End-user performance management is very critical to making VDI a successful initiative. From an end-user standpoint, the user is looking for maximum efficiency and is not concerned about HOW that is achieved or WHAT technology is used. Just like how a mobile phone user does not care about whether his phone uses GSM or CDMA technology as long as it solves its intended purpose.
Frequently, business heads and teams resist VDI based on the fact that the familiar box near them has been taken away. We saw a lot of resistance when we rolled out VDI a couple of years ago, but we found a solution to prove and measure its performance. Eventually, we made these performance metrics available for all to see so that new users who challenge VDI have reliable data to refer to.
The approach we have adopted is a combination of technology and processes. Our monitoring architecture started from the end-user application metrics and moved up the layer to the actual VDI in the data center (contrary to the traditional approach of just looking at performance counters). With this approach, we were able to easily relate the application performance at the end-user level to the dependent parameters of central infrastructure. We created business views that brought in all the dependent infrastructure together but still faced the challenge of simulating actual end-user experience.
We then developed application simulators that could schedule the application access at certain periods of the hour and feed the performance numbers (equivalent to typical use case scenarios and keystrokes of the users). This was again interlinked to the various system thresholds like Network, WAN, SAN IO, Virtual platform and ended up with the final VDI session performance tracking. Any deviation in the threshold would highlight the possible causes which are being monitored 24/7 by the NOC team. With this, we have been able to consistently achieve user satisfaction as well as start delivering application performance guarantees to our customers – and free business heads and end-users of their VDI-related fears in the process.
How is VDI performance measured?
The VDI performance is measured as per the following end-user experience metrics.
- Logon duration: Users expect to access their desktop immediately after they enter the password.
- App load time: Users are looking for a shorter load time for their apps.
- App response time: When end-users are working within an application, they don’t want to stop and wait for the application to catch up.
- Session response time: It is a measure of how well the OS responds to the user input.
- Graphics quality and responsiveness: Users expect to have the same graphical experience that they would have on a physical desktop.
What is VDI used for?
VDI finds unique applications for the following use cases.
- Many companies implement VDI as it makes it easy to deploy virtual desktops for their remote workers from a centralized location.
- VDI can be ideally used in enterprises that work with the BYOD concept and allow their employees to work on their own devices. As processing is done on a centralized server, VDI can be implemented for a wide range of devices while ensuring adherence to security policies. The data is stored on the server, and hence, there is no chance of data loss.
- In case of task or shift work in organizations like call centers, non persistent VDI can be employed. A large number of employees can use a generic desktop with software that allows them to perform limited and repetitive tasks.
What is VDI as a service?
When VDI is offered as a service, a third-party service provider manages the virtual infrastructure for you. The VDI user experience is offered to end-users along with all the applications necessary for work as a cloud service. The service provider also assumes the responsibility of managing the desktop infrastructure for the end-user thereby ensuring faster software updates, migrations, user provisioning, and ensuring better data security and disaster planning for businesses. Consequently, organizations can ease up their administrative operations and minimize IT-related overheads.
What is VDI, and how does it work?
VDI or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is a virtualization technology in which virtual machines are used to deliver and manage virtual desktops. VDI separates the OS, applications, and data from the hardware and provides a convenient and affordable desktop solution over a network. The desktop environments are hosted on a centralized server and deployed to the end-user devices on request.
A VDI uses a hypervisor server that runs on physical hosts to create virtual machines. Further, they host virtual desktops that users can access from their devices remotely.
A connection broker is necessary for any desktop environment. The program acts as a single point of operation for managing all the hosted resources and offers end-users login access to their allocated systems. The virtual machines, applications, or physical workstations will be available to the users based on their identity and location of the client device.
VDI can be persistent or nonpersistent. With persistent VDI, users access the same desktop every time they log in. Here, the changes are saved after the connection is reset. On the other hand, non persistent VDI lets users connect to generic desktops. It is used in firms where a customized desktop is not necessary, and the nature of work is limited and repetitive.