hosted on the premises of the tenant. NetScaler MA Service manages and monitors all NetScaler instances connected to all sites. You can use NetScaler MA Service to monitor and collect syslog, AppFlow, SNMP, and any such data originating from the managed instances.

Geomaps in NetScaler MA Service provides you with a graphical representation of your sites. Geomaps also breaks down your network monitoring experience by geography. With geomaps, you can visualize your network instance distribution by location and monitor all network issues. You can navigate to Networks > Dashboard page for a visual representation of the sites created on the world map.

Use case

A leading mobile carrier company, Example Company, was relying on private service providers for hosting their resources and applications. The company already had two sites - one at Minneapolis in the United States and another in Alice Springs in Australia. In this image, you can see that two markers represent the two existing sites.  

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The markers also display a number, which shows the number of applications in each site. You can click these markers for more information about each site.

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Click Applications to see all custom applications created in each site.

Click Details to see a list of NetScaler instances added in each site. Click the tabs to view more information:

  • Instances tab: View the following in this tab:

    • IP address of each network instance

    • Type of the NetScaler instance

    • Number of critical events

    • Significant events and all events raised on a NetScaler instance.

  • Events tab: View a list of critical and significant events raised on the instances.

  • Certificates tab: View the following in this tab:

    • List of certificates of all the instances

    • Expiration status

    • Vital information and the top 10 instances by many certificates in use.

  • Agents tab: View a list of agents to which the instances are bound.

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Configuring Geomaps

Example Company decided to create a third site in Bangalore, India. The company wanted to test the cloud by offloading some of their less-critical, internal IT applications to the Bangalore office. The company decided to use the AWS cloud computing services.

As an administrator, you must first create a site, and next add the NetScaler instances in NetScaler MA Service. You must also add the instance to the site, add an agent, and bind the agent to the site. NetScaler MA Service then recognizes the site that the NetScaler instance and the agent belong.

For more information on adding NetScaler instances, see Adding Instances.

To create sites:

Create sites before you add instances in NetScaler MA Service. Providing location information allows you to locate the site precisely.

  1. In NetScaler MA Service, navigate to Networks > Sites, and click Add.

  2. On the Create Site page, update the following information, and click Create.

    1. Name. Type the name of the site.

      Note: The site can function as the primary data center or as a branch. Choose accordingly.

    2. Cloud Provider. Click the down arrow and select AWS from the list.

    3. Location. Type the name of the city. Click Get Longitude and Latitude to place the site precisely at the location.

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    4. Click Create to create a site in Bangalore.

To add instances and select sites:

After creating sites, you must add instances in NetScaler MA Service. You can select the previously created site, or you can also create a site and associate the instance.

After creating sites, you must add instances in NetScaler MA Service. You can select the previously created site, or you can also create a site and associate the instance.

  1. In NetScaler MA Service, navigate to Networks > Instances.

  2. Select the type of instance you want to create, and click Add.

  3. On the Add NetScaler VPX page, type the IP address and select the profile from the list.

  4. Select the site from the list. You can click the + sign next to Site field to create a site or click the edit icon to change the details of the default site.

  5. Click the right arrow and select the agent from the list that displays.

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  6. After choosing the agent, you must associate the agent with the site. This step allows the agent to be bound to the site. Select the agent and click Attach Site.

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  7. Select the site from the list and click Save.

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  8. Click OK.

    You can also attach an agent to a site by navigating to Networks > Agents.

To associate a NetScaler MA Service agent with the site:

  1. In NetScaler MA Service, navigate to Networks > Agents.

  2. Select the agent, and click Attach Site.

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  3. You can associate the site and click Save.

    NetScaler MA Service starts monitoring the NetScaler instances added in Bangalore site along with the instances at the other two sites as well.

Monitoring Globally Distributed Sites in NetScaler MAS

In NetScaler MAS consider a case that you have network instances deployed in three sites in Santa Clara (USA), Bangalore (India), and Australia. The geomaps on the NetworksDashboard page provides a visual representation of these sites on the world map as shown in the image below. The blue markers represent the cities where the network instances are deployed.

The markers also display a number, which shows the number of applications in each site. You can click on these markers for more information about each site.

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When you hover your mouse pointer over a marker (for example, Australia), you can view the high-level details of the number of instances deployed at that location. In the following image, there are two instances deployed at Australia. You can also view the number of critical and major events raised on the instances at that location.

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Click the marker on Australia to view the following:

  • The Instances tab to view the IP address of each network instance, its host name, the type of instance, the number of critical events, major events, and all events raised on an instance.

  • The Events tab to view a list of critical and major events raised on the instances.

  • The Certificates tab to view the list of certificates of all the instances, their expiration status, their algorithms, usage, issuers, key information, and the top 10 instances by number of certificates in use.

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    The dashboard also provides you with a numerical representation of the various entities managed by NetScaler MAS.

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    Click each of the numbers displayed. The page related to that entity opens and NetScaler MAS allows you to perform many tasks relevant to that entity. For example, if you choose Services, then you can enable or disable the services and bound virtual servers, poll the selected services and bound virtual servers, and view the statistics for the selected service. If you choose Applications, then you can define custom applications; if you choose Certificates, you can view the certificates that have expired or the ones that are going to expire within the week; and many other different tasks related to different entities.

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How to Configure Geomaps

Before configuring a site that you can view on geomaps, you must create IP blocks, so that NetScaler MAS can recognize which site an instance belongs to when it is added to the NetScaler MAS server.

A NetScaler MAS site is a logical grouping of NetScaler instances in a specific geographical location. You can have several NetScaler instances within a site that can be monitored and managed by the NetScaler MAS server. You can use the NetScaler MAS server to manage data such as syslog, appflow, and SNMP etc from the managed instances.

Before configuring a site you must create IP blocks, so that NetScaler MAS can recognize which site an instance belongs to when it is added to the NetScaler MAS server. For example, if the instance’s IP address falls within the range of a private IP block associated with Site 1, the instance being added to NetScaler MAS is known to be located in Site 1.

To create a Private IP Block:

  1. Navigate to Networks > Sites > Private IP Blocks, and then click Add.

  2. In Create Private IP Blocks, specify the name of the IP block and the starting and ending IP addresses in the IP block. Then, specify the country, region, and city. You might have to specify the latitude and longitude of the city if it is not already saved in the geo database.
  3. Click Create to finish.

To create a Site:

  1. Navigate to Networks > Sites, and then click Add.

  2. In Create Site page, specify the name of the site.

  3. Click on Add IP Block to select one or more private IP blocks from the list of available IP blocks to associate with the site.

  4. Click Create.

    For more information on adding NetScaler instances to NetScaler MAS, see Add Instances to NetScaler MAS.