We choose to go the moon … and so do 500 Citrix XenApp users in a 1U platform!

moonmanFifty-five years ago John F. Kennedy set one of the greatest technology challenges mankind had ever known: to land a man on the moon and bring him safely back. During his 1961 speech at Rice University he said “We choose to go to the moon… to do things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

That guiding principle is what the HPE Moonshot and Citrix engineering teams have followed since day one.

Challenging the status quo, like what blade servers did to traditional servers, has resulted in great solution engineering from the HPE Moonshot team. Since the first release of the platform I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved with some of the best engineering minds at HPE while designing the Citrix software stack for each or our solution releases. From the first XenDesktop bare-metal graphics Moonshot solution to the latest XenApp with Intel Iris Pro bare-metal graphics, the engineering relationship between Citrix and the Moonshot teams have been amazing.

Similar to NASA’s Project Orion spacecraft, which has a purpose to take humans into space further than they ever have before, so does the latest HPE Moonshot system also have a purpose to provide Hypercompute scale for Citrix XenApp further than ever before. Let’s take a look into the next HPE Moonshot platform.

The newly reinvented HPE Moonshot 2.0 Edgeline solution is something that brings together Hyper-Compute with the Citrix Xen family to deliver the highest scaling solution in only a 1U unit. It’s the only solution on the market today that allows an IT architect to truly craft a platform using a Citrix mobile workspace solution design that can to scale for a variety of users and applications whether its bare-metal or fully virtual – and it can deliver it whatever, whenever.

On demand graphics are natively there with the HPE Moonshot m710x and if your applications are not in the need for a GPU then the new m510 delivers the most amount of XenApp users in only 7 inches this side of the solar system! With these two new cartridges the possibilities are impressive.


The EL4000 is the smallest and simplest Moonshot platform that allows you to experience all the benefits of the Moonshot with the smallest amount of space in your data center in 1U. The EL4000 supports 4 Moonshot cartridges and can be a mix of either the ProLiant m510 or the ProLiant m710x. Machine management is available using the new iLO 4 web console so deploying any Xen platform is simple. The chart below explains the networking and supported cartridges.


Let’s look at a couple of design choices with this new solution.

Design 1) XenApp All Up without graphics

Since the new m510 has been validated with LoginVSI to support over 150 XenApp 7.8 sessions per cartridge, a simple design choice might be to do all bare-metal with PVS. This Hypercompute design for Citrix XenApp yields the most amount of XenApp session per single cartridge with up to four m510 cartridges which can deliver over 500 XenApp sessions in just 1U. In this design more common non GPU based applications are best served since the m510 doesn’t have graphics card embedded.


Design 2) XenApp All Up with Graphics

In this case there may be a scenario where the applications that are being hosted in XenApp are dependent upon a GPU being available such as Microsoft Office 2016, WebGL applications like BioDigital Human, and CAD application like Revit 2017. Since the m710x comes embedded with the Intel Iris Pro P580 graphics the enablement of a GPU is simple and doesn’t require additional configuration for running bare-metal XenApp on the m710x.


Design 3) Branch Office Mobile Workspace

Perhaps you have a BU that requires the need for their own XenApp, XenDesktop, and infrastructure to concentrated into one single platform. In that case implementing a smaller version of the Citrix and HPE Moonshot Mobile workspace with the EL4000 with the m710x running Citrix XenServer to host the infrastructure VMs and the m510 to run the XenApp workloads may make sense. In that design we would leverage two m710x as our hosts running Citrix XenServer in a pool for HA and our infrastructure virtual machines running the controller, PVS, StoreFront and NetScaler VPX and so forth. The m710x has the most amount of local NVME storage virtual storage appliances so leveraging choices like Windows Server Storage Spaces, Atlantis, and others are possible. The two m510 cartridges run as bare-metal Windows XenApp servers. Of course this can be flipped with XenServer running on the m510 and XenApp running on the m710x also.


Design 4) All Up Citrix Solution stack  

For the all up Citrix solution stack we can host a mixed workload of virtual XenApp virtual machines, virtual XenDesktop and the required infrastructure VMs all on Citrix XenServer. The Flexcast-in-a-box, or Xen-kenstein, as our Citrix CTO Christian Reilly calls it, delivers a variety of Citrix workspaces such as Windows 10 virtual desktops with access to applications hosted on Citrix XenApp all managed within the same infrastructure that exists within the same chassis.


Additional functionality and flexibility is available when stacking two or more EL4000 enclosures together.  HPE has a number of networking options available to enable cost effective and seemless scalability to meet the needs of your growing organization.


In summary, the new HPE EL4000 Moonshot solution with Citrix XenApp, XenDesktop, and XenServer can host a variety of use cases and applications whether they’re graphics dependent or not—and all in a one-unit (1U) footprint server rack. Of course, there are many other variations of what can be designed in this solution for more intense user such as financial traders  with XenDesktop and many more. HPE has done a tremendous job at making this new Moonshot solution truly feel like they have reached the moon and come back again!

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