New VM Display Feature Conserves Bandwidth, Preserves Quality

In our early-April release, Skytap introduced a new feature to the single-vm toolbar: VM Display Quality Settings. These quality settings allow users to conserve bandwidth by selecting a lower display quality when appropriate and/or necessary.

In addition to offering multiple display options, Skytap has adjusted the compression method used by the single-VM view. This means that our “Highest” display option will provide the same visual quality you experience today, while consuming less bandwidth. This should improve performance for all single-VM users.

By default, users will be set on the “Highest” setting. Initial testing indicates that users of the “Highest” quality setting may experience up to a 50% reduction in total data consumption compared to what was seen prior to the April release. In other words, without any action on users part or any change to the VM display quality, users will immediately see a reduction in the total bandwidth consumed during a session.


For those users who may find themselves on low-bandwidth networks or in situations where bandwidth conservation is paramount, we will offer several quality options from the “Highest” to the “Lowest” setting. At the lowest quality setting users can expect to realize up to a 74% reduction in total data consumption compared what was seen prior to the April release.

Virtual Training Bandwidth Demo – Draft from Skytap Administrator on Vimeo.

To put this consumed data reduction in context, I will share some anecdotes from initial testing. Using a Windows Server 2012 VM created from a pre-existing template, I ran several tests both before and after our April release. To ensure that the test had enough consistent screen redraws and sustained bandwidth utilization to produce meaningful results, I played the Skytap 3-Minute Overview within the Server 2012 VM and measured total data consumption as well as average bitrate1.

After our April release, and using the highest quality setting, 2 concurrent sessions consumed slightly less data and requiring slightly less bandwidth than was necessary to run just one session previously. On the lowest setting I was able to run even more concurrent sessions. The bottom line? Skytap customers can now use more concurrent HTML5 client sessions without increasing network bandwidth capacity.

Over the next several releases Skytap will continue to adjust and expand and enhance this functionality. In addition, we will be working with several customers to define updated bandwidth profile recommendations, etc…

1. [Note that this is an atypical use case. Standard usage would not require anywhere near the screen refreshes as does video playback.]

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