IT professionals should consider VDI optimization to maximize application performance and reduce VDI resources.
Administrators can upgrade the performance of all their VDI deployments by optimizing their golden images. However, it's entirely possible to over-optimize and produce a desktop that's not fit for its intended use. IT professionals should test these desktops with VDI optimization tools before deploying and identify any trade-offs against application functionality.
Operating systems such as Windows 10 expect to run on one instance and only use a limited amount of resources. Microsoft applies features that make Windows run well on a low-powered laptop, but is often unnecessary disk activity for VDI desktops. In a virtual desktop environment, IT admins run multiple copies of the same OS on large servers. VDI admins work with large amounts of shared data instead of limited, dedicated resources.
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 VMware OS Optimization Tool are similar, and use the vendor's respective product and support teams.
Both Citrix and VMware's VDI optimization tools run inside the golden master machine before they're cloned to make desktops. The tools configure and disable services, uninstall Windows components, optimize settings and have templates for some standard levels of optimization.
IT may find that specific settings are applicable to some VDI deployments and not to 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, which indexes the local disk, is disabled for many VDI deployments to save resources because it doesn't index anywhere that data is held. Microsoft Outlook's offline mail file, however, uses Desktop Search for mailbox searches and may require the function in some cases.
IT admins can use an iterative process to optimize and test the resulting desktop until it uses the least amount of VDI resources. IT admins should start with just the universal optimizations such as disabling Cortana and startup widgets. Administrators may find that basic optimization is all that's required.
When IT unlocks more optimization, they will need to test the applications and scale desktops. IT administrators must test a series of optimizations and evaluate the value of each optimization. Admins must roll back when a desktop is over-optimized 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 will help as a starting point to build new golden master images for future optimizations.