Vitaly91
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

Citrix Environment on VMware in Healthcare industry

Guys,

Have anyone had any experiece running Cerner (medical app) on a virtualized Citrix environment?

Also, does anyone have any wisdom or practical advice on running Citrix on VMware in healthcare industry?

And lastly, any conversation about running Citrix on VMware will involve conversation about how VMware handles context switches... I would appreciate any input on that. Especially if you have some practical, hands-on experience and advice on handling that issue.

Thank you in advance for all your help and time!

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9 Replies
Patrick_Miller
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

We are in the same boat, although a different industry. We have a smallish Citrix farm we are looking at converting to a VM environment

Hopefully the following white paper can get you headed in the right direction:

I'm looking forward to seeing what some of the experts have to say...this has been a hot topic around these parts Smiley Happy

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Vitaly91
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

Patrick,

Thank you for the reply. Yes, I have seen some white papers and presentations at VMWorld. I know it works and works well. But I have a client who is VERY hard to convince that Citrix will do just fine on VMware. Naturally, he throws context switches at me. And yes, there is an overhead (however small) from virtualization, yet, it does not impact performance all that much. His concern is that it will. I need to somehow convince him otherwise.

So I agree, Patrick. I would LOVE to hear from gurus around here their opinions and, hopefully, some advice on the subject matter.

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mreferre
Champion
Champion

Although there are some customers happy about it, in general Citrix Presentation Server (or MS Terminal Services as the foundation technology) on VMware products... has never been a good duo.

Context switches is in fact one of the speculated reasons (I wrote something about it months ago here: ).

In terms of the healthcare vertical industry ... I can't say to be an expert of it (as I pretty much work on selected technologies ACROSS the industries) but the latest exposures I had with people working in that vertical would suggest me that those that went with Citrix (P.S.) are not so happy about the choice and in fact it's not by chance that they are looking into alternative scenarios such as VDI.

I found yesterday this article...

While this is a project I have been personally working on:

I am not saying that the VDI model is better than the Citrix model..... but clearly VDI is much easier to implement than the Citrix model (the traditional Presentation Server model at least).

Massimo.

Massimo Re Ferre' VMware vCloud Architect twitter.com/mreferre www.it20.info
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khughes
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

We converted our PS servers into VM's and haven't had any problems what so ever. Our virtual PS servers hold the same load as we were putting on our physical PS servers. I think it may have to do with the hardware you put it on even so I think you're going to get mixed reviews. Not to mention some perks for us at least was the full vmdk backup that we run every week instead of ghosting it once every 3-6months, having a ps template to push out citrix servers as needed or if one becomes corrupted, also for R&D to be able to just push out a server and make changes to it and test it out. I'm sure there are drawbacks but we haven't run into them yet.

-- Kyle "RParker wrote: I guess I was wrong, everything CAN be virtualized "
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Vitaly91
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

Ciao, Massimo!

I actually visit your site often and have been following that project that you are working on (excellent write-up, by the way).

I absolutely agree with you that in Healthcare industry, VDI may be a better solution than Citrix. In fact, I have been talking to another healthcare provider yesterday about their desktop strategy and what VDI would do for them. However, in this case, I wonder if it may end up being a political issue. Implementing VDI is more of an IT strategy rather than Citrix Farm strategy. As such, unfortunately, I may not be able to come back at him with VDI proposal.

I have shown him studies that have been done on virtualizing Citrix, but it has not convinced him yet.

Molto Grazie per il vostre risposte, Massimo!

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Vitaly91
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

Khughes,

Did you guys do anything specific to your Citrix VMs in terms of some "tweaks", configurations, etc.? How many CTX VMs do you run per ESX box? What hardware do you use?

Any tips and hints would be most welcome!

Thank you very much for your feedback!

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khughes
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

We didn't have to do too many tweaks to it, just the standard tweaks for changing physical servers into VM servers. Made sure they were running on LSI controllers (win2k3 box), cleaned up the phantom hardware etc. We actually toned down the memory from the 4GB we had on our physical down to 2GB on our virtual since it wasn't being used. We run 4 production Citrix servers, 1 citrix licensing server, and 1 R&D citrix server on 4 ESX hosts. 2 x Duel Quad core w/ 18GB ram, 2 x Duel Duel Core w/ 16GB ram both run fine, we can run 2 PS servers on one host fine, we haven't tried to run more than 2 (no need to so why try type of deal). Vmotion works fine with Citrix servers, we vmotion our PS server not often but when we do they dont' even notice it. We are also HIPAA complaint and security wise I think it is still just as sound as it was before.

-- Kyle "RParker wrote: I guess I was wrong, everything CAN be virtualized "
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mreferre
Champion
Champion

Ciao Vitaly91,

just to make sure I didn't want to force you on changing your (and your customer's) PS strategy into a VDI one. I was just commenting on what I have seen lately overall ... but clearly no one size will fit all.

As per PS on virtual servers ...... almost all discussions on this board (and with all customers I have talked to in person) point to a common problem: virtualizing PS servers (or TS servers) onto a virtual vm generally leads to HIGH CPU usage at very low number of users supported. Very common are situations where you would not be able to support more than 20 / 25 users because you would max out the CPU('s) of your vm. Clearly this might not be a problem if you have VERY HEAVY users as the number would be similar to what you would get on a physical system, but it might be a problem if you have VERY LIGHT users where on physical you can support hundreds.

That's what you would hear most of the time...... although I have heard of customers being able to support 50 / 60 / 70 users per VM ........ but not very common.... (and a mystery if you ask me). I have always said there is a single workload that is known not to fit a vm very well ... and that is TS/PS.

My 2 cents.

Massimo.

Massimo Re Ferre' VMware vCloud Architect twitter.com/mreferre www.it20.info
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lazustus
Contributor
Contributor

What do you guys run for security. I am trying to cross an application in .net from powerbuilder that some of our hospitals are using but I am shopping around for a security solution for this.

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