This is part one of a guest blog post series by Nick Fritsch
What’s your favorite feature (I hate using that word) of VMware’s Horizon View? Is it the ability to work within your virtual desktop from an HTML 5 browser? Or perhaps it’s the Unity Touch feature that makes Windows 7 more touch friendly when working in your virtual desktop from a tablet. For me, it’s always been PCoIP. I know, weird huh?
What is PCoIP Anyways?
First, let me tell you what PCoIP is if you’re not familiar. PC-over-IP is a real-time protocol similar to VoIP (Voice-over-IP) that is adaptive in nature but requires consistent latency and high-priority queuing in order to perform well. It is based on UDP which means it doesn’t re-transmit packets if they’re lost in transmission like TCP. The goal of PCoIP is to provide the best end-user experience within the available network bandwidth. In situations where network bandwidth is limited, PCoIP will adjust itself limiting the bandwidth it will use or increase compression to avoid saturating the network.
Okay, so I gave you a nice little overview of PCoIP but this doesn’t answer the question of why this is my favorite feature of Horizon View. I’ll get into that in the next few paragraphs. The first reason why I like PCoIP is it’s encrypted by default. Yes, you heard me correctly, it’s encrypted by default. Therefore the use of a VPN is no longer required, unless needed for some reason outside of connecting to your virtual desktop. It uses AES encryption which is the de-facto standard in the world today. Out of the box it uses AES-128 encryption however AES-192 or AES0256 can be used to provide stronger encryption by editing a property in View LDAP on your Connection Server.
PCoIP GPO Templates & Fine Tuning
One of the other reasons why I’m a fan of PCoIP is because it’s tunable. A group-policy object administrative template (GPO ADM) is provided with PCoIP that can be imported into Active Directory. Actually there are multiple GPO templates including PCoIP, View Client & Agent along with Persona Management. To keep it simple for now, I’m simply going to discuss what I consider the more important settings within the PCoIP GPO templates.
The first is Build to Lossless. This is a tricky group-policy setting because you actually enable the setting in order to disable Build to Lossless. So why would you want to disable Build to Lossless. Before disabling, let me tell you quickly what Build to Lossless does. Build to Lossless dynamically adjusts image quality, reduces image quality on congested networks, maintains responsiveness by reducing screen update latency and resumes image quality when the network is no longer constrained. Sounds cool, so why would I ever want to disable this feature. By disabling Build-to-Lossless, you can save 20-30% in bandwidth consumption. When Build-to-Lossless is disabled, PCoIP rapidly builds a high quality image but is not lossless meaning some text and images may be a bit blurry. When compared side-by-side though (Build to Lossless vs Lossless), there is almost no noticeable difference. An instance where you wouldn’t want to disable this feature is in environments such as CAD or AutoCAD along with Medical imaging where the image needs to be very refined and accurate.
The next setting I will briefly discuss is client-side caching. Client side caching is enabled by default and provides a bandwidth savings of 30-40%. The recommended setting is 1GB however this setting can be reduced if the View Client has less than 1GB of memory. Client side caching will cache images and portions of the desktop to minimize retransmission of pixels across the network. The only gotcha is that if you plan on utilizing zero clients for your endpoints, you won’t be able to take advantage of this setting due to the fact that client side caching requires some sort of storage media on the endpoint.
Well that’s it for PCoIP. Actually I’m kidding, there is a ton more to PCoIP that I simply can’t cover in a single article. I plan to cover more about PCoIP in parts 2 and 3 of this blog series. I would be interested in hearing what you’re favorite feature (there’s that word again) of Horizon View is. Below are a few of my favorite Horizon View/PCoIP links that provide valuable information.
Thanks to Nick, our newest vDestination blogger, you can walk away from reading this post with a new backpack! This is not just any backpack, this is the Ogio Bounty Hunter backpack with VMware branding on it. The bag is black with VMware in white lettering on the front of the bag. I personally own this backpack, I bought it at VMworld 2011 and I paid $62 bucks for it. It seems like a lot to spend on a backpack but if you are lugging around books, swag, a laptop, tablet, extra phone batteries or chargers, this is the bag for you. Nick will be giving this bag away to the reader who leaves the best comment on what their favorite Horizon View feature is. The contest begins today August 7th and will close on Thursday August 8th at 5pm Eastern. A winner will be chosen by Nick and will be announced on Friday August 9th via twitter.
Enter now by leaving a comment on this blog post about your favorite View Feature, give a shout out to Nick for writing such an awesome post and then wait to hear the announcement on Friday. This contest is open to anyone worldwide, no purchase necessary. Please make sure you include your full name and twitter handle along with your entry. If we can’t contact you, you won’t get a backpack! Good luck and thanks for reading.
About the Autor
Nick Fritsch is an Associate Systems Engineer at VMware. He is a VCP5-DCV, VCP5-DT and an inaugural member of the EMC Elect community. Nick is an active member in the community both speaking and assisting at numerous VMUGs, presenting for vBrownbag and is active on Twitter @nfritsch. In his free time, Nick enjoys the outdoors, whether that’s spending time with his two wonderful daughters or on the golf course with fellow vGolfers.