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Optimizing desktop images with VMware OSOT

Login VSI - Optimizing desktop images with VMware OSOT

It is a fact that by default Microsoft Windows desktop images contain a lot of features that you wouldn’t necessary need in a VDI environment. Finding these services, background tasks and other nifty performance optimization tricks can be quite a challenge.

Being experts in improving user-experience, and as the industry-standard in VDI performance testing, we here at Login VSI decided we should test the effects of optimizing your desktop images and demonstrate how to perform these steps in your VDI environment.

How to optimize desktop images in your VDI environment

These are the five typical ways used to optimize the performance of a VDI desktop as I see them most:

  1. No optimizations at all
  2. The sysadmins know ‘a trick’ that worked very well in the past
  3. VMware’s operating system optimization toolkit is used
  4. Microsoft’s recommended settings for VDI desktops are applied
  5. The Citrix Optimizer is used

In this post I will focus on VMware’s Operating System Optimization Toolkit (VMware OSOT), simply because it has been out there the longest, but don’t worry - I will definitely also test the Citrix Optimizer and if I can find the time I might just test Microsoft’s recommendations, although unfortunately nobody has converted those into a PowerShell script yet and the list is so long that just reading it takes 24 minutes????

How to install VMware OSOT

The installation is as simple as can be, so I've made this handy little video, showing exactly how to install VMware OSOT:

How to Use VMware OSOT

OSOT performs a full scan of your desktop image and advises you on optimizations that you can apply. The list is very extensive and if you want an even faster desktop than the default templates can offer you then why not use one of Login VSI’s? Please note that Login VSI’s templates are made for absolute performance, your desktop will be fast but make sure it also delivers what your users need e.g. a formula 1 car is really fast, but taking it for grocery shopping is not that great.

How to Automate VMware OSOT

I’m a fierce believer in automation: everything you can automate, should be automated. I’ve observed so many times that manual steps leave small errors in your desktop images that can cause mayhem, therefore I wouldn’t do anything to my VDI environment that cannot be automated. So, does VMware OSOT allow automation? Yes it does! I’ve integrated it nicely in our Microsoft MDT environment but the same thing should work for other systems like SCCM.

How-to automate? VMware OSOT has an extensive command-line options list. I’ve gone for some basic ones that automatically detect the operating system and decide on the best template for that operating system by itself as in my lab I have a big list of operating systems running. If you do however have task sequences per operating system I would recommend setting this to a fixed value.

"%~dp0VMwareOSOptimizationTool.exe" -o -v > c:\Audit\OSOT.log 2>>&1

As you can see I’ve gone for the following parameters:

  • -o Optimize with default configuration.
  • -v Enable verbose mode logging (and save the output to a file).

The Results of optimizing using VMware OSOT<

The moment we’ve all been waiting for, how good does VMware OSOT optimize my system? To keep it fair, I will do all the comparisons on default settings and then perform 10 runs with Login VSI to determine the VSImax and the Baseline. I’ve chosen to do these tests on 3 Windows 10 builds of which I’ve updated one (1703u) with all the available Windows updates to see how they impact performance.

Login VSI - the results of using VMware OSOT - VSImax WindowsVMware OSOT
Graph 1: VSImax, higher is better

Login VSI's verdict on using VMware OSOT in any VDI environment

The OSOT fling by VMware is a great addition to any VDI environment: it works on VMware horizon view, but you might just as well run it on your Citrix XenApp or XenDesktop environment. I even have a few colleagues optimizing their fat clients with it. Not only does user density per server increase but the baseline of the system (the performance when there is little or no stress) lowers, this means that applications will start faster and logons will be completed in less time.

  Login VSI - the verdict of using VMware OSOT - Baseline WindowsVMware OSOTGraph 2: Baseline, lower is better

To read our review of optimizing desktop images with Citrix Optimizer, click HERE.

 


 

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About the company Login VSI

The company Login VSI provides end-user performance insights for virtualized desktop and server based computing environments. Enterprise IT departments use flagship product Login VSI (for scalability testing) and new addition Login PI (for availability testing) in all phases of their virtual desktop deployment—from planning to deployment to change management—to build and safeguard a good performance, a high availability, and (as a result) a good and consistent end-user experience. For more information about Login VSI or for a free test license contact us.

About the author

Mark Plettenberg (@markplettenberg) is a product manager of Login VSI and has played a critical role in the development and growth of Login VSI. Ask Mark about motorcycle mechanics and breaking/repairing anything and everything that has a power plug.


Tags: How-to, VMware, VSImax, OSOT

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