Monitoring – Citrix management pack for SCOM?

Yesterday a survey passed my attention regarding monitoring, Citrix requested input from partners and others regarding monitoring. I’m not that keen on filling in survey’s for I have that feeling that the questions asked are not for me as a partner to answer. Question like “in what time frame will you implement a solution” are customer question and not one you ask a partner.
Anyway, I think monitoring in general is the most under valued topic in IT so I decided to fill this one in. This time not about how to write on-premises but about a solution to be developed.

Extend Edgesight functionality

“What if Citrix were to provide an efficient way to monitor and troubleshoot your entire Citrix environment, surrounding infrastructure, and end user experience, using your existing Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM)?”
We had a lengthy discussion about the surrounding infrastructure and monitoring that Citrix would offer on twitter with Lisa, good way to get your thoughts together.
Let me first say that I would be delighted if Citrix would extend the Edgesight functionality in their product so that it really monitors all of the Citrix components. It would be so helpful for many of our customers.
The little green dots we get now are nice but customers would like a bit more dashboard style, nice graphics, lines and dots that move. Dashboards that show bandwidth per user in near-time or latency between sites in near-time. Sure some of this is there already in some form or some expensive license but look at Solarwinds or eG Innovations and see the dashboards there, that’s what gives customers a warm feeling.

Surroundings, how far will you go?

Let’s get back to the statement, so Citrix can’t and shouldn’t build anything that would monitor the surroundings. As I said to Lisa last night where would you stop, you chain is not my chain. So once you released your monitoring solution with surroundings you think are useful to monitor I have a customer that has just one more and that one is critical to him or her.
I think the surroundings or dependencies as I call them are as valuable in your chain as the Citrix components itself. The reason in my opinion many monitoring solutions fail is that they can’t monitor the surroundings well enough. Citrix is no end-to-end monitoring solution like eG Innovations is offering and should not enter that game. Citrix should enable monitoring their own products for customer with less budget and enable other solutions to monitor Citrix components in an end-to-end solution. There are good solutions out there no need to invent the wheel again.
Like Louis van Gaal would say: “Shoemaker stick to you leest”, or in better English “Let the cobbler stick to his last” meaning do what you do best, monitor your own and let the rest be handled by others.

Microsoft SCOM

The second part of that statement came as a shock to me, are they really forcing people to use SCOM to setup monitoring a Citrix environment? Second thought is, what would Comtrade think of this.
Microsoft SCOM is a old fashion beast of a monitoring solution that offers basic monitoring out of the box and for a dime because it comes with licenses they forced on us anyway. If you just need to monitor some Microsoft servers or functionality SCOM is fine and will do, whenever you need more SCOM will be your cash cow and a big one also.
To build a decent dashboard or live map you will need to invest in a management pack from Savision for instance. This will cost you a lot and just for a functionality that should be in a monitoring product already. All other non-Microsoft related monitoring will need more management packs and more investment. Everyone out there has a chain they want to monitor that includes non-Microsoft components and everyone needs a decent dashboard. I think SCOM will work for some but not for all.
Microsoft SCOM will work for companies that invested in SCOM management packs already but then again they might have Comtrade running to monitor Citrix. 
There is one more compelling reason why SCOM is not the way forward, it’s hideous and overly complex. I’ve checked out many products for monitoring as you all might remember and all of them except SCOM where installed and configured in minutes/hours. With SCOM after hours you are still wondering where you’re looking at and how to work with it.
We see SCOM a lot with local governments but that’s only because they get it for almost free, SCOM that is, not the management packs. It’s just like Hyper-V versus the rest, it’s free as long as you don’t want a complete solution. for me SCOM is use-able for some companies but not for all, it’s too complext and too costly when growing to a complete solution. Smaller companies need a solution as well.

My take on Citrix monitoring

 Citrix had a cool but freaky monitoring solution called Edgesight, we all hated and loved it. With the new releases Edgesight has evolved and despite my first thoughts it’s pretty neat but still lacking a number of features.

It seems, referring to the survey, that Citrix is keen on getting monitoring on the road and I praise that thought, monitoring is to often forgotten. In the old days with Edgesight we had that dashboard with all the dots on it showing a service you monitored to be up or down (green, yellow, red) I’m not in favor to get that one back but a dashboard that show relevant information now available in different consoles or sections would really kick ass. Information that should be available would be;

  • License percentage used, 
  • Database performance and latency, 
  • Number of logons per minute, 
  • Storefront performance (anything that will show if performance is degrading)
  • Delivery controller performance (anything that will show if performance is degrading)
  • Latency between sites
These are just some thoughts but a dashboard showing this would be so cool… I’dd blog about it 🙂
….and of course if you make a management pack for SCOM once again that would be cool too for customers using SCOM but don’t just do that and force customers to have to use SCOM.

Hope I’m not too hard on my judgement about SCOM, sorry you SCOM fans out there, but this is my thought of it. Glad to have a discussion about it some day as I had yesterday with my co-workers Frans Oudendorp and Henk Hoogendoorn about this very topic. We as PQR sell SCOM to customers as well as eG Innovations. We just look at what is best for the customer and start from there.
Greetings.. – First blog in a while, feels good to write again 🙂 (moving takes time I noted)

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