Challenges in Monitoring Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD)

The AVD service overlays a complex, distributed, N-tier architecture comprising of many moving parts (see Figure 1) . A problem in any of these parts - whether it is Microsoft-managed or customer-managed - can ripple and affect the performance of the dependent parts, thus adversely impacting service delivery/performance. For instance, if the Azure cloud itself is inaccessible, then the control plane components on Azure will also be rendered unavailable; as a result, the AVD service will not be able to entertain desktop requests from users. Similarly, if the AVD connection broker in the Microsoft-managed infrastructure fails, desktop provisioning will fail, thus denying users access to their desktops/applications. Likewise, if one/more session hosts in an AVD host pool are not sized with adequate resources, host performance will deteriorate, thus impacting user experience with the AVD service.

Because of these intricate inter-dependencies, whenever users complain of desktop slowness/unavailability, administrators find it near-impossible to accurately diagnose its root-cause - is it because of the end-user terminal? is it because the cloud infrastructure is running out of resources? is it owing to a weak network? is VDI the bottleneck? is the application slow? or is it a problem with Active Directory? Without any clarity as to where the problem is, administrators often struggle to arrive at the right solution to the problem, which in turn causes prolonged service outages.

Moreover, despite its many advantages, as a very young product, AVD brings with it feature or tooling gaps in Microsoft stacks. Owing to these gaps, many are retaining or introducing Citrix, VMware, or other third-party vendor offerings to deploy and manage AVD.

The heterogeneous vendor management stacks and the mix of on-premises, DaaS, and cloud, compound the management challenges of administrators.

When faced with such challenges, administrators often seek help from the Azure Monitor. But, the Monitor offers only limited performance and problem insights. Moreover, it is laborious to setup the Azure Monitor. This is why, there is a need for a dedicated and robust monitoring solution for AVD.