Product Documentation

Maintaining Server Farms

Apr 29, 2015

A server farm is a group of servers running Citrix XenApp and managed as a single entity. The servers in the server farm share a single IMA-based data store.

Citrix recommends performing farm maintenance tasks from the data collector, assuming no applications are published on the data collector, because this updates farm data faster. Performing farm maintenance tasks from a server hosting published applications can slow down users trying to connect to published applications and take longer to update in the data store.

The Delivery Services Console provides a wide variety of summary information about the farm and each server in the farm. You can customize your view and group applications or servers in folders to make navigating through their console listings easier. Folders are also useful for Object Based Delegated Administration. Grouping servers into folders can facilitate the process of delegating administrative tasks to Citrix administrators.

From the Start menu, select All Programs > Citrix > Management Consoles and choose Citrix Delivery Services Console.

When you select an item in the navigation pane, the Actions pane provides quick access to related options for the selected item.

In addition, configure Citrix policy settings in the Delivery Services Console or the Local Group Policy Editor, depending on whether or not you use Active Directory in your XenApp environment. Use these settings to maintain the farm, including scheduling restarts, optimizing and monitoring server performance, and setting the port for the Citrix XML Service and License Server. For more information, see the Policy Settings Reference.

XenApp Troubleshooting Tools

Citrix Auto Support is a free online troubleshooting platform for your Citrix environment. Citrix Auto Support quickly analyzes your log files, profiles your environment, and scans for known issues, providing customized advice for a solution. Access Citrix Auto Support here to upload your log files.

To search for objects in your farm

XenApp provides an advanced search feature so that you can search for the objects in your farm such as discovered items, sessions or applications by user, and servers that do not have a specific hotfix applied to them.
  1. From the Delivery Services Console, in the navigation pane, select Search, and in the Actions pane, select Search for items.
  2. In the Advanced Search dialog box, in the Find box, select one of the following:
    • Discovered items. Searches discovered items.
    • Sessions By User. Lists the sessions to which a specific user is connected. Type a user name in the Name box.
    • Applications By User. Lists the applications that the specified user is using. Type a user name in the Name box.
    • Servers without hotfix. Lets you search for all of the servers missing a specific hotfix. This feature is useful if you want to check that you applied a hotfix to all servers in your farm. Type a hotfix number in the Name box.
  3. Use the Browse button to select one of the Citrix Resources locations to search in.

To change a server's desktop settings

To perform administrator tasks on a server's desktop, you can access a server’s desktop only if the desktop of the selected server is published. Configure connection settings to your servers through the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) using Remote Desktop Server Configuration.

  1. Configure the Citrix policies setting for Desktop launches to Allowed. If it is set to Prohibited, this feature fails.
  2. From the Delivery Services Console, select a server.
  3. In the Actions pane, select Other Tasks > Connect to server, and choose one of the following settings:
    • Connect to server’s published desktop
    • Connect directly to server's desktop
  4. In the Launch ICA Desktop Session dialog box, choose from the following selections. The selections you make here become the new default settings.
    • Accept the Width and Height values (800 x 600 by default) or specify a different resolution.
    • Colors (Better Speed by default). Select the color depth for the application. The available options are 256 colors (8-bit), Better Speed (16-bit), or Better Appearance (32-bit).
    • Encryption. Select one of the following options from the list.
      • Basic encrypts the connection using a non-RC5 algorithm (default setting). Basic encryption protects the data stream from being read directly but can be decrypted.
      • 128-Bit Login Only (RC5) encrypts the logon data with RC5 128-bit encryption and the ICA connection with basic encryption.
      • 40-Bit (RC5) encrypts the connection with RC5 40-bit encryption.
      • 56-Bit (RC5) encrypts the connection with RC5 56-bit encryption.
      • 128-Bit (RC5) encrypts the connection with RC5 128-bit encryption.

To limit the number of server connections per user

When a user starts a published application, the client establishes a connection to a server in the farm and initiates a client session. If the user then starts another published application without logging off from the first application, the user has two concurrent connections to the server farm. To conserve resources, you can limit the number of concurrent connections that users can make.

Configure the Citrix policy for Server Settings > Connection Limits by setting the following options:

  • Limit User sessions. Specify the maximum number of connections a user can make to any single server at the same time.
  • Limits on administrator sessions. Enable this setting to extend the connection limit to Citrix administrators.
    Important: Limiting connections for Citrix administrators can adversely affect their ability to shadow other users.
  • Logging of logon limit events. Enable this setting to record information about denied connection events in the server’s system log.

To disable and re-enable server logons

By default, logons are enabled for each server in a farm. You can disable logons on a per-server basis, such as during maintenance, then re-enable after maintenance is complete. When you disable logons, current sessions remain active until the users log off.
  1. From the Delivery Services Console, select the server.
  2. In the Actions pane, select one of the following:
    • Other Tasks > Disable logon
    • Other Tasks > Enable logon

Restarting Servers at Scheduled Times

To optimize performance, you can restart servers automatically at specified intervals by creating a restart schedule.

Restart schedules are based on the local time for each server to which they apply. This means that if you apply a schedule to servers that are located in more than one time zone, the restarts do not happen simultaneously; each server is restarted at the selected time in its own time zone.

When the Citrix Independent Management Architecture (IMA) service starts after a restart, it establishes a connection to the data store and updates the local host cache. This update can vary from a few hundred kilobytes of data to several megabytes of data, depending on the size and configuration of the server farm.

To reduce the load on the data store and to reduce the IMA service start time, Citrix recommends maintaining restart groups of no more than 100 servers. In large server farms with hundreds of servers, or when the database hardware is not sufficient, restart servers in groups of approximately 50, with at least 10 minute intervals between groups.

Configure the Citrix policy for Reboot Behavior by setting the following options:
  • Scheduled reboots (disabled by default). Enable this setting to apply a restart schedule and warnings.
  • Continue by configuring related reboot policy settings for scheduling restarts, including settings for warnings to users and the schedules by frequency and start date.