TCP-based VDI traffic gets a boost with an enhanced Citrix-specific software blade in RiOS 7. Instead of applying generic TCP optimizations to Citrix ICA traffic, RiOS 7 can apply ICA-specific optimizations, even to SSL-encrypted ICA streams. RiOS 7 also supports Citrix client drive mapping, meaning it can optimize the data flows between USB sticks and other drives plugged into remote thin clients and virtual desktops in the data center.
Remote Desktop Services sessions also benefit from TCP optimization, but with a caveat. In order for RiOS to provide any data reduction, admins will have to disable Remote Desktop's built-in compression and encryption. I had to turn off compression completely and take encryption down to its lowest level to see any data reduction. As with PCoIP, if the RDP stream is compressed, RiOS cannot optimize it beyond simple TCP optimizations. Using Login VSI, I scaled my remote access tests up to 25 concurrent users on a Windows Server 2008 R2 Remote Desktop Server and held it steady for a full 15-minute Login VSI test run. During this run, I saw a 57% reduction in WAN traffic. Disabling compression has to be done on each client, but it's certainly worth the effort.
Riverbed requires compression and encryption to be rolled back in order to optimize Remote Desktop Services traffic, but disabling them pays off. Using Login VSI to run 25 simultaneous Remote Desktop Services connections over my simulated WAN, I saw an overall data reduction of 57%.
Crossing the video streamLive and on-demand streaming video is another traffic type that gets an optimization makeover in RiOS 7. Typically, when remote users view streaming video from a central server, there are as many video streams as there are users. If there are 200 users in 10 branch offices, all viewing the monthly sales Webinar, then there are 200 distinct traffic flows from the data center to users.
RiOS 7 comes with HTTP video stream splitting for Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight video. From our example, if there are 200 users spread across 10 offices, instead of 200 connections between users and the central server, there are only 10 between the remote offices and data center. Each branch office Steelhead splits the stream at the local network and opens only one connection to the data center. Better yet, stream splitting is handled dynamically, on the fly -- no configuration necessary.