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4 Best Practice for Assuring User Experience in VDI Environments
Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) adoption is growing rapidly and expected to be a $10 billion market by 2023 according to a report from Allied Market Research. With increasing dependency for enabling remote connectivity and anywhere desktop access, the expectation from VDI has also increased. Users expect the same or better performance as they have from their physical desktops, so assuring the user experience is a critical success factor for VDI deployments. 

The heterogeneous nature of digital workspaces and VDI ecosystems create significant challenges for managing end user experience. Users log on and off their desktops throughout the day, graphic-intensive applications are gaining popularity and it can be difficult to identify the source of performance issues. Troubleshooting tends to be reactive, yet the impact of failure is high-a single server-side or network problem can impact hundreds of end-users. Resource contention and bottleneck is a killer in VDI environments.

Based on eG Innovations' extensive experience in monitoring the performance of VDI environments for close to two decades, here are four best practices that we prescribe which should be leveraged for assuring end user experience in VDI environments.

Best Practice #1: Monitoring All Aspects of User Experience

First, both synthetic and real user experience should be measured.

  • For example, using a logon simulator can allow you to proactively identify issues with logon performance before users are impacted. Simulation lets you test different applications and desktops, from different locations, even when there's no real user load.
  • In addition, it's critical that you be able to monitor real users running actual workloads to get a direct measure of what users are seeing. This includes both real user logon performance as well as real-time VDI session monitoring of end user performance.

Best Practice #2: Monitoring Every Layer and Every Tier of the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

Second, it is essential that you be able to monitor every layer of every tier of VDI its supporting infrastructure. This includes user-level, session-level and desktop-level as well as resource (CPU, memory, disk, GPU) monitoring of all server-side components. Keep in mind that applications running over a VDI ecosystem may also have dependencies, and users will not care about what's causing a performance issue-they'll just want good performance!

Gaps in user experience monitoring are often due to an exclusive focus on only one technology domain (i.e., VMware Horizon or Citrix only) rather than every layer of every component that is needed to deliver user experience.

Best Practice #3: Automatic Root Cause Diagnosis for Faster Troubleshooting

Third, your monitoring must be able to correlate performance data to isolate performance issues as automatically as possible. The ability to automatically pinpoint application slowness-


Why is My Application Slow?

Client side? User's network? VDI server-side? User's workload? Hypervisor? On-premises infrastructure (AD, storage, etc.)?


-will be the key driver of the cost of ownership of your monitoring environment. The correlation should require minimal configuration/customization, it should be able to automatically triage performance issues across all tiers, and it should do so with little or no human intervention. Automation is key.

Best Practice #4: Right-sizing and Optimization for Maximum Performance

And finally, it's important that you are able to perform capacity management effectively. This includes right-sizing and performance optimization of both the VDI and supporting ecosystems. The ability to leverage machine learning and analytics can help improve proactive reporting and capacity planning to maintain high levels of end user experience.

Customers should look at all aspects of digital workspace services, including VDI and its supporting ecosystems when looking to assure end user experience. Monitoring only the hypervisor platform or ESX hosts and VMs is not enough. Components such as connection brokers, VDI sessions, network and others are just as critical.

It's important to be able to map users to specific VMs and be able to see both external and internal views of VM performance to identify VM-level issues and/or application-level issues inside a VM.

End user experience has become key to competitive advantage in the digital world and should be treated as such. Don't let monitoring be an afterthought. Monitoring your VDI environment is not a one-time activity; it must happen continuously and during every phase of VDI implementation.

Having a centralized, correlated view of performance across the entire VDI delivery infrastructure from a single pane of glass is often the difference between a successful VDI deployment and an unsuccessful one.


About the Author

John Worthington, Director of Customer Success, eG Innovations

John Worthington 

For over a decade John's been evangelizing unified monitoring as an enabler of transformative change for IT organizations. He's been an ITIL Expert since 2005 and continues to work with clients on transformational change associated with virtualization technologies, cloud operating models and DevOps. He has over 30 years of executive experience as a customer, a consultant and with technology suppliers.

Published Monday, August 19, 2019 7:35 AM by David Marshall
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