VDI: Monitoring and the End User Experience

8 06 2009

Probably one of the most overused phrases when you talk about anything user facing in IT, I’m guilty as well, is the “end user experience”.  As overused as this saying is there are some important points that it raises especially when the goal is to replace workstations with a centrally hosted infrastructure.

A lot of organizations want to move to a VDI environment and with that a lot of consideration is given to such points as how many virtual workstations can be hosted on a single server, what type of storage to use, the hypervisor, and while all these are valid concerns there isn’t typically much attention given to monitoring the solution once implemented.  This is arguably more critical in a VDI or SBC environment because a lot more demand is placed on the overall infrastructure and stress points are made considerably more visible to end users.  With a physical PC a user may notice a network issue if a file takes longer than usual to download, but in a VDI environment the same network issue could cause them to loose the ability to use their workstation period.  These types of issues could go unreported out of repeated frustration causing a huge problem with something that if caught early and addressed could have been easily avoided…if only it were visible.  So how do you ensure that users will be happy with using their hosted desktop and not demand their old workstation back?

Citrix has a great monitoring solution for their XenApp and XenDesktop platforms, i.e. EdgeSight, but what about if your using an offering from a different vendor?  Liquidware Labs makes some interesting products around virtualization but specifically their Stratusphere software is labeled as a VDI assessment tool which assists with keeping the pulse of your overall environment both physical and virtual. 


Stratusphere runs as a virtual appliance at the virtual network layer and is managed from a web console hosted from the same VM.  The appliance integrates with Active Directory and can be deployed along or in conjunction with Connector ID, a separate technology unique to Stratusphere which can add a non-intrusive digital fingerprint to each network packet associated with physical or virtual system, application, or user connections.  This fingerprint allows the software to provide visibility into each IP packet facilitating complete monitoring of, dare I say it again, the end user experience.  There is also the ability to map application dependencies from the desktop to the backend infrastructure as well as track response times for all layers.  Based on the initial numbers listed on their site the Stratusphere solution also looks to be reasonably priced.

Hopefully I will be able to get a trial version of the software installed in the near future, as the ‘Try it Now’ link states “Coming soon” but in the meantime there is a lot of good product information accessible from their site.




One response

13 06 2009
Virtualization Link Roundup 20090612 | latoga labs

[…] VDI: Monitoring and the End User Experience […]

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