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Enterprise Mobility + Security


Author: Rae Goodhart, Senior Software Engineer, Enterprise Client and Mobility

Starting in System Center Configuration Manager 2007, we’ve provided deep integration with App Virtualization (App-V) technology to deliver “single pane of glass” app management. With Configuration Manager, you can manage virtualized apps just like managing any other app while also taking advantage of Configuration Manager’s scalable content management solution. This has been a valuable feature for those who already have Configuration Manager in place and use App-V technology to virtualize their apps.

Over the years, we’ve received feedback from many customers requesting performance improvements for non-persistent virtual desktop infrastructure (NP VDI). In this scenario, many end users experienced a delay in seeing app icons show up, delaying their ability to start using these apps after logging on. Because of this delay, some customers chose to use App-V publishing server or an alternative App-V 5 publishing solution to manage apps used for NP VDI, requiring two management consoles. We’ve heard your feedback and have significantly improved the performance for the NP VDI scenario in the recent releases of System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP2 and System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager SP1. This blog post details all of the NP VDI performance improvements we’ve made.

NP VDI Performance Improvements

At logon, the user’s policy, including the application assignments, need to be downloaded from the management point. In most cases, the policy is downloaded in the background using BITS to reduce resource contention.

Now, for applications that meet the requirements, the application assignment policies will be downloaded after logon, which allows the application to be further processed and then installed more quickly than before.

In order to take advantage of this improvement, the following requirements must be met. Otherwise the policy will be downloaded in the normal way at user logon.

  • The application should only include these types of deployment types :
    • App-V 4 deployment type(s) with fast network content set to streaming
    • App-V 5 deployment type(s) with fast network content set to streaming
    • Web App deployment type(s)
  • The applications must be deployed to a user collection for required installation, with a deadline prior to when the user will log on to the non-persistent VDI client

Performance Measurements

The following table provides the average time that it takes from logon until 10 App-V packages are installed and published for the first user on a Windows 7 SP1 x64 OS with 4GB RAM, single core VM.

 

Publishing Infrastructure

 

Average Time

 

App-V 5 SP3 Publishing Server

 

51 seconds

 

Configuration Manager 2012 R2 SP1

 

2 minutes 20 seconds

 

Configuration Manager 2012 R2

 

3 minutes 21 seconds

 

 

These numbers are based on an average of at least 10 runs as there is some variance from run to run. Times will vary based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to network latency, server and client loads, and other policies targeted to the user.

 

These numbers were run with the following:

  • App-V 5 SP3 clients
  • Win 7 x64 client VM with 4GB RAM, single core
  • Client already received and processed machine policy, in steady-state after boot
  • 10 real packages – Package details provided below
  • Targeting is to user collection/group (user publish)
  • Packages are not pre-installed on the client (need to perform both add and publish)
  • Do not have package auto-load (stream on demand)
  • First logon for user on machine

 

Size of App-V 5 packages:

.appv Package

 

Deployment Config

 

User Config

 

27.8 MB

 

12 KB

 

9 KB

 

124.5 MB

 

35 KB

 

32 KB

 

7.4 MB

 

13 KB

 

11 KB

 

106.5 MB

 

16 KB

 

14 KB

 

21.6 MB

 

16 KB

 

12 KB

 

303.4 MB

 

113 KB

 

103 KB

 

10.4 MB

 

18 KB

 

16 KB

 

5.4 MB

 

14 KB

 

11 KB

 

 

Recommendations for using Configuration Manager to deploy App-V packages in a non-persistent VDI environment

  • If the VDI solution allows, have VMs in your VDI pool pre-booted for several minutes before the user logs in. This allows any machine policy to be pre-evaluated before the user logs in, reducing resource contention at logon time.
  • Fast network connection to the distribution point(s) in the VDI client’s boundary group(s) with the App-V 5 package content
  • Fast network connection to the VDI client’s management point
  • Have the App-V 5 client installed in the base image
  • Where possible, have the App-V applications installed but not published in the base image for even better performance
  • Do not configure the client to auto-load the package content (stream on demand)

For additional general recommendations for using Configuration Manager with VDI: http://blogs.technet.com/b/server-cloud/archive/2011/11/15/streamlined-client-management-and-vdi-with-configuration-manager-2012.aspx

For App-V 5 client and sequencing recommendations for optimal performance: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn659478.aspx

We’d love you to try out ConfigMgr 2012 R2 SP1 or ConfigMgr 2012 SP2 and provide your feedback.  You can use UserVoice http://configurationmanager.uservoice.com to send your feedback. 

–Rae Goodhart

Configuration Manager Resources

Documentation for System Center Configuration Manager Technical Preview 3
Documentation for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager
System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Forums
System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Survival Guide
System Center Configuration Manager Support