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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Alternatives to Citrix? in Technical; Hi guys! I am fairly new to the world of desktop virtualization. And I have a question some of you ...
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    Smile Alternatives to Citrix?

    Hi guys!

    I am fairly new to the world of desktop virtualization. And I have a question some of you may find funny due to its noobish nature. I am also new here, so if I missed anything or did something against the norms of this forum, I apologize in advance.

    First, I will explain the process:

    My client has a server that holds X number of images (.TIFF files). Multiple computers access that server via Citrix to work on those image files.

    The extent of the 'work' mentioned only includes:
    1. Labeling - by inserting a line of text on the image, like a watermark of sort.
    2. Validation - the image is a scanned copy of documents. Image quality is not that important, as long as it is readable.

    The Fineprint:
    1. Server is located on a different continent.
    2. As a security measure, image files cannot be downloaded, thus the need to access the server via Citrix. All applications needed to work on the images are also published/virtualized from there.
    3. There is no minimum screen resolution requirement to view the images as long as it is readable.
    4. Connection to the client is via MPLS/IPBB (40Mbps).

    Some Notes:
    1. Version of Citrix being used TBD.
    2. Assuming they are using v4.5 or later, and SpeedScreen is already enabled (well, it is enabled by default). lol
    3. Other image compression tools were already used.

    THE QUESTION(S):

    Is Citrix the best tool for this job? What are my alternatives/options given this kind of task?

    The client finds the image rendering too slow and cumbersome, even with the image compression activated. From what I have read, Citrix employs lossy compression while VMWare, lossless.

    There is still a lot of gray area in this scenario. I have already sent my set of questions to the client (will get the answers next week as soon as the person responsible comes back from vacation), and I will be posting them here as soon as I get them.

    TL;DR: Working on image files on a remote server using Citrix and the client finds the image rendering too slow. What are my other options aside from Citrix?

    Thank you!

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    You're going to have a couple of issues here.

    Firstly, Citrix is pretty much one of the best protocols for remote access like this, as it handles multimedia better than most rival stuff.

    Secondly, you say the server is on a different continent. This will be adding significant latency to the system, and therefore displaying the remote applications will be less 'realtime'. Kind of like how long distance phone calls can have a slight delay. Why is the server on a different continent, and can it be moved?

    With citrix, you're talking about 30kbps of bandwidth being used to display remote applications. Any connection can handle that nowadays, so the protocol is unlikely the issue.

    To be completely honest with you, I doubt you're going to solve this via a different software product.

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Due to your security concerns, you are unlikely to find an alternative. Presentation Server/Xenapp which you will be talking about has specific security policies built in that will have been enabled to prevent copying or printing the images from the client device. AFAIK, competitors such as vanilla Remote Desktop Services, cannot do this.

    One thing you might want to check is the number of concurrent connections on the server (if this is high adding another server to the farm might be an idea) and also what the client devices are running. Not all clients are equal... you will get best performance out of Windows-based clients running the very latest Citrix Receiver (assuming that Xenapp 6 is running on your servers).

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    plexer's Avatar
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    User brings up document, user takes picture of screen with camera, document captured and sold on the black market

    Ben

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    Only one real alternative to Citrix - 2X, not quite as good, but far less cash.

    VMware do not provide a thinclient solution like Presentation Server (now badged XenApp), View is a VDI solution and ThinApp is application virtualisation, there is a sutble difference between the technologies and what you need is a fast thin client running a decent protocol.

    I don't think VDI is the answer here, you will end up quadrupling your back-end servers for not much performance pay-off, the use case just isn't quite right.

    Citrix XenApp 6 running the HDX protocol is, simply put, the best thing that meets the requirement to present (Non-CPU Intensive) applications.

    If you are using the above, configured and tuned correctly, then you need to consider another architectural solution, such as replicating the files to local servers, performing the image manipulation and then replicating back.

  6. Thanks to andrew-virtusolve from:

    arthurd (8th July 2011)

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    Thank you so much for all of your replies!

    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    You're going to have a couple of issues here.

    Firstly, Citrix is pretty much one of the best protocols for remote access like this, as it handles multimedia better than most rival stuff.

    Secondly, you say the server is on a different continent. This will be adding significant latency to the system, and therefore displaying the remote applications will be less 'realtime'. Kind of like how long distance phone calls can have a slight delay. Why is the server on a different continent, and can it be moved?

    With citrix, you're talking about 30kbps of bandwidth being used to display remote applications. Any connection can handle that nowadays, so the protocol is unlikely the issue.

    To be completely honest with you, I doubt you're going to solve this via a different software product.
    Yes. When I first heard of this 'problem' presented by the client, I immediately thought "what could be better than Citrix in this scenario"? And like you, I also don't think this can't be solved by another software product. I am no expert on this, so I needed confirmation from the experts.

    The client is based on a different continent, and the server cannot be moved as part of their security requirement. The said server holds the images, and it cannot be moved. Those images holds sensitive data, and from what I have heard, this security measure is government-mandated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_ View Post
    Due to your security concerns, you are unlikely to find an alternative. Presentation Server/Xenapp which you will be talking about has specific security policies built in that will have been enabled to prevent copying or printing the images from the client device. AFAIK, competitors such as vanilla Remote Desktop Services, cannot do this.

    One thing you might want to check is the number of concurrent connections on the server (if this is high adding another server to the farm might be an idea) and also what the client devices are running. Not all clients are equal... you will get best performance out of Windows-based clients running the very latest Citrix Receiver (assuming that Xenapp 6 is running on your servers).
    I cannot believe I forgot to ask them about the number of concurrent connections during their test. Thank you for pointing this out and reminding me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plexer View Post
    User brings up document, user takes picture of screen with camera, document captured and sold on the black market

    Ben
    We have a similar account here that also deals with sensitive data. You won't believe the level of security they implement here. No phones, cams, storage devices, MP3s. The physical inspection is almost TSA-esque.

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    (Comment Deleted. Double-Post)
    Last edited by arthurd; 8th July 2011 at 05:40 AM. Reason: Double Post

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