A few projects that have been completed by us for customers during our 14 years of working in IT consultancy.
The customer had a combination of physical Windows XP and Windows 7 desktops that are no longer supported or patched by Microsoft. Citrix XenApp 6.5 was also being used to provide some of their applications to the desktops as published applications. The driving force of the project is to get rid of the Windows XP machines.
The customer looked at rolling out VDI using Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 with Feature Pack 3 and replace physical desktops with iGEL thin clients where necessary. The majority of applications are installed on XenApp servers and published to the user's virtual desktop session. The virtual desktops provide access to Skype video and audio.
Single image management for both the virtual desktop and XenApp servers are delivered using Citrix Provisioning Services 7.6 technology. A single vDisk image for the virtual desktops and a second one for the XenApp servers.
Two datacentres were used with one XenDesktop site and Provisioning Services farm in each datacentre. NetScaler GSLB provided load balancing and failover between datacentres. A total of 1,344 virtual desktops and 28 XenApp servers deployed in each datacentre making a grand total of 2,688 and 56 virtual machines respectively.
All XenDesktop infrastructure, virtual desktops and XenApp servers were deployed on Microsoft Hyper-V and used System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) to manage the virtual environment.
Customer had an existing Citrix XenDesktop 5.6 site and they want to upgrade it to version 7.1. They currently had 300 users on XenDesktop accessing virtual desktops via thin clients and Windows machines. XenDesktop 7.1 needed to support about 2,000 users and be resilient.
New XenDesktop 7.1 infrastructure servers were built on the existing VMware vSphere so we could run both environments side-by-side and migrate users over in a controlled manner. Should anything go wrong the users can be moved back.
Virtual desktops were deployed on Citrix XenServer connected to a NFS share on a NetApp SAN. Each XenServer has 3 SSD drives used for Intellicache to improve the performance of the virtual desktops by offloading the disk IOPS to the SSD drives.
Citrix NetScaler was reconfigured for remote access and to load balance traffic for Citrix StoreFront, Director and XenDesktop Delivery Controller servers to help improve the scalability of the XenDesktop environment. NetScaler Gateway allowed access to both XenDesktop 5.6 and 7.1 environments until all users had been migrated.
Lync 2013 was being implemented at the customer across two sites and they needed a means of load balancing the network traffic between the Lync Pool servers and provide high availability.
Lync was configured with two sets of pools one server pool at each site with 3 Lync Front End servers in each pool. Each pool would service the requests from users assigned to it and only in the event of a Lync pool failure would it respond to communication from users assigned to the other pool.
NetScaler VPX was configured in an active-passive high availability pair with one virtual appliance in each site. Separate load balancing virtual servers for each Lync Pool was created and configured for failover in the event two or more Lync servers goes down all traffic will be directed to the remaining pool.
All user requests are sent to the NetScalers and then passed on to the least loaded Lync server and in the event a NetScaler appliance goes down the passive NetScaler automatically takes over all communication.
Hosted Shared Desktop
Customer was looking to replace their aging desktop estate using Citrix XenApp 7.6 and iGEL thin clients. XenApp needed to support 250 users, be expandable and resilient. Users access a published desktop with all applications installed on the XenApp server.
XenApp controllers and StoreFront servers were built on the existing VMware vSphere 5.5 environment. a separate vSphere Cluster was created to house the XenApp session servers with dedicated ESXi 5.5 hosts using local storage containing the XenApp virtual machines.
All XenApp servers were deployed using Machine Creation Services (MCS) that utilises the hypervisor's technology to point multiple VM's to the same shared gold virtual disk image saving on disk space and administration overhead.
NetScaler Gateway was introduced in a high availability pair to provide remote access for users working from home and failover for XenApp controllers and StoreFront servers.
The customer wanted to manage iPhones and iPads that have been purhcased as well as user's own devices. They required access to email and be able to share documents between users and partners.
XenMobile 10 Enterprise was implemented to give the customer the ability to lockdown devices using policies. WorxMail and ShareFile Worx Apps were MDX wrapped and deployed to the devices using XenMobile. Worx Apps gave them a secure bubble in which to keep corporate data and control the flow of that data on the device.
WorxMail allowed users to access their email while ShareFile provided the document access and sharing.
ShareFile Enterprise gave the customer document sharing capability so users could access documents via web browser, mobile phone, tablet and desktop and share them with other users and partners.
Remote access and load balancing was provided through the NetScaler VPX virtual appliance. An SSL micro VPN gives the Worx Apps access to company servers such as the Exchange servers for email and load balancing gives the solution more resilience.