I’ve lived in the virtualization and cloud world for a really long time. During that time, I’ve also seen the impacts on users when you don’t have a good performance monitoring and troubleshooting system in place. That said, what if you have managed services? Do you understand what challenges managed services providers (MSPs) face when working without a monitoring and troubleshooting tool? How are you effectively resolving common VDI performance as well as connectivity issues?

The Goliath Application Availability Monitor (GAAM) is a powerful solution to help you alleviate some of the most frustrating issues when working with VDI, virtualization, or application delivery in general. Once you use it, you won’t know how you lived without it.

When I first sat down in front of the Goliath management console, I saw how GAAM was used to automatically test the entire infrastructure as well as run tests from all critical endpoints, constantly. Even today, when working with Citrix ecosystems, the Goliath Application Availability monitor is the only tool I’ve found that proactively tells me when, where and why problems are occurring in my environment. From an MSP’s perspective, this not only prevents a lot of headaches but also saves so many hours of troubleshooting by pinpointing the problem for me. Plus, you’ll reduce the number of tickets you have by allowing GAAM to fix problems before end users are impacted.

Before we go too much further, let’s start with the user. Today’s users are much more agile and way more dependent on their desktops and applications running at all times. This is a major reason why VDI performance issues can cause serious issues in a world where ‘slow is the new down.’ From an MSP’s perspective, you really want to try to minimize these issues, but if they occur, be able to resolve and troubleshoot VDI issues as well as overall application delivery. Remember, you’re not only trying to make user experience better, but also make it easier for managed services engineers to troubleshoot faster.

biggest challenges for managed service providers

To that extent, I’ve worked with organizations that take a more legacy approach to managing their application and desktop delivery architecture. Without tools like GAAM, life could get a bit complicated. Let me paint a picture:

  • How do you know if your networks and backend systems are available? How do you know if you find out too late? Your SQL infrastructure is down. And you basically found out because a massive group of users emailed or called you at once. If you’re a managed service provider, this isn’t a fun day. However, this is your life without GAAM. And, it’s not just SQL. There are a myriad of network and backend systems that might fail and bring you to a halt. Is Active Directory functioning? What about your licensing servers? Maybe something went wrong with a NetScaler network connection. The point is that without GAAM, you’re playing a reactive game. Troubleshooting things like VDI connection issues under ‘fire drill’ circumstances isn’t fun. GAAM will absolutely automatically alert you of issues related to Citrix login failure or slowness before the end user ever notices an issue.
  • Parts of your environment are broken, but you’re not sure what they are. Is your vCenter Server operating? Maybe your profile servers are running out of space. Much like the previous point, you won’t know what’s going on until after it starts happening. In this case, you’re causing slowness for both your users and your business. The entire point of GAAM is to find the root cause of end user experience issues before your end users. This also means deeply understanding all of the infrastructure and virtualization components that support both your users and your business. Without GAAM, it’s so much more of a guessing game. Wouldn’t you love to have a system that simply tells you what’s wrong, where to find it, and even how to troubleshoot it? This level of integrated troubleshooting can become a reality when leveraging GAAM.
  • Your apps may not be launching… and you’ll have no idea why without lots of troubleshooting. This isn’t fun. Everything seems to be working, but apps aren’t launching. Is something wrong with Storefront? Are ICA connections dropping like crazy? Even within your VDI sessions, are applications enumerating? Without GAAM, you’re stuck not seeing the big picture and working really hard to focus in on single issues or environmental elements. You basically lose out on both real-time and historic views, to get a complete view of the entire environment, not just a single component.
  • Your applications and desktops are launching slowly, and you’re not really sure why that’s happening. Honestly, this could be even more frustrating than VDI or applications not launching at all. Again, without GAAM, you’ll find yourself going through the same paces to try and figure out why things aren’t working. Maybe your load balancers are misconfigured. Or, maybe something is wrong with licensing. The point is that you’ll have to lift each rock on its own to try and figure all of this out. And, you’ll likely have to log into multiple consoles just to figure it all out. As it stands, GAAM is the only IT ops tool that includes purpose-built technology to integrate key data sources to help IT professionals proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, and prevent end user experience issues. Without it, the process to find out what’s wrong is painstakingly slower.

In my own experience, one of the biggest challenges for managed service providers is the ability to be proactive. So, removing a legacy way of managing users, applications, and their resources will make your virtualization ecosystem much healthier. Sitting down in front of the Goliath management console, I quickly saw that GAAM gave me a much broader perspective into so many key variables within a virtualization architecture. So, you’re now aware what life is like without GAAM.

What happens when you introduce this kind of tool into your own environment? At it’s core, the Goliath Application Availability Monitor (GAAM) acts as an automatic early warning system for pretty much everything we’ve discussed so far. For example, the Goliath Virtual User (which can be deployed at any location) proactively accesses Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop and other mission-critical applications just like a real user. This provides hard data on what will happen when an actual user, doctor or nurse tries to access important patient records. IT professionals are alerted immediately if an issue occurs, and the system provides specific data on where the failure happened. This allows IT to identify root cause and troubleshoot quickly before actual users are impacted. Plus, the system will give you screenshot evidence so you can actually see where there might be VDI performance issues or if there are challenges with connectivity.

Managed services aren’t just about delivering content and resources. It’s about being proactive and supporting an agile business. In my own experience, GAAM will tell you where and why issues are occurring, unlike other application performance monitoring software. From there, you can integrate both troubleshooting as well as control. Administrators can see what tests will be run, from each location, and manage testing by shift, or by event, and even block out maintenance windows to avoid unnecessary alerts. All of this is handled from a central, simple interface with no need for scripting or intervention at the end points themselves.

Do you want to make your life easier, better support your users, and have a happier business? Use GAAM as a real solution to help you alleviate some of the most frustrating issues when working with VDI, virtualization, or application delivery in general. Once you use it, you won’t know how you lived without it.

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