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If you Can’t See it, You Can’t Fix it. How IT Support Can Help.

IT Support Austin TX

If you Can’t See it, You Can’t Fix it. How IT Support Can Help.

 

August 2013

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IT Support Austin TX

If you Can’t See it, You Can’t Fix it. How IT Support Can Help.

 it support austin tx

 

This week we have a huge task ahead of us.  A large prospective customer has asked us to find and eliminate the issues that are plaguing their Citrix environment.  They have poured a ton of money into the environment and they have put some top notch technical resources in place, but they cannot get past a handful of issues that is negatively impacting their ability to do business.

They are frustrated to the point that they are seriously considering removing the entire Citrix environment and going in an entirely different and more expensive direction.  They just want to stop the pain.

This situation is not uncommon, but it is completely avoidable.

At a high level, these are the steps we are going to take to resolve the problems and steps that will work for you.

To fix anything you have to be able to see the problem.

Fixing your car, or fixing your sink, the first tool you typically need is a flashlight so you can get eyes on the problem.  The same is true with Citrix or any virtualization platform.  To begin any remediation project first you have to understand exactly what and where the problems are. 

To find Citrix problems you need tools designed to (1) show you the inner workings of Citrix, the (2) correlation of other systems that Citrix, or VMware for that matter, interacts with, and (3) how your end users are interacting and engaging with the technology.

If you cannot see clearly into these three areas of your environment, your virtualization team is effectively blind to exactly what is going on and will have to resort to gut feel, experience and scraps of information from other vendors tools to help them identify, isolate, and eliminate a problem.

We use a handful of tools, some off the shelf, some unique to Whitehat, that let us quickly analyze the 11 subsystems that Citrix relies on to function properly.

If you want to see exactly what your end user is experiencing, what is happening on the extreme edge of your environment & how your end users are interacting with your applications and their edge device (phone, tablet, laptop, desktop) you are not going to get there with vCenter, EdgeSight, OpenView, or Wireshark.  

Assessing the damage

What these tools cannot “see” is thought process, intentions and intended use cases.  To understand the thought process behind the design, the intentions for how the system was supposed to perform and the workload use case, you may have to talk to IT support teams, managers and executives, and in some cases, end users.  To get a full 360 degree view, you really have to correlate tools results with the discussion notes.

To get a complete picture you need to review each system that interacts with Citrix, including the SAN, network, Active Directory, hypervisor, application set, etc.  There is a formal Assessment document that is available from Citrix if you need expert guidance, or just ask us for a copy.

 

Time, talent & expertise to complete the work

The last step in the process is making sure you have trained IT support staff that knows how to interpret the data correlation results and can do something that actually resolves the problem.

The value of Citrix training, in this case, cannot be overstated.  I have heard many customers say “We know Microsoft, we are smart, and we will figure it out” only to see them ask for training a few weeks later or ask for our help fixing what they broke.  You either need some depth at Citrix IT support, or a good vendor relationship that can provide that expertise for your IT support desk when they need a big red panic button.

There are a lot of training options, from traditional Citrix classes to customized onsite training, for onsite IT support teams. 

With the right tools and training, IT support can transition from reactive in nature, to proactive and help the IT Support Desk offer assistance in avoiding outages in the first place.   With proper dashboards and correlations engines, IT support costs can be further reduced as issues that at one time had to be escalated to the highest support level in the organization can more and more be identified and resolved at the Support Desk.

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