How to Improve Virtual Desktop Performance
Author: Denis Tumuhaise
At a time when more businesses are aiming to minimize computational overhead costs without compromising service quality, the question of how to improve virtual desktop performance is becoming more critical to address.
Improving virtual desktop performance spells a manifold of benefits that trickle down to improved accessibility, management, and cost savings. So, how does one achieve optimal virtual desktop performance? Let’s explore this, shall we?
What is a Virtual Desktop?
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s have a brief recap. A virtual desktop is a computing resource that essentially allows users access to their work or personal computers remotely via a secure network.
In principle, virtual desktops are typically made up of preconfigured images of OS and apps where the desktop environment is separated from the physical device utilized to access it.
Characteristics of a Virtual Desktop
As has been noted, virtual desktops separate the desktop OS (for example, Windows 7) from the underlying physical hardware. As a result, the workload and data are no longer tied to a single machine. But can be either be moved from machine to machine (thus high availability), or are co-located with other desktops (delivering cost savings on physical hardware).
A common example of virtual desktop technology is Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS). RDS allows multiple users to essentially share a single Windows Server operating system instance.
Overall, an OS is installed directly on one PC, then accessed on another endpoint device over a secure network is considered a virtual desktop. Generally speaking, a common feature and significant benefit of virtual desktops is remote access on multiple types of devices, allowing one to access their desktop from a laptop, thin client, smartphone, or tablet.
What Is the Difference Between a Virtual Desktop and a Virtual Machine?
Before we move ahead, it might be prudent to discuss the distinction between a virtual desktop and a virtual machine, since they are often confused.
A virtual machine (VM) is simply a file that is operating in a manner similar to a physical computer. A virtual machine maintains its own CPU, storage, memory, and network interface to function as a computer within a computer. However, VMs still need some physical hardware, like a hypervisor, RAM hard disk, and network interface.
Nevertheless, a VM exploits an OS just as a physical machine does. Additionally, because the OS remains separate, a VM can concurrently run apps and processes that otherwise would interfere with each other.
On the other hand, a virtual desktop is essentially created by a virtual machine. Fundamentally, a virtual desktop mirrors the usability of a physical PC, but without the components a virtual machine possesses (like CPU, storage, and memory). So, a virtual desktop takes all the aspects of a physical workspace and stores them on a server.
How to Improve Virtual Desktop Performance
Since we have recapped the important elements of a virtual desktop, let’s delve into the different ways to improve its performance:
- Ensure you have a robust internet connection
This is critical since a poor network connection can negatively affect virtual desktop performance. For example, it can cause high latency issues, disrupting the overall user experience.
- Install VM tools for improved accessibility
Typically, VM systems come with a secondary optional package extension to enable enhanced integration between the guest OS and the host system. Ensure to install these to access an external HDD from within the virtual machine, or to enable remote desktop connections from other devices to your virtual machines.
- Configure computing resources that fit into your exact needs
If you employ your virtual desktop for heavy load tasks, ensure to assign it with enough RAM, CPU cores, and GPUs if necessary. This is because limited computing resources often lead to poor performance.
- Always be aware of resource requirements
In relation to the above point, whenever a VM is created, the virtualization software specifies the hardware. However, there is a vital limitation to this. You can’t specify a hardware profile for a VM that exceeds the physical hardware inside your computer.
For instance, if your Host has 16GB of RAM, your guest can’t exceed this. As such, you always need to be conscious of the resource requirements.
- Regularly Update your Virtual Machine Software
Flaws can sometimes be found in virtual environments as VMs are an increasingly popular target for hackers. However, attacks can be significantly mitigated with regular operating system patching and updates to virtual machine software.
- If your PC possesses a gaming mode, enable this mode to ensure the computer directs resources to the VM. This also means freezing background tasks while the VM is running to benefit the performance of the Host and Guest operating systems.
- Switch your power settings to the maximum option (especially on laptops).
- Run your virtual desktop with reduced graphical options.
- Optimize performance by adjusting settings like screen resolution.
- Always employ a robust remote desktop connection technology like RDP to remotely access your virtual computer.
Learn More About How to Fix Virtual Desktop Lagging Issues
Applications of Virtual Desktops
There has been increased demand for more virtual education offerings to reduce IT costs, and improve user experience. The education sector can exploit virtual desktops to rapidly deliver virtual servers and desktops for students everywhere. Thus, freeing up staff to focus on innovation instead of IT administration
Virtual desktops can augment the reach of today’s healthcare teams, providing patients with safer, and more immediate care. Virtual environments can allow staff to ensure optimal security for patient records and mobilize and secure medical imaging files. Furthermore, virtual desktops can offer the speed and precision to enhance medical outcomes and improve clinical experiences—for example, personalizing care to manage more complex cases.
- Facilities Maintenance
Virtual desktops are well suited for the repair and maintenance of on-site equipment. For instance, when workers need to repair or maintain a piece of unfamiliar equipment, they can simply connect to a more knowledgeable technician in a remote workplace. In turn, the worker can wear a headset and be guided on a complex operation just as if the expert staffer were physically working beside them.
All things considered, virtual desktop technology seems to be one of the most promising technological innovations in the IT world. In essence, implementing an optimally performing virtual desktop architecture can dramatically simplify the process of administration, provide new opportunities, translate into cost savings, and lead to the optimal use of existing resources.