You assessed your use cases, identified your requirements, designed a solution, and finished your build. Congratulations! You are closer than ever to rolling out a new system that will help your company work better and live better. But you may be wondering, “What is the best way to support our new Citrix environment?”

The Citrix Worldwide Consulting team has recently released a new chapter of the Virtual Desktop Handbook focused on creating an effective Citrix support system, building a foundation for long term success.

This chapter provides a XenApp and XenDesktop support structure that includes recommended staffing levels, training, certifications, and tools. The goal of this chapter is to serve as a baseline reference when planning support operations for a XenDesktop environment and scoping roles and responsibilities among your team.

In a smaller environments, multiple levels can be combined, for example there may be insufficient design projects to have a dedicated level 4 role.

Level 1 – The first line of communication

If a user encounters an issue, Level-1 support is the entry point to the support system. Level-1 should resolve 75% of all issues encountered, of which a majority will be routine problems that only require a limited knowledge of the Citrix environment. Level 1 should be able to resolve simple issues such as resetting a user session.

If escalation is needed, information on the end user’s problem and attempted troubleshooting steps should be documented at the first level allowing Level-2 technicians to immediately begin addressing the problem. A sample Citrix helpdesk call script is provided on page 169 of the new Monitor chapter. This can provide your organization with a good starting point.

Level 2 – The day-to-day operatives

This team primarily supports the operations of the Citrix environment, including proactive monitoring and management. This team should have clear and defined daily, weekly, and monthly tasks to ensure the environment is maintained efficiently.

Level-2 technicians should handle only 20% of the support tickets and are highly knowledgeable on the Citrix environment. Level-2 administrators can utilize Citrix Insight Services to simplify the support and troubleshooting of the Citrix environment. Citrix Insight Services uses online analysis to collect environment information, analyze that information and provide administrators with recommendations based on their Citrix environment and configuration.

Additional information regarding Citrix Insight Services can be referenced in the Citrix Support article CTX131233 – FAQ: Citrix Insight Services. A full list of the available tools provided by Citrix Support to assist with troubleshooting can be referenced in Citrix Support article CTX126294 – Complete List of Citrix Support Troubleshooting Tools

Level 3 – The team leaders

Complex issues that exceed Level-2’s abilities should be escalated to Level-3. Both Level-2 and Level-3 support may often both be members of the Citrix support team, with Level-3 comprising the senior staff maintaining the Citrix environment.

Level-3 issues are complicated and often mission critical requiring expert knowledge of the virtual desktop and application environment. Therefore these team members act as the central point for implementing, administering and maintaining the Citrix desktop and application infrastructure.

Level 4 – The long term visionaries

The Level-4 team has minimal exposure to administrative tasks and is generally comprised of architects. This team focuses on scoping, planning and executing Citrix-specific service and project requests.

This team is focused on the strategic improvements for the solution, testing new technologies, planning migrations, and other high level changes. Generally, Level-4 is not involved in active support of a production environment.

Bringing it all together

Constructing multiple support levels, staffing these levels with the appropriate skill set, equipping them with right tools, and enabling them with training are some of the first steps to life after deployment.

These topics are discussed in depth within the new Monitor chapter of the handbook.  Check it out and let us know what you think.

Kevin Nardone – Senior Consultant
Worldwide Consulting
Desktop & Apps Team
Virtual Desktop Handbook
Project Accelerator