Tales from the Mortgage Monster: Citrix

  • SockDev

    I have no love for Citrix. This is born out of another exciting instalment of fun and games that I had to deal with.

    WTF Mortgages was bought out at one point, and the lovely folks who bought them out also bought out others in the market. All differently placed, different brands but with a common company at the backend. Shared IT, HR, you get the picture.

    Curiously enough, it even went well to start with - all the time they didn't integrate too far. Then they decided they wanted to migrate to the common desktop and all its group policies of the grand poobah company. In theory, that was fine. In some respects, an advantage; they knew which programs were needed by a given person/what was attached to their account and in theory they could replace your desktop in a couple of hours if yours died. (In practice: nearer to 4 hours, but we won't go there.)

    The problem with this shared environment is when you have apps that don't play nicely, of course. In this case, we had two different generations of a particular product, both from the same supplier. One built against one version of Oracle and one built against another. Oracle 7 vs 8 comes to mind. Maybe it was 8 vs 9. I neither remember nor care. Whatever, it's two versions of Oracle that the client libraries refuse to play nicely if both were present.

    So a quote was duly obtained for how much money would be required to fix this - and the figure from the supplier was so high, they didn't even bother to figure out the cost in terms of people and time to go through and have user acceptance testing and certification (since this being a financial system would have to be signed off by the business and possibly an actuary as well)

    Now, bear in mind we're talking about two apps that are effectively business critical for at least 200 users each, and one brand got theirs approved as the 'definitive' version, which left the one I looked after. Still business critical. Still in need of a solution.

    The IT bods put their heads together and decided the solution was to acquire a fleet of servers - at least 6, possibly a dozen, I'm not entirely sure what the final tally was - specifically to run these apps on and serve them to users via Citrix remoting.

    And this was cheaper than getting the vendor to fix it. Bearing in mind we're talking about an app that every user using it will run at least two instances of, if not three, on each desktop. Across 200 or so users, including those not even based in the office but on-site.

    The network lag was painful and it ruined most of the headed paper setup that was very stable up to that point.

    When they started upgrading the network for users too, I did hear comment that it might have been cheaper to just get it fixed in the first place... oh well.

  • Citrix's very existence is the TRWTF. I've never seen it be worthwhile, and dealing with its bullshit nets negative productivity. It's a relic of the mainframe era being applied to a computing paradigm it isn't relevant to.

    Fuck I hate Citrix. I didn't even read the post yet, I just want to bitch about Citrix.

    Filed Under: Citrix is a barrier to me reading posts about it

  • I don't get why they didn't just ask the vendor to compile one of the versions against the oracle client libraries statically. That'd be just changing one of the linker flags for the vendor which shouldn't be that difficult or expensive.

  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    That would be an easy option, which is why the vendor would have charged $$$lots £££lots for it.

  • SockDev

    The vendor wanted an obscene amount of money, not to mention everything would have had to be recertified as approved by everybody.

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