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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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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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The value of correct sizing in the Cloud

The Cloud is rising and the growth predictions are insane. Often we aren’t even aware when we are making use of the Cloud. Think about Hotmail, Office 365, Citrix Cloud or even websites like Airbnb. Not owning the servers, like Airbnb does with houses, but also with their website back-end, isn’t the only advantage of the Cloud. Other advantages are obvious: scalability, flexibility, disaster recovery, etc. But those advantages come at a cost. With a pay-per-user model like Office 365, the costs are evident. But if you go to an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) model it can become confusing. Choosing the right amount of cloud resources is crucial to get the best value for money.

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Detect and avoid VDI performance problems

Building an integrated testing scenario to detect and avoid VDI performance problems

The company Login VSI sells a complete software solution to help digital workspace managers to optimize and safeguard the performance and availability of their virtual desktop production environments. Performance and availability are key dimensions of a good end-user experience and therefore very important for organizations with business-critical applications on VDI.

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Citrix Cloud on AWS

I was recently afforded the unique opportunity to collaborate on a project to test capacity out of a Citrix XenApp on AWS deployment. The goal of the project was to independently determine the maximum user density for a few different EC2 instance types running XenApp 7.14.

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The reason why your SBC or VDI users prefer their laptops

The reason why your SBC or VDI users prefer their laptops

Users are becoming more resource intensive when it comes to graphically rich media and you’ve seen it with many web applications, Microsoft PowerPoint, rich-media websites built with HTML 5, and even other business critical applications like radiology applications. These are all apps you’d expect to see at some point in a modern workspace, virtual or not.

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