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June 7, 2012

4

PCoIP Configuration Utility – Update Sneak Peek!

Wanted to share some of the progress I have made on the PCoIP Configuration Utility. It’s not quite ready for prime time just yet but it’s getting close.

One of the requests I had gotten was to allow the context menu to be opened with a left-click vs. a right-click as it’s not so easy to trigger a right-click when accessing a desktop from a mobile device. This change is in place. A right-click or a left-click can be used to open the context menu.

Another request was to add some form of “health” monitoring of the connection. I thought this was a great idea but the actual implementation is fraught with issues. Still, based upon what I know of PCoIP I figured there should be a few things you can monitor and compare against some “common sense” baselines to determine if things are looking good or looking bad. So that’s where I went. I’ll cover this again in the official release post (likely a few weeks out I am sad to say) but this is NOT a “user experience” meter! View and PCoIP continue to improve in their tolerance for less-than-ideal network conditions such that even on a highly latent or slightly lossy network connection you can still have a good user experience, but the fact remains that the connection itself is less than ideal – and that’s what the tool will be showing you.  It might also be the case that the network conditions are just fine and yet your user experience could be bad – this might be from lack of CPU on the VM or client side, or other factors – I can’t measure all of those, and so I can’t show you why things might be bad in that case – but at the very least you can have some peace of mind that it’s probably not the network. I just throw these examples out to show that network health alone (as measured by PCoIP) cannot be directly correlated to end-user experience. Often they will be reflective of each other – but not ALWAYS.  Are we clear? Ok. Good.

The health score calculations themselves I’m not going to cover in too much detail, but basically there are 4 items being calculated or measured directly (and then factored into other calculations):

  • Packet Loss
  • Latency
  • Variance/Jitter
  • Available Bandwidth/Bandwidth Limitng
Each of those items are “scored” individually based upon calculations from my knowledge and testing of PCoIP, and then they are simplified down into a percentile rating which then all get added up to form an overall “health score”. The health score is then ranked against the green to red scale (also based on “Chuck’s knowledge” TM) and we have our current health status.  Sounds really simple – but, uhhh, yeah. Getting it right – not so simple.

So what does this new stuff look like? First off you’ll notice that the systray icon for the tool is slightly different.  It now has a status “LED”:

Green to red - blinky blinky!

This is so that users can have at-a-glance visibility into the general health of the connection and is probably the way most people will interact with this new feature. However, if you want a more detailed view of the health rating there’s also a new menu option:

Can you find the new option?

Selecting this will pop-out a new window giving a bit more detail into how the current health score is being generated. Let’s look at a few examples…

Happy, healthy (LAN) connection:

Doesn't get much better than this

Connection with moderate latency and variance:

Yes, that is the video you think it is...

Another showing packet loss and the fact that PCoIP is adapting down bandwidth to deal with that loss:

Where, oh where, have all those packets gone?!

And the “I need to play flawless video to my offshore users, 15,000 miles away across homing pigeons carrying floppy disks” connection (a.k.a. business as usual for VMware PSO):

What do you mean it's a network problem?!

So there you have it, a sneak peek at what’s coming soon in the PCoIP Configuration Utility. I am also hoping to have a profile import/export function to make it easier to share and distribute PCoIP tuning profiles. Check back in a few weeks and let’s see where we land.

 

 

Read more from PCoIP, VDI, View, VMware
4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Crille
    Jun 13 2012

    As I went through Teradici’s network opt guide for PCoIP they gave me a good one.
    Analyzing network traffic on the switch port out of order packages in not detected as packet loss however the PCoIP log would do that.
    If out of order packets occur would Config util and log viewer (in real-time) detect that as packet loss?

    Reply
    • RexRemus
      Jun 13 2012

      All packet loss stats are “as determined by PCoIP” so yes there will be cases where PCoIP sees “loss” but you would not see it at the physical layer – there may not be link level loss but packets could still be delayed in arriving or arrive out of order and to PCoIP they can be flagged as lost.

      Reply
  2. Aug 31 2012

    I am really anxious to take this utility for a spin in our lab here in the coming weeks. Incredibly pleased when I learned about this new tool. I have one question regarding a statement you made at you PCoIP log viewer session this past Wednesday at VMworld

    You had warned against applying PCoIP tuning parameters via Windows group policy and that we should really use GPOs more for the client settings. Did I misunderstand this? If not then what are your reasons for cautioning against setting, FPS, max bandwidth, min bandwidth etc settings?

    Thanks Chuck!

    Reply

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