Users - Top Users Report

In large thin client farms or virtual desktop environments, keeping track of the user activity on the servers of the farm is a difficult task. Moreover it becomes too tedious to figure out which user is continuously engaged in the maximum utilization of the resources. The Users - Top Users Report provides a solution for this. Using this report, you can easily figure out the users who are consuming more resources on the server.

To generate the Users - Top Users report, do the following:

  1. Select the Top Users option by following the menu sequence: REPORTS BY FUNCTION -> Domain-specific Reports -> Virtual Applications / Desktops -> Users.
  2. Figure 1 will then appear. To monitor the servers in a farm, select the Zone to which the servers in the farm have been added.

    Figure 1 : Selecting the criteria for the Users - Top Users report

  3. When Figure 1 appears, select a criterion for analysis from the Report By list box. Using this report, you can analyze the user 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 user activity 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 user activity on all the managed vSphere ESX hosts in the environment, select VMware vSphere ESX from the Component Type list, select Component from the Report By list, and then select all the virtual hosts listed in the Components list of Figure 1. 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.
  4. Then, for generating the report on users associated with a particular component type, select a Component Type.
  5. Select the components for which the report is to be generated from the Components list box. By default, all components of the chosen Component Type will be selected from the Components list. If there are still too many components in the list to choose from, 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. The Components list will then be populated with all component names that embed the specified search string. Select the component of your choice from this list.
  6. 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. A COMPONENTS pop up window will then appear using which you can view almost all the components in a single interface and Select the ones to be included in the top-n analysis easily.
  7. Next, select Graph from the Report Type field to generate a graphical report. For a data report, select the Data option. If Graph option is selected, then an additional Graph Type list box will appear. By default, Distribution option will be chosen from this list box.
  8. If Graph option is chosen as the Report Type and the Distribution option is chosen from the Graph Type text box, then an additional Measure list box will appear in the report configuration section. This implies that across all the servers of the chosen Component Type, the distribution of users will be represented graphically for the chosen Measure. Likewise, if Data option is chosen as the Report Type, then a Based On Measure option will appear which implies that the generated report will be sorted in descending order by default, based on the chosen option.
  9. Specify the name of the user whose activity is to be monitored in the User text box. In large thin client environments where hundreds of users are prevalent, the administrators do not prefer to generate a report on the activity of a single user. In such a case, to generate a comprehensive report on the activity of all the users of the thin client farm, specify * in this text box.
  10. By default, the report provides the details of only the Top-10 users’ activity in the chosen Component. You can choose a different top-n / last-n option from the Show Top list, if need be.

    Note:

    By default, the values displayed in the Show list range from top-10 to Last-10. This is because, the Showtop parameter in the [infos] section of the eg_report.ini file (in the <EG_INSTALL_DIR>\manager\config directory) is set to 10, by default. You can, if required, configure the Show list to display a different range of options. For this, specify a different number against the Showtop parameter, and save the eg_report.ini file.

  11. Specify the report Timeline. 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.

  12. 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 an option from the Components list. However, if you want to view and then alter these settings (if required), click on the button. 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 the User Activity report

  13. Specify the start time and end time for report generation against the Time period field (see Figure 2).
  14. 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 [measure_group] section of the file, the exclude_weekend parameter is set to Saturday,Sunday by default. You can modify this by setting the exclude_weekend parameter to a comma-separated list of other days of the week - say Friday,Saturday.
    • Save the file after making the required changes.
  15. Using the Weighted Average flag, you can indicate how the Avg value is to be computed for a chosen measure for the purpose of this report. The status of the Weighted Average flag is relevant only if the Test chosen is a descriptor-based test, and the descriptors are dynamic in nature. For instance, the Citrix Users test in our example auto-discovers the users who are currently active on a Citrix XenApp farm. For each user who has logged into the Citrix XenApp, the test reports a variety of statistics. Unlike descriptors such as disk partitions or processors that rarely change, the users are dynamic descriptors, which may change often; in other words, a user who is logged in currently, may opt to log out and may not login at all during the next measurement period. The Citrix Users test will neither report metrics for the inactive descriptors nor display it in the eG monitoring console. This is why, users in the Citrix Users test are considered ‘dynamic descriptors’.
  16. By default, this report compares the Avg value of the chosen measure across all selected descriptors. Since the Weighted Average flag is set to No by default, this Avg is computed as the ratio of the sum total of the measure values reported by a descriptor during the given timeline and the total number of times the test is executed during the same timeline. In case of dynamic descriptors however, the Avg values so computed may not reveal the ‘true picture of performance’. This is because, the test may not discover or report metrics for dynamic descriptors throughout a given timeline. For example, take the case of the Citrix Users test. Say, two users - namely, ‘A’ and ‘B’ have logged into the Citrix XenApp server. During its first measurement period; the CPU Utilization for a user session is registered as 2% and 8% respectively. Assume that the second time the Citrix Users test ran, it captured 5% as the CPU Utilization of user ‘A’. User ‘B’ however was inactive during the second measurement period, and hence, was not discovered at all. If the Weighted Average flag is set to No by default, then, this report will plot the Avg value of 4% (3+5=8/2=4) for user ‘A’ and 4% (8/2=4) again for user ‘B’. If you notice, unlike user ‘A’, where 8% of CPU was utilized over a period of time, in case of user ‘B’, 8% of CPU was utilized at one shot! Logically therefore, user ‘B’ has to be ranked above user ‘A’ in terms of CPU utilization. However, since the default Avg value computation does not clearly bring out this difference, both user ‘A’ and ‘B’ are treated at par in this report! This is why, in case of dynamic descriptors, you may want to set the Weighted Average flag to Yes. In this case, the eG Enterprise system expresses Avg as the ratio of the sum total of the measure values reported by a descriptor during a given timeline and the ‘total number of times that descriptor was active’ during the same timeline. This implies that if the Weighted Average flag is set to Yes in the example above, the Avg value for user ‘A’ will continue to be 4 (3+5=8/2=4), but the same for user ‘B’ will be 8 MB (8/1=8). In this report therefore, user ‘B’ will be placed above user ‘A’, thereby accurately pointing you to the top user who is consuming maximum CPU resources.
  17. If you wish to view the user activity on a chosen desktop, then you can use the Desktop Search text box. Provide the name of the desktop of your choice in this text box to view the entire user activity on that particular desktop for the chosen timeperiod.
  18. 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, you can either select the Background Save - PDF option or the Background Save - CSV 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.
  19. Finally, click the Run Report button. Figure 3 will now appear.

    Figure 3 : The User Activity report

  20. Clicking on a slice of the pie chart will reveal the user who is currently in the specified range (see Figure 3).

    Figure 4 : The data that appears upon clicking on the slice of the pie chart

  21. If the Timeline option is chosen from the Graph Type and the Weighted Average list is set to Yes, then the report generated will appear as shown in Figure 5.

    Figure 5 : The User Activity report when the Timeline option is chosen

  22. Figure 7 shows a tabular Thin Client User Activity report for a chosen server. By default, for every user displayed in this table, the following metrics will be displayed:

    • The Avg CPU utilization
    • The Avg Memory utilization
    • The Avg latency
    • The Avg IO reads performed by the user and
    • The Avg IO Writes performed by the user

    While these default metrics cannot be changed, you can, however, configure functions other than Avg to be executed on the values reported by these metrics. Similarly, additional metrics can also be configured for display in the report. Though the generated report is initially sorted based on the column selected from the Based On Measure list, the displayed report can once again be sorted based on any column. Simply clicking on the arrow button present in each column will ensure you that the report is sorted based on the chosen column.

  23. Suppose if all components had been chosen instead of a particular Component, then an additional Aggregate across servers field will appear, as depicted by Figure 6.

    Figure 6 : Selecting the zone based aggregation option

  24. While monitoring the user activity on all the servers in a chosen Zone, you can indicate whether the measures to be displayed in the report are to be aggregated at the zone-level or the individual server-level. Selecting the Yes option from the Aggregate across servers list will ensure that the user activity determining metrics displayed in the report for the chosen server(s) is aggregated across all the servers in the selected zone (see Figure 7).

    Figure 7 : Zone based aggregation for the thin client user activity report

  25. On the other hand, if you select No from the Aggregate across servers list, then the report will reflect the name of the user and the server on which the user is currently active in the selected zone - in other words, the report will display a different set of metrics for every server/user combination (see Figure 8).

    Figure 8 : Server based aggregation for the thin client user activity report

Note:

In order to configure additional information to be displayed in the report, you will have to edit the [CITRIX_USER_ACTIVITY_REPORT] section of the eg_report.ini file in the <EG_INSTALL_DIR>\manager\config directory. By default, the [CITRIX_USER_ACTIVITY_REPORT] section will contain the following specifications:

[CITRIX_USER_ACTIVITY_REPORT]
Citrix_MF_XP:CtxXpUserTest:Cpu_util#Cpu util=Avg
Citrix_MF_XP:CtxXpUserTest:Mem_util#Memory util=Avg
Citrix_MF_XP:CtxXpUserTest:Latency_avg#Latency avg=Avg
Citrix_MF_XP:CtxXpUserTest:IO_reads#IO Reads=Avg
Citrix_MF_XP:CtxXpUserTest:IO_writes#IO Writes=Avg

Close scrutiny of the default specifications reveals the following format:

<InternalComponentType>:<InternalTest>:<InternalMeasure>#<Display name of Measure>=<Comma-separated list of functions to be executed on the value of the Measure>

Accordingly, in the first line of the default specification:

  • Citrix_MF_XP is the <InternalComponentType>
  • CtxXpUserTest is the <InternalTest>
  • Cpu_util is the <InternalMeasure>
  • Cpu util is the <Display name of Number_of_processes>

    Note:

    If a display name is not provided for a measure, then the actual measure name will automatically become the display name.

  • Avg is the function that will be executed on the value of the Cpu_utilmeasure

To ascertain the internal component-type, test, and measure names, follow the procedure detailed in Page First, determine the Internal name of the test and measure to be configured. For that, do the following: of this manual. This indicates that by default, the Avg of the Latency_avg, IO_reads, IO_writes, Cpu_util, and Mem_util measures of the CtxAppTest will be available in every 'Citrix' application report. Similarly, by default, the Avg of the Number_of_processes, Cpu_util, and Mem_util measures of the TermAppTest will be available in every 'Terminal server' application report.

Note:

The default measures mentioned above should not be removed from the [CITRIX_USER_ACTIVITY_REPORT] section. However, the following details pertaining to these default measures can be changed, if need be:

  • The display name of the default measures
  • The functions to be executed on the default measure. For example, if you want the application report to display both the Avg and Max values of the Cpu_util measure, the default specification can be changed as follows:

Citrix_MF_XP:CtxXpUserTest:Cpu_util#Cpu util=Avg,Max

Besides, you can add more measure specifications in the format specified above. Before configuring more measures, determine the internal component type, test, and measure names using the procedure discussed in Page First, determine the Internal name of the test and measure to be configured. For that, do the following: of this manual. Note that a report can contain a maximum of 17 columns of data. 

Note:

While generating any of the above-mentioned thin client reports, you can make sure that specific descriptors are omitted from the Avg, Max, Min computations for the configured measures, by specifying the descriptor names in the following format in the [infos_to_be_omitted] section of the eg_report.ini file (in the <eg_install_dir>\manager\config directory):

<InternalTest>:<InternalMeasure>=<Descriptor>

For example, to ensure that the Summary descriptor of SystemTest is excluded while calculating the average of Cpu_util, provide the following specification in the [infos_to_be_omitted] section:

[INFOS_TO_BE_OMITTED]

SystemTest:Cpu_util=Summary

If the eG license disables the detailed diagnosis capability, or if the diagnosis frequencies are set to 0, then the following thin client reports cannot be generated: Application, User, and Session.