Simulating Workloads – Getting to the End User Experience!

When IT organizations are looking to virtualize user desktop systems – the end user experience is often the toughest challenge to meet. Virtualizing the traditional physical systems into  more centrally controlled solution in the data center also needs to provide the right functionality. Simulating hundreds of users to make sure all aspects are working well can be a bit of a challenge.

I’ve been working with VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) or EUC (End User Computing) solutions for several years now and with different infrastructure solutions and versions of software.  During this time, one thing that has been common across these efforts is the use of Login VSI to help test the configurations. Without a really good, commonly used, industry reference point it would be almost impossible to develop reference architectures for our customers.

If you are not familiar with Login VSI, I encourage you to visit their site for more information and possibly get an evaluation of the testing tool. In a nutshell it provides a simple and reliable framework for running almost any number of user desktop workloads that actually do in-desktop, user specific work to open documents, update spreadsheets and yes even watch videos. Having a repeatable tool is critical in my line of work but it also has advantages in normal customer VDI environments when making almost any type of change to the infrastructure or solution.

On the vendor side of this testing, it has been extremely useful to me to use Login VSI  for more than just capturing results that we can publish for others to reference – thats the beauty of having a repeatable set of measures and baselines to work from.

We also use this tool in our regular QA processes as user workloads simulated through Login VSI can provide stress and insight into the workings of complete configurations – software, server, network, storage – that might not be evident in other point testing or benchmarking tools.

On top of that, running hundreds of simulated user dekstop sessions while also running other application testing workloads in a mixed use scenario and still passing all the expected test levels provides a level of confidence into the final configurations.

If you are more interested in how we use this tool, I have recently posted a Reference Architecture document for Horizon 7 on Datrium DVX using Login VSI. The original report is posted on Datrium site under Resources -> Technical White Papers -> Horizon 7 RA

We worked closely with VMware on the review of the results and the solution is also listed on the VMware site on the VMware Solutions Exchange (VSX) under Datrium DVX for Horizon. There is also a blog I posted on the VMware EUC site with some of the highlights of the work done and results observed.

And finally with our good friends at Login VSI, they have posted the document on the Login VSI -> Resources -> Reference Architecture site.

I’m certain we will continue to use this tool and this methodology for testing and publishing results as infrastructure elements change over time – software versions, compute horsepower and even storage enhancements.

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