Tag Archives: XenApp

Optimize VDI: Windows 10 Scheduled Tasks (Original, Anniversary and Creator Updates)


This is a multi-part blog series focused on optimizing Windows 10 VDI

As we saw in previous blogs, Microsoft added new default apps and services into the base operating system of the Windows 10 Build 1703 (Creator Update). These updates will have an impact on the user experience, especially in a VDI implementation.

Scheduled Tasks

Many of the new capabilities within the latest builds of Windows 10 also implements new scheduled tasks. Although the tasks do not run continuously, they will impact density when executing and many are irrelevant in a non-persistent VDI environment.

  • Build 1507: 130 Tasks
  • Build 1607: 166 Tasks
  • Build 1703: 165 Tasks

History has shown that optimizing Windows scheduled tasks can improve logon time and server density. It is recommended to review the list of scheduled tasks and disable those that are not necessary for the users.

To see a list of Windows services, run the following PowerShell command:
Get-ScheduledTasks

Color Code:

  • Green: Customer experience program tasks
  • Orange: Maintenance tasks
  • Blue: Tasks for applications
  • Purple: General system tasks
  • Red: Safety and security tasks

Continue reading Optimize VDI: Windows 10 Scheduled Tasks (Original, Anniversary and Creator Updates)

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Achieving fast logon times


Wow! That’s fast.  That is the reaction users should have when they log onto their virtual desktop.

I’ve heard many talk about how slow or fast their logons are, but many times we tend to exaggerate.  I’ve discussed this topic before in two recent blogs:

So I thought it might be interesting to see the difference Workspace Environment Management has on the logon experience with VDI.

Note: Both of these examples mapped 5 drives, mapped 3 printers, used a 500MB roaming profile and executed a single logon script that queried a single AD Group.

Improving logon time is a fun topic because the experience is oftentimes so bad.  I heard (and I’ve complained) about the horrible experience.  On the opposite side, I’ve also heard many others bragging about how fast their logon times are.  What’s your logon time?  Excited to share or afraid to say?

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

Optimize VDI: Windows 10 Services (Original, Anniversary and Creator Updates)


This is a multi-part blog series focused on optimizing Windows 10 VDI

As we saw in a previous blog, Microsoft added new default apps into the base operating system of the Windows 10 Build 1703 (Creator Update). These updates will have an impact on the user experience, especially in a VDI implementation.

Windows Services

Many of the new capabilities with the latest builds of Windows 10 also implements new Windows services. With each release, the number of services has steadily increased.

  • Build 1507: 196 Services
  • Build 1607: 212 Services
  • Build 1703: 223 Services

History has shown that optimizing Windows services can improve logon time and server density. It is recommended to review the list of services and disable those that are not necessary for the users.

To see a list of Windows services, run the following PowerShell command:
Get-Services

The table below shows the state of each service (Stoppped or Running).  Only services with a green, orange and red shading should be considered for disabling.

Color Code:

  • Green: A currently running service; consider disabling
  • Orange: A stopped service that will run when requested; consider disabling
  • Red: Disable IF an alternative approach is used

Continue reading Optimize VDI: Windows 10 Services (Original, Anniversary and Creator Updates)

Optimize VDI: Windows 10 Default Apps (Original, Anniversary and Creator Updates)


This is a multi-part blog series focused on optimizing Windows 10 VDI

With the release of Windows 10 Build 1703 (Creator Update), Microsoft added new capabilities into the base operating system that will have an impact on the user experience in a VDI implementation.

Default Apps

Microsoft expanded the list of default applications that come pre-installed within the base OS.

With each release, the number of default apps increased.

  • Build 1507: 24 Apps
  • Build 1607: 26 Apps
  • Build 1703: 31 Apps

As shown in previous tests, leaving these apps part of the base operating system directly impact user logon time and overall system density. It is generally recommended to review the list of apps and uninstall those that are not necessary for the users.

To see a list of default Windows apps, run the following PowerShell command:
Get-ProvisionedAppXPackage -Online|Select DisplayName

Color Code:

  • Green: Remove
  • Orange: Consider removing
  • Red: Keep
  • Black: App does not exist on build

Continue reading Optimize VDI: Windows 10 Default Apps (Original, Anniversary and Creator Updates)

XenServer PVS Accelerator Sizing – Part 2


As you might have read, I recently ran a few XenServer PVS Accelerator tests to determine a starting point for the cache size.  This initial investigation looked at Windows 10 and Windows 2012R2 for boot and logon operations.

Looking back, I determined that I want to include three additional items

  1. Impact of a larger cache size – Increase from 2GB to 4GB RAM cache
  2. Impact of applications
  3. Impact of Windows 2016

Before I get into the results, let me explain the graphs.

  • The blue, green and orange line denotes boot, logon and steady state operations. The first time those colors appear depicts the first VM; the second time the colors appear depicts the second VM. These colors are linked to the axis on the right showing percent of cache used.
  • The solid red area graph depicts the amount of network traffic sent from the Provisioning Services server to the host.  The line should initially be large and then diminish as the cache is used. It is linked to the left axis with bytes per second.

With that understanding out of the way, let’s look at the results.

Continue reading XenServer PVS Accelerator Sizing – Part 2

Windows Server 2016 Optimizations for Citrix XenApp


When it comes to operating system optimization, I have two sides battling with each other. Although optimizing does improve single server scalability, I believe the more you mess with the OS the greater your chances are that you will break something.

Default Apps

Unlike Windows 10, which had numerous default apps that increased user logon time, Windows Server 2016 is free from such additions.

Services

Many of the services we disabled in Windows 10 are already configured as manual startup in Windows 2016.  Looking deeper, it would appear that many of these services are either started based on a request by an application or based on a scheduled task.If a manual startup service is disabled, then any application or system component that tries to interact with the service will fail.  This will result in application/system issues, support calls and long troubleshooting times.Based on that , the only service that you think about disabling is:

Continue reading Windows Server 2016 Optimizations for Citrix XenApp

XenServer PVS Accelerator Cache Sizing


How large should we make our PVS Accelerator cache? Too large and we waste resources. Too small and we lose the performance.

Let’s take a step back and recall our best practice for sizing the RAM on Provisioning Services.  We would typically say allocate 2GB of RAM for each vDisk image the server provides.  This simple recommendation gives the PVS server enough RAM to cache portions of the image in Windows system cache, which reduces local read IO. So for a PVS server delivering

  • 1 image:  we would allocate 2GB of RAM (plus 4GB more for the PVS server itself)
  • 2 images:  we would allocate 4GB of RAM (plus 4GB more for the PVS server itself)
  • 4 images:  we would allocate 8GB of RAM (plus 4GB more for the PVS server itself)

Easy.

Let’s now focus on the XenServer portion of PVS Accelerator. If we use RAM as our PVS Accelerator cache, how many GB should we allocate?

Continue reading XenServer PVS Accelerator Cache Sizing