VMware View-Templates; XP and W7

One of the important parts in a VDI environment is storage. A VDI solution needs to have a proper storage solution that can handle all iops required. Iops generated by virtual desktops could be your enemy.

VMware still has the storage considerations white paper on its website. This white paper is based on an internal test. I consider this white paper as a “FYI”. Read it to get the basic ideas but don’t use the numbers when you are sizing storage for a VDI environment. I have seen totally different number at customer’s sites. Taking the numbers for the white paper as true/guidelines could possibly lead to challenges.

This post isn’t about storage sizing though. It is about creating a good template to base your virtual desktops on. A good template can reduce iops generated by the VM’s which are based on that template.

Below you will find a couple of pointers where to look/do to get a good Windows XP/7 template;

-A lot has been written on how to strip/optimize XP. Use Google and you will get many hits. You can do the same for Windows 7. Basically you want to stop as much services as possible, get rid of as much software as you can so the VM uses less memory, CPU resources and generates less iops. I have seen pretty impressive reductions on a running VM (from 18 to 6).

-A tool to make XP smaller and get rid of unwanted parts is nLite. I haven’t been able to create a good and solid .iso with nLite but I have seen them around. nLite is for Windows XP so far. For Windows 7 there isn’t a version available.

-When you are working with XP, for sure check out this VMware KB article. It discusses the use of the right LSI Storage Adapter Driver when using Composer. Download this driver and import it in your XP. You can make a .flp with the LSI drivers, connect it during the XP installation and hit F6 when it asks for 3rd party SCSI drivers. Not something performance related but it will save you some headaches when you deploy Linked Clones.

Also, Herco van Brug from PQR in The Netherlands wrote a very good article about creating a XP template. His suggestions are based on real life experiences. For sure read this article and implement his suggestions. Most suggestions can be implemented on Windows 7 as well.

My bet is when VMware View will support Windows 7 full stop (no, I can’t mention when) more information about optimizing Windows 7 within a View environment will appear.  I will update this post when I receive more information.

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