In Part 1 of our project, we effectively virtualized CAD and CAE workstations for a leading German car manufacturer, leveraging VMware Horizon and a Nvidia GPU plugin. This initiative, led by comdivision, enhanced security, particularly for subcontractor access, and reduced maintenance costs of high-end workstations. Our solution included diverse virtual desktops with robust security features, achieving a blend of flexibility, security, and efficiency within the project's time and budget, earning high praise from the client.
(This case study is divided into two parts: the design of the actual VDI infrastructure using VMware Horizon and this part describes the design of the monitoring and reporting solution.)
In this Part 2, guided by Alain Geenrits and Fabian Lenz, we focus on further enhancing this virtualized environment with VMware Aria Operations for advanced monitoring and optimization. This phase aims to improve performance tracking, capacity management, and troubleshooting via high-level dashboards, facilitating proactive optimization and continuous improvement in CAD and CAE operations.
To address these issues, the company sought to virtualize desktops, granting engineers access to appropriate sessions without the hassle of maintaining locally installed software. The program manager explained, "We shifted from capital-intensive hardware to a pay-as-you-go model." comdivision provided an outstanding Desktop-as-a-Service solution with GPU support and a secure, available, resource-monitored, sized, and reported system architecture..
Alain Geenrits, comdivision's lead architect for the Aria Operations integration, emphasized the customer's need to monitor utilization and obtain reporting capabilities per department. "The customer aimed to optimize sizing and availability," Geenrits stated, "and they envisioned being able to proactively anticipate resource shortages."
Geenrits detailed the solution, saying, "With the Horizon and Nvidia plugins we implemented in the vROPS for Horizon solution, we can alert VDI administrators to performance bottlenecks in the Horizon infrastructure and provide real-time and historical metrics on web-based dashboards for performance analytics." Geenrits continued, "Administrators can run what-if scenarios, adding or removing VMs as needed. They can also utilize built-in actions for issue remediation, such as automatically adjusting CPU or Memory for a VM when certain thresholds are exceeded."
Geenrits and his team also developed a set of high-level dashboards to streamline troubleshooting for the helpdesk when customers call. Geenrits explained, "It's especially crucial for the support team to quickly pinpoint the likely root cause of an issue. A brief glance at the health dashboard helps determine if a performance problem stems from the server infrastructure or perhaps a connectivity issue."
"We are very pleased with how Alain planned the various views and prepared the reports," the program manager expressed. "This allows us to monitor the overall health and usage of the system and track the number of desktop sessions each department is utilizing. The comdivision team did an outstanding job and, most importantly, Alain and Fabian's team completed the project on time and within budget. We are excited to implement all the features the system promises." In the future, the customer can leverage Aria Operations' detection function to identify optimization opportunities, such as inactive VMs or large snapshots, and test the network accessibility of load balancers.