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There are many IT Operations products in the market that focus on monitoring and management. The key difference between Goliath Technologies and other products is our focus on end user experience with Citrix and healthcare. Though there are good products that have some functionality for Citrix, there isn’t another solution that offers the end-to-end capability to anticipate, troubleshoot, resolve, and prevent end user experience issues with Citrix. Pertaining to healthcare, there isn’t another company that has purpose-built modules to support major EMR/EHR applications and correlate the application and system performance data.

The single most important criteria that determines the “best product” is the customers’ specific requirements. We cannot say that the major differentiators above are important for all customers. For those who have a desire to test the “production-readiness” of a product, the Goliath Technical Support Team have put together a summary of questions, asked by our customers, to troubleshoot issues and proactively manage their Citrix and EMR/EHR environments.

What is important to note is that through our customers’ unique experiences, our support team has acknowledged that the questions posed typically stem from three key areas (Pictured below). All attribute to one common goal: a positive End User Experience.

Here are some of the questions that can empower Citrix administrators to determine if a vendor’s ability to anticipate, troubleshoot, resolve, and prevent Citrix and EMR/EHR issues satisfy their unique demands.

Logon Initiation

Anticipate

  1. Can logon and applications be tested with simulations using real ICA sessions?
  2. Can logon, session and application or desktop availability issues be identified and resolved before end users are aware?

Troubleshoot

  1. Can you identify if logon issues are geographically-based, site-specific, or user-based, in advance? (Pictured below)

      2. Can you drill down into failed logons and identify exactly what part of the logon process failed and when it failed?

Resolve

  1. Are detailed reports available on the success and failure rate of simulated logons?
  2. Is it possible to take remediation when issues are identified with simulated and actual real user logons?

Logon Process

Anticipate

  1. Can preemptive rules and alerts be configured based on logon duration thresholds?
  2. Can logon simulations be used to identify slow logons before users are impacted?

Troubleshoot

  1. Can you identify if a slow logon was a result of a delay related to the starting up of a virtual desktop?
  2. Can the technology identify if the ICA file download is slow?
  3. Will you know when the session launch page is loading slowly?
  4. Are you able to identify when logon is slow because of an overloaded XML broker?
  5. Can you identify that client side validation and session brokering is slow?
  6. Is it possible to drill into session logon to know how long Active Directory takes to obtain GPOs and determine if they are applicable?
  7. Can the technology identify how long it takes to process Citrix policies vs Windows Policies?
  8. Is there the capability to identify if a corrupt print driver is causing a delay in the logon process?
  9. Can the technology natively break down the following GPO types and the length of time it takes to process each?
    1. Registry extensions
    2. Folder redirection extensions
    3. Scripting extensions
    4. Folder extensions
    5. Folder Options extensions
    6. Group Policy environment extensions
    7. Local user group extensions
    8. Drive map extensions
    9. Scheduled task extensions
    10. Files extensions
    11. Ini files extensions
    12. Search extensions
    13. Shortcut extensions
    14. IE zone mapping extensions
    15. IE settings extensions
    16. Citrix Profile Management Extensions
  10. Is there a fully detailed breakdown of the Logon Duration States, Citrix Receiver Startup Stages, Brokering Stages, and Session Launch Stages in a single screen?
  11. Can the technology provide data to correlate each state properly and understand the true duration of logon?
  12. Are there detailed historical reports on every session, its logon duration, and how long each of the specific components took to complete?
  13. Can logon stages be correlated with event logs to identify root cause?

Resolve

  1. Is it possible to configure remediation actions to automate the resolution of logon duration issues?
  2. Can ICA session simulations be conducted to test and validate configuration improvements made to the logon process?
  3. Are reports available to baseline and trend detailed logon duration metrics over time?

Session Performance

Anticipate

  1. Are preemptive threshold based alerts available on the following session performance issues
    1. ICA Latency
    2. ICA RTT
    3. Network Latency
    4. Active Sessions
    5. Available VDI
    6. XenApp Session Host Server Load
    7. Active XenApp Session Count
    8. Active XenApp User Count

Troubleshoot

  1. Is correlation possible with ICA Round Trip Time to ICA latency and Network Latency?
  2. Can you identify that network jitter is causing a client side issue with remote users?
  3. The technology correlate ICA latency to network jitter?
  4. Can the technology provide visibility into all the ICA channel, and application usage to identify issues such as a user session is slow because they are watching video in session consuming all available bandwidth?
  5. Is it possible identify that a print job outside of the ICA session is cause poor session performance within the session?
  6. Does the technology provide reporting to see that ICA Latency increases every day at the same time over a period of one year?
  7. Is there a detailed analysis of each of the 50 ICA channels and how they impact session performance?
  8. Can you provide detailed historical reports on ICA Round Trip Time and how it correlates to problems with the underlying infrastructure?
  9. Can you drill down to correlate ICA round trip time with high storage latency to pinpoint user session performance issues?
  10. Is there robust event log management available that allows you to archive all event logs from all monitored virtual/physical Windows machines including PVS or MCS provisioned session hosts?
  11. Can all event logs be viewed and analyzed including Application and Services Logs?

Resolve

  1. Can remediation actions be taken to automate resolution of issues such as print service failures?
  2. Are reports available to trend session performance overtime to validate performance and issue resolution actions?
  3. Does the technology provide an inbuilt knowledge base for IT staff to share specific resolution details directly in the alerts?

There is no disputing the importance of Logon Initiation, the Logon Process, and Session Performance, but monitoring and troubleshooting software solutions must also take into account other factors. As our Support Team has learned, there is more to a positive end user experience then the three pillars mentioned above. Which is why questions related to the Citrix NetScaler and Healthcare in general must be taken into consideration when evaluating different products in the marketplace.

NetScaler

Anticipate

  1. Can alerts be generated preemptively for poor ICA session performance metrics such as RTT and network jitter?
  2. Are alerts available to notify you of an HA failover?

Troubleshoot

  1. Can you to correlate ICA roundtrip time with Network Jitter?
  2. Is it possible to identify if proxied ICA session performance issues are client side or server side?
  3. Can the technology provide you with a single console for managing the entire NetScaler deployment?
  4. Is there visibility into the following NetScaler metrics?
    1. Activity by application/VIP
    2. Transaction response time
    3. User IP
    4. Transactions per NetScaler
    5. Transaction Load Time
    6. Page Latency
    7. Pages Viewed
    8. Faults by Error Codes
  5. Is there unrestricted historical reporting on NetScaler usage and trends? (Pictured Below)

Resolve

  1. Is the capability to share analytical data live via URL with collaborators to resolve issues?
  2. Is there integration with other monitoring technologies via Syslog or CSV?

Healthcare

Anticipate

  1. Are there purpose built modules for EMR/EHR applications available in the technology?
  2. Does the technology have specific performance graphs, rules and alerts available for MEDITECH? (Pictured Below)

      3.Is a module available for monitoring and preemptive based alerting for Allscripts?

      4. Can simulations be conducted to ensure that EMR/EHR applications are available before health care workers           access the environment?

Troubleshoot

  1. Is the technology able to be deployed to monitor XenApp servers in the Cerner Datacenter?
  2. Can you have complete visibility from the user’s endpoint into a hosted EMR/EHR application to identify if root cause is resulting from the provider or from your infrastructure?
  3. Can all event logs be archived, analyzed and alerting on from the EMR/EHR platform for root cause analysis?
  4. Is there visibility to troubleshoot EMR/EHR platform specific faults and performance issues?

Resolve

  1. Does the technology have detailed reporting for collaboration with EMR/EHR vendors?
  2. Can remediation actions be taken to automate the resolution of issues?

Summary

What has become clear is IT Operations products in the market focus on monitoring and management. When evaluating solutions that offer end-to-end capabilities, it’s important to ask the right questions. As our Goliath Support Team has noticed, each customer has distinct IT requirements and unique challenges that must be addressed. A positive End User Experience is the heart of all IT Operations products. The first question that should be asked is which product can anticipate, troubleshoot, resolve and prevent end user experience issues with Citrix and healthcare? Goliath Technologies has solutions that are purpose-built and product-ready to not only answer questions, but satisfy those requirements and challenges and ensure a positive end user experience for all.

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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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