Beware of VDI Defaults

Default configurations are great in that they make the setup and configuration easy. Unfortunately, they don’t work for all environments. In fact, if you simply use the defaults for an entire virtual desktop deployment, you will miss out on tons of optimizations to allow your environment to scale. Simply following the defaults is the 2nd most common mistake people make when implementing XenDesktop. Continue reading Beware of VDI Defaults


Windows 7 Registry Optimizations for Virtual Desktops

In another blog, I discussed Windows 7 services that you might wish to disable when going down the path of desktop virtualization. In this article, I’m now focusing on registry modification you will want to make to optimize Windows 7 for virtual desktops. I’ve broken it down into Recommended configurations, Standard Mode configurations (for Provisioning services), and Optional configurations.

As I learn more from upcoming Windows 7 implementations, I’ll be updating the following tables, so it might be worthwhile to stay updated with RSS or subscribe via Email. Now, for the good stuff… Continue reading Windows 7 Registry Optimizations for Virtual Desktops

Does Cache Trump IOPS

With desktop virtualization, we hear more and more about how important IOPS are to being able to support the virtual desktop. I’ve had a few blogs about it and plan to have a few more. What I wanted to talk about was an interesting discussion I recently had with 3 Senior Architects within Citrix Consulting (Doug Demskis, Dan Allen and Nick Rintalan).  There are 3 smart guys who I talk to fairly regularly and the discussions get quite interesting.

This particular discussion was no different.  We were talking about the importance of IOPS, RAID configs, spindle speeds with regards to an enterprise’s SAN infrastructure. (Deciding if you are going to use a SAN for your virtual desktops is a completely different discussion that I’ve had before and Brian Madden had more recently). But for the sake of this article, let’s say you’ve decided “Yes, I will use my SAN.” If your organization already has an enterprise SAN solution, chances are that the solution has controllers with plenty of cache. Does this make the IOPS discussion a moot point? Continue reading Does Cache Trump IOPS

Not Spending Your Cache Wisely

It almost sounds like I’m talking about personal finances. You better plan your cache appropriately or you will run out. I’m not talking about money; I’m talking about system memory (although if you plan poorly we will quickly be talking about money).

It comes down to this… system cache is a powerful feature allowing a server to service requests extremely fast because instead of accessing disks, blocks of data are retrieved from RAM. Provisioning services relies on fast access to the blocks within the disk image (vDisk) to stream to the target devices. The faster the requests are serviced, the faster the target will receive. Allocating the largest possible size for the system cache should allow Provisioning services to store more of the vDisk into RAM as opposed to going to the physical disk.  Continue reading Not Spending Your Cache Wisely

ABC School District Webinar Q/A

For those of you who missed the June 18th TechTalk on the design for a 20,000 user environment, missed out. Well, not really.  Luckily, we recorded the presentation so you can watch it whenever you desire.  As you know, the webinar was based on a reference design for a 70,000 user school district.  Links to the materials are as follows:

In addition to the materials, we also had some really great questions during the webinar, which I’ve answered below: Continue reading ABC School District Webinar Q/A

The New XenDesktop Design Handbook

All I want is a list of documents that will help me design my XenDesktop environment.  Who else wants the same thing?  I bet many of you are saying “Yes, Me too!!”  That’s great and everything but how do you know when a new white paper is released that relates to XenDesktop design?  Do you keep your own personal library of white papers for XenDesktop design?  And even more, how do you keep informed when updates are made to previously released white papers?

I’ve got a special treat for you, the NEW XenDesktop Design Handbook.  Instead of trying to create a 1,000 page document that discusses all of the different design options and best practices, we are creating a kit for XenDesktop architects.  In the kit you will find some goodies:

  1. Reference Architectures
  2. Reference Designs
  3. Implementation Guides
  4. Planning Guides

This is just the start.  If you subscribe to the kit, you will be able to receive notifications when updates are made to the Design Handbook. We are in the process of developing many new best practice documents focused on different design areas that you won’t want to miss.  Interested yet? Then how about I give you the link to the NEW XenDesktop Design Handbook (note: you must log on to MyCitrix). You can also get the link via the Documents menu item above.

And finally, if you have requests for new design planning guides, please email Ask the Architect.

Daniel – Lead Architect

Optimize your Virtual Desktop Image

Building a virtual desktop is simply a matter of installing the Windows operating system. Right?  Slow down… although this will work, it won’t give you the best performance and scalability.  One of the items that many people mistakenly forget to accomplish is to optimize the base operating system.  This is the 7th mistake out of the top 10 mistakes made with virtual desktops: Continue reading Optimize your Virtual Desktop Image

My virtual desktop journey