Citrix Xen App or Desktop?

Posted on 2011-03-02
Last Modified: 2012-05-11

We are implementing a DR site and we would like to know what is the better option between Xen Apps or Xen Desktop;   overview of setup below

VmWare ESX servers at Main sites and DR site
Using Citrix VPX Gateway to present access control
Access will be mainly to Exchange 2010, files shares, SAP, Payroll systems with SQL DB

I guess we can use Xen Apps to present these applications but is thier any benifit beshides seeing a full desktop screen to using Xen Desktop?

What is the easier solution to setup?

Any guidance is appreciated
Question by:rslive
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Expert Comment

ID: 35024520

frankly speaking cannot get much idea on your question. you want to setup a DR site for your infrastructure (like exchange, file share, sap payroll etc. )?

how the users are presently accessing these infrastructure application with apps installed on local pc or xenapp?

Author Comment

ID: 35024876
Users are connecting either via software in their pc's, web based applications

Author Comment

ID: 35024884
Did not complete last post

Connecting back to servers with file shares, sql databases, all very straight forward anf currently no desktop virtulization it citrix
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Expert Comment

ID: 35025397
so why are you planning to go for xenapp and xendesktop is it for users in DR site, and how are they going to use these xenapp / xendesktop service. using thinclient or using their own laptop


Author Comment

ID: 35025526
If we loose both production sites we need to able to access systems.  Exchange will be available via Double Take software.  Applications and file servers will be available at the DR site in the form of virtual servers.

To access these servers the users will need some sort of Gateway like Citrix presentation server, behind this server my thoughts were to have Citrix Net App to deliver the services.

Users will only use this type of access in a DR situation.

Can you advise if this is a good solution?  If not please advise what you would do?

LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 35027183
XenDesktop is best if you have application compatibility or vendor support reasons that prohibit you from hosting applications on a server based OS (e.g. XenApp on Windows Server 2003 or 2008).  You will also generally get less user density per physical server with XenDesktop than you will with XenApp.  

I think XenDesktop is a bit easier to set up than XenApp, though if you utilize Provisioning Services (which you can for both solutions) then it is pretty much a wash.

Look in to using a NetScaler for Global Server Load Balancing.  This should help facilitate your DR needs as well.

Author Comment

ID: 35032455
Yes, I was going to use Netscaler VPX at the front end which integrates into Desktop or Apps, I think most of our apps can be delivered on the server so Xen Apps may be the way to go.  Is what im suggesting good practice for a DR site, I guess thier are a few different options available to deliver apps over the WAN?

LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 35032940
Perfectly viable for a DR solution.
LVL 11

Accepted Solution

AdamBNYC earned 250 total points
ID: 35033483
I would suggest XenApp. Xendesktop is great if your looking to provide full featured desktops to remote users. It sounds like you really only need to deliver mission critical applications in case of an emergency. While Xendesktop is pretty awesome it has some pretty high hardware requirements. for 200 users you will be running two high powered hypervisor hosts, two physical PvS servers, and maybe two servers for DDC's ( broker server). While it is true that some of this can be virtualized, best practice is physical hardware for most of this. In addition you may need a SAN. For just DR, this is a big investment. If your looking at virtual desktops company wide as a solution to your desktop issues in production, then we can have another discussion...

On the flip side, you have 2 or 3 Virtual XenApp servers and you should be able to take care of 200 users give or take application load. If applications are web based applications and all you are doing is publishing Windows Explorer and directly linking to a URL, then you can probably get much higher numbers. Also be careful when virtualizing XenApp servers on ESX 3.5. There can be performance issues. Go with Vsphere or Citrix Xenserver for the Citrix workload and you will be much happier.

Assisted Solution

Roshan_c earned 250 total points
ID: 35042088

I agree on xenapp if you would like to have a secure access to the apps using published browser and published application. as per above comments its true that xendesktop is used to deliver a full featured OS as per user requirement.

As you want only the application to be accessible then yes please go with xenapp. it doesnt require to have DDC as its a service used to deliver desktop to user. PVS is again not required as its a disk provisioning service in xendesktop environment. so only xenapp services is required. now you have to check for number of users.

you can completely virtualize the xenapp server. you can have multiple xenapp server to achive failover and load balanced features.

if you need more assistance in sizing can assist with the same for that I need to have following details

No. of users
Name and number appliction which you want to publish


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