Blast Session - VM Test

The BLAST Session protocol allows files on a remote computer to be manipulated - i.e., to be deleted, renamed, or printed on the remote. Owing to the improved remote file management capabilities that Blast offers, VMware now supports the Blast protocol too for user communication with virtual desktops. Because of this, there is a need to know which users have connected to virtual desktops via Blast and how the experience of each user is. This is why, the Blast Session - VM test auto-discovers the users who are connected to virtual desktops via the Blast protocol, and measures the bandwidth usage, frames processing ability, throughput, and time taken to establish each user's session. In the process, bandwidth-hungry, latent sessions can be accurately isolated.

Target of the test : An ESX server host

Agent deploying the test : An internal/remote agent

Outputs of the test : One set of results for every user who is accessing a virtual desktop via the Blast protocol

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. esx user and esx password - In order to enable the test to extract the desired metrics from a target ESX server, you need to configure the test with an ESX USER and ESX PASSWORD. The user credentials to be passed here depend upon the mechanism used by the eG agent for collecting performance statistics from the ESX server and its VMs. These monitoring methodologies and their corresponding configuration requirements have been discussed hereunder:

    • Monitoring using the web services interface of the ESX server: Starting with ESX server 3.0, a VMware ESX server offers a web service interface using which the eG agent collects metrics from the ESX server. The VMware VI SDK is used by the agent to implement the web services interface. To use this interface for monitoring, this test should be configured with an ESX USER who has “Read-only” privileges to the target ESX server. By default, the root user is authorized to execute the test. However, it is preferable that you create a new user on the target ESX host and assign the “Read-only” role to him/her. The steps for achieving this have been elaborately discussed in Creating a New User with Read-Only Privileges to the ESX Serversection.

      ESX servers terminate user sessions based on timeout periods. The default timeout period is 30 mins. When you stop an agent, sessions currently in use by the agent will remain open for this timeout period until ESX times out the session. If the agent is restarted within the timeout period, it will open a new set of sessions. If you want the eG agent to close already existing sessions before it opens new sessions, then you would have to configure all the tests with the credentials of an ESX user with permissions to View and stop sessions (prior to vSphere/ESX server 4.1, this was called the View and Terminate Sessions privilege). To know how to grant this permission to an ESX user, refer to section.
    • Monitoring using the vCenter in the target environment: By default, the eG agent connects to each ESX server and collects metrics from it. While this approach scales well, it requires additional configuration for each server being monitored. For example, separate user accounts may need to be created on each server for read-only access to VM details. While monitoring large virtualized installations however, the agents can be optionally configured to monitor ESX servers using the statistics already available with different vCenter installations in the environment.

    In this case therefore, the ESX USER and ESX PASSWORD that you specify should be that of an Administrator or Virtual Machine Administrator in vCenter. However, if, owing to security constraints, you prefer not to use the credentials of such users, then, you can create a special role on vCenter with ‘Read-only’ privileges.

    Refer to Section Assigning the ‘Read-Only’ Role to a Local/Domain User to vCentersection of this document to know how to create a user on vCenter.

    If the ESX server for which this test is being configured had been discovered via vCenter, then the eG manager automatically populates the esx user and esx password text boxes with the vCenter user credentials using which the ESX discovery was performed.

    Like ESX servers, vCenter servers too terminate user sessions based on timeout periods. The default timeout period is 30 mins. When you stop an agent, sessions currently in use by the agent will remain open for this timeout period until vCenter times out the session. If the agent is restarted within the timeout period, it will open a new set of sessions. If you want the eG agent to close already existing sessions before it opens new sessions, then you would have to configure all the tests with the credentials of a vCenter user with permissions to View and stop sessions (prior to vCenter 4.1, this was called the View and Terminate Sessions permission). To know how to grant this permission to a user to vCenter, refer to Creating a Special Role on vCenter and Assigning the Role to a Local/Domain Usersection.

    When the eG agent is started/restarted, it first attempts to connect to the vCenter server and terminate all existing sessions for the user whose credentials have been provided for the tests. This is done to ensure that unnecessary sessions do not remain established in the vCenter server for the session timeout period.  Ideally, you should create a separate user account with the required credentials and use this for the test configurations. If you provide the credentials for an existing user for the test configuration, when the eG agent starts/restarts, it will close all existing sessions for this user (including sessions you may have opened using the Virtual Infrastructure client). Hence, in this case, you may notice that your VI client sessions are terminated when the eG agent starts/restarts.

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

    Like the ESX sever, the vCenter is also SSL-enabled by default. If you have chosen to use the vCenter for monitoring, then you have to set the SSL flag to Yes.

  7. webport - By default, in most virtualized environments, the vSphere/ESX server and vCenter listen on port 80 (if not SSL-enabled) or on port 443 (if SSL-enabled). This implies that while monitoring an SSL-enabled vSphere/ESX server directly, the eG agent, by default, connects to port 443 of the vSphere/ESX server to pull out metrics, and while monitoring a non-SSL-enabled server, the eG agent connects to port 80. Similarly, while monitoring a vSphere/ESX server via an SSL-enabled vCenter, the eG agent connects to port 443 of vCenter to pull out the metrics, and while monitoring via a non-SSL-enabled vCenter, the eG agent connects to port 80 of vCenter. 

    Accordingly, the webport parameter is set to 80 or 443 depending upon the status of the ssl flag.  In some environments however, the default ports 80 or 443 might not apply. In such a case, against the webport parameter, you can specify the exact port at which the vSphere/ESX server or vCenter in your environment listens so that the eG agent communicates with that port.

  8. VIRTUAL CENTER - If the eG manager had discovered the target ESX server by connecting to vCenter, then the IP address of the vCenter server used for discovering this ESX server would be automatically displayed against the vIRTUAL center parameter; similarly, the esx user and esx password text boxes will be automatically populated with the vCenter user credentials, using which ESX discovery was performed.

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

    On the other hand, if the IP address of the vCenter server of interest to you is not available in the list, then, you can add the details of the vCenter server on-the-fly, by selecting the Other option from the vIRTUAL center list. This will invoke the add vcenter server details page. Refer to Adding the Details of a vCenter Server for Guest Discoverysection.

    On the other hand, if you want the eG agent to behave in the default manner -i.e., communicate with each ESX server for monitoring it - then set the VIRTUAL CENTER parameter to ‘none’. In this case, the ESX USER and ESX PASSWORD parameters can be configured with the credentials of a user who has at least ‘Read-only’ privileges to the target ESX server.

  9. 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 Metricssection 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.

  10. 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 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 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 Guestssection.

    • 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 Blast Session - VM Testsection.
    • 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.
  11. 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.
  12. ignore vms inside view - Administrators of some high security VMware 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 an ESX 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.

  13. 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.
  14. REPORT BY USER - While monitoring a VMware ESX server, the REPORT BY USER flag is set to No by default, indicating that by default, the guest operating systems on the ESX server are identified using the hostname specified in the operating system. On the other hand, while monitoring VMware 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 virtual machine 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.

Seconds

This measure appears only if the version of the VMware Horizon is below 7.

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. via Blast.

Bandwidth

Indicates the bandwidth usage of all sessions of this user.

Kbps

This measure appears only if the version of the VMware Horizon is below 7.

Compare the value of this measure across users to know which user is consuming the maximum bandwidth.

Frame rate

Indicates the rate at which frames are processed during this user's sessions.

Frames/Sec

This measure appears only if the version of the VMware Horizon is below 7.

FPS is how fast your graphics card can output individual frames each second. It is the most time-tested and ideal measure of performance of a GPU. Higher the value of this measure, healthier is the GPU.

Throughput

Indicates the network throughput of this user's sessions.

Kbps

This measure appears only if the version of the VMware Horizon is below 7.

A poor network throughput could cause latencies in network communication.

Audio data received

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

Kbps

These measures appear only if the version of the VMware Horizon is 7 and above.

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

Audio data transmitted

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

Kbps

Client drive redirection data received

Indicates the bandwidth used while receiving client drive redirection (CDR) data to this user.

Kbps

These measures appear only if the version of the VMware Horizon is 7 and above. When the Horizon Client and Horizon Agent are deployed with client drive redirection and the Blast is enabled, folders and files are sent across a virtual channel with encryption. This ensures that the connections between clients and the View Secure Gateway, and the connections from the View Secure Gateway to desktop machines are secure. These measures help administrators to figure out the traffic statistics during the reception/transmission of CDR data.

Comparing these values across users will reveal which user is sending/receiving bandwidth-intensive client drive redirection data over Blast.

Client drive redirection data transmitted

Indicates the bandwidth used while transmitting client drive redirection data from this user.

Kbps

Clipboard data received

Indicates the bandwidth used while receiving clipboard data by this user.

Kbps

These measures appear only if the version of the VMware Horizon is 7 and above. Configuring the clipboard redirection on the client machine enables administrators to control users from redirecting clipboard data to and/or from the virtual desktop and the client machine during the session.

Comparing these values across users will reveal which user is sending/receiving bandwidth-intensive clipboard redirection content during the session.

Clipboard data transmitted

Indicates the bandwidth used while transmitting clipboard data from this user.

Kbps

Data received in HTML5 multimedia redirection

Indicates the bandwidth used while receiving HTML5 multimedia content to this user.

Kbps

These measures appear only if the version of the VMware Horizon is 7 and above.

To redirect HTML5 multimedia content from a remote desktop to the local client system, administrators need to enable the HTML5 Multimedia Redirection feature and install the Chrome browser on the remote desktop. Enabling the HTML5 Multimedia Redirection feature also allows administrators to specify the websites that can use this feature. These measures help administrators to easily find out the bandwidth utilized during each user's session for transmitting and receiving the HTML5 multimedia content to different websites. Comparing these values across users will reveal which user is sending/receiving bandwidth-intensive multimedia files over Blast.

Data transmitted in HTML5 multimedia redirection

Indicates the bandwidth used while transmitting HTML5 multimedia content from this user.

Kbps

Dirty frames rate

Indicates the rate at which the dirty frames are processed during this user's sessions.

Frames/Sec

This measure appears only if the version of the VMware Horizon is 7 and above. The value of this measure should be very low. A high value indicates that the image quality is potentially poor.

Poll rate

In

Number

This measure appears only if the version of the VMware Horizon is 7 and above.

FBC rate

Indicates the number of image frames processed during this user's session.

Number

This measure appears only if the version of the VMware Horizon is 7 and above.

Frames rate

Indicates the rate at which the image frames are processed during this user's session.

Kbps

This measure appears only if the version of the VMware Horizon is 7 and above. This measure indicates how quickly the image frames are processed during the session. A lower value of this measure indicates that the frames are processed slowly and the administrator neeed to This measure will be reported only if the VMware Horizon View version is 7 and above.

Imaging data received

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

Kbps

These measures appear only if the version of the VMware Horizon is 7 and above. Comparing these values across users will reveal which user is sending/receiving bandwidth-intensive images over Blast.

Imaging data transmitted

Indicates the bandwidth used this user when transmitting imaging data.

Kbps

Real-time audio/video data received

Indicates the rate at which the real-time audio/video data was received by this user.

Kbps

These measures appear only if the version of the VMware Horizon is 7 and above.

With the Real-Time Audio-Video feature, webcam and audio devices that are connected locally to the client system are redirected to the remote sessions. This allows the users to run Skype, Webex, Google Hangouts, and other online conferencing applications in their remote sessions. This feature also helps administrators to redirect video and audio data with a significantly lower bandwidth than can be achieved by using USB redirection. Comparing these values across users will reveal which user is sending/receiving bandwidth-intensive real-time audio/video data during the session.

Real-time audio/video data transmitted

Indicates the rate at which the real-time audio/video data was transmitted during this user's sessions.

Kbps

Serial port and scanner data received

Indicates the rate at which the serial port and scanner data was received during this user's sessions.

Kbps

These measures appear only if the version of the VMware Horizon is 7 and above. With the serial port and scanner redirection feature, administrators can easily connect the scanner and phisical COM port devices with the virtual desktops.

Serial port and scanner data transmitted

Indicates the rate at which the serial port and scanner data was transmitted during this user's sessions.

Kbps

Session data received

Indicates the rate at which the data was received during this user's sessions.

Kbps

These measures appear only if the version of the VMware Horizon is 7 and above. Using the values of these measures help administrators to determine the data traffic during the session.

Session data transmitted

Indicates the rate at which the data was transmitted during this user's sessions.

Kbps

Jitter

Indicates the time delay encountered during this user's session.

Seconds

This measure appears only if the version of the VMware Horizon is 7 and above. A value of this measure should be low. A higher value indicates unintended deviation or inconsistency that degrades the quality of audio and video communications.

Round trip time

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

Seconds

This measure appears only if the version of the VMware Horizon is 7 and above. 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.

Packet loss

Indicates the percentage of packets lost during this user' session.

Percent

This measure appears only if the version of the VMware Horizon is 7 and above. A value of this measure should be very low. A high value for this measure is indicative of a bad network connection between the user terminal and the virtual desktop.

Estimated bandwidth

Indicates the maximum bandwidth that this user can consume during the Blast sessions.

Kbps

This measure appears only if the version of the VMware Horizon is 7 and above.

Data received in Skype for business control

Indicates the bandwidth used when this user received Skype data over the Blast channel.

Kbps

These measures appears only if the version of the VMware Horizon is 7 and above. Comparing the values of these measures across users will reveal which user is sending/receiving bandwidth-intensive Skype data over the Blast channel.

Data transmitted in Skype for business control

Indicates the bandwidth used when this user transmitted Skype data over the Blast channel.

Kbps

Thin-Print data received

Indicates the bandwidth used when this user received Thin-Print data over the Blast channel.

Kbps

These measures appear only if the version of the VMware Horizon is 7 and above. Comparing the values of these measures across users will reveal which user is sending/receiving bandwidth-intensive Thin-Print data over the Blast channel.

Thin-Print data transmitted

Indicates the bandwidth used when this user transmitted Thin-Print data over the Blast channel.

Kbps

USB data received

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

Kbps

These measures appear only if the version of the VMware Horizon is 7 and above. Comparing the values of these measures across users will reveal which user is sending/receiving bandwidth-intensive USB data over the Blast channel.

USB data transmitted

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

Kbps

Windows media MMR data recieved

Indicates the bandwidth used when this user received Windows media MMR data over the Blast channel.

Kbps

These measures appear only if the version of the VMware Horizon is 7 and above. Comparing the values of these measures across users will reveal which user is sending/receiving bandwidth-intensive Windows media MMR data over the Blast channel.

Windows media MMR data transmitted

Indicates the bandwidth used when this user transmitted Windows media MMR data over the Blast channel.

Kbps