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  • Introducing PowerScale! A Community-Driven SmartScale Replacement by Leee Jeffries


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    jakewalshround.png.1f717a5424e7a2343d97cefdc9f089de.png by Jake Walsh, CTA

    Hello All! :)

    Yesterday, a CUGC Webinar took place covering a new community project called PowerScale! (Click 

     for the recording.)

    PowerScale is a community-driven replacement for Citrix SmartScale, which went end of life in July 2019. PowerScale was created by Leee Jeffries, in response to a number of clients he works with asking for similar features.

    PowerScale provides the following scaling features for Virtual Machines in a XenDesktop Environment:

    • Scaling by Virtual Machine Numbers
    • Scaling by CPU/RAM
    • Scaling on a scheduled basis - e.g. business hours
    • Scaling by Load Index

    PowerScale also provides a dashboard with historical data - allowing you to log and retain data for analysis:

    • Dashboard view of PowerScale Statistics
    • Machines On/Maintenance/Scaled
    • Farm CPU/Memory/Load Index/Session Averages
    • Historical Dashboard and Logging Retention
    • Configurable retention period

     

    So, how do I get PowerScale Up and Running?

    Installation is super easy and takes only 3 steps: Download, Configure, Run. It should take no longer than around 30 minutes from download to PowerScale up and running. Before starting, ensure that you have the following prerequisites:

    • A Citrix Environment and Citrix Studio!
    • Citrix PowerShell SDK – included on machines with Studio installed
    • WMI Access enabled
    • A Service Account that has access to the Citrix Servers (my account is a Citrix Admin and a Local Admin of the Session Hosts)

    Step 1 - Download:

    1. Head over to the Project GitHub Page: https://github.com/leeej84/PowerScale
    2. Create a C:\PowerScale Folder on the Server that will run the script
    3. Download the Project and Extract the Zip Contents into the C:\PowerScale Folder:

    Step 2 - Configure:

    1. Edit the "Create Config File.ps1" script - and add the variables to suit your environment. (These are documented in the file)
    2. For a super quick start to scale based on VM Number and Time of Day - only 9 variables are needed
    • $citrixController = "ctx01.jake.lab"  - Our Citrix Delivery Controller the script will communicate with
    • $machinePrefix = "CTXSESSION"    - The Machine name prefix for Session Hosts
    • $businessStartTime =  "06:00" – The start time of the business working day
    • $businessCloseTime = "18:00“ – The end time of the business working day
    • $outOfHoursMachines = "1" – The number of machines to run outside of working hours
    • $inHoursMachines = "3" – The number of machines to run inside of working hours
    • $wmiServiceAccount = “DOMAIN\account" – The user account that the script will run as
    • $wmiServicePassword = “PowerScaleRocks123“ – The password that the above account uses
    • $testingOnly = $false  - we need to set this to True for power operations to take place – otherwise it will only log!

    3. Finally - run the Create Config script and the variables and configuration will be securely stored ready for use:

    walsh080919-02.png.8a0739cc07ecac6f31f9976ba7dcfa5e.png

    Step 3 - running the Script

    We are now ready to run the script - and this is done by running the "Decision Making.ps1" script, which will then run PowerScale using the configuration provided. This script can be set to run as a scheduled task. If you wish to have PowerScale running more regularly:

    walsh080919-03.png.47d2fb919dfa85c8988d10ff212ad00c.png

    OK - so I am up and running, what next?

     

    PowerScale also provides more detailed configuration options - for example:

    • Dynamic Performance Scaling - based on load, not just machines on or off
    • Session Closure - to force or not to force? This can be configured
    • Isolating individual machines - in case you need to work on a specific machine
    • Logging - all actions can be logged for further analysis and retention

    Finally - PowerScale also has an awesome dashboard! This can be used to display the scaling and give an overview of the PowerScale activity:

    • PowerScale creates a static HTML Dashboard with some JavaScript that displays graphs on recent activity.
    • These are stored with the script inside a separate folder called “Dashboard”
    • Retention of these Dashboard is configurable - <I32 N="dashboardRetention">3</I32> (3 days of Dashboards)
    • The time when Dashboards will be recycled can also be configured - <S N="dashboardBackupTime">04:00</S> (This will now happen at 4am each day.)
    • Important: Don't forget to set your script run interval, this is used as a variance on the 04:00 backup window. This should match your scheduled task run time.
    walsh080919-04.png.53253279376fe82cec0c03a9d243c3cf.png

    Hopefully this post will help you get up and running with PowerScale - as always, any questions, comments, feature requests are welcome - please reach out to either Leee or myself!

    Until next time,

    Jake Walsh


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