Optimize Microsoft Office and Outlook in VDI Environments

I’ve been working on a VMware View Optimization and Best Practices whitepaper for Clearpath.  The document isn’t quite ready for publication yet, but I wanted to share a section that I’ve been working on as I’ve had several people ask me about this topic recently.  This section is dealing with deploying Microsoft Office, and Microsoft Outlook in particular in VMware View VDI environments.  Stay tuned for the full document.  In the meantime, I hope this bit is helpful to you.

Microsoft Office Outlook in VMware ViewMicrosoft Office in View Desktops

Microsoft Office, including Outlook, can be deployed as a ThinApp to View desktops.  The resulting ThinApp can be very large, unless individual components are packaged separately and AppLink used to link the ThinApp packages.  Because Microsoft Office is a large application, and has a regular patching schedule in line with Windows Updates ‘Patch Tuesday’, many administrators choose to thick-install office in their base image and update using a View recompose operation during regular Windows patch maintenance schedules.

Resources for creating and troubleshooting Office 2010 ThinApp packages can be found at the following links:

Outlook Cache Mode

Because of the prevalence of Microsoft Outlook running against Microsoft Exchange in corporate IT environments, special attention is given in this whitepaper on how to best configure Outlook to minimize resource consumption on VMware View desktops.  As with other recommendations, these are geared towards saving resources and improving performance, but may be at the cost of user experience.  Balance user experience and expectations with your performance and resource requirements.

Outlook Cached Mode provides offline access to an Exchange mailbox by building an offline cache of the mailbox in a local .OST file stored within a user’s profile.  Because View desktops execute in the data center they are typically always online.  The always online nature of View desktops negates the need for offline mailbox access.

Outlook Cached Mode Configuration

With stateless View desktops, the OST file may be regenerated and re-indexed at each user login to a desktop.  This can create high amounts of disk I/O, network bandwidth consumption, and compute resource utilization.

Note: View desktops configured for Local Mode offline use may benefit from offline mailbox access.  Consider this when configuring policies for Cached Mode in your environment.

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