Latest version of Citrix Receiver deployed as required by Citrix StoreFront versioning
Latest Virtual Desktop Agent (VDA) installed to correspond with XenApp Site Controller versioning
Citrix Receiver configured for Single-Sign-On to Storefront in the Virtual Desktop (VDI)
Applicable to LAN (local area network) users
Users leverage workstations or laptops (not thin client)
This is appropriate for a proof-of-concept (POC) and where all users connected to the Local Area Network (LAN). This is the best practice configuration that maximizes graphics in a Citrix session and for Local Area Network (LAN) based users. The examples that follow depend on the users having dedicated workstations with distributed processor and memory model.
Different policies apply where users originate from an internal remote site (Wide Area Network) or Internet users. The Advanced Citrix Policies that follow allow enforcement of strategic settings to assure best-in-class Graphics and Video.
DESKTOP COMPOSITION QUALITY
The default is medium but for purposes of this POC use "High". This setting is relative to VDI, not server desktops or a shared server desktop. This enables the Aero effect and other high bandwidth settings that enhance the local area network (LAN) user experience. Lower quality makes sense for WAN users as it would degrade that experience.
DESKTOP COMPOSITION REDIRECTION
This setting is Enabled for LAN users. This setting is applicable to XenApp shared desktops and XenDesktop virtual desktops or published desktops. For the purposes of this article, LAN users must have dedicated workstations. The goal to utilize those workstations where possible using policies to enhance the user experience.
Set this to Allowed and use Group Policy to control the wallpaper. Take note, if you prohibit the desktop wallpaper using this setting the users get a "black desktop". It is not pleasant to look at compared to the native bluish default. Any changes to the wallpaper are done separately using GPO.
DISPLAY MEMORY LIMIT
Keep the defaults for this setting but I add to the policy for quicker adjustment. The higher resolution for LAN users requires more memory. If this limit is reached the session color degrades based on the next setting "Display Mode Degrade Preference". This is not likely to happen with a distributed computer such as a dedicated workstation.
DISPLAY MODE DEGRADE PREFERENCE
Value: Degrade Color Depth First
Set the display memory to 65535 KB in the previous setting. If that limit is reached - per session - you can choose which to reduce first. Typically this is set to "Degrade color depth first". With newer hardware on servers and workstations it is rare to exceed the memory buffer and degrade the graphic quality. This setting like others is contingent on other settings. If image caching, for example, is disabled then more buffer memory is used and chances are greater of degradation.
DYNAMIC WINDOWS PREVIEW
This setting helps demonstrate the video capability by providing users continued support for the small preview window that shows when they hover the mouse over any application down on the task bar. It is part of the full look and feel of Aero or other unique video enhancements that only Citrix technology provides. Obviously, it consumes more bandwidth but all my users are LAN connected, so they are connected at gigabit speeds to the Cisco switching infrastructure that communicates at 10 gigabit speeds (or higher on the backbone) server to server. The point is, I would not enable this for LAN users connected at 100MB legacy technology and where a few random switch ports run at half duplex. This is rare but in a small remote office where the LAN and users are located this takes on entirely different perspective.
EXTRA COLOR COMPRESSION
This setting disables higher compression ratios for color. As discussed previously, a higher compression ratio is a trade-off between speed and quality. Although compression has higher CPU overhead the corresponding bandwidth saving for WAN connected users is quickly realized. In a fast-LAN scenario, this extra compression is not needed. However, the power of Citrix policies allows for Enabled or Disabled and granular control of when and where and who those apply should begin in the Pilot phase.
Disable this setting. This is not to be confused with "Flash Redirection.". This is a legacy setting that reduced network and server load by distributing or "offloading" this to client workstations of origin. The configuration of published applications and having IE 11 installed in the virtual desktop session is the determining factor if Flash is rendered in the VDA (Virtual Desktop Agent) or XenApp to the VDA.
This is suitable for LAN users with dedicated workstations having dedicated hard drives, memory, and processing. This would not be applicable for thin-client devices or remote workstations
IMAGE CACHING Value: Enabled
In this scenario users have distributed workstations and although they are LAN users I want to provide the best experience possible. Hence, image caching equates to less network transmits and that is less overhead on client and server side hardware.
MAXIMUM ALLOWED COLOR DEPTH Value: 32 Bits Per Pixel
The default setting is 32 bits per pixel but I like to have the policy set and identified for purposes of documentation. The default is 32 bits, and is shown for comparison purposes.
MENU ANIMATION Value: Allowed
Menu animation is a "perk" that provides a better look and feel or overall experience for the end user. Enabling or allowing this setting increases bandwidth usage but limited impact relative to local area network connected users and dedicated workstations.
QUEUING AND TOSSING Value: Disabled
Disabling this feature is a fit for LAN use so that no queued images get discarded during transmission. Enabling this feature is appropriate for low bandwidth scenarios where detailed images are not required. With local users and distributed workstations there is no need to discard any images.
VISUAL QUALITY Value: Always Lossless
This setting is the highest option available for visual quality, and is appropriate for local area network users having dedicated workstations. Note this setting is related to static images such as high density x-rays.