AVD Connection Stages By Hostpools Test

One of the key determinants of the quality of a user's experience with an AVD session host is the sign-in experience of that user. Figure 1 depicts the different stages of a typical AVD user sign-in process

Figure 1 : The typical user sign-in process

Once the user initiates a connection by selecting the Azure virtual desktop icon, the steps below will follow:

  1. User Route: The Azure service identifies a host for the user to connect to.

  2. Stack connected: Once the host is identified, the Azure service then resolves that session host for the user and establishes a connection between the session host and the user’s remote client.

  3. Logon: As soon as the connection is established, the shell starts to load. In the proces, the user profile is loaded, group policies are applied, FSLogix is launched, annd the shell is started.

  4. Shell ready: Once the shell is fully loaded , it is ready for use.

A delay in any of the aforesaid stages/steps can adversely impact the sign-in experience of a user. If such latencies are allowed to persist, they can irreparably scar the overall user experience with AVD. This in turn can compel enterprises to question the stability and reliability of the AVD service, and even reconsider their current and future AVD investments. To avoid this, help desk has to continuously monitor user sign-ins to desktops, proactively detect sign-in slowness, accurately identify where - i.e., at which step/stage - the sign-in process slowed down the most, and rapidly clear the bottleneck. This is where the AVD Connection Stages by Hostpools test helps!

This test auto-discovers the AVD host pools managed by each resource group, and monitors user sign-ins to every host pool, end-to-end - i.e., across all stages of the sign-in process. While at it, the test reports the time taken at each step of the sign-in process. If users to a host pool are constantly complaining of slowness when signing in, then help desk can use this test to quickly and accurately isolate the precise step/stage that is delaying sign-ins to that host pool. Moreover, using the detailed diagnostics reported by the test, help desk can swiftly identify the users who are most impacted by the slowness at any particular stage. This information will help administrators rapidly resolve user complaints pertaining to sign-in delays.

Target of the Test: A Microsoft AVD Broker

Agent deploying the test: A remote agent

Output of the test: One set of results for each AVD host pool managed by the target AVD broker, in each resource group of the configured subscription

Configurable parameters for the test
Parameters Description

Test Period

How often should the test be executed.

Host

The host for which the test is to be configured.

Subscription ID

Specify the GUID which uniquely identifies the Microsoft Azure Subscription to be monitored. To know the ID that maps to the target subscription, do the following:

  1. Login to the Microsoft Azure Portal.

  2. When the portal opens, click on the Subscriptions option (as indicated by Figure 2).

    Figure 2 : Clicking on the Subscriptions option

  3. Figure 3 that appears next will list all the subscriptions that have been configured for the target Azure AD tenant. Locate the subscription that is being monitored in the list, and check the value displayed for that subscription in the Subscription ID column.

    Figure 3 : Determining the Subscription ID

  4. Copy the Subscription ID in Figure 3 to the text box corresponding to the SUBSCRIPTION ID parameter in the test configuration page.

Tenant ID

Specify the Directory ID of the Azure AD tenant to which the target subscription belongs. To know how to determine the Directory ID, refer to Configuring the eG Agent to Monitor a Microsoft AVD Broker Using Azure ARM REST API

Client ID and Client Password

To collect the required metrics, the eG agent requires an Access token in the form of an Application ID and the client secret value. If a Microsoft Azure Subscription component or a Microsoft Azure Active Directory component is already being monitored, then an Application would have already been created for monitoring purposes. The Application ID and Client Secret of such an application can be specified here. However, if no such application exists, then you will have to create one for monitoring the AVD broker. To know how to create such an application and determine its Application ID and Client Secret, refer to Configuring the eG Agent to Monitor a Microsoft AVD Broker Using Azure ARM REST API. Specify the Application ID of the created Application in the Client ID text box and the client secret value in the Client Password text box.

Proxy Host

In some environments, all communication with the Azure cloud be routed through a proxy server. In such environments, you should make sure that the eG agent connects to the cloud via the proxy server and collects metrics. To enable metrics collection via a proxy, specify the IP address of the proxy server and the port at which the server listens against the Proxy Host and Proxy Port parameters. By default, these parameters are set to none, indicating that the eG agent is not configured to communicate via a proxy, by default.

Proxy Username, Proxy Password and Confirm Password

If the proxy server requires authentication, then, specify a valid proxy user name and password in the Proxy Username and Proxy Password parameters, respectively. Then, confirm the password by retyping it in the Confirm Password text box.

Log Analytics Workspace Name

Typically, to consolidate log entries, correlate log data, and perform complex analysis, a host pool's logs are often sent to one/more Log Analytics Workspaces.

By default, the Log Analytics Workspace Name parameter is set to All. This indicates that the test reads log data from all Log Analytics Workspaces configured for the target subscription, by default. However, if you want the test to use only those Log Analytics Workspaces to which a host pool's logs are sent, then provide the names of these workspaces here as a comma-separated list. To determine the names of the workspaces, do the following:

  1. Login to the Microsoft Azure Portal, and click on Host Pools to view the configured host pools.

  2. Select any of the host pools displayed therein by clicking on it.

  3. Next, keep scrolling down the left panel of the page that then appears, until the Diagnostic Settings option (under Monitoring) become visible.  Click on Diagnostic Settings to proceed.

  1. The diagnostic settings that pre-exist (if any) for the chosen host pool will then appear. If any of the existing diagnostic settings have already been configured with Log Analytics Workspaces, then the Log Analytics workspace column of that list will display these workspace names. You can configure the LOG ANALYTICS WORKSPACE NAME parameter of this test with any of these workspace names. If required, you can even configure this parameter with two/more workspaces displayed here, as a comma-separated list

  1. However, If the Log Analytics workspace column is blank for all the existing diagnostic settings, it is a clear indication that the host pool's logs are yet to be configured to be sent to any Log Analytics Workspace. In this case therefore, you should create a new diagnostic setting for the target host pool where a Log Analytics Workspace is configured as the destination for the logs. To achieve this, follow the procedure detailed in Configuring the Host Pool Logs to be Sent to a Log Analytics Workspace.

DD Frequency

Refers to the frequency with which detailed diagnosis measures are to be generated for this test. The default is 1:1. This indicates that, by default, detailed measures will be generated every time this test runs, and also every time the test detects a problem. You can modify this frequency, if you so desire. Also, if you intend to disable the detailed diagnosis capability for this test, you can do so by specifying none against DD frequency.

Detailed Diagnosis

To make diagnosis more efficient and accurate, eG Enterprise 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.

Measures made by the test:
Measurement Description Measurement Unit Interpretation

User route duration

Indicates the average time that elapsed from when users to this host pool selected the Azure Virtual Desktop icon to when the Azure service identifies hosts for the users to connect to.

Secs

If users to a host pool are complaining of poor sign-in experience, then compare the value of this measure with the other measures (of this test) for that host pool to know why - is it because of high routing times? is it because stack connections are taking too long? are logons slow? or is it because the shell is taking a long time to get ready?

If this measure registers the highest value, then you can conclude that high routing times are slowing down sign-ins. Typically, routing time can increase due to high network load, high service load, or unique network traffic routing.

Use the detailed diagnosis of this measure to identify the user who is experiencing abnormally high routing times when signing in. To troubleshoot user route issues, look at your network paths.

Stack connected duration

Indicates the average time that elapsed from when the Azure service resolves a target session host in this host pool for a user to when the service establishes a connection between the session host and the user's remote client.

Secs

If users to a host pool are complaining of poor sign-in experience, then compare the value of this measure with the other measures (of this test) for that host pool to know why - is it because of high routing times? is it because stack connections are taking too long? are logons slow? or is it because the shell is taking a long time to get ready?

If this measure registers the highest value, then you can conclude that stack connection is the bottleneck. Connections can take a long time owing to high network load, high service load, or unique network traffic routing. You may also need to pay attention to your network routing.

Use the detailed diagnosis of this measure to identify the user who is experiencing abnormally high connection time when signing in. To reduce connection time, make sure you have appropriately configured all proxy configurations on both the client and session hosts, and that routing to the service is optimal.

Logon duration

Indicates the average time that elapsed from when a connection is established to a host in this host pool to when the shell starts to load.

Secs

If users to a host pool are complaining of poor sign-in experience, then compare the value of this measure with the other measures (of this test) for that host pool to know why - is it because of high routing times? is it because stack connections are taking too long? are logons slow? or is it because the shell is taking a long time to get ready?

If this measure registers the highest value, then you can conclude that the sign-in experience is sufering owing to logon delays. Logon time typically includes several processes that can contribute to high connection times. Any delay in profile loading, group policy processing, starting the shell, or launching FSLogix can significantly increase logon time. If you want to know which one of these factors is causing the logon delay, then check out the measures of the Winlogon Stages by Hostpools test.

Use the detailed diagnosis of this measure to identify the user whose logon experience is very poor.

Shell start duration

Indicates the average time that elapsed from when the shell starts to load to when it's fully loaded and ready for use.

Secs

If users to a host pool are complaining of poor sign-in experience, then compare the value of this measure with the other measures (of this test) for that host pool to know why - is it because of high routing times? is it because stack connections are taking too long? are logons slow? or is it because the shell is taking a long time to get ready?

If this measure registers the highest value, then you can conclude that the sign-ins are slow because shell loading is taking too long. Delays in this phase can be caused by session host overload (high CPU, memory, or disk activity) or configuration issues.

Use the detailed diagnosis of this measure to identify the user who has been waiting the longest for the shell to load.