VMware Can Improve Managing the End User Experience by Adding Data & Value to
vRealize Operations

In this article
I will discuss why I think it is important for vROps to become a more open
monitoring platform so I can use it to monitor my entire environment including non-VMware
infrastructure to proactively improve the end user experience. 

I love vROps
and want to do more with it. This blog describes one way to achieve that goal.

Important in monitoring, those who read my articles know this by now, is to get the right information and preferably from one console. You don’t want too many consoles where you as an admin are combining info from all of them leading to false positives or worse.

What do you want to see when you look for a monitoring product; 

  • Visibility in some kind of layering (Hypervisor, VM’s, OS, Applications, physical server);
  • Monitor all products from one console (VDI,RDSH, storage, network etc);
  • Monitor all hypervisors from one console;
  • Send metrics to already implemented monitoring products or receive metrics you need.
Ideally you monitor with one product
only, I haven’t seen that yet but it would be utopia.
Many Enterprises have monitoring in
place – CA, HP OpenView, BMC, IBM or anyone I forgot here. Optimally you
would want to feed these products with information, again to add to the central
console idea.

These enterprise products, however,
allow other monitoring solutions to fill these “gaps” by allowing information
to be pulled through API’S or using syslog or SNMP traps. This is really
important because no enterprise monitoring solution covers everything equally

Monitoring outside the VMware stack

VMware vROps can do the same thing but does not combine the data that well. You could use vROps to monitor everything outside of the
VMware stack including Citrix XenApp, XenDesktop, network elements,
applications and even physical IT infrastructure elements and provide an overview. 
VMware already has a clean interface
that could easily suit as the central interface to monitor your environment.
From a vendor monitoring solution, vROps is one of the most complete
solutions on the market, it monitors many aspects of the virtual environment
and you can add management packs and extensions to extend it to monitor certain components outside the VMware stack.

It is focused on resource management, giving insight into how your
desktops are performing. Many default dashboards and reports complete the
product. So far it’s all good.

Two key issues with vROps: EUE & E2E

VMware vROps has two issues in that it
doesn’t understand the environment from an EUC perspective and it doesn’t do
E2E monitoring. Both “issues” are close neighbors, for one would
help the other and they relate to monitoring limitations I mentioned above
since vROps doesn’t combine metrics from different management packs into one global view.

First, if we look at E2E you need to monitor outside the VMware stack and you
need to take into account that e.g. DNS is a factor in the service delivery of the desktop.
Not many vendor provided products have that ability, most products monitor a specific set of
components. vROps is no exception.

VMware could create
a dashboard where the Citrix monitoring can be combined with the
other management packs so that you could create your own E2E dashboard. Seems
pretty easy to me.

Second, if we look at EUC we see something else. vROps monitors from a VMware
point of view leaving out important metrics that really show the user
performance. You can’t measure user experience from looking only at resources!
The only way to measure the user experience is to measure what the user is
doing. Simulated user logon this is called.
Measuring with simulated user logon
would solve a part of the missing E2E part. If you work like a user you will test
a lot of components that make up E2E.

Simulated user logon & User experience 

Simulated user logons would show the real user experience,
add that to vROps and the overall color of the VDI environment would really
show the performance. Of course, this is pretty hard to get into the product
for it would need to know what is added and take that into account. They could add
a new option in the dashboard to show metrics related to user experience.
Metrics like:
  • Logon Failures
  • Logon Failure
  • Logon time
  • GPO load time
  • Profile Load time
  • Break down of connection steps (broker, starting client, etc.)
  • Root cause analysis.

VMware has no option to do this. I’ve tested a product a while back, GoliathTechnologies Logon Simulator, that both simulates logons, exercises
the whole desktop delivery infrastructure and can also tell you where the root
cause of any issue that impacts EUC experience because it is truly end to end. The
question is why can’t they deliver this data to vROps?
There are other products like LoginPI that come to mind instantly. The issue with LoginPI is that they don’t monitor the whole virtual desktop delivery
infrastructure, they can’t determine the root cause of the issue. 


I’m going back to my last articles
about Goliath, they integrate with VMware
vSphere vCenter
so that you can combine information
gathered from both products. This makes managing an environment so
much more complete. 

I included some screenshots I borrowed from Goliath to show to data you can
gather that makes your life easier. I could have taken these screenshots also
from other monitoring vendors for they also add value to VMware vSphere vCenter

The point is that with integration you
add value, suddenly they are not two products running side by side, they are
products making a suite adding value for you.

A Solution to Gain Visibility into the End User Experience

With VMware vROps being closed, or so
it seems, when you have vROps running you will need another monitoring product
to monitor your virtual desktop environment to get the user
experience. This to me seems like something that could be improved.

My idea with this would be to add a segment in the VDI dashboard that would
allow external parties to add metrics. It would not hinder the current
dashboards and metrics but would get a nice place in the dashboard for
customers to add if they want to. I talk to many customers about this, user
experience monitoring and end to end visibility, and that’s what they are
looking for.
So VMware could you please, pretty
please open up vRealize Operations Manager to allow other monitoring vendors to
add more value to your product? You can name it Project V8 – Putting power in
your vROps.
If you want more information on Goliath check out the webinar they are presenting soon and read my previous articles on them, worth checking out 🙂

Quote: Goliath’s hosting a live webinar focused on improving the VMware end user
computing experience by gaining visibility into Application & OS
performance data in addition to VM, Host and Hardware to proactively remediate
issues before end users are effected. This will be a good webinar to attend especially
if you are looking into better monitoring your environment.

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