At the Mercy of the WAN – 3 Desktop Virtualization Challenges for Remote Workers

Maintaining or improving performance for all users is a critical component of a successful desktop virtualization effort. The alternative? Well, it’s not pretty. The complaints start rolling in, there’s talk of returning to the “old way” of doing things, and before you know it, your whole initiative may be at risk. While ensuring a satisfying experience for local workers typically isn’t a problem, IT can run into challenges addressing the needs of employees in branch offices or other remote settings. For these users, limitations of the enterprise WAN can affect the performance of virtual desktop solutions, causing painfully slow application response times and bringing productivity to a standstill.

  1. WAN latency and congestion
    From the mouse click that hangs for ages to the webpage that takes forever to load, it’s a familiar – and frustrating – story for remote virtualized desktop users. These delays are due to latency and congestion in the WAN, where round-trip time (RTT) can range from tens to hundreds of milliseconds (compared to corporate LAN RTT, which is often within tenths of a millisecond).
  2. Bandwidth capacity limitations
    The amount of data the network can transfer at any given time is limited, and each user session is allocated a certain amount of pipeline. For remote users, the impact of bandwidth limitations is most noticeable during activities that require large session input/output, such as downloading files or streaming video.
  3. Inefficient application protocols
    Many native applications have “chatty” protocols, requiring significant back and forth communication between the system accessing the file and the datacenter-based server hosting it. When remote users access these applications over virtualized desktops, several round trips across the WAN are required to complete each request and delays are incurred at virtually every turn.

So, how can IT deliver an improved virtual desktop experience for branch-office and other remote employees? The answer can be complicated. Traditional methods of addressing WAN limitations – such as adding bandwidth or branch office servers – come with their own set of shortcomings. Fortunately, there is hope thanks to innovative WAN optimization technologies. With WAN optimization, IT can provide a superior experience to remote workers while maintaining the key cost reduction and data centralization benefits of desktop virtualization initiatives.

As a leader in desktop virtualization, Citrix offers a unified WAN optimization platform in NetScaler SD-WAN. Providing a high-definition user experience with virtual desktops and apps hosted and delivered by XenDesktop and XenApp, NetScaler SD-WAN accelerates time-consuming tasks such as printing, file downloads and page scrolling over the WAN by up to five times while also reducing WAN bandwidth by up to 80 percent per desktop.