In this post, the Goliath Support Team shares a story about how a law firm with over 5,000 users leveraged Goliath to troubleshoot Citrix and solve slow Citrix XenApp session issues by using the End User Experience and HDX Latency Reports in Goliath Citrix Monitoring.
Problem: IT Operations lacked visibility into the end user experience of 5,000 people in 30 offices
Last week, I was working with a customer who is using Goliath for Citrix Monitoring of their XenApp 7.6 environment. This law firm uses our technology to ensure their end users around the world have seamless access to their Citrix delivered applications.
With 30 offices located worldwide, and 30 Citrix XenServer hosts supporting a Citrix environment of over 5,000 users, it was challenging for their IT Operations team to understand how many end users were experiencing poor performance, in what frequency, and most importantly, why.
By configuring our Citrix Monitoring technology, the IT team was able to track and report on people who had poor end user experience by using two reports that come out-of-the-box with Goliath’s Citrix Monitoring:
These reports are part of Goliath’s Citrix troubleshooting functionality and were scheduled to run on a daily and weekly basis and sent via email to the law firm’s Citrix Admins.
Step 1 – Configure the End User Experience Report & Schedule to Run Automatically for Citrix Troubleshooting
The first step in the process to understand the end user experience was to bring in their Citrix XenApp 7.6 environment through our ‘First Time Run Wizard’ using our APIs for Citrix. Once the Citrix infrastructure was listed in the inventory, we deployed our Intelligent Agent.
By the way, the agent is called the ‘Intelligent Agent’ because it is one of a kind; it uses less than 0.1% CPU, 1.5 MB on disk, about 50-80 MB RAM and no reboot is required. The agent was deployed to the environment within minutes and instantly started to collect Citrix XenApp specific data.
The first report they configured was the End User Experience Report, which is essential for Citrix troubleshooting. This report was scheduled to run every morning at 9:30 am so it landed in the Citrix Admins’ inbox first thing in the morning.
With the End User Experience Report, the Citrix Admins could quickly determine if:
- An end user was experiencing Citrix session slowness (as indicated by HDX latency)
- The slowness was caused by a slow connection speed
- Citrix itself determined the connection to be slow and adjusted experience accordingly
The Citrix End User Experience Report also provided information around the connection times and what application was used. So, instead of being caught off guard by calls from frustrated end users complaining about slow Citrix sessions, the administrator can be more proactive, anticipate the issues, and ultimately, prevent them altogether.
Step 2 – Configure the HDX Latency Report & Troubleshoot Citrix End User Experience Issues
The other Goliath report this law firm used was the HDX Latency Report. ICA latency is a key metric because when we look at performance and end user experience problems, if there is a problem stemming from a server’s ability to process the user’s request or their connection, it will manifest in our Citrix troubleshooting functionality for HDX latency.
So this is the starting point for determining if the user’s poor experience issue is caused by something related to what they are doing or how they are connecting to the environment. Therefore, in addition to scheduling the Citrix End User Experience Report, the Citrix HDX Latency Report is also scheduled to run on a weekly basis and sent to the Citrix Admins.
Tech Note: If a user’s Citrix session is slow, there are 3 key metrics you need to look at to troubleshoot Citrix and understand what responsibility the Citrix architecture plays in the end user experience: Citrix ICA RTT, Citrix HDX Latency, Network Latency. First some definitions:
- Citrix ICA RTT: the time the workflow takes to complete: user action + transport to the server + Processing + transport to the client + display results to end user.
- Citrix HDX Latency: the time it takes from the user’s action at the end point to when the server receives and processes the request
- Network Latency: connection latency from the XenApp Server/VDI to the client machine
If an end user has a high ICA latency, we can use the Network Latency for Citrix troubleshooting to determine if it’s the network connection between the client and the server or the ability to support the user’s activities on the server. If all of these metrics are performing nominally, then you have the proof that Citrix is NOT the issue. And, half of the battle in Citrix troubleshooting is to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Citrix is not to blame.
“Threshold-based Alerting to Show us all end users with latency higher than 300 milliseconds”
To enable proactive Citrix troubleshooting, the law firm configured the Citrix HDX Latency Report to show all users with a latency higher than 300 milliseconds, which is the threshold at which users begin noticing performance problems.
This was huge, because it gave them an idea of the scale of the Citrix end user experience problems, and they were no longer dependent on users calling the help desk to know if there were problems or not. They also set up the report on a weekly basis to show the top 20 users with Citrix HDX latency, so they could provide personal attention to the users with the worst experience.
Beyond Citrix troubleshooting users with high Citrix HDX latency, the Citrix Admins were able to gain insight into how network latency and HDX Round Trip Times contributed to the experience. The network latency told them if the network was causing the delays, and the HDX RTT told them if the server processing was slowing down the response times.
The Goliath Citrix Troubleshooting Reports Ended the Finger Pointing
In multiple cases, the law firm identified network latency as being the cause of HDX latency for users from certain offices and used this report to forward the evidence (the report) onto the network team and management.
By using these reports in Goliath’s Citrix troubleshooting functionality, the Citrix Admins were able to quickly end the finger pointing between teams and provide objective evidence to management and the end users when performance complaints are reported. This was Citrix Monitoring and Citrix Troubleshooting in one console. Ultimately, the law firm’s IT Operations team was able to more effectively align resources across groups to begin improving Citrix end user experience, and they had the reporting to confirm success. The Citrix End User Experience and HDX Latency Reports continue to be leveraged to maintain visibility to the Citrix end user’s experience without depending on a phone call and to provide objective evidence when problems occur.