XenApp and XenDesktop

Citrix VDI Best Practices for XenApp and XenDesktop 7.15 LTSR

Citrix VDI Handbook and Best Practices

Citrix VDI Handbook and Best Practices (PDF Download)

In traditional business environments, workers suffer from productivity loss in many ways, including downtime during PC refreshes, patches and updates, or simply when they are away from the office. Application and desktop virtualization centralizes apps and desktops in the datacenter, rather than on local devices. This allows IT to deliver apps and desktops to users on demand, to any device, anywhere.

Take the following response from a desktop virtualization user:

Experience from the Field

“As a remote employee for [company], I struggled every time I needed to access the company’s intranet, which forced me to VPN into the network. I also kept data on my local device because trying to access it over my broadband connection was too slow. Some coworkers did the same and lost data due to a virus, thankfully I was luckier.

Depending on my mood (and the weather), changing devices and locations was a challenge as I had to have my applications and data copied to many different endpoints. I know this was unsecure, but I didn’t care because I was more concerned with flexibility.

Since moving to a virtual desktop, I’m able to use any device. I’m able to work from any location. And best of all, I don’t have to worry about copying my data and applications onto all of my personal devices.”

Unfortunately, organizations sometimes struggle to achieve this level of success. Why does one organization succeed while another organization struggles?

If we compare the factors between success and failure between desktop virtualization and other technology related projects, we see that there is little difference:

Lack of justification – Without a solid business reason, desktop virtualization is simply a new way to deliver a desktop. A business justification gives the project team a goal to strive towards.

Lack of a methodology – Many people who try and struggle to deploy a desktop virtualization solution do so because they jump right in without understanding or implementing the appropriate prerequisites. A structured methodology provides the path for the project.

Lack of experience – For many who embark on a desktop virtualization project, there is a lack of experience, which creates a lack of confidence in the design. Architects begin to second-guess themselves and the project stalls.

Our hope is that this handbook can alleviate the anxiety associated with desktop virtualization by showing how challenges can be resolved in a manner that is technically sound, but also feasible and effective for organizations facing deadlines and other organizational challenges.

Citrix has successfully employed the methodology, experience and best practices shared within this handbook across thousands of desktop virtualization projects.


The Citrix VDI Handbook follows the Citrix Consulting methodology. A proven methodology that has been successfully employed across thousands of desktop virtualization projects. Each phase includes guidance on the important questions to ask, what tools to use and tips to help you succeed. The Citrix Consulting methodology consists of five phases:

Methodology image

  1. Define – Builds the business case for desktop virtualization by creating a high-level project roadmap, prioritizing activities and estimating storage and hardware requirements.

  2. Assess – Key business drivers are rated so that work effort can be prioritized accordingly. In addition, the current environment is reviewed for potential problems and to identify use cases for the project. This information will be used to set the direction of the Citrix deployment, upgrade, or expansion.

  3. Design – Define architecture required to satisfy key business drivers and success criteria identified during the assess phase. Topics such as environment scalability, redundancy and high availability are addressed.

  4. Deploy – During the deploy phase, the infrastructure is installed and configured as described in the design phase. All components of the infrastructure should be thoroughly unit and regression tested before users are provided with access to the environment.

  5. Monitor – Define architectural and operational processes required to maintain the production environment.

The Citrix Consulting methodology follows an iterative Assess > Design > Deploy process for each major initiative of your project. In doing so, your organization is left with tangible improvements to the environment at the end of each engagement. For example, high priority user groups can progress through the assess, design and deploy phases earlier than other user groups.


The VDI Handbook provides content on the Assess, Design and Monitor phases of the Citrix Consulting methodology.

Citrix VDI Best Practices for XenApp and XenDesktop 7.15 LTSR