by Banit Agrawal Nachiket Karmarkar
VMware View Planner 3.5 was recently released which introduces a slew of new features, enhancements in user experience, and scalability. In this blog, we present some of these new features and use cases. More details can be found in the whitepaper here.
In addition to retaining all the features available in VMware View Planner 3.0, View Planner 3.5 addresses the following new use cases:
- Support for VMware Horizon 6 (support of RDSH session and application publishing)
- Support for Windows 8.1 as desktops
- Improved user experience
- Audio-Video sync (AVBench)
- Drag and Scroll workload (UEBench)
- Support for Windows 7 as clients
In View Planner 3.5, we augment the capability of View Planner to quantify user experience for user sessions and application remoting provided through remote desktop session hosts (RDSH) as a sever farm. Starting this release, we will support Windows 8.1 as one of the supported guest OSes for desktops and Windows 7 as the supported guest OS for clients.
New Interactive Workloads
We also introduced two advanced workloads: (1) Audio-Video sync (AVBench) and (2) Drag and Scroll workload (UEBench). AVBench determines audio fidelity in a distributed environment where audio and video streams are not tethered. The “Drag and Scroll” workload determines spatial and temporal variance by emulating user events like mouse click, scroll, and drag.
Fig 1. Mouse-click and drag (UEBench)
As seen in Figure 1, a mouse event is sent to the desktop and the red and black image is dragged across and down the screen.
Fig. 2. Mouse-click and scroll (UEBench)
Similarly, Figure 2 depicts a mouse event sent to the scroll bar of an image that is scrolled up and down.
Better Run Status Reporting
As part of improving the user experience, the UI can track the current stage the View Planner run is in and notifies the user through a color-coded box. The text inside the box is a clickable link that provides a pop-up giving deeper insight about that particular stage.
Fig. 3. View Planner run status shows the intermediate status of the run
Pre-Check Run Profile for Errors
A “check” button provides users a way to verify the correctness of their run-profile parameters.
Fig. 4. ‘Check’ button in Run & Reports tab in View Planner UI
In the past, users needed to optimize the parent VMs used for deploying clients and desktop pools. View Planner 3.5 has automated these optimizations as part of installing the View Planner agent service. The agent installer also comes with a UI that tracks the current stage the installer is in and highlights the results of various installer stages.
Sample Use Cases
Single Host VDI Scaling
Through this release, we have re-affirmed the use case of View Planner as an ideal tool for platform characterization for VDI scenarios. On a Cisco UCS C240 server, we started with a small number of desktops running the “standard benchmark profile” and increased them until the Group A and Group B numbers exceeded the threshold. The results below demonstrate the scalability of a single UCS C240 server as a platform for VDI deployments.
Fig. 5. Single server characterization with hosted desktops for CISCO UCS C240
Single Host RDSH Scaling
We followed the best practices prescribed in the VMware Horizon 6 RDSH Performance & Best Practices whitepaper and set up a number of remote desktop session (RDS) servers that would fully consolidate a single UCS C240 vSphere server. We started with a small number of user sessions per core and then increased them until the Group A and Group B numbers exceeded the threshold level. The results below demonstrate how ViewPlanner can accurately gauge the scalability of a platform (CISCO UCS in this case) when deployed in an RDS scenario
Fig. 6. Single server characterization with RDS sessions for CISCO UCS C240
View Planner can also be used to characterize storage array performance. The scalability of View Planner 3.5 to drive a workload on thousands of virtual desktops and process the results thereafter makes it an ideal candidate to validate storage array performance at scale. The results below demonstrate scalability of VDI desktops obtained on Pure Storage FA-420 all-flash array. View Planner 3.5 could easily scale to 3000 desktops, as highlighted in the results below.
Fig. 7. 3000 Desktops QoS results on Pure Storage FA-420 storage array
Custom Applications Scaling
In addition to characterizing platform and storage arrays, the custom app framework can achieve targeted VDI characterization that is application specific. The following results show Visio as an example of a custom app scale study on an RDS deployment with a 4-vCPU, 10GB vRAM Windows 2008 Server.
Fig. 8 Visio operation response times with View Planner 3.5 when scaling up application sessions
Other Use Cases
With a plethora of features, supported guest OSes, and configurations, it is no wonder that View Planner is capable to of characterizing multiple VMware solutions and offerings that work in tandem with VMware Horizon. View Planner 3.5 can also be used to evaluate the following features, which are described in more detail in the whitepaper:
- VMware Virtual SAN
- VMware Horizon Mirage
- VMware App Volumes
For more details about new features, use cases, test environment, and results, please refer to the View Planner 3.5 white paper here.