Troubleshoot PCoIP WAN Links with Little Effort: AppNeta m20

I like to think of AppNeta like the litmus paper for your WAN connections. Inside the datacenter you most likely have tools that help give you insight on the health of your network, outside the confounds of your firewall is usually a different matter. When application performance like VDI and VoIP start to degrade from a remote site, technical staff will blame the network. It most cases network is a synonym for blameNet. The bigger network, the harder it is figure out where blameNet is brining you to your knees:

• multiple service provider for your MPLS
• multiple hops to figure where the problems are occurring
• inability to reproduce the end users experience

AppNeta can give you great insight into your network will little setup. The devices are managed by an online service called PathView Cloud. There is four different appliances but I was trailing the smallest of the appliances, the PathView m20. AppNeta was really good about getting me 2 devices in my hands for the trail so I could pair the devices together. I wasn’t able to get the 2nd device into the Data Centre during the week trail but I was still happy with the results. The devices were sent setup for DHCP, when they arrived all I had to do was plugd them in. I got alerted right away via email that I had a new device in my PathView Cloud portal to manage.

At one of our larger remote sites we were having packet loss on PCoIP connections. It would happen and then go away for a couple of days and then it would happen again. Everyone was having a real hard time figuring out was the cause was. We had more than enough bandwidth for the site so a buffer issue was a possible cause but where in the link was it happening?
I had configured the m20 appliance to monitor the path from the remote site to the VMware Connection server and run a VMware View PCoIP assessment on the link. Pathview Cloud offers over 25 different application and infrastructure assessments, some include:

• VoIP
• Video Conferencing
• Desktop Virtualization

Chart 1 below, was during one of the worst times that I saw data loss occurring. It was the bottom graph that tipped me off that the problem was actually happening in the core. This helped save time with the blame game with the service provider and I was able to direct my attention to where it was needed. You can also tell by the bottom graph that we don’t have QofS running(don’t get me started). If we did of Q0fS, the m20 would have the visibility to tell at each hop if our QofS tags were being honored.

Chart 1

Note: The appliane figues out the Max bandwidth, it call tell if your IPS is giving you all of your bandwidth your paying for.

Chart 2

Hopefully we can buy the appliances and I can further test having a set of paired devices. Having the ability to inject UDP traffic under stress will be a big help in conducting pre and post assessments on the network. I should also mention you have the ability to simulate VoIP call with paired devices. I would like to see VoIP load generation ran at the same time a PCoIP assessment is happening but I don’t see an option for it.

I would encourage you to trail these great little devices out today. Trail Express – AppNeta

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