Samsung SPP-2040

Terje worked for an IT firm that serviced the purchasing department of a global corporation. To manage purchases, the department used an enterprise shipping and warehousing system that shall be called BLA to protect the guilty. The system ran on a Citrix farm in Norway with all the most impressive resources at its command.

Just after a major upgrade of BLA, sporadic performance issues began cropping up in the Brazil and Perth offices. When users tried to generate new reports, BLA would hang for several minutes. In Norway, Terje and his colleagues couldn't reproduce the problem. They went through every reasonable troubleshooting step, but failed to isolate the root cause of the issue. The vendor of BLA, also based in Norway, couldn't duplicate the issue, either. Months passed with no resolution in sight.

Lest one should think that everything was sunshine and roses in Norway, the users there ran into their share of quirky issues as well. A common one was the "Printer not found" error message when a user tried to generate a report. Usually, this happened whenever a user removed or inserted their laptop into a docking station while logged into BLA. Simply rebooting Windows while the laptop was docked fixed the issue. The vendor explained that BLA had to have a default printer set within the local Windows environment so it could find out how big a piece of A4 paper was. This would ensure that BLA would always use the correct paper size for reports. This behavior seemed odd to Terje, but he kept it in mind.

One day, when he was fielding yet another performance issue from Brazil, the above tidbit occurred to Terje and bestowed a spark of inspiration.

"Try this for me," he told the user on the phone, sitting up straighter in his chair. "Log out of Citrix, then set your default printer to a PDF creator."

"What?" the user asked. "What does that have to do with anything?"

"I know it sounds weird, but can you just give it a try?" Terje pleaded. "If it doesn't help, you can change the setting right back."

"OK ..." the user replied, skeptical.

Sure enough, once the user made the change and logged back in to Citrix, he was able to generate a report almost instantly.

"How did that work?!" he asked.

"You're connecting to our Citrix server in Norway, opening BLA, and attempting to generate a report," Terje replied. "When you do that, BLA goes, 'How big is size A4 paper? I'd better ask the default printer.' In your case, the default printer was pointing to a device in your office in Brazil. So BLA was connecting from Norway to that printer halfway around the world, and was waiting for it to tell it how big A4 is. That's why everything was so slow!" Terje slapped a hand against his desk in triumph.

"How odd!" the user said. "I'm glad it works now, though!"

Terje was even happier to have cracked that enduring mystery. He got to work assembling a knowledge base document and compiling the evidence needed to file a change request with BLA's vendor.

[Advertisement] BuildMaster allows you to create a self-service release management platform that allows different teams to manage their applications. Explore how!