Monitor vSAN with ControlUp

One of the new enhancements of ControlUp 7.3 is vSAN monitoring support. ControlUp will detect the vSAN cluster(s), objects and displays real-time vSAN specific metrics and metadata. In this blog post I highlight the features of the new vSAN integration in ControlUp 7.3.

Installation

The vSAN cluster is automatically recognized by ControlUp when the following requirements are met:

  • PowerShell minimum Version 5.0
  • VMware PowerCLI 10.1.1.x
  • .NET framework version 4.5
  • vSAN Performance service should be turned on on the cluster
  • The user account configured for the hypervisor connection requires the “storage.View” permission.

Running ControlUp is easy, no installation is needed, simple execute a single executable (ControlUpConsole.exe). After starting ControlUp, add the vCenter server and the vSAN cluster(s) are automatically recognized. When clicking on the vSAN cluster you see real-time metadata and performance metrics.

Views

There are several preset views available with vSAN metrics such as:

  • vSAN Performance. Includes vSAN performance metrics such as IOPS, latency, cache and buffers.
  • vSAN Health. Includes the vSAN health checks
  • vSAN Host Network. Includes vSAN network I/O and packet loss metrics.

You can easily switch between predefined views in the “Colum Preset”. Here is an overview of vSAN metrics used by ControlUp:

Datastores: Name, Type, Capacity, Read/Write IOPS, Read/Write Rate, Read/Write Latency, Compression, Capacity Deduplication, Congestion, Outstanding IO, Disk Configuration, Total Used Capacity, Total Used – Physically Written, Total Used – VM Overreserved, Total Used – System Overhead, vSAN Free Capacity, vSAN Health, vSAN Cluster Health, vSAN Network Health, vSAN Physical Disk Health, vSAN Data Health, vSAN Limits Health, vSAN Hardware Compatibility Health, vSAN Performance Service Health, vSAN Build Recommendation, vSAN Online Health.
Datastores on Hosts: Name, Type, Capacity, Read/Write IOPS, Read/Write Rate, Read/Write Latency, Compression, Capacity Deduplication, Congestion, Outstanding IO, Local Client Cache Hit IOPS, Local Client Cache Hit Rate, vSAN Max Read Cache Read Latency, vSAN Max Write Buffer Write Latency, vSAN Max Read Cache Write Latency, vSAN Max Write Buffer Read Latency, vSAN Min Read Cache Hit Rate, vSAN Write Buffer Min Free Percentage, vSAN Host Network Inbound/Outbound I/O Throughput, vSAN Host Network Inbound/Outbound Packets Per Second, vSAN Host Network Inbound/Outbound Packet Loss Rate

When navigating you see all those metrics available on the vSAN cluster, vSAN datastores on hosts, virtual disks and vSAN Host network utilization views. You can easily drill down by double clicking from the vSAN datastore to the diskgroup(s) on each ESXi host and then drill down to the the virtual disk(s). From the virtual disk(s) you can drill down to the Windows process.

Example: Find the root cause of high IOPS load on the vSAN cluster.

In the following example we will identify a Windows process that is causing high IOPS stress on the vSAN cluster. We drill down from the vSAN cluster to the vSAN diskgroup of the ESXi host to the virtual disk to the process level in the VM to find the root cause of the high IOPS.

  • In the vSAN Performance view we see the stress level has changed and a high IOPS load.

  • In the IOPS we see that the threshold of 2000 is crossed. This threshold is default and can be adjusted. The Virtual Expert suggest to navigate to the “Datastore on Hosts (IOPS detailed View).

  • When double clicking on the “Datastore on Host” we see that “esxin04.lab.local” is generating the IOPS load.

  • The vSAN diskgroup of the “esxin04.lab.local” host has a virtual disk that belongs to the “ControlUp-vSAN-Test” VM that is causing the high IOPS load.

  • When double clicking on the virtual disk we go the the “Processes” view and see that “diskspd.exe” process is causing the high IOPS load.

  • Optional: Right click on the process and select kill to end the “diskspd.exe” process. This stops the IOPS load on the vSAN cluster.

This example shows how easy it is to identify what process is causing stress on the vSAN cluster.

Alerting and reporting

For alerting you can add triggers in ControlUp to notify you when something happens on the vSAN cluster such as a change in the stress level for a period of time.

When using the triggers you’re able to start investigating it right away when something happening on the vSAN cluster. All the vSAN data is transferred to ControlUp Insight for historical reporting and analytics. This is great for analyzing data and trends over time and can be very useful when investigate issues and understanding what is going on you’re environment.

Conclusion

ControlUp is easy to set-up and great for fast troubleshooting. In version 7.3 is vSAN support added. As shown in the this blog post with a couple of double clicks you’re able to perform a root cause analysis and find what process is causing the high IOPS on the vSAN.

There is a free trail available. Give it a try here: link

Tested: VDI End User Experience monitoring tools

The success  and effectiveness of a VDI environment depends on the End User Experience (UX). When the End User Experience isn’t good, users will complain and the VDI project will fail. So the ability to analyze, report and troubleshoot when a problem occurs is critical in a VDI environment. To get this insight I tested ControlUp v6 and VMware vRealize Operations for Horizon v6.3. Both tools are tested against the following subjects:

  • Architecture
  • Troubleshoot performance problems
  • Reporting
  • End User Experience monitoring
  • Supporting End-Users
  • Licensing

The features of ControlUp and VMware vRealize Operations for Horizon are tested against a VMware Horizon View 7 environment.

Architecture

ControlUp

In the on-premises datacenter reside two components:

  • ControlUp Management Console. This is a .NET Windows  application which connects to the vCenter Server/vSphere clusters and VDI desktops.
  • ControlUp Monitor Service. This Windows service is responsible for alerting, reporting and uploading historical data to the Insight database which resides in the ControlUp Cloud.

The ControlUp installation is very simple. On a management server simply execute a single executable (ControlUpConsole.exe). It runs in memory, so there is no installation needed. For alerting and uploading data the ControlUp Monitor Service is needed. Here is an overview how a ControlUp hybrid (cloud and in-prem) infrastructure looks like:

architecture

On the left is the Enterprise Network displayed. This is the on-premises datacenter where the hypervisors and Horizon environment resides and where the ControlUp Monitor and Console are installed. There is a very minimal infrastructure needed for deploying ControlUp. All the backend components are hosted in ControlUp cloud that is  hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

It’s possible to have the backend  components installed on-premises with a special version of ControlUp if you have special compliance requirements. With this version everything runs on-premises.

VMware vRealize Operations for Horizon

VMware vRealize Operations for Horizon is a monitoring solution that extends the capability of VMware vRealize Operations Manager to troubleshoot, monitor, and manage the health, capacity, and performance of VMware Horizon View environments. The architecture of vROps looks like:

architecture

The main components are:

  • VMware vRealize Operations (vROps). vROps can be deployed on Windows, Linux or when using the appliance.
  • VMware vRealize Operations Horizon management pack (PAK). After the vROps is installed and configured add the VMware vRealize Operations Horizon management pack to vROps.
  • vRealize Operations for Horizon broker agent. On one Horizon View Connection Server install the agent and pair this with vROps Horizon adapter.
  • vRealize Operations for Horizon Desktop Agent. In the Horizon View Agent enable this feature.

After installing and configuring these main components the gathering of statistics, events and performance data can begin. All the components are installed in the on-premises datacenter. Besides the VMware vRealize Operations Horizon management pack there are other management packs available that can be imported in vROps such as the Virtual SAN and NSX management pack. This improves the end-to-end visibility and monitoring.

User Interface

ControlUp

When executing the ControlUp Management Console the following UI is displayed after adding the central vCenter server.

CU Management Console1

This is a real-time performance dashboard.

On the left the managed hypervisor(s), vCenter(s) and servers and desktops are listed. On the managed Windows desktops a lightweight agent is pushed.

The following dashboards are available:

  • Folders
  • Hosts
  • Computers
  • Sessions
  • Processes
  • Accounts
  • Applications

You can easily search, filter, sort, group by,  customize and organize the columns that will be displayed in each dashboard.

vROPS for Horizon

The User Interface (UI) for vROps is accessible from the internet browser.

webportal webportal1

After logging-in there are Horizon specific dashboards available such as:

  • Horizon Overview
  • Horizon Help Desk
  • Horizon Infrastructure
  • Horizon User Sessions
  • Horizon VDI Pools
  • Horizon RDS Pools
  • Horizon Applications
  • Horizon Desktop Usage
  • Horizon User Session details
  • Horizon RDS Host Details
  • Horizon End User Experience

These are the default dashboards but it is possible to create own personalized dashboards with widgets and metrics you need.

Troubleshoot performance problems

To demonstrate performance troubleshooting with both products we use a Windows 10 VDI desktop and run the tool “Heavyload.exe” to generate 100% CPU utilization.

heavy

ControlUp

With ControlUp Management Console we can troubleshoot performance problems on hosts, computers and,-sessions in real-time and  identify the process that is causing the 100% CPU utilization.

1 2a

vROPS for Horizon

With vROps we filter on “Percent Processor Time%”, select the session and perform a manual “Get Desktop Processes”.

3High CPU 1

The “Get Desktop Processes” task takes between 10-30 seconds to generate a list of process information per desktop. In ControlUp getting the processes list is in real-time. Besides identifying high CPU utilization other performance counters can be identified with both products.

Reporting

ControlUp Insights

With ControlUp v5 ControlUp Insights was introduced. ControlUp Insights is historical reporting and analytics platform in the cloud. In v6 ControlUp Insights is extended with new reports. Each month new reports are added to the portal. The portal is accessible from the following URL:

  • https://insights.controlup.com

When logging-in there are three main sections with a couple of sub-sections:

  • User Activity
    • Session Count
    • Session Activity
    • Session Details
    • Session Resources
    • Logon Durationreports
    • Protocol Latency
  • System Health
    • Computer Trends
    • Computer Statistics
    • Host Trends
    • Top Windows Errors
  • Application Usage
    • App Usage Details
    • Citrix License Usage

Each section has a several reports with information about user activity, user experience, resource consumption, application activity, system health and license information. The reports are simple, interactive and good-looking.  In addition, where applicable, ControlUp Insights presents global benchmark values for performance and user experience metrics. These metrics are calculated based on anonymize metadata sent to ControlUp Insights from the customers that use this platform

Here are 4 examples reports of Insights:

Computer Trends Host Trends Resource usage Toperrors

The report data can be exported as CSV files.

export

vROPS for Horizon

There are several predefined Horizon reports that can be run or scheduled on regular basis. These reports provide information about remote desktop and application usage, desktop and application pool configuration details, and license compliance. Here are some examples:

2016-08-15_15h39_39 2016-08-15_15h50_12 2016-08-15_15h50_30 2016-08-15_15h50_50

The reports aren’t as fancy and interactive as in ControlUp. The reports can be exported as CSV or PDF files.

End User Experience (UX) monitoring

Besides performance metrics User Experience (UX) metrics are very important in a VDI and SBC environment.

ControlUp UX metrics

  • PCoIP Session bandwidth usage and latency.
  • Desktop Load Time.
  • Group Policy Load Time.

Protocol LatencyUX metrics

  • Application Load Time.

appl load time

vROps for Horizon

  • PCoIP and Blast extreme protocol metrics
  • Profile Load Time
  • Shell Load Time

UX

Both products offer UI metrics. The Application Load Time is a new cool feature in ControlUp 6 that measures the time that it takes that an application become available for the end user. This is good indicator for the User Experience.

Supporting End-Users

ControlUp

Besides monitoring and reporting there are other features built-in to support the End-users. The following screenshot show some of these features:

2016-08-15_16h34_23

Script-Based Actions (SBA) allows the admin to extend ControlUp functionality. Scripts (either developed internally or by the community and then sanitized by ControlUp before being published), can be written using Batch, VBScript or PowerShell.
These scripts can be used and executed on one or more target computers. This following SBA list the PCoIP bandwidth usage for example

sba pcoip

The Application usage report lists the number of concurrent   instances and named users for the selected application.

2

This helps identifying who is using what application(s) and licensing applications.

The “top 10 Windows errors” report shows the most frequently occurring errors on all managed computers. If the error is known, it has a link with a possible solution and how to fix it.

1

All the errors are benchmarkend against other organizations.

vROps for Horizon

vROps focuses primarily on monitoring and reporting. So no other end-user supporting features are available as  in ControlUp. Other unique features are:

  • Horizon VDI and application pool indicator metrics
  • Besides PCoIP Blast Extreme protocol metrics are available in vROps for Horizon 6.3
  • Management Packs.  There is a lot (VMware and third party) management packs available such as Virtual SAN and NSX. This improves the end-to-end visibility and monitoring with there own metrics.

Licensing

ControlUp

ControlUp is available as Pro, Enterprise, or Platinum edition. The main differences between these versions are in:

  • Insights retention data (1 Day for Pro, 1 Month for Enterprise, 1 Year for Platinum)
  • Multi Tenancy Support (Enterprise and above)
  • Multi AD support (Enterprise and above)

vROPS for Horizon

vROps for Horizon is licensed as:

  • standalone product.
  • Included in the Horizon Enterprise license

Conclusion

In this blogpost I tried to give a impression of both products. ControlUp and VMware vRealize Operations for Horizon are both great products for monitoring and reporting on your Horizon environment.  Each products has several pros against the other such as:

ControlUp:

  • Less infra structure is needed than vROps for Horizon.
  • Simplicity of the product with an easy learning curve.
  • Great tool for real-time troubleshooting. Process information is available is real-time.
  • Pre-defined interactive reports available for troubleshooting and management information.
  • Offers other functions such as: killing services, Script Based Actions, chatting, managing the file system and registry, application usage, top Windows events etc.

VMware vRealize Operations for Horizon:

  • Besides the VMware vRealize Operations Horizon management pack, there are other management packs (VMware and third party) available that can be imported in vROps such as the Virtual SAN and NSX management pack. Such components become more and more common in a VMware Horizon environment. Adding these management packs improves the end-to-end visibility and monitoring.
  • Ability to create personalized dashboards.
  • vSphere and Horizon Infrastructure related counters such as VDI and Horizon applications pool information.

What product do I need for Horizon environment? This depends on your requirements, use case and what licenses you already have. For example when having a Horizon Enterprise license, vROps for Horizon is included. Even when having a vROps environment, ControlUp adds great value by it’s unique features such as the interactive ControlUp Insights reports and complement vROps.