Perfetti has eight remote sites across India. It has a total of 550 users, of which 150 are Citrix XenDesktop users. The Citrix XenDesktop solution runs Windows XP for thin clients. Perfetti plans to gradually migrate to Windows 7 (the pilot phase has been completed recently). Citrix XenDesktop 4 runs on a Windows 2008 server platform, which in turn runs on VMware ESX Server 4.5. Thus, Perfetti performs virtualization of desktops using three different VMware instances which run on three HP blade servers (BL460c) hosted on a single chassis.
Explaining this move for virtualization of desktop infrastructure, Chaturvedi says, "It's essential to know the kind of load generated, and the applications that you want to run on the machines planned for desktop virtualization. It is also necessary to know whether to provide a dedicated server or run desktop virtualization on multiple servers using a virtualized server environment." Perfetti did not have many graphic requirements from the client machines, so it decided to perform virtualization of desktops using multiple virtualized server environments. This was performed in order to obtain load balancing along with high availability.
Perfetti runs SAP, an e-mail application, Microsoft Office, and its SharePoint portal on Citrix. It provides AutoCAD to some users. Since AutoCAD is a heavy application, Perfetti has decided to upgrade its Citrix environment using an integrated acceleration tool. The desktop virtualization solution was implemented by its partner, PC Solutions.
Along the way, Perfetti faced minor challenges in terms of thin client performance. With increase in the number of LAN users, Perfetti started to see a reduction in application speed. The challenge was to deliver performance without increasing bandwidth consumption. Perfetti used Citrix Branch Repeater and WANScaler to overcome this challenge. Without increasing bandwidth, the company has improved utilization of bandwidth by almost five times.
For desktop virtualization to be up and running, organizations should have a minimum of 64 Kbps bandwidth. But that also depends on the number of users and the type of applications. Thus, Perfetti has a 4 Mbps connection on its central site. Plants have 1 Mbps links, branches utilize 512 Kbps connections, and small locations use 64 Kbps to 128 Kbps links.
Like any other technology, one should consider the benefits after virtualization of desktops. "In our case, it was effortless scalability and reliability aligning with compliance that made virtualization of desktop infrastructure the right fit for our requirements," adds Chaturvedi.