Top Free VDI System Administration Tools to Have In Your Kitty

Successful implementation of virtual desktop infrastructure in your enterprise means you need to invest in sophisticated VDI tools. Also, to manage the VDI implementation, you need several related tools. The costs can truly be inhibitory for several businesses. However, it doesn’t mean you need to wait before VDI becomes significantly cheaper than what it costs today. And that’s because you can use open source VDI solutions, as well as network monitoring and performance optimization tools you need alongside. Some of these tools are so good that they’re used by system admins even in enterprises where they’d get premium tools without any budgetary constraints to impede their requests. In this guide, we’ve covered a variety of VDI implementation and management tools; so read on.



Xen Project

Many commercial server virtualizations are based on Xen Project. Also, several hardware appliances and cloud-based solution use Xen Project as a base. Citrix XenDesktop, for instance, is XEN based. The platform typically hosts Linux guests, although you can find drivers for other operating systems.


Setting up Xen is easy, hassle-free, and quick. There were times when ‘virtual server’ was almost synonymous with Xen. The key to Xen’s success is that it is separated from the OS, and hence delivers tremendous security. It also means that using Xen, system admins can run any OS in the virtualized environment.


With Xen, you can allocate dedicated resources to each virtual machine, and fire up several VMs simultaneously. Different VMs can have different OS and configuration settings.


Process Monitor (ProcMon)

Process Monitor is amongst the most popular process level monitoring tool for Windows. It shows real-time registry and process level activity, file system information, and thread activity. The best of two well-known system utilities – Regmon and Filemon – come together in a single package in the form of ProcMon.

If you need deep insights into the processes running on your virtual machines, servers, and computers, trust Process Monitor. It helps VDI system admins identify the files accessed when a report is generated, the registry keys added when an application kicks into action, and the network traffic generated by each process.

Expert system admins accomplish a lot more with process monitor, right from identifying applications that pose significant resource demands, to identifying unauthorized and malware-initiated processes. Trust Process Manager to serve as a core utility for the purpose of systems troubleshooting.




Since you’re here looking for free tools, we assume you’d also want to delay storage purchases, and hence need a tool to view disk usage stats and clean up disk space. WinDirStat does all this for you, and some more.

On starting up, this software reads the entire directory tree once and presents it in 3 intuitive views.

  • Directory list: Tree view of Windows Explorer, sorted on the basis of file/sub-tree sizes
  • Treemap: Whole contents of the directory in plain view
  • Extension list: A sort of a legend shows stats related to different file types

The color-coded representation of files and directories, arranged as per file types, helps you quickly identify culprit files, followed by their quick and easy clean up from the directory.



Here’s a popular tool that network and system admins can use to measure User Datagram Protocol bandwidth and TCP bandwidth performance. Basic iPerf commands help network admins find tremendous insights into the network’s bandwidth availability. Also, you get useful information related to network delays, jitters, and data loss.

IPerf helps system admins find out maximum TCP bandwidth, issues reports on maximum segment size and the maximum transmission units. IPerf can work in multithreaded mode, for several connections, simultaneously. Also, it can help report delay jitter, packet loss, and can create very specific UDP bandwidth streams.

System admins find it highly useful to remember or keep a list of iPerf commands. With these commands, you can set any computer as a server, and the other as a server. This lets admins find out information such as network switch capacity, wireless router capacity, etc. In this manner, iPerf helps you understand the practical performance of your network devices.



VMware OS Optimization Tool

Windows continues to be among the more widely used Oss for enterprise IT across the globe. Windows settings can have a massive impact on the VDI environment for your company. The system performance, as well as maximum capacity limits, can be enhanced or disrupted because of the different Windows settings.

This is where OS Optimization Tool comes to the fore. This tool lets you use Windows Horizon View to optimize Windows 7 and subsequent versions. The tool brings to you some customizable templates for enabling and disabling Windows services and features as per the best practices and recommendations relevant for VMware. For instance, this will help you disable unnecessary services, and that can go a long way in improving system performance.

Among Its many features are local analysis and optimization, remote analysis, template management, and optimization history. Also, you’ll be able to find public templates that could help you quickly experiment with different configurations, and see which suits your needs the best.


Microsoft and Amazon’s Free Solutions

Apart from the free solutions discussed above, there are some other options too, which are for free, but only for a limited time, or with feature limitations. For instance, there’s a free version of Hyper-V that lets system admins set up fully functional host servers without the need to pay any license fees. However, they can’t host Windows accounts, although Linux Guest can be hosted. Amazon Workspaces is another option, considering it offers a free package wherein users get two bundled workspaces with usage rights of up to 40 hours a month. The offer, however, remains for two months, after which you need to upgrade.


Concluding Remarks

Implementation and management of VDI in your business don’t always mean you need to spend a lot of money. With the kind of free tools discussed in this guide, you can knock off a large chunk of the costs involved, and experience the benefits of VDI without upturning your IT budget for the year.