Virtualising XenApp – What’s the magic number ?

In the past I have virtualised a number of different applications and types of servers, among these have been several Citrix WinFrame/MetaFrame/Presentation Server or as it is currently known XenApp Servers.

Recently I have been asked about this on a number of occasions and the question is always the same:

How many users can you get on a Virtualised XenApp Server ?

That’s like saying how long is a piece of string ! – The answer to this question is the same to most IT related questions I get asked…. It depends !

To be able to give this subject the full attention that is needed I plan on creating a series of blog posts which will enable us to discuss the different configuration types and I will hopefully aid you in working out what your magic number is, how many users you can get on a virtual XenApp server.

The series of blog posts will probably change as I start to delve into the different subjects but all will eventually link from this post.

Introduction
Why Virtualise XenApp ?
Design Factors
•    Sizing
•    Citrix Desktops
•    Seamless Applications
•    Redundancy
•    Licensing
•    Cost Cutting
Testing
•    Strategy
•    Applications
•    Tweaking
Implementation
•    Templates
•    Deployment
Monitoring
Upgrade strategy

Hopefully this will help with some of the questions I have received recently, if there is anything missing which you would also like me to include then please do let me know via the comments of this post !

If you are also into podcasts then make sure you listen to the recent discussion I had with the Chinwagger himself – Mike Laverick, this can be found on his blog here.

5 thoughts on “Virtualising XenApp – What’s the magic number ?”

  1. Brian – Good to hear that you’re getting such good numbers on 2008 with XA5. We see significantly less – around 15 users on a VM with 2 vCPUs and 8GB of RAM before the CPU is pegged.

    As always it all depends on what applications you’re running..

  2. We have seen about the same numbers for PS4 on 2K3.
    So far on 2K8 with XA5 we can get around 50 users on VM’s with good performance.

  3. Thank you for deciding to write on this topic.
    Please realize that not everyone will use XD vs. XA, and that not everyone has the Advanced/Enterprise versions.
    We presently can get up to 45-50 users (a bit slow) on PS 4.0 on our physical servers, we have 3 of them, usually with 25-30 users running very comfortably.
    I would be encouraged to know if I can get 20-25 users per virtualized XA server on ESX, then I would know I need at least 4 Citrix hosts.
    Thank you, Tom

  4. I hope you’ll put some focus on Server 2008 and the differences in user densities that you may see as compared to Server 2003. I’m seeing much higher CPU utilization on XA 5/Server 2008 than I did with Server 2003, which is hurting user density.

    Looking forward to your articles.

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