Guide to VDI performance monitoring

Make sure your VDI environment has a healthy heartbeat with these monitoring techniques.

To keep virtual desktops in line, you need VDI performance monitoring tools.

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can run into any number of problems, from those related to network connectivity to application performance to user satisfaction. Luckily, monitoring your environment helps identify issues, alert admins, suggest solutions and even prevent VDI problems in the first place. Just remember, there are some different components to consider when monitoring virtual desktops as opposed to traditional PCs.

This VDI monitoring guide offers resources to help you gather performance data, set alerts and choose the best monitoring tools for your environment.

Table of contents:

Why you need VDI performance monitoring

How performance monitoring facilitates troubleshooting
When it comes to troubleshooting virtual desktop issues, it helps greatly to have monitoring tools that can tell you where the problem is happening and why. The most common problem areas include network connections, authentication, remote desktop slowness and functionality snags such as being unable to print. The right tool can help you prevent these complications from occurring in the first place.

Boosting the user experience with benchmark testing
Users don't care about how technology works; they care that it just works. To ensure a good virtual desktop experience, do benchmarking testing to determine the maximum number of desktops your environment can handle. Sometimes, vendors will tell you it can support more desktops than it truly can, which leads to resource or storage bottlenecks and a poor end-user experience. Account for user activities and resource consumption so you get the best virtual desktop user experience.

How to maximize virtual desktop performance
Optimizing virtual desktop performance makes for a happy user and IT department, but you have to make sure you're using the right monitoring metrics. Measure the memory utilization on each machine, disk throughput, back-end CPU, responsiveness and more. Keep in mind that you can view these measurements in different forms, such as usage totals, percentages and maximums for any metric you want.

Determining what kind of VDI monitoring you need
You have to decide what you want to monitor before you pick tools for the job. That way, you don't end up with many more (or fewer) capabilities than you need. For instance, are you monitoring performance reactively or proactively? You can make big mistakes in choosing a monitoring tool if you wait until your environment has a performance issue that you need to track down.

Picking a VDI performance monitoring tool

Why VDI requires its own monitoring tools
Virtual desktops and virtual servers aren't the same, so you can't use your server monitoring tools for VDI performance monitoring. For one thing, the goal of monitoring virtual desktops is often to assess the user experience, while with virtual servers, you're generally testing resource usage. Plus, virtual desktop workloads change significantly more often than those of virtual servers, so you have to monitor them more closely and frequently.

What to look for in performance monitoring tools
VDI performance monitoring tools can make switching from PCs to virtual desktops easier, but only if you've got the right features. First, you need capacity planning capabilities so you know which resources employees use. You need load testing so you can tell how much stress your environment can handle. Finally, you need to be able to test user experiences to make sure employees are satisfied with their virtual desktops.

VDI performance and management tool checklist
One of the main reasons VDI implementations don't make it off the ground is that users don't like how virtual machines perform. With the right monitoring and management tool, however, you can fix that problem. Look for a tool that monitors end-to-end connectivity and offers metrics about both the physical and virtual machines. It should also address some more advanced VDI performance monitoring requirements, including real-time management and a database of information about desktops.

When to ignore VDI performance monitoring alerts
You have a lot of VDI performance monitoring tools to choose from, but there's a schism between monitoring alerts and assessing real end-user experiences. Just because you see a red light indicating a spike in CPU usage doesn't mean that employees are suffering from a bad user experience. You need a tool that gives some context or an application performance monitor to keep track of actual user experiences. No matter what, take baseline measurements of your environment so you know when an alert is whack.