Citrix Auto Support via Citrix Scout analyzed

Running the Citrix Scout tool to healthcheck your infrastructure

 

For a while the Citrix Auto Support feature exists at Citrix. The Citrix Scout program allows you to analyze a Citrix Infrastructure, and view recommendations based on the current configuration.
Sounds good, So we made a test to see if the tool is useful, and documented the steps for you.
At the bottom of the article you will find our conclusion.
 
 

1. Navigate to
https://taas.citrix.com/AutoSupport/
2. Click Get Started
3. Click on How to Collect Data
4. Click on the product you want to have checked, in this case XenApp.
5. You will be redirected to the download Page of the Citrix Scout tool (in this case for XenApp and XenDesktop)
6. Download the tool and extract it on a XenApp Server, preferably the datacollector, to C:\temp\CitrixScout\
7. Launch Run.exe, this will launch the executable Scout.exe.  If you get na Open File warning, click on Run.
8. Wait while the program loads…
9. When ready, click Collect & Upload.
10. Select the Servers you want to query. You might see warning messages that winRM is not configured. We will fix this in the next step.
11. Log on to the Server, and open Server Manager.
 
Check if Server Manager Remote Management is set to Enabled. If not, click on Configure Server Manager Remote Management.
12. Enable to the option Enable remote management. Click OK.
13. Next a listener needs to be created, to accept incoming requests. Open a command prompt, and type winrm quickconfig and press enter.
14. Type y when prompted to make these changes and press enter. Note: The firewall does not need to be on to have the firewall exceptions added.
15. In the Citrix Scout tool, select and unselect the server again, and verify if the server is listed as  to be queried via Remote Server Management, with no warnings.
16. Repeat this for all other servers that have a WinRM warning. You can do this also via the GUI in the Citrix Scout tool by selecting the options icon  next to every Server.
 
 
You can enable WinRM by using the On/Off Button. Changes are made immediately. Very nice feature!
17. Select Continue to start the collection of data.
18. The tool is gathering data.
19. When finished, save the zipfile in the suggested location C:\temp\CitrixScout\Current\Report n/a
20. The upload screen appears. Enter your Citrix userId and password. Leave the Service Request blank, unless you are uploading the logs for a ticket at Citrix Support. Click upload and select the logfileIf the Server does not have internet Access, go to step 23 to upload via a webpage.
21. The logfile is being uploaded.
22. The upload completed. Go to step 26.
23. If the Server did not have internet Access, you must upload the logifle via the website. Go back to the Autosupport site and click the Upload Data Button.
24. Since you already logged on, no Citrix userID and password are needed anymore. Upload the logfile.
25. The upload completed.
26. The Citrix Auto Support page will automatically refresh, and suggest recommendations.
 
  You can find detailed info about your farm in the following sections. Some sections are still in beta.
  There are suggestions regarding Citrix Hotfixes
  And for Microsoft OS and RDS/TS specific hotfixes.
  It can display the Citrix Client version of the currently connected users. A feature that we know from Jason Conger’s “Webinterface for Resource Manager”.
  If you want some information about the datastore, you need to make sure the username from which you are performing this query with has (temporary) administrator access to the SQL/Oracle database to read the properties.

Conclusion:

We must say, Citrix did a pretty good job here. The Citrix Scout tool lets you analyze the XenApp/XenDesktop infrastructure in a short timeframe for Best Practices – without hassles.
In our case Citrix Auto Support had some recommendation we were already aware of:

·         Install Hotfix Rollup Pack 2 – The stable post HRP1 hotfixes are already installed, and HRP2 is not installed (yet) on purpose.
·         Install a hotfix regarding a seamless published explorer.exe – This was already encountered, and planned for installation
·         Install several OS and RDS/TS related hotfixes –

Most of these topics had been analyzed before and considered unnecessary for the current configuration.
However, some other interesting hotfixes may show, as for example the following:
Update rollup: Fix printing problems in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2647753

Logically, the larger and more complex the farm, the more issues or recommendations will pop up.

This kind of analysis is mostly done by experience Citrix admins or consultants, and therefore closes the existing gap when the servers are updated by admins who are also responsible for other infrastructure, and therefore don’t have time or experience to inplement the available Best Practices.
And Best Practices make the BIG difference between a working, stable and fast Citrix farm, and one with daily issues, and unsatisfied users, and managers. 
Installing XenApp out-of-the-box and not optimizing it fully, just simply is insufficient.

Final Conclusion on the Citrix Auto Support health check:


I can recommend to run this healthcheck on any Citrix XenApp or Xendesktop farm for any customer. Almost a MUST for customers who aim for high availability and redundancy. Even for smaller farms, or for less experienced Citrix admins, the Auto Support tool is a good way to understand the current configuration and apply Best Practises. Your users will be grateful.
 
 
 

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