Determining Necessary Bandwidth for Desktop Virtualization

Determining Necessary Bandwidth for Desktop Virtualization

If you are considering a desktop virtualization implementation and you are concerned about bandwidth you are not alone. The supporting network can make or break a desktop virtualization no matter how it is deployed.  Hosted shared, locally streamed, it doesn’t make much difference.  Locking down a solid plan for your network bandwidth is critical to ensuring successful desktop virtualization.

Any technology is only as good as the people who use it, so without a positive user experience desktop virtualization will be a waste.  So it is important to start planning your network bandwidth now before the user experience starts to crumble as bandwidth decreases and latency increases.  To start planning your network properly, think about the type of jobs your people are performing and the overall workload performed on the network to determine necessary bandwidth for desktop virtualization.

The Citrix Blog recently published an article that will help with this.  It covers why virtual desktops require more bandwidth, and it gives some helpful tips for determining a reliable amount of necessary bandwidth.  Here is what the article has to say:

  • In default configuration, virtual desktops provide a greater and richer experience than the default XenApp configuration.
  • Virtual desktop users are idle less often than hosted application users. For example, if a user is sitting in front of a workstation and is accessing a hosted application on XenApp, the desktop and XenApp applications both appear as active. However, when the user is not working with the XenApp application, they are identified as idle by XenApp even though they might be active on their desktop. Due to this difference, the desktop will have less idle time than XenApp hosted applications.
  • Desktops access and consume more multimedia and graphical mediums than most applications. A user’s desktop session also includes internet activity, which often includes more graphics, video and sounds. When using a XenApp hosted application, these multimedia activities are only utilized if the application allows.

Available bandwidth will dramatically influence the ICA/HDX protocol, making estimation of network impact a critical step.  The Citrix article offers a helpful table to help with this estimation based on percentages of user activities that include typing, graphics, internet, video and printing.

These calculations can help you develop a rough estimate to determine your HDX bandwidth requirements.  Also, integrating the Branch Repeater into the architecture can dramatically reduce bandwidth consumption across multiple users who access the same type of content.  Though to what degree it will be reduced will be largely decided by the amount of repetition between users.

necessary bandwidth for desktop virtualization

Using a single number to determine your bandwidth will not be adequate.  Gaining a deeper understanding into activity percentages is the best way to determine the necessary bandwidth for desktop virtualization.  To learn more about desktop virtualization take a look at the Citrix Whitepaper to the right.

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