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Golden Master Best Practices with View

Matthew Honigford Technical Account Manager, VMware

2009 VMware Inc. All rights reserved

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Best Practices for creating Golden images

Can be broken up into two main parts:

Optimizing the VM within ESX Optimizing the Windows OS

Best Practices for creating Golden images

Optimizing the VM within ESX

Optimizing the VM within ESX

Use Hardware Version 7
Use as few vCPUs as possible while still maintaining good user experience Ensure average CPU usage is less than 70%

Ensure %RDY counter is less than 10% Change the default SCSI controller
Default for Windows XP is BusLogic Change to LSI Logic Parallel

Download from

Create .flp file using WinImage or other disk imaging tool to create virtual floppy

Optimizing the VM within ESX

Disable Virtual Machine Logging
Change Parameter through GUI (shown below) or modify .vmx file to reflect
logging = FALSE

Optimizing the VM within ESX

Disable Serial and Parallel Ports
Edit Boot Options to boot into BIOS

In BIOS, go to Advanced I/O Device Configuration and disable serial and

parallel ports. Press F10 to save changes and Exit

Optimizing the VM within ESX

Align .VMDK to 64K block
Use mbralign, fdisk in ESX service console, diskpart, or vOptimizer

Since the free option is diskpart

Once VM is created, mount .VMDK on another Windows System (Dont format it or do anything crazy to it) Open a command prompt and run

diskpart select disk 1 (assuming you only have 1 .VMDK file already)
diskpart create partition align=64

Exit the command prompt and shut the VM down

Remove the .VMDK (dont delete it)

Install Windows using standard method Press F6 to install driver from floppy, mount floppy image and load LSI logic
Driver (not required for Windows 7)

Best Practices for creating Golden images

Optimizing the Windows OS

Windows OS Optimizations
Install VMware Tools
Install Windows Patches, then turn OFF Automatic Update Disable Serial and Parallel ports in Device Manager (if they exist) Set Screensaver to None or Blank

Disable System Sounds (Set Sound scheme to None)

(Windows 7) Uninstall Tablet PC Components

Windows OS Optimizations
Disable Windows Error Reporting Remove unnecessary boot applications (Quicktime, Real, Adobe Acrobat Updater, etc.
Remove unneeded Windows components (Outlook Express, Messenger, Games, etc.) Disable unnecessary services

File System
Disable NTFS Last Accessed option
fsutil behavior set disablelastaccess 1 (Requires reboot) Disable Windows Prefetcher

Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters\EnablePrefetcher];

Set the value to 0 (Disable) Disable System Restore

Right Click My Computer Properties, System Restore tab and select
Turn off System Restore

Disable Indexing
Double Click My Computer, Right click on C:\ Properties Click General
tab and clear Allow Indexing Service to Index

More File System

Disable Offline Files Disable scheduled or background Defrag Disable Windows Search Disable Windows Disk Optimizer
Adjust the disk timeout value [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Disk]

Use User Profile Hive Cleanup Service to help prevent profile corruption

Power Settings
Disable hibernation
Change power settings to High Performance and disable sleep timer

Set HDDs to Never turn off

Open Control Panel Power Options Change Plan Settings Click
Change Advanced power settings set "Turn off hard disks after" setting to Never

Disable the Logon Screen Saver HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop

Edit ScreenSaverActive and change value to 0

Disable Notifications
Disable logging of informational Printing events
Open Printers and Faxes, Click File Server Properties Advanced and
clear Log spooler informational events

Disable Success Logging (login attempts, etc.)

Only do this if security policy allows it Disable Toolbar Notifications Disable the Windows XP Tour Notifier Disable Balloon Tips Shrink Event Logs and enable circular logging (registry keys) Disable Desktop Cleanup Wizard

Internet Explorer
Disable Use Suggested Sites
Set home page to Intranet site, or blank, or something lightweight Change IE to prevent programs from suggesting a change of the search provider Remove Webslice gallery and suggested sites from Toolbars on IE Add trusted sites as necessary

Shrink the IE Temp File size

Common Applications
Install Adobe Flash Player (turning off automatic updates) Install Adobe Reader and set to Do not download or install updates automatically
Turn Java Updater off Remove MS OneNote tray service (if installed) Turn off Outlook Cached Mode Remove the Language Bar

Regsvr32.exe /u msutb.dll

General OS Environment
Set Pagefile to static size Change the default Windows Theme to Basic Adjust visual effects for Best Performance Enable ClearType Fonts
Turn off Windows Security Center Turn off Automatic Computer Maintenance Disable Allow users to browse for troubleshooters Disable Allow troubleshooting to begin immediately when started

Network Optimizations
Disable NetBIOS over TCP/IP
Disable IPv6 Join Master Image to Domain (if using View Composer) Add any necessary DNS suffixes

Add any necessary HOSTS entries for custom applications

Disable Automatic Searching of Network Printers and Shares

When its all said and done, a few last steps

Optimize the Registry
RegScrub.exe Registry Cleaner

NTRegOpt.exe Registry Optimizer, removing white space in registry Run disk cleanup Defrag the HDD Delete all event logs Make the User profile the Default Profile Windows 7, ensure KMS server is enabled Make sure Floppy and CD-ROM drives are set to Client Device and not set to Connect at Power On

View 4.0 Design Considerations

General View Best Practices

Validate size of User Data Disk
Provisioning too little disk for UDD can be detrimental

Outlook .OST will likely end up on UDD in Outlook cached mode (and UDDs are
difficult to resize)
Validate the cost and performance tradeoffs of Cached Outlook mode for VDI

Adjust browser cache size to lowest useful setting

Exclude Java Message Bus folder from AV scanner

C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware View\Server\MessageBus

Avoid running concurrent AV scans

Full systems scans cause major performance impacts Stagger full systems scans (when full system scans are a corporate standard)

Pool Design: View VM Memory Considerations

VM Swap size = VM RAM VM Swap size and storage

Local vs. shared datastore

TPS Optimization

VM Memory Size

VM Density

Disk consumption

Size of delta disk

Windows pagefile

Balance between paging and VM Swap file size

Memory for Apps

Pool Design: Pool Type Considerations

Common Pool Types: Persistent/non-persistent Linked clone/non-linked clone

User installed apps

Will users need to install apps? Are users modifying registry keys or environment variables?

Pool Type

User initiated machine changes

Available disk space

Is disk space inexpensive or plentiful?

VI Design: View BlockvCenter and Clusters

vCenter Servers

One VC per 2,000 (VI4.x) desktops

vCenter and Cluster Design

Cluster Hosts

Max Eight ESX hosts per cluster serving linked clones Leave room for failover and maintenance

Keep within DRS limits (1280)

Cluster Settings

100 (160 ESX 4 U1) VMs per host for HA

Example View Block and Pod Architecture

VI Design: ESX Server Considerations

Balance CPU and memory needs


Density and cost

Higher density DIMMs increase price

ESX Server Considerations


VMs/pNIC/VLANs 1 Port group per VLAN ID 1GBE vs. 10GBE Storage network 10GBE cost dropping (NFS/iSCSI)
NFSBest performance with jumbo frames iSCSI vendors Type/protocol Size and Quantity optimizing performance Performance

Blades have emerged as ideal platform for hosting virtual desktops


Local diskgood storage location for vSwp files

Storage Design: Sizing Considerations

Linked Clone Pool datastore size= Replica VM VMDK size + (Desktop VM Memory Provisioned * 2)
+ (Parent VM VMDK * 25%) + Log File storage size

10GB (Same as Parent VM)

VM Swap and Windows PF Growth for delta files


~100 MB
Max per LUN: 64

* Number of VMs per Datastore + Datastore free space allocation Conservative

15% overhead

Operational Best Practices

Operations Common Sense
Dont reboot all VMs during operational hours

Perform Refresh and Recompose operations on a schedule, during off-peak


Track or limit user initiated changes, or plan on increasing cluster capacity over

User Application Virtualization to save on application licensing costs

Dont include licensed apps in the base image whenever possible

Use an image build tool (i.e., MDT)

Structured build process and predefined modules drives consistency, fewer
untracked changes

Keep master image metadata outside of View/VI

Create and enforce strong naming conventions for Parent VMs and snapshots

Operational Best Practices

Adjust default lease time (MS DHCP) from 8 days to 1 hour

Release DHCP script for floating pools that refresh on logoff

VLAN Usage

Avoid overloading VLANs used for View desktops to avoid running out of IP
This situation is difficult to troubleshoot

vCenter Management
Do not allow a vCenter VM to manage the ESX host its running on

User Data and Persona Management
Use folder redirection for My Documents
Easier to use existing file archival system, maintain multiple file versions

Evaluate Profile Management Applications Turn off Outlook Cached Mode VMs on same high speed network dont benefit as much from cached mode

Save on disk space and conserve storage IOPS Never P2V a physical machine for a View master image It would be more efficient to build a VM from scratch

References EMC Document on optimizing Windows XP
Some Best Practices for tuning Windows 7

Independent online gathering of VDI gurus

VMware corporate web site. Collection of Best Practices guides, sizing guides,
and white papers


Thank You!