Working with eG VDI Monitor
Working with eG VDI MonitoreG VDI Monitor is part of the eG Enterprise Suite, a comprehensive set of integrated utilities that monitor a range of products and services in use by an enterprise. The eG Enterprise Suite, via plug-ins and optional add-ons, allows an administrator to build out a customized monitoring and support solution. eG VDI Monitor shares many common requirements and installation needs with other members of the suite.I tested eG VDI Monitor on a customized setup in the lab. Hardware-wise, I started off with an IBM Series x3200 server with dual Xeon CPUs and a Dell PowerEdge 2900 with a pair of Xeon CPUs. Both systems were running Windows Server 2003 and were configured with 16GB of RAM. From the software side, I decided to try out eG VDI Monitor's capabilities with a Citrix XenDesktop 4 and installed the appropriate software components, as well as vCenter 4 and Windows IIS (Internet Information Services) 6. Installation of eG VDI Monitor can be a complicated and daunting process that involves several steps and decisions, so it is best to approach the installation with a plan and review all of the documentation and capabilities before diving in. That said, the installation process did not throw any real surprises at me or come grinding to a halt, but I did need to be familiar with several technologies, including Microsoft server OSes, IIS, Citrix XenDesktop, Active Directory and other technologies that are common to a complex network. eG Innovations offers support, as well as authorized reseller partners that can help with installations and configurations. Once the management suite is installed, the product is able to do an auto-discovery of virtual machines on the network (or more correctly, on the monitored server). Administrators have several tools available to them to deploy agents, go agentless and build groups of monitored components. Once again, configuration takes a bit of effort and is best accomplished by someone with the appropriate technical knowledge. After dealing with the complexities of the installation and configuration process, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to use the management console. Everything is laid out in a logical fashion, and easily understood terms explain the various monitoring and management capabilities. eG VDI Monitor uses a browser-based management console that I found easy to navigate. The primary interface is broken up by tabs and submenus, while all monitored elements are presented visually. With a quick glance, I could judge the health of the infrastructure, which is presented as a colored bar graph with green indicating all is well, orange for caution and red for identified problems. The interface allowed me to monitor activity in real time, or choose an event-driven view that shows what has occurred over a time line. While the console is attractive, what's important is what it can quickly tell you and how it can assist you in solving a problem. The console allowed me to drill down into specific monitored events, and I was able to see the relationship between all of the affected components. That's handy when trying to track down a problem with an application's (virtual) performance. The management screen is organized in such a way that it was easy for me to view all of the events associated with an application and how each element was performing or affected at the same time, a capability that eliminates finger pointing and speeds problem resolution, sometimes before the end user is even aware of the problem-proactiveness at its best. The console also enabled me to determine measurements at a glance, with its list of monitored elements, ranging from CPU utilization to disk usage to IP traffic, colored to indicate status: red means you have a triggered event warning, while green means all systems are go. This is the whole ideology behind the product-with a glance, you can determine whether everything is OK or what troubles may arise in the near future. The reporting module offers extensive "static" reports that can give insight on performance over a period of time, the number and types of alerts that occurred, and an activity summary. For most administrators, the reports will be a good way to back up how a problem was solved, show where the blame lies for a particular problem, or prove ROI of the product and VDI solutions. The product features "triggers" throughout, allowing notifications to be automated and so eliminating the need for someone to have to constantly monitor the console. I was able to create triggers (for example, I created an alert for overutilization) and then have alerts pushed out to via an e-mail (text messages are also supported).