How Do I Reduce My User’s Login Times – Citrix Workspace Environment Management Awareness

As a consultant, largely focused in the Citrix space, one of the questions clients bring to me is “how do I reduce my user login times”.  Nearly every new design, deployment or remediation activity I’ve been engaged on has a key requirement to improve login performance as part of the overall user experience. Sometimes this can be challenging due to the buildup of network drive mappings, policy configurations, printer deployments and ad-hoc application-based ‘fixup scripts’ tending to lead to a less than desirable experience for the end user.

A tried and proven way of dealing with the challenge is to rework the group policies and preferences for the environment. This can be very complex and require a lot of time to complete correctly, and over time can present its own level of complexity and performance impact. As an example, a user trying to map a network drive they don’t have access to can wait up to 10 seconds while the systems workout they should not have the mapping.

With the introduction of Citrix Workspace Environment Management (WEM) available as part of the Citrix Enterprise or above license entitlement, there is now another option to reworking large numbers of policies and login scripts to improve the overall user experience while introducing a way of improving the resource usage of users on the environment. If you are looking for continuous improvement in the user experience and a method to bring some sanity to your group policies when dealing with your user environment, read on…

INTRODUCING CITRIX WORKSPACE ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT

Citrix WEM uses intelligent resource management and Profile Management technologies to reduce logon durations, reduce application response times for Citrix Apps and Desktops (XenApp and XenDesktop) deployments in an attempt to deliver the best possible performance for the user. WEM operates with a couple of key focuses:

Resource management – To provide an optimised experience for users, WEM monitors and analyses user and application behavior in real time, then intelligently adjusts RAM, CPU, and I/O in the user session. This helps to have more users on the same server, whilst ensuring a great experience.

Profile and Environment Management – To deliver highly optimised logon performance, WEM replaces commonly used Windows Group Policy Object objects, logon scripts and preferences with an agent deployed on each virtual machine or server. This allows for a central point of management for the user environment components, increasing simplicity and reducing the amount of time a user is waiting for the desktop to arrive.

These methodologies result in the following objectives:

The driving force behind WEM

As quoted by Citrix, “the biggest value for customers is optimising the user’s experience by providing a responsive workspace even when resources are strained—this also increases server scalability—as well as optimising the login process. It’s also all about improving user experience, cost savings, as well as admin simplicity.”

“Since Citrix introduced WEM, customers have been able to greatly reduce their hardware footprint and significantly reduce logins times. WEM improves the overall user experience while potentially saving customers money on server compute.”

For customers running on premises Citrix solutions, the following simple architecture represents the WEM solution. The solution is simple to get up and running, is highly resilient, can be non-intrusive to user experience and can score immediate wins for the environment.

For Cloud clients, the architecture is once again simplified with Citrix cloud performing most of the heavy lifting. Citrix take management of the database, brokers, licensing and console. You just add the machines you want to optimise into the WEM Cloud Service, import an existing WEM configuration or simply create a new one. The Citrix Cloud connector securely brokers the connections from your machines to the WEM Service endpoints in Citrix Cloud, no additional infrastructure required.

As an additional bonus for Citrix Cloud clients, the WEM service can be extended out to the physical utilised by your Citrix Cloud licensed users, introducing a one stop configuration and optimisation solution for both virtual and physical EUC environments.

Entitlement

If you have Citrix Enterprise (or above) licenses you are entitled to Citrix WEM as part of the license and it can slot straight into your existing environment.

Citrix Cloud clients with Citrix Workspace Premium service, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (XenApp and XenDesktop) Service and Citrix Virtual Apps (XenApp) Service licensing are entitled to the Citrix WEM Service offering delivered from the Cloud. !

Next Steps

Given the level of success and improvement that we have seen leveraging WEM, we highly recommend investigating how and where WEM fits for your existing or new Citrix deployments with a view to improving the overall user experience while reducing complexity and compute requirements.

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