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Introduction to ControlUp Scoutbees and Remote DX for VMware Horizon Environments

Over the years, VMware Horizon has proven itself to be exceptionally reliable and resilient. However, the network infrastructure on which it runs can interject issues that can be difficult to monitor and troubleshoot – an issue which has been exacerbated by the large-scale migration from office to remote work environments. For the most part, we previously only had to worry about the connectivity of a few dozen offices and a handful of remote workers, but over the last year and a half, businesses have had to adopt work-from-home policies, we now have many workers with dispersed, consumer-grade network connections that have posed new challenges.

Some common networking problems include gateways and streaming applications that are unreachable and, perhaps most frustrating, home network devices that have become overwhelmed due to the stress placed on them by multiple people working remotely while, at the same time, children in the house use the same network resource to participate in online learning, for example.

An example that perfectly sums up the challenge of remote connectivity troubleshooting in Horizon environments is one where an IT administrator spent hours checking possible sources of an issue for a user’s remote desktop: checking the virtual desktop, the hypervisor, even app configurations and GPOs. Finally, the problem was solved by having the user physically move the laptop that was running the Horizon client a few feet to the left; upon doing so, his “remote desktop” problems disappeared. Why? As it turns out, he had an older house that had the original lath and plaster walls with expanded metal mesh on one side of the wall in his office, and on the other side of the wall he had foil-backed insulation which was placed on it during a renovation to the house. His room was a virtual faraday cage! The upshot is that the user didn’t perceive this as an issue with his network connectivity but perceived it as an issue with the remote desktop.

As we all know, when people have a bad remote desktop experience, they don’t care about the cause – they just want the problem fixed. So, with unique issues like the one mentioned above in mind, we are building on our ControlUp partnership to offer two more solutions that can quickly and efficiently identify connectivity problems from end-point devices: Scoutbees and Remote DX.

VMware Horizon and ControlUp Scoutbees

Scoutbees monitors the availability of your network resources (e.g., desktops, applications, and even the UAG and DNS) and notifies you about issues that they may be having. By eliminating or confirming the accessibility of a network resource, you can quickly either focus in on them or eliminate them from your troubleshooting checklist.

Basically, Scoutbees performs synthetic monitoring; that is, it sends requests for the remote resource and then reports back not only if the resource is available but also tracks key performance indicators (KPIs) about the resource that can be used for trending and forensic purposes. Using this, you can check the connectivity and availability of your network-based VMware product, such as your UAG and Horizon Connection Server. It can also proactively test the availability of web apps and network services, such as DNS, file shares, print services, and other network resources that are essential to your business.

We know how busy and taxed system administrators are, and the last thing they need is another piece of infrastructure to set up and, more importantly, maintain. One of the best parts about Scoutbees is that it is available as SaaS, so there is no infrastructure to set up – you simply use a web-based interface to create a test. You can set it up to alert you when things go bad, or you can monitor them via the same interface. There is also an on-premises version available for Horizon customers who prefer to run apps like this in-house.

You can learn more in our blog post: Day-One Horizon Monitoring with ControlUp Scoutbees.

VMware Horizon and ControlUp Remote DX

Scoutbees is an excellent tool to gain visibility into the availability of network resources. But, as noted above, resource availability is meaningless if the Horizon client that you are using to connect to it has network issues. To this end, ControlUp has added Remote DX to their native and web-based consoles.

Remote DX collects information from an endpoint device, such as the quality and speed of the Wi-Fi connection and the performance of the internet connection. With just three clicks, IT can identify a Horizon user whose client device score was bad and identify what caused it. As an example, in this case, the user had 219ms of latency between their device and their Wi-Fi access point and a total of 362ms between the Horizon desktop and the Horizon client.

Using Remote DX, IT can also see that the user had a relatively strong Wi-Fi signal of 81% and the round-trip time (RTT) to Google was 244ms. IT can also see that the user only had 25ms (244ms-219ms) network latency to Google from the router. The problem in this case was between the device and the Wi-Fi, not the user’s broadband connectivity.

By default, Remote DX only displays the most used information regarding a VDI client and its network connectivity, but it collects far more information regarding this connection. For instance, in the screen-capture below, IT can enter client in the Solve search box to display some of the other types of information that can be collected and displayed on Remote DX.

The ControlUp Real-Time Console can also be used to display Real DX information, but it doesn’t have a pop-out display that gives a graphic view of the connection like Solve does.

Selecting Remote DX from the Column Preset drop-down menu will display the most used remote information in the dashboard.

This includes the Client Device Score super metric which uses the other Remote DX metrics. This gives IT a quick, color-coded indicator of the health of their clients, including the telemetry that affects users’ Digital Employee Experience, such as the quality and speed of the Wi-Fi connection, as well as the performance of their internet connection.

You can learn more in Get started with ControlUp Remote DX and VMware Horizon.

Next steps

With Remote DX and Scoutbees, it becomes much easier to monitor the network to enable our customers have a better remote work experience.

To get more information about either of these products, talk to your VMware sales professional, visit ControlUp pages for Remote DX and Scoutbees, or download and install a 90-day trial version of VMware Advanced Monitoring for Horizon Powered by ControlUp from the portal.