by Lyle Smith

Citrix Announces New Cisco Validated Design

Citrix has announced a new Cisco Validated Design (CVD) reference architecture as well as scalability tests the company has completed during the past few months. This architecture integrates Citrix XenDesktop 7.1 and XenServer 6.2 SP1 with the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) and NetApp storage in order to build a comprehensive large-scale virtualization solution.

During their tests, Citrix showed the design capable of performance and scalability with a combined 2,000 seats of mixed FlexCast models; which used 550 hosted virtual desktops (Windows 7) and 1,450 hosted virtual desktop sessions (Windows Server 2012). Though Citrix limited testing to 2,000 sessions, they indicated the architecture is suitable for deployments of all sizes, including large departmental and enterprise deployments; all with the scalability to grow based on future needs.

Citrix’s solution combines the following components: Citrix XenDesktop 7.1, XenServer 6.2 SP1, Cisco UCS B200M3 blades with Intel Xeon E5-2680 (Ivy Bridge processors) and NetApp FAS 3250 shared storage running the Clustered ONTAP 8.2 storage operating system. For high availability, the architecture uses an N+1 server design that features two Cisco UCS chassis housing two blades for the infrastructure server pool, eight blades for the virtual hosted desktop pool, and four blades for the hosted shared desktop pool. Citrix has provided a diagram to demonstrate this:

The net result is Citrix was able to leverage their software, with the combination of NetApp storage and Cisco networking and compute from the FlexPod design, to effectively deliver the 2,000 seats in a space-efficient configuration that uses less than a rack to gear. The design also provides high-availability within the rack, while still maintaining an affordable cost structure.

Citrix XenDesktop Solutions

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