The Organization: Top 5 Airline worldwide with over 2,000 remote workers (reservation specialists)
The Infrastructure: Citrix XenDesktop & Citrix XenApp
The Business Challenge: Ensure the remote workforce that schedules flights has seamless access to reservation applications running on Citrix XenDesktop and Citrix XenApp.
The Goliath team received an inquiry from the Citrix engineering group at one of the top airlines in the world. The Citrix engineers were faced with four unique challenges:
- They were in dire need of a tool which would allow them to continually check remote connectivity and availability of their Citrix VDI infrastructure and reservation system.
- They required the ability to be proactive and alerted to issues before being caught flat-footed by business units who were calling them well after a problem was impacting reservation specialists.
- In no way could any solution be deployed on-premise within their IT infrastructure, so a cloud-based solution was required.
- They needed objective evidence in the form of reports, analytics, and even screenshots to prove success, failure, and, if a failure, root cause.
For context, this airline has approximately 2,000+ remote associates who take reservations and VIP support calls. They work from home and small offices and, therefore, experience variable connection quality. This team depends on Citrix for delivery of key applications in order to perform their daily duties, and availability of those resources needs to be 24/7/365.
The Solution: Goliath’s AWS SaaS Application Availability & Testing Service
Understanding the requirements, the Citrix engineers were introduced to the SaaS version of Goliath’s Application Availability Monitor, which includes functionality to confirm that Citrix XenApp and Citrix XenDesktop applications are available for remote workers. The Goliath AWS monitoring solution is hosted in AWS and, therefore, doesn’t require any software on premises. The onboarding process was easy. A configuration link was sent to them where they entered the following information:
- URL to connect to the Citrix environment
- The Citrix account credentials
- Application or desktop name to be tested
- Email address for receiving real-time alerts from the Application Availability Service
Upon saving the information, the AWS Monitoring and Availability service was fully configured and ready to begin the process of confirming Citrix application availability in production.
As depicted below, the AWS Monitoring and Availability service for Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop is configured to confirm application availability from two different points in the United States and one in Europe. Each was selected based on time zone and the largest clusters of remote employees. The AWS Monitoring and Availability service was not a simple logon script or emulation, but rather a production product that uses actual test user accounts to execute the Citrix logon process. This is critical because the AWS Monitoring and Availability Service takes the same logon sequence as an actual user and, thereby, exercises the entire delivery infrastructure the same way that real end users do. From the gateway through to the application and/or desktop launch, the application availability service tests each component of the delivery infrastructure, in concert, identical to an actual end-user.
Immediately after deploying the AWS Monitoring and Availability service, the Citrix team started seeing failed or slow Citrix logons in real time. For the first time, they had visibility into where Citrix availability issues were occurring around the globe. As seen in the image below, they even received screenshot evidence of issues.
As issues were uncovered, alerts were sent from the AWS Monitoring console to the appropriate Citrix monitoring personnel. In addition to alerting, Citrix administrators were able to view the health of their environment from a live dashboard, as depicted below, and address any issues before calls came into the helpdesk.
Beyond a real-time view into the health of the production availability of the reservation application, there was also a need for the Citrix team to be able to run AWS reports on Citrix end user logon success or failure rates. Management required that the application availability meet SLA requirements. Because the AWS Monitoring and Availability service confirmed Citrix and the reservation application availability in production, the reports could also serve as objective evidence of validation that uptime requirements were being met.
As depicted in the AWS Monitoring Simulation Success and Failure Analysis Report below, every detail is captured as the production logon sequence is completed and then is presented in the output of the report, providing the empirical evidence required to validate environment uptime and availability.
The reports also played an important part in the workflow of addressing issues. In the following example, the airline’s Citrix engineer used the data to confirm that a Citrix StoreFront server went down.
The detail provided in the reports also helped to quickly identify patterns and trend over time where Citrix availability issues were occurring for remote users, thereby allowing technical teams to better collaborate across the organization and get issues resolved.
Goliath’s Citrix AWS Monitoring and Application Availability service satisfied the needs and requirements of the major airline. The team was empowered with a service that could logon remotely from AWS locations and confirm in production that applications were available or alert to failures or slowness. It provided them with a live real-time dashboard and threshold-based alerts so they could be aware of issues before their users or business units were impacted. The AWS Monitoring service also enabled them to provide historical reports to management to substantiate that SLA’s were being met and to pinpoint and resolve issues discovered over time. The entire software is provided as a monthly service by Goliath leveraging AWS to host the software.
Now when an end user calls regarding an issue, the Citrix team is truly able to say they are addressing issues before the end users are aware.