How to improve Helpdesk performance?

Article:HOWTO7293  |  Created: 2007-05-02  |  Updated: 2007-10-09  |  Article URL http://www.symantec.com/docs/HOWTO7293
Article Type
How To


Question

How can I improve Helpdesk performance?

Answer
Some small Altiris Infrastructures may include Notification Server, Deployment Server, Recovery Server, and the Helpdesk on the same computer. An important consideration to improve performance is to upgrade the hardware in the Notification Server, if applicable. For example, increasing the memory and upgrading to fast hard drives or RAID 5 may be more cost effective and produce better performance results than distributing the work over multiple computers.

Another way to increase performance is through the configuration of the Notification Software and the optimization of SQL. There are several knowledgebase articles that detail ways to increase the performance of the Notification Server, including articles about backing up the SQL databases, defragmenting the SQL indexes, and changing the configuration parameters in the Notification Server's coresettings.config file. Other ways to decrease the load on the Notification Server is to modify the frequency that the managed computers update their configurations and the frequencies that other policies run. (Many of the policies default settings are set for testing purposes.)

As the number of managed computers increases and specific needs arise, such as having the Helpdesk be very responsive, it is often advantageous to distribute these servers onto different computers in the network and to use multiple Notification Servers to share the processing of the managed computers on the network. One way to improve the performance of your Helpdesk Solution is to set up a separate "Reporting Server" (a Notification Server that receives inventory forwarded from Notification Servers that are managing computers) and use the "Reporting Server" to host your Helpdesk. If your organization does extensive reporting from the Reporting Server and it is adversely impacting the performance of the Helpdesk, the reporting functions and helpdesk functions can be hosted on separate computers, but that requires additional customization that is not covered by this article.

Ways to improve Helpdesk Performance

  1. Upgrade the hardware on each of the Notification Servers and SQL Servers.
  2. When you distribute your Notification Infrastructure to multiple servers:
Make sure that each "front-line Notification Server" (Notification server managing computers):
  • Has the same version of the Notification Server and of the solutions as the other front-line Notification Servers. (Note: The front-line Notification Servers don't all have to have all the same solutions installed; however, if they do have same solution installed, the version of the solution must be the same.)
  • Has the "Inventory Forwarding Rule" (in the Altiris Console at the Configuration tab > Server SettingsNotification Server Infrastructure > Inventory Forwarding > Sample Inventory Forwarding Rule) set to a time that won't adversely impact either the Notification Server or the Helpdesk Server; enable the rule and click the Apply button.

Note the staggering of the Inventory forwarding in the example. It is very important to stagger when then inventory Inventory forwarding is performed on each Notification Server so the computer receiving the inventories is not flooded with the inventories at the same time  These start times are examples and can and should be modified based on how long it actually takes to forward the inventory from the Notification Servers in your environment.

Note that the inventory forwarding should be performed at off-peak times.

Make sure that the "Reporting Server" (the Notification Server that the front-line Notification Servers forward their inventories to):

  • Has the same version of the Notification Server and of the solutions as the front-line Notification Servers. 
  • That the "Incident Settings" (in the Altiris Console at the Configuration tab > Server SettingsNotification Server Settings > Incident Settings) has correct information. 
  • That the "Automatic Collection Updating" policy (in the Altiris Console at the Configuration tab > Server SettingsNotification Server Settings > Automatic Collection Updating) is set to run once per day and have it run after the inventory forwarding process is completed on the Reporting/Helpdesk Server.
  • If you use Inventory Solution and Asset Control and Contract Management Solution, on the Reporting Server make sure that the "Inventory to Asset Synchronization" policy is enabled (which is the default) and is scheduled to run after the inventory forwarding information received from the front-line Notification Servers is completed. In the Altiris Console, click the Configuration tab > Solution Settings > Assets and Inventory > Asset Control > Inventory to Asset Synchronization.

Run the Helpdesk from the Reporting/Helpdesk Server. (Note: If you run Helpdesk from the front-line Notification Servers, you will have multiple Helpdesk systems installed. Running Helpdesk from the Reporting/Helpdesk Server will improve Helpdesk performance because the Reporting/Helpdesk Server is not doing regular management of the computers running the Altiris Agent. Note that reports generated from the Reporting Server may be as much as 24 hours old in this scenario. Inventory Forwarding can be run more frequently, but that will impact the performance of each of the front-line Notification Servers, and Reporting/Helpdesk Server.

Example

Reports and Helpdesk run from the same computer. Running intensive reports may adversely impact the Helpdesk performance. This configuration works well for most distributed Altiris customers with distributed Altiris Infrastructures.  

Front Line Notification Servers (Managing computers)  

Server 1---Inventory Forwarding  ---> |
                at 3:00 a.m.          |
                                      |
                                      |
Server 2---(Inventory Forwarding)--->-|---> Reporting/Helpdesk Server
                at 4:30 a.m.          |
                                      |
                                      |
Server 3---(Inventory Forwarding)---> |
                at 6:00 a.m

Inventory Forwarding can be run more frequently, but it will impact the performance of each of the front-line Notification Servers, and Reporting/Helpdesk Server.


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