Roberto Alves

Scripting and server based computing

Impact of PDF Readers in Citrix/TS environments

Day by day, PDF files are becoming more and more popular and in some cases, more used than .doc files! And I bet that many Citrix administrators never stopped to think how much the PDF Readers are affecting the server performance and scalability in a Citrix farm, considering that memory consumption of PDF readers can be very interesting and frightening for Citrix administrators.

Multi functional printers with scanners that send scanned documents through email in a pdf file are very common, large documents found in internet generally are in PDF, many companies are using pdf format to protect copyright, some companies prefer use pdf against other formats thinking into document sizes, etc. Result: PDF is becoming the most used format at many companies and PDF Reader are affecting directly on Citrix Farm performances.

For example, I got some reports in Citrix Resource Manager and did some tests with 85 users using PDF Readers (70 using Acrobat Reader 8 and 15 using FoxIt Reader 2.2 through XenApp 4.5 in diverted departments of a construction company, and I discovered:

Time analysed: 2 months (40 weekdays)

Adobe Acrobat Reader 8 (70 users)

• Count: 22.512 – The average is each user opening 8 pdf files per weekday)
• Average CPU utilization while active: 19.6%
• Maximum memory set while active: 1358 MB
• Maximum memory peak working set: 1905 MB
• Average memory while active: 23.4 MB
• Average memory peak working set: 52.3 MB
• Maximum time active: 01:23 (hh:mm)
• Spool print size of CPS 4.5 admin guide (414 pages using HP LaserJet 4 driver): 9.52 MB
• Spool print size of CPS 4.5 admin guide (414 pages using HP DeskJet 660C driver): 9.53 MB
• Spool print size of CPS 4.5 admin guide (414 pages using ThinPrint driver): 9.25 MB

Fox IT Reader 2.2 (15 users)

• Count: 8.148 – The average is each user opening 14 pdf files per weekday)
• Average CPU utilization while active: 12.5%
• Maximum memory set while active: 569 MB
• Maximum memory peak working set: 1071 MB
• Average memory while active: 14 MB
• Average memory peak working set: 31.5 MB
• Maximum time active: 00:37 (hh:mm)
• Spool print size of CPS 4.5 admin guide (414 pages using HP LaserJet 4 driver): 447 MB
• Spool print size of CPS 4.5 admin guide (414 pages using HP DeskJet 660C driver): 66.2 MB
• Spool print size of CPS 4.5 admin guide (414 pages using ThinPrint driver): 61 MB

Just to compare: Microsoft Word count for these users at the same period was 15.908. That shows an impressive difference of 14.752 less, against 30.660 pdf documents opened! In this case, a PDF Reader can be so important as Microsoft Word.

Conclusion

The data above shows that FoxIt Reader is much better than Adobe Acrobat Reader considering hardware consumption. But if you are considering Print performance, Acrobat Reader is much better than FoxIt Reader.

The first impression is that Acrobat Reader is a very mature application, and contains more features, better compression for print jobs and support to more technologies embedded in a pdf document.

Otherwise, FoxIt Reader is a very light application, with low hardware consumption, ensuring better performance to manipulate pdf files and acceptable work in tight environments, without print.

Additionally I tested the newest version of these two Readers, Adobe Acrobat Reader 9 and FoxIt Reader 3, and I got similar results. The hardware consumption of both readers is slight higher (about 10%) comparing to the older versions, and print engines of both are the same of older versions.

If you wanna do some tests with “bad” pdf files, you can download the “PDF from Hell” at Login Consultants download site.

Do you know other good PDF Readers?

Category: Citrix

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