PCoIP Session - VM Test

PCoIP - PC over IP - is a proprietary protocol for remote workstation and desktop resolution. Hyper-V supports PCoIP to deliver virtual desktops to users connecting to the VDI. Since PCoIP recognizes different types of content and then uses different compression algorithms based on the content type, it is often considered ideal to deliver on the VDI promise of a rich user experience.

The key factors influencing user experience in such cases are the latencies experienced by the user while connecting to the desktop via PCoIP 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 PCoIP communication channel between the user terminal and the virtual desktops is essential.

The PCoIP Session - VM test auto-discovers the virtual desktops on the Hyper-V server 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 PCoIP 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.

Note:

This test is relevant only where VMware Horizon View is used to broker connections between the user and the desktops.

That is why, 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 Microsoft Hyper-V - VDI 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.

Target of the test : A Hyper-V server

Agent executing the test : An internal agent

Output of the test : One set of results will be reported for every user who is connected to a virtual desktop, via PCoIP.

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 host listens. By default, this is NULL.
  4. 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, 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 theInside 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.

  5. 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. Accordingly, the inside view using flag is set to Remote connection to VM (Windows) by default. To obtain a remote connection, the test must be configured with the privileges of an administrative user to the domain within which the guests reside. 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 VMs 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)’: On the other hand, if the inside view using flag is set to eG VM Agent (Windows), then it implies that the inside view can be obtained without domain administrator privileges. Therefore, set the domain, admin user, and admin password parameters to none.
  6. REPORT BY USER – For the Hyper-V monitoring model, the REPORT BY USER flag is set to NO by default, indicating that by default, the guest operating systems on the Hyper-V server are identified using the hostname specified in the operating system. On the other hand, for the Hyper-V VDI model, this flag is set to YES by default; this implies that in case of VDI servers, by default, the guests will be identified using the login of the user who is accessing the guest OS. In other words, in VDI environments, this test will, by default, report measures for every username_on_virtualmachinename.
  7. 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.   

  8. ignore vms inside view - Administrators of some high security Hyper-V 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 Hyper-V 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.

  9. 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.
  10. 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.
Measurements reported by the test
Measurement Description Measurement Unit Interpretation

Round trip time

Indicates the round trip latency between the virtual desktop and this user terminal.

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.

Data received rate

Indicates the rate at which data was received by this user from the virtual desktop.

Kbit/Sec

Comparing the value of each of these measures across users will enable administrators to quickly and accurately identify users who are consuming the maximum bandwidth. Once you zero-in on the user, you can compare the Data received rate of that user with the Data sent rate to know when the user consumed more bandwidth - when receiving data or while sending data?

Data sent rate

Indicates the rate at which data was sent by this user to the virtual desktop.

Kbit/Sec

Audio data received rate

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

Kbit/Sec

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

 

Audio data sent rate

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

Kbit/Sec

Imaging data received rate

 

Indicates the bandwidth used when sending imaging data to this user.

Kbit/Sec

Comparing these values across users will reveal which user is sending/receiving bandwidth-intensive images over PCoIP.

Imaging data sent rate

Indicates the bandwidth used when receiving imaging data from this user.

Kbit/Sec

Imaging decoder capability rate

Indicates the currrent estimate of the decoder processing capability.

Kbit/Sec

 

Incoming bandwidth rate

Indicates the overall bandwidth used by incoming PCoIP packets.

Kbit/Sec

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

Outgoing bandwidth rate

Indicates the overall bandwidth used by outgoing PCoIP packets.

Kbit/Sec

USB data received rate

Indicates the bandwidth used when this user received USB data over the PCoIP channel.

Kbit/Sec

Comparing the values of these measures across users will reveal which user is sending/receiving bandwidth-intensive USB data over the PCoIP channel.

USB data sent rate

Indicates the bandwidth used when this user sent USB data over the PCoIP channel. 

Kbit/Sec

Received packets lost

Indicates the percentage of packets received by this user that were lost.

Percent

A high value for these measures is indicative of a bad network connection between the user terminal and the virtual desktop.

Transmitted packets lost

Indicates the percentage of packets transmitted by this user that were lost.

Percent

Imaging encoded frames

Indicates the number of imaging frames that were encoded per second.

Frames/Sec