IT professionals should consider VDI optimization to maximize application performance and reduce VDI resources.
Administrators can upgrade the performance of their VDI deployments by optimizing their golden images. However, it's possible to overoptimize and produce a desktop unsuitable for its intended use. Before deploying, IT professionals should test these desktops with VDI optimization tools and identify any tradeoffs against application functionality.
Benefits of VDI optimization tools
VDI optimization tools turn off features within the OS that are not needed when running the OS in virtualization. By optimizing virtual desktops, organizations can expect to see numerous benefits, including the following:
- Improved performance.
- Increased user density.
- Reduced infrastructure costs.
- Better end-user experience.
VDI optimization tools
Most VDI vendors, including VMware and Citrix, have their own VDI optimization tools and guides for Windows to make it easier to deploy on their own VDI platform. Citrix Optimizer and Windows OS Optimization Tool for VMware Horizon are similar and use the vendor's respective product and support teams.
Both Citrix's and VMware's VDI optimization tools run inside the golden master machine before they're cloned to make desktops. These tools configure and disable services, uninstall Windows components and optimize settings. While each includes built-in optimization templates, they also support customized and imported templates that cover specific optimizations the IT team deems useful.
IT may find that specific settings apply to some VDI deployments and not others. Both vendors have some basic optimizations that are universally applicable and a set of optimizations that are less applicable but still beneficial for many deployments. For example, Desktop Search indexes the local disk and is disabled for many VDI deployments to save resources because it doesn't index anywhere that data is held. However, Microsoft Outlook's offline mail file uses Desktop Search for mailbox searches and may require the function in some cases.
Separate from dedicated VDI optimization tools, some organizations may want to consider using ad blockers, which can drastically reduce the strain on the CPU and RAM. Ads can consume a lot of resources, especially once you factor in that drain across the number of VMs in the environment. Implementing an ad blocker can improve the environment's performance and end-user experience.
The importance of iterative optimizations
IT admins should use an iterative process to optimize and test the resulting desktop until it uses the least VDI resources. IT admins should start with basic optimizations, such as disabling startup widgets, which might be all that's required.
When IT unlocks more optimization, they need to test the applications and scale desktops to evaluate each optimization. Admins can then roll back those changes when a desktop is overoptimized, and an application no longer works effectively.
VDI optimization tools can often save the set of optimizations as a template. IT should retain these optimization templates, which help as a starting point to build new golden master images for future optimizations.