The Impact On App Layering On Your VDI Environment

I was testing instant clones in Horizon 7 and it was pretty much a requirement to use some form of application virtualization and get your user data stored off the desktops. My decision on what to select for for testing was based on that I had already had ProfileUnity from Liquidware Labs and App Volumes is bundled in View at the higher layers. I wanted to see the impact of layering on CPU and login times. I has also used UberAgent to collect some of the results. While testing I would run one test run with UberAgent to collect login times and then one with UberAgent agent turned off to collect CPU metrics.

I used three separate applications, each in their own layer.

* Gimp 2.8
* iTunes 10

I used AppVolumes 2.11 since 3.0 is kind of dead in the water and not recommend for existing customers so I can’t see a lot of people using it till the next release. ProUnity was version 6.5

I first did a base run with no App Stacks or Flex Apps but with a roaming profile being stored on Acropolis File Services. The desktops were running horizon 7 agent and office 2013 and were instant clones. The desktops were Windows 10 with 2 vCPU and 2 GB of RAM. When you see the % listed is a factor of both CPUs.

Base Run

So not to bad 14 secs login, probably some clean up I could do to make it faster but also not that realistic if your thinking about enterprise desktop so I was happy with this.

I did test with 1 layer at a time until I used all of the 3 applications. There was a gradual increase in CPU and login time for each layer. The CPU cost comes from the agent and attaching the vmdk to the desktop.

App Volumes with 3 AppStacks


So with 3 layers the CPU jumped by ~20% and the login time went up ~9 secs with App Volumes.

3 Flex Apps



With 3 Flex Apps CPU jumped a bit and login times went up ~4 sec.

Overall Review


What does this all mean?

Well if you have users that only disconnect and reconnect and rarely log out then this means absolutely nothing for the most part. If you have a user base that gets fresh new desktops all of the time and things like large shift changes then it means your densities will go down. I like to say “Looking is for free, and touching is going to cost you”. Overall I still feel this is a small price to pay to have a successful VDI deployment and layering will help out the process.


  1. Application Layering helps decrease the cost and complexity of VDI deployments. How the image is created and delivered can have significant impact on log in times – are the layers being hot-added during log in, or is an image being created to be used by the provisioning service?
    All this has impact.
    You have reviewed a couple of good application layering solutions. Unidesk also has an excellent application layering solution, that layers from the hypervisor up. This enables unprecedented application compatibility. Being able to create a single OS and application layers, simplifies application lifecycle and image management.
    If you are looking for an application management solution, Unidesk is definitely worth evaluating.

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