Feller’s Law on Virtual Desktop Optimizations

I’ve been spending time developing the Citrix recommendations for Windows 7 optimization and came to an interesting conclusion: many of these settings sounds good, but they don’t really have much impact. I’ve now read two different studies on this:

What have I learned? You will get minimal performance gains IF you optimize while still providing enough usability for users. Also, if you optimize too much you end up destroying the user experience. I posted a comment on the Project VRC’s recommendations to disable Windows Search. It is true that Search does take some resources, but I find search quite useful within my Office applications. For my virtual desktop implementation, if I disable Search, then I can no longer search within Outlook. Others told me their search still works, albeit slower. Why the difference? Because we included different optimization settings within our virtual desktop environment. We did this to try and improve scalability and performance, but now we have another issue… Troubleshooting.

Because we have done different optimizations, some of which are pretty arcane, we now have different effects on the desktop, and not in a good way. So what does this mean? It means the more optimizations you make, the greater the risk for issues and the harder it will be to troubleshoot. This is what I started calling Feller’s Law: “The more tweaks made, the greater risk for issues.”

Does this mean we shouldn’t be doing any optimizations? No, that is just crazy. There are some things we should disable in a desktop virtualization environment. All that I’m saying is that we need to understand what each optimization might do to the user experience, because the user experience will determine success and failure. And making every possible tweak to the environment isn’t really necessary either as many will have limited impact on the infrastructure.

What will you recommend for your virtual desktop environments?

Daniel – Lead Architect

1 thought on “Feller’s Law on Virtual Desktop Optimizations”

  1. regarding Windows Search on VDI’s and Outlook: if you disable it, then Outlook will not search locally -> search burden will be on the Exchange server. This is slower for the end-user and requires more resources on the exchange end.

    If you have not performed indexing on the Exchange end (don’t have search running there), then disabling Windows Search on the client will result in no search ability in Outlook. This might be the reason for different accounts on the effects of disabling search and Outlook capabilities.


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