Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and Citrix DaaS with VMware Cloud on Dell

Executive Summary

Organizations are under increasing pressure to deliver enterprise applications on hosted virtual desktops along with the user experience and reliability of a conventional physical desktop. Virtual desktop infrastructure holds the promise of not only consolidating desktop computing in the hybrid cloud environment for improved manageability, efficiency, and security, but also for supporting new services such as bring-your-own-device and desktop.

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and Citrix DaaS (formerly Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service) with VMware Cloud on Dell delivers a seamlessly integrated hybrid cloud for virtual applications and desktops. It combines the enterprise capabilities of the VMware Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and Citrix DaaS for a simple, secure, and scalable solution.

This solution allows customers to quickly deploy and support Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops infrastructure in core data center, edge, and co-location contexts. It provides a prescriptive and stable digital foundation for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops that simplifies scalability, alleviating IT administrators of significant infrastructure management burden.

For customers who are already familiar with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops or are deploying it in their on-premises data centers, deploying Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops on VMware Cloud on Dell lets you leverage a unified architecture and provides you familiar tools. By outsourcing the management of the SDDC to VMware, you can simplify the operation of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop deployments.

Overview

You can deploy Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and Citrix DaaS on VMware Cloud on Dell to scale Citrix desktops and applications with the simplicity and agility of the public cloud and the security and control of on -premises infrastructure delivered as a service to data center and edge locations. It is built upon on the latest VMware SDDC suite, including industry-leading compute, storage, and network virtualization that is optimized for Dell VxRail hyperconverged infrastructure

Audience

This white paper is intended to provide a set of best practices for all the architects, engineers, consultants, and IT administrators who are responsible for designing, implementing, and operating Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and Citrix DaaS infrastructure on VMware Cloud on Dell.

Business Case

Providing desktops and applications to users anywhere and on any device has become essential to keeping businesses, education, and healthcare running. As a result, we have seen tremendous customer demand for virtual desktop infrastructure solutions. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops on VMware Cloud on Dell ensures employees have instant, consistent access to all the apps and information they need—on any device and network.

About VMware Cloud on Dell

VMware Cloud™ on Dell combines the simplicity and agility of the public cloud with the security and control of on-premises infrastructure delivered as a service to data center and edge locations. It is built on the latest VMware software defined data center suite, including industry-leading compute, storage, and network virtualization. This suite is optimized for and built upon Dell VxRail hyperconverged infrastructure. It is easy to procure, and it delivers a cloud-like consumption model. This solution provides an excellent digital foundation for customers to host and manage virtual desktops.

VMware Cloud on Dell eliminates operational complexities in three keyways:

  1. Delivers a prescriptive, cloud-like ease-of-consumption for on-premises infrastructure as a service
  2. Provides unparalleled consistency between your on-premises and public cloud environments
  3. Removes significant operational burden from monitoring and maintaining the ongoing lifecycle management of a software defined data center

VMware Cloud on Dell infrastructure is delivered, installed, maintained, and supported by VMware. Additionally, VMware’s hybrid cloud control plane enables the provisioning and monitoring of modern infrastructure that integrates with existing VMware on-premises infrastructures. Furthermore, the consistency VMware Cloud on Dell creates between your VMware-based public cloud and on-premises infrastructure reduces overhead for IT Operations, IT Security, Developers and CIOs/CTOs, enabling these roles to instead focus on accelerating the business. VMware Cloud on Dell delivers value to any data center or edge location where business is transacted and there exists a need for compute, storage, or networking capabilities.

VMware Cloud on Dell seamlessly extends public cloud benefits to workloads in your on-premises data centers and edge locations alike. This is significant because requirements for integrating security, networking and policy management at the edge are just as stringent as those in your data center—if not more so. VMware’s hybrid cloud control plane makes it as easy to configure and monitor virtual apps and desktop workload at scale.

About Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and Citrix DaaS

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and Citrix DaaS enable you to securely deliver a high-performance virtual apps and desktops experience to any device. Whether the solution is deployed as a Desktops as a Service (DaaS) model or an on- premises virtual desktop infrastructure option, the overall administrative experience is seamless. Leveraging Citrix DaaS for both on-premises and cloud workloads removes the need for overhead infrastructure and centralizes administration, freeing up IT resources from operations and maintenance type tasks, allowing more time for innovation. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and Citrix DaaS deliver end user access to both Windows and Linux applications and desktops securely from a central location, via the industry-leading HDX protocol.

For more information, please refer to Citrix documentation.

The following core components of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops are used in this document:

  • Studio Studio is the management console for configuring and controlling your deployment, removing the need for separate management consoles for managing application and desktop delivery. Studio includes a number of wizards that will help you set up your environment, create workloads to host applications and desktops, and assign applications and desktops to users.
  • Delivery Controller  The Delivery Controller allows for desktop and application assignment to users and groups, and brokers connections between users and their virtual desktops. It is installed on servers in the data center. The Delivery Controller also controls the power actions of the virtual app and desktop VMs and the connectivity to the underlying hypervisor, as well as the connectivity to the backend database.
  • Database Every Citrix Site must have at least one database to hold configuration and session data. Since the database stores data that the Controller services, the Delivery Controller must have a persistent connection to it.  In the case of a database outage, Citrix Local Host Cache provides for a grace period, so that user connections are uninterrupted.  It is recommended to have highly available databases that are groomed and backed up on a regular basis.
  • Director— Director is a web-based solution that allows IT support staff to monitor an environment, resolve issues before they become system-critical, and provide user help. You can also utilize Microsoft Remote Assistance to view and interact with a user's sessions. Director includes detailed descriptions for connection and computer failures, one-month historical data (Enterprise edition), configurable reports, and SNMP trap notifications.
  • Citrix Workspace app Citrix Workspace app is installed on user devices, gives users self-service access to documents, programs, and desktops from any of their devices, including smartphones, tablets, and PCs. Citrix Workspace app allows users to access Windows, web, and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications on demand. Citrix Workspace app for HTML5 enables connectivity using an HTML5-compatible web browser for devices that cannot install the Workspace app software.
  • StoreFront— StoreFront authenticates users to sites hosting resources and manages stores of desktops and applications that users access. StoreFront includes the ability to create and use multiple IIS websites, each having its own domain name.
  • License Server Any Citrix-based solution requires the Citrix License Server to function properly. At least one shared or dedicated license server is required for every Citrix product environment. License servers are computers dedicated to storing and maintaining licenses, either partially or entirely. Citrix products request licenses from a license server when users connect.
  • Machine Creation Services (MCS) A package of services that work together to create virtual servers and desktops on demand from a gold image, maximizing storage utilization and ensuring that users log in to a pristine virtual machine every time. Citrix Studio is where MCS is fully integrated and administered.
  • Citrix Cloud ConnectorThe Citrix Cloud Connector is a Citrix component that serves as a channel for communication between Citrix Cloud and your resource locations, enabling cloud management without requiring any complex networking or infrastructure configuration. This removes all the hassle of managing delivery infrastructure. It enables you to manage and focus on the resources that provide value to your users

Design Overview

There are three design patterns for how on-premises version of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops can be deployed on VMware Cloud on Dell. The customer has a choice to request how the vSphere clusters can be configured within VMware Cloud on Dell on Day 1. The following figures show the high-level logical architecture of the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops components on VMware Cloud on Dell.

Design #1: Single cluster design

  • In this design all the nodes are configured as a single vSphere cluster in the vCenter.
  • In this deployment architecture, all SDDC management components such as VMware vCenter, NSX Manager and NSX Edge are placed under Management Resource Pool. This is fully automated as part of VMware Cloud Dell offering.
  • All Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops management components such as Delivery Controllers, StoreFront, Citrix Studio, Director, Citrix License server, and Database Servers are placed under Compute Resource Pool along with Virtual Desktops and Load Balancers.

Design Justification

This design is intended for the customer who want to start with a minimum configuration of VMware Cloud on Dell and then scale their Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops infrastructure as needed. The minimum configuration for VMware Cloud on Dell is currently 3 nodes and maximum 26 nodes. The maximum number of hosts in a cluster is 16.

Note: Although the figure-1 shows a single instance of Citrix management components, however Citrix infrastructure should always be deployed with an n+1 VM configuration for failover and update purposes, per Citrix leading practice. Refer to the Citrix documentation for more information.

Graphical user interface, application

Description automatically generated

Figure-1: One Cluster SDDC design

Design #2 – Two Cluster Design

  • In this design we have two vSphere clusters as part of VMware Cloud on Dell deployment.
  • We have one dedicated vSphere cluster with three nodes to run all the SDDC management software along with all the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops management software components.
  • Second cluster is dedicated for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops user workload.
  • In this deployment architecture, all SDDC management components such as VMware vCenter, NSX Manager and NSX Edge are placed in Cluster-1 under Management Resource Pool. This is fully automated as part of VMware Cloud Dell offering.
  • All Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop management components such as Delivery Controllers, StoreFront, Citrix Studio, Director, Citrix License server, and Database Servers are placed under a sub resource pool within Compute Resource Pool of Cluster-1.
  • Cluster 2 is dedicated to host all the virtual desktops and published applications.

Note: Even though you have configured a three-node cluster for management, VMware Cloud on Dell reserves a 4th node as a shadow node to supplement the cluster to provide resiliency and high availability to the cluster, in case of any failure in the management cluster and workload cluster.

Design Justification

This deployment architecture is preferred when a customer needs more flexibility, scalability, and workload isolation for scaling Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops environment in production. However, this does require a larger initial infrastructure footprint, and thus cost, to get started.

Note: Please work with your sales contact to request for two cluster deployment option for your VDI environment. Although the figure-2 shows a single instance of Citrix management components, however Citrix infrastructure should always be deployed with an n+1 VM configuration for failover and update purposes, per Citrix leading practice: Refer to the Citrix documentation for more information.

Graphical user interface, application

Description automatically generated

Figure-2: Two Cluster SDDC Design

Design #3 – Multi Rack Design

  • In this design customer can have two or more racks in a single SDDC
  • Customer can start with one or multiple racks and later add additional racks depending on their scale requirements.
  • Currently it can scale up to three racks and maximum 78 usable hosts.
  • With multi rack design, two spine switches are racked in Rack #2 for rack-to-rack communication
  • Each top of the rack switches in a rack are connected to two spine switches with 8 x 100g link.
  • Top of the rack switches and spine switch are connected over L3 and configured with eBGP.
  • You have options to go with one cluster SDDC or two cluster SDDC options in this design as well.

Design Justification:

This deployment architecture design is preferred when customers need a greater number of desktops or user sessions to scale their environment with a better cost per desktop.

Note: Although the figure-3 shows a single instance of Citrix management components, however Citrix infrastructure should always be deployed with an n+1 VM configuration for failover and update purposes, per Citrix leading practice. Refer to the Citrix documentation for more information.

 

Graphical user interface, application

Description automatically generated

Figure -3: Multi Rack Design

Design Options with Citrix DaaS:

Citrix DaaS (formerly Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop service) enables you to securely offer high-performance virtual apps and desktops to any device security. This solution, enabled by Citrix-hosted management service, gives end users secure access to Windows and Linux apps and desktops from a central location, regardless of the endpoints' operating systems. For more information, please refer to the Citrix documentation.

As discussed above, all the three design patterns are applicable to cloud-based Citrix DaaS. However, in this case the management components of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops are moved to Citrix Cloud and only resources such as desktops and applications are hosted on VMware Cloud on Dell. Below is one of the architecture designs depicting desktops and applications hosted on VMware Cloud on Dell.

Design #4: Citrix DaaS  design

  • In this design two Citrix Cloud Connectors are deployed in a DMZ segment which has internet access with port 443 opened.
  • Citrix Cloud Connectors are placed under Compute Resource Pool along with Virtual Desktops.
  • Cloud Connectors do the secure connection to the Citrix DaaS and managed through Citrix Cloud.

Diagram

Description automatically generated

Figure-4: Citrix DaaS with VMware Cloud on Dell

Note: For the Cloud Connector connectivity with Citrix Cloud, please refer to the Citrix Cloud Connector Firewall Configuration document.

Solutions Components

The  individual components used  for Citrix  Virtual  Apps  and  Desktops and Citrix DaaS are the same, whether deployed on VMware Cloud on Dell or on-premise. See the Resource Sizing section for details.

The components and features that are specific to Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops on VMware Cloud on Dell are described in this section.

Software-Defined Data Centers as a Service

VMware Cloud on Dell is a complete solution for data center infrastructure, and it is based on industry- leading virtualization software technology from VMware and proven hyperconverged hardware from Dell. The software components include VMware vSphere compute, VMware vSAN all -flash storage, and VMware NSX-T networking and security. Dell foundational elements include VxRail hyperconverged infrastructure appliances and high-performance, top-of-rack network switches.

All services delivery hardware is factory integrated inside a standard data center rack enclosure that can be positioned right alongside other racks in your data center, remote office, and edge compute locations. Customers are given - the choice of using 110 or 220-volt power circuits.

See the following table for specific -rack details:

RACK SPECIFICATIONS

RACK R2 - Full-Height Rack: 42 U

Number of VxRail E560N Nodes

Single Phase: Min. 3 / Max. 12

Three Phase: Min. 3 / Max. 26

Spare / Standby Host per rack type

1

Power Requirements

4 x 30 amp single-phase

2 x 60 amp three-phase

Power Source Location

Floor or Ceiling

Top of Rack Switches

2 x 25GbE

Secure Management

Redundant VMware SD-WAN

 

For details on current service infrastructure hardware specifications, see the VMware Cloud on Dell Datasheet.

Management Components

The management component for the SDDC and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Infrastructure includes VMware vCenter Server.

Note: For common services, such as Active Directory and DNS, customers can bring their own or they can deploy - a new set of those services - in VMware Cloud on Dell SDDC infrastructure under Compute Resource Pool. For the validation of this deployment architecture, we have retained Active Directory and DNS outside of this environment.

Compute Components

The compute component includes the following Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop infrastructure components:

  • Citrix Licensing server
  • Delivery Controller
  • Storefront
  • Studio and Director
  • Load balancer
  • Virtual machines
  • SQL Database

Note: While VMware Cloud on Dell is fully managed by VMware, the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops infrastructure components listed above are customer managed, similar to that of a regular on -premises Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops deployment. The use of Citrix DaaS in Citrix Cloud eliminates the need to manage these individual infrastructure components.

NSX-T Components

VMware NSX-T is the network virtualization platform for the VMware Cloud on Dell Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC), delivering networking and security entirely in software, abstracted from the underlying physical infrastructure.

  • Tier-0 router: Handles Internet, route or policy based IPSEC VPN and serves as an edge firewall for the Tier-1 Compute Gateway (CGW).
  • Tier-1 Compute Gateway (CGW): Serves as a distributed firewall for all customer internal networks.
  • Tier-1 Management Gateway (MGW): Serves as a firewall for the VMware maintained components like vCenter and NSX.

Resource Pools

A resource pool is a logical abstraction for flexible management of resources. Resource pools can be grouped into hierarchies and used to hierarchically partition available CPU and memory resources.

Within Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and Citrix DaaS on VMware Cloud on Dell, you can use vSphere resource pools to separate management components from virtual desktops or published applications workloads to make sure resources are allocated correctly.

After an SDDC instance on VMware Cloud on Dell is created, two resource pools exist:

  • A Management Resource Pool with reservations that contain vCenter Server plus NSX, which is managed by VMware
  • A Compute Resource Pool within which everything is managed by the customer

When deploying both management and user resources in the same SDDC, it is recommended to create two sub-resource pools within the Compute Resource Pool for your Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops deployments:

  • A Citrix Management Resource Pool for your Citrix management components, such as Delivery Controller, Storefront, Studio, Director.

Note: The use of Citrix DaaS in Citrix Cloud eliminates the administration of these infrastructure components.

  • A Citrix Desktop Resource Pool for your desktop pools and published apps

See figure-1 and figure-2 for schematics of the recommended architecture. Because the management components of Citrix are shared among all virtual machines, you can avoid having any single virtual machine affect overall performance by deploying the management components in a separate resource pool with reservations. Alternatively, you can use different clusters to separate these components.

Memory Reservations

Because physical memory cannot be shared between virtual machines, and because swapping or ballooning should be avoided at all costs, be sure to run sizing exercise for all Citrix virtual machines, including management components, virtual desktops, and RDSH hosts to avoid memory oversubscribe issue.

CPU Reservations

CPU reservations are shared when not used, and a reservation specifies the guaranteed minimum allocation for a virtual machine. For the management components, the reservations should equal the number of vCPUs times the CPU frequency. Any amount of CPU reservations not actively used by the management components will still be available for virtual desktops and RDSH hosts when they are not deployed to a separate cluster.

Virtual Machine-level Reservations

As well as setting a reservation on the resource pool, be sure to set a reservation at the virtual machine level. This ensures that any VMs that might later get added to the resource pool will not consume resources that are reserved and required for HA failover. These VM-level reservations do not remove the requirement for reservations on the resource pool. Because VM-level reservations are considered only when a VM is powered on, the reservation could be taken by other VMs when one VM is powered off temporarily.

Leveraging CPU Shares for Different Workloads

Because RDSH hosts can facilitate more users per vCPU than virtual desktops can, a higher share should be given to them. When desktop VMs and RDSH host VMs are run on the same cluster, the share allocation should be adjusted to ensure relative prioritization.

As an example, if an RDSH host with 8 vCPUs facilitates 28 users and a virtual desktop with 2 vCPUs facilitates a single user, the RDSH host is facilitating 7 times the number of users per vCPU. In that scenario, the desktop VMs should have a default share of 1000, and the RDSH host VMs should have a vCPU share of 7000 when deployed on the same cluster. This number should also be adjusted to the required number of resources, which could be different for a Citrix virtual desktop session versus a shared RDSH-published desktop session.

RESOURCE POOL RESERVATION

VM RESERVATION

SHARES

Memory

CPU

Memory

CPU

Management

Full

Full

(vCPU*Freq)

Full

Full

(vCPU*Freq)

No

Virtual Desktops

Full

No

Full

No

Default

RDSH

Full

No

Full

No

By ratio

Network Configuration

When SDDCs are deployed on VMware Cloud on Dell, NSX-T is used for network configuration. After you deploy an SDDC instance, two isolated networks exist, a management network and a compute network. Each has its own NSX Edge Gateway and an NSX Distributed Logical Router for extra networks in the compute section.

Note: Citrix Delivery Controller must communicate with the vCenter Server, traffic must be allowed on the MGW Edge Firewall.

Virtual Network Segment

The following networks must be configured in VMware Cloud on Dell web portal console in Network Segment section when preparing for Citrix deployment on VMware Cloud on Dell.

  • DMZ network (sddc-cgw-dmz): The DMZ network is the intermediate network between the VMware Cloud on Dell SDDC network and the internet. The incoming interface of the StroreFront appliances and the DMZ load balancer are connected here.
  • Citrix management network (sddc-cgw-citrix-mgmt): The Citrix management is the network dedicated to the Citrix components. All Citrix VMs (except StroreFront) must be on this network. All Delivery Controller, License server, Citrix Director, and management interface of the StroreFront appliances must have IP addresses from this network. In addition, the load balancers deployed by Citrix domain in front of the Delivery Controller and App Volumes must be in this network as well.
  • Citrix user workload network (sddc-cgw-citrix-user-workload): This network is dedicated to the Citrix virtual desktops and published applications.

Sizing Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops on VMware Cloud on Dell

Like deploying Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops in any other hardware platform, you will need to size your requirements for deploying Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops on VMware Cloud on Dell to determine the number of hosts you will need to deploy. Hosts are needed for the following purposes:

  • Your virtual desktops or RDSH workloads
  • Your Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops infrastructure components, such as Delivery Controller, StoreFront, Director, Studio App Volumes managers
  • SDDC infrastructure components on VMware Cloud on Dell. These components are deployed and managed automatically for you by VMware, but you will need capacity in your SDDC for running them

The methodology for sizing Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops on VMware Cloud on Dell is the same as for any other Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops deployments. What is different and simpler is the fixed hardware configurations on VMware Cloud on Dell. Work with your Citrix sales team to determine the correct sizing.

Licensing

A unique cost benefit to this solution is that customers can leverage existing 3rd party licensing agreements such as Microsoft Windows desktop operating system licensing. Because VMware Cloud on Dell is deployed on dedicated hardware it may not be necessary to purchase License   Mobility   and Software Assurance as is required when migrating desktops to a 3rd party public cloud. This can have a positive impact on a TCO/ROI calculation when considering VMware Cloud on Dell vs other public cloud solutions. Contact your operating system sales team to explore your licensing options.

For Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops licensing options please contact your Citrix sales representative.

Citrix Licensing

Regardless of whether you are deploying Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops on-premises or on VMware Cloud on Dell, if you are using any of the subscription licenses you must install the Citrix License server to enable subscription license management for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops.

Deploying External Storage for User Data

User data is an important consideration when thinking about deploying Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops on VMware Cloud on Dell. For storing user profiles and user data, you can either deploy a Windows file share on VMware Cloud on Dell or use external IP storage, such as NFS, which is accessible over network.

You can bring your own IP storage into VMware Cloud on Dell environment for your workloads or apps as long as the network and the storage IP address is routable and reachable.

Validation of Design

Scenario: Customer has deployed VMware Cloud on Dell in a data center as a single SDDC and would like to use this environment for deployment. Customer can bring existing Active Directory and DNS service to VMware Cloud on Dell.

This validation demonstrates the number of virtual desktops could expect to run on VMware Cloud on Dell infrastructure. Testing was conducted using R2 configuration with 8 hosts (node type M1d.medium).

Diagram

Description automatically generated with low confidence

Figure 5: Network Design

Figure 5 shows the networking environment is setup and configured for the validation and scale testing of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops on VMware Cloud on Dell:

  • VMware Cloud on Dell Top-of-Rack (ToRs) are connected to existing data center core network (for illustration purposes, we are calling it as customer data center).
  • L3 network connectivity is established from two (ToR) switches of VMware Cloud on Dell to customer datacenter aggregation/core switch.
  • Customer network is routed, and appropriate static route has been added to both sides for VMware Cloud on Dell SDDC and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Components to reach to the customer network.
  • Appropriate firewall rules have been configured in NSX for vCenter and Citrix Delivery Controller communication.
  • Three compute network segments have been created for deployment of Citrix virtual Apps and Desktops Components such as “cgw-dmz”, “cgw-citrix-mgmt”, and “cgw-citrix-user-workload” with respective IP subnets.
  • Common services such as Active Directory and DNS are hosted in customer data center.
  • Login VSI launcher and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops are hosted in the customer data center, and they are communicating VMware Cloud on Dell SDDC over a layer 3 network communication.

Note: We have validated this architecture with VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer (NSX ALB), but the customer can bring in Citrix ADC or any other load balancer of their choice

Resource Sizing

The sizes we used for the LoginVSI test are listed in following table.

SERVER ROLE

SIZE

vCPU

MEMORY(GB)

STORAGE(GB)

vCenter

Medium

8

28

900

NSX Manager(x3)

Large

12

48

300

NSX Edge(x2)

Large

8

32

200

Delivery controller(x2)

x

4

8

48

License Server

x

2

3

48

StoreFront(x2)

x

2

3

48

Studio/Director

x

2

3

48

SQL Database Server

x

2

4

40

NSX Advanced Load balancer controller

8

24

128

NSX Advanced Load Balancer Service Engine

1

2

15

Note: The resource sizing is dependent on your scale and number of desktop sessions.

Technical Specification

Hardware

The Table below shows the technical specification of this solution validation.

Note: Depending on Node Type, your desktop sessions may change.

SOLUTION SPECIFICATION (R2)

QUANTITY

VxRail E560N (Node Type M1d.medium)

Intel(R) Xeon(R) Gold 6238R CPU @ 2.20GHz, 28 Core, 2 Socket per/core

768 GB RAM,

3.49 TB NVMe Flash Disk (Capacity) x 6

1.46 TB NVMe Flash Disk (Cache) x 2

Disks per vSAN Disk Group – 4

Disk Groups per host - 2

8

Dell Power Switch – s5248

2

VMware SD-WAN 620s

2

Software

Below table shows the software version which we have tested.

COMPONENTS

VERSION

SDDC Version

1.16

VMware vSphere

7.0.3

VMware vCenter

7.0.3

VMware NSX

3.1.3.2

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops

7_2109

NSX Advanced Load Balancer

21.1.3

Login VSI Benchmark Test Results

We used the Login VSI workload-generation and measurement tool to generate and measure rigorous, realistic desktop workloads. Of the several types of Login VSI tests, two produced the most revealing findings.

Read more about LoginVSI here.

VSImax and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Session Concurrency

Test #1 (950 Users Sessions, 100% Concurrency with 50 RDSH Virtual Machines)

Windows Server 2019 x64

8 vCPU

64 GB Memory

120 GB Storage

Environment: Single Cluster (referred in Design#1) with SDDC Management and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops in same cluster.

This validation was done with 950 RDSH user sessions, 100 percent concurrency showed better host CPU resource utilization. Out of 950 user sessions launched, 915 sessions were active and demonstrated excellent performance, and host CPU resource remained under 100 percent. All 950 user sessions were powered on and available while LoginVSI workload ran on 96 percent of the available RDSH user sessions. Typical production RDSH infrastructures exhibit concurrent user session usage of 80 percent of total available capacity

Test #1 Highlights

  • User Sessions access using the HDX protocol and knowledge worker with 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Login VSI VSImax not reached (as shown in Figure-6)
  • Host CPU 100% and Memory 54%
  • NSX Edge (Large) CPU 23%
  • vCenter (Medium) CPU 10% and Memory 26%

Observation: With workload running on single cluster with 4 Host. The average Cluster CPU usage is 91%, at some point the host CPU has reached 100% thus CPU was the bottleneck in this case.

Chart

Description automatically generated

Figure -6: Multi Rack Design 950 Users Sessions

Test #2 (800 Users Sessions, 80% Concurrency with 50 RDSH Virtual Machines)

Environment: Single Cluster (referred in Design#1) with SDDC Management and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops in same cluster.

This validation was done with 800 RDSH user sessions, 80 percent concurrency showed much better host CPU resource utilization. Out of 800 user sessions launched 781 were active and demonstrated excellent performance, and host CPU resource remained under 92 percent. All 800 user sessions were powered on and available while LoginVSI workload ran on 97 percent of the available RDSH user sessions. Typical production RDSH infrastructures exhibit concurrent user session usage of 80 percent of total available capacity.

Test #2 Highlights

  • User sessions access using the HDX protocol and knowledge worker with 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Login VSI VSImax not reached (as shown in Figure-7)
  • Host CPU 92% and Memory 51%
  • NSX Edge (Large) CPU 22%
  • vCenter (Medium) CPU 8% and Memory 15%

Observation: With workload running on single cluster with 4 node. The average Cluster CPU usage is 80%, at some point the host CPU has reached 90%, thus we recommend running 800 RDSH user session on 4 node is ideal.

Chart, line chart

Description automatically generated

Figure -7: Multi Rack Design 800 Users Sessions

Test #3 (1050 Users Sessions, 100% Concurrency with 50 RDSH Virtual Machines)

Environment: Two cluster design (referred in Design#2) with 4 Hosts in each cluster having SDDC and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops management on Cluster 1 and windows apps on cluster 2

Caveat: This design is intended for customers who want to scale their RDSH deployment and want to keep the management and compute in the different cluster. But it does not restrict you to deploy RDSH desktops on the management cluster. Please work with account team to size the environment appropriately, keeping in mind scale, performance, and availability.

This validation was done with 1050 RDSH user sessions, 100 percent concurrency showed much better host CPU resource utilization. Out of 1050 user sessions launched 1024 sessions were active and demonstrated excellent performance, and host CPU resource remained under 99 percent. All 1050 user sessions were powered on and available while LoginVSI workload ran on 97 percent of the available RDSH user sessions. Typical production RDSH infrastructures exhibit concurrent user session usage of 80 percent of total available capacity

Test #3 Highlights

  • User sessions access using the HDX protocol and knowledge worker with 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Login VSI VSImax not reached (as shown in Figure-8)
  • Host CPU 99% and Memory 47%
  • NSX Edge (Large) CPU 19%
  • vCenter (Medium) CPU 8% and Memory 19%

Note: 1024 sessions ran successfully which is 97% of total user sessions launched

Observation: With workload running on two cluster with 4 node each. The average Cluster CPU usage is 98%, at some point the host CPU reached 100%, CPU was the bottleneck. At the same time the management cluster CPU and memory utilization is at 5% and 20% respectively. The management cluster consists of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop components along with vCenter and NSX. As it states, customer has choice to deploy a greater number of desktops in Cluster 1 as we have more resources available to consume.  However, please consider sizing your environment appropriately based on your requirement.

Chart, line chart

Description automatically generated

Figure -8: Multi Rack Design 1050 Users Sessions

Test #4 (900 Users Sessions, 80% Concurrency with 50 RDSH Virtual Machines)

Environment: Two cluster design (referred in Design#2) with 4 Hosts in each cluster having SDDC and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops management on Cluster 1 and Windows application on cluster 2

Caveat: This design is intended for customers who want to scale their RDSH deployment and want to keep the management and compute in separate clusters. But it does not restrict you from deploying RDSH desktops on the management cluster. Please work with your account team to size the environment appropriately, keeping in mind scale, performance, and availability

This validation was done with 900 RDSH user sessions, at 80 percent concurrency showed much better host CPU resource utilization. Out of 900 user sessions launched 873 sessions were active and demonstrated excellent performance, and host CPU resource remained under 90 percent. All 900 user sessions were powered on and available while LoginVSI workload ran on 97 percent of the available RDSH user sessions. Typical production RDSH infrastructures exhibit concurrent user session of 80 percent of total available capacity.

Test #4 Highlights

  • User session access using the HDX protocol and knowledge worker with 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Login VSI VSImax not reached (as shown in Figure-9)
  • Host CPU 88% and Memory 41%
  • NSX Edge (Large) CPU 18%
  • vCenter (Medium) CPU 6% and Memory 18%

Observation: With workloads running on two cluster with 4 nodes each. The average cluster CPU usage is 86%, at some point the host CPU reached 88% thus running 900 user sessions with 8 host configuration in two cluster design is ideal. At the same time, the management cluster CPU and memory utilization is at 5% and 20% respectively. Management cluster consists of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop components along with vCenter and NSX. As it states, customer has choice to deploy a larger number of desktops in Cluster 1 as there are more resources available for consumption

Chart, line chart

Description automatically generated

Figure-9: Multi Rack Design 900 Users Sessions

Test #5 (550 MCS virtual desktops with 100% Concurrency)

KNOWLEDGE WORKER

Windows 10 x64

2 vCPU

4 GB Memory

40 GB Storage

Environment: Single Cluster (referred in Design#1) with SDDC Management and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops in same cluster.

This validation was done with 550 desktops, 100 percent concurrency showed much better host CPU resource utilization. Out of 550 sessions launched 548 sessions were active and demonstrated excellent performance, and host CPU resource remained under 80 percent. All 550 desktops were powered on and available while LoginVSI workload ran on 99 percent of the available desktops. Typical production virtual desktop infrastructures exhibit concurrent desktop usage of 80 percent of total available capacity

Test #5 Highlights

  • Desktop access using the HDX protocol and knowledge worker with 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Login VSI VSImax not reached (as shown in Figure-10)
  • Host CPU 80% and Memory 92%
  • NSX Edge (Large) CPU 21%
  • vCenter (Medium) CPU 14% and Memory 22%

Observation: With workload running on single cluster with 4 node the average cluster CPU usage is 70% and memory 92%, at some point the host CPU has hit 80% and memory has reached 92%, Memory was the bottleneck.

Chart, line chart

Description automatically generated

Figure-10: 550 MCS virtual desktops

Test #6 (500 MCS virtual desktops with 80% Concurrency)

Environment: Single Cluster (referred in Design#1) with SDDC Management, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop management components along with virtual desktops in same cluster.

This validation was done with 500 desktops, 80 percent concurrency showed much better host CPU resource utilization. Out of 500 sessions launched 498 sessions were active and demonstrated excellent performance, and host CPU resource remained under 80 percent. All 500 desktops were powered on and available while LoginVSI workload ran on 99 percent of the available desktops. Typical production virtual desktop infrastructures exhibit concurrent desktop usage of 80 percent of total available capacity.

Test #6 Highlights

  • Desktop access using the HDX protocol and knowledge worker with 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Login VSI VSImax not reached (as shown in Figure-11)
  • Host CPU 70% and Memory 86%
  • NSX Edge (Large) CPU 19%
  • vCenter (Medium) CPU 11% and Memory 18%

Observation: With workload running on single cluster with 4 node the average cluster CPU usage is 64% and memory 84%, at some point the host CPU has hit 70% and memory has reached 86% thus running 500 knowledge worker desktops on 4 host configuration is idle.

Chart, line chart

Description automatically generated

Figure-11: 500 MCS virtual desktops

Test #7 (700 MCS virtual desktops with 100% Concurrency)

Environment: Two cluster design (referred in Design#2) with 4 Hosts in each cluster having SDDC and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops management on Cluster 1 and windows10 desktops on cluster 2

Caveat: This design is intended for customers who want to scale their VDI deployment and want to keep the management and compute in the different cluster. But it does not restrict you to deploy VDI desktops on the management cluster. Please work with account team to size the environment appropriately, keeping in mind scale, performance, and availability

This validation was done with 700 desktops, 100 percent concurrency showed much better host CPU resource utilization. All 700 sessions demonstrated excellent performance, and host CPU resource remained under 91 percent. All 700 desktops were powered on and available while LoginVSI workload ran on 100 percent of the available desktops. Typical production virtual desktop infrastructures exhibit concurrent desktop usage of 80 percent of total available capacity

Test #7 Highlights

  • Desktop access using the HDX protocol and knowledge worker with 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Login VSI VSImax not reached (as shown in Figure-12)
  • Host CPU 91% and Memory 97%
  • NSX Edge (Large) CPU 19%
  • vCenter (Medium) CPU 10% and Memory 28%

Observation: With workload running on two cluster with 4 node each the average cluster CPU usage is 85% and memory 96%, at some point the host CPU has hit 91% and memory has reached 97%, Memory was the bottleneck. At the same time the management cluster CPU and memory utilization is at 6% and 20% respectively. Management cluster consists of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop components along with vCenter and NSX. As it states, customer has choice to deploy a greater number of desktops in Cluster 1 as we have more resources available to consume. However, please consider sizing your environment appropriately based on your requirement.

Chart, line chart

Description automatically generated

Figure-12: 700 MCS virtual desktops

Test #8 (650 MCS virtual desktops with 80% Concurrency)

Environment: Two cluster design (referred in Design#2) with 4 Hosts in each cluster having SDDC and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops management on Cluster 1 and windows10 desktops on cluster 2

Caveat: This design is intended for customers who want to scale their VDI deployment and want to keep the management and compute in the different cluster. But it does not restrict you to deploy VDI desktops on the management cluster. Please work with your account team to size the environment appropriately, keeping in mind scale, performance, and availability

This validation was done with 650 desktops, 80 percent concurrency showed much better host CPU resource utilization. Out of 650 sessions that were launched, 649 sessions were active and demonstrated excellent performance, and host CPU resource remained under 80 percent. All 650 desktops were powered on and available while LoginVSI workload ran on 100 percent of the available desktops. Typical production virtual desktop infrastructures exhibit concurrent desktop usage of 80 percent of total available capacity.

Test #8 Highlights

  • Desktop access using the HDX protocol and knowledge worker with 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Login VSI VSImax not reached (as shown in Figure-13)
  • Host CPU 77% and Memory 91%
  • NSX Edge (Large) CPU 18%
  • vCenter (Medium) CPU 9% and Memory 19%

Observation: With workload running on two cluster with 4 node each the average compute cluster CPU usage is 72% and memory is 91%, at some point the host CPU has hit 77% and memory has reached 92%. At the same time management cluster CPU and memory utilization is at 6% and 20% respectively. The Management cluster which consists of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop components along with vCenter and NSX. As it states, customer has choice to deploy a greater number of desktops in Cluster 1 as there are more resources available for consumption. However, please consider sizing your environment appropriately based on your requirement.

Chart, line chart

Description automatically generated

Figure-13: 550 MCS virtual desktops

Conclusion

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and Citrix DaaS on VMware Cloud on Dell eliminates the costly and cumbersome process of refreshing, managing, and maintaining the infrastructure supporting virtual desktops infrastructure.

With this deployment, you get the ability to scale Citrix desktops and applications with the simplicity and agility of the public cloud and the security and control of on - premises infrastructure delivered as a service to data center and edge locations.

Built upon on the latest VMware SDDC suite, including industry-leading compute, storage, and network virtualization that is optimized for Dell VxRail Hyperconverged Infrastructure, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops on VMware Cloud on Dell is quick and easy to procure and delivers a cloud-style consumption model for a range of use cases.

Because VMware provides fully automated lifecycle management and monitors the health of the SDDC stack around the clock, you can take advantage of a combination of software, hardware, and services to focus technology resources on initiatives that differentiate the business, instead of spending time on infrastructure management.

Author

Shree Das is a Director, Product Solution Architect in the CIBG Business Unit.

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Shruthin Reddy Aleti for his outstanding effort in validating this design. Special thanks also go to Kofi Ahulu, Danielle Botticello, Alex Fanous, Thomas Sauerer, Nathan Barry and Manjunatha Gali (Citrix) for their input, review, and feedback.


Associated Content

From the action bar MORE button.

Filter Tags

VMware Cloud on Dell Document Reference Architecture