CITRIX v Terminal Server

Hi, I have a client who already has a Citrix server installed and running. This machine also has Windows Terminal Services. We are gonna use this machine to enable remote access. Q: Is it possible that Citrix and TS can be on the same machine, independently handling remote requests? Q: Since NA would work with both applications, which would be preferable - Citrix or TS? Comments sincerely appreciated

Well, Citrix MetaFrame is a product that runs on top of Windows Terminal Services, so to answer your question, you NEED WTS in order to run Citrix. If it is Windows 2000 Server, congrats, you already have Windows Terminal Services, just start the service. If you have Windows NT, a special version of the software called, surprise, Windows NT Terminal Server, would have had to have been purchased. The benefits that Citrix has over plain WTS, is increasted compatibility with more platforms on the client side (Mac, Linux, even Windows 3.1 and DOS clients can connect to the Citrix server), a smaller bandwidth requirement, and imporoved management software. Overall, a worthwhile upgrade. And yes, since the Citrix overlay works with WTS, they could be used at the same time, but there would be no reason to do it.

Thanks Torolf. An additional question: WTS allows access without a client i.e. using IE5+. Does Citrix allow a similar browser based remote access?

Citrix does offer some web based utilities as well with some of the more recent versions. Java and ActiveX controls are available.

since this is a citrix thread, i have one more question to add to the the discussion here… i remember i read from a navision manual that a citrix connection to a navision server takes up less bandwidth than a normal client-server connection to a navision server. how true is this?

Hi Jordan, On the face of it, this must be true. Navision clients need to get data and/or objects copied to the local client environment under Fin.exe whereas a Citrix/TS session would have this client session running on the server. Hence the processing and memory requirements will be met on the server, only the screen (pics), keystrokes and mouse commands would actually travel between the Citrix/TS client and the Citrix/TS server. Wish Man

To answer Jordan’s question, I would say yes and no. As far as the client is concerned, yes, the bandwidth required will be much less. But still, unless the Navision server is placed on the WTS/Citrix server (not suggested), Navision will still have to send the same amount of data between the Navision server and the WTS/Citrix server. What you are doing is changing who the client is. Either way, the WTS/Citrix server will still have to be beefy in order to accomodate a moderate user load. Other caveats about WTS/Citrix in general: Typically only expect to get about 15-20 users at a time on a typical server. This server should also have at least dual processors, and should also have plenty of RAM. But, in the case of Navision, since it is still only communicating with Navision server over the wire, the actual hard drive subsystem does NOT have be that great. Dual network cards are also suggested. Also, printing is a MAJOR pain, if you want your clients to have the ability to do so, especially remotely. Make sure that you ONLY use native Windows drivers.

torolf, what do you mean by native windows driver?

Dual Processor? Wow. How would the following specs work for estimated 5 concurrent clients, possibly scaling up to 15 Terminal/Citrix - Hard Disk: 18.2Gb Processor: Pentium III 1Gb Mhz Memory : 1 Gb Ram installed with e following software : 1) MetaFrame Xpa 1.0 2) Windows Terminal

With those browser based controls, I was speaking about the Citrix portion of it. I don’t think that WTS out of the box offers this functionality.

For the wish man, I think that those specs should be fine. I usually run about 5-10 concurrent users at a time, and I have a much less specced server. RAM is very important, and 1 GB should be more than enough. For Jordan, what I meant about the Windows Native drivers is drivers that come standard out of the box with Windows. This is not much of a problem with Windows 2000, because it has the drivers for most widely used printers. For Windows NT, this is more of a problem. What Citrix does allow is to “map” a particular printer to another printer. For example, let’s say that the client has a HP LaserJet 1100cse. Well, Windows natively does not have this driver, so you have two choices. #1, you can download them off the internet from the manufacturer. Since a lot of the drivers from the manufacturer include print job monitors and the like, it adds a lot of processing strain and WILL cause many errors. Or, the #2 option would be to map it to a printer driver already available. Since these users running over Citrix don’t necessarily require a lot of the advanced printing options, using a lower driver, such as the LaserJet 6L driver should be adequate. This mapping of client printer names and available drivers on the Citrix server is a matter of trial and error many times. Having a corporate standard on a certain series of printers helps the strain. In some places, if you let users run hog wild and buy any printer that they feel like, you will be running yourself raw to get their $80 printer to work. To get the similarities between drivers you already have on the server natively through Windows, and the actual printer driver on the client machine, you can sometimes go to the printer manufacturers web site and see if it tells you what printer it is compatible with (or based off of). Most HP LaserJet’s and DeskJet’s are sufficiently alike that you can usually standardize on one driver that works, even with multiple newer variations of ther printer being released. If the printing seems like a tough job, it sometimes is. It took me a while before I could say that my server was absolutely stable and that it can run without my interaction most of the time. A few other things I forgot to mention. First, Citrix also allows you to shadow sessions, so that you can actually see the mouse move and control the movements on a client computer. Great for troubleshooting or training. Also, I have my server set to reset every night. If your users do a lot of printing, you will see the print spooler service will often get clogged up. Restarting every night has alleviated this problem greatly. Also, make the color scheme on the server’s desktop for the users a color scheme that looks different. Remember with Citrix that users are going to end up seeing two Start menus. One for the local machine, and one for the server machine. They will get confused. Phew… After a few years of using Citrix I realize that it is a great product, but it takes some time to get it set up properly.

Almost a year ago, running WTS on NT4.0 or W2K server - I forget - it was not out of the box but came as a free plug in to be installed on the WTS server only. It was quite easy and quick (though I didn’t actually do it, hehe). I think it should be out of the box now, as they were saying it would be back then already. Will find out and keep you guys posted!

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Originally posted by THaug: With those browser based controls, I was speaking about the Citrix portion of it. I don’t think that WTS out of the box offers this functionality.


On top of the specs written by Wish Man, how about if we have SQL Server as database running together with WTS and Citrix? And if we have User Portal and Commerce Portal together in the server? Or should we separate the Citrix into another server? Emm…lets assume we talk about 10 users accessing the server at a time.

Seperate servers are best! SQL is a big memory and processor hog, and Citrix/WTS is no slouch either. I have more or less 10 users at a time, and with a newer server I would probably be able to scale to 25, but this never does assume SQL on the same box. Really, a Citrix/WTS box should only have Citrix/WTS on it. It should not be a domain controller, either. Since all of the Microsoft apps (SQL and Exchange) are memory hogs (and IIS a bandwidth hog), keep it seperate.

Besides the Printing and Shadow session, can anyone who had been installing Citrix could tell me what other reasons that recommended us to use Citrix instead only WTS? How can we persuade customers that Citrix is a great product? Thanks in advance.

they can use WTS for as long as they want. but as soon as their number of users grow and the system performsnce deteriotes, then consider to upgrade to citrix. for your info, the citrix sits directly on top of the WTS, that would mean, citrix will not work without WTS and a WTS license. if user were to get citrix that would mean the user will be purchasing the WTS, WTS license, Citrix and the citrix license. dat’s helluva lot of licenses there… not to mention navision licenses and windows login licenses… phew…!

Personally, I would say that the printing and shadow sessions are the major reasons as a good persuasion. Also consider multi-client (not just Windows client) support, improved management (especially in a farm environment), and lower bandwidth requirements that Citrix has over just plain WTS. WTS uses the RDP protocol to communicate between the client and the server, and it is just plain fatter than the Citrix ICA protocol.