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Meltdown and Spectre: Quick start guide for testing

Meltdown and Spectre

So you know the mitigations for Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities are going to have a measurable impact on the performance and efficiency of your system, not to mention user experience. The only way to get ahead of the problem is to start addressing it now. Some of the numbers we are hearing from our customers and partners in the industry are quite alarming, but your action should come from the numbers that you get through your own testing, as it will be different for just about every solution out there. You can find some information on our early Windows 7 and Windows 10 testing in our blogs.

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The impact of Meltdown and Spectre patches on Windows 7

Meltdown and Spectre

In my previous article I outlined how Windows 10 scalability is affected by the Meltdown and Spectre patches delivered by Microsoft. From our customers and the community, we got messages that Windows 7 (via Citrix XenDesktop or VMware Horizon view) would be impacted more than Windows 10 so obviously that one was next to be put through its paces in our labs. 

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The impact of Meltdown and Spectre patches on Windows 10

Meltdown and Spectre

Over the last weeks a lot has already been written about the supposedly high impact that the patches of both Meltdown and Spectre will have on the performance of computer systems but even experts do not yet agree how big the impact will be on centralized desktop environments such as Microsoft RDS, Citrix XenApp & XenDesktop and of course VMware Horizon causing a lot of Fear Uncertainty and Doubt.

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[Press Release] Login VSI announces free Meltdown/Spectre Emergency Edition

Virtual User

Meltdown and Spectre security patches may seriously affect Windows User Experience

Boston, MA: Today (January 17, 2018) software solution provider Login VSI (www.loginvsi.com), the industry leader in VDI and DaaS performance testing, announces the temporary availability of a free, full-production, license of their flagship product Login VSI to every organization using Citrix XenApp, Citrix XenDesktop, VMware Horizon, or Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS).

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Don’t let your user-experience be a “Spectre” of itself after “Meltdown”

Bust your ghosts not your user experience

The names Spectre and Meltdown invoke feelings of dread in even the most seasoned IT engineer. To those uninitiated, let me get you up-to-speed quickly. Spectre is a vulnerability that takes advantage of “Intel Privilege Escalation and Speculative Execution”, and exposes user memory of an application to another malicious application. This can expose data such as passwords. Meltdown is a vulnerability that takes advantage of “Branch prediction and Speculative Execution”, and exposes kernel memory. A compromised server or client OS running virtualized could gain access to kernel memory of the host exposing all guest data. Both vulnerabilities take advantage of a 20-year-old method of increasing processor performance.

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Optimizing desktop images with VMware OSOT

It is a fact that by default Microsoft Windows desktop images contain a lot of features that you wouldn’t necessary need in a VDI environment but finding these services, background tasks and other nifty performance optimization tricks can be quite a challenge. In the upcoming time, I will be testing the effects of optimizing your desktop images and how to perform these steps in your VDI environment.

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Windows 10 Fall Creators with AutoPilot

On October 17th, Microsoft released the Windows 10 Fall Creators update and there are many articles already available that discuss the consumer side of things. However, since its release I’ve been putting the build to the test by looking at the performance impact that upgrading has on VDI density, as well as the impact the new AutoPilot feature (part of Intune) has on fat clients, which I’m a big fan of.

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Influence of power management on VDI performance

Tuning your image can have a huge impact on the performance of your environment. Tools like VMware OSOT or the Citrix Optimizer can help you with this. While most of the individual settings within your image have a small impact on the performance there is one setting outside of your image which has a big impact. The power management of your hypervisor. This setting is a bit hidden and easy to forget. Setting it correctly in your BIOS isn’t always enough.

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