How Internet Explorer is impacting your Citrix environment

Wait, not just Internet Explorer. All browsers now consume more memory and CPU than ever before. The more enhanced content on the web gets, the more resource browsers will use displaying the content.

One way to restrict reasource consumption is to make use of GPUs. XenServer 7 allow vGPU passthrough from NVIDIA GRID and Intel Iris Pro chips. One other way to restrict resource consumption is to block all or atleast most advertisements that display on websites. To do this, you can use popup blockers such as AdBlock. I’m going to show you how we can use an IE built-in feature called Tracking Protection to block out those advertisements. Being an IE feature, it won’t work on Chrome or Firefox so revert to the likes of AdBlock.

Take for example the below site Just by browsing to the site you can see on average it consumes around 10-15% CPU and 185MB RAM. Now there are advertisements on this page, just out of view. In a shared environment such as XenApp you are going to need a fair amount of RAM just to support IE!


So what happens when we enable blocking? Lets find out. Open up Internet options -> Manage add-ons.2-min

Click Tracking Protection -> Get a Tracking Protection List online..3-min

Scroll down until you see EasyList Standard and click Add. This list is based on the popular EasyList subscription for Adblock Plus.


Click Add List.5-min

Now we can confirm EasyList is enabled. 6-min

Browsing back to, look at the consumption difference. On average the CPU fluctuates between 0-1.5% and the memory consumption is reduced by more than half. 7-min

It is as simple as that. Nothing really more to it. It makes absolute sense to enable advertisement and popup blocking to improve the user experience both in a XenApp and VDI environment.

As a final note, I wanted to show you the below picture which compares a XenDesktop Virtual Machine streaming a simple YouTube video. The first CPU usage picture shows the machine with a NVIDIA vGPU. The second shows the exact same machine without any GPU. Notice the machine with no GPU is using quite an amount of CPU resource. In a XenDesktop environment or even a XenApp environment this is going to hurt your user density no doubt. This is why GPU’s should be considered in your Citrix infrastructure more than ever, providing we now have ways to achieve GPU pass-through.


Leave a Reply