The Top-5 Challenges and Best Practices for Virtualizing Citrix XenApp & XenDesktop on vSphere


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A growing number of companies are virtualizing Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop on VMware vSphere to reduce cost and boost flexibility.

While Citrix virtualization seems like an easy, straightforward project, many virtualization initiatives experience performance problems, delayed deployments, cost overruns and frustrated users.

Find out how to prevent these issues in the first place and join virtualization expert Elias Khnaser as he shares the top-5 challenges and best practices for virtualizing Citrix XenApp & XenDesktop environments on vSphere.

Sign up for the free webinar today ( and learn how to:
- Prevent common problems in storage, network, compute and memory tiers
- Design and configure vSphere and Citrix XenApp & XenDesktop for maximum reliability, performance and scalability
- Deliver the cost and flexibility benefits of virtualization
- Identify and monitor the right performance metrics
- Get complete visibility into your virtualized Citrix environment
- Build performance assurance into your Citrix environment to deliver performance, user satisfaction and cost control

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The Top-5 Challenges and Best Practices for Virtualizing Citrix XenApp & XenDesktop on vSphere

  1. 1. The Top-5 Challenges& Best Practices forVirtualizing CitrixXenApp & XenDesktopon VMware vSphereContact Us: webinar@eginnovations.comPresentersElias Khnaser (Virtualization Review)Bala Vaidhinathan (eG Innovations)
  2. 2. Audience PollWhat is your biggest challenge with virtualizingCitrix XenApp & XenDesktop on VMware vSphere? User experience Performance & scalability Offline access & distributed computing Cost & ROI Security© eG Innovations, Inc |
  3. 3. Virtualizing Citrix XenApp & XenDesktop on VMware vSphere Elias Khnaser CTO, Sigma Solutions vExpert, CTP @ekhnaser© eG Innovations, Inc |
  4. 4. #1 Don’t Discard Compute  CPU with HWmmu – Intel Extended Page Tables (EPT) – Nehalem+ – AMD Rapid Virtualization Indexing (RVI) – Shanghai+  BIOS Settings – NUMA: ON – Hyper-threading: ON – Turbo: ON – Power Management: OFF – Processor C-states including CIE: OFF  Physical Server Platforms – 8 vCPUS = Quad socket or higher© eG Innovations, Inc |
  5. 5. #2 Memory Matters  5 Memory Management Technologies – TPS – Balloon – Compression – Host Cache – Swap  Swap to host cache  Memory speed is relatively insignificant  Balance physical memory on NUMA nodes  Full memory reservations  Verify monitor mode – vmware.log for: virtual mmu = ‘hardware’© eG Innovations, Inc |
  6. 6. #3 Tweak the Network  vSwitch Uplink Teaming Policy – Load Balancing policy efficient – IP Hash complex and no significant performance  Use NetIOC  Separate IP storage networks  Disable interrupt coalescing (pNIC) – Lower latency, higher bandwidth demands – esxcli system module parameters set –m <driver> -p “InterruptThrottleRate=0”© eG Innovations, Inc |
  7. 7. #4 Storage is critical  Virtual Machines – Alignment – Snapshot – No noticeable performance difference between RDM vs VMDK  ESXi Host – Multi-pathing – RR SIOC  Storage Array – VAAI (FC, iSCSI & NFS)  RAID Configuration  Spindle Count© eG Innovations, Inc |
  8. 8. #5 Your VM hardware matters  Paravirtualized drivers – vmxnet3 – checksum, TSO, JF, LRO, RSS – pvscsi – lowers cost per IO  Disable ISO CD-ROMs  Set NIC as first boot device in VM BIOS  Multiple virtual SCSI controllers  vNUMA sizing – Size large VM (>8 vCPU) in multiples of NUMA node)  Is the application tuned correctly?  Disable Interrupt Coalescing for VMXNET3 – ethernetX.coalescingScheme=disbled (VSPH 5.x) – CoalesceDefaultOn=0 (VSPH 4.x)© eG Innovations, Inc |
  9. 9. XenDesktop Infrastructure  Dedicated vCenter server(s) for large deployments  vCenter self-signed or commercial server certificate  XD infrastructure services on general vSphere clusters  VM-Affinity and Host-Affinity rules  DRS  High Availability© eG Innovations, Inc |
  10. 10. XenDesktop Controller  Multiple XDCs for redundancy and LB  Configure all VDAs with address of all XDC  Database HA  Power operations can overwhelm vCenter  Adjust concurrent power operations appropriately© eG Innovations, Inc |
  11. 11. Provisioning Services / XenApp  You can use LACP (EtherChannel)  Disable DRS for PVS  Use VMXNET3  Intel E1000 not supported in VSPH 5  Use multiple virtual SCSI controllers  Enable interrupt safe mode  Use LB for TFTP  Make sure you have enough UDP ports and threads per Port© eG Innovations, Inc |
  12. 12. Misc. Considerations  MCS is best used with NFS  Remember to install VDA tools after you install VMware Tools  Install VDA tools in Private Image Mode after you have created your vDisk  SvM / SDRS with MCS will require pool recreation© eG Innovations, Inc |
  13. 13. Anti-virus = Angry VMs  Up to 100 IOPS per VM  Randomized scans & scheduled updates will not scale  Leverage vShield Endpoint  AV appliances  Cloud based AV agents© eG Innovations, Inc |
  14. 14. What to monitor?  Kernel Latency Average (KAVG) – This counter tracks the latencies of IO passing thru the Kernel – Investigation Threshold: 1ms  Device Latency Average (DAVG) – This is the latency seen at the device driver level. It includes the roundtrip time between the HBA and the storage. – Investigation Threshold: 15-20ms, lower is better, some spikes okay  Network Latency – Anything over 200ms is going to yield a bad user experience© eG Innovations, Inc |
  15. 15. What to monitor?  Dropped Packets  Re-transmits  Bandwidth  Concurrent vCenter operations  Individual VM I/O  Context Switches© eG Innovations, Inc |
  16. 16. Mind the Gap: EdgeSight & vCenterOps Citrix VMware Edgesight vCenterOps - Developed - Great for monitoring pre-virtualization VMware - A resource hog Infrastructure - Difficult to extract - Is not optimized for information Citrix applications - Not very intuitive GUI (no HDX)© eG Innovations, Inc |
  17. 17. Close the Gap Metrics are important but how about …  Complete visibility and insight into dependencies with auto-correlation so you can tell root cause from effect and diagnose with speed and accuracy  Pre-emptive performance alerts so you can act before users complain  Automated performance diagnosis so you don’t need a staff with PhD’s in performance management© eG Innovations, Inc |
  18. 18. Performance Assurance for Virtualized XenApp & XenDesktop Bala Vaidhinathan CTO eG Innovations© eG Innovations, Inc |
  19. 19. Citrix Performance Challenges User Frustration IT Talent “Traditional management Shortage tools fail to address today’s Citrix virtualization Performance High performance challenges: Challenges downtime too complex, too slow, too costly, too fragmented, too manual.” Complexity & Fragmentation Cost overrun© eG Innovations, Inc |
  20. 20. Where is the Root-Cause? Active Directory SQL SAN Switch EnterpriseClient Apps Network Web on XenApp on ESX ZDC on VMware ESX VMware ESX Profile Server What is the root cause of the service problem? License Server Network? VMware? Citrix? AD? SQL? Storage? Profile Server? Oracle vCenter © eG Innovations, Inc |
  21. 21. What Citrix EdgeSight Shows  EdgeSight is focused on the Citrix tiers Active Directory  Limited visibility into SQL Switch SAN other parts of the infrastructure  This makes it hard to ZDCClient XenApp Enterprise Network Web on XenApp on diagnose non-Citrix XenServer ZDC on VMware ESX VMware ESX Apps related issues that impact desktop Profile Server service delivery – yet License Server Citrix gets blamed License Server Oracle vCenter © eG Innovations, Inc |
  22. 22. Active Directory SQL SAN SwitchClient Enterprise Network Web on XenApp on ZDC on Apps XenServer VMware ESX VMware ESX Profile Server License Server Oracle vCenter © eG Innovations, Inc |
  23. 23. eG Enterprise – How does it help? Active Directory SQL SAN SwitchClient Enterprise Network Web on XenApp on ZDC on Apps XenServer VMware ESX VMware ESX Profile Server Complete visibility – every layer, every tier! License Server Oracle vCenter © eG Innovations, Inc |
  24. 24. Performance Assurance w/ eG Enterprise End User Service Infrastructure Experience Performance Performance Trading Connection Brokers Storage Accounting Online Banking Network Applications Patient records ... Virtualization Profile Servers User Experience Total eG Enterprise Right-Sizing & Capacity Management Automated Planning Performance Pre-emptive Diagnosis Visibility Alerting© eG Innovations, Inc |
  25. 25. eG Enterprise Delivers  Complete 360o Performance Visibility Get total performance visibility and auto-correlation of all components and dependencies that impact user experience across XenApp, User Sessions, VMware, Network, AD, SQL, EMC, Applications, etc.  Automatic Root-Cause Diagnosis Automate and accelerate discovery, diagnosis and resolution of performance issues – so your highly skilled staff can be more productive.  Pre-Emptive Problem Detection & Alerting Pre-emptively monitor, detect and resolve performance issues – before users notice. Prevent downtime, ensure exceptional performance and enhance user satisfaction.  Rapid ROI and Service Assurance Right-size your virtualized IT infrastructure, maximize resource utilization and reduce hardware/software cost.© eG Innovations, Inc |
  26. 26. Citrix Performance Assurance© eG Innovations, Inc |
  27. 27. Performance Assurance Benefits User Satisfaction IT Productivity “Dramatically simplify and accelerate virtualization Higher performance management. Performance service Deliver peak performance, Assurance uptime user satisfaction and ROI.” Simplicity Cost control & ROI© eG Innovations, Inc |
  28. 28. Better Performance, Better ROI 20% more users per physical server© eG Innovations, Inc |
  29. 29. About eG Innovations  Deliver exceptional performance, user productivity, and ROI  eG Innovations helps you to dramatically simplify, accelerate, and optimize performance management across mission-critical Performance Assurance virtual, cloud and physical IT environments Made Easy  Only eG Innovations award-winning root-cause diagnosis technology can automatically pinpoint performance issues by auto-correlating the user’s service experience with the underlying infrastructure and application components Worldwide New York, New Jersey, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Austin, Locations Singapore, London, Chennai Customers Over 1,000 customers worldwide Certifications & Sample Awards© eG Innovations, Inc |
  30. 30. Customer Success© eG Innovations, Inc |
  31. 31. Audience PollHow are you addressing virtualized XenApp andXenDesktop issues today? VMware vCenterOps or Citrix EdgeSight Looking for a better performance management solution Third-party monitoring tools Manually diagnose and resolve performance issues Flip a coin and pray© eG Innovations, Inc |
  32. 32. Next Steps More details Send an Email Call Us +1 732-794-1259© eG Innovations, Inc |
  33. 33. Visit eG Innovations @ vmworld 2012© eG Innovations, Inc |