Month: July 2015

Geo Maps for HDX Insight (NS Insight Center 11) – Overview and Configuration

NS Insight Center 11 was released earlier this month, and with this release Geo Maps is now available for HDX Insight. It was earlier available for Web Insight only. For those of you not familiar with HDX Insight, it is a tool from Citrix that provides end to end visibility from an end user experience perspective for ICA connections that are proxied through the Netscaler. So for instance, if a user reported a slow Citrix session, HDX Insight would help you determine if it is a client side issue (workstation/ISP etc), server issue, application issue, network issue etc. It also provides breakdown on how the bandwidth consumption within the ICA channel (printing/usb/screescrapes). More information on HDX Insight can be found here.

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With the 11.x release of NS Insight center, a new feature called Geo Maps has been added to HDX Insight. Geo maps as the name suggests provides a pictoral representation of all the locations from where users are connecting from. By click on any location, you get a summary of the end user experience metrics for that region. This helps you identify performance issues isolated to a specific region quite easily. In addition you can also quickly determine if users are connecting from regions that you dont expect and thereby potentially mitigate a security threat. Geo Maps is an extremely neat addition to HDX Insight and a feature that will greatly benefit customers, specially customers with employees spread across the globe!

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Installation and Configuration

My focus in this blog is the configuration of Geo Maps. For basic instructions on how to install Netscaler Insight Center, please refer to this edoc

With regards to Geo Maps. Below are the steps that you need to follow:

Download maxmind “GeoLite City” data base (http://dev.maxmind.com/geoip/legacy/geolite/)

2015-07-28_15-50-14Upload database to NS Insight Center (dat file) under Configuration –>Netscaler Insight Center –> Geo Database Files

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Also, you need to check “Enable Geo data collection for Web and HDX Insight”  for the Device added in the inventory.

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Once you’ve followed the steps above, reboot Insight Center and you should be all set. I am yet to test whether Geo Maps shows up under Director as well. Will update the post once I have more information on that. Hope this helps!

 

Chromebook + Citrix Receiver For The Win!

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The IT landscape has changed a lot the past 5 years. Security is the top concern of most enterprises that I deal with, some being constantly attacked/hacked on a daily basis. IP theft is a major concern with executives and top engineers travelling around the world with highly sensitive data. Up until recently, the options were pretty limited. Typically IT departments provide travelling users encrypted laptops that are fairly locked down, and users leverage VPN to access enterprise applications.The data  still resides on these laptops. In a scenario that the laptop is compromised, not only could there be IP theft, but with the VPN access, a malicious user could connect back to the corporate network and cause havoc. There have been a number of incidents in foreign countries where laptops have been stolen and data breached.

A Chromebook running Citrix Receiver is a great option to solve this problem.

Chromebooks are secure by design

First off, Chromebooks are inherently secure due to the following reasons:

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Sandboxing

Since each application on a chromebook runs in a restricted sandboxed environment, if that application is compromised for whatever reason, it cannot affect other applications that are running or the base OS in any way. The threat is effectively contained.

Verified Boot

When a chromebook boots, it does a check to make sure the system has not been tampered and that there is no corruption of any sort. If it detects either of the two, it will try to self heal and if that fails, the system wont boot.

Data Encryption

While you don’t typically store data on Chromebooks. they still have built in TPM chips which ensure that any data that is cached on the device (browser cookies, temp files etc) are fully encrypted and protected

Device Management

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Another benefit of using Chromebooks is that they can be fully managed via the Chrome Management platform. Every OS feature and every Chrome browser function can completely controlled and locked down.

Citrix Receiver for Chrome

I purchased my first chromebook about 18 months ago and remember feeling so underwhelmed back then with the device. I didn’t like the fact that offline capabilities were very limited. The display options were not that great compared to a regular ultra-book. When it came to accessing enterprise applications using Citrix Receiver, again there were some limitations in terms of capabilities as compared to Windows/Mac/Linux.

Chromebooks have certainly come a long way since then, In addition to having addressed display and other hardware limitations and being extremely secure as discussed above, they are also enterprise ready by enabling end users to be productive, thanks to Citrix Receiver for Chrome.

Citrix Receiver allows users to securely access all their enterprise applications running in the datacenter. In addition, users can be subjected to various posture assessments prior to providing them access to the resources thanks to the Netscaler, which acts as a secure reverse proxy for all Citrix traffic. Depending on the results of the posture assessment, granular controls can be applied, for instance an authenticated user connecting from a trusted device (appropriate av definitions/service packs etc) and a trusted network can be allowed to print and map drives while a user who fails the assessment can be provided a read only environment with no ability to print/clipboard/map drives.

While we’ve had HTML5 Receiver for Chrome for a while now, the latest version (1.7) is extremely feature rich including USB redirection, file upload and download, access to google drive, bi directional audio, h264 video rendering, clipboarding, printing. These features provide users the same experience that they are used to on a desktop/laptop while providing a much more secure and mobile platform.

All in all, I strongly believe Chromebooks running Citrix Receiver is the perfect solution for enterprises trying to find the most secure and mobile solution for their travelling users. If you havent yet tested a Chromebook, I highly recommend you do! The Toshiba CB35 is a great choice!