SysTrack Use Case: Troubleshooting Application Faults

Troubleshooting IT issues can be an extensive and strenuous process. If you’re administering a large environment the process can quickly become overwhelming. You might start by asking all kinds of questions – is it an isolated issue? How long has this been going on? How is this impacting the users? Are users affected who may never report this problem to the helpdesk? Asking questions is great, but if you don’t have the insight to get to the answers you’ll find yourself running in circles more often than not. Luckily, SysTrack continuously monitors your environment and pays close attention to the user experience so you can get issues resolved before they have negative impacts on productivity and, ultimately, the bottom line.

Let’s take a common example to explore this a little more: A user is reporting that a particular application is unresponsive or crashing. The ticket makes its way to your desk with little helpful information. Maybe they reported a few instances with some vague descriptions of when it happened. Normally this would send you down the rabbit hole to interview the user and start running in those circles we mentioned, but here’s where SysTrack can help you avoid all that and use data to help you understand and resolve the issue.

A good place to start would be Site Visualizer. Just jump into the Observations area and open the Application Faults dataset to get a quick overview of what’s going on with the app. You’ll quickly see the number of faults this app has experienced, the number of affected systems, and when it first and last occurred. Right away you have some idea of how widespread the issue is and how long it’s been occurring.

AppFaults

Starting at a high-level overview like this can point you in the right direction for where to turn to next. If the app is only faulting on a single system you can probably assume the issue is system related and not app related and you may wish to simply reinstall the application on the affected system. But if it’s affecting a large portion of the user base then you know the app is part of the problem. A quick right-click on the number of affected systems and then choosing Show Details will show you each system that’s been affected. Maybe they’re all part of the same group that received a software patch right around the time the app started faulting, or maybe they’re the only users with that app installed. Now you can work with the application vendor or your development team in the case of a homegrown application to help resolve this problem. Having easy access to this type of data dramatically reduces the time and effort it would have taken to answer these questions.

To dig a bit deeper into the issue you could target a particular user’s systems with Resolve. Open the Faults tool and you’ll be able to see details about the fault occurrences for the app in question, how it stacks up against the enterprise as a whole, and time-correlated information so you know exactly when each fault occurred.

ResolveFaults

At this point you know how widespread the problem is, each and every system that’s been affected, and even the exact time of each individual occurrence. Once you’ve got all of this data you’re much better prepared to implement a solution.

To bring all of this back to the user experience you can even monitor the health of a system over time. Fix the case of the faulting app and see how the user’s health score has changed after the fix. This will give you a good idea of how their experience is going as well as if you’ve corrected the issue, and if there’s cause for concern due to some other problems. Avoiding that rabbit hole has never been easier.

Introducing the Citrix Session Reporting Kit

SysTrack Kits – Integration and Custom Reporting

One of the most exciting features of our latest version of SysTrack (7.2) is the new Kits program. This provides use case specific reports and dashboards to cover a broad set of different operational and analytical needs for a wide set of different environments. This month we’re pleased to announce that our most requested Kit, an extensive set of Citrix reports for XenApp and XenDesktop management, has gone live and is ready for immediate use. With our latest Kit we introduce a path to continue many of the reports and capabilities of the EdgeSight for XenApp IMA environments (versions 6.5 and earlier). This is of particular interest for customers who are migrating to and adopting the FMA based versions of Citrix XenApp (7.0 and higher). This Kit helps complete the vision into the inner workings of environmental demand that IT administrators need to guarantee success in delivering a great user experience with Citrix products. This includes critical historical analysis and trending reports, consumption coverage, HDX utilization details, and other key items across both IMA and FMA deployments. Of course, SysTrack also extends many of the reports and analytics to the physical desktop world and infrastructure components in the data center.

The Citrix Session Reporting Kit

So, what can you expect? Through the Kits import mechanism a single import brings in dozens of Citrix specific reports which are then automatically configured to work with SysTrack and ready to go in moments. This opens the door to deep reporting on everything from peak concurrency and session trends to application consumption and network utilization. This also integrates in with several of our Citrix monitoring dashboards that can offer operational insight into advanced session issues. As a little bit of an extra we also have the ability to directly connect into the Desktop Director and its monitoring database to relate back session state and connection details directly with our in-system user experience collection. This helps answer some of the questions left over for enterprises moving to later Citrix product releases.

The obvious question: how do I get started? Directly from the SysTrack Launch page you can click through to the Kits area to get to the import center. From here, logging in with your SysTrack Portal Account credentials reveals the list of kits you have available. Find the Citrix Session Reporting Kit and select Import. This imports all the reports found in the table at the end of this post, but we’ll only cover a handful in this post.

 Citrix Session Dashboards

One of our newer tools is the SysTrack Dashboard Builder. There are a number of Dashboards that come with the Citrix Session Reporting Kit, so we’ll start here to give an idea of what’s presented. Note that the Citrix Session Reporting tag lets us filter for just the dashboards contained in this Kit.

ReportingArea

One of the first dashboards to check out is Citrix Session Startup Duration Details. This actually makes use of a Shared Data Source, so we’ll want to start in the Dashboard Builder to set up the connection to the Director database. Specifically, we’re interested in the MonitorData information, so if you’ve got your database distributed between multiple database objects make sure to select the right one. In our case we just have one database, so I’ll configure the Shared item to be used in each data block to use it. Note that I just have to do this once, and any future dashboard that uses that connection can just use our Shared item.

SharedDataSource

Now you can see a logon trend as well as a component breakout for a selected day with a complete record of your user session timings.

CitrixSessionLogonDetails

Naturally there are some unique SysTrack dashboards as well, and many of them use our Health Score to articulate how well people are enjoying their sessions. For example, the Citrix XenApp Published App Health with Session Concurrency dashboard uses our XenApp view to show details about health concerns and concurrency of demand for publishes applications in use in the environment.

PublishedAppHealthandDetails

SysTrack Reporting for Citrix Sessions

The majority of the reporting content is found in our SysTrack Reporting area. That feature is built into Site Visualizer and Report Center to provide easily exportable content. The Citrix Session content can be found in the Citrix Session Reporting folder and is organized by type (Figure xx).

As an example, let’s check out the Session Count by Day report. This has a breakout of the count of sessions on each app host over the time range you specify.

DailySessionsSummary

This and many other categories of reports exist to make finding the specific reporting you’re looking for simple. Obviously we can’t go through every item here, so check out the table at the bottom to see how some of the available reports from EdgeSight 5.4 maps into our Kit. Because this is community driven feel free to make requests as well.

As a side note, we’ve got a significant library of Kits available now in addition to our Citrix Session Reporting Kit, including some focused on security, NVIDIA graphics analysis, and data center modernization. Look for more as our collection grows.

MechanismEdgeSight ReportSysTrack Report
DashboardICA client version ICA Client Version
DashboardLicense Server Monitor Archive Citrix License Consumption in Different License Models
DashboardNew Processes New Processes
DashboardSession Auto-ReconnectsSession Reconnect Count
DashboardSession Server Startup Duration Citrix Session Startup Duration Details
DashboardSession Startup Duration Details Citrix Session Startup Duration Details
DashboardXenApp SummaryXenApp and XenDesktop Summary
DashboardXenApp User SummaryXenApp and XenDesktop Summary
DashboardXenDesktop Summary XenApp and XenDesktop Summary
DashboardXenDesktop User SummaryXenApp and XenDesktop Summary
OperationsAlerts Operations
OperationsHardware Alerts Operations
ResolveAssets for a Device Resolve
ResolveRebootsResolve boot/login area
ResolveSystem Page Faults Resolve
Resolve/Operations/vScapeReal-Time Alert ListResolve/vScape for real-time data
Resolve/Operations/vScapeReal-Time Device SummaryResolve/vScape for real-time data
Resolve/Operations/vScapeReal-Time Network PerformanceResolve/vScape for real-time data
Resolve/Operations/vScapeReal-Time System Compare Resolve/vScape for real-time data
Resolve/Operations/vScapeReal-Time System PerformanceResolve/vScape for real-time data
Resolve/Operations/vScapeReal-Time XenApp SummaryResolve/vScape for real-time data
Resolve/Operations/vScapeReal-Time XenApp User SummaryResolve/vScape for real-time data
SysTrack ReportingAsset ChangesAsset Changes
SysTrack ReportingEnvironmental UsagePublished Application Launch Count Details
SysTrack ReportingEvent Log Alerts Event Log Alerts/operations
SysTrack ReportingEvent Log Alerts for a User Group Event Log Alerts/operations
SysTrack ReportingHardware Asset ChangesAsset Changes
SysTrack ReportingHDX MediaStream I/O Session Details
SysTrack ReportingHDX Plug-n-Play I/OSession Details
SysTrack ReportingICA Audio I/O Session Details
SysTrack ReportingICA Drive I/O Session Details
SysTrack ReportingICA Printer I/O Session Details
SysTrack ReportingICA Session Compression Session Details
SysTrack ReportingICA Session I/O Session Details
SysTrack ReportingICA Session Latency Session Details
SysTrack ReportingICA Session Latency for a User GroupSession Details
SysTrack ReportingNew Sites New Sites
SysTrack ReportingPort Network VolumePort Network Volume
SysTrack ReportingProcess CPU Application CPU and Memory Details
SysTrack ReportingProcess Memory Usage Application CPU and Memory Details
SysTrack ReportingProcess Network VolumeApplication Network Volume
SysTrack ReportingProcess Not Responding AlertsApplication Hang Summary
SysTrack ReportingProcess Not Responding Alerts for a User GroupApplication Hang Summary
SysTrack ReportingProcess Performance Summary by ProcessApplication Performance Summary
SysTrack ReportingProcess Stability Summary by ProcessApplication Stability Summary
SysTrack ReportingProcess Usage Application Usage
SysTrack ReportingPublished Applcation User Count Details Published Application Launch Count Details
SysTrack ReportingPublished Application Launch Count DetailsPublished Application Launch Count Details
SysTrack ReportingPublished Application Launch Count for a User Group DetailsPublished Application Launch Count Details
SysTrack ReportingPublished Application Launch SummaryPublished Application Launch Summary
SysTrack ReportingPublished Application Summary Published Application Launch Count Details
SysTrack ReportingPublished Application Summary for a User GroupPublished Application Launch Count Details
SysTrack ReportingPublished Application User Count for a User Group -DetailsPublished Application Launch Count Details
SysTrack ReportingPublished Application User SummaryPublished Application User Summary
SysTrack ReportingPublished Application User Summary for a User GroupPublished Application User Summary
SysTrack ReportingPublished Appliction Launch Summary for a User GroupPublished Application Launch Summary
SysTrack ReportingSession Client and Server Startup Duration Session Ready Time
SysTrack ReportingSession Client Startup Duration Session Ready Time
SysTrack ReportingSession Client TypeSession Client Type
SysTrack ReportingSession CountsSession Count by Day
SysTrack ReportingSession CPU Session Resource Consumption Details
SysTrack ReportingSession CPU for a User Group Session Resource Consumption Details
SysTrack ReportingSession DurationSession Resource Consumption Details
SysTrack ReportingSession Duration for a User GroupSession Resource Consumption Details
SysTrack ReportingSession Login Time Session Login Time
SysTrack ReportingSession Login Time for a User Group Session Login Time
SysTrack ReportingSession Memory Session Resource Consumption Details
SysTrack ReportingSession Network Bandwidth UsedSession Details
SysTrack ReportingSession Network VolumeSession Network Volume
SysTrack ReportingSite Network VolumeSystem Network Volume
SysTrack ReportingSoftware Asset ChangesAsset Changes
SysTrack ReportingSystem CPU System Summary
SysTrack ReportingSystem CPU Summary System Summary
SysTrack ReportingSystem Disk Usage Daily Performance Summary
SysTrack ReportingSystem Disk Usage Summary Daily Performance Summary
SysTrack ReportingSystem Kernel for a Device System Summary
SysTrack ReportingSystem Memory For a User Group System Summary
SysTrack ReportingSystem Memory Summary System Summary
SysTrack ReportingSystem Memory Usage System Summary
SysTrack ReportingUser Logon CountsUser Logon Counts
SysTrack ReportingUser Logon Details User Logon Details
SysTrack ReportingUser Logon Details for a User GroupUser Logon Details
SysTrack ReportingVisited Sites Visted sites
SysTrack ReportingXenApp Server Utilization XenApp Server Utilization
VisualizersDevice Summary Enterprise Visualizer for summary, Site Visaulizer/Resolve for selected system
VisualizersProcess ErrorsApplication Faults/Site Visualizer App Faults dataset
VisualizersProcess FaultsApplication Faults/Site Visualizer App Faults dataset
VisualizersProcess Faults for a User GroupApplication Faults/Site Visualizer App Faults dataset

IT Assessments and Flying Airplanes

What do these two topics have in common? More than you might think…

I spent the majority of my career in professional services and product management in the software industry. Every product lifecycle follows the established pattern of “Assess, Design, Deploy, and Manage” or something along those lines. The focus is often brought on the assessment phase where we gather technical and business requirements, see what our users have and use today, add future requirements and then use that collected wisdom to design and build the “new” solution – whatever the new thing is. In my past at Citrix Systems and now at Lakeside Software, our customers are mostly concerned about assessing the existing physical desktop estate and translating the data into future virtual desktop and application delivery architectures. As a matter of fact, since joining Lakeside Software in the Summer of 2013, I have heard numerous times from customers, partners, and even competitors, that we’re known as the Assessment Company in the desktop virtualization and application delivery space.

Let me take a step back for a second and talk to you about my other career – that of a passionate pilot and flight instructor.

While I was in grad school back in 1999 my cousin gave me a ride in a 2 seat Cessna 152 over the Dallas / Fort Worth area at night. I was instantly hooked and started taking flying lessons about a week later. After a couple of months of hard work, plenty of tutoring sessions for high school students, building websites for the local flight school and other activities that would earn me some time in a 30 year old prop plane, I finally was the proud holder of a private pilot certificate. The flying bug had bitten me big time. I continued to earn my instrument rating, commercial pilot’s license, multi-engine rating and glider rating in the ensuing months and years. One night, I was invited to a barbeque with a couple of flight instructors and professional pilots and there was talk about how difficult it was to obtain a flight instructor license and how high the failure rate for the practical test was – especially compared to the practical tests for other certificates and ratings. “I can do it!” I blurted out (this was a few beers into the night) and found myself having to defend my personal honor. I studied hard and became a flight instructor in early 2005 (Yes, I did pass that beast of a practical test on the first try, but it wasn’t all that easy as I thought it would be.)

While I never attempted to earn a living in the aviation community, I have been teaching aviation safety and flying quite a bit. First as a weekend instructor at the local flight school and then conducting mostly checkouts and flight reviews as the chief pilot of my local aero club here in Florida. I also did a stint as a mission pilot with the civil air patrol.

PA32 over Miami

Now – what does that have to do with assessments?

Let’s talk about how a typical flight is conducted. It all starts with the pre-flight planning probably a couple of days or hours before we go somewhere. This is all about where to go, what airports and facilities are available, what the weather might be like, if an airplane is available in the club or at the local flight school / rental place, etc. This is the general and initial assessment of the situation.

As we get to the day of the flight, we assess a bunch of additional things. The man (or woman) – in terms of physical fitness to fly. I assess how I feel and if I have taken any medication or gotten enough sleep. Next, I’d assess the overall environment. Weather, Air Traffic Control delays, best route of flight, best altitude, runway closures, etc. Then the machine (the aircraft): Does it have all the required documentation on board? Have the required inspections been performed? Do we have enough fuel and oil? Is the total weight and balance within the envelope? And is the airplane airworthy and fit to fly? All these items are assessed with the help of a checklist and by physically walking around the aircraft and asking ourselves every step of the way “Is this still good to go?” after checking the requisite items.

Then I’ll do an assessment of my passengers – are they good to go, comfortable, prone to motion sickness?

Finally, we get into the airplane and I again grab the checklist and follow the procedures to start the engine, taxi to the runway, talk to air traffic control and watch for other aircraft, people, and equipment on the airport. You can call that an on-going assessment of the situation.

After taxiing to the runway, there is a pre-flight run-up check where we test that the engine is producing power, all instrument show airplane parameters within the prescribed limits and then we can finally begin to be ready for takeoff.

My radio call is promptly answered by the tower “CHEROKEE FOUR SEVEN LIMA HOTEL, CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF RUNWAY ONE ZERO, LEFT TURN OUT APPROVED, CLIMB AND MAINTAIN TWO THOUSAND FEET”.

Ready to go. As I advance the throttle, I quickly check my engine instruments and we roll down the runway. At about 60 knots indicated airspeed, I gently pull back on the yoke which causes the nose wheel to just lift off the tarmac and we’re in the air a moment later.

I again constantly check for birds, other traffic, radio calls, changing weather, fuel status, passenger well-being, and so forth. I absolutely love the feeling of being in the air and controlling the aircraft, but I have to be constantly assessing the situation (again, man (or woman), machine, environment, external factors, etc.)

After landing, I taxi the plane to the ramp or back to the hangar, conduct my post-flight checklist, turn all systems off and basically conclude this final assessment before I begin to enjoy the destination.

Did you notice what I did NOT do? I did NOT unplug the GPS, the fuel gauges, engine monitor, volt and ammeter, oil pressure gauge, etc. the second I got into the air. Why not? Because I need those things to constantly assess the situation and bring the flight to a successful and safe conclusion. It would be insane to turn off my instrumentation the second the nose wheel leaves the ground, the air grabs the wings, and the ground vanishes beneath me.

Dash PA28
Having said this – WHY then do we in the IT world simply stop the assessment the minute the first user is live on our new system? Why do we think that once we assessed the current environment, that the users need, the system status and other things remain stable and constant? Sure – you might argue that nobody’s life is at risk if a server goes down, a service crashes, or the user experience starts to degrade. But come on – if I am trying to be as diligent and professional on the ground as I am in the air, I have to be in the habit of constantly assessing and reassessing the situation, recognizing patterns, learning how to remediate adverse situations and basically keeping the IT environment in perfect shape so that all users can successfully complete their flight, I mean, their work or project.

Some people call this “monitoring” or “IT operations” but what we’re really doing is continuously assessing very large and very complex IT systems and trying to control and manage them in the safest, most stable, and most flexible way.

As an example, this is particularly important for organizations who run Citrix XenApp in their environment and are looking to upgrade from the IMA architecture of XenApp 6.5 (and prior versions) to the FMA architecture in XenApp 7.0 an higher.  This whitepaper describes the process in detail.

Another interesting read is out solution brief for end user success.

Thoughts? Ideas? Please comment or contact me on twitter:

@florianbecker

 

 

Co-create Innovation Opportunities

Customers today want to be actively involved in value creation with their vendor partners.

The key to joint value creation is having a platform around which customer and partner resources can identify and jointly create innovation opportunities.

What is Co-Creation?

In their book The Co-Creation Paradigm Venkat Ramaswamy and Kerimcan Ozcan provide numerous case studies in co-creation. For example, they explain how Nike has used NikePlus (http://www.nike.com/us/en_us/c/running/nikeplus/gps-app) as a running experience platform. A key step for NikePlus was Nike’s collaboration with the Apple iPhone which was launched in 2007. Nike used the iPhone’s built-in Accelerometer and GPS to build its iPhone app. Nike not only involved Apple but also coaches, trainers, runners and Nike employees to build a community of NikePlus devotees who eagerly contributed their feedback, recommendations and innovative ideas which has led to a whole series of innovations not just with NikePlus, but also across the whole Nike product line.

Using Lakeside SysTrack to Co-Create Value

Similarly, Lakeside Software’s SysTrack is being used by partners and customers as a value creation platform. Lakeside’s partners such as VMware and Dell are using SysTrack to develop a number of new solutions and services. VMware recently announced their Horizon cloud-based desktop assessment service in order to simplify the process of moving from a traditional desktop environment to virtual desktop. Customers are working with Lakeside to speed the problem resolution process. They’re looking to integrate their Service Management systems such as ServiceNow or BMC Remedy with SysTrack in order to accelerate Mean Time to Repair, increase worker productivity and reduce Service Desk costs.

Within the workplace infrastructure environment, SysTrack makes visible what was invisible. When that visibility is provided, we continually see IT managers realize that what they are managing is a very dynamic, rapidly changing, highly complex system in which they have no chance at being successful using their existing approaches and methodologies. Jointly working with their partner and Lakeside, customers can use the real-time insights, trends, patterns and rapidly delivered knowledge created by SysTrack to help resolve problems, improve user experience, improve existing processes and suggest new ways of thinking about long running problems and issues. This collaborative effort not only provides value for the customer, but loops back to both the customer partner and Lakeside with new insights into how to provide improved services and functionality.

To illustrate the point: until recently, SysTrack made information available through a series of dashboards, views and reports that were provided in SysTrack’s visualizers, but customers wanted custom dashboards often populated with real time data, giving them visibility to key metrics and problem areas that were targeted at their specific needs.

With SysTrack 7.0, new dashboarding capabilities were provided that allowed customers to develop custom views and even integrate data from external databases. As this information has become immediately available, problems are more quickly resolved, end users are happier, and management is suggesting to their partner and Lakeside value creation opportunities around areas like Security Operations Management, Power Management, Asset Optimization, Health Checks, and Self-Healing Services.

In short, the co-creation process is alive and well with Lakeside, its partners and its customers. In the coming months we’ll be highlighting some of the new functionality in SysTrack resulting from this process. We may even take the Co-Creation Process to a whole other level.

What does “End-to-end” monitoring really mean?

The old saying goes that if all you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. This is certainly true in the IT world. There are a broad number of vendors and technologies that claim to provide “end-to-end” monitoring for systems, applications, users, the user experience and so forth.

When one starts to peel back the proverbial onion on this topic, it becomes clear that any of these technologies is only providing “end-to-end” visibility if you’re really flexible with the definition of the word “end”. Let’s elaborate.

If I am interested in the end user experience of a given system or IT service, I would certainly start with what the end user is seeing. Is the system responsive to inputs? Are the systems free of crashes or annoying application hangs? Do the systems function for office locations as well as for remote access scenarios? Do complex tasks and processes complete in a reasonable amount of time? Is the user experience consistent?

These are the questions that the business users care about. In the world of IT, however, the topic of user experience is often discussed in rather technical terms. On top of that, there is no such thing as a single point of contact in any larger IT organization for all the systems that make up the service that users have to interact with. Case in point – there is a network team (maybe even split in between local area networks, wide area networks, and wireless technologies), there is a server virtualization team, there is a storage team, there is a PC support team, various application teams, and we can think of many other silos.

So, the monitoring tools that are available in the market place basically map into these silos as well. Broadly speaking, there are tools that are really good at network monitoring, which means they look at the network infrastructure (routers, switches, and so forth) as well as the packets that are flowing through the infrastructure. Thanks to the seven layer OSI model, there is data available not only around connections, TCP ports, IP addresses, network latency, but also the ability to look into the payload of the packets themselves. The latter means being able to understand if the network connection is about the HTTP protocol for web browsing, PCoIP or ICA/HDX for application and desktop virtualization, SQL database queries, etc. Because that type of protocol information is in the top layer of the model, also called the application layer, vendors often position this type of monitoring as “application monitoring”, although it really has little to do with looking into the applications and their behavior on the system. Despite this kind of application layer detail in the networking stack, the data is not sufficient at all to figure out the end user experience. We may be able to see that a web server takes longer than expected to return the requested object of a web page, but we have no idea WHY that might be so. This is because the network monitoring only sees network packets – from the point when they leave one system and are received by another system and then have a corresponding response go the other way – back and forth, but with no idea what is happening on the inside of the systems that are communicating with each other.

The story repeats itself in other silos as well. The hypervisor teams are pretty good at determining that a specific virtual machine is consuming more than its “fair share” of resources on the physical server and is therefore forcing other workloads to have to wait for CPU cycles or memory allocation. They key is that they won’t know what activity in which workload is causing a spike in resources. The storage teams can get really detailed about the sizing and allocation of LUNs, the IOPS load on the storage system and the request volumes, but they won’t know WHY the storage system is spiking at a given point in time.

The desktop or PC support teams… oh, wait – many of them don’t have a monitoring system, so they are basically guessing and asking users to reboot the system, reset the windows profile, or blame it on the network. Before I get a ton of hate mail on the subject – it’s really hard to provide end-user support because we don’t typically have the tools to see what the user is really doing (and users are notoriously bad in terms of accurately describing the symptoms they are seeing.)

Then there’s application monitoring, which is the art and science of base lining and measuring specific transaction execution times on complex applications such as ERP systems or electronic medical records applications. This is very useful to see if a configuration change or systems upgrade has a systemic impact, but beyond the actual timing of events, there is little visibility into the root cause of things (is it the server, the efficiency of the code itself, the load on the database, etc.?)

What all this leads to is that a user may experience performance degradation that impacts their quality of work (or worse, their ability to do any meaningful work) and each silo is then looking at their specific dashboards and monitoring tools just to raise their hands and shout “it’s not me!” That is hardly end-to-end, but just a justification to carry on and leave the users to fight for themselves.

Most well-run IT organizations actually have a pretty good handle at their operational areas and can quickly spot and remediate any infrastructure problems. However, the vast majority of challenges that impact the users directly and that don’t lead to a flat out system outage is simply that users and their systems compete for resources with each other. This is especially true in the age of server based computing and VDI. One user is doing something busy and all other users who happen to have their applications or desktops hosted on the same physical device will suffer as a result. This is exacerbated by the desire to keep cost in check and many VDI and application hosting environments are sized with very little room to spare for flare-ups in user demand.

This is exactly why it is so important to have a monitoring solution that has deep insights into the operating system of the server, virtual server, desktop, vdi image, end-point, PC, laptop, etc. and can actually discern what is going on, which applications are running, crashing, misbehaving, consuming resources etc.

Only that type of technology (combined with the infrastructure pieces mentioned above) can provide true end-to-end visibility into the user experience.

It is one thing to notice that there is a problem or “slowness” on the network and it is something else entirely to be able to pinpoint the possible root causes, establish patterns, and then proactively alarm, alert, and remediate the issues.

Speaking to IT organizations, System Integrators, and customers over the years reveals one common theme: IT administrators would like to have ALL of the pertinent data available AND have it all presented in a single dashboard or single pane of glass. Vendors are just responding to that desire by talking about their products as “end-to-end”, even though most of the monitoring aspects are not end-to-end at all, as we have seen. If you have the same requirement, have a look at SysTrack. It’s the leading tool to collect thousands of data points from PCs, Desktops, Laptops, Servers, Virtual Servers, and Virtual Desktops and can seamlessly integrate with third party data sources to provide actionable data in a way that you would like to see it. We’re not networking experts in the packet analysis business, but we can tap into data sources from networking monitors and present it along with the user behavior and system performance. That is a powerful combination of granular data and provides truly end-to-end capabilities as a system of record and an end user success platform.

 

Check out our latest solution brief on end user computing success.

Let me know what you think and follow me on twitter @florianbecker