Control Plane Connectivity Test

As stated earlier, the Control Plane performs functions such as user authentication, access control, reporting and brokering. The Control Plane is hosted in Citrix datacenters and managed by Citrix as a service.

Following are the components of the Control Plane:

  • SSL web application servers for ShareFile web interface/web portal access
  • SSL web API servers for client devices, including all native ShareFile apps and tools
  • A clustered database that stores user account information, access rights information for file and folder metadata and user login information. The database in the Control Plane does not contain any user files or user/corporate data. The database is also securely replicated to a secondary, failover datacenter location for backup and recovery.
  • Citrix NetScaler appliances load balance all client requests across the web servers. The NetScaler appliances and web servers run in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and the database cluster runs in the production network behind the firewall.

All traffic from a client device, the web interface or a native tool connects to the Control Plane using 256-bit SSL encryption. The NetScaler appliances then load balance traffic/requests across the various web servers. Once the connection with the web servers is made, they communicate with the clustered database for retrieval of requested . Delays information.

If the Control Plane is unavailable, then device users will not be able to connect to Sharefile. Latencies in Control Plane connectivity will not only delay access, but adversely impact a user’s experience with Sharefile. Likewise, if Control Plane fails to authenticate device/client requests to it or takes too long a time to validate such requests, then again user productivity will suffer. To avoid this, administrators will have to periodically run availability, authentication, and response time checks on the Control Plane and rapidly detect snags in the connectivity to the Control Plane. This is exactly what the Control Plane Connectivity test does. This test emulates a user accessing the ShareFile account via HTTP/HTTPS and in the process, reports whether/not the Control Plane is available. If it is available, the test also reports the connection time and how long the Control Plane took to authenticate that user access. This way, the test also promptly captures authentication failures and delays, well before the user registers a complaint with help desk.

Target of the test : Citrix ShareFile

Agent deploying the test : A remote agent

Outputs of the test : One set of results for the ShareFile account monitored

Configurable parameters for the test
  1. Test period - How often should the test be executed
  2. Host - The host for which the test is to be configured.
  3. port – The port at which the host listens. By default, this is NULL.
  4. email id – Provide the email ID of the Sharefile user with ‘Admin’ access to Sharefile. The credentials of this user are necessary for connecting to the Sharefile REST API, running API commands, and pulling out metrics.  
  5. password – Specify the password associated with the configured email id.
  6. CONFIRM PASSWORD – Confirm the password by retyping it here.
  7. ssl – Indicate whether/not Sharefile is SSL-enabled. By default, this flag is set to Yes.
Measurements made by the test
Measurement Description Measurement Unit Interpretation

Availability

Indicates whether/not the Control Plane is online.

 

The values that this measure reports and their corresponding numeric values are listed in the table below:

Measure Value

Numeric Value

Online

1

Offline

0

Note:

By default, this measure reports the Measure Values discussed in the table above. However, in the graph of this measure, the status of the Control Plane is indicated using the numeric equivalents only.

Connection time

Indicates the time taken to connect to the Control Plane.

Secs

A high value indicates connection latencies. This can be caused by a flaky network connection, excessive bandwidth usage by traffic over the connection, and poor network configuration. If Netscaler takes time to load-balance and route the request to a particular web server, connection time will increase. 

Authentication status

Indicates whether authentication failed or succeeded.

 

The values that this measure reports and their corresponding numeric values are listed in the table below:

Measure Value

Numeric Value

Success

1

Failure

0

Note:

By default, this measure reports the Measure Values discussed in the table above. However, in the graph of this measure, the authentication status is indicated using the numeric equivalents only.

Authentication time

Indicates the time taken by the Control Plane to authenticate requests.

Days

An unusually high value for this measure indicates an authentication delay. This can occur if the web server hosting the Control Plane’s web interface is slow. Another common reason for this is the non-availability/poor responsiveness of the clustered database where the user credentials are stored.