Latest XenApp XenDesktop bandwidth utilization tests


Is it just me, or does it seem like every few releases Citrix finds ways to further reduce bandwidth consumption. When 7.13 came out, there were statements saying bandwidth utilization dropped. And in 7.17, we are hearing similar remarks. If we look at the latest releases, we see the following major improvements to the ICA protocol

  • 7.13:
    • Introduce glyph detection/caching algorithm – Beneficial for text-based workloads
    • Improve scroll detection
  • 7.17:
    • Update glyph detection/caching algorithm – Beneficial for text-based workloads
  • 7.18:
    • H.264 Build-to-Lossless – Beneficial for graphically interactive sessions
    • Progressive Display – Beneficial for low bandwidth and/or high latency connections

I want to see how these improvements impacts network utilization, so I ran my own simulations. I decided to run the same tests against the 7.11, 7.12, 7.13, 7.14, 7.15, 7.16, 7.17, 7.18, 1808 and 1811 releases.

Bandwidth Findings

In case you don’t wish to look at the graphs and details, here are the high-level findings for each release

Release Knowledge Worker
User Experience
Knowledge Worker
WAN Experience
Task Worker
User Experience
Task Worker
WAN Experience
7.11 206 kbps 117 kbps 262 kbps 99 kbps
7.12 212 kbps 123 kbps 263 kbps 96 kbps
7.13 196 kbps 114 kbps 266 kbps 74 kbps
7.14 200 kbps 119 kbps 263 kbps 80 kpbs
7.15 202 kbps 106 kbps 261 kbps 74 kbps
7.16 200 kbps 122 kbps 269 kbps 82 kbps
7.17 198 kbps 103 kbps 96 kbps 28 kbps
7.18 185 kbps 88 kbps 97 kbps 28 kbps
1808 184 kbps 92 kbps 103 kbps 28 kbps
1811 186 kbps 88 kbps 103 kbps 28 kbps

Knowledge Worker – User Experience Policy

In the first graph, we have the following:

  • Workload: LoginVSI Knowledge Worker
  • Policy: Optimize for User Experience
  • Test Duration: 60 minutes
  • Sample Period: 1 second

I notice the following:

  • 7.13: A slight drop in cumulative bandwidth usage. This drop extends through the 7.17 release.
  • 7.18: A noticeable drop, most likely due to the H.264 Build-to-Lossless capability with the graphical knowledge worker workload.

Knowledge Worker – WAN PolicyLet’s change the policy and retest

  • Workload: LoginVSI Knowledge Worker
  • Policy: Optimize for WAN
  • Test Duration: 60 minutes
  • Sample Period: 1 second

Besides lower numbers, as we would expect with the optimize for WAN policy, we see similar bandwidth reductions in the 7.13 and 7.18 releases.Knowledge Worker – ComparisonBy looking at average bandwidth utilization across the 60 minute test, we can start to see these improvements a little easier.Task Worker – User Experience PolicyIn the first graph, we have the following:

  • Workload: LoginVSI Task Worker
  • Policy: Optimize for User Experience
  • Test Duration: 60 minutes
  • Sample Period: 1 second

WHAT???The 7.17, 7.18 and 1808 releases look crazy. This would be due to the improvements in glyph caching, which is extremely beneficial for text-based workloads, like Excel. I compared the steep increases in the 7.11-7.16 graphs with the actual workload. Turns out these all align with Microsoft Excel. Imagine scrolling through a spreadsheet full of numbers. The glyph detection/caching improvements in 7.17 really shine on this portion of the simulation.Task Worker – WAN PolicyIf we change the policy to WAN and retest

  • Workload: LoginVSI Task Worker
  • Policy: Optimize for WAN
  • Test Duration: 60 minutes
  • Sample Period: 1 second

We see similar reductions in the 7.17 release. In addition, we also see the introduction of the glyph caching in the 7.13 release with the optimize for WAN policy.Task Worker – ComparisonWhen we change the graph to look at the estimated kilobits per second, the improvements are quite interesting for the Task Worker.Based on all of these tests, workload changes and policy changes, there are essentially 3 distinct groupings of data based on improvements made to ICA:

  • Group 1: 7.11 and 7.12
  • Group 2: 7.13-7.16
  • Group 3: 7.17-1811

Stay tuned as I plan to keep running these standard tests on upcoming releases.Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
Citrix Workspace Poster
XenApp/XenDesktop On-Prem Poster
XenApp/XenDesktop Cloud Service Poster

Service Name Default State Default Status Notes
Background Intelligent Transfer Service Automatic (Delayed Start) Running Set default state to “Manual” as 3rd party software might require the service.
Service Name Default State Default Status Notes
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2 thoughts on “Latest XenApp XenDesktop bandwidth utilization tests

Add yours

  1. Hi Daniel, what kind of tests did you run? I’m trying to tweak bandwidth performance on my VDI for some time.
    Regards Christian

    Like

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