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August 31, 2016

Atlantis Computing with Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS), better together

Ruben Spruijt - Atlantis

Historically, the virtual workspace utilizing Citrix PVS has been seen as difficult to utilize due to challenges such as cost, performance, user-experience experience and complexity.  Those days are over as there are new developments with Citrix Provisioning Service to lower cost and increase performance by benefiting from flash, software defined storage and hyperconverged appliances. Atlantis Computing is leading in the modern virtual workspace with software defined storage (SDS) and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solutions. Atlantis Computing is a Citrix Ready partner, is strategically aligned with Citrix and provides the most agile virtual workspace infrastructure that is fully integrated, delivers the best user experience, simplest management at the lowest cost.
Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS) is an important solution in the Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop solution stack. The majority of Citrix customers today are using PVS in their medium and large environments.

Citrix PVS Benefits and Considerations

It is important to understand the benefits and considerations with a Citrix PVS deployment because it has huge impact on the business case, design, build and maintenance of the application and desktop virtualization infrastructure.
Key Benefits of Citrix Provisioning Services are:
  • Simplified management of virtual and physical desktops and servers. The deployment of stateless / pooled environments is simplified with PVS. Image management is also simplified with the ability to patch and update virtual desktops with fast rollout and rollback functionality.
  • Improved storage performance. Storage IOPS, latency, block size all have a huge impact in Application and Desktop Virtualization and relates directly to user experience. Citrix PVS read IOs are cached on the Windows PVS servers, which means high read performance and low cost. Write IOs are handled in different write cache scenarios such as RAM and local storage.
  • Reduction of total storage capacity. Because of single and centralized image management and relative small amount write-cache per PVS target, required capacity is reduced.
  • Consistent user experience.  Citrix PVS provides a clean environment after reboot. The write cache is cleared and a pristine environment is available after a reboot of the target device which makes troubleshooting easier and user experience less prone to configuration error.
  • Maturity.  Citrix PVS is mature and is being used in the world’s largest Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop environments.
  • Inclusion.  Citrix PVS is included in Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp licenses.
  • There is a lot of industry and community knowledge available. PVS design and best-practices are available via Citrix, community blogs and strategic alliances such as Atlantis Computing.

Atlantis and Citrix PVS key benefits

Atlantis has many years of history in the Desktop Virtualization and application remoting industry with customers running up to 120.000 concurrent users using Atlantis technology. Customers with infrastructure sizes from small to large want a highly available Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp platform. Users want a consistent and great user experience with consistency impacted heavily by storage performance and latency. Customers also want a better administration experience with more powerful image management to help drive OPEX down while being easy to deploy. The solution shouldn’t need constant maintenance and monitoring and needs to be cost efficient.  Atlantis and Citrix aligned solutions this is possible.
The key benefits of Atlantis with Citrix PVS are:
  • Cost efficient and linear scaling, while delivering consistent high performance for storage   resulting in a better user experience. Providing All flash performance for a fraction of the cost with Atlantis technologies like Simple In-Memory volumes.
  • Atlantis offers software defined storage which enables a variety of storage flexibility. Different volumes options such as simple In-memory, hybrid, all-flash and pooled volumes can be used in the same infrastructure to deliver both persistent and non-persistent desktop virtualization and application remoting solution using the same intelligent software and licenses.
  • Atlantis hyperconverged solutions offer reduced CAPEX and OPEX costs vs traditional storage systems.
  • Atlantis pooled storage volumes will make maintenance of hosts and Virtual Machines easy and less complex.
  • Storage infrastructure can be highly available using hyper-converged infrastructure storage volumes which can be used for the write cache and the supporting infrastructure services.
  • Atlantis software has an open and fully documented REST API which is a core asset in the creation of an agile and automated, programmable, infrastructure.
Atlantis USX provides optimized storage to support both the Target Devices (virtual machines) and the shared infrastructure.
  • Target Devices: Where Devices are configured with wither Cache on Device Disk, or Cache on Device RAM with Overflow to HDD, you can benefit from deployment of USX Simple Volumes or USX Pooled volumes on the target hosts. This improves storage performance where shared SAN has been used as the storage resource; or allow shared disk capability when using local disk.
  • Provisioning Services: PVS Server virtual machines can utilize either USX Simple Volumes, or USX Pooled volumes to host gold images/vDisk store. For high availability (HA) it is recommended to utilize USX Hybrid Volumes with USX HA enabled.
  • Shared Infrastructure: Shared Infrastructure services (e.g. License Server; MS SQL Database) can utilize either USX Simple Volumes, or USX Pooled volumes to store the Infrastructure VM’s OS and data disks. For high availability it is recommended to utilize USX Hybrid Volumes with USX HA enabled.
Read more about Atlantis Computing and Citrix PVS in great whitepaper or watch the recording of great webinars, Atlantis TechJam: Citrix PVS & Atlantis  or  Citrix PVS - What works, what doesn’t, and how to fix it with Atlantis USX.
Ruben Spruijt – Field CTO Atlantis Computing - 
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