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, 1811, 1903 and 1906 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
7.11 196 kbps 108 kbps 273 kbps 97 kbps
7.12 214 kbps 113 kbps 268 kbps 100 kbps
7.13 202 kbps 116  kbps 273 kbps 77 kbps
7.14 203 kbps 128 kbps 277 kbps 81 kpbs
7.15 204 kbps 99 kbps 270 kbps 78 kbps
7.16 202 kbps 126 kbps 288 kbps 86 kbps
7.17 205 kbps 95 kbps 98  kbps 29 kbps
7.18 174 kbps 82 kbps 100 kbps 25 kbps
1808 177 kbps 91 kbps 103 kbps 28 kbps
1811 183 kbps 87 kbps 103 kbps 27 kbps
1903 171 kbps 79 kbps 102 kbps 27 kbps
1906 172 kbps 85 kbps 99 kbps 25 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: 5 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.
  • 1906: Bandwidth was consistently lower than all other test until the very end where it jumps.  Need to see if something outside of the test impacted the results.

Knowledge Worker – WAN Policy

Let’s change the policy and retest

  • Workload: LoginVSI Knowledge Worker
  • Policy: Optimize for WAN
  • Test Duration: 60 minutes
  • Sample Period: 5 second

Besides lower numbers, as we would expect with the optimize for WAN policy, we see similar bandwidth reductions in the releases.

Knowledge Worker – Comparison

By looking at average bandwidth utilization across the 60 minute test, we can start to see these improvements a little easier.

Task Worker – User Experience Policy

In the first graph, we have the following:

  • Workload: LoginVSI Task Worker
  • Policy: Optimize for User Experience
  • Test Duration: 60 minutes
  • Sample Period: 5 second

WHAT???

The releases after 7.17 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: 5 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 – Comparison

When 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: 7.17-1906

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

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5 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

  2. Awsome, I really like your studies of Citrix releases..
    A Note is that if we compare vda 7.x releases with 6.5 Rxx we nowadays talk about bandwidth compared to how many users you could get in one XenApp server…

    Like

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