How to test the impact of Spectre and Meltdown patching
It is essential that you understand the impact of the Spectre and Meltdown patches on a VDI platform, to keep a stable environment. Systech IT Solutions with LoginVSI are offering a free emergency edition of Login VSI (impact Validation). This edition is free to use until 31st March 2018.
Login VSI will simulate real user usage on your environment and will provide easy to read statistics that can be used to show potential User experience impact caused by the patches.
To test your environment with Login VSI the following will be required:
- Active Directory windows domain and DNS
- Windows server (2012+) to be used for the VSI Management server
- Windows server(s) (2012+) to be used as Launcher Server(s)
- A system to run the tests against (VDI collection, session host etc)
Note: The servers used for the tests can be physical or virtual. If using a virtual machine make sure the server is not running on the same hardware to be tested.
Login VSI install
- Download Login VSI Emergency edition from (link to shop?)
- Setup the VSIShare and install on the management server
- Create a target image. This will usually be the standard image with the Login VSI software additions installed.
- Create the test user accounts in AD, Login VSI can generate a PowerShell script for this.
- Create the Launcher VM’s. One launcher machine will be needed for every 25 sessions.
It is advised to run some small scale tests before launching a full workload test. Run the workload with 2-3 users to make sure everything runs smoothly.
The Knowledge worker workload is recommended for user testing as it resembles a typical user.
Run the same load test 3 times to make sure you are getting similar results, this will improve the accuracy of the results and will flag up any anomalies in any one test.
Once the testing has finished, the test image and/or environment used can be updated with the Spectre and Meltdown patches.
Re-Run the same load test on the environment after the changes have been applied. Make sure all the workload settings are the same as the first tests so a comparison can be made.
The two important performance numbers for comparisons are:
VSIMax: This is the maximum number of users that can use the environment before performance is impacted.
VSIBase: Performance figure of the system when under little or no load. The lower this number is the better the performance.
Analysing the results
The management server provides a results analyser; this will display all the data collected in easy to read graphs. The CPU results will be of particular interest when testing for the Spectre and Meltdown patches largely impact CPU efficiency.
Loss in performance
The potential loss in performance due to the patches could potentially be reduced by applying some optimisations to the image, Systech IT solutions are experts in VDI solutions and can assist you with the optimisation of your environment to provide the best performance from your hardware.