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by Rob Briggs, VDI Reference Architect and Expert, NetApp


Citrix Synergy 2014

It’s approaching that time of year again. Hoards of people will be boarding planes and heading to Los Angeles, California. Lots of them on an early family trip to Disneyland. Those without kids and Mickey Mouse hats are likely heading to a different destination.  You got it, Synergy is fast approaching and Citrix is rolling out the red carpet and ready to blow our minds with “what’s next” in the world of desktop and application virtualization. Not to steal any of Citrix’s thunder, but NetApp has some pretty special news to share as well.


Over the years desktop virtualization has matured into a viable solution for businesses of all sizes. Initially the promise of having users access all of their data, desktop and application needs from a corporate data center was a vision with very little real world success. For desktop virtualization to be a reality you need good compute (CPU), enough memory (RAM) and great storage. Over the years, as technology has improved, we’ve seen the “bottleneck” for desktop virtualization change from CPU to RAM to storage. With today’s servers, compute and memory are no longer a bottleneck. The onus lands squarely on the storage provider’s shoulders. Businesses ask if their storage can handle the IOPS requirements for all of the users in their organizations and at what cost. NetApp, over the years, has consistently given customers the storage and tools needed to meet their IOPS requirements at a cost that is extremely competitive.


Citrix Ready VDI Capacity Program

NetApp and Citrix are announcing a partnering initiative to demonstrate a real world desktop virtualization scenario. This initiative is called the Citrix Ready VDI Capacity Program for Storage Partners. At its core, the program demonstrates two key aspects of a desktop virtualization storage solution. One being the capability to support the IOPS requirements for daily operations of 750 Citrix Provisioned (PVS) virtual desktops. The other being a storage Untitled.pngsolution that provides an excellent value for the business customer. Combining the two at a highly competitive price point was the ultimate end goal.


As part of this Citrix program, NetApp joined Citrix at their Solutions Lab in early 2014 to stress test a NetApp FAS2240-2 hybrid storage array. The stress testing took place against a 750 seat desktop virtualization environment based on Citrix XenDesktop 7.1. The end goal was to prove NetApp can deliver a storage solution at a very economical end user storage cost of $37 per desktop. Read the report here.


Key Highlights from the Performance Validation


1. NetApp’s FAS2240-2 (2U storage array with 24 internal SAS drives & IO optimization with NetApp Clustered ONTAP software defined storage) can easily support at least 750 virtual desktops (specified as the success criteria for the Citrix Ready VDI Capacity program) at a compelling $37 per desktop.

2. 935 virtual desktops were booted and logged in under 20 minutes, which is an acceptable SLA for real world production deployments.

3. Ultimately, 800 virtual desktops were successfully stress tested for steady state operations using LoginVSI, the industry standard VDI benchmarking tool. This exceeded the programs expectations of 750 virtual desktops.

4. Very low storage latency for boot, login, and steady state operations, ensuring a consistent end user experience.

5. Only 1.4TB of actual storage was consumed (total 7TB usable storage available) for the entire duration of the test.

6. NetApp’s FAS2240-2 storage array was very simple to setup and it was up and running in less than 2 hours.

7. Total LoginVSI testing was completed in less than 2 hours.


NetApp and Citrix have co-produced a whitepaper outlining, in detail, the great value and performance capabilities of NetApp’s FAS2240-2. It can be found here.


A storage solution for $37 per desktop is a very competitive answer to the reality of desktop virtualization. If you happen to be at Synergy this year, take a moment and stop by the NetApp booth. We’ll treat you well and show you how our solution can help your business. More details on all of our sessions, mini theatre events, and associated times can be found here.

For those of you attending the Interop event in Las Vegas this week, make sure and attend the  "The Enterprise Cloud Ecosystem" session on April 2nd that NetApp executive Phil Brotherton will participate in with fellow executives from Verizon, Oracle and Cloudera.


Event Details:


Panel Title: The Enterprise Cloud Ecosystem - Presented by Verizon

Panel Participants: John Considine, Chief Technology Officer (moderator) Verizon Terremark; Phil Brotherton, Vice President, Cloud Solutions Group, NetApp; Amr Awadallah, Chief Technology Officer, Cloudera; Joseph Rayman, Vice President, Engineered Systems, Oracle

Date/Location:  Interop, Las Vegas, Wednesday, April 2: 4 – 4:45 pm

Panel Format: Moderated Q&A

                Intro – 8 minutes

                Moderated panel discussion – 25 minutes

                Audience questions – 10 minutes

                Final wrap up – 2 minutes

Location: Mandalay Bay I Roomm


Background on the panel: Enterprises are continuing to embrace the cloud – finding both operational and cost benefits. However, there is a lack of enterprise-grade, cloud-based technologies that will support the workloads enterprises have efficiently and securely. And this is holding back cloud adoption for many organizations. This panel session will discuss how the enterprise cloud is being built and the infrastructure and services that are required for the promise of the cloud to become a reality at enterprise scale.


Also, read Phil's blog on this related topic called  Think Strategic When Picking Hybrid Cloud Partners.

by Ray Mar, Citrix Sales Enablement Manager, NetApp


Can’t believe a year has almost gone by since I was at my first Citrix Synergy. The great energy and excitement was certainly felt all through the event from the keynote to the expo hall to meeting great folks along the way. I can’t wait to attend this year’s Synergy 2014.


Also join NetApp, a Platinum sponsor of Synergy, from May 6-8 at the Anaheim Convention Center. We’ve planned an exciting experience with opportunities for you to meet and mingle with our executives, technical experts, and customers along with our strategic partners, Citrix and Cisco.


There’s no denying it, but mobile workstyle is here to stay. We all want to be able to access our data anywhere, at anytime on any device. Come learn how you can accelerate business success with proven and efficient NetApp® flash storage and Citrix mobile workspace solutions to meet your organization’s mobility needs. Here are some of the exciting things you'll get to experience:


See the Latest Technologies


Come by Booth 201 to learn about the latest NetApp offerings with Citrix through demos and mini-theater presentations on Citrix XenDesktop, ShareFile, and CloudPlatform with NetApp as the on-premises storage platform.


Full schedule of all the mini-theater presentations will be available soon…so check back.


Hear from Our Customers and Experts


This year we have some great NetApp sessions that await you. Here are the details of all our sessions:


Accelerating Business Value with Citrix & NetApp Customer Panel

Customers looking to deploy mobility solutions want to see a rapid return on their investment. In this panel discussion, hear real life customers who have successfully deployed and now enjoy the benefits of their Citrix environments from XenDesktop to ShareFile running on NetApp storage.


Tuesday, May 6th

2:00PM - 2:45PM


Building a Standardized Cloud Architecture and Self-service Portal with Ease

This session will describe how to simplify provisioning, monitoring and management of virtual desktops and applications in the cloud with a secure, multi-tenant datacenter. Learn how organizations have deployed a cloud-based desktop virtualization solution to thousands of users with a combined solution from Citrix, NetApp and Cisco. The benefits include simplified operations, orchestration of management tasks, scalability to thousands of devices and guaranteed quality of service.


Wednesday, May 7th 

4:30PM – 5:15PM


Architecting XenDesktop Solutions with NetApp

This session will give you the tools to successfully deploy scalable Citrix XenDesktop solutions with NetApp Clustered Data ONTAP and E Series Flash Arrays. Topics will include storage and software configuration best practices, performance testing results and utilization of the NetApp Data ONTAP PowerShell Toolkit to speed provisioning and management.


Thursday, May 8th 

9:30AM – 10:15AM


Empower Enterprises to Choose How Data is Accessed, Shared, Stored and Protected

IT must embrace mobility to meet the demands of a distributed workforce. Easy collaboration and the ability to securely access and share data are essential. Learn how Citrix ShareFile with NetApp storage solutions helps organizations meet these requirements by delivering an enterprise-ready, follow-me-data solution. This session will also explore how a customer can utilize ShareFile on NetApp storage across multiple geographies to enable mobile workspace and business continuity.


Thursday, May 8th 

4:30PM – 5:15PM


Meet Our Executives & Technical Experts


Want to learn about how to accelerate your business success? Then request a personal meeting with us at Citrix Synergy. This is a great opportunity for you to meet and discuss with NetApp executives and technical experts about your requirements to enable mobile workspace within your organization.


To request a meeting, go here.



Social Media at Citrix Synergy 2014

What better way to keep up with conversation throughout the week than by following those at the event? We’ll provide a list of NetApp staff and partners that will be tweeting and/or blogging live from Synergy. And of course, don't forget to join the conversation and follow along on Twitter using the #NetAppSynergy hashtag.


Follow @NetApp on Twitter, like us on Facebook and watch us on YouTube to keep up with everything NetApp.


Let us know what you are most looking forward to at Citrix Synergy 2014?


We look forward to experiencing this exciting world of mobility with you soon!


Who isn't talking about clouds these days when it comes to high tech business?


I caught up with my buddies during a recent Sunday morning run on the Los Gatos Creek Trail in San Jose.   I mentioned my work on "cloud" at NetApp as smiles and head nodding ensued as my friends pointed out that EVERYBODY was in the "cloud" business these days.  Why is cloud such a hot topic and what value does cloud offer to businesses?  What are the differences between public cloud and private cloud offerings?  If a business wants cloud capability deployed within their premises, how do they do know they are doing it right and doing the best to serve their organization?


Microsoft, NetApp and Cisco will be joining Windows IT Pro's Michael Otey in a webcast to discuss all of these questions in a webcast April 3rd, 2014 @ 12:00pm ET.


In this presentation a panel of experts will provide listeners an understanding private cloud.  First, you’ll get an overview of the features that the cloud brings to your organization and then you’ll see how private cloud is different from the public cloud. Next you’ll see how a private cloud builds on virtualization to bring flexibility, availability and automation to your datacenter. Finally, you’ll learn about how System Center 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 R2 and a FlexPod converged infrastructure from NetApp and Cisco, work together to build a private cloud.


Learn more about this presentation and register now at this link.

As IT organizations are faced with BYOD initiatives, growing global workforces, and the need to provide employees 24x7 access to data and applications, they are increasingly looking to desktop virtualization to meet the demands for flexibility and responsiveness.


Infrastructure solutions supporting desktop virtualization environments must be flexible and keep per-desktop costs low -- without compromising performance, availability and scale, according to IDC, which stresses that the storage solution is "the most consequential part of the physical infrastructure" for desktop virtualization. Cisco, Citrix, and NetApp have been working together to help customers understand how they can manage this transition.


Untitled.pngFlexPod validated designs which include NetApp storage, Cisco Unified Computing SystemTM (Cisco UCS®) servers, and Cisco Nexus® fabric components are a perfect infrastructure for desktop virtualization projects. Implementing Citrix desktop virtualization on a FlexPod platform can translate to significantly faster deployment times, as much as 50% faster than traditional methods, according to customers. FlexPod can be scaled up for on-demand growth, or scaled out and replicated when multiple consistent infrastructure configurations are needed. For Citrix deployments, FlexPod offers predictable performance in a scalable and repeatable building block, backed by cooperative support.


We’ve shared the first two of three webinars discussing both how to take the cost (and guesswork) out of desktop deployments and a more detailed discussion on the FlexPod architecture. These panel discussions with experts from Cisco, Citrix and NetApp (Mike Brennan, Kevin Strohmeyer, and Adam Fore, respectively) are outstanding resources and are available on demand.


On March 27, we’ll be sharing our latest installment of the series, focusing on the latest FlexPod validated design, which Frank Anderson blogged about here. This webcast dives deep on FlexPod and the typical environments our customers are implementing, including a mixed delivery model approach leveraging both traditional VDI (Hosted Virtual Desktops / HVD) along with Hosted Shared Desktops based on XenApp. Cisco’s Tony Paikeday does a great job breaking down this upcoming webinar, and provides links to some other great content on this topic.


If you’d like to join this webcast to discover how the validated design of FlexPod® Datacenter with Citrix XenDesktop works to remove the bottlenecks to desktop virtualization and reduce infrastructure, operations, and deployment costs, go here.