Webinar I did with XenAppblog – “GPU in virtualization, learn why it’s important” now available

Hi All

I am very excited to share this great news with you all. I did a webinar with fellow CTP  Trond Eirik Håvarstein from XenAppBlog.com, and we had a special guest surprise Jeroen Van De Kamp CTP and CTO, LoginVSI announcing ground breaking stuff in the webinar. We had over 700 people signed up for the Webinar, if you was among the crowd that missed the opportunity to see the webinar here is your chance, the webinar is now available for everyone for free. There was a lot of Q/A and I will the next couple of days reply to all the Q/A and make them available in this article.

The webinar has been re-mastered and the audio & graphical demo videos is even better now  than in the actual webinar, make sure to check it out now:

Download the presentation here (PDF format)

Summary of webinar product announcements from LoginVSI, Lakeside Software, Uberagent for Splunk.

LoginVSI upcoming new version support’s GPU benchmark…

LoginVSI is working on next version that will support benchmark, capacity planning, stress testing the “missing component in virtualization” GPU. If you are interested you can write to get access to the beta version of LoginVSI.

Here are some screen shots from the session…. watch it to here what Jeroen tells about the upcoming version

Note if you want to get more info on the next version of LoginVSI that supports GPU, write to info@loginvsi.com subject GFX

LoginVSI_gpu_01 LoginVSI_gpu_02




Lakeside Software Monitoring/Assessing NVIDIA GRID

Another groundbreaking product announcement was from Lakeside Software, they are about to release version 7 of Systrack that will support NVIDIA GPU Monitoring/assessing.

Application Graphics Benchmarking

The transformation of an existing software portfolio first begins with the identification of all of the actively used software packages in the environment. The added complication in the case of a project to begin advanced application delivery is the need to understand multiple facets of usage: resource consumption, graphics utilization, frequency of use, user access habits, and mobility needs. Because the state of IT is already so complex it only becomes possible to fully understand and plan with a complete set of descriptive information that really characterizes the unique aspects of every environment. Of particular interest is the ability to first identify applications that have GPU demands, and then begin to segment them into tiers of utilization. SysTrack continually collects information about software packages as they’re used and normalizes all data points for cross platform comparison. One of the key performance parameters that’s identified in this process is a graphical intensity measure (Graphics Index) that provides a way to identify those applications in the portfolio that have higher GPU demands than others. With this critical information it becomes possible to segment the portfolio into groupings based on their requirements for specific resources. By tying a general sense of which applications have peak demand to total length of usage it becomes easier to start developing a portfolio made up of different combinations of usage styles. This includes separating applications that may be used by a small set of the population with intense requirements versus widely used applications with a smaller footprint. Of course, this also allows for much deeper analytics centering on the behaviors of users that is quite important in planning the GPU profiles in use in provisioning. Figure 1 displays this relationship in a bubble chart format, this format groups applications based on their similar characteristics presenting clusters of similar applications in larger bubbles. The vast majority of applications exist in the “low graphics demand – Low Time Active” area in the bottom left, while only a select few have either high graphics demand or high time active.


SysTrackTracks graphics usage frequency across on physical clients and allows you to group users based on graphics usage & frequency

A natural expansion of this is grouping users into distinct workload types to understand how best to configure the profile types and GPU assignments for users. Once the target applications and users have been characterized and a plan has been developed it’s critical to begin the process of sizing the environment. This includes determining the architecture, sizing the desktops and servers that will be worked with, and identifying resources that will be required to support the needs of the planned deployment.

Resource Modeling & Capacity Planning

NVIDIA Marketplace report from Systrack’sVirtual Machine Planner (VMP) outlines the number of users that fall into different use cases making it easier to forecast how many users per board can be allocated

With a complete portfolio plan it now becomes possible to move into the next phase and start creating a model for what resources will be required for a complete environment. Because each of the users have been fully characterized throughout the assessment data collection interval it’s possible to use SysTrack’s Virtual Machine Planner (VMP) for powerful mathematical analysis to provide deep insight into infrastructure provisioning. The first component of this involves using the profile information above to help develop a plan for what kind of solution will be provided to the end-users. By segmenting the population into different delivery strategies using Citrix FlexCast options as a guideline, a more complete and accurate picture of how the net new environment will operate can be created. An additional benefit of segmentation is the ability to take advantage of grouping by general graphics consumption to identify the number of GPUs required for the environment based on the user density information for each profile type


The NVIDIA MarketPlace report from VMP outlines the number of users that fall into the various use cases (e.g. “high” for a designer or higher end power user), making it much easier to forecast how many users per board can be allocated and in turn how many total boards may be needed


This information creates an easy to use design for a set of user profiles, both for the actual desktop delivery and for the vGPU assignment. By ensuring the best possible analysis of the environment prior to the actual deployment the end-user experience is much simpler to forecast and control. This results in higher end-user satisfaction and a shorter transition time.

User Experience Optimization

After the successful implementation of the solution the environment still requires observation to prevent interruption of service and the potential for productivity impact. The best way to ensure optimal end-user service quality is to have a real-time alerting and analytical engine to collect and report instantly on degradation of any aspect of the systems the users interact with. SysTrack provides this in the form of proactive alerting, detailed system analysis in Resolve, and aggregate trending through Enterprise and Site Visualizer. An even more interesting feature is vScape, a tool designed to examine utilization across multiple virtual machines and correlate resource consumption to concurrency of application utilization. vScape provides real-time updates of all of the application usage across all virtual platforms in an enterprise, including information about what applications are currently demanding GPU resources. It also provides insight into other resource demands as well, such as CPU, memory, and I/O. This can help automate the discovery of co-scheduled or highly concurrent applications to pinpoint the root cause of oversubscription issues much more quickly. It also provides key insight into guest health characteristics with trending to correlate precisely which events may lead to service degradation


Another key feature introduced in SysTrack version 7.0 is the result of close collaboration with NVIDIA to leverage APIs presented in the guest operating system. This allows the capture of detailed GPU performance metrics to correlate vGPU consumption to end-user service quality. Specifically, with NVIDIA drivers present in the guest OS or on a physical system, the GPU utilization and key metrics (see table 2 for a sample of selected metrics) from the graphics card can be captured and analyzed in the same way as CPU or other system metrics are currently in SysTrack.


In Systrack 7 after provisioning users in VDI environment the IT admins can monitors performance, which enables to optimize density over time.

This completes the set of KPIs used in SysTrack to calculate the end-user experience score, including categories like resource limitation, network configuration, latency, guest configuration, protocol specific data for ICA, and virtual infrastructure. With a complete set of relevant information the proactive and trending health analysis provided in SysTrack yields a thorough analysis in an easy to understand, quantitative score that summarizes performance on an environmental, group based, or individual system level.

NVIDIA GPU Monitoring/Assessing: (Works with all NVIDIA GPU) Quadro, Kepler, GRID


You will be able to look at following parameters:

  • Device ID
  • Power State
  • GPU Usage
  • Frame Buffer Usage
  • Video Usage
  • Bus Usage
  • Memory Usage (Bytes and Percent)
  • # of Apps
  • Temperatures and Fan RPMS

Use this data to accurately plan and size GRID and HDX 3D Pro deployments based on actually observed usage and utilization.

Monitor users post-deployment to provide the best user experience

I recommend reading the whitepaper Lakeside Software have created:
White Paper: SysTrack Delivery Optimization and Planning for NVIDIA GRID and Citrix HDX



UberAgent 1.8 for Splunk adds GPU performance monitoring

Helge Klein have developed a new version of Splunk that now supports monitoring of GPU, this was a feature request I talked with Helge Klein about in 2013, and I am so happy to see the results what he have done with UberAgent for Splunk, lets dig in what it can do.

uberAgent measures:

  • GPU compute usage per machine
  • GPU memory usage per machine
  • GPU compute usage per process
  • GPU memory usage per process
  • uberAgent shows memory usage separately for shared and dedicated memory (dedicated = on the GPU, shared = main system RAM)
  • uberAgent shows compute usage per GPU engine. The various GPU engines serve different functions, e.g. 2D acceleration, 3D acceleration, video decoding, etc.

uberAgent - process GPU usage uberAgent - single machine GPU usage over time uberAgent - single process GPU usage over time uberAgent - machine GPU usage

For more information visit uberAgent’s website.

My 5 cents

I am very excited to share my findings of some of the things I do in poppelgaard professional services. Feel welcome to contact me at thomas@poppelgaard.com if you are interested in using my professional services and you need help with GPU solutions.

You will see more upcoming blogs from me covering this topic. End User experience, assessments of GPU workload, scaling/sizing, benchmarking, hardware supported, GPU side by side experience, Hypervisor vs Bare metal with a GPU. Watch out for cool things….


Watch the webinar here (YouTube)
Download the presentation here (PDF format)

Lakeside Software
White Paper: 
SysTrack Delivery Optimization and Planning for NVIDIA GRID and Citrix HDX
UberAgent for Splunk

Citrix XenDesktop HDX3D Pro
Citrix XenApp with GPU Sharing
Citrix XenServer vGPU
AMD FirePro
VMware vSphere vDGA
VMware vSphere vSGA with NVIDIA GRID


Citrix Virtual Desktop Handbook 7.x

Citrix Virtual Desktop handbook

Citrix Virtual Desktop Handbook 7.x

Citrix Worldwide Consulting have released a whitepaper called Citrix Virtual Desktop Handbook 7.x, its a 150 pages document that is a “MUST READ” document if you are about to design and implement Citrix XenDesktop 7.

About Citrix Virtual Desktop Handbook 7.x


In traditional business environments, workers suffer from productivity loss in many ways, including  downtime during PC refreshes, patches and updates, or simply when they are away from the office.  Application and desktop virtualization centralizes apps and desktops in the datacenter, rather than on local devices. This allows IT to deliver apps and desktops to users on demand, to any device, anywhere. Take the following response from a desktop virtualization user:

Unfortunately, organizations sometimes struggle to achieve this level of success. Why does one organization succeed while another organization struggles? If we compare the factors between success and failure between desktop virtualization and other technology related projects, we see that there is little difference:

  1. Lack of justification – Without a solid business reason, desktop virtualization is simply a new way to deliver a desktop. A business justification gives the project team a goal to strive towards.
  2. Lack of a methodology – Many people who try and struggle to deploy a desktop virtualization solution do so because they jump right in without understanding or implementing the appropriate prerequisites. A structured methodology provides the path for the project.
  3. Lack of experience – For many who embark on a desktop virtualization project, there is a lack of experience, which creates a lack of confidence in the design. Architects begin to second-guess themselves and the project stalls.

Our hope is that this handbook can alleviate the anxiety associated with desktop virtualization by showing how challenges can be resolved in a manner that is technically sound, but also feasible and effective for organizations facing deadlines and other organizational challenges.

Citrix Consulting has successfully employed the methodology, experience and best practices shared within this handbook across thousands of desktop virtualization projects.

The Citrix Virtual Desktop 5.x and Virtual Desktop 7.x handbooks are not the only resource to guide you through the desktop virtualization journey. Citrix also provides Project Accelerator; an interactive online tool creating customized sizing and design recommendations based on the methodology, best practices and expert advice identified within this handbook.


CTX139690 – Download Citrix Virtual Desktop 7.x handbook here

thomas poppelgaard CTP & MVP

Citrix technology professional – CTP, and Microsoft Most Valuable Professional MVP, Thomas Poppelgaard provides professional services. Write to me on my email thomas@poppelgaard.com or call on my cell +45 53540356

Tech Talk: Virtual Desktops for Designers and Engineers

Hi all

I have had some amazing days at NVIDIA GTC 2013 where i did my presentation on how business adapt remote graphics solutions from Citrix.


The same week I did a Tech Talk webinar together with Yvonne Dresser, Sr Marketing Product Manager at Citrix HQ in Santa Clara. The topic we discussed Virtualizing 3D Professional Graphics Apps and. In this webinar you will learn how Citrix XenDesktop & XenApp can deliver remote graphics with 3D applications and how they can be virtualized in multiple layers from Servers to Desktops to Apps and how they can be delivered to any device from a PC to a tablet, phone or even a thin client.You will learn which graphic solutions from NVIDIA thats available and how the new NVIDIA GRID K1/K2 fits into these solutions from Citrix.

I covered the best practice part from the field i have experience in the years since 2008 and share this with the audience and we got 30 questions that we cover, so for me it was amazing having such a big audience attending and asking for very technical questions how to build these solutions and what the requirements are, whats available whats possible.


Watch the recorded webinar here

Download the presentation here PDF format

Download the presentation here PPS format

Whitepaper – Designing XenServer Network Configurations

Citrix have released this awesome whitepaper Citrix XenServer Design: Designing XenServer Network  Configurations

Original it was created back in August 2011 and now its updated to XenServer 6.1 that includes informations about LACP bounding, and networking for Storage XenMotion. Now its updated Its a MUST read if you are designing Citrix XenServer environments so go ahead make your day.. eat Xen for breakfast 😉

A short introduction to the Whitepaper

This guide helps you understand design your XenServer networking and design a networking configuration for XenServer environments. It includes the following topics:

  • Best practice information about the management interface, NIC bonding, jumbo frames, and storage networks
  • High-level information about features you may want to enable as part of your networking configuration, such as the Distributed Virtual Switch solution
  • The correct sequence in which to configure XenServer networking, including guidance about cabling XenServer hosts and connecting them to physical switches
  • Checklists to help you gather requirements for your XenServer networking configuration


Before reading this guide, you should have a basic knowledge of networking. This guide has several audiences:

  • Systems Architects. Systems architects who are designing a virtualized environment.
  • Infrastructure Engineers and Network Administrators. Networking and storage professionals who configure storage or manage the Layer 2 network infrastructure in their organizations.
  • Application Administrators. XenApp and XenDesktop administrators who are implementing a virtualization solution to virtualize Citrix products, IT infrastructure, or other applications they manage.

This guide assumes that you are familiar with basic XenServer concepts, including XenServer installation, XenCenter, resource pools, and the pool master.

Purpose of the Guide

This guide is meant to provide you with the best-practice information you need to design your XenServer networks.

To provide you with the foundation you need to understand the recommendations, the first half of the guide provides an explanation of XenServer networking concepts using a scenario-based approach.

The second half of the guide provides you with information to help you select between various XenServer networking options and information about the best ways to configure them.

Because this is a design guide, it generally does not provide configuration instructions except as needed to clarify concepts. As the most common way of managing XenServer and XenServer pools is through XenCenter, this guide mainly refers to XenCenter and XenCenter help, unless specified differently.

Read the full whitepaper under Source.


Read the Whitepaper – here

Whitepaper – Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop Policy Planning Guide

Citrix Consulting have released a XenApp/XenDesktop Policy Planning Guide that is a must read for architects that design XenApp/XenDesktop solutions.


Citrix policies provide the basis to configure and fine tune your XenDesktop and XenApp environments, allowing organizations to control connection, security and bandwidth settings based on various combinations of users, devices or connection types. Correctly defining an initial baseline policy and assigning additional policies based on security requirements and specific access scenarios can be important in delivering a high definition user experience.

This planning guide is intended to be a guideline during the decision process for creating a baseline policy and additional policies based on connection, security, device and profile considerations. While it creates a baseline policy and recommendations for policy settings, it should not be assumed to be a complete configuration, or absolutely correct for every customer situation. Architects should review the recommendations contained in this document against desired outcomes within the organization to ensure requirements are met.
When making policy decisions it is important to consider both Microsoft Windows and Citrix policies as components within both policy configurations have an impact on user experience and environment optimization. Within this planning guide a base set of windows policies that can be used to optimize XenApp and XenDesktop environments is presented. For more details on specific Windows related policies, refer to the Group Policy Settings Reference for Windows and Windows Server, specifically settings related to Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7.

To help architects design a XenDesktop and XenApp solution based on real-world projects, organizations can refer to the Citrix Desktop Transformation Accelerator for step by step assessment, design and deployment guidance, and the XenDesktop Design Handbook for reference architectures, planning guides and best practices.

Read the full whitepaper here


Creating policies for XenDesktop and XenApp configurations involves a combination of Citrix and Microsoft Active Directory group policy settings. Correctly configuring a baseline policy configuration and keeping policy exceptions to a minimum allows organizations to create an environment that meets user experience and security requirements, while providing a policy structure that is easy to review and diagnose. This planning guide has provided a suggested set of policies as a starting point for a XenDesktop or XenApp configuration. It can be used as a basis for architects to customize an initial policy configuration for an organization.


Download the Policy Planning Guide for XenApp, XenDesktop here