Test your custom Citrix Virtual Applications with Automai AppLoader and AppBuilder – Why is this process very important?


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I’ve written a couple of articles on Monitoring the End-User-Computing environment throughout last year. For the simple reason – It’s one of the most important tasks of an IT admin – to have a decent and reliable test solution. Before launching any application to your users, two things need to be done. The first is to ascertain the need for it and the second is to test it thoroughly to ensure a stability and user experience of the application upon your Virtual Desktop environment. This part if the process needs to be done even before the product is installed. The go-live part, however, cannot be done without the product undergoing proper testing!

There a lot’s of software products out there that can accomplish this, and one that I came across not that long ago was the AppLoader tool from Automai (formally named NRG Global). A very simple and completely automated application performance tool, which goes beyond just starting the application– it gives real-time results without bothering the end-user – all completely automated, including custom written applications and other custom workload tests.

“Test from the user perspective for results you can see and act immediately to ensure the users experience proactively

AppLoader is a very comprehensive and advanced tool that can help you simulate user actions on any kind of application for any number of users. It helps us IT Administrators to load stress applications or to test the quality of the applications you deployed.

How should testing be done? A scenario needs to think of ways in which the product can go wrong – or what can cause issues when multiple users are working in the same application. Ideally, a scenario needs to work in a neutral environment so that the results are unbiased. AppLoader generates performance reports, charts and triggers alarms if playback exceeds recording time by a certain percentage. In short, AppLoader is not only a tool to load stress applications on IT platforms but is also a perfect tool for tracking user satisfaction.

Think about different scenarios – which can build with the AppLoader Station without scripting, (including mouse events, keyboard inputs, if conditions, etc), and replay these actions as an end user would. AppLoader allows you to indicate WAIT times so the scenario will not proceed until these same objects appear at playback time. That way, the script never gets desynchronized even if the tested application becomes less responsive. For Windows objects that don’t have a “handle”, AppLoader provides a way to capture Bitmaps around the mouse cursor so playback will not continue until these same Bitmaps appear at playback time.

See below an overview of the process on how AppLoader works.

 

In this article, I’ll walk you through the steps on how to install and configure Automai AppLoader to test different applications within your Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop – Virtual Apps and Desktop environment.

Enjoy reading!

Table of Contents

Click on the title to forward in the article:

Did you know this?

  • AppLoader works with Terminal Services from Microsoft. Let’s say you need to simulate users accessing a specific application, you can then set a Terminal Server to host these virtual users instead of setting up physical PCs. Install AppLoader Injector on Terminal Server, Build your scenario, create your test plan and you are done.
  • It can create Scripts in minutes on your Citrix application with our intelligent Scenario Builder.
  • The scripts are created automatically as you use your application
  • You’ll see all your application running on virtual desktops in real time. Notice screen errors as they occur. View clear reports on trends and problems
  • Correlate Server and Database performance easily with Application performance to find problems easily.
  • Protocol independent, so you don’t need to involve the client’s Database, System or Network Administrators…
  • Easily transition to Application Monitoring in production using same scenarios with AppsWatch
  • The technology enables you to use the same tests on any environment, software version, and access points…

Scenario Builder

Performance testing means executing tests and fixing problems. It should NOT entail coding. Simply click through your application, and AppLoader will create your scripts for you. Scripts are presented as actions everyone understands. Easily edit lines anytime.

See below an output of a custom Scenario for the application Notepad.exe – but can be every customer application you want as well!

Test plans

Test Plans determine how many users are involved in the test, the pace at which users are introduced into the test, the number of iterations each user will perform, and the amount of time that all users will be concurrently active in the test. Most importantly, Test Plans determine which Scenarios are performed and by which users.

Real-time Graphs

In the Graph pane, you will see a real-time graphical representation including a number of users, number of failures, and response times of each Scenario playing. The graph is updated every minute. Place your mouse over any point on the graph to see the time and value for that occurrence.

Injectors

Injectors are the Windows servers which host the users that playback Scenarios, thereby “injecting” a load on the application under test. Upon installation, Injectors register themselves with the AppLoader Controller. Injectors that have been properly configured during installation can be viewed from the “Manage Injectors” page of the Controller. If an installed Injector is not listed on this page, please reinstall the Injector ensuring that correct Controller address and port properties are provided.

How to install AppLoader in your Citrix environment

 First, download the AppLoader bits from the Automai website, this can be done through the URL below.

 https://www.automai.com/download-automation-software-and-modules

Register for the trial and you’ll receive the software directly in your mailbox.

 Once you received the welcome email with the software

 Click on AppLoader

 

Install the files on a (preferred separate) server in your environment.

 Start the installation

 

Accept the agreement

Click Next

 

 Click Next

 

 Enter the Administrator – or service accountcredentials of your domain

Click on Next

 

 Network ports are being checked on availability…

Click on Next

 

Click on Install

Installation is in progress…

 

 The installation is finished successfully.

Click on Finish to start AppLoader

 

 AppLoader is completely Web-based – what makes is very easy to use on different devices in your environment (or external).

 Logon with username admin – and password admin

Register your name – finalize your account set up to move forward

Click submit

 

 You’ll be logged out once

 You’re now done with the AppLoader installation. We’re now continuing with the Scenario Builder software.

How to install the Scenario Builder software to create scenarios 

Download the software and start the install process

Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 x86 is required to be installed before the installation starts

 Click on Next

 

 Accept the license agreement and click Next

 Give in the internal IP Address of the AppLoader server

Click on Next

 

Click on Next

 Click on Next

 

 Click Install

 Installation is started, this can take up to 2 – 5 minutes…

 

 The installation is finished

Click on Finished to start the ScenarioBuilder software

  

Create a test scenario with ScenarioBuilder

Create a Project

 

 Click on New

Name the scenario

Click on the icon Application if you want to use this flow

 

Enter the process name of the application 

Note: I’ll use Notepad.exe as an example – but now that you can use every application you want. Even custom legacy Core applications are supported!

Notepad will open – all the action that you perform in this application are being recorded for the customer scenario.

Click on stop in the corner and the red cross to stop the process

 

All the actions that are captured in the recording process are now visible in the ScenarioBuilder console. 

 

Click on Play to test-run the scenario – you’ll see that all the manual steps are now running fully automated! 

You can check the status of the Scenario in the down-right corner

Save the Scenario 

Click on Send Scenario to make the Scenario available in AppLoader

 

Send completed 

 

Note: For more deep-dive – detailed information on creating Scenario’s – please check out this whitepaper article or these training videos as well. 

Install the Injectors – session launchers

Open the AppLoader web console and logon 

Download and install the Injector on one Virtual Machine in your environment to launch the Citrix Scenario/sessions fro

Note: I’ll advise you to install the Injector software on a separate server for just session launch purposes.

Click Next

Accept the agreement and Click Next

 

Click Next

Enter the IP Address of the AppLoader server

Click Next

Check the summary of the Injector.

Click on Next

Enter the Administrator – or service account credentials to provide autologin

Click on Next

 

Click Next

Click Install

The installation is finished

 

When the Injector installation is ready – it should be listed in the AppLoader Console – under the Injector option

 

Create a Test Plan

Click on Manage Tests followed by + Create New Test 

Enter a name for the test 

 

Select the Injector and previously created test

Click on Save

Click on No

 Click on Yes if you want to test

Click on Run to start the Scenario

 

The test is now listed and will start

 

 the scenario is pushed to the Injectors…

 

 The test is now running!

  

Run a test yourself – impression video

See below a video on how you can run a test yourself 

Need more information on AppLoader? Please check out this page to find all kinds of videos – which explain the process of configuration even more!

 That’s it for now – thanks for stopping by.

Cheers,

Christiaan Brinkhoff

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Christiaan Brinkhoff

Christiaan Brinkhoff

Christiaan Brinkhoff works as a Cloud Architect and Evangelist for FSLogix, and own his own consulting firm. Where he focuses mainly on Public Cloud infrastructures and End-User Computing environments for the larger multinational enterprise customers. He designs and provide complex migrations, helps customers with the Digital Transformation, advises on Cloud strategies, writes business continuity plans, strategies, and realizes on-premises and cloud-based environments. When he wants to get something done, he keeps going until he reaches his goal. He is very resourceful in finding solutions for challenges that seem impossible at first.

In addition to his work, he also shares his knowledge by speaking at large international conferences, such as Citrix Synergy, E2EVC - PubForum (Amsterdam, Athens), local user groups (Dutch, Irish, Swedish and Denmark User Group), and provides webinars and writes articles for IT vendors, as well as his website, christiaanbrinkhoff.com - to share his passion for Cloud innovation. This community-related work got him the privilege to achieve the following three vendor awards, such as Microsoft Valuable Professional (MVP) for Microsoft Azure, Citrix Technology Professional (CTP), and VMware vExpert.
Christiaan Brinkhoff