Nov 01, 2021 Panu Saukko

Tachyon as a Problem Hunting Methodology | A Microsoft MVP Review

In this latest collection of blogs, Microsoft MVP, Panu Saukko, will be reviewing our Modern Endpoint webinar series. This third blog considers Tachyon as a Problem Hunting Methodology.
Episode-3

The third topic of 1E’s Modern Endpoint Management webinar series is about problem hunting. In the webinar Cameron Fuller from Catapult Systems discuss with Amy how you can find what’s going on in your environment before small issues become major problems.

Cameron Fuller has very strong background with monitoring IT environments’ health. He has been Microsoft MVP for the last 15 and worked with a lot of different monitoring products e.g. System Center Operations Manager. He has authored a blog article: Implementing a problem hunting methodology using the 1E Tachyon Platform, which contains a lot of information how Tachyon can help you to increase workstation’s well-being.

Traditionally, monitoring has been mostly focused on servers and organization’s internal network. Monitoring is too often reactive, where you basically wait for users to notify that they cannot access some resource. This causes naturally frustration within your users. Within proactive monitoring, the goal is to detect small issues before they become major problems. Proactive monitoring requires that you have good understanding of your IT infrastructure’s normal state to be able to notice abnormal situations. The normal state consists of responsiveness, stability, and performance of the IT infra.

After Covid-19, more emphasis was put on end-user experience. You need to make sure that users from home can access effectively necessary work-related resources. This makes the monitoring more challenging for organizations because users are utilizing network infra that is not controlled at all by the IT department.

Monitoring and problem hunting are different things. Like Amy very well said: monitoring is a passive term where you check whether the systems are behaving nicely. Problem hunting implies an active effort to pinpoint potential issues before they happen. Organizations should regularly find misconfigurations or performance/availability issues that degrade service levels.

With problem hunting you want to improve the user experience in a measurable way. It is important to be able to prioritize the issues that need to be addressed. The prioritization is difficult to do, if you don’t have a complete understanding of your current situation. Also, you need to have a way to measure the impact.

User experience is about productivity and the better user experience increases employee’s commitment to the employer. You need to have a way to regularly measure users’ sentiment about IT using surveys. With regular surveys you can see how changes to IT infra affects users’ perception. Unfortunately, few organizations collect users’ sentiment, because they don’t have a suitable tool to easily to achieve it.

1E Tachyon has multiple features that will help you in problem hunting process. In the blog article there are three example cases. The first example is about application issues. With Tachyon’s Experience application, you can easily see the stability of your Windows devices and applications. The built-in dashboard shows e.g. Windows operating system crashes and application hangs/crashes. Based on those issues, you will get a numeric stability score with the information how the stability has changed during time.

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After you know the overall situation, you can easily dig further to find more detailed information e.g. from a specific application. If some application causes many crashes, you can compare if different versions of the application are behaving better. If a later version is more stable, you deploy the newer application version to the devices using your existing management software.

Tachyon Experience module has multiple pre-built surveys you can choose from. You can e.g. ask how users feel about working from home. The surveys are easy to fill and the administrators can see the cumulative answers

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With this kind of information, the organizations understand better what kind of issues users face working at home and then organization can decide how they can possibly remediate issues.

You can easily create your own surveys to collect information that interest your organization. I’ve seen that organizations have created custom web-based surveys for collecting users’ sentiment. Tachyon Experience has an additional benefit because it is tied to the management tool. Thus, it is much easier to compare users’ sentiment against workstations performance data and application/hardware issues.

People also behave very differently when facing some issues. Some might report an issue very quickly while others keep on using suboptimal system without any support tickets way too long. With measured data you can remediate issues even if the user hasn’t reported it.

With Tachyon you also get extensive performance information from your workstations. With the performance data, you can make more data-oriented decisions which users will benefit most from the faster hardware or when some hardware should be replaced. Or if you want to run specific applications remotely using Citrix/RDP servers or as a cloud app.

Based on Tachyon knowledge of the workstations’ applications and processes, you have possibility of remediating some performance issues. You could easily delete temporary files, if the free disk space is getting low or remove unnecessary applications that might slow down the computer using Tachyon’s instructions.

Network slowness is a common complaint from the users. With Tachyon you can collect data how quickly workstations connect to different internet sites or to your own web portals. When you have actual performance numbers available from different devices, you can compare with users’ sentiment about network performance.

You need to start collecting the end-user experience data in a measurable way as soon as possible. The longer history data you have, the more meaningful data you get.

Problem hunting is an evolving process which is never finish. But without insights you cannot do data-based decisions. Many organizations have some kind of monitoring for their servers, but monitoring should be extended to endpoints. It doesn’t do much good, if servers are behaving at data centers if the users cannot access them because e.g. network issues.

1E Tachyon product family contains a lot of products that will help to get a much better understanding of the well-being of your workstation infra.


Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the next blog in this series in the upcoming weeks, and feel free to take a look at the original webinar too! In the meantime, you can learn more about 1E Tachyon Guaranteed State here.