Citrix NetScaler documentation
The Citrix NetScaler platform offers a broad set of features and a massive amount of configuration items for each of those features. The flexibility that this gives us also introduces complexity, especially since you configure a service on a Citrix NetScaler once and changes are rare. The starting point for reducing complexity is having a complete and up to date configuration document.
The problem with documentation is that it’s never complete and up to date, especially for a platform that offers the amount of configuration items like Citrix NetScaler.
The only solution for the problem at hand is the ability to automatically create instant reports of your configuration. Products like RES Software Automation Manager and Workspace Manager offer this functionality as a build-in feature called “Instant Report”. Unfortunately most software products do not offer this functionality and we need 3rd party solutions for it.
Carl Webster has created an amazing collection of automated documentation scripts for Citrix and Microsoft products like Active Directory, XenDesktop, XenApp et cetera. Carl offers it for free on his website. As Carl is not that into Citrix NetScaler this is not high on his list.
Carl’s documentation scripts
After talking to Carl on several occasions he convinced me to build a Citrix NetScaler documentation script based on his Microsoft PowerShell Script Template for generating documentation. Being able to use Carl’s Script Templates gives me the ability to focus just on the Citrix NetScaler part and have Carl worry about Word versions, language packs et cetera. Believe me there is a lot of work going into just starting Word from a PowerShell script.
Carl’s scripts are focused on Microsoft Windows based software products and uses PowerShell to run through the configuration. The first struggle is how to get from a Debian, the NetScaler base OS, based configuration to a Word document rendered by Microsoft Windows Powershell. Up till version 2.5 the NetScaler Documentation Script utilises the ns.conf as the source for the documentations script. As of version 3 we moved to the official NetScaler Nitro API.
The NetScaler Nitro API gives access to a lot more information as compared to the ns.conf and it’s also a lot easier to interpret data coming from the API.
The Citrix NetScaler PowerShell scripts analyses the complete NetScaler configuration. The amount of lines in a Citrix NetScaler configuration file differ from a hundred to thousands of lines. The time we need to process this will take from a couple of minutes for most configurations to 20 minutes for the more extreme configurations. In this time it will create a Citrix NetScaler documentation document from thirty pages up to hundreds of pages. I’ve seen one example where it would go up to 1200 pages!
The NetScaler documentation that is generated is extremely detailed, it would go to far to list all the features but I will give an example. Per Load Balancer a chapter is created with basis Load Balancer Configuration, Services, Policies, URL redirections and advanced configuration.
For more screenshots please check out the screenshots page
We are constantly working on adding new features and crushing whatever bugs there might still be. Yes unfortunately I’m not perfect. If there is anything at all please let me know in a comment or drop me an e-mail. Any type of response gives me the energy to pursue and push harder to improve the NetScaler documentation script.
As of August 26 2016 we released script version 3.5. This offers full support for all Citrix NetScaler versions up to version 11.1.
For a complete overview of all features please check out the release notes
For a complete overview of all the people involved please check out the team page! Without these people it wouldn’t be as good as it is now.
For links to the download pages check out the download page.