Citrix setup

The firm I work at is looking to setup a XenDesktop environment to help standardize and make support easier on the IT staff (me). We're a 65 user firm who's been growing at 5-10 employees per year.

Recently I went to XenDesktop training and it was recommended that all the modules (provisioning services, licensing, etc.)  should all run on their own servers but in smaller setups some of these can run on the same servers.

So, given out firm size (65 users) I was looking for some guidance on what we'll need to get this up and running. We currently use XenApp for employees to remote access out network programs while either out at clients and/or working from home.

Any help that can be offered would be greatly appreciated.

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Robin CMSenior Security and Infrastructure EngineerCommented:
Licensing has a very light load so you could run that with something else easily.
Might be worth taking a few days to read this:
Understand the system and make your own mind up - especially if you're the one who'se going to be implementing and then supporting it.
You (should!) know your infrastructure and useage patterns/load better than anyone else.
There's also the Citrix XenDesktop eDocs stuff
Check out the Quick Deploy and Evaluate sections, and also the Plan one - it gives example diagrams of possible system configurations.
My first question would be why XenDesktop?  Unless you have applications that do not work properly in a shared environment, then I would *start* with a XenApp implementation.  It is far less complicated than XenDesktop, it requires far fewer resources, and is overall, easier to manage.  You've seen it for your remote access, so it's a 'known' quantity.

But, if you want to go the XD route anyway, some things are easily combined, and others can be tricky, but doable.

You can combine the license server with virtually anything, it is very lightweight and doesn't seem to really conflict with anything.

The XD Broker in a small environment isn't a huge resource hog, but you have to be cautious when combining this with other services - it involves a fair amount of overhead, and if it's taxed, you will have a lot of problems.

The PVS server really should stand alone - this one cannot afford to be taxed - any lack of resources, and all of the supported machines will have trouble.

The virtualization host - be careful about your sizing - there are tons of articles on this.  You don't want to undersize your # of cores and especially IOPS (XA uses ~1 IOP per active user).  

If you go with XD, if you are using MCS, you have to be careful - static images have to be managed just like a PC.  The pooled ones are easier to manage - they just have to have the central image updated.  MCS also uses a good deal of overhead, so your machine count will go down substantially compared to PVS.  

PVS requires a very cautious and methodical approach :-)

dak11Author Commented:

2 main reasons for the full xendesktop.

1. Management went to a technology presentation and heard about xendesktop and decided that's the way they want to go. Didn't see a demo, didn't test drive the product, didn't see it in a seminar, just heard the buzz.

2. They also like the idea that they'll ahve the same desktop regardless of where they're working from.

Thanks for all the information. We might just have someone come in and help us with the install and then we can take it from there.
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It's definitely worth having someone come in and help you with it.  XD is so much more complicated than XA, even though getting all of the applications to work on XA can be an art :-)

I'd also recommend you get a good solid Platinum partner to help you with it.   But, there is nothing like a mix of marketing & management to make IT life interesting.

Just give them a XenApp Published desktop with the OOBE package installed. Much more economical and they get their desktop. Have the wallpaper say Windows 7. management won't know the difference.
dak11Author Commented:
Have either of you had any experience with Citrix's VDI in-a-box?

Seems like it's directed more towards the small company (like ours) from the documentation.
It's pretty good for a small environment.  I haven't used it, but it is basically its own hypervisor and runs individual VM's.  It has it's own front-end etc. and it uses ICA for connectivity to the VM's.  It is *reasonably* scalable, but after a few hundred VM's the management gets to be a hassle.  

To scale out, you just add another box and the 2 systems join up to manage everything (most of that work is handled automagically).  


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