Zoom Meetings optimization for VDI

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A VDI server is a shared hardware resource for multiple users at one time. VDI hardware — which is capable of supporting multiple virtual desktops —generally cannot sustain the processing demands of video conferencing on top of its other processing requirements.

The Zoom VDI Client and plugin address this issue by removing most media-processing demands from the VDI server, and instead redirecting them to the plugin, which processes the media using its own hardware resources on the local machine. Zoom creates an optimized experience by sending independent data streams to both the VDI Client and plugin, allowing each component to focus on the responsibilities it does best.

This article covers:

Prerequisites for Zoom Meetings optimization

  • Organizations using Citrix XenDesktop or VMware Horizon server published desktop, or Windows Remote Desktop
  • Citrix Workspace, VMWare Horizons, AVD client or Windows remote desktop client
    Note: Citrix Workspace app from Microsoft store is not supported.

VDI meeting optimization

In the optimized experience, the VDI Client primarily focuses on rendering an empty placeholder of the Zoom meeting, containing only a blank screen of the meeting content and the meeting toolbar buttons. The VDI Client also maintains in-meeting data, like the participant list, through its direct connection to the Zoom meeting, and processes any screen sharing of the local user’s desktop.

Direct Optimization

Similarly, in the Direct Optimization experience, the plugin assists the VDI Client by performing the other half of the VDI Client’s work. The plugin also has a direct connection with the Zoom meeting to receive the meeting video, audio, and content, which is then layered on top of the VDI Client’s meeting content placeholder image.

The VDI Client and plugin create a synchronized experience together by rendering the Zoom meeting in layers, superimposing the plugin’s media on top of the VDI Client’s Zoom placeholder. The plugin and VDI Client coordinate efforts, using the VDI software provider’s existing virtual channel.

The Zoom Cloud maintains two separate data streams to both the VDI desktop and the plugin. In a Direct Optimized mode, the following occurs:

  • The plugin receives data streams for video, audio, and inbound content directly from the cloud.
  • The VDI desktop receives and displays general meeting data — like the participant information — in the Zoom Client placeholder while also uploading any local screen-sharing content.
  • The plugin and VDI desktop communicate with each other using the VDI vendor’s virtual connection, signaling where to place and render the on-screen media between the two layers.

Alternative connection modes

The VDI Client supports three different connection modes with the Zoom meeting infrastructure. The most common mode is the Direct Optimized experience, where both the VDI Client and plugin establish unique connections to Zoom and independently render their own portion of a Zoom meeting for a seamless experience.

The VDI Client is also capable of working in alternative connection modes — UDP/Channel Optimized, and Fallback Mode — to fit varying workflow or security needs. The following table highlights the significant differences between the modes.

  Media offloading Plugin direct cloud access
Direct Optimized
UDP/Channel Optimized  
Fallback Mode    

UDP/Channel Optimization

UDP and Channel Optimization is similar to Direct Optimization, where the plugin continues to render the meeting media but through a different network path. In this mode, the following occurs:

  • All meeting media is first delivered to the VDI server from the Zoom Cloud.
  • The VDI server transfers media to the plugin either through an out-of-band UDP connection or through the existing VDI virtual channel if the UDP connection cannot be established.

This method may be preferred by organizations that do not enable direct Internet access for thin clients (or other remote devices) but the additional routing can contribute to a less optimal experience than Direct Optimization.

Fallback Mode

Fallback Mode is an entirely unoptimized VDI experience and is equivalent to running the Zoom client directly on the VDI server. There is no media optimization or plugin being utilized in this configuration and only the VDI Client communicates with Zoom.

This method is the least-preferred option because of the processing required by VDI server resources. Operating in Fallback Mode can produce VDI slowness, choppy video, and distorted audio amongst other quality issues. It is recommended that this be used only as a last resort or if plugins are not available for use.

Note: Fallback Mode should be avoided when possible to maintain server performance.

Supported meeting optimization clients

Below is the list of currently supported virtual desktop agents and plugin operating systems for meeting optimization.




Azure Virtual Desktop
Ubuntu / Debian
HP ThinPro OS  
Centos / Redhat / Fedora  
Dell Wyse  

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