Virtual Desktop EDT Performance - VM Test

Adaptive Transport – a new transport mechanism for virtual servers is faster, reliable and more scalable, and improves application interactivity and quickly delivers HDX content to users on long-haul WAN and Internet over UDP or TCP. While TCP is a default choice for HDX content delivery, Adaptive Transport uses an enhanced version of UDP as the primary data transport protocol i.e., Enlightened Data Transport (EDT) protocol to overcome shortfalls of TCP. This mechanism has been built with the intelligence to automatically understand network conditions and react to changes dynamically. Based on dynamic determination of conditions where TCP would perform better, or should the network not support UDP, or in the event of an EDT failure, the ICA virtual channels intelligently switch from EDT to TCP automatically. Automatic fallback to TCP ensures that there is no connection timeout, faster and uninterrupted session connectivity for the users on WAN and increased session reliability. These benefits make the EDT a standard data transport protocol for HDX content delivery in the virtual environments. With such great user impact, monitoring the performance of sessions that are established via EDT becomes inevitable for administrators. Before a user complains about a problem on an EDT session, administrators need to have the capability to continuously monitor EDT performance and connectivity, and isolate bottlenecks for proactive troubleshooting. This is where the Virtual Desktop EDT Performance - VM test helps!

This test auto-discovers the virtual desktop user sessions that use the EDT protocol, and reports the bandwidth usage, network traffic, and latency of each such session. Using these performance metrics, administrators can measure the experience of users connected over EDT, and accurately isolate bandwidth-hungry and latent user sessions.

Note:

This test will report metrics only if the following configuration is available in the environment:

  • XenApp and XenDesktop 7.13 and above
  • VDA for Desktop OS 7.13 and above
  • VDA for Server OS 7.13 and above
  • StoreFront 3.9 and above
  • Citrix Receiver for Windows 4.7 and above
  • Citrix Receiver for Mac 12.5 and above
  • Citrix Receiver for iOS 7.2 and above
  • IPv4 VDAs only. IPv6 and mixed IPv6 and IPv4 configurations are not supported.
  • NetScaler 11.1-51.21

Target of the test : A Citrix XenServer

Agent deploying the test : A remote agent

Outputs of the test : One set of results for every user who is currently logged into the virtual machines provisioned by the Citrix XenServers via the EDT protocol.

Configurable parameters for the test
  1. Test period - How often should the test be executed
  2. Host - The host for which the test is to be configured.
  3. port - The port at which the specified host listens. By default, this is NULL.
  4. CITRIX HOME - By default, this parameter is set to none indicating that the eG agent would automatically discover the location at which the Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) is installed for collecting the metrics of this test. If the Virtual Delviery Agent is installed in a different location in your Citrix environment, then indicate that location in the CITRIX HOME text box.
  5. XEN user - To enable the eG agent to connect to the XenServer API for collecting statistics of interest, this test should login to the XenServer as a root user. Provide the name of the root user in the XEN USER text box. Root user privileges are mandatory when monitoring a XenServer 5.5 (or below). However, if you are monitoring XenServer 5.6 (or above) and you prefer not to expose the credentials of the root user, then, you have the option of configuring a user with pool-admin privileges as the xen user. If you do not want to expose the credentials of a root/pool-admin user, then you can configure the tests with the credentials of a xen user with Read-only privileges to the XenServer. However, if this is done, then the Xen Uptime test will not run, and the Xen CPU and Xen Memory tests will not be able to report metrics for the control domain descriptor. To avoid such an outcome, do the following before attempting to configure the eG tests with a xen user who has Read-only privileges to the XenServer:

    • Modify the target XenServer’s configuration in the eG Enterprise system. For this, follow the Infrastructure -> Components -> Add/Modify menu sequence, pick Citrix XenServer as the Component type, and click the Modify button corresponding to the target XenServer.
    • In the modify component details page that then appears, make sure that the os is set to Xen and the Mode is set to ssh.
    • Then, in the same page, proceed to provide the User and Password of a user who has the right to connect to the XenServer console via SSH.
    • Then, click the Update button to save the changes.

    Once this is done, you can configure the eG tests with the credentials of a xen user with Read-only privileges.

  6. xen password - The password of the specified xen user needs to be mentioned here.
  7. confirm password - Confirm the xen password by retyping it here.
  8. ssl - By default, the Xen Server is not SSL-enabled. This indicates that by default, the eG agent communicates with the XenServer using HTTP. Accordingly, the ssl flag is set to No by default. If you configure the XenServer to use SSL, then make sure that the SSL flag is set to Yes, so that the eG agent communicates with the XenServer using HTTPS. Note that a default SSL certificate comes bundled with every XenServer installation. If you want the eG agent to use this default certificate for communicating with an SSL-enabled XenServer, then no additional configuration is required. However, if you do not want to use the default certificate, then you can generate a self-signed certificate for use by the XenServer. In such a case, you need to explicitly follow the broad steps given below to enable the eG agent to communicate with the XenServer via HTTPS:

    • Obtain the server-certificate for the XenServer
    • Import the server-certificate into the local certificate store of the eG agent

    For a detailed discussion on each of these steps, refer to the Troubleshooting section of this document.

  9. INSIDE VIEW USING - By default, this test communicates with every VM remotely and extracts “inside view” metrics. Therefore, by default, the INSIDE VIEW USING flag is set to Remote connection to VM (Windows).

    Typically, to establish this remote connection with Windows VMs in particular, eG Enterprise requires that the eG agent be configured with domain administrator privileges. In high-security environments, where the IT staff might have reservations about exposing the credentials of their domain administrators, this approach to extracting “inside view” metrics might not be preferred. In such environments therefore, eG Enterprise provides administrators the option to deploy a piece of software called the eG VM Agent on every Windows VM; this VM agent allows the eG agent to collect “inside view” metrics from the Windows VMs without domain administrator rights. Refer to Configuring Windows Virtual Machines to Support the eG Agent’s Inside View Using the eG VM Agent for more details on the eG VM Agent. To ensure that the “inside view” of Windows VMs is obtained using the eG VM Agent, set the INSIDE VIEW USING flag to eG VM Agent (Windows). Once this is done, you can set the DOMAIN, ADMIN USER, and ADMIN PASSWORD parameters to none.

  10. DOMAIN, ADMIN USER, ADMIN PASSWORD, and CONFIRM PASSWORD - By default, this test connects to each virtual guest remotely and attempts to collect “inside view” metrics. In order to obtain a remote connection, the test must be configured with user privileges that allow remote communication with the virtual guests. The first step towards this is to specify the DOMAIN within which the virtual guests reside. The ADMIN USER and ADMIN PASSWORD will change according to the DOMAIN specification. Discussed below are the different values that the DOMAIN parameter can take, and how they impact the ADMIN USER and ADMIN PASSWORD specifications:

    • If the VMs belong to a single domain : If the guests belong to a specific domain, then specify the name of that domain against the DOMAIN parameter. In this case, any administrative user in that domain will have remote access to all the virtual guests. Therefore, an administrator account in the given domain can be provided in the ADMIN USER field and the corresponding password in the ADMIN PASSWORD field. Confirm the password by retyping it in the CONFIRM PASSWORD text box.
    • If the guests do not belong to any domain (as in the case of Linux guests) : In this case, specify "none" in the DOMAIN field, and specify a local administrator account name in the ADMIN USER below.

      Prior to this, you need to ensure that the same local administrator account is available or is explicitly created on each of the virtual machines to be monitored. Then, proceed to provide the password of the ADMIN USER against ADMIN PASSWORD, and confirm the password by retyping it in the CONFIRM PASSWORD text box.

      If key-based authentication is implemented between the eG agent and the SSH daemon of a Linux guest, then, in the ADMIN USER text box, enter the name of the user whose <USER_HOME_DIR> (on that Linux guest) contains a .ssh directory with the public key file named authorized_keys. The ADMIN PASSWORD in this case will be the passphrase of the public key; the default public key file that is bundled with the eG agent takes the password eginnovations. Specify this as the ADMIN PASSWORD if you are using the default private/public key pair that is bundled with the eG agent to implement key-based authentication. On the other hand, if you are generating a new public/private key pair for this purpose, then use the passphrase that you provide while generating the pair. For the detailed procedure on Implementing Key-based Authentication refer to Troubleshooting the Failure of the eG Remote Agent to Connect to or Report Measures for Linux Guests.

    • If the guests belong to different domains - In this case, you might want to provide multiple domain names. If this is done, then, to access the guests in every configured domain, the test should be configured with the required user privileges; this implies that along with multiple DOMAIN names, multiple ADMIN USER names and ADMIN PASSWORDs would also have to be provided. To help administrators provide these user details quickly and easily, the eG administrative interface embeds a special configuration page.

      To access this page, simply click on the Click here hyperlink that appears just above the parameters of this test in the test configuration page. To know how to use the special page, refer to Configuring Users for VM Monitoring.

    • If the INSIDE VIEW USING flag is set to ‘eG VM Agent (Windows)’ - In this case, the inside view can be obtained without domain administrator privileges. Therefore, set the domain, admin user, and admin password parameters to none.
  11. IGNORE VMS INSIDE VIEW - Administrators of some high security XenServer environments might not have permissions to internally monitor one/more VMs. The eG agent can be configured to not obtain the 'inside view' of such ‘inaccessible’ VMs using the IGNORE VMS INSIDE VIEW parameter. Against this parameter, you can provide a comma-separated list of VM names, or VM name patterns, for which the inside view need not be obtained. For instance, your IGNORE VMS INSIDE VIEW specification can be: *xp,*lin*,win*,vista. Here, the * (asterisk) is used to denote leading and trailing spaces (as the case may be). By default, this parameter is set to none indicating that the eG agent obtains the inside view of all VMs on a XenServer host by default.

    Note:

    While performing VM discovery, the eG agent will not discover the operating system of the VMs configured in the IGNORE VMS INSIDE VIEW text box.

  12. EXCLUDE VMS - Administrators of some virtualized environments may not want to monitor some of their less-critical VMs - for instance, VM templates - both from 'outside' and from 'inside'. The eG agent in this case can be configured to completely exclude such VMs from its monitoring purview. To achieve this, provide a comma-separated list of VMs to be excluded from monitoring in the EXCLUDE VMS text box. Instead of VMs, VM name patterns can also be provided here in a comma-separated list. For example, your EXCLUDE VMS specification can be: *xp,*lin*,win*,vista. Here, the * (asterisk) is used to denote leading and trailing spaces (as the case may be). By default, this parameter is set to none indicating that the eG agent obtains the inside and outside views of all VMs on a virtual host by default. By providing a comma-separated list of VMs/VM name patterns in the EXCLUDE VMS text box, you can make sure the eG agent stops collecting 'inside' and 'outside' view metrics for a configured set of VMs.
  13. IGNORE WINNT - By default, the eG agent does not support the inside view for VMs executing on Windows NT operating systems. Accordingly, the IGNORE WINNT flag is set to Yes by default.
  14. webport - By default, in most virtualized environments, the XenServer listens on port 80 (if not SSL-enabled) or on port 443 (if SSL-enabled). This implies that while monitoring an SSL-enabled XenServer, the eG agent, by default, connects to port 443 of the server to pull out metrics, and while monitoring a non-SSL-enabled XenServer, the eG agent connects to port 80. Accordingly, the webport parameter is set to 80 or 443 depending upon the status of the ssl flag. In some environments however, the default ports 80 or 443 might not apply. In such a case, against the webport parameter, you can specify the exact port at which the XenServer in your environment listens so that the eG agent communicates with that port.
  15. REPORT BY USER - While monitoring a Citrix XenServer, the REPORT BY USER flag is set to No by default, indicating that by default, the guest operating systems on the XenServer are identified using the hostname specified in the operating system. On the other hand, while monitoring a Citrix XenServer - VDI, this flag is set to Yes by default; this implies that in case of the XenServer VDI model, by default, the desktops will be identified using the login of the user who is accessing them. In other words, in VDI environments, this test will, by default, report measures for every username_on_virtualmachinename.

  16. REPORT POWERED OS - This flag becomes relevant only if the report by user flag is set to ‘Yes’.

    If the report powered os flag is set to Yes (which is the default setting), then this test will report measures for even those VMs that do not have any users logged in currently. Such guests will be identified by their virtualmachine name and not by the username_on_virtualmachinename. On the other hand, if the report powered os flag is set to No, then this test will not report measures for those VMs to which no users are logged in currently.

  17. DETAILED DIAGNOSIS - To make diagnosis more efficient and accurate, the eG suite embeds an optional detailed diagnostic capability. With this capability, the eG agents can be configured to run detailed, more elaborate tests as and when specific problems are detected. To enable the detailed diagnosis capability of this test for a particular server, choose the On option. To disable the capability, click on the Off option.

    The option to selectively enable/disable the detailed diagnosis capability will be available only if the following conditions are fulfilled:

    • The eG manager license should allow the detailed diagnosis capability
    • Both the normal and abnormal frequencies configured for the detailed diagnosis measures should not be 0.
Measurements made by the test
Measurement Description Measurement Unit Interpretation

Number of sessions

Indicates the number of sessions intiated by this user.

Number

The value 0 indicates that the user is not currently connected to the Citrix server.

Bandwidth

Indicates the bandwidth usage of all sessions of this user.

Kbps

Compare the value of this measure across users to know which user is consuming the maximum bandwidth.

Round trip time

Indicates the round trip latency between the virtual machine and this user.

Seconds

Comparing the value of this measure across users will enable administrators to quickly and accurately identify users who are experiencing higher latency when connecting to a virtual machine via EDT protocol.

Flow window

Indicates the size of the flow window.

KB

The flow window and congestion window are used to control the congestion in the network. The smaller the value of both the windows, the data will be sent without any delay. The larger the value, the data will be added up in the sent queue and it will be sent with delay.

Congestion window

Indicates the size of the congestion window.

KB

Sent packets

Indicates the number of EDT packets sent by this user.

Packets

 

Received packets

Indicates the number of EDT packets received by this user.

Packets

 

Retransmitted packets

Indicates the number of EDT packets that were retransmitted by the user.

Packets

 

Lost sent packets

Indicates the number of packets lost by this user during transmission.

Packets

Ideally, the value of this measure should be zero.

Comparing the value of these measures across users will enable administrators to quickly and accurately identify users who have extensively lost packets during transmission and reception of packets via EDT protocol.

Lost received packets

Indicates the number of packets lost by this user during reception.

Packets

Sent acknowledgements

Indicates the number of acknowledgements that were received by this user for sending the EDT packets.

Number

 

Sent negative acknowledgements

Indicates the number of negative acknowledgements that were received by this user for sending the EDT packets.

Number

 

Received acknowledgements

Indicates the number of acknowledgements that were received by this user for reception of EDT packets.

Number

 

Received negative acknowledgements

Indicates the number of negative acknowledgements that were received by this user for reception of EDT packets.

Number