Regardless of your role in the workspace virtualization efforts of your organization, you can most likely appreciate the challenges of the following scenario. 

A newly assembled virtualization team has to hit the ground running in order to revamp and re-architect a virtual desktop environment. Over the next 12-18 months, through rapid organic growth and a series of strategic acquisitions, your company will nearly triple its user base from 3000 employees to 8000 plus. This fast-paced growth will place a tremendous strain on the performance and stability of a significantly suboptimal virtual desktop environment in its infancy.

Plagued by the latency and performance of this environment, the desktop virtualization effort is suffering in user acceptance, adoption, and most critically in “user perception.”

The unprecedented growth for your industry will also bring your enterprise storage to capacity as desktop virtualization will account for over 70% of that utilization. Critical decisions must be made concerning the need to purchase a significant amount of SAN storage to move forward with projects outside of VDI, as well as to provide capacity for a redesigned disaster recovery site.  With the DR strategy trending toward a true active-active datacenter design, the necessary capacity will be substantial. Along with the challenges above, you will also need a virtual workspace solution that provides the scalability and agility necessary for future growth.

This challenging scenario was a reality for Nationstar Mortgage, located just outside of Dallas, Texas.

Nationstar is one of the leading servicers of mortgages in the United States with a presence in the originations market as well.  At Citrix Synergy 2015, I will have I will have the opportunity to share a bit of our story and discuss some of the technologies and strategies we have employed to meet these challenges.

As one of the engineers in our virtualization and emerging technologies group at Nationstar, I will be sharing how we leveraged the Atlantis ILIO software defined storage solution to complement our Citrix XenApp environment to:

  • Successfully implement a stateless and diskless virtual desktop solution.
  • Migrate from a legacy to next generation XenApp Architecture.
  • Drastically improve performance and stability
  • Eliminate the need for additional extensive storage costs
  • Reallocate 70% of higher tier storage from XenApp back to the organization
  • Offload 100% of VDI related IOPS from SAN storage to RAM
  • Improve login times from upwards of 2 minutes to consistently 15-20 seconds
  • Implement a virtualization solution that can be scaled out in a modular and consistent fashion

We will also cover some of the gotchas and setbacks in our journey including some of the following:

  • Challenges with some of the Write Cache options in PVS 7.X
  • What does a diskless XenApp published desktop truly entail?
  • Walking the fine line between optimizing performance and maintaining stability
  • Special considerations with a simple in memory XenApp Atlantis ILIO model

Are you currently facing challenges in any of the above aspects of desktop virtualization?  I hope that our breakout session SYN112: How Nationstar Mortgage saved $1.3 million on desktop virtualization by changing their approach to storage and disaster recovery, can assist you in your Citrix and workspace virtualization journey can assist in your Citrix and workspace virtualization journey.

Josiah Foster is a Senior Citrix/ Virtualization Engineer with the “Emerging Technologies” group at Nationstar Mortgage.  You can connect with him on Twitter

Citrix invited the author of this blog post to present at Citrix Synergy 2015 and to participate in a related contest.  The author received an entry into the contest for submitting this Blog.

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