How to Improve VDI Performance with Automated Image Optimizations and Template Distribution

Enterprises moving towards virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions look for optimized resource usage to ensure a prime user experience. This blog post introduces the ways in which both automated image optimizations and template distribution to a local storage source can help you enhance your VDI setup.

Benefits of Parallels RAS Automated Image Optimizations

When working with published desktops, certain use cases may not require the complete default user environment to operate. Different tasks such as reducing the number of running services or disabling unnecessary features and components can deliver various benefits to your virtualization setup, mainly in terms of performance, resource utilization and user experience.

Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) includes over 130 image optimizations that are available out-of-the-box and are divided into the following main categories:

All these optimizations have been designed to be updated easily to support future releases of the Windows OS. Additionally, administrators can add their custom scripts to the optimization procedure.

Steps to Perform Automated Image Optimizations

In addition to VDI workloads, automated image optimizations can be applied to the following resources: Remote Desktop Session Hosts (RDSH), Windows Virtual Desktops (WVD) and Remote PC pools over VDI.

To create a Virtual desktop template with automated image optimizations using the Create Parallels Template Wizard, follow the steps shown below:

  1. Locate the Templates tab in the VDI section.
  2. Select Add from the Tasks drop menu, and choose a guest machine from the Virtual Guests List.
  3. Select Virtual desktop, and install the RAS Guest Agent if required.
  4. Enter values for the following fields according your needs: Template name, Maximum guest VMs, Number of guest VMs deployed on wizard completion, Guest VM name and Clone method.
  5. Enter values for the following: Keep available buffer, Guest VM state after the preparation, and Delete unused guests VMs after.
  6. Select whether or not to enable Multi-provider template distribution.
  7. Select or change the folder where the guest VMs will be created.
  8. Choose and configure the image preparation tool: RASprep or Sysprep.
  9. Check that the Enable optimization checkbox is marked. If the Automatic radio button is selected, all optimization categories will be applied. Whereas, if the Manual option is selected, the administrator will be able to decide which categories should be configured. Figure 1 - automate image optimizationsWhen you choose the Manual option, you will be able to select each corresponding category and explore its advanced settings by clicking on Task -> Properties. As an example, the default configuration for WindowsServices Optimizations is shown below:Figure 2 - automate image optimizations
  10. Select a license key management type.
  11. Finish the wizard.

As an example, we have downloaded a Windows 10 development environment virtual machine from the Microsoft web page, and we have applied the Windows Services and Visual effects automated optimizations when creating a Parallels RAS template.

Once new guest VMs are created from this template, if we review the ImageOptimizer.log file located at %ProgramData%\Parallels\RASLogs, we will be able to identify all applied optimizations. In this case, we can check that the Windows Update service has been disabled, thus preventing Windows patches auto-installation in the guest VMs.

Figure 3 - automate image optimizations

Benefits of Parallels RAS Template Distribution to Local Storage

Parallels RAS includes the capability to deploy RDSH or VDI templates not only to centrally shared storage but also to local storage sourced over multiple independent Microsoft Hyper-V hosts. This feature helps administrators to build a simple to scale-up and cost-effective virtualization solution, because it does not depend on expensive central storage solutions, such as Storage Area Network (SAN). Also, it optimizes local resource usage and allows for template replication among different Microsoft Hyper-V hosts based on a distribution list.

Steps to Perform Template Distribution to Local Storage

If we review the example provided above concerning how to create a Parallels RAS VDI template, step number six allows administrators to enable multi-provider template distribution. By following this step and marking the Enable multi-provider template distribution checkbox, template distribution among different Microsoft Hyper-V providers will be activated. Using the Add, Add all, Remove and Remove all buttons, you will be able to configure the target host list in which the template will be replicated.

This feature requires that all providers included in the Target list are domain-joined and must have identical:

Improve the VDI Infrastructure Performance with Parallels RAS

Parallels RAS helps enterprises enhance their VDI setups by maximizing their resource usage and ensuring an optimal user experience.

The Parallels RAS automated image optimization feature allows administrators to automatically apply certain operating system improvements to their VDI workloads without requiring manual intervention, thus optimizing performance, reducing management tasks and improving the user experience.

Additionally, during the template creation procedure, administrators have the capability to easily replicate VDI templates onto the local storage of multiple Microsoft Hyper-V providers directly from the Parallels RAS Console.


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