Brian Madden TV #36 - Android thin clients, Xangati, and the "real" reasons people use VDI

In this episode of Brian Madden TV, Gabe explains why Brian is wrong about Android thin clients, while Brian explains why Gabe is better off in Omaha rather than Las Vegas. Then Brian gets a demo of Xangati's VDI monitoring product from David Messina. Finally, Brian asks attendees of Desktop Virtualization 2011 San Francisco why they're using desktop virtualization.



BRIAN: Hello and welcome to Brian Madden TV. From San Francisco, this is Brian Madden.

GABE: And back in my stupid boring office in Omaha, I’m Gabe Knuth

BRIAN: Yeah, so is and that *picture* of the Las Vegas strip taped to your back wall?

GABE: Uhh.. can we just move on please?

BRIAN: Alright. So I’s love to talk about  Android thin clients. Last week I wrote an article about how I think this concept would rock. You know instead of every vendor having their own thin client OS, they could all use Android. So why doesn’t this exist yet?

GABE: Well I think the commenters made it pretty clear why... Android apps aren’t made for full size, high resolution, mouse-driven screens. Plus if you want a free, local, app-laden platform... we already have that with Linux! And thin clients shouldn’t become personal computing devices.. I mean you’ve said that yourself... “a thin client should be a thin client!” 

BRIAN: Hmm.. yeah I guess these are some really great points, but... I still don’t know.. I feel I kinda still feel like want it.

GABE: Dude, listen to the commenters, and then look at the reasons you yourself listed in the article: One OS that would work on any vendor’s thin client. Having the option for stateful or stateless. Nice way to continue the migration from Windows. Tons of native apps that can run locally. The only one that applies only to Android is that “You could run the same OS on your phone/table/thin client” And if you think the whole world is going to Rich Internet Apps and HTML5 anyway, then...isn’t that the Chromium OS?

BRIAN: Hmm.. umm...yeah I mean I guess maybe you’re right.. maybe android thin client isn’t actually as necessary as I thought it was.

GABE: Whoa.…id I just convince you of something? Did I just win an argument? Don’t tell my wife!

BRIAN: I won’t if you don’t tell my girlfriend.

GABE: Deal.

BRIAN: So uh moving on... let’s take a look now Gabe at your favorite topic... which is Monitoring! VM-monitoring vendor Xangati recently launched a VDI-based solution, we actually invited them or our office to get a demo of this new VDI-based product.




BRIAN: So I'm here with David Messina, so David thank you for making the trip to San Francisco today.

DM: Thanks Brian, I appreciate it.

BRIAN: So, Xangati, you've been around awhile but I've never heard of Xangati.

DM: Well Xangati is actually a performance management company that's very unique in the market. It's focusing now in particular on the virtual desktop infrastructure market, and one of the things that's of real value in what we do is we can see across all the different silos that can affect the virtual desktop user experience. So that's what Xangati does.

BRIAN: So you've brought a demo with us today.

DM: Oh absolutely, the only way to show a product is to show it, not talk about it, so that's what we're gonna do.

BRIAN: Ok, let's take a look.

DM: So what you can see over here is that we have the Xangati VDI dashboard. What's unique about it is that we're taking advantage of looking at all the moving parts the appliance, the desktop, the host of those desktops those are running across, and some other key elements. What you can notice is that there's really to-the-second movement around the solution so we can see this in real-time and the system is continuously looking at the health of all these elements, and as you can see right now that the health of the overall virtual desktop infrastructure is not perfect. And what we can see here is there's specifically an alert here over in the host area showing there's a problem. So I click over here in the host area and what I've got here is a DVR recording of a specific host with a performance issue. 

BRIAN: So when you say this recording, you mean this recording happened because there was a problem, you kicked in the recording.

DM: Exactly. So the recording kicks in, as it starts to play back here you can see one of the issues here is that the storage latency is incredibly high for the host that's running these virtual desktops is at 4/10 of a second. So when your users are calling in this is ultimately the issue that's at fault. So the value here for somebody that's running a virtual desktop infrastructure is that they don't own storage but what they can do is actually send a copy of this recording issue to the storage guy and email it through the system.

BRIAN: So when you say this is a recording you don't mean this is a screen recording, you mean this it's a recording of all the data that Xangati is capturing.

DM: Exactly, it's basically capturing all the key metrics around, in this case, the server that's hosting up all the desktops. Could be a desktop issue as well. You know, a desktop is driving too much YouTube traffic and driving too much volume on the network, but each one of these recordings again is reflective of the key metrics that are now reflecting a poor performance health on the infrastructure.

BRIAN: One of the things I'm wondering about this is, are you showing me how to solve my problem, or just that a problem actually exists. 

DM: Well, the answers is sort of both, because one of the challenges for somebody running VDI is that he might not actually control the part of the infrastructure where there is a problem, but he's pointing specifically to where that is. So, if the network is an example, across a wide area network has high latency, well then the problem that has to be fixed is with the network guy, and that is one of the big challenges here. Often times the software, VMware's software or Citrix's software is being blamed and what we're doing is actually proving that the software is not the problem, but somewhere else on the infrastructure. So these recordings are gonna tell you where the problem is, another department is prescriptively going to have to change it.

BRIAN: Now, you have a product for the servers, but you're new to VDI. So, what about this product here is actually VDI-specific, and what is just sort of cut and paste from your server product. 

DM: So what we've really done over the past six months in particular is we've been focused on VDI administrators and we've worked with them to A) tailor our dashboard, which is the view you see to really reflect how they look at the world, from the clients to the desktops, to the rest of the infrastructure, and the second thing that we're doing is, as per request, is bubble things up into a health index which previously wasn't available in this release, and again the idea is looking at all the moving parts, not just the desktop silo, if you will. So it's very unique in this release.

BRIAN: So is this something that I buy or is it a service from Xangati. 

DM: This is a software package that you purchase. e have a starter kit for a hundred desktops, if you will. It's right under $2500 and one of the things that we're doing right now is we have free trials of the software up on the website, so for the next quarter, for everybody who does this free trial download we're gonna have a raffle so one user a month will get a free starter kit for the desktop. 

BRIAN: Well David, we appreciate you taking the time to show this and thanks for coming to San Francisco.

DM: Hey Brian, thank you so much. In fact the folks at Xangati got together and we pooled our resources and got you a couple of gifts. A nice little Xangati mug and a hat for future shows. 

BRIAN: Thank you so much for coming today. 




GABE: So this looks alright but I really wanna get my hands on it and see what this VDI Score feature is. I also want to see if this just a new one of visualizing Perf-Mon counters or it's actually doing something unique. I also wonder, in the video he says it helps you find the cause of something, but if you can't see inside the VM what can you really tell from spiking network usage or spiking storage usage?

BRIAN: So last week I mentioned that I would be at the Hyatt in San Francisco for the first of our “desktop virtualization 2011” road shows.

GABE: Yeah, and I asked you to ask attendees why they were using desktop virtualization.

BRIAN: Yep. So during the break I was able to talk to a bunch of people... And so here are the results of those conversations: Why real-world customers in San Francisco are using desktop virtualization:



Quick Interviews



GABE: Wow.. That’s kind of surprising actually that there are as many different reasons to use desktop virt as their are customers?

BRIAN: Yeah. No one single answer.

GABE: So next week you’re in Boston, right?

BRIAN: In Boston for another version of this show, so Gabe what questions do you think I should ask the attendees at that show?

GABE: How about which product they’re using and why? View, XenDesktop.. whatever?

BRIAN: Alright.. that actually sounds pretty good to me! And as a matter of fact that’s all we have planned for this week. So from San Francisco, thanks for watching.

GABE: And from Omaha, this is Gabe Knuth wishing everyone a Happy--Muppety--April Fool’s day.

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LMAO! :)


Totally liked!

I actually prefer it this way! :-)


When I watch the Xangati interview I keep forgetting he's talking to a puppet.


Love it!