In September 2016 Citrix acquired Norskale, a privately held user environment management (UEM) company. Some weeks ago the product has been released, renamed as “Citrix Workspace Environment Management (WEM 4.0)” to the Citrix customer base.
The new Workspace Environment Manager, based on the Norskale solution, is available to all XenApp and XenDesktop Enterprise and Platinum edition customers with active Software Maintenance and can be downloaded from https://www.citrix.com/downloads/xenapp-and-xendesktop/product-software/xenapp-and-xendesktop-711x.html.
I was lucky enough to attend an awesome presentation of the product at the Swiss Citrix User Group (CUGC) meeting last month. Agostinho Tavares, a former Norskale guy working now for Citrix France gave some first hand tipps and insights about the product along with a live demo. During Agostinho’s session I already was convinced and wanted to implement this new technology in my environment as quick as possible.
At the moment there is only one problem: lack of documentation. You will only find the information that comes with the zip download of the product, until today there is nothing on docs.citrix.com about Workspace Environment Management. As always Carl Stalhood is filling the gaps in EUC vendor documentation and shows you in his blog how to set up the product here. There is also a short video on how to install Citrix Workspace Environment Manager and setup the Agent from Hal Lange on YouTube.
Hal has done also a great video about the performance optimizations part of the product, showing how to turn on the performance optimizations using Citrix Workspace Environment Manager. This feature is very easy to implement and will immediately improve the user experience on your VDAs.
After implementing a basic Citrix Workspace Environment Management setup in my VDI shop, based on XenDesktop 7.11, logon time on Windows 7 virtual desktops went down to 10 – 20 seconds.
I only implemented the CPU, Memory and IO optimization part of the product along with some very basic environment management features. Note that there are no other optimizations applied to the base image, no registry hacks and no VMware OS Optimization! For my Windows 7 x64 virtual desktops (2 CPU / 2 GB RAM) I went with the following settings:
Enable Fast Logoff (Fast Logoff will process the full logoff in the background.)
Enable CPU Spike Protection set to 50% (As a rule of thumb, divide 100% by the number of logical CPUs (Displayed in the Windows Task Manager). Put the value in the “CPU usage Limit” field.)
Enable Intelligent CPU Optimization
Enable Intelligent IO Optimization
Memory Management, Enable Working Set Optimization, Idle Sample Time set to 5 minutes. (For XenDesktop set value to 5 min)
IO Management, Enable Process IO Priority, TrustedInstaller set to “Low” (Add all processes known for overconsuming IOPS with a priority set to “Low”
For the environment settings part I only replaced my GPPs for network drives and added some applications to the Start Menu. There are still quite a lot of environment settings applied by GPO/GPP that could be moved over to WEM and will maybe further accelerate the logons.
Awesome product – available today and free for Citrix XenApp / XenDesktop Enterprise and Platinum customers with active Software Maintenance!