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cmatchettFlag for United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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Citrix Zen App / Bandwidth optimization


Is it fair to say that you would need a hardware based bandwidth optimizer when using Citrix Zen App with thin client devices?

Server 2012 now ships with some fantastic wan optimizing features.  There is a white paper titled, Networking Server 2012 which explains what they are.  To get the best out of any solution, you would need to marry Windows 8 together with Server 2012.

A technical guy from told me that although u can upgrade the firmware on a thin client device to latest version of RDP, it will only really support the required authentication i.e. NLA...

So if i was accessing either a Citrix farm or a Server 2012 Session host farm with thin clients, i would never obtain the bandwidth optimization features of Windows server 2012 and would need a hardware based device to do the optimizing for me.  A product like riverbed?

thanks for your help
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Carl Webster
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Hi Carl,

If i was using VXL thin client device to access a citrix xenapp farm, do u think u would still need a hardware based bandwidth optimization device?  You configure ICA sessions on the thin clients.

I understand that you can only do so much from a software point of view with Citrix, just like RD Session host farm  i.e. limit sound, screen resolution, backgrounds etc....but with lots of users a hardware device would also be needed?

With windows 8 and server 2012 together using RDP, the intelligence is built into the OS.  A thin client device would also provide a means of access?
I have heard really good things of going straing 2012 RDS and Win8 clients but I have no experience with it at this time.

The only way to tell if you need bandwidth optimization is to test it.  Citrix has the Branch Repeater and NetScaler appliances and there are other vendors but they can't do for ICA/HDX what Citrix does.
we have installed some riverbed POC's at customer sites.
nearly all now are in production.
it does a gret job for mails, files, websites, windowsupdates ...
but not so with citrix ICA/HDX.
compression is nearly 0 and the TCP optimisation features can't do many things with citrix-traffic also.
Only print-jobs from a central printserver to other locations are noticeable faster.

which problems you think to address?
I am trying to understand what the best choice is.  We have a current customer who is using Citrix Presentation server and is now undertaking an upgrade of their environment.
There are 5 sites, thin client devices are used to access Citrix Sessions over the WAN.  The primary site has 100 mb internet connection.  The lowest connection speed at the other sites is 2mb up and down.

There are 25 users at the site with the 2mb connection and they complain about performance over the WAN.  They do lots of printing - thinprint is installed.
Server 2012 has some amazing features and is designed for low bandwidth usage.  My proposal for the upgrade is for a pure server 2012 environment using load balanced RD Session Hosts, dumping citrix.

At the site with 2 mb link, a server 2012 session host server would be installed.  The thin clients would be configured to point to this server, to then RDP onto the RD Session host farm.  

Server 2012 features includes:

User Datagram Protocol (UDP): RDP chooses between TCP and UDP transports, depending on the content type and connection quality. When Remote Desktop is enabled on a computer, UDP for port 3389 is automatically enabled in Windows Firewall. For enhanced performance, verify that this port is enabled on your network.

Forward error correction (FEC): RDP also supports FEC. The server sends redundant data across the network to recover quickly from packet loss without requiring retransmission, even over lossy networks.

Network auto-detect: RDP detects end-to-end network speed by measuring latency, maximum bandwidth, and packet loss and then adjusts the type of connection and the data transfer based on the available bandwidth.

Dynamic transport detection: RDP uses dynamic transport detection to select the appropriate transport to communicate with the client. The system first tries using UDP as the transport mechanism. If that fails, it automatically switches to TCP, using the most appropriate transport to achieve the recommended user experience.

It would also allow users to copy documents to the local server and print them on the internal LAN.  A 2mb pdf document can expand to 50mb when printing and is maybe a bit much for the 2 mb link.  Allowing users to save the 2 mb file locally would reduce the bandwidth consumption by a considerable amount.

I was then thinking that if you continued to use the thin client devices over the WAN without the local server, you would need a product like riverbed.
your thin clients would need an updated rdp client to take full advantage of what server 2012 rdp can offer.  can your thin clients be updated?
Yes, but a representative from told me that their thin client device will only support the Authentication requirements of RDP i.e. Network Level Authentication.

It was his opinion that all the WAN optimizing features are built into the Windows 8 / Server 2012 Operating System.

So, taking that into consideration, using thin clients over a WAN would be bandwidth intensive without the likes of riverbed?
There is only ONE way to find out and that is to test it with YOUR users and YOUR applications.

Most WAN Acceleration device vendors will loan you an evaluation unit for testing.