By Lloyd Witt, Solutions Architect for Managed Services & David Kirk, Chief Technology Officer, MTM Technologies
Managed Services represents an outcome-based agreement between your organization and a Managed Services Provider. You and your MSP agree to mutual outcomes and deliverables for your business and your MSP meets those outcomes and deliverables – maybe even exceeds them. The idea behind employing a Managed Services Provider is that your MSP will assume control and management of agreed upon technologies at your organization that have become fairly standardized, and that do not serve to differentiate you as an organization or brand, enabling you to focus your IT resources on more value-oriented areas. Your organization’s technology requirements for expertise, training, vendor certification and 24/7/365 availability are all assumed by your MSP – allowing your technical resources to focus on strategic value-add initiatives that can truly differentiate you in your market. This is the value and benefit an MSP partner can provide.
Perhaps nowhere is the value of a Managed Services Provider more apparent and appropriate than when it comes to managing and maintaining your Citrix enterprise environment.
Here’s why: Typically, when we think about what Citrix Managed Services entails, we focus on the many details and logistics necessary to make the entire technology stack perform at its highest level for an organization. This includes various components, from the computer system to the operating system to the network, that are all required as parts of the Citrix stack. These different technologies require expert IT engineers and technicians with different skill sets who can configure, manage and maintain them correctly.
Locating and employing that talented staff on your own can be like hiring a new mechanic who knows how to work on your Mercedes. It’s not just a single person with a limited skill set. A Mercedes Service Center will have specialists looking at your engine, others checking your brakes and looking at your transmission, and still others focused on your electronics and computer systems.
Similarly, inside your Citrix Managed Services enterprise environment you’ll need team members who are expert at Citrix Application Delivery Controller (ADC) or NetScaler, Citrix provisioning services (PVS), Machine Creation Services (MCS), hypervisor and the underlying Microsoft Windows Operating systems. You will also need a certified team member who understands imaging and the application delivery portion, and another who is responsible for desktop delivery. Finally, you will need to monitor and maintain your VDI/VDA infrastructure so that it is always operating at peak performance.
Three Things to Expect from Your Citrix Managed Services Partner
Whether you have an existing Citrix deployment, you are upgrading your Citrix environment, or your organization is new to Citrix, a Citrix Managed Services (CMS) partner can provide you with the greatest customer experience. Here are three things to expect from your CMS partner:
- Citrix Infrastructure Monitoring, Response & Remediation – Your CMS partner is responsible for configuring the Citrix environment, monitoring system thresholds and managing all your Citrix infrastructure components, including licenses and servers. They should be watching your network’s day-to-day health and performance, reviewing patterns and trends and then responding to and remediating any issues before they become problems. The CMS partner will stabilize your infrastructure by targeting and resolving identified issues. Essentially, they are ensuring your systems are running at speed and not being disrupted every time you add new capabilities or new users.
- Citrix End-User Experience Management – Your CMS partner is responsible for identifying user groups and workflows, adding users to appropriate groups, onboarding users and providing automated monitoring. After adding new users, they should continue monitoring your Citrix environment and making any required changes to optimize performance. The focus here is on improving the customer experience for end users who may find VDI to be an unfamiliar environment. So, if your systems or network appear to be slow, it is the CMS partner’s responsibility to provide your end users with feedback and messages as proactively as possible so they know that someone is aware of a challenge they may be experiencing. To do this, your CMS will provide proactive monitoring and help desk services to manage, track and address stabilization items.
- Citrix Infrastructure Management – Everything comes to a halt if your underlying Citrix systems stop working. Your CMS partner should ensure that patches and upgrades are applied quickly, expertly, and proactively. They should provide capacity planning, as well as change, release, and configuration management of new Citrix versions. By reducing unexpected downtime through proactive, 24/7/365 Citrix infrastructure management, your CMS partner can ensure higher levels of productivity for your teams.
The right CMS partner can help make your Citrix enterprise environment deployment a success. Make sure you explore your prospective CMS partner’s expertise, experience and certifications so that so that your in-house IT resources can focus on critical, top-priority business tasks with fewer interruptions.
MTM Technologies is a Citrix Virtualization and Networking Partner