5 free tools for VMware View VDI admins to try

VMware provides its own features and capabilities, but creative developers keep filling the gaps with cool and useful utilities of their own

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Quest vWorkspace Desktop Optimizer

A key to success is getting your VDI environment set up properly. However, let's not forget about the virtual machines themselves. If you're going to deploy dozens or hundreds of VMs to end-users from one or more master gold images, it makes perfect sense to have these images running in top form. That's where Quest vWorkspace Desktop Optimizer comes into play. One of the ways to reduce costs in a virtual desktop deployment is to optimize the operating system. Let's face it -- running Windows in a VDI environment requires a decent amount of knob turning to get it to perform at its peak. With image optimization, it's possible to reduce the CPU, memory, and disk requirement of the virtual desktop and give it a performance boost.

Quest created the vWorkspace Desktop Optimizer tool to do just that. This free tool crams years of hands-on experience into what the company calls its "optimizing knowledge," which is then exposed as a list of 40 various optimization settings that can be enabled or disabled using either a GUI interface or using the command line. This simple application allows you to make file and registry tweaks quickly and easily, and it provides the ability to store the details of the changes made for audit purposes. Although the tool is written for Quest vWorkspace environments, it works just as well with either Citrix XenDesktop or VMware View.

Quest's internal testing showed remarkable results such as: a 90 percent reduction in IOPS, both read and write; 43 percent less disk space consumed and 37 percent less CPU; and RAM savings of up to 10 percent compared to an out-of-the-box Windows 7 Enterprise installation.

As with Quest's assessment tool, you can find support for this free optimization tool on the Quest community.

SolarWinds Storage Response Time Monitor

You've heard all about the storage I/O performance demands of VDI, so how do you keep track of storage response times and latency issues within your environment? That's where the free SolarWinds Storage Response Time Monitor tool comes into play.

At the heart of every virtualization infrastructure is some type of storage, be it small, large, or enterprise. When managing that environment, it becomes crucial to have visibility into the latency between the virtual machines and the storage that they run on. SolarWinds Storage Response Time Monitor was designed to help target storage I/O problems caused by virtualization in real time.

The tool connects to your VMware vSphere environment and monitors the top five host-to-datastore total storage response times, providing users with the five best virtual machines using the connections from an I/O (IOPS) perspective. For iSCSI and Fibre channel datastore types, it breaks down the total response time into kernel latency (the time spent in the host) and device latency (the time spent in the SAN). If a user is experiencing a slow response time on a virtual machine, the tool can quickly and easily give a snapshot report into how VMware datastores are performing in real time. Using this data, you can then determine whether there is a VM issue or if the issue is related to storage.

I like the way the tool shows you things like the 10 datastores with the worst response times, or the worst 10 and busiest 10 virtual machines.

So there you have it: five free tools that can help make your VDI experience both more productive and more fun. If you have additional free tools you have experience with that you think others would enjoy using as well, please mention them in the comments section of this article or tweet me so that we can share them with your fellow readers.

This article, "5 free tools for VMware View VDI admins to try," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization and cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.

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