Citrix Netscaler VPX Express Performance Review

Hello Experts, if you have deployed Netscaler VPX Express, I would appreciate your experience and recommendation.

I'm in the midst of tech refresh with ESXi 5.5 with latest Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 and Netscaler VPX Express. We were looking at the paid version of VPX but vendor forgot to included this in their bid so they want to go with the free VPX Express free version.

We have about 40 Citrix users but in average we have about a dozen users on Citrix. I was concerned with VPX Express 5mb limitation and performance but at 50-100 kbps per user this might still be good fit.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks much!
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Dirk KotteSECommented:
5 MBit is a usable bandwith for 10-20 active users (or more).
Only if someone copy his files within the session to the local device it need a little bit more time.
a bigger problem with the free vpx express is the annual renew of the license.

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And if you are close to the 5MB cap, you can load balance a pair (or more) of free VPX's.. But you don't want to have *too* many, otherwise, you'll have potential problems.

Also, remember that the VPX's can't migrate to different hosts without a shutdown/restart cycle on them.

Symbian69Author Commented:
Thank you both for sharing.

I noticed the express version doesn't have the Optimization features. Does that really help with ica traffic?
Dirk KotteSECommented:
the NS optimization features can't do many for ICA traffic.
It definitely doesn't help ICA much.

The way TCP works is that the 2 end points negotiate a connection. One of the things they agree upon is how much data to send before receiving an acknowledgement.  This is called the sliding window.  By default, most systems start at a small size and negotiate their way up (maximum of 64k bytes) until they agree on the most they can send.  When either system gets an error at that maximum size, the cycle starts again.  

The Netscaler optimization does the exact opposite.  It forces the negotiations to start at the *high* end and work their way down until they consistently go through.  And if they encounter an error, they try the maximum size again and work back down.  

ICA has a fixed maximum packet size (1460 bytes, although it can be smaller).  So, the optimization really doesn't *do* anything directly.  It allows more ICA packets without acknowledgments, however, generally speaking, ICA packets are very small (less than that 1460), until you do something "large" like printing, or file transfers, heavy graphics, etc.  The mouse, keyboard and "general" screen updates are small and just don't benefit from that optimization.

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