VDI has grown increasingly complex over the years, so the only way to assess the health and performance of an entire VDI deployment is to monitor the endpoints, the hypervisor, the virtual desktops and everything in between.
VDI performance monitoring tools have been around for years. Most of these tools monitor key performance indicators within the various VDI components, giving IT a feel for what the end-user experience is like.
There are many tools available to help administrators achieve end-to-end monitoring of their VDI deployments. Because there are major differences between vendors' VDI performance monitoring tools, IT professionals must evaluate several to see which one is the best fit for their organization.
ControlUp Real-time Console
ControlUp Technologies Ltd.'s Real-time Console's interface displays server resources in a spreadsheet-style view complete with color-coded performance charts for metrics such as CPU use, memory consumption and disk transfer speed.
ControlUp Real-time uses this information to determine the stress level of the various infrastructure resources and uses those stress levels as the basis for user-experience monitoring. The software also generates alerts any time a metric the tool monitors exceeds or falls below IT-determined thresholds.
The ControlUp Real-time Console also consists of tools to help with common VDI issues. ControlUp NetScaler Monitor, for example, helps IT evaluate the performance of Citrix NetScaler, the virtual application delivery software.
ControlUp also allows IT to isolate application performance for VDI performance monitoring with ControlUp Application Profiler.
The philosophy of eG Innovations, the developer of eG Enterprise, is that virtual desktops should be treated as a service and not as a collection of siloed tiers.
When a user complains about poor performance, the problem may be unique to that user, so it makes more sense to examine the various services and components of that user's session rather than examining the infrastructure as a whole. With eG Enterprise VDI performance monitoring, IT can keep track of the resources that each session uses and provide a single-click, root cause diagnosis of the problem.
The eG Enterprise tool looks at each tier of the VDI, identifies the components that the session in question uses and determines which component is to blame for the problem.
Goliath Technologies, a VDI performance monitoring software vendor, has a unique approach to monitoring VDI health and tracking the end-user experience. The company provides a topology view that displays the relationship between the various VDI components and allows administrators to drill down into color-coded charts. This visualization helps IT quickly discover the root cause of any VDI-related problems.
Many other VDI performance monitoring tools on the market use server-side performance metrics to estimate the overall end-user experience. Goliath Technologies, however, uses an endpoint agent to periodically perform synthetic logins. This allows the software to accurately measure login duration based on actual endpoint logins. The software writes this information as an end-user experience report that the administrator can use to keep track of the end-user experience across the organization.
No tool is perfect
While each of these tools provides unique functionality, IT must understand that even the best VDI performance monitoring tools have their limits. If a user logs into a virtual desktop from a mobile device over a 4G LTE connection, for example, the monitoring software may have trouble running true end-to-end monitoring.
If the monitoring software requires an agent, the agent may not be compatible with the user's mobile operating system or may not be installed if the user is working from a personal device. The software could also report performance problems best described as false positives.
Because the user is working over a 4G connection, his experience may be less than optimal, but this is because of the slow cellular link, not because there is anything wrong with the VDI.