Key Components of Citrix 3rd Party Management Tools
3rd party tools for managing Citrix environments has been a hot topic of late so I thought I would put my thoughts on paper, or e-paper in this case.
First, the simple truths:
- Citrix EdgeSight is included in Citrix platinum licensing only in version 6.5
and in the recent past. For the sake of this conversation I will not
be talking about RM (Resource Manager).
- Most Citrix customers do not have platinum licensing which means most customers do not have a great way to manage Citrix today.
- Citrix EdgeSight is not that difficult to deploy as far as servers go, but the documentation is a bit sparse.
- Citrix EdgeSight collects a ton of data and there are a ton of canned reports in the system, the real challenge comes when you want to create and customize reports that are meaningful to you.
- Citrix EdgeSight can do a great job of showing you what is happening inside of the Citrix farm, but it does not report in real time, and Citrix EdgeSight cannot see outside of the Citrix silo, which is where 80% of Citrix issues begin based on our field experience.
- Citrix EdgeSight has a whole new lease on life in XenDesktop 7. It is no longer a separate product with its own separate server and database requirements. XenDesktop 7 Platinum EdgeSight has evolved into an integrated solution baked into XenDesktop performing two primary functions: Performance Management and Network Analysis.
With 70%~ of Citrix customers not even having Citrix EdgeSight and a fair chunk of those that do, not getting great utilization out of it due to documentation and complexity issues, it is easy to see why admins and owners of Citrix environments would be looking for tools to help them see and understand what is happening in their Citrix environments.
Citrix Management Tools – A discussion about the End User Experience
Why do we even use Citrix in the first place?
Because we want our end users to be able to improve the performance of an application or to allow end users to access their applications from anywhere, on any device, at any time.
We all bought Citrix to improve our end users experience and interaction with our core applications. So, in my mind, if the end user is the key reason for Citrix in my environment then my 3rd party management tools better be very strong at gathering details and understanding what my end users are experiencing out on the edge of my network. After all, if our end users are not able to be productive, then the value of not only Citrix, but our entire IT infrastructure is lost. There is no ROI on zero productivity.
What Drives End User Productivity?
Applications drive End User productivity. In every Citrix environment we are delivering desktops and/or applications to End Users. If my End Users productivity is my key metric, and applications are the vehicles they use to be productive, then I need a 3rd party Citrix management tool to measure application performance.
The Advent of Mobile + Citrix +Applications + End User Experience
Mobile devices are trickling into some of our environments and flooding others and end users want to use these devices to do their work. This has been part of the Citrix mantra forever but the clamor from the IOS and Android empowered End Users is new as are the risks associated with personal devices and technologies like Dropbox. What this means to me is that our 3rd party Citrix management tools should include the ability to manage the mobile metrics of my end users if I am truly interested in managing the end user experience.
Citrix XenApp or XenDesktop are great tools, but they both require close management to make it possible for End Users to deliver maximum productivity to the business. EdgeSight in its pre-XenDesktop 7 form was certainly not the tool for the job.
3rd party Citrix management tools have to first and foremost take into account that the End User productivity is the single most important metric to monitor if we are going to get consistently high output from our end users.
Application usage is how End Users deliver productivity so a great 3rd party management tool should be able to measure application performance as a variable in the overall End User Experience. 3rd party management tools should baseline every end user based on common criteria across all end users and any criteria unique to each end user like location, device type, WAN link, etc.
With the advent of personal mobile devices, tablets, wireless and cellular connected devices we need to able to extend our monitoring and end user experience management to our End Users on those devices as well so we can survey the entire application and desktop delivery ecosystem from a single pane of glass at the Support Desk.
If you find yourself trying to evaluate 3rd party Citrix management tools for your own environment, begin by looking for a tool that is focused on your End User and their productivity. That is our ultimate metric. Application visibility and mobile visibility are important, but for me the most important point not yet mentioned is to make sure the 3rd party tool is real time, empowering your Support Desk to be more proactive and resolve more issues at the Support Desk without escalation to other IT team members, lowering your Mean Time to Repair, lowering ticket touches, improving End User productivity and letting you realize the ROI on your management tool.