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 “Last week the Goliath Application Availability Monitor identified that MEDITECH was not available and at 4:30 am ET our IT team received a real-time alert that the main application failed to enumerate which would have impacted 40,000 users if not resolved. Because of Goliath’s advanced warning, we were able to resolve the issue before any users reported the problem to the helpdesk. Now we have a real interest in expanding the application availability monitor to other applications like EPIC, Cerner, and Allscripts”.
Senior Citrix Escalation Engineer

The Organization: Top 5 U.S. Health System with Over 100 Hospitals and Millions of Patients Nationwide

Infrastructure: VMware, Citrix XenApp 6.5, MEDITECH, Epic, Cerner & Allscripts


Background

The Citrix Team often received complaints related to Citrix XenApp availability from their end users. Specifically, physicians and nurses who were connecting from remote hospitals and facilities could not launch their MEDITECH application. The Citrix IT Team deployed the Goliath Application Availability Monitor to remote hospitals, which features the “Goliath User”— a low footprint software that is managed from a central console and logs on to Citrix & MEDITECH just like a real user. This ensures that the application is available and that the Citrix delivery infrastructure and workflow are functioning as they should. It is like having a real administrator at the hospital whose sole job is to logon to Citrix and MEDITECH before users and then call IT to alert them of any issues so they can resolve before users are impacted. See below the deployment architecture which shows the remotely deployed “Goliath User”.

proactive deployment architecture

Averting an Outage for 40,000 Users

The MEDITECH application had recently been upgraded. When the upgrade was complete, the app was tested and made available for consumption by end users. However, during the upgrade, there was a misconfiguration of the application that Citrix admins were not aware of at the time.

The Citrix team had configured the Goliath Application Availability Monitor for MEDITECH to alert them if there was an issue with a Citrix-delivered application, as part of the early warning system. The Goliath Application Availability Monitor and “Goliath User” was scheduled to run and test all critical applications every 15 minutes daily, including the MEDITECH application that was just upgraded.

On this day, the Citrix team was sent a real-time alert at 4:30am ET that MEDITECH was not available at several hospitals. From the real-time dashboard, it was apparent that failures were occurring from many sites with multiple different Goliath User admin accounts. This allowed IT to know in an instant that there was a global outage of the MEDITECH application that was just updated. From the application availability detail of each failed simulation, the failure point was identified. In every failed instance, an enumeration issue was discovered as the root cause and there was a picture to prove what the issue was in the “screenshot” analysis. As a result, the application icon was not displayed on the web interface page.

Cerner login availability monitoring with trend tracking feature

The Summary

Now, the IT team receives an advance warning if MEDITECH and Citrix will not launch before doctors and other healthcare workers log in for the day. The advance warning, via real-time alerts, gives the IT team peace of mind because they know the early warning system will give them time to troubleshoot and resolve the issue before users are impacted. They now use the new “screenshot” analysis to document, via pictures and metrics, the “true” root cause and put fix actions in place so the issue can be permanently resolved. See the “screenshot” analysis in the below image:

screenshot analysis of issue

Finally, the IT team can communicate more effectively with management, counterparts in other departments and their application vendors because they have objective evidence of application availability, performance, and details relative to the root cause of performance or availability issues. They also can document when, with this advanced warning capability, they saved the day! And, saving downtime that would have impacted 40,000 users is the definition of saving the day.

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About 

The team members collaborated to bring together this blog post by calling on their past Customer Experiences and Expert Knowledge of Citrix Troubleshooting. Beyond writing technical documents this team supports Goliath Customers and provides product feature/function guidance to development.

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