Optimize Windows 7 Visual Effects for Virtual Desktops


Some of you might be aware, others might not.  Did you know that the mouse icon in Windows 7 (and earlier versions) has a shadow?  I bet a bunch of you are looking for it now. It is hard to see, but it is there.  Something that most people wouldn’t recognize as being on or off can have an impact on how much bandwidth is required for a virtual desktop.

Citrix XenDesktop and HDX are smart enough to not send the screen updates for the mouse image to the endpoint, instead they just send coordinates.  Saves a lot of time if you think about how many pixels the mouse takes.  But if you enable the mouse shadow (which is enabled by default), we are talking a different story.  The shadow pixel changes must be sent across the wire because it isn’t just a shadow, it is a blending with the image on the screen.  If you truly are interested in optimizing your Windows 7 desktop virtualization images, then disable the mouse shadow.

It’s pretty easy to do Continue reading Optimize Windows 7 Visual Effects for Virtual Desktops

Advertisements

Improper Storage Design for Virtual Desktops is a Killer


I’ve spent the last month or so discussing the top 10 mistakes seen on desktop virtualization implementation so you can learn from other’s mistakes. I’ve discussed 9 different things so far and they were:

10.  Not calculating user bandwidth requirements

9.    Not considering the user profile

8.   Lack of Application Virtualization Strategy

7.  Improper Resource Allocation

6.  Protection from Anti-Virus

5. Managing the incoming storm

4. Not Optimizing the Desktop Image

3. Not using your Cache Wisely

2. Using VDI Defaults

And now it is time for the #1 thing that people mess up with desktop virtualization? Continue reading Improper Storage Design for Virtual Desktops is a Killer

Should I Use Folder Redirection for AppData


When we talk about XenApp and XenDesktop implementations and the aspects of profiles, we always hear the recommendation to redirect folders. It is a great way to offload portions of your profile to speed up logons, because those folders are not copied down to the system during logon. In fact, I typically recommend the redirection of Favorites, desktop, downloads and My Documents. But the question is what to do about AppData.

I actually had this discussion at BriForum 2010 with a number of people (well, the following discussion is not word-for-word, but you’ll get the idea). You might be thinking, what’s the big deal? Why is AppData so special that we are even discussing it? Let’s look at it from both perspectives: Continue reading Should I Use Folder Redirection for AppData

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

My virtual desktop journey