Horizon Helpdesk Tool

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).

Details

In that area you will find all around the session. There several areas of information.

Client

NameDescription
User
Name
Client
Name
Client IP
Client
OS
Here you will see if someone
connect via HTML access via a
Browser for instance
Client
Version
Horizon Client
ProtocolBlast, PCoIP, RDP
Computer
Name

VM

NameDescription
Computer NameName of the VM
PoolPool Name where the session / VM
is in
Session DurationUsage Time
Logon TimeTime the user logged in
Agent VersionHorizon Agent version
vCentervCenter which handles the
environment
Session Stateconnected, disconnected etc.
Logon DurationLogon Duration
OS VersionOS Version
State DurationState Duration
Gateway / Proxy NameThe Gateway or Proxy which is
used
(UAG for instance)
Connection ServerConnection Server which is used
Gateway / Proxy IPIP 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.

NameDescription
Frame Ratein fps
Blast
Session Counters
Estimated Bandwidth (Uplink)
in Mbps,
Packet Loss (Uplink) in %
Blast
CDR Counters
Transmitted Bytes, Received Bytes
Blast
Imaging Counters
Transmitted Bytes (MB),
Received Bytes (KB)
Blast
Audio Counters
Transmitted Bytes (B),
Received Bytes (B)
CPU UsageSession CPU, Host CPU
Memory UsageSession Memory, Host Memory
Network
performance
Latency
Disk performanceRead (Average Read in IOPS),
Write (Average Write in IOPS),
Disk Latency (Average Latency
in ms)
Logon SegmentsAuthentication, 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:

  1. gpedit.msc
  2. Computer Configuration – Administrative Templates – Windows Components – Remote Desktop Services – Remote Desktop Session Host – Connections
  3. Double click the policy and select enabled
  4. Under the options select “Full Control without user´s permission”.

Or if you use the VMware Dynamic Environment Manager (DEM):

  1. Computer Environment
  2. ADMX-Based Settings
  3. Create
  4. Select Categories

Computer Configuration – Administrative Templates – Windows Components – Remote Desktop Services – Remote Desktop Session Host – Connections.

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