VDI

De-risk VDI and Cloud Transition Projects with UXp

UXp is a new form of Real User Monitoring (or RUM) for User Sessions in the Windows® Desktop environment. UXp’s agent captures events directly from the User Interface (UI), recording an accurate “user eye view” of how well desktop and web applications are performing for actual users. Armed with a new class of objective User Experience (UX) Performance metrics, UXp reliably provides “before” and “after” comparisons (aka A/B Testing) for Digital Transitions including the transition from physical PC’s to Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) environments. As is illustrated below (see VDI Delivery Assurance and Ongoing VDI Deployment), risk can be significantly reduced when decisions are based on actual instead of derived user experience data.

UXp provides eight distinct UX metrics

  1. User Experience Rating (UXR) – the ratio of User Wait Time to User Active Time (expressed as a %). A UXR value can be calculated for each desktop application, web application, user session, computer, user group, etc.

  2. User Active Time – the period of activity on a desktop. Note: no keyboard, mouse activity, screenshots or passwords are recorded

  3. App Response Time (ART) – the time between a user’s action on a keyboard or mouse and the app’s response.

  4. Cursor Wait Time – the length of time the Wait Cursor (typically a spinning wheel) is displayed on the screen.

  5. Windows Not Responding Time – the time that a foreground window is unresponsive

  6. User Wait Time – App Response Time plus Cursor Wait Time plus Window Not Responding Time.

  7. Program Load Time – the period/interval between a process starting and its appearing in the foreground window. Note: this applies only to Windows Desktop applications.

  8. Logon Delay Time (LDT) – is the time, in seconds, from when the user authenticates a new desktop.

These UXp metrics help your organization to successfully manage Windows Desktop transition and deployment projects while providing “deep dive” UX forensic data for investigating periods of degraded performance.

Compare among different UXp metrics

You can compare among different:

  • Time Periods

  • User Groups

  • Desktop Applications

  • Websites

  • Other Operations

VDI transitions can be measured from different "angles" to ensure UXp is meeting expectations

UXp provides reliable A/B testing for digital transitions

A/B testing allows you to precisely compare the impact on UX of:

  • Physical Desktops vs Virtual or Remotes Desktops

  • Different VDI Configurations and Hardware Configurations

  • Antivirus and Antimalware apps from different vendors

  • Alternative Desktop Apps (incl. Web Browsers)

  • Alternative Web Apps and Web Services

UXsupplies continuous monitoring in ongoing operations

In ongoing operations for the continuous monitoring of:

  • Desktop App SLA Performance and ROI

  • Web App SLA Performance and ROI

Comparison of the UXp Metrics of two VM’s over the same 7-day period

UXp Transforms Helpdesk/Service-desk Support using Data directly from the User Interface

UXp’s User Session Explorer captures all UX performance metrics – from log on to log off, in chronological order as unique User sessions. UXp tightens support feedback loops, identifying the series of actions or apps that triggered bottlenecks and increased wait times. UXp makes systems easier and less costly to support. For example, it is especially helpful in pinpointing UX issue(s) that may have started days or weeks before the User noticed a problem and reported it.

 

UXp's User Session Wireframe Replay visualizes the information in the User Session Explorer, offering detailed “deep dive” analysis and forensics for any individual session. It allows a support specialist to step through each event as it happened, seeing all relevant performance metrics, whether or not the window is visible and, if so, where it appears on the screen; whereas an invisible window may indicate the presence of malware or a virus.

 

VDI Delivery Assurance and Ongoing VDI Deployment

UXp enhances and complements traditional VDI latency measurement with UXp's seven new metrics supporting VDI delivery success:

  • UXp provides accurate “before” and “after” UX comparisons for assessing POCs and VDI trials

  • VDI Delivery Assurance – Our Data will show if additional tuning exercises should be conducted and/or additional hardware is needed in order to achieve the expected/desired performance

  • UXp provides objective metrics in support of Ongoing Monitoring of Desktop App SLA performance and ROI of Web App SLA performance

  • UXp empirical data counters perceptions and rumors of poor UX, addressing a perennial problem

An MSP’s perspective

VDI is widely viewed as the best route to improved flexibility and reduced dependence on hardware. But it is also known for performance problems and as a costly technology to deploy and maintain. Moreover, diagnosing VDI traditionally is difficult for a variety of reasons.

 

To deal with these issues, OctoInsight has introduced its new fast, simple-to-use, end-user experience tool. Service providers can now install the lightweight agent, UXp, into the VDI images to monitor end-user experience. “The beauty of this solution,” one MSP CEO observed, “is that whether you are using customized or uniformly sized VMs, you can pinpoint data bottlenecks, down to a single VM.”

 

This new technology provides a straight forward and easy-to-understand method for conveying crucial information very quickly, a function that ordinarily requires time-consuming troubleshooting. In this as in several other ways, it saves a lot of time that would otherwise be consumed diagnosing performance issues. Once UXp has collected sufficient data to be reflective of a computer’s typical workload, its User Experience Rating (UXR) becomes an essential guiding metric.

As shown in the screenshot above, UXp tells you precisely how much latency is being incurred and by what application and or website. It also identifies whether the problem is based on CPU, disk, memory, or a network connection.

UXR provides an objective basis for determining how a migration or system change (hardware, software) has affected User Experience. Use UXR to both compare exceptional/poor performing computers and also to compare a computer to itself over time as its usage, hardware and software change.

 

One MSP found that upgrading the disk drives on their customer-facing machines significantly reduced wait times and disk bottlenecks. The ROI of this improvement provided the basis for prioritizing upgrades to internal-facing machines as well, a double benefit.

 

In another familiar example, a global information technology consultant described a case in which customers had been made aware of a migration that was supposed to happen after hours on a Friday. The migration did not happen, and yet Monday morning a customer called to complain about how bad everything had become. UXp is useful in preempting this common “reverse placebo effect” by providing a factual basis for determining the validity of such claims and whether further investigation is needed.

The bottlenecks identified by the application

The same system showing the overall user experience rating (UXR) identified by program

We can see in the dashboard image above that x2jobtvh.exe is causing a significant lag compared to the other programs running. For example, in relative terms, it has incurred almost 44 times the latency vs Powerpoint. That is significant. UXp helped IT quickly to recognize the specific .exe as a Xerox print utility which notifies the user when print jobs are sent.

Since this was a non-essential service, IT could simply remove the unnecessary application that was inducing latency in the system. Without UXp revealing the performance impact, the company would not have known about this app and the quick fix would not have been made.

 

In isolation, this kind of issue is not a crisis. However, in a VDI environment, having access to relevant information is often critical. Even one or two outlier programs can have a profound impact on your entire VDI deployment, especially when they occur in high-density deployments. Instead of buying additional hardware in the hope of fixing underlying performance problems, as is often done, OctoInsight’s UXp allows you to pinpoint them. In this case, it was quickly determined that the physical resources were fine and that the issue was simply a poorly written utility.

 

Using this solution to monitor and diagnose your VDI environment makes practical sense and provides a high ROI by eliminating IT managers’ guesswork while improving your end users’ productivity and morale.

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