How to Monitor VDI

What’s VDI?

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is a virtualization technology that enables a user to access a remote desktop environment via a network connection. VDI has many benefits, such as the standardization of corporate policies, centralized application management, and simplified IT governance. This cost-effective technology well serves organizations when a group of users have a well-defined and uniform set of requirements. Take for example call center agents, health-care workers, and tech operators: generally to perform their duties, users have to use the same application paired with a VoIP system.

In the last year, the swift surge of remote workers has increased organizations’ reliance on VDI. At the same time, this growth in demand for VDI caused more user tickets and complaints to hit the help desk and network engineering teams. For this reason, it’s worth analyzing some key characteristics and offer some recommendations on how to monitor remote workers’ VDI experience. But first, let’s review some basics.

Persistent and Non-Persistent VDI

There are two types of configuration settings for VDI environments: persistent and non-persistent.

Here is more detail about each of them:

  • Persistent – In a persistent VDI environment (stateless), the user’s settings, customizations, and files are saved and preserved throughout the sessions; this setup requires more resources such as dedicated storage.
  • Non-persistent – In a non-persistent VDI environment (stateful) user data isn’t saved and retained at the end of the session. Therefore, any file downloaded, application installed (if allowed) or configuration applied isn’t available in the next session. This configuration is more cost-effective than the persistent option..

How to Monitor VDI

To monitor VDI, an organization needs two sets of tools: the infrastructure side and user side. The first set monitors availability and performance of the VDI infrastructure such as the servers, load balancers, storage, etc. This type of network monitoring is generally provided by the VDI vendors as well as implemented with traditional network monitoring solutions, such as SNMP.

The second set of tools provide network monitoring from the user perspective. That is, it assures that the remote users have the network resources required to establish a VDI session.

Monitoring a Remote User’s VDI Experience

When a remote user is complaining about degraded VDI performance, there are many factors that may be the cause of such complaints. Without the proper tools, IT support has to spend time with the user to collect all the required information and data needed to find the root cause. This process is a hassle for both the user and IT, and doesn’t scale. So what’s the solution?

The best way to monitor remote worker’s VDI experience is to run active, end-to-end performance measurements from the endpoint itself, whether it is a laptop or desktop. By installing a small monitoring agent client on the end-user’s endpoint, Infrastructure and Operations teams can collect all necessary information to proactively detect and quickly resolve performance issues. The NetBeez remote worker’s agent collects the following metrics:

  • WiFi performance such as signal quality, strength, and noise
  • LAN and ISP performance, such as latency and packet loss
  • Identify Internet routes and hops with increased latency or packet loss
  • Correlate outages by user group or application

These metrics paired with proactive alerts and historical data enable IT to reduce meat time to resolution of VDI issues, while saving support costs and resources.

Conclusion

VDI enables a user to remotely access a corporate desktop environment. This technology is an important application for organizations embracing remote work. To monitor VDI, it’s important not only to verify server performance and availability, but also to capture the end-user experience with network monitoring endpoints.