With so many moving parts in VDI deployments, it's easy for things to go wrong. Problems with remote connections, storage, management and latency can keep your to-do list full.
Fortunately, there are some easy ways to avoid common issues in virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environments in the first place. And if you made some missteps setting up your deployment that resulted in problems staring you in the face right now, never fear. We've got troubleshooting tips for some of the most common VDI woes.
Virtual desktop infrastructure connectivity issues
Though remote connections are usually reliable, things can and do go wrong. To make matters worse, there are lots of reasons that connection problems pop up, so just finding out where the problem is originating can make you feel like you have your work cut out for you. But have no fear -- there are simple ways you can stop connection troubles from happening in the first place. Use the process of elimination to avoid wasting time on fixes that don't really solve your problems.
Some of the most common remote connectivity problems -- VPN access, latency and bouncing connections -- have simple solutions that just take a little bit of planning on IT's end. Using a multi-entry VPN and doing a network assessment at the outset of your VDI deployment helps reduce connection problems. Continue Reading
Virtual desktop connectivity issues crop up for a variety of reasons, but you can use the process of elimination to limit the number of variables that could be causing problems. For example, if you can confirm that a user's hardware isn't the source, you won't waste time troubleshooting it. Continue Reading
If you're seeing connection refusals, check your registry key. Microsoft makes it so five fewer connections than your max will make the cut in an effort to reduce the resources that connections can consume. For example, if your max number of connections is 100, only 95 will go through. Continue Reading
Printing from a remote desktop is still a sore spot for many users and admins, but with Microsoft Easy Print and Windows Server 2008 R2 -- and some important settings enabled -- printing is a little bit easier. Continue Reading
Management and storage
Avoiding storage and management issues should start in the planning phases of VDI. You can't throw a virtual desktop at every user in your company, because not all use cases and job roles fit with VDI. Additionally, you can't guestimate how much storage you'll need or base the math solely on the number of virtual machines (VMs) you plan to deploy. If you're already looking down the barrel of a storage nightmare, however, consider monitoring, solid state drives and profile management tools to get back on track.
One of the first things to consider with VDI deployments is which users are good candidates. If you have a call center or a customer service department where all the users can have the same desktop, then VDI will probably be a good fit. But your power users probably won't love VDI and they'll consume a lot of back-end resources. Continue Reading
You can't just figure the size of a virtual hard drive and multiply that by the number of virtual PCs you're planning to run. That doesn't leave any room for growth and it doesn't consider the other cogs in the VDI wheel that need storage space, such as components and backup tools. Continue Reading
Transitioning from physical to virtual desktops can cause disruptions in patch management, so when you plan and deploy VDI, it's a good idea to take patch management strategies into consideration. If you use persistent VDI, patching is pretty much the same as with physical desktops, but things get tricky with nonpersistent desktops. Continue Reading
When VDI goes down, users can't work. To prevent employees from going Incredible Hulk on your IT department, put in some effort to mitigate downtime: Monitor end users, prioritize virtual desktop traffic on your network and pay attention to disk write latency. Continue Reading
Solid state drives are another layer to manage, but for some VDI shops they can really help reduce storage bottlenecks and improve performance overall. You could also virtualize storage or cache data locally, but start by looking at whether you've overloaded your SAN with VMs. Continue Reading
Latency and bottlenecks
Latency can make VDI hellish for users, which in turn means lots of requests for help from IT. When you're planning your VDI deployment, bring in the networking engineers to get their perspective, and make sure users know how and when they can access their virtual desktops -- and from which devices. Select the right remote display protocol and look into tools to improve WAN performance and optimize bandwidth.
VDI deployment planning discussions should include networking pros. VDI is a cross-departmental project and it can affect different IT teams differently. Plus, each department has its area of expertise, and everyone involved can benefit from hearing ideas and concerns from network engineers, managers and operators. Continue Reading
Do you know the many causes of latency? They include users connecting from the Wi-Fi at an Internet café or using the 3G on their devices. To reduce these latency issues, put policies in place about how and from which devices users can connect to their virtual desktops. Continue Reading
If you're looking to push VDI out over your WAN network, consider how bandwidth, distance and latency can negatively affect performance. You'll want to use the right remote display protocol, as well as companion technologies to maximize WAN performance. Continue Reading
Making sure the servers hosting your virtual desktops have enough bandwidth to handle workloads can be a challenge, but network interface card (NIC) teaming can help. It lets you connect a pool of virtual machines to one virtual switch, and that switch is connected to a NIC team instead of one single NIC. What does all that mean? Your virtual switch can support more desktops. Continue Reading
Even with improved protocol performance and better compression, the major limiting factor of VDI is bandwidth. But with bandwidth optimization, you can reduce unnecessary traffic without buying more bandwidth. Just make sure you do your research before selecting optimization technologies -- they can be complex and hard to use. Continue Reading