Citrix Recommendation on WAN Optimization for VDI – XenDesktop

  • CTX140834
  • Created onMay 28, 2014
  • Updated onMay 28, 2014


When making the transition to a virtual desktop platform, enterprise IT must ensure that all users have a positive experience with the virtual desktop, even if they work in remote branch offices away from the corporate datacenter. To provide users with a positive virtual desktop experience, IT professionals must ensure an acceptable level of desktop performance can be provided to both corporate users as well as the branch office users.
To this end, Citrix developed its HDX technology to deliver a “high definition” experience to end users of any application, on any device and over any network. The HDX technology is built on top of the Citrix ICA protocol, and it includes over 20 years of innovation designed to ensure the end user experience.  As a strategic element of XenDesktop and XenApp, the HDX technology is continuously being enhanced and extended, e.g. FrameHawk, to address new workstyles and devices.
While the HDX technology is quite efficient, it can benefit from WAN optimization and protocol acceleration techniques in the presence of high latency or congestion. Many enterprises may choose to use WAN optimization technology to improve XenDesktop and XenApp delivery to branch offices in order to maintain the user experience while at the same time managing recurring WAN bandwidth expenses.
Although there are third party WAN optimization solutions that will work with Citrix solutions, there is no assurance of their performance due to lack of expertise with the HDX technology. To the extent that another WAN optimization vendor has “reverse-engineered” its solution for HDX technology optimization, Citrix cannot endorse nor provide technical support for this approach.
Instead, Citrix strongly recommends that enterprises deploy the Citrix CloudBridge solution where optimization of XenDesktop and/or XenApp is needed. The CloudBridge platform incorporates the HDX technology, offering the best optimization performance for XenDesktop and XenApp.  CloudBridge actively participates in the ICA session by communicating with the XenDesktop and XenApp client/server.  For video delivery, CloudBridge and XenDesktop work together to ensure the best viewing performance while minimizing WAN utilization.  As a result of incorporating the HDX technology, CloudBridge can provide correct prioritization of the various communication channels within an ICA session and ensure these priorities are correctly mapped to network layer QoS mechanisms.  Finally, to the extent that there are technical issues, Citrix technical support has expertise on both products to facilitate troubleshooting and problem resolution.
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