Goliath Technologies has been a strong player in the Citrix ecosystem for quite a while now with multiple products such as their Performance Monitor, Application Monitor and Netscaler Monitor. The solutions already had support for VMware vSphere to monitor virtual machines and the physical infrastructure, and since the newest version, the Goliath Performance Monitor also supports VMware Horizon. In this post I would like to highlight some of the features which I think can have a great benefit in VMware-based VDI solutions.
Let me first tell some more about one of the use cases of the Goliath Performance Monitor; the logon monitor. Everyone who manages Virtual Desktop Infrastructures knows that user experience starts with the logon process. At one of the projects I worked before, end users were used to waiting for at least 5 minutes before they were logged in. After entering credentials, they went for coffee. When they came back, they were able to work. So, when the logon time was reduced to nearly 20 seconds, I had a very happy customer. Monitoring the logon process is important to avoid a bad user experience. That’s where Goliath Technologies steps in with their logon monitor. The logon monitor focusses on the different steps of the logon process and gives a detailed overview of these different steps.
Figure 1: Application Monitor main UI
In the above picture, you can see that different types of logon processes are defined as applications and are ran every 15 minutes. The result is shown as well. In this overview, you are able to check out if certain changes in the infrastructure such as Active Directory Group Policy Objects (GPO’s), applications changes or hardware changes affect the logon process. If, after a change, the logon process is negatively affected, the management console will tell this so you are able to troubleshoot.
When you would like to dig somewhat deeper in the logon process, Goliath Performance Monitor During allows you to, because during the logon process, every step that is taken, is validated with a timestamp and a screenshot. The screenshot will be taken of the individual steps which is accompanied with the timestamp. The next picture shows the details individual steps with the accompanying results.
Figure 2: Logon process details including screenshots
VMWARE HORIZON SUPPORT
Like I explained at the beginning of the post, a new feature in the Goliath Performance Monitor is the ability to view VMware Horizon session information. And this is also a great one for VMware Horizon troubleshooting User Experience related issues. When troubleshooting UX issues, there are a lot of factors which can have a negative impact. What Goliath did, was to include most of the factors which can be related to the virtual infrastructure or connection protocol in one simple overview.
Figure 3: User Experience overview of connected sessions
When in need for more detailed information, this is easily accessible by just selecting a session.
Figure 4: vSphere Host related metrics
Figure 5: Connection protocol related metrics
As you can see in the above pictures, most of the information required to troubleshoot the UX is available in the simple UI that the solution offers. No need to create custom dashboards or views.
Another feature that is very useful is the heatmap. In (again) a simple overview, you are able to see what virtual desktops are having an issue.
Figure 6: Heatmap overview containing servers and desktops
Selecting any of the faulting virtual machines will show you a similar overview of what’s happening in detail. The following figure displays an issue that is happening around Group Policies.
In an event-viewer style UI, it is fairly simple to track down the source of the issue and start fixing it. Besides the already rich set of services, apps and metrics, it is fairly easy to add another custom metric with the proper thresholds.
Another cool feature that is included, is Log Management. One single overview that contains a variety of log files on which you can filter including Event Viewer and Syslog.
Figure 7: Aggregated Syslog viewer
Figure 8: Aggregated Event Viewer log viewer
Again, an easy way to troubleshoot through log files if this is required. These are just 3 of a lot more features which are part of the Goliath Performance Monitor. I think the solution has a real value in a VMware Horizon VDI environment. Especially if you find vRealize Operations too complex, the Goliath Performance Monitor is a great alternative. It’s easy to set up and deploy, has the ability to create simple overviews of the required metrics needed to troubleshoot and the logon monitor proves to be a great feature to troubleshoot one part of the User Experience that is quite often neglected.
As there are a lot more features and advantages than I wrote about in this post, I will dive deeper into some specific use case in future posts. Keep an eye out for more on Goliath Performance Monitor.