Here we are again, for another Provisioning Services for XenApp Best Practice. This best practice focuses on integrating applications into the vDisk image. Pretty simple Yes or No answer.
But this is one of the major challenges with creating a base XenApp image is determining what to include and what not to include. Of course, you need the operating system and XenApp and Provisioning Services tools, but beyond that what is recommended and why? Take the following scenario: due to business reasons, an environment has three sets of XenApp servers hosting different line-of-business applications. All three line-of-business applications are dependent on Microsoft Excel for viewing and editing integrated spreadsheets. Should Microsoft Excel be part of the base image or should it be a streamed application? There answer is… there is no right or wrong answer; it is all dependent on other factors within the environment. Don’t you just love answers like that?
The decision to include core applications is oftentimes a result in the belief that the base image should contain the greatest number of items that are common between XenApp servers. If every server requires the same application, more network bandwidth will be used when the application is streamed to every server as part of the application streaming process. Also, application streaming, in the default configuration, does not initially start as fast as a previously installed application because the application must be sent across the wire. Thus, users will experience latency while the application is streamed for the first time (this latency can be overcome with application pre-caching, as explained in the Application Cache section).
There is also a business aspect to this decision. In some organizations, one set of administrators is responsible for applications and another set is responsible for the XenApp configuration. By separating the applications from the base image, the technical solution can align more closely with the organizational structure of the business.
| Base Image Application Inclusion
|| Base Image Application Exclusion
Regardless of the decision on which applications to include and exclude in the base image, the following are general best practices for the base image:
- All relevant operating system and XenApp hotfixes and service packs should be included in the base image.
- The most common operating system and XenApp configuration should be used for the base image. If 80% of the servers require a specific setting while another 20% do not, the base image should include the special setting.
- The base image should include all appropriate XenApp plugins. If application streaming will be used, the streaming plugin should be installed as part of the base image.
- Depending on the usage of server certificates, the appropriate root certificate should be part of the base image.
What do all of you think? Do you install the common applications into the base vDisk, or do you rely on XenApp application streaming? How many unique XenApp images do you have in your environments?
As always, stay tuned for more best practices regarding Provisioning Services and XenApp.
- vDisk Type
- vDisk Cache
- Active Directory
- Application Integration
- Application Streaming Cache
- System-level settings: Page file, drive remapping and multiple drives
- Image Management
- Local Database Storage (event viewer, EdgeSight, AntiVirus updates)
- Plus more if we get some good ideas on other areas of focus.