Imagine a virtual desktop user reports a performance issue, you open the admin console and all information that is provided is that the user has a session and when it was started.

Imagine it is Monday morning and no users can connect to their virtual desktops or apps, but you don’t know about it (until a bunch of angry users storm into your office and shout at you).

Imagine you would like to add more users to your environment and the network admin asks you about how much bandwidth this will require, but you have no idea.

 

Sounds like a management nightmare, doesn’t it?

 

If you’re unfortunately stuck with the VMware’s Horizon View then this is your scary day-to-day reality.

In fairness with View 5.3 you could spend another 75USD per user to buy vCOPS in order to get some of the information or you could buy some 3rd party software which does the job for a similar price. And if you are planning to deploy View 6 then your only choice will be the most expensive version (Horizon Enterprise) as only this version includes vCOPs. So your choice with View is either really high cost or no visibility.

The good news is that when you are a XenDesktop or XenApp customer this scenario is a breeze. Because Citrix Director does provide all of this  information in a way you need it and just when you need it. And even better, you get this for free, with any version of XenDesktop or XenApp*.

 

In order to prove that this is not just marketing fluff, we recorded a short video comparing the out-of-the-box management tools of XenDesktop and View.

 

 

The features of Director go even beyond what has been showcased within the video. For example monitoring the logon duration of the users and providing detailed insight into which part of the logon process takes the most time, is very powerful. This also enables the admin to improve the user experience pro-actively. Another awesome feature is the correlation of management activities (e.g. changing a Citrix policy or enabling the maintenance mode for a desktop group) with the errors occurred in the environment. This way it is easy to determine if a specific admin task has a positive or maybe even negative effect.

 

But there is even more than what’s exposed in the Director UI. Director and the VDAs track a myriad of data points, which are stored in the XenDesktop Monitoring database. This data can be accessed by means of the OData API, which is discussed in eDocs – Use the Monitor Service OData API and in Citrix Blogs – Creating Director Custom reports for Monitoring XenDesktop.

 

All of this goes far beyond what VMware (Horizon) View provides you out-of-the-box. That’s another reason why XenDesktop and XenApp are the leading desktop virtualization products.

 

*Please note that the Director feature, network analysis provided by HDX Insight, requires XD/XA Platinum edition.  Director as a troubleshooting tool is free with all editions.

 

-Thomas
Follow me on Twitter @thomas_berger.