User Profile Management - VM Test

User logon is a complex and resource intensive process in a VDI environment, and is a key determinant of the quality of a user's experience with the VDI service. This process is initiated when a desktop broker's load balancing algorithm selects the virtual desktop where a published application or desktop, which a user has selected, will be started and ends when the application or desktop is running and the user is able to interact with it.

Delays in the user logon process can therefore serve as key spoilers of a user's experience with the desktop service, causing significant loss of revenue and reputation in mission-critical VDI environments.

One of the common causes for delays in user logons is a delay in the loading of user profiles. To reduce the time taken to load profiles and thus minimize the user logon time, VDI environments where user connections are brokered through the Citrix XenDesktop Broker, use the Citrix Profile Management solution. Citrix Profile Management is a profile type that supersedes all other profiles for the user.

During logon, the Profile management service manages the user settings in a user profile. This service helps minimize the user logon time by enabling administrators to exclude (and include) certain files and folders in order to prevent extraneous settings from needlessly being copied with the profile. For example, some applications may create folders and files that account for tens or hundreds of megabytes - data that is really not required. By excluding these items, the profile is thus smaller, and smaller profiles load faster. Alternatively, you could elect to only include specific files and folders, thus keeping to a minimum the amount of profile data being managed within the user‘s profile.

Also, upon logoff, the Profile management service merges back only changed user settings to the centrally stored user settings (user‘s store).

In environments where the Citrix Profile Management service is utilized therefore, the user experience with the VDI service greatly depends upon how efficient the service is.

To ascertain the efficiency of the Citrix Profile Management service, VDI administrators may have to periodically track the logon/logoff duration and profile size of each user to the virtual desktops operating on a target virtual host. Doing so will enable these administrators to determine whether/not the Profile management service has succeeded in minimizing both user logon times and profile sizes. The User Profile Management - Guest test helps administrators perform this check at pre-configured intervals. The 'per-user' performance results reported by this test will not only enable administrators to judge the effectiveness of the Profile management service in its entirety, but will also shed light on those user logons/logoffs that are still experiencing delays; this provides insights into how the service can be fine-tuned to enhance the VDI experience of such users.

Note:

This test is relevant only where the Citrix XenDesktop Broker is used to broker connections between the user and the desktops. This 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 the 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

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

Logon Duration

Indicates the duration of logon processing for this user.

Secs

This value helps to measure the reduction in logon times when the Profile Management service 'streams' the profile. Ideally therefore, this value should be low. A high value or a consistent increase in the value of this measure could indicate that profile loading still takes a lot of time at logon - this could be owing to a large profile size. You can then check the value reported by the Logon Bytes measure to know the profile size at logon. If profile sizes continue to grow at logon despite the use of Profile management, it is indicative of the ineffectiveness of profile management. You may then have to fine-tune the feature to further reduce the profile size by excluding more unnecessary files from the profile, or you may have to explore other options such as roaming profiles, mandatory profiles, etc. 

Logon Bytes

Indicates the size of this user's profile when it is retrieved from the user's store at logon.

MB

Ideally, the value of this measure should be low. A low profile size could result in faster profile loading at logon, lesser time to login, and consequently, a richer user experience with the VDI service. 

If profile sizes continue to grow despite the use of Profile management, it is indicative of the ineffectiveness of profile management. You may then have to fine-tune the feature to further reduce the profile size by excluding more unnecessary files from the profile.

Logoff Duration

Indicates the duration of logoff processing for this user.

Secs

A low value is desired for this measure. A high value could indicate that the profile management service takes too long to update the user's store with changes in the user settings. This could be because of a bad network connection between the virtual desktop and the user's store, or because too many changes are waiting to be written to the user store.

Logoff Bytes

Indicates the size of this user's profile when it is copied to the user store at logoff.

MB

This measure provides a fair idea of the volume of changes that were copied to the user's store at logoff.

Local Profile Setup Duration

Indicates the time taken to create or prepare this user's profile on the local computer.

Secs

A low value is desired for these measures.

If a user complaints of delays during logon, you can use the value of these measures to determine where the VDI service is spending too much time - is it when setting up the local profile? or is it when deleting the local profile?

 

Delete Local Profile Duration

Indicates the time spent deleting this user's local profiles during the initial migration.

Secs

Processed Logon Files Under 1KB

Indicates the number of locally copied files for this user's profile that are synchronized during logon and categorized by the file size of 1KB.

Number

All the Processed Logon Files measures help VDI administrators to understand whether/not 'profile streaming' (performed by the Profile Management service) has helped in reducing the number of locally copied files during logon.

All the Processed Logoff Files measures help VDI administrators to understand how many files changed when the user session was in progress.

 

 

Processed Logoff Files Under 1KB

Indicates the number of locally copied file for this user's profile that are synchronized during logoff and categorized by the file size of 1KB.

Number

Processed Logon Files from 1KB to 10KB

Indicates the number of locally copied files for this user's profile that are synchronized during logon and categorized by the file size ranging from 1KB to 10KB.

Number

Processed Logoff Files from 1KB to 10KB

Indicates the number of locally copied files for this user's profile that are synchronized during logoff and categorized by the file size ranging from 1KB to 10KB.

Number

Processed Logon Files from 10KB to 100KB

Indicates the number of locally copied files for this user's profile that are synchronized during logon and categorized by the file size ranging from 10KB to 100KB.

Number

Processed Logoff Files from 10KB to 100KB

Indicates the number of locally copied files for this user's profile that are synchronized during logoff and categorized by the file size ranging from 1KB to 10KB.

Number

All the Processed Logon Files measures help VDI administrators to understand whether/not 'profile streaming' (performed by the Profile Management service) has helped  in reducing the number of locally copied files during logon.

All the Processed Logoff Files measures help VDI administrators to understand how many files changed when the user session was in progress.

Processed Logon Files from 100KB to 1MB

Indicates the number of locally copied files for this user's profile that are synchronized during logon and categorized by the file size ranging from 100KB to 1MB.

Number

Processed Logoff Files from 100KB to 1MB

Indicates the number of locally copied files for this user's profile that are synchronized during logoff and categorized by the file size ranging from 100KB to 1MB.

Number

Processed Logon Files from 1MB to 5MB

Indicates the number of locally copied files for this user's profile that are synchronized during logon and categorized by the file size ranging from 1MB to 5MB.

Number

Processed Logoff Files from 1MB to 5MB

Indicates the number of locally copied files for this user's profile that are synchronized during logoff and categorized by the file size ranging from 1MB to 5MB.

Number

All the Processed Logon Files measures help VDI administrators to understand whether/not 'profile streaming' (performed by the Profile Management service) has helped  in reducing the number of locally copied files during logon.

All the Processed Logoff Files measures help VDI administrators to understand how many files changed when the user session was in progress.

Processed Logon Files Above 5MB

Indicates the number of locally copied files for this user's profile that are synchronized during logon and categorized by the file size above 5MB.

Number

Processed Logoff Files Above 5MB

Indicates the number of locally copied files for this user's profile that are synchronized during logoff and categorized by the file size above 5MB.

Number