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10 Tips for Optimizing VMware Horizon VDI’s Blast Extreme Protocol

Val King
Posted by Val King on May 19, 2022 8:54:34 AM

VMware Horizon is designed to provide an excellent out-of-the-box configuration for most local area network (LAN) use cases, negating the need to perform complex tuning or learn hundreds of policy settings.” VMware’s own documentation states that “some use cases and situations require additional tuning, especially for wide area networks (WANs).”

VDI should be fast, efficient, and effective in enabling the companies that deploy it to be more agile in decision making. The innate flexibility baked into the model should unchain your employees from their desks and give them the freedom to do work anywhere it makes sense. VDI, when properly resourced is empowering and can be a tool to improve security, protect intellectual property, and find and hire the best talent for the company anywhere – not just within commuting distance

This blog post only begins to cover the very basics and will highlight ten tips for optimization. If you want to know more and see 30 more optimization tips, download our latest guide:

Optimizing VMware Horizon VDI's Blast Extreme Protocol

 And if you would like to know how to optimize every setting or discuss an issue that's unique to your business or IT environment, use our online calendar to book a free VDI info session with our team. 

Environment Sizing

The number one problem we see with VMware Horizon or Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) environments is sizing. Pay careful attention to this and avoid the most common mistakes. Forty percent of the time environments are undersized, robbing end-users of the resources they need to do their jobs effectively, creating an immediate, negative end-user experience, and capping end-user productivity by not taking advantage of their ability to work faster than their assigned VDI desktops.

  1. 1. Limit the user density of any given host in a VMware VDI environment. CPU is normally the bottleneck in modern VDI infrastructures.
  3. 2. Monitor CPU utilization data is presented as an average. Most companies do not utilize the VDI environment 24/7 with multiple shifts. Average CPU utilization is always going to be lower than what is happening during regular business hours, often by a lot.
  5. 3. Limit some applications, like Microsoft Excel, or most specialized applications for the Architecture, Energy, Construction, Media, Entertainment, or Energy industries. They are single threaded, meaning they can only utilize one CPU core to its fullest and will ignore the rest, no matter how many are assigned.
  7. 4. Some CPUs have their own tricks to help mitigate this problem to an extent. Without understanding how these applications utilize CPU, it is easy to look at CPU performance and think there are loads of resources available, when the reality is there are not.
  9. 5. Use the lowest monitor resolution possible that still meets the end-user use case to find your optimal balance. Monitors with higher screen resolutions, and multi-monitor use cases require more system resources, especially CPU and network bandwidth, to operate effectively. A 4k monitor, or multiple monitors with a combined resolution reaching 4k (3840 x 2160) can take approximately six times the resources as a standard HD 1080p resolution of 1920 x 1080. 4k resolution means 8,000,000 more pixels will need to be delivered, or approximately four times as many as running HD resolution.
  11. Windows OS – Not Optimized for VDI Out of the Box

VMware has developed a free tool to optimize Windows desktops and servers. This tool takes a very high-level pass at turning off everything that only makes sense in physical server environments and tries to tune performance settings for VM environments.

  1. 1. Utilize this tool to get you part of the way there. However, manual optimization is needed if you want to squeeze maximum performance out of either a VMware or Citrix VDI environment.
  3. 2. Review basic registry setting. VMware provides some basic registry settings in the documentation to get you started on the road to VDI environment optimization that provide a good place to start your optimization journey.
  5. Tuning Blast Extreme

First available in 2017, VMware’s Blast Extreme is one of the newer VDI protocols on the market and one that has certainly come a long way from its humble beginnings after VMware decided to part company with Teradici and discontinuing licensing future versions of the PCoIP protocol.

There is almost no scenario where tuning Blast Extreme does not lead to a better experience and if you want to deliver the closes thing possible to a PC experience. Some tuning should be in your future, or you are doing yourself, your end-users, and the company relying on VDI to deliver work a disservice.

There are hundreds of Blast Extreme settings that can be manipulated in the effort to improve BDI performance or that optimize resource utilization.

  1. 1. Understand that most VDI Implementations consist of at least two different environments that must be considered separately to present the best user-experience to all end-users.
  3. 2. Identify the decisions made for Local Area Networks, where the VDI environment is essentially local to population using it, should be different than those made for Wide Area Networks, where end-users are relying on the Internet or WAN circuits to connect to the VDI environment from a remote office, branch or work from home setting.
  5. 3. Adjust overall link speed, latency, and packet loss in the Blast Extreme protocol for the purposes of tuning Blast Extreme over a Wide Area Network. Limit the user density of any given host in a VMware VDI environment. CPU us normally the bottleneck in modern VDI infrastructures.

Even with the few optimizations listed here, we are only scratching the surface of the 1,500+ optimizations we have cataloged over the years building and managing VDI environments.Click meFor the best VDI performance, you will need to tune or optimize everything from hardware BIOs through common the most common VDI performance bottlenecks, Group Policy, SQL, and storage through to the endpoint your end-users will be engaging with in their efforts to be productive and get their jobs done.

In ten years, we have yet to find a VDI environment that is at its maximum potential. Significant increases in performance occur in even the crustiest VDI environments.

If this sounds more like a dream than what you experience day-to-day, it does not have to be that way. We are here to advise, help, build, manage if necessary, and make VDI deliver the right end-user experience to work to their maximum capability, and not an arbitrary limit on productivity set by an average to underperforming VDI environment.

As mentioned previously, this information only begins to cover the basics. Please read more tips here or contact Whitehat Virtual for a free consultation to learn how we can help you accomplish so much more.

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Topics: End User Experience, Virtual Desktop (VDI), VDI, VMware Horizon, Work from Home