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What is the best way to create a hosted desktop enviroment using Citrix xendesktops/xenapp

Hi

I'm new to Virtualization and need to come up with the best solution to move around 80 mobile users onto some sort of share hosted virtual desktops using Xen.

We have a fairly powerful server hosted in a datacenter with lost of bandwidth, running 2 windows 2003 enterprise VM's and a Widows Server 2008 enterprise VM

I wanted to know if there was a way to setup 1 Xen desktop with generic software and share it between the 80 users, instead of creating a separate VM for each user.
I would prefer if the OS on the VM was either XP or window 7 but have been told the best way to achieve this is through a terminal service OS and Xen app. Is this the case?

Also what would be the best Xen product to purchase in order achieve this and are there any good walk through guides / articles on setting up the server to achieve this?
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markbenham
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markbenham
1 Solution
 
amichaellCommented:
A typical XenDesktop setup will utilize the following components:

-XenServer: This is the hypervisor that will host your virtual desktops.  Alternatively you can utilize Hyper-V or ESX for your hypervisor.
-Provisioning Services: Provisioning Services (PVS) is utilized to stream your desktop OS to your XenServer hosted virtual machines.  Streaming allows you to utilize a single Golden Image to stream as many VMs as your hypervisors can handle.  Utilizing PVS allows you to save a tremendous amount of disk space.  The other aspect is that with a single Golden Image your VMs are non-volatile, so any changes (installed apps, malware) made while in use are lost upon reboot.
-XenDesktop: XenDesktop is the broker.  It tells your users what virtual desktops they have available to them.  The official terminology is Desktop Delivery Controller (DDC).
-XenApp: XenApp is used to supply applications.  The recommended Citrix deployment for XenDesktop is to use XenDesktop to provide the OS and XenApp to provide the applications.  This is completely optional.  In reality you will likely have a mix of some applications installed on your Golden Image and others delivered via XenApp.

You'll need to determine hardware.  Ideally you'll have two DDCs for redundancy.  You'll also want two PVSs for redundancy.  Based upon hardware, you can figure ~30 users per hypervisor.  Maybe 40 with newer hardware.  Whatever the number is, though, go with your standard n+1 model to allow you to completely lose a hypervisor.

XenDesktop uses Citrix's ICA protocol, so you have great LAN and WAN performance.  Also supports audio, good multimedia (with XenDEsktop 4 and HDX) and USB devices (printers, scanners, etc).

Citrix's XenDesktop Admin Guide has a pretty good walkthrough for setting up a XenDesktop environment.   It walks you through setting up everything (AD, DNS, DHCP, etc).  
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