Scalability testing with Login VSI: X-IO perspectives
Guest blog by Hollis Beal, Technical Marketing at X-IO
As part of Technical Marketing at X-IO, one of the parts of my job that I enjoy the most is doing performance testing, and I was asked to share how we use Login VSI in our labs. One of the ways that we leverage Login VSI is in scalability testing for VMware Horizon View 6 with our Intelligent Storage Element (ISE) storage arrays. The main challenge that we have is we are constantly running out of CPU and RAM in the servers as we scale up the user loads when testing a single ISE system. Our testing usually consists of multiple clusters of servers, with each running different numbers of desktops, to run as many desktops as we can.
We needed a method for controlling where the desktop users were logging in, and how many would ultimately be running on each cluster. Login VSI does allow for a *.csv configuration file to be used to control this, but we needed something that could be more flexible as we change the cluster config in the environment. With the frequency that we test different configurations, editing the LoginVSI *.csv configuration file was proving too unwieldly.
The method we chose was to leverage the VMware Horizon View 6 desktop pool entitlements to control what users were running where. Entitling individual desktops isn’t feasible when there are several thousand desktops to do this with, so we grouped the Login VSI users into Active Directory groups and granted the entitlements to these groups. In our configuration, we assigned 100 users to each AD group as this gave us a good granularity for controlling where the users were running. This allowed us to have several different desktop pools, all running in different places, with different numbers of users.
Our setup with Login VSI users in Active Directory groups
This did require that we modify the Login VSI startup scripts, and is one of the things that I find the most useful about the way that Login VSI works. Without getting into too much detail, the commands that are used to initiate the test are plainly shown and documented well. This allowed for me to try different parameters and test them on a single host to find the right combination. To get this to work, we had to let the Horizon View Connection server determine where to place the desktops (this is normally controlled by Login VSI). We simply took out 1 parameter from the startup command, and we were off and running.
By using this method of controlling the desktops with entitlements and AD groups, we have been able to test different cluster/server configurations much easier and more quickly. This gives us better insight into how our ISE storage systems perform, and generates a ton of data that we leverage to assist our customers with in sizing their environments. Login VSI gives us the flexibility to customize the configuration, turn results around faster, and spend less time setting things up. This has made us tremendously more productive and valuable to our customers.
About the Author
Hollis (@hbeall) has been in the data storage industry for 18 years, with roles including engineering, sales, product management, and technical marketing. Having joined X-IO in 2008, Hollis currently performs storage benchmark testing and is the lead performance analysis person for the company.