End-user computing (EUC) teams responsible for implementing and scaling large virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environments know that at the center of their success is optimal end-user experience. Whether the EUC teams are implementing VMware View or Citrix XenDesktop, their challenge remains the same—the ability to track their VDI environment end-to-end: from the “front-end” (e.g., client to desktop VM) to the back-end (e.g., hypervisor and storage) to the all the other critical elements including connection brokers, provisioning servers, application streaming servers, etc.
To track all these moving parts and how they interact with each other—all the time—is a substantial challenge. Plus, to do so in a way that scales with a customer’s implementation requires a solution that can be leveraged across an entire support organization—from the service desk all the way up to senior escalation engineers. And from a deployment perspective, it needs to scale frictionless-ly by not relying on incremental software agents that can effect the performance of the desktop VMs.
The Xangati VDI Dashboard is the only live and continuous solution that can track the VDI end-to-end allowing the entire IT organization be proactive in tracking down contention storms impacting end-user experience.
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Proactive Performance Assurance
The challenge for end-user computing (EUC) teams running VDI environments is to be proactive in addressing end-user experience (EUX) issues. Many early-stage implementations are challenged by an inability to understand how the back-end infrastructure impacts end-users and vice versa. This is where the Xangati VDI Dashboard fills a critical role in the VDI realm as it tracks the performance health all the VDI moving parts (clients, desktop VMs, VDI protocols, datastores, hypervisors/servers, connection brokers, etc.) live and continuously.
In this manner, when there is a contention storm that impacts the environment, the VDI performance health index will shift and the EUC team will be immediately alerted to the problem and to which silo the problem exists. This is in direct contrast to other performance management solutions that have database-driven models—where alerts are effectively flagged after EUX has been dramatically impacted. Not only does the Xangati solution proactively alert administrators about contention storms, it also can be leveraged across the organization by service desk, EUC admins and storage administrators to increase their proactive stance as they scale up their VDI implementations across the enterprise.
Accelerated Problem Resolution
According to industry analyst firm, The Yankee Group, the IT incident management process can be plagued by “problem resolution ping pong” which is the notion that an issue can often be incorrectly routed to the wrong IT silo. The Xangati VDI Dashboard is a remedy to this incident management challenge by tracking all the critical cross-silo interactions impacting VDI EUX. To that end, when a performance alert highlights a contention storm impacting the environment, that alert will be isolated to a specific object in a specific silo (e.g., a datastore).
Additionally, the alert is coupled with a unique visual recording showing second by second the contention points driving the problem. For instance, a specific desktop driving too many IOPS to the datastore driving up the latency for all the other desktops sharing the same datastore would be alerted and visually recorded. Through insights like this, problems can be immediately remediated which in this case would be the killing the process on that desktop driving the IOPS storm.
Xangati’s VDI Dashboard has a unique facility for end-users with performance problems to trigger recordings on the system. This unique capability known as the Visual Trouble Ticket (VTT) can be integrated with your service desk software (e.g., BMC Remedy). The VTT captures the 360-degree activity of the end-user at the time he is experiencing an issue. This high resolution insight is appended to a service desk ticket as a hyperlink and allows the service desk to immediately identify is the issue with the desktop processes, the VDI protocol, the back-end hypervisor infrastructure or the storage . With that insight the information can be routed to the appropriate expert to address the issue—ending problem-resolution ping pong.
Predictive Capacity Management
Many organizations size their initial VDI implementations based upon assessment tools that they use to model pre-virtualization desktops. Once EUC teams move into pilot and then into production they are challenged by an inability to track actual end-user activity and resource requirements vs. what was modeled. The area in particular that challenges organizations is in regards to the IOPS requirements in the environment.
Xangati is the only solution that tracks storage activity down to the end user without the need for cumbersome guest-level agents. In this manner, EUC administrators and their storage counterparts can get insights previously unavailable to them to plan their infrastructure for scaling up.
In addition, the Xangati VDI Dashboard has integrated capacity management capabilities that include a capacity health index alerting administrators when and where they will need capacity. These capacity alerts detail what the growth patterns are for key infrastructure components and will forecast specifically when critical thresholds will be hit and when the environment will specifically run out of capacity. The predictive capabilities are coupled with capacity optimization features that allow you to identify areas for optimization including which resources are most underutilized.
“CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) has long been recognized for utilizing emerging and innovative technologies, like Xangati, to help move the company’s business goals forward,” said Rory Clements, Virtualization Architect EMEA, CBRE. “Our VMware View VDI initiative has given us the ability to improve customer service by giving our employees a better and more productive computing experience virtually than in a more traditional desktop-based environment. VMware View combined with the Xangati VDI Dashboard enables us to quickly identify and resolve both network- and storage-related infrastructure issues impacting performance, and gives us the confidence to push forward to the next stage of the rollout.”