Testing the Performance Impact of Windows 10 in your VDI environment
On July 29, 2015 Microsoft released the stable version of Windows 10. In my opinion it’s a great operating system and most of Windows users seem to agree with me because within a month after introduction 75 million devices were already using Windows 10 (according to Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group). The current adoption rate of Windows 10 is 9% while Windows 7 can still claim the award for the biggest market share at a staggering number of 56.11% in November 2015.
Desktop Operating System Market Share in November 2015 (Source: Netmarketshare.com)
Windows 8 anyone?
Windows 8 has been in available since 2012 but based on the low adoption rate of Windows 8 / 8.1 we think that most companies will probably skip Windows 8 and upgrade directly from Windows 7 to Windows 10. A migration process is always a very complex process and since Windows 10 is already available there doesn’t seem to be a clear need for companies any more to first move to Windows 8. If you invest a lot of time to migrate to a different OS, you probably want the latest version right?
Windows 7 vs Windows 10
Are you also planning to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 in your virtualized desktop environment? During the recent Project VRC webinar (available on-demand) 57% of the attendees answered in the poll that they have already started or will start their deployment of Windows 10 in 2016. So upgrading to Windows 10 in VDI seems to be a hot topic for most companies.
Project VRC webinar poll – when are you planning to deploy Windows 10 in your VDI environment?
If this is also the case for you, the recently published white paper from Project VRC with very interesting Windows 10 test results can definitely help to be successful with Windows 10. We’ve also put together the top 5 performance tuning tips for Windows 10 to guide you in the right direction.
12% less capacity? Numbers tell the tale
According to the Project VRC white paper, the default installations of Windows 10 will have a performance impact of 12% in comparison to Windows 7 (tested with Login VSI). This means that a VDI environment of 1000 users will lose capacity of 120 users! That’s quite a lot, but as Project VRC also mentions in their white paper, every VDI environment is unique so the performance impact could be better or even much worse for you… Do you know what the bottleneck is in your environment?
Numbers tell the tale. I know that our customers want to deliver the best end user experience possible. To that end, predictable performance is critical. That’s why Project VRC also recommends to test the impact of this upgrade in your own environment before you implement it in production. Luckily Login VSI (the same software that is used by Project VRC for its tests) can help you to do this.
Testing the performance impact with Login VSI is quite simple: First run a test with Windows 7 and see the maximum capacity, secondly: install Windows 10 and execute the same test. Check the difference and you will know your capacity. More information about setting up Login VSI in your environment can be found here.
VSImax graph of a Windows 10 default installation test
PDF file type association
While performing our own tests with Windows 10 we noticed that you can basically use the same configuration for Windows 7 and for Windows 10 with one small exception: PDF file type association.
By default Windows 10 sets the file type association (fta) for pdf files to the Edge browser. Login VSI uses Adobe Reader XI as the default pdf reader. In Windows 7 It was possible to set the fta within the registry. For Windows 10 (and Windows 8) you will need to use a GPO. To set the default fta you can use the following GPO setting:
Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\File Explorer\Set a default associations configuration file
A more detailed explanation on how to set the default FTA can be found here. My colleague Adam Carter also wrote a very useful article about fixing default file type associations in Windows 10.
Many companies are planning to upgrade to Windows 10. Are you ready for Windows 10? There is a lot of help available to make sure that you are successful with Windows 10 in VDI. But since every VDI environment is unique, it’s important to test these changes in your own environment before you upgrade in production. Luckily Login VSI can help you to compare the difference.
Update March 31, 2016:
We are proud to announce that we created our own tuning template for Windows 10 (based on VMware OS Optimization Tool) with many performance best practices and settings. The first version is now available for download (for free).