VMware recently released a PDF guide and tool which optimizes Windows desktops & RDSH servers for use in virtual environments. At first blush it reminds me of the MetaFrame Tuning Tips & Tricks document that Rick Dehlinger put together about 15 years ago. (Remember tweakcitrix.com?) More recently, at BriForum 2013 London, Claudio Rodrigues gave a session, What still holds up a Citrix best practices 12 years after MetaFrame tuning tips? (Here’s a YouTube video of that session if you haven’t seen it.)
VMware’s guide contains some great examples (like disabling scheduled tasks) while also including some things that I can’t possibly think still matter in 2015 (like disabling the animation effect of minimizing a window). Their guide is good overall, and they talk at length about the importance of analyzing your optimizations to see whether they have an effect.
Of course optimizing a desktop is a trade-off between performance gains and user acceptance. Disabling every pretty thing in Windows might get you an extra user per server, but at what cost? RDSH/VDI is already weird enough for users, so you don’t need to give them another reason to hate it by making Windows 8 look like Windows 2000.
It seems like there’s this persistent fantasy among VDI & RDSH admins that there’s some kind of magic registry key that, when set, will suddenly make it so you can get 50% more users on a box. Of course that’s not the case. (Trust me, if it was, then that value would be set by default. :)
But I do agree that Windows was designed to be run on a bare metal piece of hardware in a 1:1 way, and based on that there are undoubtedly some performance tuning tweaks that make sense. So I wonder: Do you tune or tweak your base images for performance reasons, and if so, have you found anything that actually makes a difference?