Tag Archives: custom edgesight reports

Average Session Count by Day and Hour: The Report

In my previous article: Average Session Count by Day and Hour: The Query,  I dove into a query that shows the number of sessions on a farm at any given hour.  Next, we go onto the creation of the report. For this I use SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS).  To begin, I created a new report to contain a matrix which runs the query that I created above.  For this report to run in BIDS and EdgeSight, the entirety of the following should be placed in the query window:

DECLARE @UTCNow DATETIME
DECLARE @LocalStartDate SMALLDATETIME
DECLARE @LocalEndDate SMALLDATETIME
DECLARE @CompId INTEGER
DECLARE @Filter INTEGER

SET @CompID = 1
SET @Filter = 1

SET @UTCNow = GETUTCDATE()
SET @LocalStartDate = dbo.udf_core_get_offset_date(1, @Start, 1, 0, @UTCNow)
SET @LocalEndDate = dbo.udf_core_get_offset_date(1, @End, 0, 0, @UTCNow)

SELECT     SUM(vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf.active_sessions_peak + vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf.inactive_sessions_peak) AS TotalSessions,
                      CONVERT(varchar(10), DATEADD(mi, timezone.standard_bias, vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf.time_stamp), 111) AS Date, CONVERT(varchar(10),
                      DATEADD(mi, timezone.standard_bias, vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf.time_stamp), 108) AS Time
FROM         vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf INNER JOIN
                      company ON vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf.compid = company.compid INNER JOIN
                      timezone ON company.tzid = timezone.tzid
GROUP BY vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf.time_stamp, timezone.standard_bias
HAVING      (DATEADD(mi, timezone.standard_bias, vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf.time_stamp) >= @LocalStartDate) AND (DATEADD(mi, timezone.standard_bias,
                      vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf.time_stamp) < DATEADD(d, 1, @LocalEndDate))
ORDER BY Date, Time

In the “Design the Matrix Wizard” Add Time2 to the Columns, Date to the Rows, and Total Sessions to the Details value.  Click finish.
Edgesight Matrix wizard

The first necessary items that need to be added to the report in order for this report to run successfully are parameters.  On the data or layout tab of your new report, open the Report Parameters window.  Two parameters need to be added to the report “Start” and “End”.  They both need to be string values.  EdgeSight reads these parameters on the reports and allows you to choose what dates you want to run the report for.  Go ahead and preview the new report.  If it doesn’t work, take a break, watch an episode of Dexter, and be glad you work on computers, where everyone gets a second shot.  Let’s continue down the steps to making this a report with a bit more useful data.

In the rows where the Date is, I needed to add the day of the week to display days like the following: 8/1/2011 – Monday.  To do this I changed the formula for the cell to:  =Fields!Date.Value & ” – ” & WeekdayName(Weekday(Fields!Date.Value))

In the columns where time2 resides I needed to show the hours and not show the integer.  I’m not a big VB guy and am still working on growing my coding.  For that reason I have change the cell to the impeccableformula of: =Fields!Time2.Value & “:00:00”. This shows the hours of the day in military format.

Good enough for me.

In BIDS, to show the average of rows and columns, a bit of code needs to be added to the report.  In the Report Layout window, you can add the subtotals to the rows and columns by simply right clicking on any row and column and selecting “Subtotal”.  BIDS will add a new row or column to your report that shows the subtotal of the row or column.  The problem is that BIDS 2005, I don’t know about any newer version, only subtotals are shown and not the average.  To show the average of the columns instead of the subtotals, open the “report properties” and go to the code tab.  Based on a how-to from All About Business Intelligence add the following code:

Public Function MatrixCellValue(ByVal sumValue As Object, ByVal avgValue As Object, ByVal InScope As Boolean, ByVal sumFormat As String, ByVal avgFormat As String) As Object
        If InScope Then
            Return sumValue
        Else
            If Not avgValue Is Nothing Then
                Return String.Format(avgFormat, CDbl(avgValue))
            Else
                Return Nothing
            End If
        End If
    End Function

Next you have to change the details cell to the following code:


=Code.MatrixCellValue(
Sum(Fields!TotalSessions.Value),
Avg(Fields!TotalSessions.Value),
InScope("matrix1_Date") and InScope("matrix1_Time"),
"{0,6:N0}",
"{0,6:N1}")

Go ahead and preview the new results of your report.

After a few aesthetic changes, you can find an example data output of my finished report here:
Download – Session Count by Date and Hour – Please note that this file is set to a .doc and needs to be renamed to a .rdl in order to be uploaded into EdgeSight.

***Update 8/19/11 – I did some playing around with this report and query and have noticed that I only applied the timezone offset to the time and not the date structure.  If a user runs the report on GMT-5:00, then instead of Friday 7:00PM showing up as the time, it will show Saturday 7:00PM.  I am correcting the query as soon as I can, and will update this post and the report once it is corrected.

****Update 8/20/11 – I fixed the query and the report.  The new version of the report converts time correctly.  You can download it here

Average Session Count by Day and Hour: The Query


A common support question that my clients have asked is, “On what days of the week do we have the greatest number of people in the system?”  Or “How many users do we have on the farm?” The User Logon Counts report in EdgeSight helps you see the total number of session for each day or device, but this report doesn’t really have the answer I was looking for.  What I needed was a report that showed the number of sessions on my farm for each hour of the day. In order to do this, I needed not only a query but a report that could get me the requested information.

The first part of this solution was to create the query that will be used in the report.  This query I decided on was a combination of a standard view provided by Citrix in EdgeSight: vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf, and two tables; Company and Timezone.  You will find the query below (please note that if you run this query in SQL, you must input a start and end time for data to be returned):

SELECT     SUM(vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf.active_sessions_peak + vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf.inactive_sessions_peak) AS TotalSessions, 
                      CONVERT(varchar(10), DATEADD(mi, timezone.standard_bias, vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf.time_stamp), 111) AS Date, CONVERT(varchar(10), 
                      DATEADD(mi, timezone.standard_bias, vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf.time_stamp), 108) AS Time
FROM         vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf INNER JOIN
                      company ON vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf.compid = company.compid INNER JOIN
                      timezone ON company.tzid = timezone.tzid
GROUP BY vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf.time_stamp, timezone.standard_bias
HAVING      (DATEADD(mi, timezone.standard_bias, vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf.time_stamp) >= @LocalStartDate) AND (DATEADD(mi, timezone.standard_bias, 
                      vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf.time_stamp) < DATEADD(d, 1, @LocalEndDate))
ORDER BY Date, Time

Lets talk about the output real fast:

The first column of data is labeled “TotalSessions”.   This data combines the total number of inactive and active sessions for any given hour of the day.  Since we want the total number of Citrix sessions on the farm and not just the active sessions,  I needed to combine both the inactive and active sessions.

The second column of data is the Date:  The dataset’s date is split out of the vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf.time_stamp data field to supply you with only the YYYY/MM/DD value.  This is much easier to use in the report that we are going to be creating.

The third column of data Time:  This is the hour of the day in GMT that the data is recorded for.  If you are on east coast time (-5), and the Time column says 00:00:00, your local time is 7:00 PM.  Because we don’t want out times to show up in GMT, we have to connect the company and timezone tables to calculate the correct time of the day, which show up in the fourth column

The fourth column of data is Time2: This column shows the time of the day with integers.  This data is converted to your timezone (but does not adjust for DST.  I will try to spend some time to work on DST at a later date).

Before I go any further with this data and creating a report, we have to dive into the grooming policies in EdgeSight.  Because this query runs off vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf, the data is subject to the EdgeSight grooming policy.  By default, this view is groomed to only hold 30 days of data.  This is an out of the box nightmare.   As most of the general public knows, are at least one or two months in the year with more than 30 days in them.  For this reason we are going to update the grooming policy to groom every 45 days.  Why 45? So that you can run this report on last month’s data, and it can be ran up to 14 days into the current month and still pull last month’s data..

To update this grooming policy: In EdgeSight go to Configure: Server Configuration: Data Maintenance: Grooming.  The policy that you will need to adjust is the one on the very bottom called: XenApp System Performance: ctrx_system_perf:  vw_ctrx_archive_system_perf.

As stated earlier, I put this figure on 45.  You can do more, but note that the view will hold more data in your EdgeSight Database.  Tune this as you see fit.

Please follow up with my next article to the creation of the Average Session Count by Day and Time report.

Or… if you would rather just play with the report and don’t feel like reading any more, Download the Report here.  Simply rename the file to a .rdl and upload it to your custom reports on your EdgeSight web server!

Monitoring Advanced Persistent Threat, Malware and general punk busting with EdgeSight

Monitoring for Malware and zombies using Edgesight

Recent security breaches known as Advanced Persistent Threat rattled Security Experts at Google after finding out that a zero-day vulnerability in IE was exploited and allowed for Malware to be downloaded to key computers. This exploit details the half-measure of Security today and in my opinion was preventable, or at least could have been greatly mitigated with better logging and accountability.

I feel that too many IT Security teams are so overwhelmingly focused on ingress that the fact that the inmates are running the asylum goes largely unnoticed once Malware makes it into the network. A similar analogy would be to vigorously monitor who comes into a store, however, if out of the millions of people(packets) one or two make it through, they can take whatever the hell they want and they can leave unmolested. I’m just gonna say it….Security teams are flat out lazy when it comes to logging, in fact I read a great post from Dr. Anton Chuvakin called “Just Shut up and log!” Logging is NOT the short straw on the INFOSEC team duties, it’s the crown jewel, and if done properly, you can mitigate a number of Security Related issues by actually looking at EGRESS points and seeing where packets are going. This can be done monitoring outgoing build-up and tear-downs on Pix systems or, in the case with Edgesight, actually monitor the very Executables that are making remote calls on systems that have the Edgesight Agent installed. I think that we have a better chance of curing the common cold than of getting rid of malware and bots for the next few years. This business of completely or largely ignoring EGRESS points has got to change and depending on an INFOSEC group for your security on systems that they do not oversee on a day to day basis will get you nowhere. Unless you can provide your security group with a crystal ball or get them a million incident support agreement with Dionne Warwick and her physic friends Network , you need to take responsibility for your own security using INFOSEC as an escalation point. You know your systems, you know what an anomaly is for your boxes and you need to take responsibility.

That said, while Edgesight may not have been intended as a Security tool, it does have some extremely valuable data in it that can help you take responsibility for your systems.

It’s 3AM…do you know where your server is going?

I think it is fair to ask, why would any executable, with the exception of firefox.exe, iexplore.exe, etc need to make a TCP 443 session to an IP in China? Why would “someEXEthatIhaveNeverHeardOf.exe” make 200 TCP 443 connections to an IP in China or Russia?

I am going to cover a quick query that will allow you to interrogate all of your systems for where they were last night and what ports, protocols and destinations they were communicating with. You don’t need to look at Pix Firewall syslogs and you don’t need to “hope” your overworked INFOSEC staff sees suspicious behavior. This is low hanging fruit that is not a great deal of work that can rat out any suspicious activity that may or may not be Malware.

So STFU and give us the Query already:

Okay, this query will give you the UserID, Server/Desktop, Executable, downstream hostname and IP Address (If they are the same, it’s probably up to no good!), port and the count. I generally do not get excited about one or two connections but if you see a large number of them, you may want to investigate. If you see winword.exe phoning home to the Netherlands once? Could be web-content or portlet on a document. If you see 100 connections? Maybe check it out, maybe escalate? If your internal Network is 192.168.0.0/16 then you can exclude that in your query since, in this case, I am more concerned about “phone homes” to non-corporate sites. Likewise, you can exclude your DMZ block as well as any executables that you know make regular connections outside such as iexplore.exe and firefox.exe. You may notice Vendors phoning home or even root out some malware but if nothing else, you are not letting malware/bots/whatever leave unmolested and you can hunt down possible issues that occur in a much more timely manner than waiting for someone on your INFOSEC team to find it for you.

Example Scenario: If you see 1000 outlook.exe connections to a website in Russia that does not have a hostname, just an IP Address for both the hostname and IP_address column…that may be a possible phishing attempt.

The dateadd(hh,-5,inserted_Date),111) section is set to “-5” because I am on EST

declare @today datetime
set @today = convert(varchar,getdate(),111)
SELECT distinct account_name, machine_name, exe_name, hostname, ip_address, port, count(ip_address)
FROM vw_es_archive_application_Network_performance
WHERE convert(varchar(10),dateadd(hh,-5,inserted_Date),111) = @today
and exe_name <> 'firefox.exe'
and exe_name <> 'iexplore.exe'
and ip_address not like '192.168%'
GROUP BY account_name, machine_name, exe_name, hostname, ip_address, port
ORDER BY count(ip_address) desc

Like I said, this is low hanging fruit and since they are your systems, you will be in a position to tell odd behavior and not your Security team. Most of these queries I have set up to run automatically and SQLMail them to me daily. You can also just open up query analyzer and run the query “in the Morning” when you get in.

I know most of your shared services and hosting groups are not Security teams but this is one of many ways where we can get in the game a little and be a player in preventing breaches or at least detecting and mitigating them.

Thanks for reading

John

Digital Epidemiology: Edgesight Under the hood

Okay, so no flat files, parsing or kiwi syslogging today.  Today I want to talk about Edgesight 5.x.  If any of you have attempted to reverse engineer Edgesight yet you have probably noticed that the tables are a lost cause.  All of the key data that you will want to try to harvest is located in the “Views”.  I Want to do a few blog posts on each of my favorite views and how you can pull statistics from them instantly via query analyzer.  I will start by saying Citrix has created an outstanding front end delivered via the web interface.  I am in no way knocking that interface, there are just times when the canned reports just don’t do it for you.  Until the engineers at Citrix get their hands on a Crystal Ball, there will always be a use for good ole-fashion ad hoc queries.  I am going to go over a few key queries from the vw_ctrx_archive_ica_roundtrip_perf  view from your Edgesight Database and how you can open query analyzer and gather these statistics post haste, or, if you are adept with Reporting Services, set up reports for yourself.  I have pitched to the Synergy 2010 group that they let me host a breakout covering how to integrate some of what I do with SQL Server Reporting Services, I think I can cover a lot in a 90 minute session and let engineers take something away from the session that they can use in their own environments. So, as I stated, the view of the day is  “vw_ctrx_archive_ica_roundtrip_perf” so open your SQL Server Management Studio and log into the SQL Server hosting your database with an account that has “Datareader” privilages.  If you admin account does not work, your Edgesight service account will likely suffice if your organization allows services accounts to be  used in that manner.

@Today:
The @Today variable is for the existing day.  That means that if you want to check between yesterday and the day before you would change “convert(varchar(10),dateadd(hh,-4,time_stamp),111) > @today-2” to “convert(varchar(10),dateadd(hh,-4,time_stamp),111) between @today-2 and @today-1”

Find the number of ICA SEssions by server by time of day
About this query:
In this query we declare 3 variables, two of which you must edit.  The @begin and @end variables must have the time of day that you want to search.  So, if you wanted to know the number of unique users for each server between 8AM and 2PM, you would enter ’08’ for @begin and ’14’ for @end.

declare @begin varchar
declare @end varchar
declare @today datetime
set @today = convert(varchar,getdate(),111)
set @begin = '14'
set @end = '23'
select machine_name, count(distinct [user])
from vw_ctrx_archive_ica_roundtrip_perf
whereconvert(varchar(2),dateadd(hh,-4,time_stamp),108) between @begin and @end
and convert(varchar(10),dateadd(hh,-4,time_stamp),111) > @today-2
group by machine_name
order by count(distinct [user]) desc

Find ICA Lantency by user by day
About this query:
This query will show you the ICA Latency for each user and sort it by the user with the worst latency.  If you wanted to check sessions on a specific server, you would add the following above the “Group By” statement:  ‘and machine_name = ‘%netbiosNameOfXenAPPServer%’

declare @today datetime
set @today = convert(varchar,getdate(),111)
select [user], sum(network_latency_sum)/sum(network_latency_cnt) as "Latency"
from vw_ctrx_archive_ica_roundtrip_perf
where convert(varchar(10),dateadd(hh,-4,time_stamp),111) > @today-1
group by [user]
order by sum(network_latency_sum)/sum(network_latency_cnt) desc

ICA Latency by Server:
About this query:
This query will show you the latency by server for a given day.  This can be handy if you want to keep tabs on server health.  If you note high latency for a particular server for a specific day you may need to look and see if there was a user connection that skewed the results or if all sessions on that server had issues.

declare @today datetime
set @today = convert(varchar,getdate(),111)
select machine_name, sum(network_latency_sum)/sum(network_latency_cnt) as "Latency"
from vw_ctrx_archive_ica_roundtrip_perf
where convert(varchar(10),dateadd(hh,-4,time_stamp),111) > @today-1
group by machine_name
order by sum(network_latency_sum)/sum(network_latency_cnt) desc

Find total sessions by server by farm:
About this Query:
If you have more than one farm, than you can specify the farm name in this query to get the number of connections per server by farm name.  For users in very large environments with multiple farms may find it handy to query by farm name.

declare @today datetime
set @today = convert(varchar,getdate(),111)
select machine_name, count(distinct [user])
from vw_ctrx_archive_ica_roundtrip_perf
where convert(varchar(10),dateadd(hh,-4,time_stamp),111)= @today-3
and xen_farm_name = '%FarmName%'
group by machine_name
order by count(distinct [user]) desc

Conclusion:
There are at least four views that I like to work with directly, I also integrate all of my queries, including the variables, into SQL Server Reporting Services letting me customize my reports for my specific needs.  The eventual goal is to provide our operations and support team with a proactive list of users with high latency so that we can call them and let them know that we noticed they were having issues.  My next post will cover how to look at problematic downstream hosts that cause you to get a bunch of calls saying it’s Citrix’s fault!!  I apologize for the lack of examples, I am limited to w hat I can show in my environment.  As I stated, I am hoping to show all of this integration, including custom SQL Reports,  at Synergy 2010.

If you have a specific query that you want, post it as a comment and I will reply with the SQL Query that gets you as close as I can.

Thanks for reading!

John