User Logon Details - VM Test

The process of a user logging into the virtual desktop is fairly complex. First, the domain controller is discovered and the login credentials are authenticated. Then, the corresponding user profile is identified and loaded. Next, group policies are applied and logon scripts are processed to setup the user environment. In the meantime, additional processing may take place for a user - say, applying system profiles, creating new printers for the user, and so on. A slowdown in any of these steps can significantly delay the logon process for a user. Since logons on Windows happen sequentially, this may adversely impact the logins for other users who may be trying to access the virtual desktop server at the same time. Hence, if a user complains that he/she is unable to access an application/desktop published on virtual desktop, administrators must be able to rapidly isolate exactly where the logon process is stalling and for which user.

This test periodically monitors the user login and profile loading process and accurately identify where the process is bottlenecked. This test helps administrators to capture anomalies in the user login and profile loading process and report where the process is bottlenecked - in the authentication process? during profile loading? during GPO processing and if so, which GPO? which client side extension was processed by the GPO when the delay occurred? is the group policy processing mode impacting user logon?

Note:

  • This test will report metrics only for those user sessions that are brokered by VMware Horizon.
  • Enable the timing profiler on each Connection Server that is brokering connections to the virtual desktops on the target VDI server. To enable the timing profiler, run the following command on each connection server:

    vdmadmin -I -timingProfiler -enable

  • Make sure that the Horizon Logon Monitor service is up and running on every VM. By default, the Startup Type of this service is set to Manual. Ensure that you change it to Automatic.

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 to the ESX server host to be monitored.

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 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 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 User Logon Details - 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.

  16. DD FREQUENCY - Refers to the frequency with which detailed diagnosis measures are to be generated for this test. The default is 1:1. This indicates that, by default, detailed measures will be generated every time this test runs, and also every time the test detects a problem. You can modify this frequency, if you so desire. Also, if you intend to disable the detailed diagnosis capability for this test, you can do so by specifying none against DD FREQUENCY.
  17. DETAILED DIAGNOSIS - To make diagnosis more efficient and accurate, the eG suite embeds an optional detailed diagnostic capability. With this capability, the eG agents can be configured to run detailed, more elaborate tests as and when specific problems are detected. To enable the detailed diagnosis capability of this test for a particular server, choose the On option. To disable the capability, click on the Off option.

    The option to selectively enable/disable the detailed diagnosis capability will be available only if the following conditions are fulfilled:

    • The eG manager license should allow the detailed diagnosis capability
    • Both the normal and abnormal frequencies configured for the detailed diagnosis measures should not be 0.
Measurements made by the test
Measurement Description Measurement Unit

Interpretation

Logon duration

Indicates the average time taken by this user for logging in during the last measurement period.

Secs

If this value is abnormally high for any user, then, you can compare the time measurements reported under Logon Phase to know where exactly the user logon was bottlenecked - was it when loading the profile? when processing group policies? when authenticating the user over the network? when initializing the user? when initializing the desktop?

Use the detailed diagnosis of this measure to know which were the client side extensions processed for a user, which group policy was processed by each extension, and what is the processing time of each client side extension. In the process, you can quickly identify the client side extension that is taking an abnormally long time for processing and is probably the root-cause for the logon delay.

Network providers duration

Indicates the amount of time taken by the network provider to authenticate this user on their network.

Secs

A Network Provider is a DLL which is responsible for a certain type of connection protocol. On each logon, Winlogon notifies these Network Providers so that they can collect credentials and authenticate the users on their network. Citrix PnSson is a common network provider found on XenApp and XenDesktop VM's.

If Logon duration is abnormally high, then compare the value of this measure with the other time measurements displayed under Logon Phase to determine whether/not the logon delay can be attributed to an authentication delay.

Sometimes, an authentication delay can be caused by an interim delay between when the Network provider phase ends and when the next phase - i.e., the Citrix profile management phase - begins. To verify whether/not such an interim delay has occurred and to assess its impact on the network providers authentication process, use the detailed diagnosis of this measure. The detailed diagnosis reveals the time that elapsed between when the Network providers phase ended and the next phase began. Compare this interim delay with the value of this measure to understand whether/not the interim delay is the reason for the delay in the Network providers phase.

Note:

By default, this test does not report the Network providers duration measure. If you want the test to report this measure, then make sure that Audit process tracking is enabled on each virtual desktop that you want monitored. The Audit process tracking setting determines whether/not to audit detailed tracking information for events such as program activation, process exit, handle duplication, and indirect object access. To enable this setting, do the following:

  1. First, check whether/not the setting is already enabled. For that, login to the managed server.
  2. Go to the command prompt.
  3. Run the following command at the prompt:

    Auditpol /get /category:*

  4. If this command returns the value No auditing, it implies that the Audit process tracking setting is not enabled on the server.
  5. In this case, proceed to enable the setting by issuing the following commands at the prompt, one after another:

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Creation" /success:enable

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Termination" /success:enable

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Creation" /failure:enable

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Termination" /failure:enable

  6. After enabling the Audit process tracking setting, ensure that the size of the security log is increased to 100 MB. This is required because, once Audit process tracking is enabled, the security log will be flooded with numerous Process creation and Process termination events. If the security log is not sized adequately, then it will not be able to capture these events. Consequently, the test will not be able to report this measure. To avoid this, it is imperative that the security log size is increased.

User profile duration

Indicates the amount of time it took to load this user's profile successfully in the last measurement period.

Secs

If Logon duration is abnormally high, then compare the value of this measure with the other time measurements displayed under Logon Phase to determine whether/not the logon delay can be attributed to a delay in user profile loading.

One of the common reasons for long profile load times is large profile size. In such circumstances, you can use the User Profile test to determine the current size of this user's profile. If the profile size is found to be large, you can conclude that it is indeed the size of the profile which is affecting the profile load time.

Another reason would be the absence of a profile. If the user does not already have a profile a new one is created. This slows down the initial logon quite a bit compared to subsequent logons. The main reason is that Active Setup runs the IE/Mail/Theme initialization routines.

Sometimes, profile loading can be delayed by an interim delay between when the User profile phase ends and when the next phase - i.e., the Group policy processing phase - begins. To verify whether/not such an interim delay has occurred and to assess its impact on the profile loading process, use the detailed diagnosis of this measure. The detailed diagnosis reveals the time that elapsed between when the User profile phase ended and the next phase began. Compare this interim delay with the value of this measure to understand whether/not the interim delay is the reason for the delay in profile loading.

Note:

By default, this test does not report the User profile duration measure. If you want the test to report this measure, then make sure that Audit process tracking is enabled on each virtual desktop that you want monitored. The Audit process tracking setting determines whether/not to audit detailed tracking information for events such as program activation, process exit, handle duplication, and indirect object access. To enable this setting, do the following:

  1. First, check whether/not the setting is already enabled. For that, login to the managed server.
  1. Go to the command prompt.
  2. Run the following command at the prompt:

    Auditpol /get /category:*

     

  3. If this command returns the value No auditing, it implies that the Audit process tracking setting is not enabled on the server.
  4. In this case, proceed to enable the setting by issuing the following commands at the prompt, one after another:

     

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Creation" /success:enable

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Termination" /success:enable

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Creation" /failure:enable

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Termination" /failure:enable

  5. After enabling the Audit process tracking setting, ensure that the size of the security log is increased to 100 MB. This is required because, once Audit process tracking is enabled, the security log will be flooded with numerous Process creation and Process termination events. If the security log is not sized adequately, then it will not be able to capture these events. Consequently, the test will not be able to report this measure. To avoid this, it is imperative that the security log size is increased.

Group policy processing time

Indicates the time taken for applying group policies for this user in the last measurement period.

Secs

Group policies impact logon performance.

If Logon duration is abnormally high, then compare the value of this measure with the other time measurements displayed under Logon Phase to determine whether/not the logon delay can be attributed to a delay in group policy processing.

Typically, group policies can be processed in the foreground or background. While background processing of group policies have little to no impact on logon performance, foreground group policy processing can cause logon delays. Particularly, if foreground processing is done synchronously, the user's logon experience is bound to suffer. This is because,when foreground processing is synchronous, the user is not presented with the logon prompt until computer GP processing has completed after a system boot. Likewise the user will not see their desktop at logon until user GP processing completes. This can increase startup time as seen by the user.

Other factors that can impact group policy processing time and consequently, the logon time are, long-running WQL queries and group policy scripts.

Sometimes, group policy processing can be delayed by an interim delay between when the Group policy phase ends and when the next phase - i.e., the Group policy script execution phase - begins. To verify whether/not such an interim delay has occurred and to assess its impact on group policy processing, use the detailed diagnosis of this measure. The detailed diagnosis reveals the time that elapsed between when the Group policy phase ended and the next phase began. Compare this interim delay with the value of this measure to understand whether/not the interim delay is the reason for the delay in group policy processing.

Note:

By default, this test does not report the Group policy processing time measure. If you want the test to report this measure, then make sure that Audit process tracking is enabled on the VMware Horizon View RDS server. The Audit process tracking setting determines whether/not to audit detailed tracking information for events such as program activation, process exit, handle duplication, and indirect object access. To enable this setting, do the following:

  1. First, check whether/not the setting is already enabled. For that, login to the managed server.
  2. Go to the command prompt.
  3. Run the following command at the prompt:

     

    Auditpol /get /category:*

  4. If this command returns the value No auditing, it implies that the Audit process tracking setting is not enabled on the server.
  5. In this case, proceed to enable the setting by issuing the following commands at the prompt, one after another:

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Creation" /success:enable

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Termination" /success:enable

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Creation" /failure:enable

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Termination" /failure:enable

  6. After enabling the Audit process tracking setting, ensure that the size of the security log is increased to 100 MB. This is required because, once Audit process tracking is enabled, the security log will be flooded with numerous Process creation and Process termination events. If the security log is not sized adequately, then it will not be able to capture these events. Consequently, the test will not be able to report this measure. To avoid this, it is imperative that the security log size is increased.

Group policy scripts duration

Indicates the time taken for executing group policy scripts for this user in the last measurement period.

Secs

If Logon duration is abnormally high, then compare the value of this measure with the other time measurements displayed under Logon Phase to determine whether/not the logon delay can be attributed to slow group policy script execution.

If logon scripts are configured to run synchronously, they can cause logon delays. This is because, if logon scripts run synchronously, then the system will have to wait for the logon scripts to finish running before it starts the Windows Explorer Interface program and creates the desktop. This will delay the appearance of the desktop, which in turn, will delay user logon.

Sometimes, group policy script execution can be delayed by an interim delay between when the Group policy script phase ends and when the next phase - i.e., the Pre-shell phase - begins. To verify whether/not such an interim delay has occurred and to assess its impact on script execution, use the detailed diagnosis of this measure. The detailed diagnosis reveals the time that elapsed between when the Group policy script phase ended and the next phase began. Compare this interim delay with the value of this measure to understand whether/not the interim delay has significantly delayed is the reason for the delay in group policy script execution.

Note:

By default, this test does not report the Group policy script duration measure. If you want the test to report this measure, then make sure that Audit process tracking is enabled on each virtual desktop that you want monitored. The Audit process tracking setting determines whether/not to audit detailed tracking information for events such as program activation, process exit, handle duplication, and indirect object access. To enable this setting, do the following:

  1. First, check whether/not the setting is already enabled. For that, login to the managed server.
  2. Go to the command prompt.
  3. Run the following command at the prompt:

     

    Auditpol /get /category:*

     

  4. If this command returns the value No auditing, it implies that the Audit process tracking setting is not enabled on the server.
  5. In this case, proceed to enable the setting by issuing the following commands at the prompt, one after another:

     

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Creation" /success:enable

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Termination" /success:enable

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Creation" /failure:enable

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Termination" /failure:enable

  6. After enabling the Audit process tracking setting, ensure that the size of the security log is increased to 100 MB. This is required because, once Audit process tracking is enabled, the security log will be flooded with numerous Process creation and Process termination events. If the security log is not sized adequately, then it will not be able to capture these events. Consequently, the test will not be able to report this measure. To avoid this, it is imperative that the security log size is increased.

Pre-Shell duration

Indicates the time taken to execute Userinit.exe for this user during the last measurement period.

Secs

The Winlogon service runs Userinit.exe, which runs logon scripts, reestablishes network connections, and then starts Explorer.exe, the Windows user interface. On RDSH sessions, Userinit.exe also executes the Appsetup entries such as cmstart.exe which in-turn calls wfshell.exe.

If Logon duration is abnormally high, then compare the value of this measure with the other time measurements displayed under Logon Phase to determine whether/not the logon delay can be attributed to slowness in the completion of user initialization tasks.

Sometimes, pre-shell tasks (i.e., user initialization tasks) can be delayed by an interim delay between when the Pre-shell phase ends and when the next phase - i.e., the Shell phase - begins. To verify whether/not such an interim delay has occurred and to assess its impact on pre-shell duration, use the detailed diagnosis of this measure. The detailed diagnosis reveals the time that elapsed between when the Pre-shell phase ended and the next phase began. Compare this interim delay with the value of this measure to understand whether/not the interim delay is the reason for the delay in pre-shell tasks.

Note:

By default, this test does not report the Pre-shell duration measure. If you want the test to report this measure, then make sure that Audit process tracking is enabled on each virtual desktop that you want monitored. The Audit process tracking setting determines whether/not to audit detailed tracking information for events such as program activation, process exit, handle duplication, and indirect object access. To enable this setting, do the following:

  1. First, check whether/not the setting is already enabled. For that, login to the managed server.
  2. Go to the command prompt.
  3. Run the following command at the prompt:

     

    Auditpol /get /category:*

     

  4. If this command returns the value No auditing, it implies that the Audit process tracking setting is not enabled on the server.
  5. In this case, proceed to enable the setting by issuing the following commands at the prompt, one after another:

     

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Creation" /success:enable

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Termination" /success:enable

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Creation" /failure:enable

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Termination" /failure:enable

  6. After enabling the Audit process tracking setting, ensure that the size of the security log is increased to 100 MB. This is required because, once Audit process tracking is enabled, the security log will be flooded with numerous Process creation and Process termination events. If the security log is not sized adequately, then it will not be able to capture these events. Consequently, the test will not be able to report this measure. To avoid this, it is imperative that the security log size is increased.

Shell duration

Indicates the time interval between the beginning of desktop initialization and the time the desktop became available to this user including the Active Setup Phase. Active Setup is a mechanism for executing commands once per user early during login. Active Setup is used by some operating system components like Internet Explorer to set up an initial configuration for new users logging on for the first time.

Secs

If Logon duration is abnormally high, then compare the value of this measure with the other time measurements displayed under Logon Phase to determine whether/not the logon delay can be attributed to a delay in desktop initialization.

Sometimes, shell tasks (i.e., desktop initialization tasks) can be delayed by an interim delay between when the Shell phase ends and when the next phase begins. To verify whether/not such an interim delay has occurred and to assess its impact on the time taken by Shell tasks, use the detailed diagnosis of this measure. The detailed diagnosis reveals the time that elapsed between when the Shell phase ended and the next phase began. Compare this interim delay with the value of this measure to understand whether/not the interim delay is the reason for the delay in Shell tasks.

Note:

By default, this test does not report the Shell duration measure. If you want the test to report this measure, then make sure that Audit process tracking is enabled on each virtual desktop that you want monitored. The Audit process tracking setting determines whether/not to audit detailed tracking information for events such as program activation, process exit, handle duplication, and indirect object access. To enable this setting, do the following:

  1. First, check whether/not the setting is already enabled. For that, login to the managed server.
  1. Go to the command prompt.
  2. Run the following command at the prompt:

     

    Auditpol /get /category:*

     

  3. If this command returns the value No auditing, it implies that the Audit process tracking setting is not enabled on the server.
  4. In this case, proceed to enable the setting by issuing the following commands at the prompt, one after another:

     

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Creation" /success:enable

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Termination" /success:enable

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Creation" /failure:enable

    Auditpol /set /subcategory:"Process Termination" /failure:enable

  1. After enabling the Audit process tracking setting, ensure that the size of the security log is increased to 100 MB. This is required because, once Audit process tracking is enabled, the security log will be flooded with numerous Process creation and Process termination events. If the security log is not sized adequately, then it will not be able to capture these events. Consequently, the test will not be able to report this measure. To avoid this, it is imperative that the security log size is increased.

Group policy

Indicates the current status of the Group policy that is applied for this user.

 

The values reported by this measure and their corresponding numeric equivalents are described in the table below:

Measure Values Numeric Values
Success 1
Warning 2
Error 3

Note:

By default, this measure reports the above-mentioned Measure Values while indicating the current status of the Group policy. However, in the graph of this measure, the values will be represented using the corresponding numeric equivalents i.e., 1 to 3.

User account discovery

Indicates the amount of time taken by the LDAP call for this user to connect and bind to Active Directory during the last measurement period.

Secs

Compare the value of this measure across users to know which user’s logon process spent maximum time in retrieving account information.

To know which domain controller and DNS is being used, use the detailed diagnosis of this measure.

LDAP bind time to active directory

Indicates the amount of time taken by the LDAP call for this user to connect and bind to Active Directory during the last measurement period.

Secs

Compare the value of this measure across users to know which user’s logon process spent maximum time in connecting to Active Directory. Besides impacting authentication time, high LDAP bind time may also affect group policy processing.

DC discovery time

Indicates the time taken to discover the domain controller to be used for processing group policies for this user during the last measurement period.

Secs

Compare the value of this measure across users to know which user’s logon process spent maximum time in domain controller discovery.

Total group policy object file accessed time

Indicates the amount of time the logon process took to access group policy object files for this user during the last measurement period.

Secs

Compare the value of this measure across users to know which user’s logon process spent maximum time in accessing the group policy object file.

To know which files were accessed and the time taken to access each file, use the detailed diagnosis of this measure. With the help of the detailed diagnostics, you can identify the Group Policy that is associated with the user, accurately isolate the object file that took the longest to access, and thus delayed the logon process.

Number of CSE applied

Indicates the total number of client side extensions used for processing group policies for this user during the last measurement period.

Number

 

Number of CSE success

Indicates the number of client side extensions that were successfully used for processing group policies for this user during the last measurement period.

Number

Use the detailed diagnosis of this measure to know which were the successful client side extensions for a user, and which group policy was processed by each extension.

Number of CSE warning

Indicates the number of warnings received when client side extensions were used for processing group policies for this user during the last measurement period.

Number

Use the detailed diagnosis of this measure to know which were the client side extensions that resulted in the generation of warning events at the time of processing. You will also know which group policies were processed by each extension.

Number of CSE error

Indicates the number of errors registered when client side extensions were used for processing group policies for this user during the last measurement period.

Number

Ideally, the value of this measure should be zero. A sudden/gradual increase in the value of this measure is a cause of concern.

If a non-zero value is reported for this measure, then use the detailed diagnosis of this measure to know which client side extensions resulted in processing errors. You will also know which group policies were processed by each such extension. Moreover, the error code will also be displayed as part of detailed diagnostics, so that you can figure out what type of error occurred when processing the client side extensions.

Client side extension processed time

Indicates the amount of time that client side extensions took for processing group policies for this user during the last measurement period.

Secs

Compare the value of this measure across users to know which user's logon process spent maximum time in client side extension processing.

If this measure reports an unusually high value for any user, then, you may want to check the value of the LDAP bind time to active directory measure for that user to figure out if a delay in connecting to AD is affecting group policy processing. This is because, group policies are built on top of AD, and hence rely on the directory service's infrastructure for their operation. As a consequence, DNS and AD issues may affect Group Policies severely. One could say that if an AD issue does not interfere with authentication, at the very least it will hamper group policy processing.

You can also use the detailed diagnosis of this measure to know which client side extension was used to process which group policy for a particular user. Detailed diagnostics also reveal the processing time for each client side extension. This way, you can quickly identify the client side extension that took too long to be processed and thus delayed the user logon.

Estimated network bandwidth between VM and DC

Indicates the estimated network bandwidth between the VM and domain controller for this user during the last measurement period.

Kbps

 

Is bandwidth between VM and DC slow?

Indicates whether/not the network connection between the VM and domain controller is currently slow for this user.

 

Several components of Group Policy rely on a fast network connection. If a fast connection is unavailable between a VM and the DOC, group policy processing can be delayed. This is why, if the Group policy processing time measure reports an abnormally high value, you may want to check the value of the Is bandwidth between VM and domain controller slow? measure to determine whether the network connection between the VM and domain controller is slow.

If the network connection between the VM and domain controller is slow for a user, then this measure will report the value Yes. If it is fast, then this measure will report the value No (connection is fast).

The numeric values that correspond to the above-mentioned measure values are as follows:

Measure Value Numeric Value
Yes 1
No (connection is fast) 2

Note:

  • By default, this test reports the Measure Values listed in the table above to indicate the quality of the network link between the VM and the domain controller. In the graph of this measure however, the same is indicated using the numeric equivalents only.
  • To determine whether the network link is slow or fast, the Group Policy service compares the result of the estimated bandwidth to the slow link threshold (configured by Group Policy). A value below the threshold results in the Group Policy service flagging the network connection as a slow link. This measure reports the status of this flag only. To know the slow link threshold that the Group Policy has configured for this link, use the detailed diagnosis of this measure.

Is user profile exceeding quota?

Indicates whether the profile size of this user exceeds the default profile quota size of 100MB.

Boolean

If this measure shows 0, it indicates that the current profile size has not exceeded the quota size. The value 1 indicates that the current profile size has exceeded the quota size.

Current profile size

Indicates the current profile size of this user.

MB

 

Number of files in user’s profile

Indicates the number of files available in this user profile.

Number

 

Large files in user’s profile

The number of files in this user profile, which exceed the default file size limit of 100 MB.

Number

The detailed diagnosis of this measure, if enabled, lists all the files that have exceeded the default file size limit of 100 MB.

Group policy applied on

Indicates whether the group policy for this user is applied during foreground processing or background processing.

 

Foreground and background processing are key concepts in Group Policy. Foreground processing only occurs when the machine starts up or when the user logs on. Some policy areas (also called Client Side Extensions (CSEs)) can only run during foreground processing. Examples of these include Folder Redirection, Software Installation and Group Policy Preferences Drive Mapping. In contrast, background processing is that thing that occurs every 90 or so minutes on Windows workstations, where GP refreshes itself periodically. Background processing happens in the background, while the user is working and they generally never notice it. While background processing does not impact performance, foreground processing can extend start and login times.

The values that this measure can report and their corresponding numeric values are listed in the table below:

Measure Value Numeric Value
Background 1
Foreground 2

Note:

By default, this test reports the Measure Values listed in the table above to indicate when the group policy of a user was applied. In the graph of this measure however, the same is indicated using the numeric equivalents only.

Group policy processing mode

Indicates whether the group policies of this user are processed in the synchronous or asynchronous mode.

 

Foreground processing can operate under two different modes - synchronously or asynchronously. Asynchronous GP processing does not prevent the user from using their desktop while GP processing completes. For example, when the computer is starting up, GP asynchronous processing starts to occur for the computer, and in the meantime, the user is presented the Windows logon prompt. Likewise, for asynchronous user processing, the user logs on and is presented with their desktop while GP finishes processing. The user is not delayed getting either their logon prompt or their desktop during asynchronous GP processing. When foreground processing is synchronous, the user is not presented with the logon prompt until computer GP processing has completed after a system boot. Likewise the user will not see their desktop at logon until user GP processing completes. This can have the effect of making the user feel like the system is running slow. In short, synchronous processing can impact startup time, where asynchronous does not. Foreground processing will run synchronously for two reasons:

  • The administrator forces synchronous processing through a policy setting. This can be done by enabling the Computer ConfigurationPoliciesAdministrative TemplatesSystemLogonAlways wait for the network at computer startup and logon policy setting. Enabling this setting will make all foreground processing synchronous. This is commonly used for troubleshooting problems with Group Policy processing, but does not always get turned back off again.
  • A particular CSE requires synchronous foreground processing. There are four CSEs provided by Microsoft that currently require synchronous foreground processing: Software Installation, Folder Redirection, Microsoft Disk Quota and GP Preferences Drive Mapping. If any of these are enabled within one or more GPOs, they will trigger the next foreground processing cycle to run synchronously when they are changed.

It is therefore best to avoid synchronous CSEs and to not force synchronous policy. If usage of synchronous CSEs is necessary, minimize changes to these policy settings.

The values that this measure can report and their corresponding numeric values are listed in the table below:

Measure Value Numeric Value
Synchronous 1
Asynchronous 2

Note:

By default, this test reports the Measure Values listed in the table above to indicate when the group policy of a user was applied. In the graph of this measure however, the same is indicated using the numeric equivalents only.