Top 5 Freeware Tools for VDI System Administrators
Who doesn’t like to receive free stuff? I, for one, love free stuff. That’s why I am sharing five of my all-time favorite freeware tools to help manage VDI environments. These tools are a must-have for any IT engineer’s toolset. Some of these tools can help you become more efficient while other tools in this list can really help you find issues within your environment. I hope that you enjoy this list!
This is the #1 tool to use when you need more insights in the processes that are running on your server / computer or virtual machine. It helps to answer questions such as: which registry keys are added when I start an application? Which files are accessed when generating a report? What process is generating the network traffic? It can even help you find malware (check out this presentation by Mark Russinovich on this topic). ProcMon can give you answers to all of these questions (and more) and it has saved my day more than once.
#2 - IPerf
Have you ever wondered what the maximum bandwidth is between IP networks? IPerf helps to answer this question. You can start a node at different locations and measure the maximum capacity between those nodes. When you know your maximum capacity, you are able to act before this max is reached. IPerf helps you to answer questions like: Do my network switches have enough capacity? Is the capacity of my wireless routers big enough? Does the firmware upgrade of my switches influence the capacity of my network? This very useful freeware tool has helped me to understand the difference between the theoretical and the practical performance of my network devices.
Still not convinced to use IPerf? Here is a simple example on how it can help you make better network choices: http://xenappblog.com/2013/citrix-xenserver-make-your-network-10x-faster/
#3 - WinDirStat
More data, more problems… Servers, applications and users are collecting more and more data, and sooner or later, you will run out of disk space. Expanding the disk space is often a simple, but relatively expensive solution. I guess that you wouldn’t be reading a blog about freeware if you had a lot of money, so in that case you will need to free up space :-). Finding the large data consumers / files on your drives can be a tedious process. Luckily, WinDirStat makes a quick and easy to understand “artistic” overview for you.
Comparing two files to find out if there are any differences can be hard and very time consuming. Finding the one line that is different in 1000 rows of code or text is difficult, and don’t even get me started on finding that one semicolon that you saved in a script by accident somewhere (believe me, I know…). WinMerge is your lifesaver to compare two files. This freeware tool can be used to compare Login VSI workloads, logon scripts or the differences in your SLA reports.
Windows is still the #1 choice of operating system for enterprise IT worldwide. If you manage a big VDI environment, you are probably already aware that tuning different settings in Windows can have a huge impact on the performance and maximum capacity. VMware created a freeware tool, called OS Optimization Tool, with a long list of best practices and useful settings to automatically tune your Windows image. We actually created our own additional tuning template for VMware’s OS Optimization Tool with even more best practices. By enabling all of these options, you can increase your maximum capacity of Windows 10 on a VDI environment by 47%. Even though the tool is created by VMware, it supports any Windows-based VDI environment such as Citrix XenDesktop, Microsoft VDI and of course VMware Horizon.
Please make sure to check the description in VMware OS Optimization Tool before you implement all of the best practices. Maybe your end users would like to continue using search in Outlook? ;-)
That’s all folks. I am always looking for new and interesting IT related freeware, so if you have any interesting tips please do not hesitate to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I might include your tips in a future update (sorry, I am not interested in crapware…).