Citrix Director

What is Citrix Director?

Citrix Director is a web-based monitoring console for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (XenApp and XenDesktop virtualization platforms) that allows administrators to control and monitor virtual applications and desktops. Starting with Version 7, Director is the default management tool, replacing the pre-existing Citrix EdgeSight.

Through Citrix Director, IT administrators gain the ability to view Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops session details and perform specific actions, such as:

  • Control a user’s session
  • Set and receive policy violation alerts
  • View all virtual machine malfunctions
  • View and customize trend reports

Citrix Director accesses a plethora of critical data, including real-time data from the Broker Agent, historical data stored in the Monitor database, and ICA data from the Citrix gateway, all of which is available via a central troubleshooting dashboard. From there, administrators can monitor historical health and see desktop and server failures occur in real-time.

Citrix Director is available as part of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops. Basic functionalities are available to Citrix Advanced licensing customers, while additional capabilities are available only to XenApp and XenDesktop Platinum license holders.

What is Citrix Director used for?

Citrix Director is more than just a helpdesk tool, and using Citrix Dierctor, IT admins can keep watch on:

  • User Logons: Citrix Director allows IT administrators to view the logon process from brokering to the interactive session, tracking logon times to understand which parts of the process contribute to slowdowns and bottlenecks. Citrix Director can obtain the relevant data directly from Citrix Delivery Controller.
  • Connection Failures: The Director console tracks and provides important data about user, desktop, and machine connection failures in order to provide administrators with insights into the user experience.
  • Server Resources: Citrix Director can track its server’s operating system memory, CPU usage, and other key resources, delivering that data straight to the console. Citrix Director can also track GPU usage for environments configured with NVIDIA GPUs.
  • Application Failures: Citrix Director frequently checks for application failures and reports all of them, in real-time, directly to the console for efficient troubleshooting and resolution.
  • Sessions: Citrix Director’s drill-down capabilities allow IT administrators to monitor sessions for a specific user, extracting essential details about endpoints and virtual channels for full visibility into executed processes. With Citrix Director, admins and helpdesk staff can also initiate actions including disconnecting a user's session, logging off a user, shadowing a user session and more. Citrix Director also allow thresholds to be set for metrics and alerts to be emailed when abnormal conditions are detected. This capability is only supported with a Platinum license.

    By default, Citrix Director supports historical performance data for 7 days only. More extensive historical storage and analysis is available only to Citrix Enterprise, Cloud and Platinum customers. The data retention periods are 30, 90 and 365 days respectively.

What are the benefits of using Citrix Director for Citrix monitoring?

  • It’s free: Director is built into Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (previously called XenApp and XenDesktop).
  • It doesn’t require any external agents to be deployed: Director uses instrumentation built into the Citrix FlexCast Management Architecture (FMA). No additional agents need to be deployed for it to work.
  • It integrates with Citrix ADM (NetScaler MAS): Director mainly provides insights into server and session performance. If an administrator is interested in network-level visibility into Citrix traffic and has ADM (NetScaler MAS) already in place, they can see NetScaler MAS metrics in the Director console itself.

It can be used for monitoring both on-premise deployments of Citrix workspaces and Citrix Cloud deployments. The actual console in the two cases may be different, but administrators can benefit from a similar look and feel of the user interface.

What are the limitations of Citrix Director for Citrix monitoring?

Citrix Director has several limitations and you can read more about this on our blog: Is Citrix Director sufficient for end-to-end monitoring? The key limitations of Citrix Director are:

  • It monitors some tiers of the Citrix stack only. So it is not a single console from where IT admins can monitor even all of the Citrix tiers.
  • It does not provide end-to-end visibility covering all of the non-Citrix tiers that support the Citrix service. Hence, it cannot always answer the question “Why is Citrix slow?”
  • Citrix Director has limited synthetic monitoring capability, so it cannot be used to perform a periodic Citrix service health check.
  • It lacks the AIOps and root-cause diagnosis capabilities that full-fledged monitoring tools possess.

Learn more about how a specialized and complete Citrix monitoring tools like eG Enterprise compares with Citrix Director here.