Visit eG Innovations at Citrix Summit in Las Vegas


Citrix performance and user experience management is a rapidly growing market. At eG Innovations, we provide a best of breed Citrix Ready product suite for unified XenApp, XenMobile, XenDesktop, and XenServer performance management. Many of the largest Citrix deployments in the world rely on eG Innovations solutions for proactive Citrix performance management and universal insight.

Citrix-Summit-2015

Visit us at Citrix Summit in Las Vegas this week (booth #500) to see the Citrix performance management solution in action. Explore partner opportunities to collaborate in the new year and see how we can help you deliver the best Citrix experience to your customers.

We look forward to seeing you at Citrix Summit in Las Vegas!

The Biggest Citrix Performance Monitoring Concerns


For years, the biggest complaint of Citrix admins has been that they get blamed for all user experience issues. Over all these years, this situation has not fundamentally changed. 53% of the respondents in our recent Citrix Performance Management Report face this issue regularly. Citrix Performance Concerns

Two other observations are interesting:

(1) There is now increasing awareness for the need to be proactive. The second biggest challenge that our respondents faced is that users were noticing problems before admins did (49%). This points to an increasing need for better proactive performance management.

(2) Also of interest is the increasing need for a single dashboard across the Citrix tiers (46%). Citrix is no longer a single product company, and with the many products in the Citrix suite, customers are struggling to cope with the different administration and monitoring interfaces for each technology. Today, Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop, XenServer, Netscaler, XenMobile, ShareFile, VDI in a Box all have different administration and monitoring tool. Our respondents see an increasing need for unifying the monitoring, diagnosis and reporting of these technologies.

If these survey findings resonate with you, you might also enjoy this “It’s Not Citrix” poster – download it here.

itsnotcitrix

New Citrix Performance Management Survey Reveals Key Challenges and Best Practices


citrix-performance-management-reportWe are excited to announce the results of the first global Citrix Performance Management Survey! We conducted the survey together with the Citrix and IT community at DABCC  to explore the current state of Citrix performance management, and provide valuable benchmarks and new insights into the challenges, technology choices and best practices for Citrix performance management.

Over 600 Citrix professionals participated in the survey, and the results are now available in the data rich, 23-page “Citrix Performance Management Report“. Download the full report here.

Here are some of the key survey findings:

  • Performance management is critical for the success of Citrix deployments. 97% of respondents consider performance management to be important for the expansion of their Citrix infrastructure. 86% of respondents consider performance as a key concern during migration of Citrix versions.
  • Citrix gets the blame for user experience, whether the problem is Citrix related or not. The biggest performance challenge respondents face is that Citrix gets blamed for all user experience problems – even if the problem is not with the Citrix tiers. However, a majority of the time (65%), performance problems are NOT directly caused by the Citrix tiers.
  • Admins spend more time fire-fighting and troubleshooting performance problems. In over 60% of cases, respondents spend more than 30% of their time fire-fighting and troubleshooting performance problems. One of the key reasons is that Citrix performance management is still mostly manual.
  • Proactive alerting is most important to Citrix professionals. A majority of respondents (68%) are looking to make Citrix performance management proactive, so they get alerted and can fix issues before users notice.
  • Most IT admins don’t benchmark their Citrix environment. Despite the interest in managing Citrix performance proactively, very few respondents have solid performance benchmarks of their Citrix infrastructure. 26% of respondents have NEVER conducted any performance benchmark. 18% conducted benchmarks only during migration.

“To deliver the best possible user experience, Citrix environments need to be not only well architected but also well monitored and managed so administrators can identify and diagnose problems early on,” said Douglas Brown, Founder and CEO of DABCC. “The Citrix performance management survey confirms that a majority of respondents are looking to make Citrix performance management more proactive, so they get alerted and can prevent issues from escalating and impacting end users and business processes.”

eG Innovations Announces Release of eG Enterprise v6 Performance Monitoring Solution


servicetopeG Innovations today announced a major new release of eG Enterprise for performance monitoring, diagnosis and reporting of business-critical IT infrastructures. The v6 release features a sleek new user interface, new customizable dashboards, advanced reports, a mobile application, and broader and deeper monitoring of applications, virtualization platforms and storage.

eG Enterprise v6 introduces new capabilities that make it faster and easier for customers to diagnose problems and manage their IT environment. eG Innovations will be demonstrating eG Enterprise v6 for the first time at VMworld in San Francisco in Booth # 2047 (come to the booth and see us).

“Monitoring IT performance across increasingly complex layers of infrastructure, then gaining visibility of the end-user experience of that performance remains a vexing challenge for enterprise IT,” said Dennis Callaghan, Senior Analyst at 451 Research. “The new features in eG Enterprise V6 are designed to meet this challenge head on.”

“Enterprise customers are looking for intuitive, total performance visibility across every layer and every tier,” adds Bala Vaidhinathan, CTO, eG Innovations. “To achieve this, they often have to use multiple diverse tools to monitor, diagnose and report on the entire infrastructure. eG Enterprise v6 provides different stakeholders customized dashboards and drilldowns that offer deeper and broader visibility end-to-end, across every layer and every tier of the service infrastructure. This allows enterprises to minimize the number of tools they have to use to determine the root-cause of problems. eG Enterprise v6 enables organizations to reduce operations costs, improve IT productivity and enhance end-user productivity and satisfaction.”

New in eG Enterprise v6:

  • One-View Dashboards: With the one-view dashboards, administrators do not have to traverse across multiple screens or tools. They can now get a simplified, aggregated overview of IT services through a single dashboard. The one view dashboards are fully customizable and provide custom views for the different stakeholders in an organization. Executives can view service demand and popularity, while IT managers can get a quick overview of the key service performance metrics. Service demand, resource consumption and service quality are all presented in the same dashboard so IT managers can make intelligent decisions and pre-empt issues that can impact the user experience.
  • Next-Gen User Interface: eG Enterprise v6 delivers a modern Web 2.0 interface providing enhanced ease-of-use, accessibility and personalization of the management console. This seamless interface allows administrators to manage their entire IT environment, whether it utilizes physical or virtual servers and private, hybrid or public clouds.
  • eG Mobile App: eG Enterprise v6 introduces a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. Administrators can now track the performance of their key IT services from anywhere, at any time using their mobile and tablet.
  • AnyCloud Technology: eG Enterprise now delivers a consolidated way to manage the entire IT infrastructure, applications and users irrespective of the means and location of the delivery. The universal agent architecture and one-view dashboard provide a unified platform to manage a myriad set of cloud based services and technologies. Administrators have a clear way to demarcate between services delivered to the customer/user and the different types of infrastructure used to deliver it. They can easily keep track of the performance of their dynamically changing environments and the impact on service delivery, SLAs and user experience.
  • VDI Console for End-User Self-Service: With eG Enterprise v6, VDI administrators can configure and publish a console with virtual desktop session usage and performance metrics. This console empowers end-users, providing them the ability to perform basic diagnosis to determine what may be causing a slowdown during virtual desktop access – e.g., their network connectivity, bandwidth usage within their session, system resources used by the session, etc. This self-service console helps reduce user complaints to the help desk and thereby reduces support costs and enhances IT productivity.
  • Enhanced Desktop and Server Virtualization Monitoring: eG Enterprise includes enhanced Citrix XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V monitoring capabilities. V6 also extends eG Enterprise’s patented In-N-Out monitoring technology for servers using the Linux KVM hypervisor. For application virtualization and virtual desktop environments, eG Enterprise now includes powerful, new browser monitoring capabilities. Deeper visibility into user logons release to allow administrators to quickly identify and solve slow login issues is also part of the enhancements in this release.

Take a first look at eG Enterprise v6 here.

Visit us at VMworld today – booth 2047 – and see the new eG Enterprise v6 live in action!

Citrix XenDesktop Performance Management – Optimizing VDI User Experience While Enhancing IT Productivity and ROI


eG-EnterpriseWe would like to invite you to join the upcoming eG Innovations live demonstration Citrix XenDesktop Performance Management – Optimizing VDI User Experience While Enhancing IT Productivity and ROI on August 21, 2014 at 2pm ET | 1pm CT | 11am PT | 7pm UK | 8pm CET.

See first-hand how to address performance-related challenges in your business-critical VDI environment. Register here: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/916239343

Desktop virtualization expert Bala Vaidhinathan (CTO, eG Innovations) will demonstrate how eG Enterprise helps you manage your virtual desktop environment to:

  • Proactively identify and diagnose the root cause of issues and resolve them before users notice
  • Rapidly resolve user complaints such as “my desktop is slow” with automated identification of bottlenecks and their root cause
  • Achieve real-time oversight and performance management to meet SLA and performance objectives
  • Gain a holistic end-to-end view of the virtual desktop infrastructure, understand usage trends and bottlenecks and plan effectively for growth
  • Customize real-time dashboards and create targeted reports to deliver timely, concise information that is relevant and valuable to each technical and management team member

Register Now: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/916239343

Title:  Citrix XenDesktop Performance Management – Optimizing VDI User Experience While Enhancing IT Productivity and ROI

Date:  August 21, 2014 at 2pm ET | 1pm CT | 11am PT | 7pm UK | 8pm CET

Presenters: Bala Vaidhinathan (CTO, eG Innovations), Holger Schulze (VP Marketing, eG Innovations)

 

We look forward to seeing you online!

Why Performance Visibility Is Key to the Success of Your Desktop Migration Project


BitsChange is the one thing that is a constant in any IT infrastructure today. One of the fastest changing areas in the enterprise is the desktop. Changes happen due to two main reasons. Firstly, IT organizations are seeking ways to respond better to the needs of their business lines. They are piloting and deploying new technologies to make IT operations more agile and cost effective. Desktop virtualization and application virtualization are two of the key technologies being used in this endeavor. Secondly, change is thrust on organizations by the advent of new technologies, or rather the end of life of older technologies. The migration from Windows XP to Windows 7 or 8 has been a huge change that IT organizations have had to address. Another important change, albeit on a lower scale, was the move from Citrix XenApp 4.5 to Citrix XenApp 6.5.

Often, change does not happen in one area alone. The move from Windows XP to Windows 7/8 may sound simplistic, but there are many things to be considered (higher hardware requirements, support for legacy applications, etc.). Some organizations are even looking to virtualize the desktops as part of this migration.
Likewise, when moving from Citrix XenApp 4.5 to Citrix XenApp 6.5, most organizations are upgrading operating systems (e.g., Windows 2003 to Windows 2008/2012). For its various benefits, virtualization is also being adopted for hosting Citrix XenApp instances.

Sometimes, the migration can introduce significant operational challenges. For example, with physical desktops, each desktop had dedicated CPU, memory, storage and network resources. On the other hand, virtual desktops share the resources of the physical server on which they are hosted. In this situation, a single malfunctioning virtual desktop application can choke the physical server, slowing down the performance seen by other virtual desktop users. IT organizations have to put in place effective mechanisms to ensure that they detect and resolve such issues at the earliest.

While IT organizations have to cope with the magnitude of these changes, from the user perspective, the requirements are simple. They expect the performance of their key applications to be at least the same as it was before the migration. Users also expect the reliability of the service to be at least the same as it was before. If it is not, the migration is blamed for the problem!

Often in any migration project, the focus is on the architecture and technology choices – what hypervisor to use, what hardware to use, what storage technology to use, how to size the desktops and Citrix XenApp instances (e.g., a few large instances, or many smaller instances), how many resources are to be allocated for each desktop/application, how will the new technology be delivered, etc. Performance monitoring and management is often an after-thought, and is often considered after users complain about performance after the migration is done.

Against this backdrop, there are three primary considerations that are critical to the success of any desktop migration project:

Establishing Performance Baselines Is Extremely Important

It is important to benchmark the user experience prior to the migration. By comparing the performance after the migration, administrators can determine if performance has indeed changed. Without this baseline, administrators will not be able to even determine if what the users are saying about performance is true — i.e., is performance after migration worse than it was before the migration? It is equally important to have baselines of workload, resource utilization and performance of every tier of the infrastructure. Having these baselines allows IT administrators to answer the question “what has changed?”. Any deviations in workload between the pre-upgrade environment and the post upgrade environment can provide clues as to why performance has changed after migration. For successful migration, it is essential to have baselines of what the performance was before the migration and what the performance is after the migration.

1

 

Total Visibility Is Key to Ensure User Satisfaction

Problems will invariably happen after the migration and very often they are not directly related to the key application or operating system being migrated. If frequent problems occur, users will lose confidence in the technology and complain that “the performance degradation is because of the migration”. This is where having end-to-end performance visibility helps.

It may not be possible or advisable to just rely on monitoring and management capability provided by the key technology vendors. These tools may not have end-to-end visibility. Furthermore, their capabilities may themselves change from one version to another, making it difficult to get consistent baselines across versions. For example, if you are migrating to Citrix XenApp 7.5 or XenDesktop 7.5 from an earlier version, bear in mind that Citrix EdgeSight, the monitoring tool offered by Citrix has changed significantly in its capabilities (see this excellent article by Rob Beekmans, Missing EdgeSight 5.4 features in XenDesktop 7.5). Hence, prior to the migration, look for monitoring solutions that provide end-to-end performance visibility and can also work consistently across the application versions and operating platforms involved in the migration.

With end-to-end performance visibility across every layer, every tier — from the underlying hardware, network and storage, to the virtualization platform and the hosted applications — of the infrastructure, administrators can determine where the real bottleneck lies. Manually analyzing each and every performance metric is a laborious, time consuming exercise. If the end-to-end performance monitoring and diagnosis approach can be automated, user performance issues can be diagnosed and fixed more rapidly and with fewer administrators being involved. In fact, the diagnosis can even be done proactively, before users notice.
End-to-end performance visibility along with automated root-cause diagnosis can help you quickly find and resolve problems, thereby ensuring that your migration projects move to successful completion.

2

Right-Sizing for ROI

The success of the migration is not just based on whether users are satisfied with the quality of service, but also based on whether the organization is able to achieve the ROI promised by the migration. To achieve ROI, organizations must right-size their infrastructure. Historical reporting across every tier of the infrastructure is critical for this. With greater visibility into the infrastructure, the operations team can identify areas of optimization (e.g., oversized virtual machines, unbalanced load allocation across servers, etc.), allowing companies to do more with their existing investments.

A focus on performance management helps organizations strike the right balance between cost and performance, allowing them to achieve the promised ROI from their desktop migration projects.

The first impression is often the lasting impression. User confidence is impacted by performance degradation after a desktop migration. Even if problems are resolved later, users will complain at the slightest sign of slow performance and this could result in higher operations costs.

Also, if you take a reactive approach to performance management, this means that the initial budget for the desktop migration did not have performance management costs built-in. If you have to go back and ask your management for additional capabilities to assist with the migration later on, this will result in longer approval cycles. Hence, make sure that performance baselining and diagnosis is an integral part of your considerations for a desktop migration initiative.

Srinivas Ramanathan is the founder and CEO of eG Innovations.

 

End-User Dashboard: Enabling Users Diagnose Virtual Desktop Slowness in No Time!


User Experience a Key for Virtual Desktop Success

Great user experience is a key to the success of any virtual desktop deployment. If users believe that the performance of virtual desktops is slower or less reliable than that of physical desktops, they will want their physical desktops back.

The performance of virtual desktops depend on many factors – the connection broker that manages user sessions, the virtualization platform on which the desktops are hosted, the storage tier supporting the virtual desktops, the provisioning servers that stream the desktop operating system, the enterprise applications being accessed by users, the virtual desktops themselves and the user’s terminals and their connections to the data center where the virtual desktops are hosted. Virtual desktop administrators have complete control over the connection brokers, virtualization platform, provisioning servers, and storage, but they do not often have visibility into or control over the network connectivity from a user’s terminal to the virtual desktop or the applications running inside the virtual desktop.

Virtual Desktop Performance is Not Always Controlled by the VDI Administrator

The below two factors can have a significant impact on user experience and user confidence in the virtual desktop service.

  • Impact of poor network connectivity on virtual desktop performance: Many virtual desktop deployment scenarios involve users being in remote locations than the virtual desktops they access. For instance, many companies outsource key business processes offshore. virtual-desktopIn such cases, knowledge workers in countries like India and Philippines connect to virtual desktops over wide area networks. Congested WAN links can result in virtual desktop slowness being perceived by users. Even in flexwork situations, users working from home can be connecting over low bandwidth lines to their virtual desktops. In such situations, virtual desktop administrators cannot be held responsible for poor virtual desktop performance
  • Impact of virtual desktop applications on the user experience: Applications run by the user on a virtual desktop can also cause slowness. Many a times, the user is not even aware of such a situation. For instance, one of the applications launched on the desktop could have a memory leak, causing the desktop to become slower and slower over time. Another common occurrence is when users access non-corporate web sites from their browser. These web sites can trigger the execution of client-side scripts on the browser, taking up key CPU resources on the desktop.

Unfortunately, irrespective of whether the slowness is caused by the virtual desktop, the network tier, or within the virtual desktop infrastructure, the user complaint is that “the virtual desktop service is slow”.  In such situations, administrators end up spending a lot of time and effort troubleshooting performance issues that are not within their control. Long problem diagnosis cycles also result in frustrated users.

eG’s End-User Performance Dashboard: Performance Visibility for End Users

eG Enterprise’s end-user performance dashboard provides end-users with key insights into the performance of their virtual desktops. From the dashboard, users can see the performance of the network connecting their terminal to the virtual desktop. They can also see the resource utilization within the virtual desktop and see what applications executing in the desktop are taking up resources.

eG End user dashboard showing key performance metrics, their detailed diagnosis and historical values for analysis
eG End user dashboard showing key performance metrics, their detailed diagnosis and historical values for analysis

The key benefit of the end user dashboard is that it empowers end-users to quickly diagnose if a performance problem is being caused in areas of the infrastructure that are within their control. If a performance problem is in the interconnecting network or in one of the applications the user has launched, the user can initiate corrective action (e.g., kill the offending process, contact the local network team, etc.) to alleviate the issue. This results in fewer complaints and trouble calls to the virtual desktop helpdesk and administrators. As a result, support costs are lower, users less frustrated and they have more confidence in the virtual desktop technology.

User can notice the higher utilization of a key resource (e.g., CPU) and can dig deeper for detailed diagnosis. In this figure, the user can clearly identify that Windows Media Player is consuming excessive CPU inside the virtual desktop and could be affecting the performance of other applications.

Some of the key questions that users can answer with the end-user dashboard and the corresponding actions they can take are indicated in the table below:

Questions a User can Answer with the End-User Virtual Desktop Dashboard

Action the User can Initiate

Is the network connectivity from the user’s terminal to the virtual desktop the cause of virtual desktop slowness? Raise a complaint with the user’s local network team to resolve the issue.  Try connecting from an alternative network if that is possible.
Is any application consuming excessive resources on the desktop (high CPU, high memory, lot of disk I/O) and thereby slowing performance for other applications? Kill the offending application process or stop the application
Is there a memory/handle leak in one of the applications running in the desktop that could be causing slowness of the desktop? Kill the offending application process or stop the application
Is there excessive traffic from the desktop – printer, audio, video, USB – that could be causing slowness during remote desktop access? Stop all bandwidth-intensive operations (eg. Audio/video players) on the desktop.

With eG’s end-user dashboard, users do not have to have login access to the performance management system. Administrators can publish the dashboard for access to virtual desktop users. By entering his/her domain user name, a user can get to see the performance of his / her virtual desktop session. Historical performance can also be observed for all key metrics.

Real-World Experience:  User self-service lowers Virtual Desktop Support Costs

Our customers have observed that with basic training, end users are able to learn how to do a first level triage to see if the problem is in their network or in their virtual desktop. They can contact the virtual desktop team only if the problem is neither in their network nor in their virtual desktop. This way, the end user dashboard allows enterprises deploying virtual desktops to:

  • Reduce the volume of helpdesk calls;
  • Have their key VDI experts spend time troubleshooting issues that lie in domains that they control;
  • Resolve virtual desktop performance issues at the earliest (since problems are directed to the right domains);
  • Build confidence in the user community about the technology.

Related Articles

Why performance management of Virtual Desktops is not the same as management of Virtual Machines
VDI Success ‒ The Role of Performance Assurance in VDI Deployments
User Experience and Performance Assurance Continue to Take Center Stage in Virtualized Environments