Category Archives: XenDesktop

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ThreadLocker 2.1 is available.

Threadlocker 128x128Shortly after it’s initial launch and great reception! I’m proud to announce the general availability of ThreadLocker 2.1.
This is a minor update but does include some new key features and functionality.

What’s new in 2.1:

ThreadLocker Priority:

There is now the ability to assign a custom priority to a process when it has been ThreadLocked, allowing you to not only control which cores a ThreadLocked process runs on but also the priority it runs at.

Included Processes Only:

This new option allows you to specify which processes you want to apply ThreadLocking to. Previously the Enterprise Edition could apply ThreadLocking to any running process on the system but now you can now control this on a per process basis.

Logging:

Certain ‘error’ events were being incorrectly logged to the Windows Event log, these have now been removed.

Availability

ThreadLocker 2.1 is available from today and can be found at:

http://www.thinscaletechnology.com/threadlocker.

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ThreadLocker 2.0 is live!

Threadlocker 128x128Back in 2012 I wrote a utility called “ThreadLocker” for dealing with CPU heavy processes or multi threaded processes that have a nasty tendency to cause sluggish performance or even hangs in shared computing environments.

You can read all about the original concept here. My good friend and fellow CTP Barry Schiffer also wrote a really good article about the need for a product like ThreadLocker here.

 

Some history:

In essence, ThreadLocker was a utility for both shared and 1:1 desktop environments. It allowed you to layer in rules for processes that had a history of high or discruptive CPU usage, to protect the other users (in a shared environment) or to protect other running processes and the users interface (explorer.exe) while a large compute job was occurring.

ThreadLocker exploded with popularity and has received well over 100,000 downloads in the last three years. Alike ThinKiosk, ThreadLocker is a tool I regularly come across in my customers environments while consulting and it always suprised me with it’s uptake and popularity. I have observed ThreadLocker in VDI, SBC and even on stand alone workstations with great levels of success.

 

Moving on:

One of the frustrations I had with ThreadLocker, was any .NET based language (c#, vb.net, etc.) was never quick enough to be able to add an intelligent aspect to the utility without actually making CPU usage worse by implementing. ThreadLocker 1.0 relied on static rules and any new processes would have to be observed and added.

Recently David Coombes and I undertook the side project of redesigning ThreadLocker to run in c++, adding the raw speed we needed to be able to make intelligent decisions based on CPU usage and react in a fraction of a second to a sudden CPU spike. ThreadLocker 2.0 was designed to specifically tackle two issues:

  • Processes comsuming a large % of CPU and is multithreaded.
  • Many buggy or heavy processes, each consuming a core each.

We didnt want to tackle this with the approach of many others, where they’ll pause and resume threads many times a second creating a “SawTooth” effect on the processes CPU usage. We wanted the processes to run as fast as they need up to a certain threshold and only be restricted when contention is likely.

Having experienced other vendors approaches where process priority is dropped, many times this simply does not cut it as a heavy process, even at idle priority, will cause the other users and processes to feel slow and sluggish.

Why is ThreadLocker different?

With ThreadLocker 2.0, you can elect a percentage of your CPU cores that ThreadLocker can use for isolating these processes. When a process violates the ThreadLocking criteria, they are locked into these subset of cores to contend with any other processes that are also ThreadLocked, leaving well behaved processes to be able to take advantage of all cores in system. Once they start to behave again and do so for a certain amount of time, the processes are dropped back into the “wild” unless they decide to misbehave again.

This approach is extremely fast (ThreadLocker consumes less CPU than Microsoft’s own Task Manager) from a processing point of view and also has the benefit of allowing users to multitask with other applications while, for example, Excel hammers the ThreadLocking cores during a calculation.

The end result has been fantastic. Threadlocker can be installed and up and running in seconds. There is no longer a requirement for static rules and out of box, all aspects of the logic can be tuned to suit your environment, but more than likely wont be needed.

 Demo Video:

 


Availability

We are proud to announce the general availability of ThreadLocker 2.0 and more information can be found on our website at http://www.thinscaletechnology.com/threadlocker.

 

New Free Tool: Citrix Director Notification Service

DirectorNotificationCitrix Director for XenApp and XenDesktop can be a great utility for information about your Application / Desktop virtualisation environment. In Director you can find a wealth of information about the provisioned assets, the Controller, Licensing and Hypervisor status and the current running resources.

One area it’s always lacked is real time alerting. In order to really know what’s going on in your environment you need to be logged into director and watching. This is less than ideal and few monitoring vendors have endeavored to actually pull this data into their own solutions.

With the help of Rachel Berry, Prateek Kansal and Sridhar Mullapudi from Citrix. I set about diving into the logic and monitoring options within the FMA architecture. Citrix did a great job here and most if not all of it was readily available in PowerShell and oData. So, with the help of Citrix and a little bit of hard work, I’m very pleased to announce my latest free tool!

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ThinIO facts and figures, Part 4: Storage design and dangerous assumptions.  

Welcome back to this blog series discussing our new product ThinIO. Please find the below three earlier articles in this series:

In the final blog post in this series, we’re going to discuss storage design and a frequent problem face when sizing storage. Lets get right into it:

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