User Story

MTM Meets Customer SLAs with Goliath Technologies

By / 2018-09-14T15:57:02+00:00 August 24th, 2018|

“At MTM, we deploy the Goliath Application Availability Monitor as an advanced troubleshooting tool. GAAM’s automatic screenshots allow us to see a picture of the exact point at which the application launch failed, then ID and resolve the underlying problem that caused the application or infrastructure to be unavailable quickly, and we can share the images directly with customers, so they can see exactly what issue occurred and where.”
-Joe Byrne, Director of NOC Technologies, MTM Technologies

MTM Technologies, Inc., is a Citrix Service Provider and leading national provider of next-generation IT solutions and services to Global 2000, enterprise organizations, and mid-size companies. MTM is a National Platinum Citrix Partner and VMware Premier Partner. MTM, who maintains all four Citrix specializations, works with Citrix to assist companies with the demands of today’s mobile workforce. Whether on premise or in the cloud, by combining Citrix’s product suite with MTM’s branded professional and managed services enterprise, commercial and government organizations are provided a robust solution to serve their mobile workers their applications and data in a highly secure manner.

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The Customer’s Infrastructure: Citrix XenServer 6.5, Citrix XenApp, XenDesktop & Citrix NetScaler

The Business Challenge: Current Monitoring Vendor has Performance Visibility Gaps with Citrix XenServer, XenApp, XenDesktop, NetScaler, & End User Experience

As a Managed Service Provider (MSP), MTM Technologies designs SLAs that are unique to each customer but essentially focus on delivering a positive end user experience. MTM’s monitoring backbone to deliver these services had been Nimsoft for infrastructure and SolarWinds for the Network.

These are good tools but neither product offers purpose-built functionality for Citrix Monitoring and specifically the ability to proactively determine if there is a problem with Citrix Logon InitiationLogon Duration or Session Performance.

Goal of Being Proactive

There are products that can tell MTM if something failed after the fact, but they needed something to give them advance warning before Citrix end users were impacted. MTM deemed it critical to use proactive Citrix Monitoring technology to ensure that performance-based SLAs were met when offering Remote Infrastructure Monitoring (RIM), Monitoring as a Service (MAAS)  and Desktop as a Service (DaaS).

Unsure of Root Cause of End User Experience Issues

MTM wanted absolute visibility and predictability in their Citrix Performance Monitoring for XenApp and especially around the Citrix End User Experience in situations where they were providing RIM, MaaS or delivering DaaS. Essentially, MTM needed advance notice and alerts when logon initiation failures or slowness occurred.

Then, if there was a failure or degradation of service, MTM needed the correlated data from the end point through the NetScalers and the backend Citrix delivery architecture to determine the root cause so they could deploy remediation actions. This required logon simulation alerting and logon duration analysis as depicted in the below real-time screen shot of the Goliath Application Availability Monitor.

Real-time Application Availability Dashboard

GAAM Application and Desktop Dashboard

Many times the logon initiation process was successful but the logon process was sluggish. In this case, MTM used the logon duration drill down which dissects 33 different, though interrelated, steps in the logon process as depicted below. Armed with this logon duration detail MTM was able to pinpoint the true root cause of logon duration slowness and resolve the issue permanently—before end user performance is impacted.

Real-time Citrix Logon Duration Drill Down

GPM Citrix Logon Duration Drill down

“Citrix is Slow!” Alerts

With MTM supporting many customers and SLAs, some running over 2500 VDI sessions, they needed alerts for the ambiguous “Citrix is slow” complaint.

Citrix CSPs, and especially Citrix Administrators, know that Citrix gets the blame when performance issues arise, which is why comprehensive Citrix monitoring is critical. Often, the true culprit of session performance issues are some element in the supporting infrastructure. MTM’s other base requirement was to have the visibility into the entire Citrix delivery infrastructure by having two unique capabilities; one, a drill down into a specific Citrix user’s session and two, a break down of the HDX latency and session performance in real-time.

Real-time Citrix ICA/HDX Channel Drill Down

Citrix ICA/HDX Channel Drill Down

Real-time Citrix Session Performance Drill Down

Citrix Session Performance Drill Down

Finally, MTM needed to run historical reports and analysis to determine long-term performance trends because if they couldn’t see what happened, it would be impossible to be proactive. The requirement was to have the necessary reports available out-of-the-box. Armed with this data, MTM can customize Goliath’s Citrix Monitoring software to send threshold-based alerts and simultaneous remediation actions before end users are affected.

Citrix XenApp & XenDesktop End User Experience Report

XAXD End User Experience Report

Citrix XenApp & XenDesktop Logon Duration Report

XAXD Logon Duration Report

Citrix XenApp & XenDesktop ICA Latency Report

XAXD ICA Latency Report

Goliath has 66 of these types of performance and end user experience reports for Citrix and VMware, all of which come out-of-the-box with Goliath Performance Monitor.

The Solution: Choose a Proactive End-to-End Solution  

Based on MTM’s criteria to proactively manage end user experience and satisfy their SLAs—ICA LatencyLogon SimulationLogon Duration, and Session Performance—Goliath was the clear solution.

MTM chose Goliath Technologies Citrix Monitoring to solve visibility gaps, end user experience issues and meet SLAs, but there was more than just deep metrics that factored into their decision, which include:

  • Service Level Agreements: Goliath’s suite of proactive IT performance monitoring and management technology allows MTM to meet their SLAs.
  • Multi-tenancy: MSPs like MTM can use Goliath to proactively manage environments by criteria such as customer, location, application, infrastructure, etc.
  • Master “Intelligent” Agent: This is an ultra-low resource utilization (0.1% CPU) agent to monitor remote locations without maintaining an external connection. The “Intelligent” Agent gathers numerous metrics like the ICA/HDX Channel and the Hypervisor, and it can execute remediation actions on XenApp Servers, XenDesktop VDI, Citrix Role Servers, & End Points.
  • MSP Management: Centralized management of the end user experience for MSPs.
  • Share Data with other Tools: Can send data to Nimsoft, SolarWinds, etc.
  • Custom Reporting: Real-time dashboards and historical reports that are branded with MTM’s logo.

As you can see from the above screenshots, MTM is able to use Goliath Performance Monitor and the Goliath Application Availability Monitor for Citrix to gain complete visibility into the end users’ sessions, XenServer and XenDesktop performance data, and end user experience metrics in a single view.

With Goliath, MTM can trend utilization over time and see exactly what is happening with remote users to troubleshoot the root cause of performance issues and proactively deploy remediation actions to ensure a positive end user experience.

Further Reading

Goliath Performance Monitor for Citrix XenServer

Goliath Performance Monitor for Citrix XenApp & XenDesktop

Goliath Application Availability Monitor for Citrix

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  • About the Author

    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.