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Kaiser Permanente and Citrix certification

In light of the whole Citrix/Epic fiasco at Kaiser Permanente, I decided to do a little digging to see just how qualified, certification-wise, the employees at KP are. Before anyone jumps to conclusions, I’m not stating that someone has to be Citrix certified to be a qualified Citrix architect or administrator. It just makes sense that if some people are going to throw Citrix under the bus the way that Justen Deal did in the ComputerWorld article, they should have to answer some questions about the qualifications, including certifications, of their Citrix architects and support staff.

First, I checked my own records for any accounts belonging to Deal or any KP employees. I found none. I figured that being the only Citrix-certification web site, and having a fairly large user-base, if KP employees were getting Citrix certified, surely they would have a profile here.

I emailed Deal, who is in charge of “developing curriculum and publications for both employee development and training”* with a few questions about Citrix certification and KP employees. He emailed me back, not to answer the questions, but to redirect me to another employee, Erik Gerard, who oversees their Citrix infrastructure. I’ve received no reply from him.

My questions were basic: Do you internally train the technical staff to implement Citrix products? Or is official Citrix training used? What percentage of the people directly involved in the Citrix end of this implementation are Citrix certified? CCA? CCEA? CCIA? Are those certifications up-to-date with the versions of Citrix products that you are implementing? Where do you feel KP stands on Citrix certification? Is it recommended? Required? Paid for by KP? None of the above?

Questions specifically for Deal: What is your stand on Citrix certification? Do you have any Citrix certifications? If so, what are they? If not, is it a future goal? Whose Citrix certification preparation products do you and other KP employees use/recommend? (I asked the last question as more of a curiosity since I have no records of KP employees in my database.)

I still don’t know if any of the KP employees involved in the Citrix/Epic implementation, including Deal, are Citrix certified. Here’s what I know: No KP employees, including Deal, are members of Citrixxperience.com, KP does their own in-house training, and Deal and Gerard haven’t answered my emails regarding Citrix certification. I’m still hoping to hear from them. Their silence is only heightening my suspicions.

*Taken from Justen’s Blog.

[tags]Citrix, Epic, Kaiser Permanente, HealthConnect, Justen Deal, certification, CCA, CCEA, CCIA[/tags]

No comments yet to Kaiser Permanente and Citrix certification

  • Jim Williamson

    “First, I checked my own records for any accounts belonging to Deal or any KP employees.”

    How many accounts are we talking about, here? Enough to be a representative sample? Probably not.

    It just seems like you’ve not added a whole lot to the conversation, except speculation. Just because nobody at KP has taken advantage of your products or services doesn’t mean KP doesn’t value Citrix certification.

    “Their silence is only heightening my suspicions.”

    You said that Deal responded to your message, redirecting you to another KP contact. As I understand it, KP has some fairly strict policies with regard to their employees and managers talking to the media. Just because two people aren’t answering -your- questions doesn’t make the situation any more “suspicious” than it already was. Maybe it means they’ve been directed to not answer your questions, or maybe it means they don’t think you or your questions are as important as ComputerWorld or some other publication?

    “I’m still hoping to hear from them.”

    I bet you can stop holding your breath now that you’ve posted this.

    Note that, if a “little digging” involves you doing a simple db query (or less) and sending out a couple emails… I’d call that knocking some well-kicked dirt around on the ground, not really “digging.”

    But nice try.

    Jim

  • jeff

    “Enough to be a representative sample? Probably not.”

    Since I’m not giving you my database numbers, I’d say that’s speculation on your part.

    “Just because nobody at KP has taken advantage of your products or services doesn’t mean KP doesn’t value Citrix certification.”

    Never said they don’t value Citrix certification. I would just like to hear it from them.

    “Maybe it means they’ve been directed to not answer your questions, or maybe it means they don’t think you or your questions are as important as ComputerWorld or some other publication?”

    Maybe. But I got your attention enough to comment.

    “a simple db query (or less)”

    Again, speculation on your part.

    “not really “digging.”

    A little digging, Jim, a little digging.

    “But nice try.”

    Thanks. Same to you.

    - Jeff

  • Susan

    You bring up a good point. However, have you checked to see how many people at EPIC are certified in Citrix? I think that is more important to know than the employees at Kaiser. Why? When Epic first starts an install they installed all the OS and Citrix for the clients on the servers the client purchased.

    So, maybe you should look at your buiness partners.

  • jeff

    That’s an interesting thought, Susan. If that’s the case, I wonder why Deal and Gerard didn’t point me in that direction.

    - Jeff

  • Robo_dev

    Citrix is not the problem.

    Lack of Citrix certification is not the problem.

    Read the Computerworld article:

    The KP data center had:
    - a 55 hour power outage
    - a 37 hour power outage
    - numerous network outages.

    AND……..The EPIC application is written using a 1960′s programming language called MUMPS??

    This is not intended to be a slight to you Citrix loyalists. Running the whole shebang through Citrix is big red flag that says ‘bad app’. The EPIC application is based on 1960s technology (and no mention of any database vendor is a red flag….it’s probably btrieve or some home-brewed 1960s database).

    Citrix is good, and scalable, and can make bad apps run well…to a point.

    Guys, this is a HEALTHCARE application and their ONE data center loses power for 37 hours then 55 hours? Do they have a GENERATOR? It may be a silly thought, but perhaps have the application fail-over to another instance at a DIFFERENT data center? HELLOOOOO

    In the Computerworld article, the Citrix spokesperson hints at the ‘IT Infrastructure’ challenges at KP. He’s probably got scars from biting his tongue so hard. The ‘real deal’ is that the KP folks have a turd of an application and either a really sucky data center or else it’s managed by ‘knowledge challenged’ individuals (“gee, I thought YOu put gas in the generator”)

    You can make any technology fail if you throw a curve at it….. “Gee my new $80K BMW stalls all the time……when the light turns green I put it in fifth gear and drop the clutch and bam…it stalls” See….I told you those foreign cars are no good. :>

  • Joel

    Maybe you should re-read that Computerworld article with a little healthly skepticism.

    The report claims

    The KP data center had:
    - a 55 hour power outage
    - a 37 hour power outage

    in TWO days. I may not be a math major, but last I checked there are only 24 hrs in a day. All the technology in the world can’t create a 92 hr power outage in a 48 hr period.

  • citrix_power

    To clarify things:

    The Citrix group at KP has a large number of either current or past Citrix certified guys. Many have worked with Citrix since OS/2/WinFrame days. Many are experienced in the system integration field, and have worked on many multi-thousand seat Citrix implementations.

    That being said, the early problems with the main KP Citrix implementation:
    * Citrix Consulting Service recommendation initially was : 1 large farm
    * Major power outages
    * Issues
    * overall Citrix using KP as their “test bed” for scaling of services (XML brokers, etc.)

    Justen’s information was mostly false. Check almost any Citrix EPIC implementation (written in VB by the way), and 50+ users per server is fairly standard.