It's Not Citrix...Active Directory, Storage, etc., Are to Blame

Citrix CTA Rory Monaghan shares his experience using ExtraHop to understand how the underlying infrastructure affects Citrix performance.

Rory MonaghanRory Monaghan, Another Satisfied ExtraHop Customer

After winning the Best of Show award at Citrix Synergy two years in a row, the secret is out: Citrix administrators love the ExtraHop platform!

Recently, ExtraHop had the opportunity to impress blogger Rory Monaghan who covers the desktop and application virtualization space. Rory holds a number of advocate titles (Microsoft MVP, Citrix Technology Advocate, VMware vExpert and EUC Champion). He wrote up a very complimentary review of ExtraHop on his blog, and so we wanted to ask him a few questions to help other Citrix administrators understand why he thinks the technology is valuable.

Rory Tweet

What are you responsible for as a Citrix admin? What does your day-to-day routine look like?

My day-to-day work as a Citrix admin is currently pretty reactive. Supporting multiple Citrix farms on various different versions with no monitoring solution for most of the farms and only Citrix Director to provide any real-time visibility of the health of our most current farm means I often find out about issues when our end users complain.

Ideally, my daily routine would involve more project work and time spent focused on delivering the applications, but in reality it is spent dealing with operational issues and frequent walk-ups from co-workers from other departments.

How did you get started with administering Citrix?

My first job in the Tech industry was with HP as a Software Management Specialist. I was fortunate to get exposed to various application virtualization products and deployment tools as part of my work and of course when you spend a lot of time in the application space, you inevitably work with Citrix. Deploying virtual applications and supporting XenApp and XenDesktop kind of go hand in hand.

What types of problems has ExtraHop helped to solve for your organization?

From a purely Citrix perspective, ExtraHop provided our team a comprehensive view of various different issues affecting the underlying infrastructure our Citrix farms operate on.

Without ExtraHop, we simply wouldn't have been able to identify these issues ourselves. We do not have the access, tools or know-how to get into things like our network, Active Directory, storage etc. at a low and granular enough level to detect the issues.

From an overall perspective, not just Citrix, we instantly detected various issues which by themselves likely would not have affected those using our virtual desktops and applications but would have been adding significant overheard on our network, file servers etc. For example, we could detect hundreds of erroneous calls to file on some fileshares. We could detect scheduled tasks which were failing due to the service account they were running with no longer being enabled. All of these issues add up and affect performance across the board.

During the WannaCry attacks, ExtraHop proved invaluable. We could see any clients or servers in the organization using SMBv1 to know what the impact would be of disabling it across the enterprise. We could also use the Ransomware dashboard to instantly detect if we happened to be attacked. ExtraHop provided us with the data to make informed decisions and a form of instant detection.

What do you wish other Citrix admins knew about ExtraHop?

You don't need to spend the majority of your time troubleshooting Citrix is slow or Citrix is down issues that turn out to be related to network, storage or any other piece of underlying infrastructure. By using ExtraHop, you get a view of the entire infrastructure and the application path is mapped out, not just what's happening between your Citrix servers but what's happening on the application servers, database servers, storage, network and so forth. By identifying where the problem lies you can ensure the right team is informed quickly and have the information required to investigate further and ultimately remediate.

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