Case Story: VDI & Citrix XenDesktop Implementation

The Client:
A Top 10 US Property and Casualty Insurance Company

Client Needs:
VDI Implementation
Citrix XenDesktop Lifecycle Implementation

The Challenge:
Client wanted to use hosted desktops to solve several business challenges centered on providing fast and secure access to business applications for new acquisitions in the US, and offshore employees and business partners. Client had chosen Citrix XenDesktop to meet the objectives. Citrix Systems engaged IntelliSuite resources to assist with the implementation.

The IntelliSuite Solution:
Based on the project definition, IntelliSuite resources applied Citrix Consulting methodology to assess the existing infrastructure for readiness, and created a design to achieve stated objectives. With design approval from client, IntelliSuite resources created a XenDesktop 7.1 solution designed to support 10,000 end users across multiple locations in US and India.

Tasks included planning and design for the memory, CPU, and storage IOPS performance requirements for the virtual infrastructure. Below is a summary of tasks accomplished:

  • Created two independent active-active XenDesktop 7.1 sites to support Windows 7 desktops in two separate data centers to provide business continuity in case of a data center outage
  • Created two independent XenApp 6.5 farms in two data centers to publish Windows applications and websites to the Windows 7 VDIs
  • Created two independent StoreFront 2.5 sites in two data centers to provide secure web access to the Windows 7 VDIs and XenApp applications. The two independent StoreFront 2.5 sites are accessible via a single URL, load-balanced by F5 GSLB. F5 implementation handled by Client team
  • Created two independent Provisioning Services 7.1 farms in two data centers to provide single image management to the Windows 7 VDIs and XenApp Session Host servers
  • Created two independent Desktop Director 2.1 sites in two data centers to enable helpdesk teams to support end users, troubleshoot and monitor performance of the Windows 7 VDIs and the XenDesktop 7.1 controllers. The two independent Director 2.1 sites are accessible via a single URL, load-balanced by F5 GSLB.
  • Created a Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 mirror and witness solution per site to host the Citrix Data Stores for the relevant Citrix technologies
  • Created Active Directory Group Policy Objects to streamline and optimize the virtual environment
  • Deployed Citrix and Remote Desktop Licensing servers across two data centers in a redundant design
  • Wrote VMware PowerCLI 5.5 scripts to automate the creation of persistent XenDesktop / Windows 7 virtual desktops via VMware custom specifications
  • Deployed the entire infrastructure on VMware vSphere 5 using EMC NAS and SAN for storage
  • Worked with client Load Testing team to conduct scalability testing of the environment
  • Documented the environment and provided knowledge transfer sessions to client team members

The Results:

  • With centralized hosted desktops, security of client data is enhanced and risk of data theft is minimized
  • Business continuity is enhanced by using two independent and active-active data centers to manage hosted desktops
  • New Windows 7 desktops for any End User or Business Use Case can now be provisioned in minutes with access to authorized users from any location
  • Client was able to immediately adopt the system to speed up migration to Windows 7 due to Windows XP end-of-life

Technologies Used:
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2, Citrix XenDesktop 7.1, Citrix XenApp 6.5 and 7.1, Citrix StoreFront 2.5, Citrix Provisioning Services 7.1 (PVS), Citrix Desktop Director 2.1, VMware PowerShell / PowerCLI, and VMware ESX vSphere 5.