Performance Settings Within Windows - Background or Programs?, in the Citrix XenApp / Presentation Server forum on BrianMadden.com
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Performance Settings Within Windows - Background or Programs?, in the Citrix XenApp / Presentation Server forum on BrianMadden.com

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Guest posted on Mon, Nov 7 2005 11:25 AM
Hi,

We have just upgraded to 2003 server / Metaframe XPF3 / SP4.

I have always been taught to set the performance settings in System Properties Performance... to background rather than programs.

Is this the correct way to configure performance settings within the citrix environment.
Secondly, the performance settings in 2003 Server have changed. What exactly should I be choosing?

Choose how to allocate processor resources

Adjust performance of: Programs x Background Services x

Memory Usage

Choose how to allocate system memory

Adjust for best performance of: programs x System Cache x

Thanks in advance.
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What is terminal services? It is a desktop session. What setting do you apply to desktops? Programs.

A terminal server is not a normal server running things in the background (SQL, Exchange, IIS, etc). Users are using programs in the foreground directly.
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This is interesting because there is a school of thought that says "Terminal Services" actually runs as a service and therefore it should be set to Background Services.

Rudy

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Quite frankly, this setting has little "apparent" affect on the server. Setting to "Programs" simply gives session 0 applications more CPU cycles, but unless someone is logged on to the consoles (using session 0) regularly, it really has no effect. So if you want to be technical (and I hate to disagree with Jeff on this one), I feel the better setting is "Background Services" as it doesn't put any priority on session 0.

Anyone care to add anything?
Mike Burke
http://www.datadr.net
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ORIGINAL: Michael Burke

Quite frankly, this setting has little "apparent" affect on the server. Setting to "Programs" simply gives session 0 applications more CPU cycles, but unless someone is logged on to the consoles (using session 0) regularly, it really has no effect. So if you want to be technical (and I hate to disagree with Jeff on this one), I feel the better setting is "Background Services" as it doesn't put any priority on session 0.

Anyone care to add anything?


This was always what I heard and used. Granted that was back with NT 4.0 and Win2k. I've not heard anything offical on Win2k3 yet.
Brian Jenkins
Systems Admin
New Pig Corporation
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I have to agree with Jeff on this one.

Give this article a read.
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;259025
--Mike
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Guest replied on Tue, Mar 27 2007 2:35 PM
Doesn't this article support Background Services for Terminal Servers? If I'm reading this right, Microsoft is saying that Background Services should have more CPU time and applications should have less. This will make it more responsive.

"The assumptions are that background services are relatively few in number and would be more efficient with more CPU time, and that program servers or interactive programs on desktop computers would be more efficient with shorter time slices to allow them to be more responsive to keyboard input and to service more threads (many thousands on Terminal Services in Application Server mode)."
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Greg A replied on Tue, Mar 27 2007 5:05 PM
Oh, not this thread again. :-)
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The MS article is tough to understand, but it actually recommends using “Application” or "Programs" for Terminal Servers. Of course I could be wrong, but here is my interpretation of the article:

When using “Background”, all time slices are fixed at a quantum of 36. This number of 36 is used for all processes regardless of where they originate.

When using “Application”, time slices are shortened. Foreground or user applications (this would be word, excel, or anything a user runs) get a time slice with a quantum of 9. Background services such as the Print Spooler, Virus Protection, Event Logs (things running as services) get a smaller time slice with a quantum of 2. Additionally, under certain circumstances, a foreground application can get an additional boost for more time slices if needed, while background services will not.

Think of it this way:

- Background Services are things like printing, exchange server, file services, virus protection, backup software, sql server, etc… Things users use, but do not directly launch.

- Applications are things users launch and interact with like Word, Excel, Outlook, etc…

Since Terminal Server is primarily used for user applications, it should be set to optimize for “Applications”. However, Email, File and SQL servers primarily run background services and they definitely should be set to optimize for “Background” services. Users applcations are not technically "running" under the Terminal Services service as child processes, so they will get the benefit of longer time slices and time slice boosts.
I hope this helps,
Thanks,
Dan
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Guest replied on Tue, May 8 2007 10:48 AM
Based on my experience, in a TS environment, you'll want to 1st baseline your servers performance on 32-bit systems. Given that 32-bit systems will generally all exhibit the same capacity problems (low Page Pool resources) It is recommended to load test your servers and determine which option consumes the least page pool resources. Depending on the applications and usage patters of your boxes, one setting can be advantageous in some circumstances, and vice-versa.

Basically you need to test for your specific Terminal Server environment and particular set of published applications. Results may vary.

Hope that helps.
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