Tag Archives: citrix

Your network is hurting your application experience


A few times a year I get addicted to Xbox. Once the kids go to sleep, I can easily spend hours playing Mass Effect, Fallout or Assassin’s Creed.

The games are wonderful and immersive, which is why I spent over 100 hours playing Fallout 3 and another 100+ hours in Fallout New Vegas.  Unfortunately, I’ve experienced some annoying things with these games.  I’ll be in one of the final battles of Mass Effect 3 against the Reapers when the game starts stuttering.  Do you know how hard it is to aim when the system stutters?

Game stuttering, system stuttering or application stuttering is a great way to severely hurt the user experience. How can we reduce app stutters? We need to look at the underlying reason for the stuttering and figure out how to correct.

Network latency and packet loss is a big reason why users might experience stuttering in an application. If a packet gets lost or a packet times out due to high latency, that packet must be retransmitted.  Retransmissions take time. And if you experience a lot of retransmissions, you experience a lot of application stutters.

We’ve already seen how Citrix’s Adaptive Transport impacts

  1. File Copying
  2. Video Viewing

But what does it do to the application experience? See for yourself

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 VDI Handbook
XenApp Best Practices
XenApp Videos

 

 

 

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Your network is hurting your video viewing experience


I just binged watched the first season of “The Expanse”. Awesome! (BTW, the books are even better.)

I would say 90% of my TV viewing is done with streaming media either from Netflix, Amazon or my home library. Nothing is better at ruining a good viewing session than the spinning circle of oblivion as the video stream is being loaded.

Unfortunately, I had the unfortunate experience of watching that spinning circle of frustration multiple times per episode. Running an Internet speed test revealed I had plenty of bandwidth but, for some reason, my latency was through the roof (400+ms).

My solution was to reboot my cable modem and wireless access points throughout my house. This always fixes the problems. I even made it easy for my family to reboot the system when I was traveling.

What I find interesting about this experience is how latency, and not bandwidth, can impact the viewing experience of video content. Lucky for me, the solution was easy… Reboot. But what if the latency isn’t a technical challenge, but more of a physical challenge based on the location of the viewer and the location of the content?

How can we overcome poor network latency and packet loss?

In a previous video that talked about Adaptive Transport, the focus was on file copying.  The results were astounding.

The question now is, would Adaptive Transport also have an impact on the video viewing experience?

Short answer: Yes. Yes it does.

And just in case you were worried about me and my personal happiness, I did fix my home network issues by replacing my WiFi router with better WiFi access points. No more rebooting devices every 2 days.

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 VDI Handbook
XenApp Best Practices
XenApp Videos

Your network is killing your file copy performance


We’ve all been there before, rush hour traffic.

You know how it goes. You slowly increase speed to 5mph, then 10, then 15. Excitement is building because you are now going 20mph. Then, out of nowhere, you slam on the brakes and your speed immediately drops back to 0mph. We eventually start over again, 5, 10, 15mph before we slam our foot on the brakes again bringing us to a complete stop.

At this point it is OK to yell “SERENITY NOW!!!

Unfortunately, this is how packets are being sent across the LAN/WAN. This is how TCP functions via the AIMD (Additive Increments, Multiplicative Decrements) congestion control algorithm. TCP slowly increases transmission speed and then drastically falls back when a re-transmission is required due to a timeout, collision or packet loss.

This works fine on a LAN where bandwidth is high, packet loss is low and latency is low. But as latency and packet loss increases, as is common with a WAN environment, TCP is never able to get up to full speed. We are left with only partial utilization of our WAN link.

We see this all of the time when we try to copy a file. On a LAN, the speed of the file copy remains fairly constant, but on a WAN, the bandwidth utilization slowly increases before dropping back to 0, just like rush hour traffic.

Look at what Citrix did!

Adaptive Transport is able to overcome WAN latency and packet loss. It makes a simple task, like file copying, twice as fast as a traditional Windows 10 PC and 3 times as fast as a VMware Horizon desktop.

Adaptive Transport is an alternative to traditional TCP. And it is more than simply a switch to UDP. Adaptive Transport is a newly developed Citrix enlightened data transport optimized for WAN environments by overcoming high latency and packet loss resulting in faster file copying.

protocol

If the network supports the new transport, HDX will use it. If it does not, HDX falls back to TCP.

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 VDI Handbook
XenApp Best Practices
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Citrix VDI Handbook 7.6


The Citrix VDI Handbook is now available!

Let me answer a few questions about the VDI Handbook

  1. Version: The VDI Handbook is based on the XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 Long-Term Service Release.
  2. Updates: The plan is to release a VDI Handbook for each Long-Term Service Release. The VDI Handbook is based on real-world implementation experiences. Basing updates on LTSR releases (18-24+ months) allows us to include better recommendations than if we updated for the current release (every quarter).
  3. Format: PDF and HTML. The PDF version is ready now, the HTML version will be ready shortly.
  4. Content: The handbook includes information on Assess, Design and Monitor.

Grab version 1 of the Citrix VDI Best Practices Handbook for XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
XenApp Advanced Concept Guide
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Citrix VDI Handbook


At Citrix Summit in January 2016, I heard from many of you asking for an updated version of the Citrix VDI Handbook.

At Citrix Synergy in May 2016, I heard from many of you asking for an updated version of the Citrix VDI Handbook.

At BriForum in July 2016, I heard from many of you asking for an updated version of the Citrix VDI Handbook.

To me, it sounds like you want the Citrix VDI Handbook to be updated.

The good news.  It is being updated!!!

The better news. We got our Citrix consulting experts to validate the recommendations

The bad news. It isn’t ready yet.

So why am I telling you this?

First, you can stop hounding me about getting it updated.  It is happening.  I am currently buried in Microsoft Word.

Second, I need to know if there are things missing that you think should be included.

And third, does this news make you happy?

 

Microsoft Windows 10, Citrix XenDesktop and Logon Time


How long does your Windows 10 logon take?

Logging into my lab, my logons felt long. True I’m not using server-level hardware that you would see in production, but my logon times felt too long because I don’t have logon scripts, complex group policy preferences, or even massive profiles. After reading the Rule of 30 blog by Nick Rintalan, I decided to investigate. I was interested in knowing if all of the Windows 10 optimizations I previously blogged about would have an impact

  1. Default apps
  2. Services
  3. Scheduled tasks
  4. User Interface
  5. Runtime
  6. Release
  7. ICA

My first test was looking at the default Windows 10 install with Provisioning Services. It took 73.5 seconds to log in. So much for the Rule of 30.

I went ahead and permanently removed many of the default Windows 10 apps. I got a login time of 67 seconds. Not bad, 8% improvement.

Time to optimize and disable many Windows 10 services. Another drop of 6% reducing my login time to 62.5 seconds.

Scheduled tasks, user interface and runtime had no effect. This isn’t surprising. Runtime optimizations would only impact the user’s interactive portion of the session. Scheduled tasks don’t run constantly. They only run from a trigger resulting from an action or a time of day.

Next, I enabled Citrix User Profile Management (UPM) and saw a 29% improvement in logon time! Wow. Before I enabled UPM, the system used local profiles, which were deleted on each session logoff. Each time the user logged in, the system had to create a new profile for the user. This is time consuming. Enabling UPM gives the user a roaming profile, which is faster than a local profile.

And finally, because I love talking about Provisioning Services, I thought I would enable the RAM Cache with Disk Overflow. I didn’t really think it would have an impact, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Provisioning Services RAM Cache dropped logon times by another 18%!

By optimizing my OS, profiles and using Provisioning Service RAM Cache, my logon times went from 73 seconds down to 36. Not bad.

App-V Integration Overview with XenApp


For those who follow my blog, you know that I do astrophotography. A big part of astrophotography is automation. Each galaxy, planetary nebula or cluster photo I create is based on capturing 30-60 pictures. Each photo is assessed for quality and then only the best images are aligned, rotated and stacked.

I use multiple pieces of software that integrate nicely together that helps me make decisions on what images to keep and what to discard as well perform many of the tedious and time consuming tasks like aligning and stacking my images.

Finding ways to integrate multiple pieces of software together makes for an even more compelling solution.

Let’s look at another example: Integrating with Microsoft App-V.

  1. XenApp and XenDesktop can publish App-V sequences to virtual desktops without the need for the Microsoft App-V infrastructure (Management Server, Publishing Server and database).
  2. Citrix AppDNA can help an administrator determine if an application is compatible with App-V.
  3. Citrix AppDNA can automatically create App-V sequences

Let’s see how this looks

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
XenApp Best Practices
XenApp Videos