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XenDesktop 7.5 Optimization Help Needed

Posted on 2014-12-19
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Last Modified: 2016-10-25
Hello EE Community!

We have a test XenDesktop 7.5 environment that we are about to roll out into production and need to 'tweak' a few things to make it 'perfect' for the big rollout day.

QUESTION:
Can you please make some recommendations on HDX or master image optimizations in order to help the XD7.5 environment run smoothly? (i.e.- video playback, no mouse or window dragging jitter, quick response times, etc.)

Current environment
-Mostly plain vanilla deployment through PVS 7.1 and XD 7.5.
-End users are connecting over the 1GBps LAN  (servers in the same building) using Windows fat clients or WYSE terminals. We are using server side rendering for video/flash playback.
-VMware ESXi 5.1

Deployed Image
Windows 7 Enterprise
2 vCPU
2GB RAM
128MB video RAM
40GB C drive
10GB PVD

Known Issues
- Video playback is non-existent on WYSE terminals. We just get a black static screen where there should be video.
- Internally on the LAN - Video playback on a Windows fat client is ok until we put it in HD and make it full screen. We then get jitter and frame skipping in Chrome. It won't play in Internet Explorer at all.
- Externally through Netscaler 10 - The entire image is super slow. Clicking on a program to open takes triple the time to open than when opened in the LAN. Very sluggish and laggy.

Let me know if you need any other info. Thanks for the help!
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Question by:Paul Wagner
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by:CitrixChris
ID: 40523586
I am currently working on a 7.6 implementation, so I would be glad to help.

A couple questions I have.
    Is there a QOS for ICA traffic on your network?  If not, it should be considered high priority.
    How are you configuring the video ram? Please provide more details about this.
    Can you posted an edited (redacted) copy of your WNOS.ini file so that I can get a better understanding of the configuration on the WYSE devices?
     Which WYSE devices (v10/c10/t10/Xenith) do you currently have?
     Are you using WYSE TCX at all?
     Have you considered 4GB of RAM for the XD clients (dynamic or static)?  I have seen IE freeze with only 2GB of RAM.

It sounds like most of your issues may deal with network lag.  STP can cause issues too.  See the expert comment over at http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/VMWare/Q_24857951.html about STP and RSTP

Also, consider using PVS 7.6 as it has a "Test" option in addition to the maintenance option, which is very nice.

For WYSE help http://www.freewysemonkeys.com/

Also, Carl Webster (who is also a contributor here on EE) has a good configuration page.
http://carlwebster.com/citrix-xendesktop-7-5-provisioning-services-7-1-xendesktop-setup-wizard-write-cache-personal-vdisk-drives/
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by:Paul Wagner
ID: 40551832
@CitrixChris
Sorry it took so long to respond. I've been out of town for training.
- QoS- Are you talking about that feature in the Netscaler? We have an edge firewall that forwards all Citrix traffic to Netscaler.

- Video RAM - I increased the VM video RAM to 128MB and see a bit improvement. I also changed the HDX policy to perform client side rendering. That helped IE play videos but didn't help the cause in Chrome. :-/

- WYSE - We haven't settled on that being our permanent solution so I don't want that to be our focus. We're looking at the Tx0. No TCX.

-4GB per machine? Sounds like a lot. The hosts we're running have 196GB RAM each (two of them). I need a minimum of 100 XD machines so that maxes us out. Our XD 5.6 environment has 2GB RAM with the same OS and there aren't any issues. Does XD7.5 itself require more resources for each VM?

-Note - I finally found a doc from Citrix called the Windows 7 Optimization Guide. It's got a bunch of registry and service changes for the master image. This doc definitely helped.
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CitrixChris earned 500 total points
ID: 40553527
QoS - Talk to a networking guy to see if there is one in place.  If you have a 5.6 environment up already that is working properly, it's likely that you may have a QoS for the environment.

The Optimization Guide is just that... a Guide... please do not use all of the recommended steps, as they may cause issues in your environment.  Some steps are manditory though, like disabling Large Send Offload and some services like Windows Defender.

If you used Dynamic Memory allocation, for testing at least, you can utilize 4GB of RAM on some of the VM's.   100 XD machines with 2GB of ram each on a host with 196 GB of RAM seems excessive as you need memory reserved for the Hypervisor. Do you have a HA Pair or somewhere to failover to?  Or do you power off the VM's that are not needed during certain times?  I think you should consider 2GB static and up to 4GB dynamic for testing.  IE is known to be a memory hog.  How large is your writeCache and where it is stored?  Every where I have seen, it is installed on the D: drive on a seperate disk.

The Windows 7 optimization guide should help... just don't use everything from it.
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by:Paul Wagner
ID: 40553975
The XD7 environment will be running off different (new) networking hardware so I don't believe QoS is set up yet.

There are two hosts with 196GB of ram = 392GB RAM (they are on HA/vMotion)

What should I not use from the guide? Unfortunately, I already implemented everything hoping to reduce the bandwidth footprint needed on each VM.
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Netscaler Common Configuration How To guides

If you use NetScaler you will want to see these guides. The NetScaler How To Guides show administrators how to get NetScaler up and configured by providing instructions for common scenarios and some not so common ones.

 
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Expert Comment

by:CitrixChris
ID: 40554007
I need to quit reading so quickly :)  I see now that you said you had two hosts.

I would consider closely reviewing the Windows 7 Desktop optimization guide.  For example, disabling Windows Search could cause issues with certain applications like Outlook.  

Once you complete the QoS it should resolve more issues.  For now it sounds like you were able to get the answer you were looking for.  If not, what other issues are you having?  

I still would consider moving up from 2GB to at least 3GB of RAM.  With the RAM cache to hard disk option, the performace would be much better.  Also consider that you should likely be looking to the future needs, and not just the present needs, of the org.  We are building VM's with 3GB RAM for our 7.6 environment.
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by:Paul Wagner
ID: 40554036
Good point on Windows Search. I'll turn that back on.

When you say to write ram cache to hard disk, do you mean to the VM target device?

We'll look at implementing QoS. Any sites/links you like that cover recommended settings on this? I think you're right. Since the internal connection straight to StoreFront is pretty good, hopefully QoS will solve external connection lag.

Ya, I've upped the RAM to 3GB and increased the video card to 128MB. 2vCPU good?
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by:Paul Wagner
ID: 40554061
Also, does cache on hard disk option work if I'm using a PVD catalog?
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by:CitrixChris
ID: 40554157
See the link in my first post from Carl Webster regarding how to set a write cache and a PVD drive
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by:CitrixChris
ID: 40554162
Yes the target device.

2 vCPU is standard
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