Citrix Releases Details about Hosted Client Solutions (Remote Virtual Desktops Machines via ICA)

I recently wrote about an emerging trend where you provide desktops to end users via Windows XP Virtual Machines running on remote VMware or Microsoft Virtual PC servers. Citrix has just released two white papers detailing how this can be built, configured, and deployed.

I recently wrote about an emerging trend where you provide desktops to end users via Windows XP Virtual Machines running on remote VMware or Microsoft Virtual PC servers. Citrix has just released two white papers detailing how this can be built, configured, and deployed. The two papers are basically identical, with one being for VMware Workstation-based solutions and one for solutions based on Microsoft Virtual PC.

How this works

The basic solution is this: You build a Windows 2003 Server, enable Terminal Services and install Citrix Presentation Server 4.0. So far, nothing special. Then, you install either Virtual PC or VMware Workstation on the Citrix Server!

From there you build a virtual machine image and set appropriate permissions and then create a special environment variable on the server that points to the disk image. Then you make a published application that is the VMware or Virtual PC software and disk image.

That's it.. Your users are essentially running the VMware or Virtual PC execution engines as their published apps.

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VMware has been doing this in their training labs worldwide and has taken it a step further.  VMware has standardized on using RES PowerFuse to manage all the virtual machines.  This makes for a Zero Touch environment.  I saw this running when I went through training and thought it was a great way to manage the enterprise.  Now we have a mixture of Citrix and Terminal Services, VMware virtual machine workstations and PowerFuse from RES to manage the entire Enterprise.  Sure, we have other fat workstations and laptops but PowerFuse can manage those too. 
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Good information.
 
Articles mentioned are reversed ....Microsoft Virtual PC to Citrix
VM  and VMWare to Citrix Virtual PC article.
 
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a virtual os running on PS?  Does this even scale? 
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Yikes! Who needs this? I feel neckhairs bristling - is that a hardware vendor I hear snickering and drooling? Really, this seems like a very boutique-ish approach to giving those silly users a secure desktop. But at what a cost? Questions abound - what about Micro$oft server CALs (for VMWare, anyway), how much RAM allocated to each DT, you're translating kernel instructions HOW MANY times? What about perceived performance? After all these years of convincing people that it's about the app, stupid, we're about to give them DESKTOPs again? Doesn't anyone remember Polly in Accounting getting confused ..."Ohhhh, THAT desktop" And I thought we were supposed to be consolidating servers. Isn't anyone else out there whining about power and heat requirements in the server room? Aaaaargh!
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Yeah, thats exactly what i was thinking. I mean you have to imagine

1. terminal based computing
2. client server based computing came up and was THE solution for all problems
3. back to the roots "We got terminal services and Citrix why using this stupid client server based computing? It's far to expensive, so let give away our money for TS and/or PS
4. "Now we're bored because of the capabilities of server based computing. And since we haven't that much trouble with this new "fancy" printg solution that comes with PS 4.0 (common known as Universal Printer Dump IIP) lets get some new problems..."

No one can really think, that common enterprises (employee number 10 - 500) would really waste more money than needed. Or can anyone explan why should I buy not only server license, Windows license, TS CAL, Citrix license but also the VMWare license and maybe for every virtual PC another Windows CAL???

But I don't want to grouch. Let's thank Good for people that can waste there time in thinking of new ways of wasting our money... :)
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Original poster response...
 
Actually VMware runs VM workstations (real hardware powering individual VM workstations), not VMs on on PS4.  Still a related to the main topic tho. 
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this looks good for software developers and other power users who need to have a dedicated OS image.
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I agree, definately good for people who need to use a particular program etc that may not necessarily work on your server. The good thing is you can just make a backup copy of the image, and if something goes wrong just restore it back. I have setup this environment (only in testing) and I was surprised how well it worked. Definately something worth looking into.
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Would this work with the new VMWare Player instead of the full blown version of VMWare workstation Brian?
JK
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I haven't tried it, but I don't see why not? My guess is that this would work.
 
Brian
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Just because the industry develops new technologies and comes with ideas for deploying them does not mean you have to "waste your money" and buy into them.  If you don't have a requirement for this solution then forget about it and move on, continue with what you know and love.  I can't think of a single reason why Polly in Accounts would need a Virtual PC session but can think of plenty of reasons why Bob in Alaska doing remote development would.
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Hi there,
can somenone tell me if get this right ?
 
So, what you do is installing VMware Wrkst or VirtualPC on your TS/Citrix as and publish this a traditional application. So you basically run the VM in multi-user mode on the server. And the client gets an ica or rdp connection to this VM, just as he would to a published desktop.
Is this correct ?
 
So if so, the benefit would be that you can run any application in this VM, without any risk of multiwin incompatibility ?
And the downside would be that you only share the VM software (and associated DLLs), but not the hosted desktop OS, nor the applications, resulting in very high requirements in server resources ?
 
Is there really a benefit versus just running hosted XP VMs directly on an ESX server, and giving RDP access to them ?
Why adding the TS/CTX layer ?
 
thanks a lot.
 
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Is there really a benefit versus just running hosted XP VMs directly on an ESX server, and giving RDP access to them ? Why adding the TS/CTX layer ?
Because if you just ran Windows XP in VMware, then why would you need Citrix?  I mean it's kind of a funny answer, but it's true. These are Citrix documents telling you about how you can use a Citrix solution.
 
The "real" answer from Citrix is that this way, you manage the access to the VMs via Citrix.. Which means you can set permissions, WI, PNA, use ICA.. etc.. You get the benefits of the Citrix Access Ecosystem.
 
Brian
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Everyone seems to be missing the point here.
A hosted desktop infrastructure is one that gives all of the benefits of server based computing without the issues typically associated with server based computing (such as application compatibility issues with Server OS's, print driver issues, multi user issues, etc).  It's a 1 to 1 ratio of users to operating systems.
 
Personally I prefer the virtualized method over the PC Blade.
 
The ideal solution should look something like this:
 
4 way dual core servers with ESX hosting Windows XP desktops for users.  Access would be through RDP or ICA for thin client access.
 
The key to this is the Load balancing and how users get directed to a desktop.  Do you want to have a persistent desktop for your users, or just have them get assigned a desktop from the pool?  Most likely this will be a mixture for most companies unless you use a tool like Softricity that can stream apps to desktops rather than users having to install them.  You could pre-cache the common apps in your VM image.
 
If you were to install a light version of MetaFrame, or even just an Agent that basically allows the Data Collector to know whether or not a user is logged in and direct users accordingly.
 
To take it even further, you could set up scripts so that every time a user logs out, the VM is reset back to it's original state using non-persistent disks.  Now, every time a user logs in they are logging in to a "clean" machine.  What does that do to your support costs?
 
You can do all of this today without Citrix, but it is very kludgy and not as secure/easy to manage (this sounds a lot like the typical value proposition for Citrix over TS doesn't it?).
 
A solution such as this would allow you to have a very powerful and flexible solution that is secure, centrally managed and cost-effective.
 
Thoughts?  Personally, I think it's a beautiful thing.
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Sorry, I wasn't logged in.  This will allow me to see replies.
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As you've said it is a beautiful thing, but also as you've said the load balancing and managing the redirection of client to hosted VM situation is currently a sticky situation.  In addition, though I like the idea of non-persistent disks, etc. it's the same old problem that we have in the Citrix world with mandatory profiles.  Sometimes people want certain things to persist throughout their environment so you're still doing the same old crap.

Shawn
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re:
"The key to this is the Load balancing and how users get directed to a desktop.  Do you want to have a persistent desktop for your users, or just have them get assigned a desktop from the pool?  Most likely this will be a mixture for most companies unless you use a tool like Softricity that can stream apps to desktops rather than users having to install them.  You could pre-cache the common apps in your VM image."
 
I have a bunck of servers VMware ESX servers running Windows XP.  How do I create a desktop pool?  Citrix?  Anything else.  Any information on this would be appreciated!
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ORIGINAL: Guest

I have a bunck of servers VMware ESX servers running Windows XP.  How do I create a desktop pool?  Citrix?  Anything else.  Any information on this would be appreciated!


Well, you either go the Citrix style route as described in this article, or your write your own RDP Desktop load balancer service and client.  Many people have done this with great success, but there is a development process involved.

Shawn
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