How to configure user persona management in View 5 – User Profiles

I was upgrading the lab at work a while back to View 5 and getting familiar with the new Persona Management features. So I thought it would be a good idea to put some of this in writing to share with others. Because I did not see much detailed information around this. In this post I will show you how easy it is to get user persona working in View 5 and how these features are setup and configured. This might be some what of a lengthy post but should be worth the read.

With the release of VMware View 5 came a new feature for persona management or the ability to capture / virtualize the user profile. This is very huge in VDI and is something that VMware has been working towards for awhile now. If you remember they purchased RTO software and have been working on incorporating those features into View. This is the first release with the RTO profile software built in. I do think that VMware will continue to improve and expand these features in upcoming releases.

But all things said I think that View 5 has a lot to offer around user profiles. If you are looking at deploying View 5 give these features a serious look before selecting any 3rd part tool for profile management. Depending on what you user needs are and your admin requirements, View 5 might have everything you need built in.

The persona management features in View 5 are built to work alone or in unison with Windows roaming profiles. The profile is redirected most commonly to a network share. This network share can be backed up via your normal methods and will give you the option of restoring profiles from backups in case of corruption or security concerns. View 5 persona’s are an improvement over roaming profiles because the profile is not copied down on log in or back up at log out. This speeds the process up greatly. The View GPO’s allow for more granular control over the profile’s behavior.

From the image below you can see that enabling the persona management for a pool or group of users is driving off of modifying the group policy for the OU that the desktops or users are located in. To turn on the base features all that is need is to enabled the highlighted key from the image.

VMware View Persona Management

Enabeling VMware View Persona Management

In the next image I am showing the option to enable persona management. It’s really an on or off selection, the only other setting is the upload interval in minutes. This controls the upload of any parts of the profile that are download into the VDI desktop while the user is logged in.

VMware View Persona Management

How to enable VMware View Persona Management

The next GPO object that I am showing is how to specify the location of the users profile. This is the network share that you want the profile to be stored on. There is the option of specifying the location yourself or using the location that is entered in the users AD account.

VMware View Persona Management

Select location to store View Persona profile

The next image is showing an entire GPO folder dedicated to Folder Redirection. This is included when you load the View ADM files that allow for persona management. These allow for easy redirection of specific folders within a users profile that you might want to redirect to a location rather than capture them in the profile. I won’t bore you with the reasons for this because this is nothing new or specific to View persona mgmt. If you are using roaming profiles or a 3rd party profile mgmt tool you will also be considering redirecting some folders.

VMware View Persona Management

VMware View Persona Management folder redirection

The image below is showing how I was redirection the users Desktop folder within the profile. I am pointing it to a network share and using the %username% variable just as like the previous steps. To redirect a folder is as simple as enabling the option and providing the location to store it.

VMware View Persona Management

VMware View Persona Management desktop folder redirection

The next image below shows a few options that allow you to control the visibility of the profile being redirected. Things like showing a progress window for profile downloads in the background or if icons are displayed in the tray.

VMware View Persona Management

VMware View Persona Management

 

This last image is showing the options are logging.

  • Logging File name: The full path name of the local View Persona Management log file.  This path should include the file name, and cannot be a UNC path.
  • Logging Destination: Specifies where log message will be sent. Log message can be sent to a local log file and also the debug port.
  • Logging Flags: Specifies the type of log messages that are generated. (Log error messages or Informational messages)
  • Debug flags: Specifies the type of debug messages that are generated. Debug messages are handled the same as log messages.
VMware View Persona Management

VMware View Persona Management

 

 

 

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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How to monitor PCoIP performance in View 5 with WMI counters

Along with the many other features that are new in VMware View 5, there are now WMI counters to monitor and report on PCoIP performance. In this post I will highlight some of the ones that I think are most valuable. At first I was kind of mixed about how I felt VMware choose to implement these features. But for those of you that have tools that can monitor Windows PC’s via WMI or are used to using Perfmon you will have no learning curve for this.

You can view these counters in Perfmon if you have access to the PC or the end user is familiar enough to help collect the data. Or if you have a tool that is capable of monitoring or collecting this data you will be able to add these to your standard monitoring rules. I plan on setting up some of the common monitoring tools in a lab when there is time and testing how they work with these new counters.

In the image below you can see the 5 new PCoIP sections that are available in Perfmon. Each of these has a number of counters that will help you monitor and trouble shoot PCoIP sessions for your View 5 users.

In the next image I am showing the counters available under the PCoIP network statistics section. This will give you details about network stats within the View session. You can monitor bandwidth, latency and packet loss for example.

On the next image I fired up a session and started to monitor the network settings for my PCoIP session. You can see below that I was looking at my latency and it was all over the board. This is because I was running from my house and the internet there is line of sight and well lets just say it sucks. But it is fairly useful for testing things like this because I get to see how they perform on bad connections.

 I have take shows of the remaining counters available for monitoring and shown them below. These counters focus on general PCoIP stats, Audio, Video/Image and USB related statistics for the View session. Over all I’m glad to see these new features added to view. Now I am waiting to see how tool makers adapter their products to take advantage of these new features. I am very eagerly waiting to get a look at vCenter Operations for View coming out in early 2012.

Update December 22, 2011:

I have listed out the different WMI classes and their explanations below. This should help you with understanding what each does.

PCoIP Network Statistics

RoundTripLatencyms Round trip latency in milliseconds between the PCoIP server and thePCoIP client.
RXBWkbitPersec Overall bandwidth for incoming PCoIP packets averaged over thesampling period, in seconds
RXBWPeakkbitPersec Peak bandwidth in kilobits per second for incoming PCoIP packets over aone-second sampling period
RXPacketLossPercent Percentage of received packets lost during a sampling period
TXBWkbitPersec Overall bandwidth for outgoing PCoIP packets averaged over thesampling period, in seconds.
TXBWActiveLimitkbitPersec Estimated available network bandwidth in kilobits per second. Thisstatistic is updated once per second
TXBWLimitkbitPersec Transmission bandwidth limit in kilobits per second for outgoing packets.The limit is the minimum of the following values:n GPO bandwidth limit for the PCoIP clientn GPO bandwidth limit for the PCoIP server

n Bandwidth limit for the local network connection

n Negotiated bandwidth limit for the Zero Client firmware based on

encryption limits

 

TXPacketLossPercent Percentage of transmitted packets lost during a sampling period

 

General PCoIP Sessions Statistics

BytesReceived Total number of bytes of PCoIP data that have been received since thePCoIP session started
BytesSent Total number of bytes of PCoIP data that have been transmitted since thePCoIP session started
PacketsReceived Total number of packets that have been received successfully since thePCoIP session started. Not all packets are the same size
PacketsSent Total number of packets that have been transmitted since the PCoIPsession started. Not all packets are the same size
RXPacketsLost Total number of received packets that have been lost since the PCoIPsession started
SessionDurationSeconds Total number of seconds that the PCoIP Session has been open
TXPacketsLost Total number of transmitted packets that have been lost since the PCoIPsession started.

PCoIP Audio Statistics

AudioBytesReceived Total number of bytes of audio data that have been received since thePCoIP session started.
AudioBytesSent Total number of bytes of audio data that have been sent since the PCoIPsession started.
AudioRXBWkbitPersec Bandwidth for ingoing audio packets averaged over the sampling period,in seconds
AudioTXBWLimitkbitPersec Transmission bandwidth limit in kilobits per second for outgoing audiopackets. The limit is defined by a GPO setting 
AudioTXBWkbitPersec Bandwidth for outgoing audio packets averaged over the samplingperiod, in seconds. 

PCoIP Imaging Statistics

ImagingBytesReceived Total number of bytes of imaging data that have been received since the PCoIP session started
ImagingBytesSent Total number of bytes of imaging data that have been transmitted since the PCoIP session started.
ImagingDecoderCapabilitykbitPersec Estimated processing capability of the imaging decoder in kilobits per second. This statistic is updated once per second
ImagingEncodedFramesPersec Number of imaging frames that were encoded over a one-second samplingperiod.
ImagingActiveMinimumQuality Lowest encoded quality value on a scale from 0 to 100. This statistic is updated once per second. This counter does not correspond to the GPO setting for minimum quality 
ImagingRXBWkbitPersec Bandwidth for incoming imaging packets averaged over the sampling period, in seconds. 
ImagingTXBWkbitPersec Bandwidth for outgoing imaging packets averaged over the sampling period, in seconds. 

PCoIP USB Statistics

USBBytesReceived Total number of bytes of USB data that have been received since the PCoIP session started.
USBBytesSent Total number of bytes of USB data that have been transmitted since the PCoIP session started.

 

USBRXBWkbitPersec Bandwidth for incoming USB packets averaged over the sampling period, in seconds

 

USBTXBWkbitPersec Bandwidth for outgoing USB packets averaged over the sampling period, in seconds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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What could vCenter Operations for VMware View mean or help with – vCOPs

The world is just now starting to get a glimpse of what vCenter Operations for View could be like. I really hope that this product comes out of the gate with a strong feature set and delivers a big win for VMware. This would really strengthen their VDI offering.

The ability to monitor performance of the connections between the endpoints and the VMs running in the data center is a vital metric that needs to be tackled by VMware. This is something that Citrix is already delivering with XenDesktop and I like what they are doing so far. You can see the latency measurement between the connection and also information like client version, IP addresses and broker that it connected through. All very helpful information for troubleshooting performance and connection issues.

I like the fact that VMware has added counters for Windows that can be monitored using Perfmon inside the OS, and you can always fire this up to look at something. But I think this needs to continue to develop further to make these connection and performance issues easy to continually monitor and troubleshoot. In the preview videos that VMware posted on this blog post are mostly centered around monitoring the infrastructure, this is what vCOPs already does. The last video did show some tasty nugguets about PCoIP monitoring which looks promising. But some type of a client summary page would be very helpful so Admins do not have to drill down into 10 screens to get the picture unless they want that level of detail. It also needs to provide performance monitoring for client connections and end user experience. Below is a list of things that I think would be very helpful in a VMware View deployment to monitor.

  • PCoIP connection latency
  • VM login times
  • Client version
  • Connection server client is connected through
  • Connection type (PCoIP vs. RDP)

 

Below is a sample of what Citrix is offering today with their XenDesktop product. From this session screen you can shadow session which I wish VMware would add into View Manager. Then there are details about latency, connection type, endpoint details, which items are enabled within the HDX/ICA protocol. Overall a pretty good looking and helpful console from Citrix.

The lower part of the same screen shows you some hypervisor and broker health status. There is a simple graph that shows you CPU, Memory and Network usage for the VM that you are looking at.

 

 

 

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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VDI desktop assessment sample report from Stratusphere FIT

If you are thinking about starting or are currently working on a VDI project, you need to do some type of assessment on your current desktops. Without collecting performance and usage data from your current PCs you will only be guessing what on how to design your infrastructure for VDI.

If you are guessing or making too many assumptions about your users, the design is going to either be extremely over solution-ed or will perform badly. By doing your homework you are collecting the data that will allow you to make intelligent decisions on CPU, disk and network performance that will be required.

There are a few applications on the market that do this type of desktop assessment, Liquidware Labs and Lakeside Software are the leaders in this space. In this post I am showing the more valuable slides from the presentation that is created by the Stratusphere Fit tool after collecting data from your PCs.

To deploy the tool you only need to import a Virtual Appliance and assign it an IP address and DNS name. You then export a collection install file that needs to be pushed out or installed on any computer that you wish to collect data from. You can create user and machine groups for different use cases or any logical grouping that might tie in with your design or business case.

I have pasted slides from the presentation below and have made some notes around a few of the slides. This is a sample report that I created using a test environment. There was no grouping setup so a few slides were removed that would present data based on groups. This is just to provide an idea of what type of data you can get by doing an assessment and what Liquidware Labs can help you with.

Besides the presentation below there are a number of built in reports that you can pull or schedule to run on a reoccurring basis. There are several output formats that you can export reports in such as PDF, Excel and Word, among others. There is a good report that will give you summaries of user data and types of files being stored. This is very helpful when planning for profile storage.

The slide below is the opening image that you can customize with Vendor and Customer information.

This slide shows details about the scope of the assessment, such as date range, number of desktops, users and groups.

The slide below shows some of the ranges of how decisions for the Fit ratings will be calculated.

The slide below is showing the number of computers and which group they were placed in.

The slide below is showing peak and averages for all desktops and the different metrics that are measured.

The slide below is probably my favorite one. It shows the averages for all desktops hourly for a week day. So you can see the IOPs are high first thing in the morning when users are logging in and then look for other details that will aid in your design.

The next slide is showing details about the physical desktops, such as age, CPU and Memory usage.

The next slide gives details about the different CPUs that are in your desktops and their utilization.

The next slide covers the physical memory configuration in the desktops.

 

The next slide gives a breakdown of what Operating System is installed on the desktops being monitored.

 

The next slide covers local storage on the desktops. You will get a rough idea of sizes and how much data is being used. Note: there are much more detailed reports that can be run to find out more about user data.

 

The following slide covers devices connected to PCs, you can see that a lot of local or built in devices show up on this report also.

 

The following slide covers monitors and printers.

The next slide shows a summary of the most used applications.

The next slide shows applications that are used most based on time.

The next slide is application related and covers CPU utilization.

 

Now an application view related to memory consumed.

 

And finally an application view that relates to IO consumed.

 

The next slide is showing applications and a graphics intensity rating.

The next slide shows a view on how your desktops are for VDI candidates.

The next slide is showing how your users will fit as VDI candidates.

The next slide is covering how different applications qualify as Virtualization candidates.

 

 

 

 

The next slide is showing a list of machines and highlighting PCs that are on the bubbles or are not good candidates for VDI.

The next slide is showing a list of Users and highlighting user accounts that are on the bubbles or are not good candidates for VDI.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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Recent storms have shown the need for VDI

Just this week Chicago was rocked by a monster storm that knocked out power to 800,000 plus customers. This surely impacted a great number of businesses and homes. I personally was without power at home for 30 hours. I was able to continue to work by powering my home with a generator and some trips to the local Starbucks. But what would a business do if they are impacted by an extended outage?

So I ask the people reading this, how would your business be able to respond today if a large group of your end users were not able to work at their office for an extended period of time? This could be due to a power outage, winter storm, pandemic virus or terrorist attack. Would they be unable to complete any work and the business would lose revenue until access to the facility was restored?

These scenarios are great to start conversations about virtual desktops (VDI). Sure there are a ton of other benefits to using VDI, like rapid provisioning, security, compliance and many others. These are all talked about often when VDI is mentioned. But for me the notion that people cannot complete any work due to a non-business related factor in today’s world drives me crazy. Just last night on the news I saw a story about Los Angeles closing the 405 freeway for 30 hours and the panic that it was going to cause. What if your companies workers would be affected by this, would it not be of great comfort for your management to be able to tell workers to not bother attempting to come into the office during this closure and work form the comfort of their home. Sure there are some employees that have jobs that requires them to be in the office or in proximity to customers or equipment, but most knowledge workers do not have this need.

You are now probably asking well I know VDI can provide remote access to desktops but how would it help us in these types of scenarios. Well when properly designed a VDI environment will provide users access to their desktops from any device and any location. This means that if an office worker that does not bring a laptop home each day was told to not come into the office they would be able to work on their corporate virtual desktop from home using a home PC or compatible end point.

 

 

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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