Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop: ESRI support ArcGIS Pro in virtualized environments

  • ArcGIS Pro provides an integrated platform for 2D and 3D visualization and analysis. Pro has undergone extensive performance and scalability testing, especially in virtualized environments. Especially using the NVIDIA K1 and K2 graphics cards designed for virtualized environments.  To share this information with our users, we will be publishing a series of blogs on the use of ArcGIS Pro in Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop, Microsoft Hyper-V VDI and VMWare Horizon View.”

I thought it was worth highlighting the above announcement made  over on ERSI’s website by John Meza back in June 2014. ArcGIS is already a phenomenally popular application with XenApp and XenDesktop users and one I get asked about a lot, so I’m particularly pleased to see them publishing specific information targeted at those looking to ArcGIS for VDI, on mobile devices, and for remote off-site graphics.

ArcGIS is a platform for designing and managing solutions through the application of geographic knowledge. It’s one of those applications that make your spirits soar because it’s simply fascinating and visually compelling. Maps and geographical data are fascinating probably because they reveal so much about both the natural world, but also the very fabric of man-made society and social change. I’d really recommend looking at what kind of data is now mapped, over on ESRI’s website:

The XenDesktop, HDX and NVIDIA GRID engineering teams are very familiar with John and his team, as they are one of a number of software vendors we engage in joint engineering and solutions projects with. We need to understand how these 3D applications work to ensure virtualisation is optimised for these workloads. Likewise some vendors like ESRI put a lot of effort into understanding how they can optimise their architecture to make it suitable for virtualisation.

ESRI’s products are simply enormously useful and as such their users are more diverse than say a high-end CAD design product. Maps and data visualisation are being used for huge data sets on complex AEC/geographical/CAD projects but also increasingly by more regular desktop users to visualise simpler data and produce compelling infographics and Powerpoint presentations. ESRI also makes a wide range of products that integrate into products such as SAP to visualise business data.


I particularly like working with ESRI as they really understand the value of offering a wide range of virtualisation solutions: high-end GPU usage via pass-through or vGPU, cost-effective XenApp GPU-sharing (with NVIDIA or AMD), and even software GPU. ESRI has a site overviewing the range of Citrix solutions available where you can learn about the solutions and find best practice advice and case studies.
ESRI works with a range of hypervisors and virtualisation technologies, which is great because XenDesktop and XenApp are hypervisor agnostic. XenDesktop and XenApp support a variety of platforms including XenServer, physical workstations, Microsoft Hyper-V, VMWare vSphere, Amazon AWS and Citrix CloudPlatform. ESRI ran a virtualisation session at their last user conference, which you can read more about here.

Yet another customer case study featuring ArcGis was published, only last week, by Citrix partner 360is; it’s a great read about how ArcGis and Citrix technologies are being explored for accelerating satellite and communication technology development. You can read about the project in full on their blog.

GIS and Maps are stunning!

Working with ESRI has made me a bit of a map junkie to be honest, the amount of data presented in visually compelling ways is amazing, I now avidly follow a lot of maps on twitter including ESRI: