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Real-world performance needs of Citrix Presentation Server

We are installing Citrix Presentation Server 4.5 on a dedicated Windows 2008 Server. It's a Dell machine with 700+ gigs on a RAID-6 with two quad-core processors.

We only have licenses for 10 simultaneous Citrix users. We are trying to decide the bandwidth needs.

The applications users will be using will be Outlook, Word, WordPerfect (it's a law firm). Prolaw and Summation.

My understanding of the purpose of Citrix is so individuals can run in a think client and run the applications off the server. The technology basically sends the screen to the user's workstation (like VNC, RDC), correct? So, the bandwidth requirements are minimal, no?

Do we need a T1 1.5M or T1 3.0M? Apparently firewall hardware with support and all cost upwards of $4k to handle these speeds. The price difference in the bandwidth plans is $3600 a year. Thoughts?

- Elan
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sweetseater
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sweetseater
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3 Solutions
 
Carl WebsterCommented:
YOU CANNOT INSTALL XENAPP 4.5 ON SERVER 2008.  It just will not work and if by some rare chance you do get it to work, it is totally 100% not supported.

The Citrix ICA protocol is very WAN friendly.  For 10 users, a T1 is sufficient.  BUT - that depends on Prolaw and Summation which I am not familiar with.  Outlook, Word and WordPerfect will work with no issues under Citrix.

If you have to user Server 2008, then your only choice is to use XenApp 5 for Server 2008.
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sweetseaterAuthor Commented:
CarlWebster,

Thanks for your clear response. I'm confirming now the version we are actually using.

Prolaw is a very light application that will communicate through the LAN to a local SQL Server.
Summation is a pretty standard application also loading data on the LAN.

How many users do you think the T1 would be okay for if we needed to one day buy 5 or 10 more licenses?

Thanks!
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Carl WebsterCommented:
I have a lot of Law Firms and CPA practices supporting 20 to 25 users on a T1.  BUT - some of those firms have a separate T1 they use for internal users to use the Internet and for e-mail traffic.  In other words, they have a dedicated T1 for their Citrix servers.
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sweetseaterAuthor Commented:
Great. I was asking about a dedicated T1. We have DSL for Internet traffic already.
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sweetseaterAuthor Commented:
Thanks. Very helpful and appreciated!
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BLipmanCommented:
We get over 100 concurrent sessions over a single T1 but mileage will vary.  A good starting point is to estimate 50-60kb/s per concurrent user but this is rough.  Things like screen size, color depth, how active the user and application refresh the screen, KB and mouse activity, printing (size and frequency of jobs), clipboard activity (cut/paste across the session), sound, etc will all influence your bandwidth needs.  
There are policies you can configure in Citrix to throttle these "channels" so you can limit the spikes of large print jobs, file copy, etc.  This will help your qos when things get tighter.  Really, the best technique is to monitor your actual usage.  Do periodic checks of incoming and outgoing bandwidth and divide by the number of concurrent sessions.  You won't see spikes very well but throttling can help with that part.  
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