I have had some time to really check out this software and put it through its paces and bring my findings. Goliath Performance Monitoring software. I have been really surprised with what I was able to accomplish with it. But the proof is in the pudding, so pudding I shall prepare!
First with it. Pretty simple installation. You just need a server to run the software and a database / database server (SQL) to host the information. Some exclusions for AV / security software are rather important as well. Setting up the inventory and such was a breeze as the personnel at Goliath were willing to assist setting it all up. I explained the environment I wanted to test with and the resources I wanted to monitor and they walked through the paces with me. Then I had a working monitoring solution.
The question you have when you have a monitor solution, is how to make it monitor what you want without TONS of alert fatigue. It is easy to get overwhelmed by alerts that may mean nothing and take valuable time away. The default monitor rules it came with already configured were mostly sufficient and I didn’t notice a bunch of unwanted alerts. There were even some alerts I wasn’t expecting to see. One was an instance where Citrix Cloud went offline for a short time. I got an alert saying DaaS down and LHC engaged. I went and checked status.cloud.com to see what was going on. I didn’t see anything for a few minutes and then all of sudden, it displayed there was an issue going on. I was alerted quite a bit before even the status console showed it. That was rather handy to know.
Setting up a custom alert outside of the defaults was easy enough as well. I configured one to monitor FAS in case of issue where it didn’t like to issue certs. Simple setup and added the remediation (which you can configure a myriad of options such as run this script or reboot this server). This allows you to not only alert on the issue, but to do something about it if there is a known fix. This has been a real help with that.
But wait, there’s more! So I’ve just been talking about how to use the basic monitoring alerts. Well, there are also several views that are available for user sessions. One thing I found myself using on the regular, is the “Published Apps and Desktop,” and the “Virtual Desktops” tab. Here is a bunch of user information that can help solve some issues. There is a column you can add of “Connection speed” that quickly has helped identify end user issues at home ISPs. You can also see machine health status and session information over time which is useful to be able to track patterns of issues.
The views contain a lot of useful information on the high level such as ICA RTT and ICA latency. That quick glance can show if there is an issue with user connections or other issues with getting responses back. You can also see the version of the client they are using as well as the method such as client or HTML5 client. You can also modify the view to show a specific user or machine. You can also select a custom time period to see trending information. You can select a session and drill into it for more information. Starting off with the Published Applications and Desktops tab, right off the bat you see a lot of data. You get machine performance and session metrics. The top 5 processes is very useful to see any runaway program or possible scanning issue with things such as A/V.
There are also tabs to select different areas of the session. The Logon tab drills into the GPO processing, which shows which policies were applied and how long it took to process them.
The ICA/HDX tab breaks down things such as ICA performance and connectivity metrics from the client machine. You very quickly can see the available and used bandwidth. This could assist in seeing if their connection is saturated.
The App Server tab shows the metrics on the app hosting server, revealing any bottlenecks in IO, processor, or RAM saturation. An additional tab is there for the Hypervisor Host. This lays out the same metrics but for the underlying host hardware. Getting this tiered information helps you see the whole stack interacting and points out issues with it very efficiently.
You also get the same kind of views related to Virtual Desktops. You see each machine in use and can select the session there as well.
Another aspect of the monitoring is the EUC Scorecard that they helped setup as a daily and a weekly report. This contains a lot of information of the top session issues, connectivity issues, and user experience. Reviewing this on the daily can show if you have some locations that may need upgrades in connectivity or if there is something else going on. This helps you be more proactive in solving an issue. Another good use for trending is reviewing the weekly report and comparing to last week’s report. For example, if you see the same users across weeks, this could point to an issue with a site or possibly a need to upgrade bandwidth at a site. Users don’t always call when something is going on. This lets you get in front of it and users appreciate when they are put first and you contact them and let them know you see there is an issue and that you are going to try and solve it for them BEFORE they call you.
Then comes along new features across upgrades. One that was rather nice, was the addition of Chrome OS device monitoring. You can integrate with a Google tenant and monitor Chrome devices. This is fairly easy to configure and they will walk with you to get it done quickly. You see immediately once you add that, all the RAM / CPU use and network health of the device. Being able to see that could very much help with knowing are you overloading the devices and may need larger resource devices. You could also see if there are connectivity issues with them if they are dropping connection and such.
Then a really neat feature came to the software, Ask Kip! AI integration with the monitoring software. I thought how this would assist in my testing. Well, often you get into a set and forget mindset unless there is something off that requires you to add new monitor rules or changing something with alerts. Very rarely did I need to add any new ones, but I did get an alert that was on repeat as it should have been. I went to the console and entered my question on alert suppression into Ask Kip! and it laid out the steps as to what I needed to do in order to suppress the alert. Was straightforward and it had each step of the rule and setting the alert parameters.
I decided I would see what all it could assist with in relation to the software. I asked it how would I remedy a slow user connection (I know the steps, I just wanted to see what it told me). It walked through the same steps that I would have done to solve it. I asked how to add hardware inventory to manage as well as hide inventory I didn’t want to see. Step by step instructions right there to do it.
Another good feature that is available as part of the suite, is the Application Availability. This is particularly useful if you have multiple sites and want to check availability on a regular basis. You can set it up on a machine at each of your sites and have it launch whatever apps are necessary or mission critical to monitor to assure that uptime. It launches the applications you designate on the schedule you define and reports if there are any issues as well as successful launches. This would be invaluable data if you are wanting to assure that all of your remote sites are able to access and to spot down times as soon as they occur to be able to mitigate as fast as possible. It breaks down the instances to Access, Authentication, Resources, Enumeration, and Launch. By having that quick breakdown, you see where the issue is quickly. You will be able at a glance to see where the communication break down occurs and know where to start looking for resolution. That will save valuable time not wasted on checking things that are working correctly and allow you to focus on the specific area that is broken.
Citrix topology is a really neat feature as well. It takes information from the configuration and lays out a visual mapping to quickly understand dependencies and see them on a diagram. You can do this with multiple sites as well. Alerts are shown on the mapping as well as color coding to show quickly if there are issues.
Another feature that has been added, is Cloud Monitoring. This is a handy feature if you are setup in AWS or Azure and want to be able to view your environments there. For hybrid on-prem / cloud based solutions, this is a wonderful addition. Many customers today are moving into hybrid models and Goliath is keeping up with that trend. This being in the same Goliath console, allows for close to a single pane of glass view into your EUC environments.
Was everything perfect, no. No software exists that doesn’t need some tweaking or code fixes or a setting change to get it back on track. I ran into a couple of issues with the software. I contacted their support and got immediate responses. They issued more than one code fix to address issues that were encountered. They were personable and friendly and assistive even with email questions I would have about the software. They are regularly adding features and working to make it an even better solution.
This is a solution that provides Citrix admins a great tool set to make the job easier and get faster times to resolution! This would be a product I would recommend!