How to Resolve a Complex IT Problem in Just a Few Clicks with eG Enterprise


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One of the most common and yet difficult things for any admin to accomplish is to trouble shoot end user “slow-time” issues. Application, database, network and server unresponsiveness or “slow-time” negatively affects enterprise performance and end user productivity ten times more often than downtime and can originate from just about anywhere within the enterprise.

Misconfiguration due to human error, missing drivers, intermittent memory faults, network IP cache errors, unbalanced workloads and constrained virtual resources can all be the root-cause of slow-time, or they could just be a resulting symptom, the key to resolving such issues is getting to the root-cause quickly before they spread to other systems and bring productivity to a standstill.

In the following walkthrough, I detail how such a scenario can be resolved quickly and easily before end users notice with the help of eG Enterprise. This example focuses primarily on Citrix and vmware but eG Enterprise can help IT departments maintain maximum productivity for millions of combinations of enterprise components.

eG Enterprise is a 100% web based solution making it possible for anyone in IT from the CIO and IT Managers to admins and helpdesk specialist to proactively monitor their environment anytime, anywhere on any device.

eG Alarms Window for Blog

When a “slow-time” error occurs, eG Enterprise automatically generates an alarm to the appropriate admin so they can take action immediately. The solution correlates and color codes the minor, major and critical alerts and displays them using a layer model with the most critical alert at the top.

eG Alarms Window Details for Blog

According to the alert Virtual CPU usage in the vmware ESX system console is high. The system console is a bootstrap operating system of ESX and should only be using about 2% of the CPU allocated to it, by scrolling over the description we can see the usage has suddenly increased to 100%; left alone this would surely affect Citrix performance and generate a large number of support calls to IT from end users.

eG Detailed Diagnosis Window for Blog

Fortunately, eG Enterprise patented detailed diagnosis technology makes identifying the root-cause a breeze. By scrolling to the right and using the magnifying glass icon, the root-cause is revealed within the Detailed Diagnosis window. The window is displaying information for the top 10 processes using virtual CPU resources; to the right of the window those processes are listed as SAMBA backups.

eG Fix Feedback Window

The root-cause is simply this, the vmware admin is performing a normal backup but it is taking place before the end of the workday potentially affecting Citrix users when they attempt to log on and access applications. The best solution is to contact the vmware admin, explain the situation and either agree to reschedule the backups or adjust virtual resources.

In this case, the Citrix and ESX admin agree to reschedule the backups and then the Citrix admin uses the Fix Feedback feature within eG Enterprise to document the event, as well as the agreed solution and save the record. Resolving the issue took just a few clicks and a quick phone call between admins.

eG Enterprise provides universal insight across platforms and domains whether they exist in the Cloud, the data center or in virtual space, it is for this reason that the Citrix admin had the visibility they needed to identify the root-cause as a virtual resource constraint within the vm’s that support Citrix.

The following is a more detailed look at the Citrix admins view of the eG Enterprise Universal Insight dashboard as well as the methodology and technology behind the solution.

eG Universal Insight Dashboard for Blog

The color codes of eG Enterprise are familiar, green is “Normal”, yellow is a “Minor” alert, orange is a “Major” alert and red is a “Critical” alert requiring immediate attention.

The dashboard provides universal insight for the 12 different components that comprise the two Citrix services they are monitoring. The Component Type panel lists the details for each of the 12 components.

Clicking on the listed services in the middle of the Infrastructure Health panel on the left will reveal which of the two services is generating alerts.

The Measure at – A – Glance panel at the bottom left lists the measurements and tests conducted for each of the 12 components that comprise the two different Citrix service being monitored. Details include CPU utilization, Free memory, Active Citrix sessions, and more.

The bell icon on the top right of the window is a link to the alarm window details viewed previously.

eG Infomart Services Window for Blog

After clicking on the Services panel eG Enterprise presents two Citrix service icons for the different services, it appears that Infomart is the service experiencing major issues, clicking on the Infomart icon opens the list of Web Transactions for the Infomart service.

eG Informart Transactions Window for Blog

The list indicates that Application Access and User Logons are experiencing errors. The Citrix admin may click on the Topology tab or the transactions themselves for a service topology graph for the Infomart service.

eG Citrix Topology Window for Blog

Navigating the Infomart service topology from left to right, end users are connecting to Infomart through a network node, then a web server that is experiencing minor errors; the requests then reach a Citrix Zone Data Collector, which sends the request to one of the Citrix XenApp servers, which is experiencing major errors. The XenApp server then accesses the appropriate file, print or database server on the backend.

Based on the color codes eG Enterprise is indicating that the primary focus should be on the Citrix XenApp servers. Clicking on them will present the Citrix admin with either a physical or a virtual topology for Citrix XenApp depending on the supporting host.

eG Virtual Citrix XenApp Topology Window for Blog

The virtual topology indicates that the vmware ESX virtual machine hosting the Citrix Zone Data Collector, the Web server and Citrix XenApp are experiencing critical errors, that is where the focus needs to be. Clicking on that area of the virtual service topology reveals the elements that support those virtual machines.

eG Layer Model Window for Blog

This is the eG Enterprise Layer model for the Citrix XenApp service topology. On the right are all of the elements that support the virtual machines as well as the various tests that correspond to that layer. As an example within the OS layer for the virtual hypervisor are measurements and tests for the System Console, CPU, Disk Space and more; depending on which layer is selected the information within the right panel changes accordingly.

eG Detailed Diagnosis Window for Blog

eG Enterprise has already identified that virtual CPU resources within the system console are constrained. Using the magnifying glass icon on the far right opens the same Detailed Diagnosis window previously accessed from the Alarms window and the same SAMBA errors are viewable, this confirms the previous diagnosis.

Regardless of the path an admin chooses to use, identifying the root-cause of a complex IT problem takes just a few clicks with the eG Enterprise.

eG Infrastructure Health Reporting Window for Blog

The last thing I will cover are some of the reporting benefits that eG Enterprise provides. By returning to the Universal Insight dashboard and selecting the Reporter tab, anyone in IT can pull performance reports for the infrastructure.

Reports are available based on Function, Component, Service, or Segment; two of the more important are Operational KPI and Capacity Planning. Easy access to comprehensive reporting make it possible to maintain business continuity, predict peak needs, ensure future readiness for emerging technologies while keeping costs down and increasing productivity.

The eG Enterprise methodology is simple, the technology is powerful and the universal insight is comprehensive.

For a free trial, to schedule a live demo or obtain more information about eG Enterprise send a request to info@eginnovations.com or go to our website at www.eginnovations.com

Enhanced Browser Monitoring in Citrix Infrastructures


A couple of application deployment and usage trends are causing interesting performance monitoring challenges in Citrix infrastructures:

Browser Performance Monitoring

  • Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop are used to host client applications that users access through thin clients. With a lot of the corporate portals and intranet applications being web-based, one of the most widely used client applications on Citrix infrastructures is the ubiquitous web browser. SaaS applications like Salesforce and ServiceNow are accessed using the browser.
  • A second key trend is that web applications are being designed to use client-side scripting (JavaScript, Ajax, etc.) for rendering and processing of information.

On a Citrix infrastructure, since browsers are hosted on the Citrix servers, client-side processing uses CPU, memory and disk resources on the Citrix servers.  Any script malfunction or errors can cause the corresponding browser instances to take up excessive resources.

When users had physical desktops, a browser instance taking up CPU, memory or disk resources would only affect the performance seen by the corresponding user. However, since a Citrix server is shared by multiple users, one user’s browser instances taking up excessive resources can affect the performance seen by all other users of the same server. Therefore, identifying and fixing browser performance issues is a key challenge for Citrix administrators.

Most Citrix performance management tools report on the resource usage by applications running on the Citrix servers. With this approach, an administrator can see that specific browser instances are using excessive resources but they will not be able to determine why – i.e., which URLs or web sites are being accessed by browser instances that take up excessive resources?

Windows Task ManagerTo illustrate this further, look at the figure below which shows a snapshot of Windows Task Manager showing the processes running on the server. From here, an administrator can see that certain browser instances are taking up excessive CPU but not which URL is being accessed by that instance.

eG Enterprise v6 maps browser instances to the URLs/web sites being accessed. This allows administrators to easily determine when a browser instance is taking excessive CPU or memory or is causing high IOPS on the server, which URL/web site is the user accessing.

To illustrate this capability, consider the figure below which shows the users currently logged on to a Citrix XenApp server and the resource usage and bandwidth usage for each session.  As is evident, the user Charles’ session is consuming more bandwidth than the others and his session is also consuming 85% of the CPU of the server.

Users currently logged on to a Citrix XenApp server

eG Enterprise’s detailed diagnosis capability provides more details on why charles’ session is consuming excessive resources. In the figure below, you can see the applications that this user is running. From the table below, it is clear that the user has three browser windows (or tabs) open and the process consuming CPU is “Internet Explorer” with PID 3566.  From the browser title, it is clear that the user is watching a movie from www.youtube.com!

eG Enterprise’s detailed diagnosis

This information helps Citrix administrators track the usage of their Citrix servers, watch for unexpected usage on their servers and track down users who may be accessing non-corporate applications and may be affecting the performance seen by other Citrix users.

PS: A mapping of process ID to URL is available only for Internet Explorer on Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop.

In 2015 CIOs Will Need Universal Insight Across the Enterprise


Imagekid Silo-centric monitoring and management tools are fine for supporting a confined infrastructure with very limited interdependencies but for CIOs seeking to prevent drains on CAPEX and ensure they are contributing to OPINC they aren’t enough.

Resolving IT pain and avoiding unscheduled downtime is the traditional focus of APM and NPM solutions and it will continue to be important in 2015 but emerging technologies like Cloud, mobility and XaaS are reinventing the role of the modern CIO.

Those who virtualized and consolidate their data center servers over the last ten years are now extending virtualization across the enterprise to include networking, storage, cloud and mobility deployments.

With the new era of the borderless enterprise upon them CIOs are keenly aware of the need to research and adopt solutions that both resolve traditional IT pain while giving them universal insight across the enterprise so they can ensure emerging technologies deliver greater value to the business.

Below are some of the predictions for 2015 that will shape the need for CIOs to have universal insight across the enterprise…

Enable workspace flexibility. IT executives are being challenged to adopt and integrate mobile solutions at a blinding pace but 70% of end user devices cannot pass basic compliance and security tests, so introducing foreign devices on the corporate network poses serious risks. CIOs will need to ensure availability while managing access, device and user compliance and security, having universal insight across user and device profiles, approved and blacklisted apps, databases and domains will be critical to success.

XaaS becomes the new IT stack for Hybrid Cloud. The era of everything as a service has arrived. The development of virtual cloud and mobility apps are driving IT innovation and the consolidation of intellectual properties at a blinding pace. To maintain market share and demonstrate thought leadership traditional product centric companies will accelerate efforts to bring new XaaS offerings to market. The rollout and adoption of new service offerings like vDaaS, DRaaS, IaaS, MWaaS, PaaS, and WPaaS with grow and mature in 2015 and throughout the remainder of the decade.

The borderless enterprise explosion will usher in a new era of compliance and security. The gaps and interdependencies between cloud, mobility, virtual and shared infrastructures, social media platforms and SaaS will inspire a renewed focus on compliance and security the way email, malware and network security have before. APM providers will be faced with some interesting choices; either acquire or develop additional internal compliance and security expertise, partner with an existing security provider or remain focused on their existing silo niche. CIOs will be left with deciding to go all-in with a security provider, purchase silo-centric solutions that provide limited compliance and security visibility, or evaluate and choose an APM NPM solution that meets most of their needs now as APM NPM compliance and security maturity continues to grow.

Containerization remains a test and development play, for now. Game changer, disruptive and death knell are all phrases tossed about when containerization solutions are discussed as an alternative to traditional virtualization but the reality is much less dramatic. Container solutions are well suited for accelerating Linux app portability and reducing associated overhead, Google and Facebook have deployed containers very successfully but their demands for rapid deployment and scale are different from most corporate customers. Until container solutions are cross compatible, offer mature management options and enhanced security capabilities expect containers to remain a solution for Linux test and development environments while traditional VMs meet the majority of data center production demands.

Data is the new natural resource and almost as important as air and water. Ensuring on-demand availability of data and seamless collaboration via the cloud, across virtual networks, servers and storage will require that CIOs have complete and total visibility across platforms, domains, time zones and geographies in 2015. Ensuring maximum uptime, preventing downtime and performing root-cause analysis are now IT table stakes. Whereas having universal insight across the enterprise, providing a seamless user experience, preventing slow-time and increasing productivity via the borderless enterprise are the new business goals CIOs must be aligned with and focused on.

Ensure IT effectiveness and business alignment. CIOs must align IT initiatives with desired business outcomes for productivity, growth and profit. APM historical performance reports provide the empirical data they need to help them balance workloads, right-size the enterprise and eliminate cost overruns so capacity planning meets the business needs of today while preparing for the emerging technologies of tomorrow.

Deliver a positive user experience through enhanced service performance. End users judge their experience relative to their ability to be productive and complete an end goal. Whether end users are employees and partners seeking to work seamlessly between the office and a mobile device as they move across domains or customers accessing a web cart, they all expect apps and databases to be available, accessible and responsive. CIOs will rely heavily on APM solutions to provide KPI for user logons, average response time, page loads, app adoption, abandonment rates and other metrics to ensure that end users are happy and productive.

Expanded use of KPI metrics. What started with call center, helpdesk and customer service metrics is expanding rapidly. APM solutions that can be adapted to collect KPIs for industry and role specific applications are influencing the decision making of CEOs, CFOs and other executives. APM solutions will be used to measure and determine the viability of pilot programs, industrial expansion and even the purchase of competing intellectual properties.

Improve operational efficiency. Reliance on command line interfaces and technology trees is functional but outdated. CIOs will arm and empower IT managers, admins and specialists with APM solutions that are customizable, intuitive, integrate easily with existing NOC tools and provide a unified view of the enterprise. The end goal will be to accelerate time to resolution, eliminate guesswork, reduce dependency on multiple silo-centric tools with limited visibility and mitigate the impact that natural attrition has on tribal knowledge.

For CIOs to achieve these goals and remain future ready they will need universal insight across the enterprise and timely, correlated information that enables data driven decision making. 2015 will be a very interesting year as CIO thought leaders seek to improve the end user experience and enhance productivity within the enterprise.

About eG Innovations eG Innovations is dedicated to helping businesses across the globe transform IT service delivery into a competitive advantage and a center for productivity, growth and profit. Many of the world’s largest businesses use eG Enterprise Universal Insight technology to enhance IT service performance, increase operational efficiency and ensure IT effectiveness. Visit here for more information.

New Webinar Series: Citrix Performance Management Best Practices


We launched a new 5-part webinar series to explore Citrix performance management best practices and new ways to increase Citrix user productivity while reducing operational cost.

This webinar series highlights how your IT and Citrix support teams can implement and leverage next-gen performance management best practices to get the most out of Citrix investments, and reliably deliver virtual desktops and applications to more users without glitches or cost overruns.

The first two webinars in the series are now available on demand:

How To Increase Help Desk First-Call Fix Rates When A User Reports A Problem (Part 1)

How To Reduce The Duration Of Service Outages (Part 2)

Sign up for the upcoming live webinars in the Citrix webinar series:

How Proactive Intelligent Alerting Enables You to Prevent Service Outages (Part 3)
December 18,  2014 – 2pm UK | 3pm CET | 9am ET | 8am CT | 6am PT
Register now: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/136443695

How to Achieve Maximum Performance From Your Current Citrix Infrastructure (Part 4)
January 8, 2015 – 2pm UK | 3pm CET | 9am ET | 8am CT | 6am PT
Register now: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/636104247

Know When and Where To Add More Capacity To Your Citrix Infrastructure (Part 5)
January 22, 2015 – 2pm UK | 3pm CET | 9am ET | 8am CT | 6 am PT
Register now: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/509439855

We look forward to seeing you at the webinars!

 

Unified Monitoring, Diagnosis and Reporting of IT Infrastructure Performance with eG Enterprise v6 [LIVE DEMO]


Join the live demo “Unified Monitoring, Diagnosis and Reporting of IT Infrastructure Performance with eG Enterprise v6” on October 9, 2014 at 11am ET | 10am CT | 8am PT | 5pm UK | 5pm CET.

Register now: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/971626975

eG Enterprise v6
See live the brand-new release of eG Enterprise v6 – the first intelligent performance monitoring solution designed to simplify the management of today’s complex and distributed IT environments. Find out how eG Enterprise helps you make IT Operations more productive, reduce IT support cost & complexity, and keep your end users happy & productive. During the live demonstration, we will show how you can:

  • Have a single unified solution that addresses your application monitoring, database monitoring, server monitoring, network monitoring, virtualization monitoring, service monitoring and even mobile device monitoring needs;
  • Use intelligent analytics to analyze and correlate performance across the tiers to provide unparalleled speed & ease of proactive alerting, diagnosis & analysis;
  • View best-in-class customizable dashboards that integrate performance metrics to provide real-time role-based and domain-based views on user experience, system and service health, resource consumption, capacity and more;
  • Report on historical performance and trends and analyze usage patterns to right-size and optimize your IT infrastructure for maximum ROI;
  • Address gaps in your current monitoring for Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop, virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI), multi-tier Java applications and heavily virtualized IT environments – in the cloud or on-premise;

Title:  Unified Monitoring, Diagnosis and Reporting of IT Infrastructure Performance with eG Enterprise v6

Registration:  https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/971626975

Date:  October 9, 2014 at 11am ET | 10am CT | 8am PT | 4pm UK | 5pm CET

Presenters: Bala Vaidhinathan (CTO, eG Innovations), Holger Schulze (VP Marketing, eG Innovations)

  • Are you having to spend hours troubleshooting problems by looking at multiple different tools?
  • Yearn to have a single pane of glass view into your entire IT infrastructure?
  • Wish you could drill down and with just one click determine where the root-cause of a problem lies and call the right expert to get it fixed quickly?

Get your answer on October 9.

New Citrix Performance Management Survey Reveals Key Challenges and Best Practices


citrix-performance-management-reportWe are excited to announce the results of the first global Citrix Performance Management Survey! We conducted the survey together with the Citrix and IT community at DABCC  to explore the current state of Citrix performance management, and provide valuable benchmarks and new insights into the challenges, technology choices and best practices for Citrix performance management.

Over 600 Citrix professionals participated in the survey, and the results are now available in the data rich, 23-page “Citrix Performance Management Report“. Download the full report here.

Here are some of the key survey findings:

  • Performance management is critical for the success of Citrix deployments. 97% of respondents consider performance management to be important for the expansion of their Citrix infrastructure. 86% of respondents consider performance as a key concern during migration of Citrix versions.
  • Citrix gets the blame for user experience, whether the problem is Citrix related or not. The biggest performance challenge respondents face is that Citrix gets blamed for all user experience problems – even if the problem is not with the Citrix tiers. However, a majority of the time (65%), performance problems are NOT directly caused by the Citrix tiers.
  • Admins spend more time fire-fighting and troubleshooting performance problems. In over 60% of cases, respondents spend more than 30% of their time fire-fighting and troubleshooting performance problems. One of the key reasons is that Citrix performance management is still mostly manual.
  • Proactive alerting is most important to Citrix professionals. A majority of respondents (68%) are looking to make Citrix performance management proactive, so they get alerted and can fix issues before users notice.
  • Most IT admins don’t benchmark their Citrix environment. Despite the interest in managing Citrix performance proactively, very few respondents have solid performance benchmarks of their Citrix infrastructure. 26% of respondents have NEVER conducted any performance benchmark. 18% conducted benchmarks only during migration.

“To deliver the best possible user experience, Citrix environments need to be not only well architected but also well monitored and managed so administrators can identify and diagnose problems early on,” said Douglas Brown, Founder and CEO of DABCC. “The Citrix performance management survey confirms that a majority of respondents are looking to make Citrix performance management more proactive, so they get alerted and can prevent issues from escalating and impacting end users and business processes.”

Citrix and eG Innovations Present: How to Maximize XenApp and XenDesktop Performance


Citrix Webinar

Join us for the live webinar “How to Maximize XenApp and XenDesktop Performance by Combining Citrix Director/ EdgeSight and eG Innovations” on April 16th at 1:00 pm EST | 12:00 pm | 10 am PT | 6 pm UK | 7 pm CET (Amsterdam).

Register here. 

Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop deliver significant benefits to enterprise and service providers by providing a unified solution for delivery of virtual desktops and applications on demand. Attend this webinar to learn about next-gen performance monitoring best practices that you need to put in place to get the most out of your Citrix XenApp / XenDesktop investments, and reliably deliver virtual desktops and applications to users.

Join desktop virtualization expert Bala Vaidhinathan (CTO, eG Innovations) and learn how to ensure a seamless desktop experience and maximize ROI.

  • Gain complete performance visibility of all IT domains impacting the experience of virtual desktop/ application users
  • Utilize next-gen management solutions that complement and integrate with Citrix Director/ EdgeSight to accelerate troubleshooting and resolution
  • Ensure a seamless desktop experience and maximize virtual desktop user satisfaction by pre-emptively detecting and resolving performance issues – before users notice
  • Ensure maximum ROI by right-sizing your XenApp and XenDesktop infrastructure using powerful reporting & analytics

Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now.

We look forward to seeing you online!