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3 tasks our support team can solve during a remote intervention

09 Apr 2020 5 min read
Written by Oana Elena Florea, Customer Support Manager

When should you ask for a remote intervention with a support representative?

We often recommend our customers to plan a quick meeting with our team when the communication on tickets includes a lot of replies and details. Using this approach we have noticed the following advantages:

  • We may discover important details regarding the steps to reproduce the reported issue which were not included in the email exchanges
  • As a customer, you might use the XWiki product in a different environment (OS, browser settings and cache) which can have a big impact when investigating complex issues
  • A quick call can significantly speed up the progress on a ticket and improve your experience on the issue

Here are some major tasks we can tackle for our customers during a remote session:

Check the wiki performance

A performance problem can be global (the whole service) or local (triggered only on a page, a few pages or a specific feature). Our team tries to explore potential causes:

  • The wiki is slow due to some code that needs to be improved (e.g. too many databases or queries, too many users or a lot of data)
  • There is too much data (e.g. page history)
  • The XWiki version has been recently updated and something’s not working well
  • The server configuration is not using the recommended values
  • The server is in a bad state (memory or deadlock)
  • A potential memory leak (which leads to bad performance before a crash)
  • The wiki is a public web site and it gets overwhelmed by spam or bots
  • A combination of any of the previous reasons

In such cases, the first thing to do is to understand what is the root cause.

What questions do we ask our clients?

  • Is it only one specific page causing the problem or are all pages slow? Is there a specific action that triggers the behavior? Could you list the specific page?
  • Has it always been slow? If not, what’s the difference between when it’s slow or not?
  • Can you give us a xinit report of when it’s slow?
  • Can you give us a JavaMelody or Glowroot report?
  • What exactly is it that you see and the return of the server and how long (timeout, error message, etc)
  • Does this happen on all browsers?
  • Is memory usage high when the problem occurs?
  • Is CPU usage on the server high when the problem occurs?
  • Are there many active and long MYSQL queries when the problem occurs?
  • Since when have you been able to reproduce the issue and what were the last actions/changes performed on the wiki?

We use a combination of different tools to tackle the issue from all angles. Performance analysis is quite a complex task and usually requires the help of a system administrator, a senior XWiki engineer and a platform developer, all coordinated by the support team.

Configure the connection to LDAP or Active Directory

Some of the most frequent subjects we handle during remote interventions concern the connection between XWiki and an LDAP or Active Directory server. Here are some examples of issues we investigate:

  • The connection to the LDAP or Active Directory server does not work (usually we notice a bind error on the server logs)
  • The groups from LDAP or Active Directory are not created in XWiki (the group mapping is not properly configured)
  • The user information from the LDAP or Active Directory server is not updated in XWiki (the user mapping is not properly configured)
  • Compatibility with other SSO configurations

We investigate the issue by enabling the “DEBUG” logs, checking the exact error when the user tries to login and asking on spot questions to our tech team.

Connect several LDAP or Active Directory servers

Large organizations with different departments can have a more complex structure for their LDAP or Active Directory server: each team can have their own rights restrictions on different domains on different servers. Our remote interventions cover topics such as:

  • How to choose the UID format used for the login (e.g. the User Identifier can be either UID@DOMAIN or domain\uid)
  • Make sure the connection works from all LDAP or Active Directory domains
  • Review the encoding for the configuration parameters (e.g. a property like xwiki.authentication.ldap.remoteUserParser could require a more complex encoding depending on the UID format chosen by the client)

Remote interventions can offer a better understanding of the way our clients are using the product and also allow support for XWiki to be well integrated with users and groups from an existing LDAP or Active Directory server. You can benefit from remote interventions as part of the Silver+ support offer.

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