Applications-Billing Report

Virtualization enables enterprises to provide end-users with on-demand access to business-critical applications/services, and to even charge them a fee for the services so provided. Enterprises offering such pay-per-use services are often interested in auditing user activity on their virtualized environments, so that they can identify the applications used, assess the extent of usage per user, and can bill the users accordingly. In addition, administrators may also want to determine the resource footprint of a user when a particular application was accessed, so that users who consistently engage in resource-intensive activities can be identified and their usage policies fine-tuned accordingly. The Applications-Billing report addresses all these requirements. Using this report, administrators can determine which applications are accessed the most in a given timeline, by whom, for how long and how many times the application was accessed by a user. This information provides valuable inputs for billing.

In order to generate the application report, do the following:

  1. Select the Billing option by following the menu sequence: REPORTS BY FUNCTION -> Domain-specific Reports -> Virtual Applications / Desktops -> Applications. Figure 1 will then appear.

    Figure 1 : Generating the Applications-Billing report

  2. When Figure 1 appears, select a criterion for analysis from the Report By list box. Using this report, you can analyze the application activity on one/more independent virtualized components, or those that are part of a segment, service, or a zone. This way, you can assess the impact of the applications hosted on the virtual components of a particular service/segment/zone, and accordingly take decisions. The options provided by the Report By list box are discussed hereunder:

    • Component: Select this option to choose the component(s) from across all the managed components in the environment. For instance, for a report on the applications hosted on all the managed XenApp hosts in the environment, select Citrix XenApp7.x from the Component Type list, select Component from the Report By list, and then select all the virtual hosts listed in the Components list. If the Components list consists of too many components, then viewing all the components and selecting the ones you need for report generation could require endless scrolling. To avoid this, you can click the button next to the Components list. The COMPONENTS pop up window will then appear using which you can view almost all the components in a single interface and Select the ones for which the report is to be generated. You can narrow your search further by using the Search text box. Specify the whole/part of the component name to search for in this text box, and click the icon next to it.
    • Service: Select this option if the components for which a report is to be generated are involved in the delivery of a business service. Then, select a Service.
    • Segment: Choose this option if the virtual hosts to be evaluated are part of a segment. Then, pick a Segment for analysis.
    • Zone: Pick this option for a report on the performance of virtual components that are included in a zone. Then, choose a Zone.
  3. Then, specify the Timeline for the graph. You can either provide a fixed time line such as 1 hour, 2 days, etc., or select the Any option from the list to provide a From and To date/time for report generation.

    Note:

    For every user registered with the eG Enterprise system, the administrator can indicate the maximum timeline for which that user can generate a report. Once the maximum timeline is set for a user, then, whenever that user logs into eG Reporter and attempts to generate a report, the Timeline list box in the report page will display options according to the maximum timeline setting of that user. For instance, if a user can generate a report for a maximum period of 3 days only, then 3 days will be the highest option displayed in the Timeline list - i.e., 3 days will be the last option in the fixed Timeline list. Similarly, if the user chooses the Any option from the Timeline list and proceeds to provide a start date and end date for report generation using the From and To specifications, eG Enterprise will first check if the user's Timeline specification conforms to his/her maximum timeline setting. If not, report generation will fail. For instance, for a user who is allowed to generate reports spanning over a maximum period of 3 days only, the difference between the From and To dates should never be over 3 days. If it is, then, upon clicking the Run Report button a message box will appear, prompting the user to change the From and To specification.

  4. In addition to the settings discussed above, this report comes with a set of default specifications. These settings are hidden by default. If you do not want to disturb these default settings, then you can proceed to generate the report by clicking the Run Report button soon after you pick a Measure. However, if you want to view and then alter these settings (if required), click on the icon. The default settings will then appear in the MORE OPTIONS drop down window (see Figure 2). The steps below discuss each of these settings and how they can be customized.

    Figure 2 : The default settings for generating an Application Billing report

  5. Next, indicate the report Timeperiod.
  6. If the timeline specified for the report needs to exclude the data collected during the weekends, then set Exclude weekends to Yes. If not, select No.

    Note:

    By default, the weekend constitutes Saturday and Sunday. To override this default setting, do the following:

    • Edit the eg_report.ini file in the<EG_INSTALL_DIR>\manager\config directory.
    • In the [EXCLUDE_WEEKEND] section of the file, the Days parameter is set to Saturday,Sunday by default. You can modify this by setting the Days parameter to a comma-separated list of other days of the week - say Friday,Saturday.
    • Save the file after making the required changes.
  7. In large environments, reports generated using months of data can take a long time to complete. Administrators now have the option of generating reports on-line or in the background. When a report is scheduled for background generation, administrators can proceed with their other monitoring, diagnosis, and reporting tasks, while the eG manager is processing the report. This saves the administrator valuable time. To schedule background processing of a report, select the Background Save - PDF option from the Report Generation list. In this case, a Report Name text box will appear, where you would have to provide the name with which the report is to be saved in the background. To process reports in the foreground, select the Foreground Generation - HTML option from this list.

    Note:

    • The Report Generation list will appear only if the EnableBackgroundReport flag in the [BACKGROUND_PROCESS] section of the eg_report.ini file (in the <EG_INSTALL_DIR>\manager\config directory) is set to Yes.
    • The default selection in the Report Generation list will change according to the Timeline specified for the report. If the Timeline set is greater than or equal to the number of days specified against the MinDurationForReport parameter in the [BACKGROUND_PROCESS] section of the eg_report.ini file, then the default selection in the Report Generation list will be Background Save - PDF. On the other hand, if the Timeline set for the report is lesser than the value of the MinDurationForReport parameter, then the default selection in the Report Generation list will be Foreground. This is because, the MinDurationForReport setting governs when reports are to be processed in the background. By default, this parameter is set to 2 weeks - this indicates that by default, reports with a timeline of 2 weeks and above will be processed in the background.
  8. Finally, click the Run Report button to generate the report.
  9. Figure 3 will now display the report which will point you to the user who has accessed the application, the time at which the application was launched, the time at which the application was closed, the duration for which the application was accessed, the logon duration of each user and the resources utilized by the user to access the application. Using this report, administrators can easily figure out the application that was most sought after during the particular time period, which user has mostly accessed the application and when exactly the user accessed the application. This information helps enterprises to audit user activity on their virtualized environments, assess the extent of usage per user and bill the users accordingly.

    Figure 3 : The Application Billing Report

    Clicking on the graph icon in Figure 3 displays Figure 4. The graphical representation enables administrators to analyze resource usage over time, efficiently assess the extent of usage of each application, and accordingly bill users.

    Figure 4 : The graph generated for a chosen resource or application