Public Release of PCoIP Log Viewer 2.0
I am very pleased to announce the release of my PCoIP Log Viewer tool to the public.
Before we dive into any details I do want to point out a few key things-
Despite me calling this “Version 2.0” it is, in many ways, a 0.8 release, if you will. This is because the original Log Viewer was only ever released as an internal VMware tool (Full Disclosure: I work for VMware) and all it dealt with was the parsing and visualization of the PCoIP server log files – hence the clever and catchy “Log Viewer” name. To myself and the rest of VMware, that was version 1.0. Several iterations were released internally but none significant enough to warrant a major revision change. With the introduction of the WMI counters in View 5.0 I knew I wanted to include a real-time element to the viewer and at that point the 2.0 stream began. The release you see here today is the first release of the tool that provides log file visualization as well as real-time monitoring of the PCoIP WMI counters but the real-time portion of the app is really in it’s early stages of development so expect bugs and a bit of “unpolished” behavior.
Another point I want to make is that this tool comes as-is. It is a project I work on mostly in my spare time, and while recently it has become a larger part of my actual workstream at VMware, it’s still just me supporting it. It’s not endorsed or supported by VMware Inc. in any way. Any problems you may have with it need to be brought to me and should not reflect in any way on my employer.
Lastly, there are many of you and just one of me. I may be unresponsive at times. I may not fix YOUR bug immediately. This doesn’t mean I don’t care it just means I am likely busy with other tasks. Rest assured, I take this tool very seriously and I strive to produce a high-quality and useful (most importantly) piece of software but there ARE bugs, and more will be uncovered. I will address them as quickly as my schedule allows – but cut me some slack :)
Ok, with that out of the way let’s talk about what exactly this thing does-
PCoIP Log Viewer 2.0
The PCoIP Log Viewer provides capabilities to visualize and analyze PCoIP performance metrics collected from PCoIP server log files and real-time WMI counters.
- Parsing and graphical display of PCoIP performance metrics from PCoIP server log files (View 4.x, 5.0)
- Agentless, real-time display of PCoIP WMI counters (View 5.0)
- Ability to store WMI sessions for later review
- WMI-Rewind™ for DVR-like capability to move forward and back through time while viewing (or reviewing) a WMI session
- Tabbed interface to display multiple concurrent WMI sessions and/or log files
- Drag-and-Drop display of multiple (parsed) log files for easy/rapid opening when troubleshooting
- Export of saved WMI sessions to XLSX format for custom analysis and graphing
- Windows (XP, Vista, 7)
- Windows (XP, Vista, 7), MacOS, Linux
- Java 1.6+
The Viewer is comprised of two components, a front-end parser for converting PCoIP server log files into XML, and a Viewer GUI for graphing the resulting files and performing real-time monitoring of PCoIP WMI statistics. If all you plan to utilize are the real-time WMI capabilities you do not need to download the front-end parser, just grab the Viewer GUI and be on your way. The parser is split out so that it can easily be included into a master VDI image and then scripted to parse log files at logoff or on-demand by help desk resources. The resulting files can then be placed onto a network share (for example) where support personell can drag them into the Viewer GUI.
You can download the Log Viewer components here:
Please make sure that you have Java 1.6 or greater installed (see Requirements) before accessing the Webstart link!
Installation and Operation
Video guides and tutorials will be forthcoming and will cover operation of the tool in far greater detail than I am about to reveal here. If you are uncomfortable “flying blind” with a new tool and no instruction manual, then I suggest you wait until those items are produced and published. I also suggest that you might want to consider a career choice outside of IT :-) For the rest of you, here is a very brief guide to getting started:
- Download the parser (remember where you put it), open a cmd shell, navigate to the directory where you placed the pcoip_parse executable and run: pcoip_parse.exe -h
- Read the resulting output
- Download the Webstart/JNLP file for the Viewer GUI and let the installation procede. You will see that I have self-signed the JAR files, and you may be prompted to trust me. Normally I would recommend against this, but in this case, it’s probably something you want to do. I promise to be trustworthy with regards to this tool. In all seriousness, the Log Viewer does need read/write access to local disk in order to store the database and any exported files there, hence the request for full access.
- If you plan to use real-time WMI stat collection you must take the following steps on the desktop VM(s) you want to monitor:
- Disable Windows Firewall, or allow DCOM to pass. I recommend disabling as I was never able to get DCOM to pass cleanly otherwise and most implementations have a real firewall sitting in front of the desktops anyway.
- Ensure the Remote Registry Service is started and set it to Automatic
- Set Ownership to Administrators, and then enable Full Control for Administrators on the following registry key:
- Now go forth and experiment
- Wait for some tutorial videos to come
Known Issues and Limitations
- For a WMI connection to be established and monitor a desktop there must be a PCoIP session active on that desktop. Essientally the PCoIP server process must be running to generate PCoIP WMI stats. If the server isn’t running, there’s nothing to collect, and the tool doesn’t really do anything but die a horrible, firey death – sometimes.
- The Log Viewer must be used on a local LAN to get accurate results. While technically you can connect via VPN and poll a desktop for stats it will be seriously delayed and you may never achieve a polling interval of less than 5 seconds – regardless of what you set the interval to be. This is partially a result of making the Viewer agentless and using DCOM to poll for stats, and partially because the pure Java implementation of DCOM I am using to insure the tool will run cross-platform can be very chatty. I am hoping to improve this going forward but the current recommendation if you require remote monitoring is to spin up a small pool of desktops within the View infrastructure you need to manage and install the Log Viewer onto them, then remotely access those desktops as a jump-point to monitor the rest of the infrastructure.
- When viewing a WMI session the “Client Address” field under “Session Statistics” will actually show the virtual desktop IP/host name rather than the actual IP of the attached client. This is more of a placeholder for a future feature add than an actual bug.
- The Log Viewer window can be scaled/sized vertically to show more graphs at a time, but scaling it horizontally will not scale the graphs to be “wider”. If you need to see more detail in a given area click and drag from left-to-right to zoom instead of trying to make the graph itself larger. This may be addressed in a future update.
- While little testing has been done to confirm/invalidate it, I do not suggest using the Log Viewer for extended periods of time. I would consider extended logging to be 8 hours or more. While things might be just fine, I do not have enough data to mark this as a valid use case.
- When shutting down, the Log Viewer will do a database compaction. Depending on the current size of the database and how much data has been added since the Viewer was last shutdown this can be a time-consuming process. That’s all well and good, except there’s no indication from the UI that this database compaction is taking place so it appears as though the Viewer is hung, which may lead you to want to kill it, which would be a bad thing while in the middle of a compaction process. Just be patient, and see the previous limitation to avoid monitoring REALLY long sessions.
- Mac/Linux users may see some minor GUI rendering issues with placement and/or clipping of text/icons on certain screens.
I realize there is very little material here to help you understand what the tool is telling you but the plan is to produce a series of videos to handle that going forward. Until then feel free to submit questions in the comments and I will likely setup an FAQ page to answer them. I’ll update this post once that is in place.
I hope you find the tool useful and find value in what it tells you.