At Citrix TechEdge not only will you meet some of support’s top escalation engineers, you’ll also meet Dave Hawkins one of our top Technical Relationship Managers (TRM). As a TRM, Dave works closely with key accounts for design, implementation, and problem solution for the NetScaler Products. The TRM is a single point of contact for the customer and becomes familiar with a customer’s network, their requirements, and internal procedures, leading to a highly focused and effective support experience. With over 15 years in the load-balancing industry, Dave has provided support for some of the industry’s largest players.

Dave Hawkins
Technical Relationship Manager, NetScaler Product Group

Dave provided us a look into the session he’ll be co-presenting with Don Williams, Sr. Manager Network and Cloud Product Group, TRM Support Services, at Citirx TechEdge during Citrix Summit and Citrix Synergy 2010: Optimizing NetScaler for enterprise Web applications

Q. How has Optimizing NetScaler for enterprise Web applications improved and/or how are you able to troubleshoot an issue more quickly from a support perspective this year?
Dave: The addition of App-Expert Templates has made rolling out a standardized application, like SharePoint, not only easier for the customer but for us from a support perspective. Since we have a template set of caching settings, and responder policies, we can save the time it usually takes to examine these things in detail, and often we can focus in on the misbehaving component very quickly.

Q. What Optimizing NetScaler for enterprise Web applications tips will attendees learn at your session this year? 
Dave: I want to make sure they all get a good foundation on the approaches to optimization in general – from the way we interact with the backend servers, to the way to can even free the servers of some of their work.  Since the real data lives on the servers, making them able to deliver that data as fast as possible under different load conditions ultimately provides the best experience for the people who really count – the users. I’ve also included some really good troubleshooting notes with real-world examples, so the technically-minded can investigate problems they run into – as well as some of the tools I use every day to solve issues.

Q. What’s the most interesting case you’ve worked on this past year? Why? 
Dave: I recently worked on an issue where a customer had migrated from another load balancer to a NetScaler for a very high-traffic site.  About six hours after the cutover had completed, I received a call saying everything had gone down.  It turns out that the previous traffic-management system would simply stop accepting connections when it became too loaded, and so the number of connections passing through the front-end firewall was limited.  The failed connection caused the clients to perform their update checks a few hours later.  Since the NetScaler had no such arbitrary limitation, we were accepting the connections as fast as the clients would send them.  This eventually crushed the firewall, which couldn’t handle the strain of millions of clients suddenly finding that they were able to update without having to retry later.

The solution?  We placed another NetScaler in front of the firewall and used the maximum-connections setting to limit the concurrent number of users that could pass through the firewall.  In the end, we were able to provide more overall concurrent client sessions than before, better utilization of the servers (which had been 50% idle), and the clients are getting their updates more often.

Q.When you’re not working how do you spend your free time?  
Dave: When I’m not eating/sleeping/dreaming NetScaler, I enjoy woodworking, photography, and target-shooting.

Get even more in-depth training – Hands on Learning Labs at Synergy
This year at Synergy (Wednesday, May 12 – Friday, May 14), the Hands on Learning Labs are free to all Summit and Synergy attendees!  This event has been expanded and enhanced. Now there are even more labs to choose from for technical training in XenDesktop, XenServer, XenApp and NetScaler. Citrix has increased capacity from 600 seats to 3,000 to give Synergy attendees the in-depth, IT training they need. Visit the Hands on Learning Labs page to learn more. 

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