How Citrix Helped Streamline Our IT Process

Khanh Thai, Director of IT, J.G. Wentworth
Khanh Thai, Director of IT, J.G. Wentworth

Khanh Thai, Director of IT, J.G. Wentworth

I have been in the IT field for over 15 years. I started my career as a Citrix administrator at a hospital and then worked my way into a career as a virtualization engineer. I currently work for a financial service company as an IT Director managing and designing systems. In this article, I want to discuss some new features from Citrix XenDesktop that is being deployed company-wide and how it streamlines the IT process.

Our office is nearly 100 percent of virtualized servers and desktops. The Citrix XenDesktop virtualization platform helps the business have greater flexibility from all fronts — strengthens security, standardization, support, upgrades, acquisition, and mobility; it simplifies IT and enables cost saving.

The current project is to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and our Citrix environment from 7.6 to 7.15 LTSR to utilize the new features. The two features that we will implement are Application Layering and HDX adaptive transport. Once implemented, it will significantly improve our environment.

 ‚Äč Technology is meant to make things easier by creating efficiency, and in turn, reduce cost. Citrix does that for our business by lowering helpdesk tickets; we can resolve issues remotely, keep data centralized for security, centralized management, and secure mobility 

Application Layering: simplify the creation of new images, updating, patching, & installing new applications, and centralizing management. Each application is in its own layer and will be more straightforward to manage. We will be replacing our current process on how we build our images when using PVS with Application Layering. For example, if your environment is using a PVS server to create images and a new VMware tool update is released, the Citrix admin will need to do a reverse image to a hard drive because the image is streamed over the network and then install the update. That process is incredibly time-consuming. Therefore, with Application Layering, the Citrix admin can create a new OS layer, install the latest updates, finalize and then publish the image. This process reduces the time of deployment since the OS, Application, and Platform are all on its own layer and not streamed.

HDX adaptive transport: improving latency and bandwidth. Employers are starting to see value with employees working remotely. Research has found that working remotely helps with work-life balance, efficiency (fewer distractions), and is cost saving. There are some challenges with working remotely— the two main obstacles are latency and bandwidth. Citrix improved this by implementing HDX Adaptive Transport, which can automatically detect network changes and react to the changes. This works wonders in our environment as we have employees that work outside of headquarters. When Adaptive Transports is set to preferred, it will use the Enlightened Data Transport protocol, which is built on top of the UDP stack. Enlightened Data Transport works by unifying the ICA stack that is TCP based and adds Enlightened Data Transport to every virtual channel, allowing for best performance when needed with failback to TCP.

Technology is meant to make things easier by creating efficiency, and in turn, reduce cost. Citrix does that for our business by lowering helpdesk tickets; we can resolve issues remotely, keep data centralized for security, centralized management, and secure mobility. From my experience, when technology is to blame, it is the lack of specialized technical expertise that causes poor deployments and/or the lack of upper management support for the technology.

Technology is like anything else in life; you have to nurture and support it.

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