Citrix Remote Access


Have been looking through this site and others as to what Terminal Services solution to run with.

Background to ths situation is here

But roughly,

Laptops currently connect over IPSec to VPN via Cisco 3030 conentrator which I beleive also supports SSL-VPN

This passes the user onto the central LAN where I want remote users to connect to a terminal services server.

There are maximum 100 users, each requiring access to Microsoft Office 2003 (Word, Excel, Access and Powerpoint), Internet Explorer, Adobe Acrobat and network share folders.

Each user has a PC/Laptop but many also have PDA's and tablet PC's.  Therefore, Citrix which supports these, I believe is the better option.

ICA protocol outperforms RDP, and because the settings are downloaded into a java applet each connection, Citrix has better management capability.

Also, I read Windows 2003 TS struggled over 70 users where Citrix would not.

I have left my details to be contacted by Citrix sales.
Before talking with their sales people, I would like to have an idea what I need and estimate cost rather than what they tell me I need and what it will cost.

What I would like to know is:

For between 70 and 100 users, say 50 concurrent at any one time which would be highly unlikely to get that high.

How many servers in the farm (Would two be enough)?
What spec (Duel Xeon with 4GB)?
Is one accessed more than others or would using round robin with one fqdn and multile ip addresses share the load?
Can I use the cisco 3030 SSL VPN or do I need citrix hardware to access (accelerate)?
I take it this is active directory integrated?

Who is Participating?
1. How many servers you need is a very common question but very tough to answer.  Since every environment is different there is no real answer to the question.  Different applications and different types of users = different number of servers.  HOWEVER, I can safely say that in most enviroments where MS Office is the most common program used, then 2 servers would probably be fine for 50 concurrent users.  The only problem with that is redundancy.  Even though you have 2 servers, if 1 goes down you might not be able to handle the load of 50 users.  So this depends on your uptime requirements and how fast you think you could repair a server in the event of a crash.

2. The bigger the better when it comes to Terminal Services.  Again this will depend on how much your servers are getting used but generally Dual Xeon's is the way to go.  4 GB RAM is also good.  You can always adjust RAM later if you start to use more than that but I wouldn't start with less than 4 GB.  If you have Cat6 networking between your fileservers & citrix servers that will help as well.

3.  As long as you get Citrix Advanced Edition or greater you will have load balancing so each server generally will have about the same # of users on it at any given time.
Read about the different versions of Citrix here:

4. You can use your existing SSL VPN although this is not even required.  With Citrix Web Interface & Secure Gateway (which are included when you buy Citrix) you will have 128-bit SSL security between your client device and your servers.

5. Yes, it works with Active Directory.
One other thing - I wanted to clarify on a couple of the other comments you made.  Even though I think Citrix is a good choice for you  (rather than plain old Terminal Server) I want to make sure you have all the correct info:

>>ICA protocol outperforms RDP
You can customize how many virutal channels are being used by the ICA protocol, so in a lot of cases you will have less traffic but this is not a guarantee.  RDP and ICA are almost identical these days so I wouldn't make a decision either way based on just this alone.

>>and because the settings are downloaded into a java applet each connection
This is one of the client options you have when it comes to citrix IF USING Citrix Web Interface.  You can also use the Citrix ICA Client or Citrix Web Client which are not java but other options for you.  These can be installed automatically to the client device when they connect to your web interface but will remain on the client device.  The ICA Client (actually called Program Neighborhood Client) will allow users to connect to citrix without having to visit a website but this is NOT the preferred method IMO since it needs to be configured ahead of time.  Otherwise, yes you only need the Java Virtual Machine installed on the client to connect.

>>Also, I read Windows 2003 TS struggled over 70 users where Citrix would not.
Not true.  Citrix sits on top of TS so if TS was struggling, then Citrix would too.  Again, I DO recommend using Citrix because of all the other features/management options you get. But this statement is incorrect.
jessmcaAuthor Commented:
Thank you mgcIT
That was very helpful :)
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