Usually, in the daily business of IT operations there will be the need to have remote assistance sometimes. Better to say, the IT administrators need a tool to support remotely their folks. Especially, if you think about distributed workforce. Ok, in the past, the companies used 3rd party tools like TeamViever or VNC for that.
But what if you can have an integrated tool and capability for that? I will show you which capabilities VMware Horizon offer with his Help Desk Tool which is integrated in the Horizon platform.
Login to your virtual desktop session or RDSH session host. I would recommend to have a kind of an administration machine where you install all your applications and tools you need as an admin in your daily business.
Login to the Horizon Console.
Type in your credentials
You will usually have the Dashboard as your landing page. Click on Help Desk on the left side under Monitor.
As the next step, click in the search box on the top right corner. Type in your username or the user which you want to use the Help Desk for.
Click on the user in the list. Now you will see an overview of the Sessions, Desktops, Applications and Activities assigned to or from that user. Now you have several possibilities. You can for instance download a list of all applications which are assigned to that user. Why you should do that? For documentation for example. In that list (Microsoft Excel), you will not only find the application but the state, Pool / Farm its deployed in, Type and Publisher as well. Maybe you can use it for licensing overview or conversations as well. For that you can, if it is an App Volumes based application, use the App Volumes Manager Console as well, of course.
But now we want to take a look at the session of the user and which information I can get here.
Click on the user session.
As you can see in the screenshot above, the first information given. You can see:
- The state
- Computer Name
- The used protocol (in our case its Blast)
- The type of the session (Desktop)
- Connection time, and
- Session Duration.
Ok, we have a Desktop Session here. That means included OS (Windows 10) in our case. Why I mention that, because it could be a published desktop or application as well.
Click on the Computer Name.
First of all, what is important. You will find a quick overview divided in several sections. On the top, 3 tabs (Details, Processes, Applications).
In that area you will find all around the session. There several areas of information.
|Here you will see if someone |
connect via HTML access via a
Browser for instance
|Protocol||Blast, PCoIP, RDP|
|Computer Name||Name of the VM|
|Pool||Pool Name where the session / VM |
|Session Duration||Usage Time|
|Logon Time||Time the user logged in|
|Agent Version||Horizon Agent version|
|vCenter||vCenter which handles the |
|Session State||connected, disconnected etc.|
|Logon Duration||Logon Duration|
|OS Version||OS Version|
|State Duration||State Duration|
|Gateway / Proxy Name||The Gateway or Proxy which is |
(UAG for instance)
|Connection Server||Connection Server which is used|
|Gateway / Proxy IP||IP address of the Gateway / Proxy which is used|
User Experience Metrics
That is from my perspective the most important area for troubleshooting and monitoring of the Virtual Desktop and application infrastructure.
|Frame Rate||in fps|
|Estimated Bandwidth (Uplink) |
Packet Loss (Uplink) in %
|Transmitted Bytes, Received Bytes|
|Transmitted Bytes (MB), |
Received Bytes (KB)
|Transmitted Bytes (B), |
Received Bytes (B)
|CPU Usage||Session CPU, Host CPU|
|Memory Usage||Session Memory, Host Memory|
|Disk performance||Read (Average Read in IOPS), |
Write (Average Write in IOPS),
Disk Latency (Average Latency
|Logon Segments||Authentication, Brokering, |
Logon Script in seconds
A lot of information, isn´t it? The cool thing is, that the metrics like CPU usage and such, will be updated the whole time automatically. That is very important in cases of troubleshooting, testing or performance tuning.
Example, you can assign an application to the user and the user will start it. You can see how the performance will be impacted regarding CPU, Disk, Memory or Network. That being said, you can now really quick scope where the issue could be if you have slow performance.
As you can see in the screenshot above, I´ve marked two button (Remote Assistance and More). If you click on more, you can, depending on your credentials, Disconnect, Logoff or Reset a session for the user. That could be important if the user can´t access the session anymore.
But what´s about if the user describe you an issue in the session itself but you can´t fully follow and imagine what happens. Well, for that is the second button (Remote Assistance). If you click on that, you will be able to download an invitation file.
If the administrator will use that file, the user at the end will get a message asking if they wants to allow the administrator to connect to his session. So, a very important point here, the administrator can´t access the user session without the users interaction (Usually). To be honest there is a possibility to create a GPO which makes it possible to connect to the users session without interaction, but usually not. The Remote assistance is built-in to Microsoft Windows and the RDP protocol will be used (Port 3389). An RDP connection have to be possible between the administration session and the user session directly) because that will not be handled by Horizon.
If you want to access a remote session without user interaction, use the following policy (GPO):
Microsoft OS itself:
- Computer Configuration – Administrative Templates – Windows Components – Remote Desktop Services – Remote Desktop Session Host – Connections
- Double click the policy and select enabled
- Under the options select “Full Control without user´s permission”.
Or if you use the VMware Dynamic Environment Manager (DEM):
- Computer Environment
- ADMX-Based Settings
- Select Categories
Computer Configuration – Administrative Templates – Windows Components – Remote Desktop Services – Remote Desktop Session Host – Connections.