GSX Blog

How GSX measures the end-user experience in Office 365 hybrid deployment

Posted by Jean-Francois Piot on Thu, Oct 19, 2017

image-1.pngOffice 365 provides the best collaborative SaaS solution on the market. Keep in mind that a Microsoft SLA is only valid within a Microsoft datacenter. Once outside it, and without the GSX Robot User User, you have no data and hence no visibility into the quality of the service delivered to the end-user.

Why is it important to collect end-user experience metrics?

  •          Prevent user complain and tickets 
  •          Prepare for migration
  •          Understand the result of any change in the environment
  •          Put facts to emotions and understand the reality of end-user complaints
  •          Analyze the best network choice to improve end-user experience

At GSX we take this problem seriously and we provide the perfect tool to collect relevant metrics. This helps you decide what you have to do to prevent, detect and fix Office 365 performance issues.

What is a GSX Robot User?

The GSX Robot User is a Windows service, sitting on a Virtual Machine (Windows 2012r2+) or on a workstation (Windows 7+) that is dedicated to it.

Why dedicated? Because the GSX Robot User constantly performs actions in Office 365 or Microsoft on-premises environment.

You need constant end-user experience statistics to understand the baseline (what is your “normal” performance) and to compare it instantly with any issue detected. This allows you to understand the reality of complaints, compare before and after a change and understand the root cause of any issue with your Office 365 services.

The GSX Robot User is working to produce and provide these statistics around the clock.

In order to provide the real view that you need of the service you deliver to the end-user, the GSX Robot User resides as close as possible to the actual users, at every location you want to monitor for the level of service delivered to the end-user.

What is the GSX Robot User doing?

The GSX Robot User connects to Office 365 through port 443 and TCP and perform multiples actions against it.

 1)  Performing real end-user actions on Office 365

  • For Microsoft Exchange Online, the GSX Robot User will: open mailbox, create email, create tasks, create folders, create meetings, resolve user, download attachment, perform free/busy lookups, search an item in a mailbox and send real email to check the mail routing internal & external.
  • For Microsoft SharePoint Online and OneDrive, the GSX Robot User will: login to SharePoint, upload an attachment and download an attachment.
  • For Microsoft Skype for Business Online the GSX Robot User will: log in to Skype for Business, test the presence status, send a real Instant Message and calculate the Jitter & MOS to analyze the ability of the network to provide quality audio call.

For every end-user tests done, the GSX Robot User collects the availability of the Office 365 feature and, of course, the time it takes to perform it.

 2)  Performing network health & performance checks

For all of these environments, the GSX Robot User performs network checks to understand the health of your network. Things like traceroute with hop number & latency, port connectivity, round trip time, DNS resolution availability as well as packet loss analysis are all tracked at the same time.

These network statistics allow you to correlate end-user experience problems with potential network issues.

The GSX Robot User collects the availability and performance of every network test.

 3)  Performing real end-user actions on Microsoft hybrid deployment

GSX Robot Users are also able to measure the end-user experience on Microsoft on-premises environments to provide full visibility on any hybrid deployment.

  • For Exchange on-premises, the end-user tests are the same for Exchange Online described above. On top of that GSX is also able to monitor the health of the Exchange Server & DAG (availability of the Exchange services & protocol, DAG health check, critical performance counters, mailbox databases availability & performance) and its connectivity to the Exchange Online environment (mail routing hybrid, scenarios hybrid).
  • For SharePoint on-premises, GSX is also able to perform scenarios such as copy a document, upload a document, create site, create blog, resolve user or search an item in a list as well as checking the health of the webservices, application role, IIS application pools and the attached SQL databases.
  • For Skype for Business on-premises, the GSX Robot User is able to perform end-user scenarios such as presence, chat through IM, voice over IP, peer to peer call while GSX is also checking all the critical     performance counters of any role of skype architecture.

 4) Performing hybrid identities health checks

Finally GSX allows a check of hybrid identities that are key in the Office 365 monitoring. Issues with Azure AD Connect or ADFS really impact the end-user experience.

  • For Azure AD Connect, GSX checks the synchronization of the identities, the specific SQL database health & performance and of course retrieve system performance information.
  • For ADFS, GSX performs true authentication, collect ADFS usage metrics (number of token of different forms), and check the overall health of the server.

As you can see our GSX Robot Users are really a key element integrated in GSX Solutions to capture the Office 365 end-user experience as well as any element of any hybrid deployment (Microsoft server) that can impact end-user performance.

How are they managed?

The GSX Robot Users are centrally managed through our monitoring console that allows their remote deployment & configuration and also their alert coordination.

Every threshold can be customized to the need of the locations that are monitored.

Alerts can be sent to multiple profile through multiple alert system and accept retry, escalation profile and connection to major global monitoring (OMS, SCOM, BMC, HP, etc.) or ticketing system.

The statistics collected through the tests & checks performed by the GSX Robot Users are used in two different places:

  • The GSX web interface is very useful to troubleshoot any issue in real time. GSX Gizmo.jpg
  • And the reporting database (Microsoft SQL) from which are built PowerBI dashboards that can be targeted to your needs. point2.jpg

As you can see, at GSX Solutions, we build tools to monitor the Office 365 end-user experience that take into account everything that can impact this user performance.

And we build them to provide you with all the information you need to understand the real level of the service that you deliver to your users and the health of every element that can impact it.

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Tags: GSX Robot User, Hybrid Monitoring, Hybrid, Hybrid cloud monitoring, Office 365 monitoring, cloud migration, End user Experience, office 365 performance, DEM