HDX MediaStream does a fantastic job of reducing the network bandwidth requirements for streamed video compared with rending the video on the server. When using HDX MediaStream your bandwidth requirements roughly equal the bit rate of the source video file. For lower quality clips, like those found on YouTube, this is around 256Kbps. For full HD content the bandwidth requirements can be as high as 8Mbps.
While this works great over a high speed LAN, trying to push that amount of data over typical branch office T-1 is another story. This problem is magnified even more when you have multiple users in the branch office who are repeatedly pulling down the same video content. In this situation, the video quality suffers and other business applications can be impacted. This issue has nothing to do with XenApp or XenDesktop. It is purely a function of the size of video file and the limited amount of available network bandwidth.
What can you do about this? Well if the culprit is the latest viral video making its way around the Internet you could attempt to block access to sites like YouTube. However, what if the video is for legitimate business purposes? I talked to one customer at Synergy who is rolling out a corporate compliance training video to their entire company using XenApp but is worried about the impact to network bandwidth.
Enter Citrix Branch Repeater and HDX IntelliCache. With Branch Repeater 5 we now participate in the ICA session and accelerate the ICA virtual channel used by HDX MediaStream. The first time the video is streamed to the branch office, Branch Repeater caches the content locally. The next time the video is requested, Branch Repeater serves the content from its local cache rather than pulling it across the WAN. Using branch caching, you can reduce the bandwidth requirements for on-demand videos by up to 90%.
Don’t just take my word for it. You can see a demo if this in action on the latest edition of Brian Madden TV. (If you don’t want to watch the entire episode you can jump ahead to 5:49 into the clip).