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XenApp 6 design Published desktops vs Published Apps vs Streamed Apps

Mayogroup
Mayogroup asked
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Last Modified: 2012-03-20
About 12 months ago we rolled out XenApp 6 published desktops to all of our staff over 8 offices around the country.
Majority of the staff work within the LAN where the XenApp servers are located.
The rest are in branch offices connected via WAN links (these are low speeds).

We have a number of XenApp 6 servers (Server 2008 R2), which are all configured identically. Users connect to the host with the least load.

What we have found is the following:
1.
Users in the LAN where the the XenApp servers are have minimal issues. Main issue is that Excel Locks up frequently. Mainly when accessing our BI Data which is hosted on another server (which is not releated I know), but when several users are running BI reports at the same time, it will lock up for all of them as there are not enough resources. The rest of the apps seem fine.

2.
Users in our branch offices cannot function with Published desktops, the WAN links are not large enough to handle the load streaming multiple desktops at the same time. Increasing the links is not cost effective.

We have received alot of complaints from our Local BI users and our Branch office users about the above 2 reasons. This has prompted me to think of a redesign or rethink of how we are using XenApp.

I had engaged Citrix directly for assistance, but all they could think of was to install branch repeaters. These only increase the published desktop speed 1.5 fold. They are designed more to accelerating CIFS, Printing etc. Not designed for Published desktops. They don't seem to be able to offer any alternatives.

I have researched a bit and it looks as though Published desktops is not the recomended practice and that the norm is to stream apps direct to XenDesktops instead.

Do I persist and spend more money increasing link speeds, purchase branch repeaters etc?
Do I look at streaming Apps to XenDesktops?
Do I look at streaming apps to the XenApp servers hosting the published desktops?
Do I trash the whole Xen solution and go back to local clients with local apps etc and incur all the issues that come along with them?

Strange thing out of all of this is that we have several Thin clients (Linux Platform), that connect straight to the XenApp servers via their built in Citrix receiver. They don't pass through the Citrix Web interface. They work perfect. No issues at all with a published desktop.

Is there a way for our Desktop and Laptop users to connect to the servers without using the Web interface?

I would appreciate any helpful suggestions.
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Thanks for that.
Re Branch repeaters we currently have several trial Branch repeater (physical ) appliances for the last 4 months. They haven't done anything to increase the Published desktop performance from XenApp. 1.5 acceleration is the best we can achieve as it is designed more to accelerate CIFS, Printing etc.

I will trial XenDesktop and see if that makes an improvement.
However I don't know if it is going to help much as the XenApp servers are still going to be the source running all of the published Apps and will be where all the resources are used (tell me if this is wrong).

When streaming apps (instead of publishing), will this force the apps to be run from the client? so resources are dependant on the client instead of the server?

Re Citrix reciever, tried this also. Is just a gui which looks like the one used on IPADs. It still requires connection via the web interface, not direct to the XenApp servers.

Re PNAgent, tried this too. this seems to be used more for published apps and not published desktops. Tried publishing desktops through it and was forever getting errors about seemless window sizes. Bit annoying for the users.
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I actually have 2 zones setup already to try split the load on our WAN links (as mentioned they aren't great).

But there zones are in our Production and DR facilities. We do have 1 server in each of our Branch offices also, but these are not really suitable for hosting XenApp Zones.

Re Streaming the apps, I will look into it. Has been a long time since I did my XenApp cert. Have forgotten most of the knowledge re streaming and setting up Application profilers.

Only used published apps and desktops since then. I have just wiped the dust of my old XenApp 6 training handbooks :)
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Thanks Carl, you always get straight to the point and everything you say makes exact sence. I don't think I have ever had a bad suggestion from you.

We are using XenApp6 Standard. We purchased this along with replacing all of our infrastructure from scratch. We were forced to fit the whole project under a budget, which unfortunately we had to sacrifice components which as a result have caused us these issues.

"I told you so" only gets me so far!

I am going to focus on our Excel issues first as they seem to be the bigger priority at this stage. Our branch office users can use their wireless datacards for the time being as a workaround.

I was going to deploy a XenApp 6 server with Office 2010 and see if this makes any difference.

Re Branch office users, I will do as you say, deploy edgesite and also trial XenApp 6.5

Thanks Again Carl!!
You're a legend!

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Regarding Office,
This part has always been a bit blury to me..

Office is used by every single user with a published desktop.

All I have done here is install office on each of the XenApp published desktop servers and users access it locally on the server they are connected too. Instead of setting each office App up as a published App.

Which way would you do it?
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