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IT administrators who have already deployed virtual desktops through VDI or who are considering it should take the time to evaluate monitoring tools that can help them take a proactive approach to management and troubleshooting.
If IT admins monitor VDI proactively, they can ensure that they can do their jobs successfully and keep the businesses they support up and running. It's also key that they understand that not all monitoring tools are created equal, and that choosing the right VDI monitoring tool will ensure that they can proactively evaluate the key components of their architecture.
There are many infrastructure components to keep an eye on, but, ultimately, if IT does monitor VDI, it's most important that it looks at the right components of the deployment to ensure everything runs smoothly and end users are happy.
Monitor VDI in these key areas
Storage controllers. When a storage controller receives a request from the server, it determines where the relevant data is stored, reads the data and then transfers it to the server. With VDI, if there are any inefficiencies in the storage controller, virtual desktop performance will suffer. Keeping a close eye on the storage controller can ensure the deployment performs adequately in the short term.
In the long term, especially as a VDI deployment grows, monitoring the storage controller can help administrators make decisions about hardware that will ensure that performance doesn't degrade over time.
Quiz: Don't be careless with virtual desktop monitoring tools
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Memory. VDI shops should also keep a close eye on both the physical memory the host consumes and the virtual memory the virtual desktops use. Understanding how much memory the deployment consumes can help IT decide if it should add more memory or hosts. More importantly, it helps IT troubleshoot performance issues.
If IT does not have enough system memory, its virtual desktops could suffer and even fail. For example, if an administrator deploys two hosts, one of which is a backup, and the hosts do not have enough combined memory, even if one host fails, the host failover will have complications and failures as well. Administrators that monitor VDI and keep an eye on memory will ensure uptime for their user's desktops.
Deployment automation. When administrators choose their virtual desktop deployment vendor, they can use automation to take a base image that holds the foundation of a virtual desktop and quickly deploy as many desktops as they need from that image.
Two common technologies that can perform this type of automation are Citrix Provisioning Services and Citrix Machine Creation Services. These options simplify a deployment, but they also add moving parts that can cause problems if IT doesn't monitor them. Traditional monitoring tools typically do not provide the right level of insight to know the health of these features.
Write cache. VDI deployments typically have important configurations that revolve around using the hard disk for memory caching. VDI performance can suffer if data normally written to memory cannot overflow to the disk, or if the amount of overflow available on the disk is not enough. This can cause end-user-facing memory errors, as well as performance degradation. Knowing when there is a write cache problem enables administrators to better support their end users.
Graphics processing unit (GPU) monitoring. Adding GPUs to virtual desktops allows end users to experience stellar performance when they work with video and graphics-intensive apps. A tool that IT uses to monitor VDI should be able to track GPU failure and degradation. If IT deploys VDI with GPUs, it must monitor the technology.