January 18, 2023

What Is Helix Remote Administration (HRA)?

Version Control
Cloud

Often it can be difficult for smaller studios to focus on administrative tasks when key team members wear multiple hats and are constantly being pulled in different directions. That is why we developed Helix Remote Administration, which lets teams focus on their work while our experts set up, maintain, and optimize their Helix Core server.

➡️ Get Started with HRA

What Is Helix Remote Administration?

Helix Remote Administration (HRA) enables teams to offload deployment and ongoing administration of Helix Core and Helix Swarm to Perforce. It is especially beneficial for teams that do not have the bandwidth or resources to dedicate a full-time administrator to Helix Core.

Remote administration saves teams valuable time through expert setup, management, and ongoing maintenance of Helix Core and Helix Swarm in their Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP) cloud environment. Which makes Helix Remote Administration an ideal solution for teams that are already using Helix Core as well as teams that are interested in using Helix Core for the first time.

 

Services Included with Helix Remote Administration

Helix Remote Administration enables teams to focus on what they do best — creative development and iteration — because it provides several key services.

Remote Admin for Upgrades

Helix Remote Administration will upgrade Helix Core after new and major versions become available. In addition, HRA also automatically manages topology expansions by adding new replicas and edge servers to support distributed workforces.

Remote Admin for Installations

Helix Remote Administration will install patches to applications, operating systems and install security patches as they become available.

Remote Admin for Monitoring

Helix Remote Administration closely monitors your cloud environment via detailed monitoring tools, as well as your team’s activity, providing you with information on:

  • Daily checkpoints and backups, and addresses issues as they arise.
  • License and certificate expiration and various automated daily operations.
  • Systems availability and system resources — such as changing a disk size before it fills up.

In addition, HRA provides analysis of user-reported performance or resource issues that might arise.

Key Benefits of Helix Remote Administration

In addition, to providing beneficial services, Helix Remote Administration also delivers several key benefits.

  • Helps to ensure that the deployment of Helix Core and Helix Swarm is fast and secure in your cloud environment.
  • Optimizes cloud environments to ensure that teams can take full advantage of Helix Core so they can version and collaborate on all digital assets at scale.
  • Helps teams to deploy their resources in a smart, effective manner that will provide the most flexibility for their team.
  • Protects against the risks and real costs associated with downtime through expert, ongoing maintenance, and administration.
  • Manages key administration tasks, which includes:
    • Performing upgrades.
    • Installing patches.
    • Monitoring daily checkpoints and backups.
    • Monitoring systems availability and system resources, such as disk space.

“Helix Remote Administration has saved us close to one working month on infrastructure setup, DevOps, system admin support, and more.” — Nifty Games VP of Engineering Ibs Rageh

How Helix Remote Administration Works

To help ensure that Helix Remote Administration is tailored to fit your team’s unique needs, we hold a scoping call to better understand the specifics of your current cloud environment. From there, we deploy Helix Core and Helix Swarm on your behalf. Once successfully deployed, we optimize Helix Core capabilities for your team to enable and simplify remote administration.

For teams already using Helix Core, we standardize your existing cloud environment for Helix Remote Administration. If teams have deployed Helix Core on-premises, we will work with you on how best to migrate to the cloud for remote administration.

With Helix Remote Administration, we handle all the core tasks focused on server upkeep and maintenance, as well as performing key duties typically handled by an administrator.

Example of How Helix Remote Administration Can Help: Memory Exhaustion

As mentioned earlier, one of the key benefits of Helix Remote Administration is that it closely monitors a team’s cloud environment for any potential issues, including memory exhaustion.

For example, the Helix Remote Administration Prometheus/p4prometheus monitor picked up that a HRA customer was experiencing excess application memory usage on their main Helix Core instance.

This caused Helix Core to appear to be “down”, and when HRA investigated the issue, it found over 50 idle processes all from the a continuous integration game development “builder” account.

HRA then ran diagnostics that showed that all the idle processes were all in an internet connection state of TIME_WAIT, which meant waiting on the end client to respond back to the server.

As a short-term measure to resolve the issue, HRA ran “p4 monitor terminate” against individuals PIDs (process IDs) to clear them out cleanly after also cross checking with “strace” to make sure that there was no current activity that would be accidently terminated.

Then, after some log analysis and talking to the customer, HRA found that the customer had installed a new version of a game building agent. A quick search of the logs showed that it a new version was showing up on the day the outage was first caused. Since the memory exhaustion issue lined up with the timing of the new game build agent, the HRA team changed the appropriate configurations to prevent this from happening in the future.

Key Remote Admin Example Takeaways

The monitoring that Helix Remote Administration provides teams is incredibly important as it helps to identify problems sooner in development. In addition, HRA includes many beneficial tools, such as log analysis and p4dstate.sh.

But, most importantly, the example highlights that remote administration can give teams peace of mind by providing expert support to help manage their Helix Core environment.

Get Started with Helix Remote Administration

If you are ready to offload your team’s administration tasks so you can focus more on your development work, contact us today.

➡️ Get Started with HRA