In the fast-paced world of virtualization and cloud-based solutions, Citrix products have emerged as industry-leading platforms for enhancing enterprise productivity and efficiency, being used by 99% of the companies in the Fortune Top 100 index. FAQ's: What are Citrix monitoring tools? Why should you invest in Citrix Monitoring? What to look for when choosing a tool? How to monitor your Citrix IT? Citrix Hypervisor, Citrix Virtual Apps, and Citrix Virtual Desktops play pivotal roles in delivering seamless and secure access to applications and even complete desktops across diverse environments. To maximize the potential of these Citrix products and ensure your business continuity, monitoring their performance is imperative. Monitoring involves the continuous observation and analysis of various key metrics, such as resource utilization, application response times, network latency, and user session data. Understanding the health and behavior of Citrix deployments is essential for businesses to identify and resolve common issues that impact user experience, such as slow logins, high application and desktop latency, bad connectivity, or printing problems. It is also important if you wish to optimize resource allocation and plan for future scalability. To accomplish this critical task, we present ten of the best tools designed to monitor Citrix products. By utilizing them, organizations can ensure the stability, security, and optimal performance of their Citrix environments. They empower administrators to proactively address issues, minimize downtime, and deliver an exceptional end-user experience, thereby driving productivity and success across the enterprise. Frequently Asked Questions About Citrix Monitoring What are Citrix Monitoring Tools? Citrix monitoring tools are those designed to check the availability, performance, and internal parameters of Citrix products. Usually, this term is applied to tools that can monitor the virtualization hypervisor (Citrix Hypervisor), Citrix Virtual Apps, and Citrix Virtual Desktops. Please note that, due to old habits, you will still see professionals and companies referring to those apps by their former names: XenServer, XenApp, and XenDesktop, respectively. These tools can range from simple service availability monitors to more sophisticated ones that can deliver deep insights into the performance of your Citrix infrastructure. Some may integrate with all the products mentioned above, others may focus only on a particular product or aspect. Citrix themselves offers a first-party monitoring and troubleshooting solution called Citrix Director. However, in this article, we are focusing on third-party tools, which may better integrate with heterogeneous IT environments (for example, if you are using multiple virtualization solutions) and can also monitor other aspects of your infrastructure in a unified fashion. This article offers general guidance on the most popular, and capable, tools for Citrix monitoring, but it is up to you to compile a list of your specific requirements and check if they are met before committing to anything. All tools listed here offer free trials that will allow you to check for suitability to your needs. Why Should You Invest in Citrix Monitoring? There are many reasons to invest in Citrix Monitoring. Here are five of them, in no particular order. Performance optimization: continuous monitoring can help you pinpoint issues and identify opportunities for optimization that will improve the performance of your Citrix infrastructure, sometimes without the need for costly upgrades. Security: monitoring allows you to spot signs of uncommon behavior or usage patterns indicative of an intrusion attempt or ongoing attack. This will give you time to react and deploy countermeasures before a breach occurs. Resource allocation: find out where resources are being underutilized or overutilized, allowing you to redistribute them according to real needs to ensure the most effective usage of your systems. Proactive maintenance: monitoring allows you to detect and fix potential issues before they become critical and result in outages that may affect the performance of your applications or even the profitability of your business. Regulatory compliance: businesses that handle sensitive information, like financial or healthcare data, need to meet strict regulatory standards that specify how this information is stored and handled. Monitoring will allow you to prove compliance with these standards and secure approvals that may be crucial to keep your business running. What to Look for When Choosing Citrix Monitoring Tools? Broadly speaking, there are 5 main features you need to look out for when choosing Citrix monitoring tools. Keep in mind that this may vary according to your specific needs. The capability to monitor many aspects of your Citrix environment at once. A centralized display of information from many sensors for better observability. Customizable alerts and automated notifications when alerts are triggered. Native and automated reporting features, so you can keep co-workers and management "in the loop". A free trial period, so you can attest to how the tool works within your network infrastructure. How to do Citrix Monitoring? There are many Citrix monitoring tools, from as many different vendors, which may focus solely on a single aspect of the task or offer this capability as a subset of a broader range of features. We present a few of them below, in no particular order. The Best Citrix Monitoring Tools PRTG Paessler PRTG is often called the Swiss army knife of the monitoring world. It is based on basic monitoring elements called "sensors". One sensor usually monitors one measured value in your network, e.g. the traffic of a switch port, the CPU load of a server, the free space of a disk drive, and so on. With more than 250 built-in sensors for various tasks, device types, and use cases, you would be hard-pressed to find something you can't monitor with PRTG. Plus, you can mix and match sensors, and even deploy custom ones, to create monitoring solutions specific to your needs. PRTG can be used for Citrix monitoring in many different ways. You can monitor the status of the host running your virtual machines with the Citrix XenServer Host sensor, and the performance metrics of the VMs themselves with the Citrix XenServer Virtual Machine sensor. Additionally, you can use the other sensors built into PRTG to monitor the operating systems, applications, and services that are running on the VMs, giving you a complete view of your Citrix infrastructure with one tool. Monitoring a Citrix XenServer host with PRTG. The information gathered by PRTG is shown on a centralized dashboard with all the relevant metrics. You can set alerts based on threshold values, with notifications delivered by text (SMS) or email if those values are exceeded. There is also an automatic reporting feature, so you can keep management and co-workers informed. PRTG Network Monitor is available on a perpetual license basis, or on monthly subscription plans with PRTG Hosted Monitor. On the former, you acquire a license and there are no recurring subscription costs. On the latter, you can choose a variety of plans according to your needs, with monthly or annual billing. There is a 30-day free trial of PRTG, with all features available during this period, no credit card is needed. Automai Watcher Automai Watcher offers automated Citrix monitoring for apps and desktops from the end-user perspective, allowing businesses to proactively address performance issues and troubleshoot problems before users notice them. This includes performance testing, monitoring, functional testing, and RPA (Robotic Process Automation) solutions. This tool claims to be able to monitor any application, in any environment, without scripting. With it, you will be able to see how long it takes for your users to open an application, perform a transaction, run a program, or perform any measurable action in your Citrix environment. Performance trending report on Automai Watcher Automai can automatically create test scripts, without the need for code: you just click through your application, as a user would normally do, and the tool takes care of the rest. It can monitor the response time of your applications from multiple locations across the globe, allowing you to know about performance issues before users even notice them. A screenshot tool allows you to see what the user sees when an application fails, making problem resolution easier. Performance trending reports allow you to see how your application performs over time and can help you diagnose issues such as system overloads at specific times of the day. There is no clear licensing or pricing information on Automai's website, but free trials are offered. However, it is unclear what features are available on the trial, or for how long. ControlUp ControlUp provides monitoring and troubleshooting tools for Citrix virtualizations, including apps and desktops. It can help your team solve issues such as slow logons, bad application performance, and application availability, which can significantly impact end-user experience. The platform provides Citrix-specific metrics that offer rapid insight into endpoint, network, and application interactivity. It can connect to and proactively monitor various components of your infrastructure, returning data that provides administrators with a comprehensive understanding of the health and performance of their environment. Citrix monitoring on ControlUp. Administrators can create custom actions tailored to their specific environments and triggered by specific metrics, automating tasks such as reducing resource consumption of idle or disconnected sessions or cleaning the system drive if free space becomes an issue, helping you streamline your routine IT operations. ControlUp is SaaS offered in three plans (Enterprise, Platinum, and Ultimate), with varying features and data retention policies. There is a 21-day free trial, and personalized demos are also available. Dynatrace Dynatrace is not a purpose-built Citrix monitoring tool, but with an extension, it can be used to monitor your Citrix servers and capture real user monitoring data from the Citrix VDA (Virtual Delivery Agent) sessions. This, in turn, allows for the optimization of server sizing, understanding the impact of oversubscriptions on user experience, and tracing latency issues to network quality. Real user experience is measured in terms of application launch time and screen latency, with Dynatrace utilizing internal Citrix events and counters to report these metrics at an individual user and application launch level. To collect this data, the Dynatrace OneAgent must be installed into each Citrix VDA. Citrix monitoring on Dynatrace. Keep in mind that, in the developer's own words, "Dynatrace doesn’t aim to deliver a complete Citrix management solution. Your Citrix deep-dive performance management tools will still be needed. Likewise, your Citrix lifecycle management solution will be needed". Meaning that while it can do Citrix monitoring, you shouldn't choose it just for that, as it probably won't be enough. Dynatrace is SaaS (Software as a Service), offered on a subscription basis, with prices varying with resource usage. There is a 15-day free trial available. SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor (SAM) offers comprehensive Citrix monitoring tools for Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop performance, with out-of-the-box templates for monitoring various Citrix performance counters from a single dashboard, including CPU usage, network traffic, ICA session bandwidth, data store read/writes, encryption, and more. This tool includes a statistical, threshold-based alerting feature that dynamically calculates baseline performance while monitoring Citrix infrastructure. Alerts can be set up to notify if thresholds are exceeded, allowing your team to be the first to know about common issues such as slow sessions, intermittent session drops, inconsistent logins, and unavailable applications or desktops. Monitoring the Quality of Experience for Citrix Applications with SolarWinds Connectivity and performance issues can be tied to external factors, and SAM can be used to analyze and correlate issues, including problems at the operating system level, slow web server response and processing time, failures in the domain controller services and Active Directory functions, problems with your SQL server performance, and more. As an "all-in-one monitoring tool", SAM can also be used to monitor the health of your physical or virtual servers. SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor is offered on a flexible licensing model, with subscription or perpetual licensing, according to your needs. A free, fully functional 30-day trial is available. eG Enterprise eG Enterprise offers comprehensive Citrix monitoring tools that provide end-to-end visibility and analytics for troubleshooting performance issues in Citrix virtual apps, desktops, and various other Citrix Workspace components such as Citrix Cloud, ADC (Netscaler), Storefront, PVS, and more. It claims to go beyond what is offered by first-party tools like Citrix Director, providing empirical data that helps troubleshoot common Citrix complaints, such as slow logons, delayed application launch, and printing problems, and can also be used to optimize your current infrastructure and plan for capacity expansion. Monitoring Virtual Apps in egEnterprise With analytics powered by machine learning and AIOps (Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations), this tool can provide visibility into every layer and every tier of the Citrix and non-Citrix infrastructure, helping you to pinpoint the causes of problems with one click. eG Enterprise offers flexible licensing and deployment options, including on-premises and SaaS deployments, agent-based and agentless monitoring, and user-based and server-based licensing. There is a 30-day free trial available. Syskit Monitor Syskit Monitor is a server, app, and user monitoring and reporting tool designed for Remote Desktop Services, Citrix XenApp, and Microsoft Windows servers. It provides comprehensive monitoring of server performance, user activity, and application usage, enabling admins to stay on top of their server environment and proactively address performance issues. With support for various technologies, it can monitor not only Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, but also SharePoint, SQL, Windows Server, and Remote Desktop Services, among others. The performance dashboard on SysKit Monitor This tool can be used in three ways: for user activity monitoring (for tracking logons, logoffs, remote connections, idle users, etc.), for server performance monitoring (including CPU, memory, and disk usage, and specific metrics like SQL transactions) and for application usage monitoring (most used apps, number of instances, etc.). Syskit Monitor is offered in three "editions" (standard, professional, and enterprise), with varied feature sets, yearly billing, and backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. A free trial is available. ManageEngine Applications Manager ManageEngine Applications Manager provides monitoring capabilities for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, helping users track performance metrics, resource utilization, and user sessions to ensure the efficiency of their infrastructure. Applications Manager provides an overview of machines and applications, indicating failures, disconnected sessions, and maintenance status through easy-to-interpret graphs. Users can monitor machine status, including critical metrics, IP address, OS type, and associated desktop groups. Monitoring machine status in ManageEngine Applications Manager It is also capable of monitoring the Citrix Hypervisor. It can track hypervisor performance, monitor CPU, memory, network, and storage utilization, automatically discover Hypervisor pools, hosts, and their guest virtual machines, and map pool topology by tracking newly added hosts, VMs, and VM live migrations. This can help you with capacity planning and make educated decisions on resource allocation. ManageEngine Applications Manager is offered in 2 tiers: Enterprise and Professional, on an annual subscription or perpetual licensing model, with prices varying with the number of monitors, users, and add-ons. There is a free tier, which can be used "forever for free" to monitor up to 5 apps or servers. Goliath Performance Monitor Goliath Performance Monitor is a Citrix monitoring and troubleshooting solution that provides full visibility into user activities from logon to working within their Citrix session. This tool automatically integrates with your Citrix environment, applies monitoring rules, and identifies potential issues, making it easier for IT administrators to proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, and prevent performance problems. It can build a dependency map of your Citrix infrastructure components and ancillary systems, assigning correlating monitoring for relevant failure points to each component. Then, pre-configured Citrix Monitoring rules are automatically applied and look for over 250 common failure points in the Citrix, Infrastructure, and Role Servers. Machine summary on Goliath Performance Monitor. It can monitor Citrix XenServer, XenApp (with embedded intelligence that allows you to anticipate, troubleshoot and prevent end-user experience issues before your users are impacted) and XenDesktop, and claims to be the only performance monitoring and troubleshooting solution that brings together Citrix XenDesktop monitoring data as well as metrics from the underlying delivery infrastructure in a single console. There is no clear pricing information on Goliath Technologies' website. Prospective customers are encouraged to submit information to get a quote. There is a free trial available. Lakeside Systrack Lakeside SysTrack is a digital experience platform that can "accurately measure the entirety of user experience". This includes a solution for assessing, implementing, and monitoring Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops environments, which provides advanced Citrix analytics and insights for IT and the business. Systrack offers integrations with Citrix Director, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, and Citrix AppDNA, a solution that helps organizations analyze existing applications and determine their ability to run on new environments and operating systems. One of the many dashboards available on Lakeside Systrack. One of the highlights of this integration is called "Ask Systrack for Citrix", which allows administrators to ask natural language questions such as “Do I have any Citrix licensing issues?” or “Do I have any unregistered Citrix sessions?” and be taken directly to the screen in the Citrix Director console with the relevant information. Another is a plugin for Citrix Director that allows user experience trends to be viewed natively within the Citrix Director interface. Pricing information for Systrack is not clearly available on Lakeside's website. However, prospective customers may request a demo of the platform. Conclusion Among all these, our favorite Citrix monitoring tool is Paessler PRTG, as it "ticks all the boxes" in our list of desired characteristics, and streamlines your workflow by enabling you to monitor all of your infrastructure with a single tool. The built-in sensors cover many of the main use cases, without the need to purchase extras, so it can monitor your Citrix infrastructure, but also your network, services, servers, IoT devices, cloud infrastructure, and much more. And it is extensible, which means you can deploy third-party sensors, or even develop your own, to cover specific needs. That means you can do away with having to rely on a variety of individualized solutions, which can carry potential risks such as conflict with your current workflow and even network security issues. Last, but not least, the flexible licensing scheme allows you to have access to the software on your terms, and keep your budget under control.