Deployment effort study using Citrix Streaming and Traditional Installation Techniques


1. Introduction

The purpose of this article is to compare the time required to install an application using the Citrix streaming and traditional installation techniques.

2. What are Installation Techniques?

2.1. Streaming Technique?

Before going deep into the installation time comparative study, let me explain what is Streaming technology? Streaming is the virtualization technique. It enables applications to be delivered to client devices and run in a protected, virtual environment.  Applications are managed in a centralized Application Hub, but are streamed to the client device and run in an isolation environment.  Applications become an on-demand service that is always available and up-to-date.

Streaming package needs to be created using the Streaming profiler. Once created successfully, it needs to be published for the user community.

2.2. Traditional Installation Technique?

In the traditional installation technique, application needs to be installed physically either on the User’s machine or on the Citrix XenApp. In the Citrix XenApp once the application is installed successfully, it needs to be published to be accessed by the users.

3. Analysis

3.1. Assumptions

In order to do the study, I have the following assumptions:

  • We have App A that needs to be installed and configured for n number of users.
  • We have three Data Centers – DC1, DC2, DC3
  • We have one farm per data center. Since we have three data centers, we will have 3 farms*.
  • We have two servers per farm. Since we have three farms, we will have total of 6 Servers in 3 Data Centers.
  • “App A” is medium size application in terms of installation length and it will take 2 Hrs to install and configure per server and 15 minutes to un-install per server.
  • App A is satisfying all Streaming requirements and streaming package will be created without any issue.

*farm: is a collection of computer servers usually maintained by an enterprise to accomplish server needs far beyond the capability of one machine.

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3.1. Scenarios

We will analyze the installation/upgrade/configuration time using two scenarios:

Scenario 1: Install App A using the traditional installation technique

Scenario 2: Install App A using the Citrix Streaming technique

We will cover two cases for both the above scenarios:

Case 1: App A first Time/fresh Installation

Case 2: App A upgradation to the new version

3.2. Case Study 1 : App A First Time/Fresh Installation

Scenario 1: Install App A using the traditional installation technique

Suppose App A will take 2 Hrs to install, configure and publish for the user group in Citrix XenApp. Since we have six servers in three data centers, so to install/configure App A on all the servers in the data centers, it will require at least 12 Hrs as shown in below table:

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Scenario 2: Install App A using the Citrix Streaming technique

For a mid-sized application like App A, it will take at most 3 Hours to create and configure Streaming package. Once it will be created successfully, it will be saved on to some shared location and can be published for any number of servers. For all the six servers, it will not take more than 1 hour to publish it. In total it will take 4 Hrs to configure App A for users in the Data Centers as shown in the table below:

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Results

From the above two scenarios, we found that to install/configure App A on the three data centers, we will require 12 Hrs with the traditional installation technique and just 4 Hrs with the Citrix Streaming technique.

Streaming has saved around 70% of the total installation time.

Also, the created streaming package can be published on n number of servers without doing any installation step.

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Conclusion

With the use of the Streaming technology, an organization can save most of the installation time. Along with it, since it involves one time package creation activity, it will minimize most of the manual installation/configuration and hence minimize the errors and eventually maximize the productivity.

3.1. Case Study 2 : App A Upgradation to new version

Scenario 1: Install App A using the traditional installation technique

Now we need to upgrade App A to the new version. First step to do so is to uninstall the previous installed version. It will take around 15 minutes on one server, so to un-install it from the three data center, it will take around 1.5 hours. To re-install, configure and publishing it again, it will take 2 Hrs. Since we have total of six servers in three data centers, so to install App A on all the servers, it will require 12 Hrs. To upgrade App A to new version in all the three data centers, (1.5 + 12) 13.5 Hrs will be required as shown in below table:

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Scenario 2: Install App A using the Citrix Streaming technique

For upgrading App A to new version, we need to re-create the Streaming package and let’s say it will take at most 3 Hours. Once it will be created successfully and if the name of streaming package and the exe to be published will be same as before, we need not to re-publish it. As soon as we will replace the old streaming package with the new updated streaming package at the same shared location, it will be ready for users to use it. So to upgrade App A to new version in all the three data centers, it will just take 3 Hrs as shown in below table:

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Results

From the above two scenarios, we found that to upgrade three data centers for the new version of the App A, we will require 13.5 Hrs with the traditional installation technique and just 3 Hrs with Streaming.

Streaming has saved around 80% of the total installation time.

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Conclusion

With the use of the Streaming technology, an organization can save most of the application upgradation time. Also, downtime during the upgrade process will be very less or minimum as streaming package will be created on separate server. They just need to be copied onto the destination production shared location.

Citrix Streaming technique is the tool of future that will help any organization to manage application deployment in the data centre model effectively, efficiently, with minimum cost and delays.

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