What is the average logon time for a Citrix environment? Great question. And after “How many users can I get on a box?” this is a question I seem to be answering more and more these days.

And that’s what I want to discuss in this article. Long logon times might be the #1 complaint I get from customers (and it’s also the #1 way to stall user adoption or kill a project). So, I hope this article can at least set some expectations for our customers and partners.

Before I answer, let’s first define what a “logon time” is since I’ve seen some wild interpretations over the years.  

When I’m talking logon times, I’m talking about the length of time it takes from the moment you click an application or desktop icon to the time when the application window or desktop shell initially appears. This doesn’t include the time it takes to authenticate to Receiver, NetScaler or StoreFront … and it doesn’t include the time it takes for App XYZ to truly be ready, since that might take another 5 seconds depending on the app (and it’s completely out of our control).

It probably goes without saying, but we’re talking about “full” or “real” logons vs anything like session sharing or session pre-launch (that is cheating in this context).

Rule of 30

I use the “Rule of 30” (which I made up) to answer this question. It sort of goes like this: if your logon times are under 30 seconds, you’re doing pretty well. If they’re longer than 30 seconds, something is probably not quite right.

How did I come up with this rule or arrive at this conclusion? Mostly personal experience, but also a little bit of data.

Allow me to explain. I’ve been Consulting at Citrix for 12 years now and I’ve seen somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 different Citrix environments. I’ve seen everything from 6 seconds to 8 minutes. And I’ve helped dozens of customers go from a minute+ to under 30 seconds, even when a lot of the things that comprise logon times are out of our control.

I’ll admit that my “30” number is slightly inflated since I spend 80% of my time in the enterprise space helping our largest customers (it might be more like 20-25 in the commercial space).  But it holds pretty darn true from what I’ve seen and the data that some folks are starting to expose are backing this up.

Data / Insights

You’re probably thinking: “Doesn’t Director have a “logon duration” report and isn’t Receiver feeding that data to CIS?”

Yes, Director does have this awesome report that breaks down the various pieces of the logon time (and this is the first place you should start if you have long logon times!), but we’re just starting to feed this data to CIS and it’s not available in the format I want it just yet. But once we expose that data in a more meaningful way, I am willing to bet that the average logon time from the 100k customer data points we’ve collected is around 35 seconds.

If I had to put a number on the average logon time in the enterprise space it would be 40 seconds.  For the commercial space, 30 seconds. And you know what the smart folks over at ControlUp found? The average logon time is 29.7 seconds. Granted, their sample size is fairly small today and I bet they’re not including our largest customers in the world like I am, but that is still fascinating data and backs up my numbers.

It’s great to see ControlUp exposing these numbers to the Community – this is very powerful data and I applaud their efforts. Now, if we could only get LoginVSI to include some telemetry in their product (and share their scalability numbers with the world), we’d be in business. Then I could stop blogging about scalability and the world would be a better place.

Why So Long? And how about Citrix?

So, now you might be asking, if the benchmark is 30 seconds, why the heck do most customers exceed that threshold? Poor profile design with a lack of folder redirection and/or exclusions is still the #1 culprit, so I always look there first. After that the typical suspects are logon scripts and Group Policy.

Whether we’re running legacy scripts from 8 years ago or inheriting 37 GPOs (and only 3 have to do with Citrix), we’ve seen it all. And it all adds up.

Not including the load throttling rule in your load evaluators? Mapping every printer and waiting for those printers to enumerate before you launch an app? Got a poorly coded app that writes large temp files to the root of your profile? Those are a few easy things to check.  And this technote has a dozen other items to check. But as I mentioned earlier, Director is your friend here and will point you in the right direction. Our Logon Optimization whitepaper is also a great resource you can use to understand the logon process better and shave valuable seconds off your logon times.

So how about Citrix? What do our employees average when they logon to a published application or desktop? After all, we’re a fairly large organization with about 10k employees and we have hundreds of Citrix servers and desktops spanning 4 global data centers.

I did a ton of tests and found it to be roughly 35-50 seconds, depending on where you are, which data center you’re connecting to and if it’s an app or desktop. So, it’s right around the 40-second enterprise average I mentioned earlier. In my opinion, that’s about 10-15 seconds too long, so I’ll work with our IT team in my free time to see if we can get that down to “sub 30”, which is where I think every customer should strive to be.

Still Not Happy with your Logon Times or Citrix Performance?

That’s OK. You won’t be the first or last customer. Get in touch with your local Citrix rep and let our Citrix Consulting team have a shot. While my Legal team prohibits me from guaranteeing anything, I’ll bet you a burger and beverage we can improve your logon times (and find some other stuff to improve the overall performance of your Citrix environment while we’re at it).

Please feel free to share your average logon time below. Hope this guidance helps.


Nick Rintalan, Lead Architect, Citrix Consulting

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