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Experiences in Virtualization

Archive for September, 2010

VMware View/Windows 7 Optimization Guide

Posted by martijnl on September 6, 2010

Was notified through Twitter of the existence of this Optimization Guide for Windows 7 deployments under VMware View: http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/VMware-View-OptimizationGuideWindows7-EN.pdf.

The guide specifically focuses on preparing a clean and properly configured base Windows 7 image through the use of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit or traditional installation methods. This image can then be used as a template for View full desktop or linked clone deployments. The guide also describes a number of guest optimizations and necessary configuration of Windows Services. It does not decribe end-user performance optimization however.

An excerpt of the Guide’s introduction:

The following documentation provides a guideline on configuring a standard Windows 7 image to be used within a VMware View Infrastructure. This guide provides administrators with the information necessary to create a standard image of Windows 7 leveraging the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit or by utilizing a script-based approach to optimize a traditionally installed Windows 7 virtual machine. The recommended configuration settings optimize Windows 7 to help enhance the overall scalability and performance within a VMware View Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. The first section of the paper will discuss the overall process of optimization and the optimization aids provided. In the next section, step-by-step procedural guidance is given for both methods of optimization. Afterward, the Windows 7 Operating System Customizations section provides background information on the specific optimizations and techniques used by the optimization aids. Finally, the Managing VMware View Desktops section provides guidance and considerations for optimizing the environmental aspects on an ongoing basis

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Windows 7 virtual desktop: remember the drivers (WDDM/XPDM)

Posted by martijnl on September 3, 2010

Something I ran into with both Citrix XenDesktop 4 and VMware View 4 and have not been able to find in the standard documentation: when installing a default Windows 7 virtual workstation on vSphere the video drivers default to the WDDM drivers. Both XenDesktop and View however rely on XPDM drivers being available for display acceleration through Thinwire/HDX and PCoIP respectively.

The end result is that with both systems you will get a black screen when you boot up your first virtual desktop session. After about a minute of waiting the session drops. Because it is in neither manual this can be somewhat of a letdown. The fix is easy however and described here (Citrix KB) and here (Jeremy Keen Blog, in more detail). In short: you need to switch to the VMware SVGAII driver which is based on XPDM. See the explanation in the second link for a proper walkthrough on how to change the video driver.

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