What’s new in Smart Tools
April 26, 2018
New Citrix Checks available for Smart Check – Several new Citrix Checks help you perform in-depth checks for Site components as well as Citrix License Server and Provisioning Services. These checks are:
- Citrix StoreFront Checks: Replaces StoreFront Certificate Checks. In addition to validating SSL certificates for StoreFront, this check validates StoreFront service status, Active Directory connectivity, Base URL setting, and IIS Application Pool version.
- Provisioning Services Checks: Verifies Provisioning Server status and checks several aspects of Provisioning Services configuration.
- Citrix License Server Checks: Verifies License server status, SA eligibility date compatibility, and provides license upgrade suggestions.
- Citrix Life Cycle Checks: Verifies End-of-Life and End-of-Maintenance status on Delivery Controllers and other Site components and provides LTSR and Current Release update recommendations.
For complete descriptions of these checks, see About health checks.
- Notification alerts in Smart Check – In addition to Warning and Error alerts, Smart Check now includes a new Notification alert type that provides additional information about a particular condition in your Site, without the urgency that a Warning or Error alert might convey.
- Streamlined Perform Checks menu – The Perform Checks menu in Smart Check now includes default checks and checks added from the Checks and Blueprints catalog in a simple uncategorized list. For more details, see Perform health and update checks for your XenApp and XenDesktop Site.
- Enhanced Alert Definition Template – When you create custom alerts in Smart Check, you can add environment-specific data such as service instances, user account SIDs, database server names, and so on to the Fix Description field in the Alert Definition Template, as well as the Issue Description field. The template also includes Static Description and Static Fix Description fields so you can supply actionable content in the event the instance data can’t be acquired.
- Enhanced Smart Check emails – The notification emails that Smart Check sends now have an improved look and feel and are sent only once daily after the last scheduled check of the day finishes running.
- Citrix Checks reports – Several Citrix-provided checks now provide summary reports after they finish running. These reports include a concise breakdown of the conditions that were checked and whether or not an alert was generated. Simply click View Reports and select the report you want to view after the checks finish running. For more information about these reports, see View reports from health checks.
December 21, 2017
- Blueprint Catalog renamed – The Blueprint Catalog has been renamed to Checks and Blueprints.
- Easier catalog navigation of custom checks – Citrix Checks now appear at the top of the Checks and Blueprints catalog. It’s now easier to locate Citrix-provided custom checks and add them to Smart Check.
- Catalog link added to Smart Check – Smart Check now included links to the Checks and Blueprints catalog so you can find custom checks more easily. You can find these links in the Perform Checks menu and on the Smart Check Configuration page.
October 10, 2017
- Smart Scale enhancement for multiple Machine Catalogs – When powering on machines in a Delivery Group that is associated with multiple machine catalogs, Smart Scale balances the number of machines powered on across all associated machine catalogs. For customers who use multiple machine catalogs in Delivery Groups for high availability, this enhancement prevents Smart Scale from concentrating power-on actions in a single machine catalog. For more information, see Scaling across multiple machine catalogs.
- Smart Check enhancements – The following enhancements have been added to Smart Check:
- Controlling automatic Site discovery – Customers can control automatic discovery of XenApp and XenDesktop Sites from Call Home or Citrix Scout diagnostics uploads in Citrix Insight Services. Customers can enable or disable discovery from uploads or select which Sites to hide without disabling discovery entirely. Customers can easily manage the Sites that appear in Smart Check and ensure that any non-functional Sites are removed. For more information, see Remove a Site discovered through Call Home or Citrix Scout.
- Custom check removal – Smart Tools users who use custom checks from the Blueprint Catalog can remove those checks from Smart Check when they are no longer needed. Once removed, the custom checks no longer appear in the Perform Checks menu or on the Configuration page in Smart Check. For more information, see Remove custom checks.
September 11, 2017
- Smart Scale capacity and registration enhancements – When determining capacity for a given Delivery Group, Smart Scale only considers machines that are currently registered with the Site for powering on or off. Machines that are unregistered are ignored. Additionally, Smart Scale records registration events and maintenance mode status in the new Machine Status tab. For more information, see About Smart Scale and View Site details.
Smart Check enhancements – The following enhancements have been added to Smart Check:
- Custom alerts limit increase and easier uploading – You can upload up to 500 custom alerts to your Smart Tools account. You can upload your alerts all at once or incrementally. Smart Check only overwrites alerts if you upload content that matches an existing UUID. For more information, see Create custom alerts.
- Custom check removal – When a custom check is deleted from Smart Tools or unpublished from the Blueprint Catalog, Smart Tools removes the custom check from users who previously added the check to their Smart Tools account. Any reports produced by the custom check are retained for the Site. For more information, see Remove published custom checks.
- Last run checks on Health Report – The Health Report for a Site now displays the 10 most recent health checks that were run.
Platform monitoring, operations, and scaling functions removed – Platform functions involving operational tasks and monitoring and scaling blueprint deployments have been removed from Smart Tools. These functions include:
- Adding manual or auto-scaling actions, operational tasks, and monitoring actions to blueprints in the Blueprint Designer. The Operations and Scale & Redundancy tabs and the Monitor built-in step have been removed.
- Configuring a blueprint deployment. The Scale page is no longer displayed in the deployment wizard.
- Adding monitoring actions to a completed blueprint deployment using the Manage > Monitor tab. This includes creating server metrics and creating and using alerts to run scripts or blueprints.
- Creating and scheduling operational tasks to a completed blueprint deployment using the Manage > Operations tab.
- Configuring manual or automatic scaling of machines in a completed blueprint deployment using the Manage > Scale & Redundancy tab.
- Monitoring API. The Smart Tools REST API no longer includes monitoring functions or parameters. If you currently use the REST API in an application, any monitoring calls that are made to Smart Tools are no longer recognized.
- Existing monitoring, operations, and scaling actions in active deployments. These actions have been stopped and cannot be restarted. If email notifications were configured as part of a monitoring action or operational task, these notifications will no longer be sent.
August 7, 2017
Custom health check support for Storefront, Provisioning Services, and License Server – Perform health checks for the Storefront, Provisioning Services, and License Server machines associated with your Site using custom health checks. When you run the custom check, you can target the machines you want to evaluate. Results from these checks are displayed on the Health Alerts page and are included in summary email notifications, along with the Delivery Controllers, machine catalogs, and Delivery Groups in your Site.
Power off delay for Smart Scale – Smart Scale now enables you to delay powering off machines for a predefined period of time. If users need to use their dedicated desktops after-hours, this delay ensures they can create a session without having Smart Scale power it off automatically. Smart Scales only powers off the machine after users have logged off.
Smart Scale support for scheduling minimum percentage of machines – When creating schedules in Smart Scale, you can specify the percentage of machines in the Delivery Group to keep powered on. As the number of machines in your Delivery Group changes, Smart Scale increases or decreases the minimum number automatically.
- VDI-in-a-Box migration support removed – Support for migrating from VDI-in-a-Box 5.4 to XenDesktop 7.x has been removed from Smart Migrate.
- Failover and failback blueprint and management functions removed – Failover and failback actions that were available in Smart Build’s Blueprint Designer and in the Manage tab have been removed.
June 28, 2017
- Smart Check custom checks enhancements – If you use custom tools to perform health checks on your Site, Smart Tools now includes a check blueprint you can use specifically for deploying your custom tools. When creating your custom check, you can specify the machine types that users can target (for example, Delivery Controllers or VDAs). Additionally, you can publish the check blueprint to the Blueprint Catalog and ensure only the Smart Tools users you specify can use it. When those users add your custom check to Smart Check, they can select the machines they want to target and enter any parameters that your check requires. For more information, see Use custom checks and alerts with Smart Check.
- Smart Check alerts enhancement – Smart Check alerts now include additional Site information in alert descriptions such as machine names, SIDs, service instance names, and database names. For example, an alert for backing up Site databases now displays the affected database names, database server, and the number of days since the last backup. Smart Check acquires this data from the Site’s information in Citrix Insight Services. If Smart Check can’t find this data when needed, Smart Check displays a general description of the issue.
- Email notification enhancements for Smart Scale – Email notifications for Smart Scale have been enhanced to reflect when Smart Scale is experiencing errors (for example, powering on machines failed or is taking longer than expected) and when Smart Scale has recovered from those issues. Smart Tools sends a notification only once for each issue state (error or recovered). By default, email notifications are turned off.
- XenApp SDK requirements for Smart Migrate – To successfully migrate from XenApp 6.x to XenApp 7.x, Smart Tools requires the XenApp 6.5 PowerShell SDK be present on the XenApp 7.x Controllers. When migrating to XenApp 7.13, this SDK is not installed by default when installing XenApp 7.13, so you must install the SDK manually before using Smart Migrate.
May 22, 2017
- Smart Check custom checks and alerts – If you use custom tools to perform health checks on your Site, you can deploy them to your Site using a blueprint and use Smart Check to display triggered alerts. You can create your own custom alerts and add them to Smart Check or use Smart Check’s library of alerts for your custom tools. For more information, see Use custom checks and alerts with Smart Check.
- Smart Check custom reports – For checks that include reporting, like LTSR Checks, Smart Check now displays those reports on a separate page. Navigate the report list using search-as-you-type and column sorting and download reports as PDF files. For more information, see View reports from health checks.
- Smart Scale monitoring enhancements – When you add your Site to Smart Scale, monitoring begins by default. You can now turn off monitoring for your Site and continue to access previously-collected monitoring data. Smart Scale can also stop monitoring automatically if you’re not using Smart Scale to power manage your Delivery Groups. For more information, see Monitoring Sites.
- Enhancements to Smart Check diagnostics uploads – Smart Check now makes it easier for you to navigate the Diagnostic Uploads list and locate specific uploads. Use search-as-you-type and column sorting to filter your list and find past uploads fast. For more information, see Finding uploads.
March 29, 2017
- Smart Check support for uploading Site diagnostics – If you experience an issue with your Site and need assistance, Smart Check now provides a way to securely upload Site diagnostics file to Citrix Insight Services and share it with Citrix Technical Support. For more information, see Upload Site diagnostics to Citrix Technical Support.
- LTSR Checks – Smart Check adds LTSR Checks to its growing arsenal of health and update checks for XenApp and XenDesktop Sites. Using the LTSR Assistant, Smart Check generates compliance data for the Site and displays alerts showing the Delivery Controllers and VDAs that are out of compliance. For more information, see About health checks.
February 8, 2017
- Smart Scale support for Windows Desktop VDI – Smart Scale now supports Delivery Groups that include machine catalogs with Windows static persistent or random non-persistent desktops. For more information, see About Smart Scale.
- Smart Scale support for zero minimum machines – When creating scaling schedules for Delivery Groups, you can specify that Smart Scale keep a minimum of 0 (zero) machines powered on for the scheduled time period. Previously, Smart Scale required a minimum of one machine to be powered on for all scaling schedules.
- Support for XenServer 7.1 – Smart Tools now supports resource locations using XenServer 7.1. Customers can design new blueprints for this new version of XenServer and make them available for deployment.
December 22, 2016
Service name changes – Citrix Lifecycle Management is now known as Citrix Smart Tools. The following features have also been renamed as services within Smart Tools:
- Design & Deploy is now Smart Build. This service includes all the current blueprint design and deployment features in Lifecycle Management.
- Update is now Smart Check. This service includes the current Update feature and pairs it with diagnostic health checks to help you keep your XenApp and XenDesktop Sites running smoothly.
Migrate is now Smart Migrate. This service includes all the current functions for easing migration of your application and policy data from XenApp 6 and 6.5 and VDI-in-a-Box 5.4 to XenApp and XenDesktop 7.x. Smart Migrate can automate your migration or create scripts you can run to manually migrate your farm or grid.
- Smart Check service released – Smart Check is a new service that includes all the functions of the former Update feature and adds proactive health checks that help you keep your XenApp and XenDesktop Sites running smoothly. You can schedule health checks to monitor your Site and Delivery Groups for potential problems and to notify you of applicable updates. For more information about Smart Check, see Smart Check.
Windows Server 2016 support – Smart Tools supports installing the Smart Tools Agent on servers running Windows Server 2016. Additionally, the following proof of concept blueprints have been updated to support using Windows Server 2016 machine images:
- XenApp and XenDesktop Proof of Concept blueprint
- Simple XenApp and XenDesktop Proof of Concept blueprint
September 19, 2016
Support for Citrix CloudPlatform deprecated – New resource locations running Citrix CloudPlatform can no longer be added to Lifecycle Management. For existing CloudPlatform resource locations, the following functions continue to be supported:
- Modify server details
- Create, deploy, and share custom blueprints that are compatible with CloudPlatform resource locations.
Deploy existing Citrix blueprints that are compatible with CloudPlatform resource locations.
- On-demand update sync – The list of updates for a registered XenApp and XenDesktop site can be refreshed when needed by clicking Sync Site Data on the Site Details tab. Previously, the updates list was refreshed only once per day with no option to refresh on-demand.
- Snapshots added to Update task details – When installing scheduled updates that include taking a snapshot of the machine beforehand, Lifecycle Management includes a “Create Snapshot” step in the Task Installation Details for the update task.
September 7, 2016
Lifecycle Management includes Smart Scale support for sites using the XenApp and XenDesktop Service of Citrix Cloud. To learn more, see Add a XenApp and XenDesktop Service site to Smart Scale.
August 1, 2016
- Support for multiple Site Agents per site – To promote high availability for XenApp and XenDesktop sites, customers can install the Lifecycle Management Site Agent on each delivery controller in the site. Lifecycle Management designates one Site Agent as “active” while the other Site Agents stand by. If the active Site Agent becomes unvailable, Lifecycle Management can designate another Site Agent as active, so monitoring, scaling, and updating actions can continue uninterrupted.
- New Load Index and Session Count scale metrics – With load-based scaling or load and schedule-based scaling, customers have a choice of using load index or session count as the criteria for managing load in a selected delivery group. If “Load index” is selected, the default index of 10000 is used to determine when machines are at full load. If “Session count” is selected, the specified maximum number of sessions is used. When all the powered-on machines in a delivery group are at full load, Lifecycle Management uses the buffer capacity
- Snapshots for delivery controllers on different host connections – When applying updates to XenApp and XenDesktop delivery controllers, Lifecycle Management offers the option of taking a snapshot before the update is actually applied. If the delivery controllers are not on the same host connection as the VDAs, Lifecycle Management now prompts customers for the resource location where the snapshot should be stored.
- Support for XenServer 7.0 – Lifecycle Management now supports setting up resource locations that are running Citrix XenServer 7.0. Additionally, blueprint authors can specify XenServer 7.0 as a supported platform when creating or updating blueprints with the Blueprint Designer.
- Automatic sharing enabled for XenApp and XenDesktop Resource Location Setup blueprint – When a Citrix Cloud administrator selects the “Use Lifeycle Management” option from within the XenApp and XenDesktop service to set up a resource location, Lifecycle Management adds the XenApp and XenDesktop Resource Location Setup blueprint to the administrator’s library and shares the blueprint with all other account administrators.
Enhanced REST API Support – REST APIs have been added for the following tasks:
- Publishing or republishing a blueprint to the Blueprint Catalog
- Removing a published blueprint from the Blueprint Catalog
June 13, 2016
With Lifecycle Management’s collection of XenApp and XenDesktop Proof of Concept blueprints, many customers have created their own basic XenApp and XenDesktop deployments while learning more about the potential for Lifecycle Management.
Now, these blueprints have been updated so customers have even more deployment options:
- Support for XenApp and XenDesktop 7.9 – Customers can now deploy a XenApp and XenDesktop proof of concept with XenApp and XenDesktop 7.9 by default.
- Support for Microsoft Azure – The Simple XenApp and XenDesktop Proof of Concept blueprint now includes support for resource locations using Microsoft Azure, as well as Amazon Web Services.
- Auto-registration for Smart Scale and Updates – New sites that are deployed with these blueprints are automatically registered with Lifecycle Management so customers can use them with Smart Scale and Update features. After deployment, these sites appear automatically on the Smart Scale and Upgrades & Updates pages of Lifecycle Management. Customers don’t have to manually add their sites and can start scaling or perusing available updates right away.
Previously, Workspace Cloud customers learned how Lifecycle Management could help them deploy a resource location using the Apps and Desktops Resource Location Setup blueprint.
In the new era of Citrix Cloud, Lifecycle Management is once again helping customers using the XenApp and XenDesktop service to rapidly deploy new resource locations with minimal configuration. With the XenApp and XenDesktop Service Resource Location Setup blueprint, customers can:
- Set up a Citrix Cloud resource location on Microsoft Azure, or Amazon Web Services.
- Deploy a domain controller, two Cloud Connectors, NetScaler VPX appliance, and NetScaler Gateway.
- Add optional components such as StoreFront and VDA machines configured for RDS desktops or Server VDI.
May 16, 2016
Smart Scale enables proactive scaling and power management of machines in a XenApp and XenDesktop site based on a schedule you define or the level of demand for user sessions. Smart Scale works with the machines in your delivery group to ensure users can connect to their applications and desktops when needed while helping you control machine utilization costs.
Smart Scale includes the following functions:
- Schedule-based scaling helps you keep a minimum number of machines available on specified days.
- Load-based scaling ensures you have enough machines powered on for increases in session demand and powers down machines when demand lessens.
- Schedule- and load-based scaling ensures you have a minimum number of machines available on specified days, increasing that number when demand increases and decreasing that number (to the minimum scheduled) when demand lessens.
- Adjustable session capacity buffer helps you fine-tune the balance between having machines available to accommodate spikes in demand and reducing machine costs.
- Delivery group monitoring metrics include number of machines in use, capacity utilization, number of sessions in use, machines in maintenance mode, and load index. If XenApp and XenDesktop resides in a cloud powered by Amazon Web Services, Smart Scale tracks estimated savings based on the per-instance cost and scaling activity period that you define.
- Events tab tracks the execution of scheduled events, such as powering machines on or off, and machines entering maintenance mode.
- Machine Activity tab tracks whether machines are powered on or off.
The Upgrade feature has received the following enhancements:
- Feature name changed from “Upgrade” to “Update” in the Lifecycle Management menu bar.
Feature expanded to include the following functions:
- Upgrades & Updates: Finds and applies relevant product updates for delivery controllers and VDA machines in a XenApp and XenDesktop site.
Migrations (formerly known as “Upgrades”): Includes the ability to migrate VDI-in-a-Box 5.4 deployments to XenDesktop 7.6, in addition to migrating from XenApp 6.x to XenApp 7.6.
Upgrades & Updates includes the following functions:
- Find relevant updates for the delivery controller and VDA machines in your site and select the ones you want to apply. Applicable update listing includes links to relevant CTX articles in the Citrix Support Knowledge Center.
- Use scripts from your Library to execute pre- and post-installation actions during the update process.
- Specify whether or not to take a snapshot of the delivery controller or master image being updated. If the delivery controller or master image resides in a public cloud, an image template is created instead.
- Specify a date and time for applying updates and define when to roll out an updated master image to VDA machines.
- Tasks tab displays status of update actions so you can monitor progress or cancel the action.
REST APIs have been added for the following tasks:
- Create a script with single or multiple file attachments
- Update an existing script with single or multiple file attachments
- Get the content of a script attachment file in the byte array format