Category Archives: SysTrack Kits

INTRODUCING ASK SYSTRACK FOR AIRWATCH

At Lakeside Software our goal has long been to make insightful, high impact analytics readily available to help answer questions and enable better decision making in IT.

In August we took a major step forward in data accessibility with the introduction of Ask SysTrack, in partnership with IBM Watson cognitive services. This Natural Language Processing (NLP) question tool made it possible to find highly specific SysTrack data using nothing but everyday questions, greatly reducing the barrier to entry for all SysTrack tools. A basic introduction to the Ask SysTrack was provided in a previous blog post by Ben Murphy. You can download a white paper for more in-depth information on how the tool works.

One of the interesting things we discovered in the intervening months has been that Ask SysTrack was getting asked questions it understood but didn’t know the answer to. We inadvertently trained Ask SysTrack’s AI dictionary to understand nearly every question someone in IT might ask it. The best metaphor for this would be like being asked for directions to somewhere you don’t know how to get to. Say someone stopped you on the street and asked:

“How do I get to Bob’s burgers?”

You understand they are looking for directions to an eatery named Bob’s burgers. But you don’t know the answer.

Something similar was happening to Ask SysTrack in production – it was getting asked lots of questions about mobile devices.

Since SysTrack is traditionally a desktop analytics tool, it offers only limited visibility into the mobile device space. It’s difficult for users who are unfamiliar with the vast quantities of data available to them through SysTrack and other tools to navigate to the mobility data they need in the moment. But that data was easily found in their EMM console.

Since the most popular EMM tool in SysTrack Community is Airwatch, we reached out to our friends at VMware with a proposition: Let us extend our natural language insight engine to your platform.

One thing led to another, and today we’re introducing Ask SysTrack for AirWatch. Through partnership with VMware AirWatch, the Enterprise Mobility Management leader in the Gartner VMM Magic Quadrant, the Ask SysTrack workspace analytics insight engine now includes Natural Language Processing capabilities for the entirety of the AirWatch platform. This means that the ease of use made possible by the industry first Ask SysTrack now expands into the mobility space.

Using nothing but simple questions you can track down otherwise hard to find data that typically requires a large amount of familiarity with AirWatch to locate. Say for instance that you want to know where to access your compliance polices.

airex3

Or maybe you want to know how many of your employees use iPhones.

airex4

Once again, what would normally be difficult to find only took a simple question.

The Ask SysTrack tool is available with SysTrack 8.2 while Ask SysTrack for AirWatch is made available through installation of an AirWatch SysTrack Kit.

Have a Question? Ask SysTrack

The overarching theme of all the content we’ve created here has been trying make it easier to find interesting data and allow organizations to engage in intuitive information seeking behavior. If there’s anything the outgrowth of chat based interfaces has taught us, though, it’s that often the most meaningful way to bring the answers that users need to them it’s to allow them to craft their own questions in their own terms. So, the logical evolution here is to introduce a method to make it easier to get answers out of SysTrack with simple, natural language.

This is why Lakeside Software has partnered with IBM to use their Watson cognitive API library to introduce Ask SysTrack. This Natural Language Processing (NLP) question tool allows anyone to ask questions they may have for the SysTrack Workspace Analytics platform in basic, conversational form.

For example, say I want to find what my most heavily faulting application is. I can ask a simple question: “What application faults the most?”

ApplicationFaultsQuestion

Just asking that question gives me the most heavily faulting applications in order and even some other related things for me to look into if I’m interested.

Let’s say I wanted to find out specifically what’s wrong with a system.

Specific System Problems

Again, with a simple question I have the ability to know what this user has been having problems with lately.

With GA of SysTrack 8.2 this feature is now available for anyone, and I’d encourage you to check it out. You can download a white paper that expands on how it all works.

Introducing the NVIDIA Graphics Assessment

When NVIDIA first announced their groundbreaking approach to introducing accelerated graphics to virtualization they began bridging one of the last gaps in making sure that users get the best possible experience with virtual desktops and applications. Building on their success NVIDIA has introduced newer, Maxwell™ based GRID cards NVIDIA that go even further to create a rich graphical experience for users and decrease complexity for IT administrators looking to optimize the visual experience of their users.

The evolution of the GRID solution set coupled with their new software means that more users than ever can take advantage of graphical acceleration. This couldn’t come at a better time given the rise of advanced media usage in enterprise. As an increasing number of organizations begin to explore making their virtualized environments even better many want to explore what their current graphical needs are and plan for the future with NVIDIA.

This is why Lakeside Software has partnered with NVIDIA to develop a totally free graphical assessment hosted on Azure to deliver a detailed series of reports leveraging the SysTrack workplace analytics platform. Available for a 30-day period for up to 500 systems at no cost, this allows any interested organization to deploy SysTrack and review their current environment. At the end of the data collection period a customized report can be generated to provide key insights on how users are using graphically accelerated applications and what GRID profiles may work best for them.

Segmentation

Additionally, NVIDIA has also introduced vGPU monitoring as a key component of their GRID technology. As an early access partner Lakeside has been able to leverage this to build out new management and monitoring components to help ensure that critical end user experience components deliver the immersive experience users expect. This is showcased in some of the updated NVIDIA Kit contents that IT administrators can now use to monitor their vGPU implementations.

DeviceMonitoring

So, get started today. Check out https://nvidia.lakesidesoftware.com to learn more about how you can use vGPU and SysTrack to help give your users the best possible experience.

Microsoft Guest Blog: SysTrack and Windows Modernization Planning

Hi, I’m Divy Sharma with Microsoft Services, and I’ve been working with Lakeside Software’s SysTrack product for quite some time. SysTrack has proved to be extremely valuable for Data Center Modernization assessments and now for Windows 10 planning. Personally I’ve had the most experience helping customers understand their enterprise infrastructure and application portfolios, and assisting them with the complex process of determining what platforms and pathways forward are available to them to optimize their core infrastructure.

Legacy data center systems and workloads are a massive problem in the enterprise. Because these systems have a tendency to evolve naturally over time without centrally structured planning it can be difficult to determine some of the basic needs these systems are addressing. The key for all of the decisions necessary to migrate workloads and users is context. This requires answers to questions such as: What application connections are necessary? What resource consumption do we expect for applications? What kind of user experience do people get today? How many backend dependencies does this application require?

These questions led us to conclude that we really needed a robust way of collecting detailed, continuous operating metrics and usage details to understand how best to help our customers with their pathway forward. With numerous black box servers, unknown assets, and supporting systems distributed geographically across numerous physical locations it would be a difficult proposition to get a complete inventory, much less understand the characteristics of the existing workload and plan how to migrate it. With some of the existing tools in our portfolio we were able to get pieces of the information we needed, but what was missing was the actual activity and capacity analysis for forecasting costs and understanding the purpose of the systems. This is where SysTrack reporting filled in the gaps for us.

The addition of the Kits concept has greatly streamlined the process of gearing up for a DCM project; because the DCM content that was co-developed with Lakeside is made up of a large number of reports and dashboard content this makes reporting of the data as straightforward as the collection.

With Windows 10, Microsoft has started providing the next level of enterprise productivity, security, manageability and advanced threat detection. Solutions such as Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) offer leading-edge capabilities for identity management, device management, application management and provides enterprise-grade security. Additionally, new Windows 10 features such as Device Guard, Enterprise Data Protection and Microsoft Passport disrupts modern cyber-threats with revolutionary security. I have found SysTrack extremely valuable in assessing an organization’s current state of readiness for adopting these features. We have been able to get answers to questions such as – which devices are ready for Windows 10 migrations, which devices have TPM chips for using Windows 10’s advanced features, which devices are capable of supporting virtualization through Hyper-V to protect system memory and kernel-mode apps/drivers from malicious tampering, what is the device profile (desktops/laptops/tablets/touch-enabled devices/VDIs), and, what desktop/web applications are used in the enterprise, by whom, how often and what’s the performance portfolio of these workloads.

I really like the fact that SysTrack can work either as an on-premise solution or purely via Azure cloud. It can work on machines on your Active Directory Domain or on BYOD devices that contingent staff may bring in. It can easily help develop a workload’s profile – CPU loads, memory utilization, disk I/Os, network interaction with other servers – all with minimal impact to host performance. Moreover, it can help aggregate data over thousands of devices, laying a strong foundation to develop data-driven models for multiple scenarios, such as, Windows 10 deployment planning, Application Workload Assessment and Migration planning, Azure migration assessment and cost planning, etc.

For us the real mark of success is what happens after the migration is completed, and this is where the SysTrack data makes the largest difference. Previously it was difficult to really come up with a proof point to demonstrate that the user experience in the environment is quantitatively better than what end users used to get. With the comprehensive reporting in tools like Enterprise Visualizer it’s now possible to connect the starting user experience before the improvements with the steady state experience after all of the optimization and workload migration has taken place, proving success.

Really this gets to the heart of a broader key for ensuring that end users get the best possible experience: point of interaction telemetry. As IT’s role evolves it’s critical to have measures in place to track the performance of the various services that make up the EUC environment. By allowing SysTrack to track things like Office 365 adoption, system performance, and application consumption it’s now possible to track delivered services in a unified way. This makes Lakeside an ideal partner as Microsoft grows its incredible portfolio of traditional and cloud based services. Windows 10 in many ways is the start of a transformation for Microsoft’s offerings, and I think the more service driven direction for IT in the enterprise will benefit from it and Azure offerings tremendously.

Keep an eye out for more posts on Windows modernization and how Microsoft can help deliver the best possible end user experience to your environment.

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