Monitoring the VMware View VDI Hosts using Citrix NetScaler

Yesterday I was at a long time customer of mine which had implemented VMware Horizon View as a their VDI solution. This customer load balances everything through Citrix NetScaler, it’s pretty much company policy to load balance every infrastructure component unless. Good policy I think.

A little information on how VMware (Horizon) View works from an architectural point of view, (see image below). A VMware VDI connection dataflow is completely serial, it cannot switch connection over servers. You will also need to create a Persistency Group on the NetScaler to tie these protocols together so they stay in the same connection data flow. In the below scenario the environment consists of a single Horizon View deployment using two VMware Connection Servers and two VMware VDI Hosts.

VMware-View-LB-Architect
Image from http://vmfocus.com

Not about load balancing. This blog post will not go into detail of how to load balance VMware View (Connections Servers) but how to configure the monitor the VMware VDI Hosts behind the VMware Connection Servers. There are a numerous sites on the topic of load balancing, for instance:
http://vmfocus.com/2014/01/14/load-balancing-horizon-view-design/

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Configure RSA RADIUS monitoring on NetScaler

Ok, so this one is pretty easy and speaks for itself for the most part but can have some pitfalls while configuring.

In this example we are going to assume that the RSA backend is already in place and functioning properly.

Why

A good question is why would you want to. When you leave the monitoring to default which would be tcp-default it marks the server up as it response to a tcp connection. That would simply not be enough, we need to make sure that the RSA RADIUS Service is actually up and ready to accept connections.

Prerequisites

Make sure you have an account configured in RSA Authentication Manager that is authorized to send the response that you want to retrieve from the RSA Radius service. More on the RADIUS Response codes later on and why you would like to use a valid account.

Next to the account we are assuming that authentication is working properly and the Citrix NetScaler IP is added in RSA as a host that is allowed the use RSA Radius Authentication.

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