PCoIP Session - VM Test

PCoIP  - PC over IP - is a proprietary protocol for remote workstation and desktop resolution. VMware View 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 Nutanix Acropolis host and the users who are currently connected to each desktop via PCoIP. 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.

This test is relevant only where VMware View is used to broker connections between the user and the desktops. Hence, 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 Nutanix Acropolis 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 Nutanix Acropolis server

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 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 specified host listens. By default, this is NULL.
  4. Prism IP - If the eG manager had discovered the target Nutanix Acropolis server by connecting to the Nutanix Prism, then the IP address of the Nutanix Prism server used for discovering this Nutanix Acropolis server would be automatically displayed against the prism ip parameter; similarly, the prism user and prism password text boxes will be automatically populated with the Prism user credentials, using which Nutanix Acropolis discovery was performed.

     

    If this Nutanix Acropolis server has not been discovered using the Nutanix Prism, but you still want to monitor the Nutanix Acropolis server via the Prism, then select the IP address of the Prism server that you wish to use for monitoring the Nutanix Acropolis server from the prism ip list. By default, this list is populated with the IP address of all Nutanix Prism hosts that were added to the eG Enterprise system at the time of discovery. Upon selection, the PRISM user and prism password that were pre-configured for that Nutanix Prism will be automatically displayed against the respective text boxes.

     

    On the other hand, if the IP address of the Prism server of interest to you is not available in the list, then, you can add the details of the Prism server on-the-fly, by selecting the Other option from the prism ip list. This will invoke the MANAGER DISCOVERY - VIRTUAL PLATFORM SETTINGS page. Refer to the Configuring eG Enterprise to Monitor Nutanix Acropolis topic for details on how to use this page.

  5. Prism user and prism password - If the eG manager had discovered the target Nutanix Acropolis server by connecting to the Nutanix Prism, then the IP address of the Nutanix Prism server used for discovering this Nutanix Acropolis server would be automatically displayed against the prism ip parameter; similarly, the prism user and prism password text boxes will be automatically populated with the Prism user credentials, using which Nutanix Acropolis discovery was performed.

     

    If this Nutanix Acropolis server has not been discovered using the Nutanix Prism, but you still want to monitor the Nutanix Acropolis server via the Prism, then select the IP address of the Prism server that you wish to use for monitoring the Nutanix Acropolis server from the prism ip list. By default, this list is populated with the IP address of all Nutanix Prism hosts that were added to the eG Enterprise system at the time of discovery. Upon selection, the PRISM user and prism password that were pre-configured for that Nutanix Prism will be automatically displayed against the respective text boxes.

    On the other hand, if the IP address of the Prism server of interest to you is not available in the list, then, you can add the details of the Prism server on-the-fly, by selecting the Other option from the prism ip list. This will invoke the MANAGER DISCOVERY - VIRTUAL PLATFORM SETTINGS page. Refer to the Configuring eG Enterprise to Monitor Nutanix Acropolis topic for details on how to use this page.

  6. confirm password - Confirm the password by retyping it here.
  7. ssl - By default, the Nutanix Prism server is SSL-enabled. Accordingly, the SSL flag is set to Yes by default. This indicates that the eG agent will communicate with the Prism server via HTTPS by default.

  8. webport - By default, the Nutanix Prism server listens on port 9440. This implies that while monitoring a Nutanix Acropolis server via the Prism server, the eG agent connects to port 9440.

  9. exclude vms - Administrators of some virtualized environments may not want to monitor some of their less-critical VMs 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 vms inside view - Administrators of some high security Nutanixe 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 Nutanix Acropolis server 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.

  11. 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.
  12. 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 with Windows VMs in particular, 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 (Windows) 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 the eG Agent to Collect Current Hardware Status Metrics 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.

  13. 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. In order to obtain a remote connection, the test must be configured with user privileges that allow remote communication with the virtual guests. 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 domainIf 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 guests do not belong to any domain (as in the case of Linux/Solaris guests) :  In this case, specify “none” in the DOMAIN field, and specify a local administrator account name in the ADMIN USER below.

      Prior to this, you need to ensure that the same local administrator account is available or is explicitly created on each of the virtual machines to be monitored. Then, proceed to provide the password of the ADMIN USER against ADMIN PASSWORD, and confirm the password by retyping it in the CONFIRM PASSWORD text box.

      If key-based authentication is implemented between the eG agent and the SSH daemon of a Linux guest, then, in the admin user text box, enter the name of the user whose <user_home_dir> (on that Linux guest) contains a .ssh directory with the public key file named authorized_keys. The admin password in this case will be the passphrase of the public key; the default public key file that is bundled with the eG agent takes the password eginnovations. Specify this as the admin password if you are using the default private/public key pair that is bundled with the eG agent to implement key-based authentication. On the other hand, if you are generating a new public/private key pair for this purpose, then use the passphrase that you provide while generating the pair. For the detailed procedure on Implementing Key-based Authentication refer to Troubleshooting the Failure of the eG Remote Agent to Connect to or Report Measures for Linux Guests.

    • If the guests 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 PCoIP Session - VM Test.
    • If the inside view using flag is set to ‘eG VM Agent (Windows)’ - In this case, the inside view can be obtained without domain administrator privileges. Therefore, set the domain, admin user, and admin password parameters to none.
  14. REPORT BY USER - While monitoring a Nutanix Acropolis server, the REPORT BY USER flag is set to No by default, indicating that by default, the guest operating systems on the Acropolis server are identified using the hostname specified in the operating system. On the other hand, while monitoring Acropolis desktop environments, 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.
  15. 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.      

Measurements made 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:

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:

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