ControlUp 8.1: Horizon Integration

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One of the most exciting features in ControlUp 8.1 is its integration with Horizon, VMware’s virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution. VDI has been a huge part of ControlUp’s DNA. With the 8.1 release, we’re adding a healthy measure of Horizon DNA , creating a more robust and adaptable product.

With ControlUp 8.1, Horizon administrators get full-stack visibility to their Horizon environment, starting with the hypervisor hosting the VMs all the way down to the end users’ processes. In other words, seamless management of their Horizon environment, from a single pane of glass–the ControlUp console.

In this post, I will show you how easy it is to integrate ControlUp v8.1 and Horizon. Then, I’ll go over what Horizon information is exposed in the ControlUp Management Console, and how you can use that information to troubleshoot common Horizon issues. I’ll also go over how you can use ControlUp to monitor historical Horizon information by using ControlUp Insights and automate the management of your Horizon VDI environment.

Horizon Integration

Integrating ControlUp with Horizon is an extremely straightforward and intuitive process. After opening the Console, click Add EUC Environment. In the wizard, I selected VMware Horizon from the Solution/Platform drop-down menu, filled out the wizard, and clicked OK (Figure 1).

Adding EUC environment
Figure 1 – Adding EUC environment

After ControlUp collects the necessary information, the Console displayed the new node labeled EUC Environments in the organization tree on the left. By expanding the node, I could see it was populated with my connection servers and desktop pools (Figure 2).

EUC Environments added
Figure 2 – EUC Environments added

Horizon Connection Server Monitoring

After Horizon integration with ControlUp, you can focus and drill down on each Horizon service component. For example, double-clicking Connection Servers in the tree focuses the grid view on those connection servers, including aggregate health information and individual connection broker information including stress level and resource utilization. After Horizon is integrated with ControlUp, you’ll see values in columns prefixed with “HZ”. Otherwise, you would only see the standard performance metrics for your desktops.

Connection server information
Figure 3 – Connection server

Horizon Desktop Monitoring

While checking connection server status can come in handy, having the ability to extensively examine and monitor the health of your Horizon desktops—and quickly identify and correct issues—is where ControlUp 8.1 truly excels.

Want a general overview? ControlUp 8.1 separates the Horizon desktops by the desktop pools to which they have been assigned. You can choose to monitor all the desktops in a Horizon environment or individual pools. You can also scroll through the desktops and see the general health of the VM that the desktop is using, which Horizon agent it is using, and which user is associated with which desktop.

Horizon desktops information
Figure 4 – Horizon desktops information

If you want to concentrate on machines that share common attributes, you can use the built-in ControlUp Group By feature. Say you want to see which desktops have outdated Horizon agents installed. To display your desktops by Horizon agent version, drag the HZ Agent Version column header up to the Machines area, then expand the group you want to view (Figure 6). Voila!

Grouping by HZ Agent
Figure 5 – Grouping by HZ Agent

To maximize your Horizon monitoring capabilities, install the ControlUp agent on your Horizon desktops. To install the agent on a machine, click Install Agent from the console to bring up the Add Machines wizard. Once installed, the agent will extract machine metrics, processes, and other information and combine them in the relevant entity grid. If the agent is not installed on the machine, these values will be reported as None or N/A and the status will be Install Agent.

Grid view with agents installed
Figure 6 – Grid view with agents installed

Note that if you are creating a pool of linked or instant clones and want detailed monitoring capabilities like those described above, the agent should be installed in the parent or master VM.

Another advantage of ControlUp 8.1 for Horizon administrators is the ability to measure user experience quality, which can be quantified using log in speed and application loading time. ControlUp can monitor those indicators and others like mouse click response in the User Input Delay column. If any of these indicators are unusually high, you can investigate them by using the console to examine the desktop and the VDI infrastructure.

Load times
Figure 7 – Load times
Application and desktop load time
Figure 8 – Application and desktop load time
User input delay
Figure 9 – User input delay

Problems not only occur at the desktop level—they can also occur at the client level. ControlUp can identify those problems, too, by providing information about the client that the end user is using to attach to the desktop, including the client’s IP address, the user log-in time, the protocol is being used, and other information that might be useful in troubleshooting a problem.

For example, once some of my VDI users on the first floor of our main office were complaining about sluggish response times, the client information from the console came in handy. Specifically, I could see that all the users who reported issues were using PCoIP, and their clients’ IP addresses indicated that they were in the same location. After switching the users to Blast, the sluggishness went away. To ease location identification, ControlUp supports Branch Mapping, which allows you to map IP addresses to names of geographical locations, buildings or organizational branches.

Client Information
Figure 10 – Client Information

Depending on what type of Horizon desktop you are working with, you have the option to manipulate it in different ways (Figure 11) because the console is context-sensitive.

Context sensitive actions
Figure 11 – Context sensitive actions

Self-Management of Horizon Using ControlUp

ControlUp supports executing management actions and scripts from the console, and is building a library of Horizon-specific scripts, including those that work with the connection broker (e.g., putting in and taking a Horizon Connection Broker out of maintenance mode (Figure 13)). Scripts can also be applied at the desktop level and be used to carry out tasks such as analyzing a Blast session (Figure 14).

Connection server actions
Figure 12 – Connection server actions
Desktop actions
Figure 13 – Desktop actions

The console can also perform common Horizon management actions, like logging a user off a Horizon session (Figure 14).

Logoff VDI session
Figure 14 – Logoff VDI session

A blog post coming soon will cover the Horizon-specific scripts available in ControlUp 8.1.

Want to leverage ControlUp with vSphere? Done. In fact, ControlUp has a multitude of vSphere-specific scripts. By clicking the Scripts Actions icon, you will find a searchable list of available actions (Figure 15); you can also create your own scripts.

vSphere script actions
Figure 15 – vSphere script actions

ControlUp also allows you to manage known problems in advance using triggers to set off script actions when specified events take place. ControlUp provides some predefined triggers, or you can create your own (Figure 16).

Figure 16 – Triggers


ControlUp 8.1 simplifies and streamlines Horizon environment management and troubleshooting. This post just scratches the surface of what ControlUp can do for Horizon admins. In future posts we will detail more of ControlUp 8.1’s Horizon capabilities, including capturing and using historical data, creating scripts to self-manage Horizon, and a myriad of other ways that ControlUp can help you simplify the management of your Horizon environment.

About the author

Tom Fenton

Tom Fenton is a Technical Marketing manager here at ControlUp (in addition to an all-around great guy). He’s THE subject matter expert for Edge DX, our physical endpoint monitoring solution, as well as an expert in all things VMware (FACT: he used to work at VMware, teaching their employees about their technology). He creates valuable, educational content for the ControlUp blog, leads deep-dive webinars, and educates our sales teams and other IT professionals with tips and tricks about how to use ControlUp solutions. In his spare time, he writes for and Virtualization Review magazine, and enjoys outdoor sports in the Pacific Northwest. Connect with him on Twitter @vDoppler.