Monday, December 8, 2014

How Xian Wings Saved Christmas

You know that saying “when something can go wrong, it will”. Last year around Christmas I experienced it in flesh and blood.  I was having a nice quiet dinner with the family and a few of my relatives who had flown in from Denver, Colorado. We were just about to start our meal when I got a call on my cell phone from one of the network guys from the company I work for. When I picked up the phone I could tell that this guy was distraught, to say the least. In a trembling voice he told me that one of the windows services had gone down and that he was new and didn’t know what to do. I tried explaining the procedure to restart the service through the phone to no avail, since he later realized that he didn’t even have the necessary credentials to perform any actions on the server. It was clear that I was going to have to leave my family and friends and get in my car to start a two hour drive to my office. Of course, you can imagine my wife’s reaction when I broke the news to her. She was furious; she even threatened me with divorce claiming that I was too focused on my job. I was about to retaliate with some harmful words but then I started thinking that she was right, there should be no reason at all that could justify me leaving my family in the middle of our Christmas dinner. So with a heavy heart I left the house and stormed back to the office where it took me just a few minutes to solve the issue, but it was too late to make it up to my family. 
Well, believe it or not, when Thanksgiving rolled around this year I got the same call. This time, an alert had been triggered in SCOM and nobody from the network team was in the office. As soon I got the call my wife started pacing back and forth with a look in her face that could turn the toughest man into stone. So as soon as I got off the phone I turned to her and before she could start spewing fire out of her nostrils, I told her that this time I had Xian Wings to back me up. If you’re not familiar with Xian Wings, let me give you a small introduction. Wings is a mobile solution developed by Jalasoft that allows you to have your Operations Manager Console directly on your mobile device or tablet. You can perform various actions and tasks directly from your device, like: 
  • Close, assign or modify any OpsMgr alert remotely.
  • Use PowerShell directly from your iPad or Android Tablet to immediately run any commands or scripts against your OpsMgr server or any computer.
  • Restart any windows service directly from your mobile device, iPad or Android tablet.
  • Be immediately notified about any new OpsMgr alerts on your smartphone or tablet.
  • Generate and share through email any OpsMgr performance graph or alert on iPad or Android tablet.
  • Easily create a monitoring dashboard in iPad and Android Tablet.
So to make a long story short, I had no need to go back to the office, I simply closed the open alert from my Android Tablet after verifying that it wasn’t anything critical. Then I restarted a few of the windows services and sent a performance graph to my colleagues email to see how this event had affected our network.  Just in case, I restarted the device causing all the problems by simply using the Powershell feature in Wings. All this took me just a few minutes, no need to make a long drive or a bunch of phone calls and emails and no need to get into it with the wife again. My better half was so happy thinking that work had finally taken a backseat to family, that I even got a personal gift from her later on that night. 
It’s incredible how a simple application which you can get at a very low price can have such a huge effect on your life and can help make things much easier for everyone. 

Forget Santa Claus, this year, Xian Wings might save your Christmas!!  

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