Login Consultants, known for the free Solution4 Automation Framework, the free Flex Profile Kit, and several other free tools, has released the first version of something they're calling Login Virtual Session Index, or simply "Login VSI."
Login VSI is a benchmarking tool you can use to compare the relative performance of one desktop technology to another. For years there have been tools like WinBench that have provided a standard way to benchmark the performance of a Windows desktop computer. Login VSI hopes to be the same thing for virtual desktop sessions.
What exactly is a virtual desktop session? Ultimately it could be any instance of a Windows desktop: VDI, Terminal Server, etc.
The tool works by using a launcher workstation (or several launchers) to launch sessions that connect to the server you're benchmarking. Then a script runs on that server and dumps response data out to a network share. Once the test is done, the data is analyzed and the tool spits out a number showing the number of sessions that server can run with reasonable performance. What is "reasonable performance?" In truth it doesn't really matter. What matters is that this test is the same everywhere, so you can try different hardware configurations, virtualized apps versus natively installed, etc. In fact, there's really no limit to the different elements you can benchmark, including:
- VDI versus Terminal Server
- VMware, XenServer, or Hyper-V running virtual desktops or Terminal Server / Citrix Servers
- Virtualized XP desktops versus virtualized Vista Desktops
- Performance impact of application streaming technologies
- Impact of (different) virus scanners
- Performance impact of tuning parameters
- Different VDI platforms
- Different storage platforms
- Impact of changes or updates like service packs or security fixes
- Hardware differences
- x64 versus 32-bit
Because Login VSI is a benchmarking tool, not a server sizing tool, the automated tests that run are NOT customizable. (If you're looking for a decent, cheap, and/or free server sizing tool, check out DeNamiK's LoadGen.)
You can download the Login VSI beta from the tools area of the Login Consultants website. (Registration required) It's meant to be run in a test or lab environment only. Since they're benchmarking the desktop sessions, they don't support things like roaming profiles which could skew the numbers with different types of network performance.
Ultimately it would be cool if this tool became a standard across the industry. How great would it be if different vendors released their "Login VSI" number when they released new products. (Of course they'd have to release an index number for each specific hardware configuration.)
This release is just the first beta, so it's by no means completely ready to go. This version is only about 90% automated. (They want to get to 100% so you can just run it after a few clicks and benchmark stuff very simply.)
The other big limitation of the current beta is that it only runs against Terminal Server-based (with or witout Citrix) servers for now, but VDI support is coming soon.
So, check out the beta. Share your thoughts an opinions here. Will something like this work? Is there anything that they're missing? Is this something that you'd like to see?