XenDesktop 7.7 and Windows 10

The other day, I was able to share the latest single server density results when running Windows 7 on XenDesktop 7.7. We looked at a range of parameters like:

      • PVS vs MCS
      • PVS Disk Cache vs RAM Cache
      • Citrix Policies: Very High Definition vs High Server Scalability vs Optimized for WAN
      • Windows 7 optimizations

Once that testing was complete, we moved onto the next version… Windows 10. An again, looking at the exact same parameters.

First, we look at Microsoft Hyper-V 2012R2


Second, we look at Citrix XenServer 6.5 SP1


What do you notice?

Between XenServer & Hyper-V… Not much

Between MCS and PVS… Not much as the 5-6% gains in MCS would be offset by increased storage costs due to lack of RAM Caching capabilities

Between the different policies… Around a 7-8% improvement

Between OS optimizations… Around a 7% improvement

The last part I find very interesting.

If you recall, I recently posted a blog (Windows 10 Optimization: The Results) showing that the Optimized OS config, based on the numerous Windows 10 optimizations, showed a 20% improvement in density. As we look at this expanded series of tests, what I now see is something rather interesting. Simply utilizing the Citrix policy templates, we achieve 1/2 of that density gain.

And I can tell you from experience that implementing the Citrix policies are much easier than working through all of those Windows 10 optimizations

So my advice, definitely use the Citrix policy templates as your starting point. If you want to know more about them, I suggest the following:

Server Specs:

      • Processors: Dual Intel Xeon E5-2697 (12 cores each)
      • RAM: 384 GB
      • Workload: Knowledge Worker
      • VM Specs: 2vCPU, 4 GB RAM


Daniel (Follow @djfeller)

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XenDesktop 7.7 and Windows 7

We recently completed a massive round of testing looking at many of the different deployment configurations we can do with a Windows 7 desktop in XenDesktop 7.7. We wanted to look at how different factors might impact single server scalability.

  • PVS vs MCS
  • PVS Disk Cache vs RAM Cache
  • Citrix Policies: Very High Definition vs High Server Scalability vs Optimized for WAN
  • Windows 7 optimizations

Each test was conducted utilizing the same, knowledge worker workload.




As you see, each test builds upon the previous test while only modifying a single parameter. As I’ve gone through the initial results, some things quickly popped out at me:

  1. Machine Creation Services, from a purely single server scalability perspective, shows some impressive numbers.
  2. Enabling the RAM Cache feature within Provisioning Services gave us a 9% gain in server density.
  3. Every hypervisor tested showed similar percent changes between the different tests.
  4. There was little difference between High Server Scalability and Optimized for WAN because the items within the policy were not a significant part of the tested workload.
  5. Switching from the Citrix Very High Definition User Experience Policy to the Citrix High Server Scalability Policy improved server density by a whopping 30%.

Why did we see such a gain when moving to the High Server Scalability policy? Because the Very High Definition User Experience policy utilizes the H.264 codec, which gives the user a great experience, but at the cost of CPU utilization. When we switch to the High Server Scalability policy, we utilize the latest ThinWire technology. We are able to reduce CPU utilization while increasing server density by changing the way the system encodes the data.

In addition, these policies also modify how items are compressed, how many frames per second are transmitted, plus many more.

To learn more about the Citrix policies, check out the following blogs:

  1. Why you should care about the new HDX ThinWire
  2. HDX Policy Templates

Stay tuned for Windows 10 on XenDesktop 7.7

Server Specs:

  • Processors: Dual Intel Xeon E5-2697 (12 cores each)
  • Workload: Knowledge Worker
  • VM Specs: 2vCPU, 4 GB RAM

Daniel ()
XenApp & XenDesktop Best Practices
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Windows 10 Optimization: The untold story

For a few weeks, people in my house kept bugging me to fix our Internet problem. From time-to-time, devices were not able to connect. No eMail. No NetFlix. No Minecraft (this last one was devastating).

I tracked the issue down to my wireless router. The 4-5 year old device was extremely hot. There were 50+ devices connected to it!

After purchasing a new one, all of the connectivity issues went away. As I started looking at the features of the new router, I saw that there is a traffic monitor built-in. So, I turned it on.

The thing I find interesting with this graph at 3 AM.

There is a spike in the middle of the night. I tracked this over a few days and the spike consistently shows up. After doing some digging, it turns out that these spikes are my Windows 10 PCs and my Windows 7 Media Center PC doing their nightly updates.

This brings about an interesting point with regards to Windows 10 optimization. Although we said in Windows 10 Optimization Results blog that the optimizations gave us about a 20% boost in server density, what we have to remember is that many of the optimizations we implemented won’t be accounted for in the test time period.

Take the scheduled task “Customer Experience Improvement Program \ Consolidator” as an example. It runs every 6 hours starting at midnight. In order for this optimization to be reflected in our test results, the test must be run at one of the respective intervals. If my test only runs for 1 hour, there is a good probability I will not have a test running when this task is executing.

Many of the other scheduled tasks run at startup. Most performance tests I’ve seen only focus on the steady state, which means most of the startup scheduled tasks are also missed as part of the test.

So does this mean our 20% benefit for running the optimizations are false? Of course not, but it does indicate that over the course of a workday or workweek, the benefit might be larger than 20%.

But in the end, nothing will ever be better than a real-world comparison.

Daniel ()
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Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.7 Visio Stencils

Welcome 2016!

You can find the latest version of the Citrix Visio Stencil from here: Tools

Over my end of year holiday, I met up with a friend from my old hometown and he was telling me some of the funny things his kids say and do. One was a conversation between the kid and his teacher…

The teacher asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

The kid said “I want to be a dentist. They make lots of money and only work 4 days a week.”

The teacher responds “But money can’t buy happiness.”

The kid says “Not true. Money can buy a WaveRunner. Have you ever seen a sad person on a WaveRunner?”

(I guess he watches Daniel Tosh).

I want to start the year by bringing a little bit of happiness to your life.

I know this isn’t as good as a WaveRunner, but it is still pretty good… updated Microsoft Visio stencils for Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.7.

It has been about a year and a half since I last updated these, and since that time, I’ve added a few new stencils:

You can get the latest Visio stencils from the here: Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.7 Visio Stencils

Daniel ()
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