With the likes of Google and Twitter announcing long-term plans for a distributed workforce, the models used to serve our end users increasingly take on a higher priority. As this transition further develops, we move from planning, or early implementation, to optimization within our technology delivery platforms.
Earlier, we explored your options for delivering services to remote users. Today, we’ll focus on delivering a virtual desktop strategy. Within the virtual desktop architecture, properly designing your master image is a critical step in the process of setting up your initial design. Master image optimization can affect multiple aspects of the VDI environment. But, most importantly, it will be the lynch pin in getting users to accept VDI as a valid form of accessing company resources.
If the initial user experience is poor, you will have a hard time getting those users to adopt the technology. Most users are finicky and impatient, and you may have 1 or 2 tries to prove that VDI is right for them.
Here are 3 things to look at before deploying your master image to a pool.
Master Image Optimization Tool
When it comes to master image optimization, VMware has built an option that will do most of the heavy lifting for you. The VMware OS Optimization Tool can run on Windows 7, 8 and 10. You can use it to for your RDSH session host machines as well.
This tool is straight forward to use. You run it on your master image. It analyzes the what can be turned off to make the image faster. Then, you decide what to turn off and on.
It’s important to understand the outcome provided by the tool. With all the recommendations provided by the analysis, you will have a wonderfully performing desktop. But, a plain looking Windows desktop without functionality may not be the answer your end user is looking for.
While this may be ok for an RDSH host for a VDI desktop, you might want to leave some of the bells and whistles enabled. You need to determine if turning off a feature that degrades the user experience is worth the resource savings on the backend. You can save all the resources and have a primed image, but if the users loathe their work environment it will be difficult to increase user adoption. Some simple questions to ask yourself when walking through the analysis include:
- Is the functionality critical to the user experience?
- What is the impact of the functionality to resource consumption?
- What alternatives are available to provide a similar outcome?
Modern Microsoft Applications
Modern Microsoft applications get installed for a user each time a new user profile is created. On a floating desktop the user profile could be created every time the user logs in. And, therefore, the modern applications are installed each time as well. This ultimately adds time to the login process.
There are a couple options when addressing modern applications.
- You can find scripts that will disable the Windows Store applications.
- You can also use the OS Optimization tool.
Each method allows you to remove all or just selected applications. It’s important to remember that commonly used applications like Calculator are now modern applications. Thus, you will need to find a replacement for applications like Calculator and Paint if you want to make you master image modern app free.
Applications: in the image or different delivery method?
In an ideal world your Master image would not have any applications installed. From there, you would be able to add the exact applications that a specific user needs when they log in. If you live in this ideal world please send for me, I would love to join you.
In the real world, many companies do not have the time or the resources to package every application to be delivered into a system like App Volumes or Microsoft App-V. Not only do these systems add the overhead of packaging and management, but they also add time to the log in process.
There is a place for App Volumes. But, if an application is commonly used across your user base, you might want to bake that into the master image. Things like Office or additional browsers are complex to package and it may save you time to install them in the master.
As you can see, master image optimization often leads to more application packaging strategies conversations. We have found that delivering virtual desktops takes intentionality and with that, experience helps. If we can mitigate your risk, fine tune existing deployments, or drive a better end user experience for you, sign us up!
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