With business concerns about Web performance in mind, Citrix commissioned Doculabs to validate the performance of its MetaFrame XP Presentation Server, Feature Release 3.

Faced with managing more complex technology infrastructures than ever before, today’s organizations are trying to

minimize the costs associated with owning, deploying, and managing applications, while providing users with the best performance and reliability possible. Furthermore, with the increasing use of browser-based interfaces in application software, organizations need the same type of centralized control for users accessing Web sites or running applications in Web browsers. Of course, in these situations, performance is critical to enable users to work effectively.

Conducted formal benchmark testing that evaluated the performance of browsing Web sites and pages from a Web browser running on MetaFrame XP Presentation Server, Feature Release 3, and compared it with the performance of browsing the same sites and pages using a Web browser deployed on a Windows desktop client.

Since 1989, Citrix Systems, Inc. has provided solutions that dramatically improve the way applications are deployed and managed through the use of a server-based computing model. In its ongoing efforts to improve its product line, Citrix has introduced MetaFrame XP Presentation Server, Feature Release 3. The latest version of MetaFrame XP Presentation Server aims to provide faster performance and more options to tune performance for users with low-bandwidth connections, like telecommuters and mobile users.

Conducted benchmark testing that compared the performance of MetaFrame XP Presentation Server, Feature Release 3 with the performance of the base version of MetaFrame XP Presentation Server.

Interviewed Citrix customers to better understand how they are leveraging MetaFrame XP Presentation Server technology.

This report provides the results of Doculabs’ testing and research, along with relevant details about the test environment and methodology.

 

MetaFrame XP Presentation Server, Feature Release 3 uses 30 per cent to 45 per cent less CPU power than the version of MetaFrame XP without Feature Release 3 when using deployed Web browser technology.

 

Findings

Doculabs’ key findings from its evaluation of MetaFrame XP

Presentation Server, Feature Release 3 include the following:

Tuning MetaFrame XP Presentation Server, Feature Release 3 can improve overall performance (reduce bandwidth) by eight per cent to 10 per cent.

Low-bandwidth applications with small screen size may show much greater gains.

MetaFrame XP Presentation Server, Feature Release 3 provides 200 per cent to 250 per cent more efficient network bandwidth utilization than locally installed browsers (depending on the configuration and tuning options selected).

Increasing the resolution of the

Citrix deployed browser from 800 x 600 (16-bit color) to 1024 x 768 (16- bit color) results in an increase of 64 per cent effective pixels on the screen, but only an increase of 36 per cent bytes transferred, highlighting the efficiency of Citrix technology.

MetaFrame XP Presentation Server, Feature Release 3 may provide users with a two-fold or greater increase in page loading performance when browsing the Web, compared with low-bandwidth connections.

MetaFrame XP Presentation Server, Feature Release 3 can improve the performance of SSL-secured applications by eliminating the need to enable SSL on server-side browser deployments — increasing performance between 10 per cent and 20 per cent over using locally installed browsers.

MetaFrame XP Presentation Server, Feature Release 3 is over 210 per cent faster than the version of MetaFrame XP Presentation Server without Feature Release 3.

MetaFrame XP Presentation Server, Feature Release 3 consumes a minimum of 16 per cent less bandwidth than the version of MetaFrame XP without Feature Release 3.

Each of these models presents unique cost and support implications.

Typically, the unmanaged desktop is the most costly, with server-based computing offering the lowest desktop management costs.

Understanding diffferent computing models

Today’s organizations use three primary computing models to deploy applications:

Most organizations employ more than one of these computing models. This not only increases overall cost, it also creates technical delivery challenges for users who need access to applications that run under different models. The fact that these same organizations also need to support multiple platforms (such as

Windows, UNIX, and Macintosh) and multiple delivery mechanisms (such as desktops, network appliances, PDAs, and smart phones) complicates matters further, and dramatically increases costs under one or more of the models.

The unmanaged desktop computing model defines an environment in which users each have their own desktop systems. System administrators manage each system individually, including the installation and upgrade of operating systems and software.

The managed desktop model allows administrators to install and manage applications on desktops from a separate, centralized (and often remote) location.

The server-based model, which is the approach used by Citrix with its MetaFrame XP Presentation Server product, centralizes all of the application processing on centralized servers. Users can access these applications, locally or remotely, via virtually any connection using a standard desktop device, a thin client appliance, a wireless device, or a Web browser.

Organizations that seek to lower costs by moving to a server-based model often have concerns about performance, particularly for users in low-bandwidth environments. Thus, Citrix commissioned Doculabs to conduct the performance testing presented in this report, to help organizations better understand the impact of different computing models on user performance.

 

The final word

Recognizing the need to optimize its popular MetaFrame deployment solution for modern Web-based application technology, Citrix has added key features to its Feature Release 3 of MetaFrame XP Presentation Server.

These key features provide organizations with the ability to improve their users’ experience and enable them to be more productive, especially when working over low-bandwidth connections.

Our test results show that browsing via a MetaFrame XP Presentation Server,

Feature Release 3 provides more efficient bandwidth utilization and page loading than browsing via a locally installed browser. In addition, MetaFrame XP Presentation Server, Feature Release 3 provides incremental benefits over the base version of MetaFrame XP Presentation Server.

Overall, Citrix’s technologies provide organizations with the ability to improve their users’ experience while enabling them to be more productive.

This is especially true of users that do not have high-bandwidth connections — such as mobile workers using low-bandwidth leased lines or accessing powerful corporate applications from their PDAs or notebook computers over wired or wireless modems.

For these types of users, any bandwidth savings translates directly into productivity gains.

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