Desktop’s HDX Channel Test

As already mentioned, the key factors influencing user experience in a virtual desktop infrastructure are the latencies experienced by the user while connecting to the desktop via ICA and the bandwidth used when a user interacts with a virtual desktop. High latency and excessive bandwidth consumption can often slowdown access to desktops, thereby significantly delaying subsequent user operations. Hence, monitoring the latency and bandwidth usage of the ICA communication channel between the user terminal and the virtual desktops is essential.

The Desktop's HDX Channel test auto-discovers the Windows virtual desktops on the cloud and the users who are currently connected to each desktop.  For each such user, the test monitors the communication between a user and the virtual desktop, and reports the following:

  • The latency experienced by each user session;
  • The bandwidth used by the incoming and outgoing data/audio/multimedia traffic transacted by the ICA communication channel between each user and virtual desktop;

Using this test, an administrator can identify user sessions that are being impacted by high latency and abnormal bandwidth usage. In addition, the test also reveals the type of traffic that is causing excessive bandwidth usage, thereby providing pointers to how the client configuration can be fine-tuned in order to reduce bandwidth consumption and improve performance.

This test is disabled by default. To enable the test, go to the enable / disable tests page using the menu sequence: Agents -> Tests -> Enable/Disable, pick Cloud Desktops as the Component type, set Performance as the Test type, choose this test from the disabled tests list, and click on the >> button to move the test to the enableD tests list.

Note:

This test will report metrics only if the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • The Windows virtual desktops being monitored should be managed by XenDesktop Broker.
  • The Virtual Desktop Agent software should have been installed on the Windows virtual desktops.
  • The ICA Session performance object should be enabled on the Windows virtual desktops.

Target of the test : A Windows virtual desktop on the cloud

Agent deploying the test : A remote agent

Outputs of the test : One set of results for every user who is connected to a virtual desktop via ICA

Configurable parameters for the test
Parameter Description

Test Period

How often should the test be executed.

Host

The nick name of the Cloud Desktops component for which this test is to be configured.

Port

Refers to the port at which the specified host listens to. By default, this is NULL.

Inside View Using

To obtain the 'inside view' of performance of the cloud-hosted Windows desktops - i.e., to measure the internal performance of the Windows virtual desktops - this test uses a light-weight eG VM Agent software deployed on each of the desktops. Accordingly, this parameter is by default set to eG VM Agent (Windows).

Report Powered OS

This flag is relevant only for those tests that are mapped to the Inside View of Desktops layer. If this flag is set to Yes (which is the default setting), then the 'inside view' tests will report measures for even those Windows virtual desktops that do not have any users logged in currently. Such desktops will be identified by their name and not by the username_on_virtualdesktopname. On the other hand, if this flag is set to No, then this test will not report measures for those Windows virtual desktops to which no users are logged in currently.  

Is Cloud VMs

Since this test runs for a 'Cloud Desktops' component, this flag is set to Yes by default.

Measurements of the test

Measurement Description Measurement Unit Interpretation

Session average latency

Indicates the average client latency over the lifetime of this session.

Secs

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 desktop.

Session deviation latency

Indicates the difference between the minimum and maximum measured latency values for this session.

Secs

 

Audio bandwidth input

Indicates the bandwidth used while transmitting sound/audio to this user.

Kbps

Comparing these values across users will reveal which user is sending/receiving bandwidth-intensive sound/audio files over the ICA channel.

To minimize bandwidth consumption, you may want to consider disabling client audio mapping.

Audio bandwidth output

Indicates the bandwidth used while receiving sound/audio from this user.

Kbps

COM bandwidth input

Indicates the bandwidth used when sending data to this user’s COM port.

 

Kbps

Comparing these values across users will reveal which user’s COM port is sending/receiving bandwidth-intensive data over the ICA channel.

COM bandwidth ouput

Indicates the bandwidth used when receiving data from this user’s COM port.

Kbps

Drive bandwidth input

Indicates the bandwidth used when this user performs file operations on the mapped drive on the virtual desktop.

Kbps

Comparing the values of these measures across users will reveal which user is performing bandwidth-intensive file operations over the ICA channel.

If bandwidth consumption is too high, you may want to consider disabling client drive mapping on the client device. Client drive mapping allows users logged on to a virtual desktop from a client device to access their local drives transparently from the ICA session. Alternatively, you can conserve bandwidth by even refraining from accessing large files with client drive mapping over the ICA connection.

Drive bandwidth output

Indicates the bandwidth used when the virtual desktop performs file operations on the client’s drive.

Kbps

Printer bandwidth input

Indicates the bandwidth used when this user prints to a desktop printer over the ICA channel.

Kbps

Comparing the values of these measures across users will reveal which user is issuing bandwidth-intensive print commands over the ICA channel.

If bandwidth consumption is too high, you may want to consider disabling printing. Alternatively, you can avoid printing large documents over the ICA connection.

Printer bandwidth output

Indicates the bandwidth used when the desktop responds to print jobs issued by this user. 

Kbps

Session bandwidth input

Indicates the bandwidth used from this user to the virtual desktop for a session

Kbps

Comparing the values of these measures across users will reveal which user and which virtual desktop is performing bandwidth-intensive operatons for a session.

Session bandwidth output

Indicates the bandwidth used from the virtual desktop to this user for a session.

Kbps

Session compression input

Indicates the compression ratio used from this user to the virtual desktop for a session.

Number

Compression reduces the size of the data that is transacted over the ICA channel.

Comparing the values of these measures across users will reveal which client has been configured with a very low and a very high compression ratio.

In the event of high bandwidth usage over an ICA channel, you can set a higher compression ratio for the corresponding client and thus reduce bandwidth consumption.

Session compression output

Indicates the compression ratio used from the virtual desktop to this user for a session.

Number

Speed screen data channel bandwidth input

Indicates the bandwidth used from this user to the virtual desktop for data channel traffic.

Kbps

Comparing the values of these measures across users will reveal which user has been transmitting/receiving bandwidth-intensive data channel traffic.

 

Speed screen data channel bandwidth output

Indicates the bandwidth used from virtual desktop to this user for data channel traffic.

Kbps

Speed screen multimedia acceleration bandwidth input

Indicates the bandwidth used from this user to virtual desktop for multimedia traffic.

Kbps

Comparing the values of these measures across users will reveal which user has been transmitting/receiving bandwidth-intensive multimedia traffic.

 

 

Speed screen multimedia acceleration bandwidth output

Indicates the bandwidth used from the virtual desktop to this user for multimedia traffic

Kbps

HDX media stream for flash data bandwidth input

Indicates the bandwidth used from this user to virtual desktop for flash data traffic.

Kbps

Comparing the values of these measures across users will reveal which user has been transmitting/receiving bandwidth-intensive flash data.  

HDX media stream for flash data bandwidth output

Indicates the bandwidth used from the virtual desktop to this user for flash data traffic

Kbps

 

USB bandwidth input

Indicates the bandwidth used from this user to the virtual desktop for the USB port-related traffic.

Kbps

Comparing the values of these measures across users will reveal which user has been transmitting/receiving bandwidth-intensive USB traffic.

 

USB bandwidth output

Indicates the bandwidth used from the virtual desktop to this user for the USB port-related traffic.

Kbps

Last recorded latency

Indicates the last recorded latency of this user session.

Secs

Comparing the value of this measure across user sessions will enable administrators to quickly and accurately identify users who experienced high latencies recently.

Input line speed

Indicates the average line speed of all the sessions of this user to the desktop.

KB/Sec

 

Output line speed

Indicates the average line speed of all sessions from the desktop to this user.

KB/Sec

 

Bandwidth usage

Indicates the percentage HDX bandwidth consumption of this user.

Percent

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

Resource shares

Indicates the total number of resource shares used by this user.

Number

By comparing the value of this measure across users, you can identify the user who is hogging the resources.

Frame rate

Indicates the rate at which frames are processed during this user session.

 

Frames/Sec

FPS is how fast your graphics card can output individual frames each second. It is the most time-tested and ideal measure of performance of a GPU. Higher the value of this measure, healthier is the GPU.

Framehawk frame rate

Indicates the rate at which frames are processed by the Framehawk virtual channel, if it is enabled for this user session.

Frames/Sec

The Framehawk virtual channel optimizes the delivery of virtual desktops and applications to users on broadband wireless connections, when high packet loss or congestion occurs.

Note:

This measure will report the value 0 if Framehawk is not enabled for a user or if the device from which the user is accessing the application does not support Framehawk.

Framehawk network bandwidth

Indicates the bandwidth consumption of this user session when the Framehawk virtual delivery channel is used.

Kbps

This measure will report the value 0 if Framehawk is not enabled for a user or if the device from which the user is accessing the application does not support Framehawk.

Framehawk latency

Indicates the latency experienced by this user session when the Framehawk virtual delivery channel is used.

Secs

This measure will report the value 0 if Framehawk is not enabled for a user or if the device from which the user is accessing the application does not support Framehawk.

Framehawk network loss

Indicates the percentage of packet loss experienced by this user session when the Framehawk virtual delivery channel is used.

Percent

This measure will report the value 0 if Framehawk is not enabled for a user or if the device from which the user is accessing the application does not support Framehawk.

User's connection quality indicator

Indicates the connectivity of this user with the Citrix environment.

 

The values that this measure can report and their corresponding numeric values are discussed in the table above:

Measure Value Numeric Value
Poor connection 1
Weak connection 2
Strong connection 3
None 4

Note:

By default, this measure reports the Measure Values listed in the table above. In the graph of this measure however, the value of this measure is represented using their numeric equivalents only.

A major alert will be generated when this test reports the "Poor connection" value for this measure. Likewise, a minor alert will be generated when the value of this measure is "Weak connection".