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'Best Hypervisors' for VDI Tested by Citrix

Citrix on Thursday described virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) performance differences using various hypervisors.

Apparently, which hypervisor is used makes a difference with desktop virtualization, per Citrix's tests, which were conducted internally. Only Citrix's XenDesktop 4 desktop virtualization solution was used for the tests. VMware's View desktop virtualization application was not tested.

The test results were described by Simon Crosby, chief technology officer for Citrix's Data Center and Cloud Division, in a blog post.

Performance was measured based on virtual machine (VM) density on a single server, running Windows XP or Windows 7 as guests. The hypervisors tested included Microsoft Hyper-V R2, Citrix XenServer 5.5 and an undefined "other" hypervisor group.

For the Windows 7 guest, Microsoft's Hyper-V R2 hypervisor supported the highest VM density. However, Citrix's XenServer 5.5 hypervisor scored the highest VM density when running the Windows XP guest.

Crosby noted these performance differences on Hyper-V R2 between the two Windows guests.

"For Windows XP guests Hyper-V R2 doesn't do such a fabulous job," Crosby wrote in the blog. "I've spoken to Jeff Woolsey, PM for Hyper-V, who acknowledges this readily because XP has a relatively short remaining lifetime, and because of the focus at Microsoft on Windows Server workloads and Windows 7 as the new client OS."

The venerable Windows XP has been available for nearly nine years, with extended support scheduled to end on April 8, 2014. Microsoft released Windows 7 in October of last year.

Citrix plans to test the most current hypervisor products -- including Hyper-V Service Pack 1 and XenServer "Midnight Ride" -- and "publish the results soon," according to Crosby. Midnight Ride is the next version of XenServer and is currently available as a beta release.

Microsoft announced earlier this month a forthcoming service pack for Windows Server 2008 R2. The service pack will include a dynamic memory management capability that will allow the memory use of VMs to be adjusted on demand. It will also include RemoteFX desktop virtualization technology designed to improve the graphics experience for remote Windows users.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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