Citrix Workspace Suite provides Secure Access to Applications for over 50,000 Employees

The Client:  One of the largest Healthcare Systems in the US with over 26 Hospitals and 50,000 employees.

Client Needs:  Highly Available Citrix WorkSpace Suite Design (XenApp, XenDesktop, and XenMobile)


The Challenge:

  • Client needed to create a highly available and resilient virtual desktop environment.  All components of the solution must be highly available and resilient, whereby all single points of failure are eliminated.
  • Client wanted a Virtual Desktop and Application Environment based on Citrix XenDesktop.  The design needs to deliver to client’s user community a virtual desktop based on Windows 7.  The design will support 60,000 concurrent virtual desktops but with capacity for 120,000 virtual desktops, and over 19,000 applications including multiple versions of the same application.
  • Integrate the design with Citrix NetScaler Gateway for secure remote access.
  • Create a design for Citrix XenMobile to handle management of mobile devices; provide secure access to corporate mail, web content, and ShareFile document libraries, integrate with client XenApp and XenDesktop environment.
  • Create a production-ready Proof of Concept (POC) incorporating the IntelliSuite Design


The IntelliSuite Citrix Solution:

Based on the project definition, IntelliSuite created a high-scalable and resilient design that was independently validated by Citrix Consulting Services. IntelliSuite also created a production-ready proof of Concept environment leveraging Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 with Windows 7 Virtual Desktop (VDI) and XenApp 7.6 published applications.

IntelliSuite’s tasks included holding several interactive planning, design, and build sessions with client technical staff. The solution supports internal users (MPLS WAN sites) and remote users (over the internet and VPN).

Below is summary of the design:

  1. The design spans two geographically-separate data centers.
  2. At all layers, components were grouped into independent pods that can collectively support the entire user community. The only items shared by the independent pods include Active Directory and DNS, Centralized CIFS for end users, and Citrix and RDS Licensing.
  3. At the Desktop Layer, each XenDesktop 7.6 Pod is designed to support 5,000 desktops during normal production use. However, each has a capacity for 10,000 desktops. Six independent XenDesktop 7.6 pods exist per data center (twelve total), to support a combined maximum of 120,000 VDI desktops. With this design, the environment can survive the loss of up to six pods or an entire data center.
  4. Highly Available (HA) pair of NetScaler MPX 24100 devices per data center for Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB).
  5. The new XenApp 7.6 environment is designed to replace the current XenApp 6.5 environment and incorporate twelve (12) older XenApp farms currently in multiple locations.
  6. XenMobile components at the primary datacenter designed to support 24,000 end user devices with Four (4) XenMobile Enterprise (XME) servers in clustering mode. Four (4) external NetScaler SDX Virtual Server Instances. Integration with Storefront server VIP for XenApp & XenDesktop access. Three (3) ShareFile Storage Zone Controller servers in HA configuration via NetScaler load balancing.

Below is a summary of the production-ready Proof of Concept build:

  1. All PoC components were built in the primary datacenter with ability to replicate to secondary datacenter.
  2. Created a XenDesktop 7.6 / XenApp 7.6 site to support Windows 7 desktops.
  3. Base applications are locally installed on the Windows 7 / XenDesktop 7.6 VDIs. Others are published Windows applications from XenApp 7.6
  4. Created a two-node StoreFront 2.6 deployment, leveraging Citrix NetScaler for secure remote access.
  5. Created a two-node Provisioning Services 7.6 farm to provide single image management to the Windows 7 VDIs and XenApp Session Host servers
  6. Created a two-node Desktop Director 7.6 deployment to enable helpdesk teams to support end users, troubleshoot and monitor performance of the Windows 7 VDIs and the XenDesktop 7.6 controllers. The Director deployment is accessible via a single URL, load-balanced by Citrix NetScaler.
  7. Created Active Directory Group Policy Objects to streamline and optimize the virtual environment.
  8. Deployed the entire infrastructure on VMware vSphere 5.5 using NetApp for storage
  9. Documented the environment and provided knowledge transfer sessions to client team members

Business Results:

  1. Enhanced business continuity design based on multi-pod systems per datacenter designed to survive the loss of multiple pods within a datacenter, or an entire datacenter, without loss of application access to 50,000+ end users.
  2. With centralized hosted desktops, HIPAA compliance is enhanced, security of client and patient data is improved and risk of data theft is minimized.
  3. Clinical workers are more mobile with secure virtual desktops (VDI) that follow them wherever they work. Delivery of care to patients is more efficient and less error prone.

Technologies Used:

Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7, Citrix XenDesktop 7.6, Citrix XenApp 7.6, Citrix StoreFront 2.6, Citrix Provisioning Services 7.6 (PVS), Citrix Desktop Director 7.6, VMware ESX vSphere 5.5, Epic Clinical Suite, Nuance Dragon, and Cisco UCS Blades.

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Rose Doherty

Written by Rose Doherty