Citrix and Exchange Server

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Hardware
Networking
Tech support
Hi Guys; I do appreciate your help in resolving this Networking problem. I am an administrator on a network, which consists of seven branches; these branches are located in very different locations; The main broadband line between them is a 64 Kps. The main HQ has navision( Application Software) server running on it and all other branches with the help of citrix they manage the access to the database, and in the same place exit too the exchange server (in The HQ). I you can help this is my questions; 1- The access to database is too slow 2- The mail is taking too much time to be sent and receive. I wonder if I could install navision( Application Software) server on every each location and than synchronize the data among all other servers; What is the best way for emails? Best wishes And thanks for your help Sliman

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Please clarify some of the configuration. How many users at each site are contending for their respective 64Kbps access link? Are there any other services across the link such as Internet, file servers, etc.? What is the bandwidth from the HQ site to the Internet?

Are all the backend services (Exchange and Navision) located at the HQ site and is HQ also the Citrix site? Are your end users accessing those backend services via Citrix sessions? Are the users using Citrix for Internet access?

It would seem that your end users, through Citrix sessions local to those services, should experience fast access to the backend systems hosting those services.

If they are accessing the Exchange Server or Navision Server from a local client (on their desktop on the far end of their 64Kbps link) then I could easily see how response would be slow.

To place bridgehead servers at each remote site for the sake of faster local response time would be better assessed if we knew how many users are at each site. Administrative overhead would certainly increase as would material costs and I would have to imagine that the 64Kbps link would incurr significant saturation with synchornizations and that could squelch other necessary traffic.

In general though, I would have to say that all access should be faster if done exclusively through the Citrix server as long as the Citrix server is local to the backend servers.

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  • YogiOz
    I recently undertook a similar issue for a company - we designed a remote acess solution that didn't use Citrix - we used VPN and Terminal Services via a radius server. The radius server holds the Navision thick client (and only the thick client - exchange is on a seperate server) all it runs very fast (they do have a higher bandwidth though). You could try restricting the total number of Citrix sessions or increasing the bandwidth.
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  • MrWizard
    Your site-to-site bandwidth is the issue. Consider this: 1. Citrix ICA session is about 5k-20k per session 2. Exchange bandwidth is dependent upon size of email and attachments. Do the math. I have the same setup with citrix and exchange supporting 6 remote sites with 4-15 users. Exception: my site-to-site bandwidth is 512k.
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  • Unclebuck
    Pipe between locations is too small
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  • ChristopherLee
    With Citrix, the interaction of the Outlook/Exchange/Navision takes place locally at your HQ. The problems you have are either related to the backplane of the HQ's LAN or the physical servers themselves. The first thing you want to do is to check the system utilization at the Citrix servers and do the usual system optimization thing to make sure the appropriate amount of RAM and CPU is provisioned there (i.e. capacity planning). Windows' Performance Monitor would a basic and yet reasonably effective tool for this. Hope this helps, Chris
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  • Taney2000
    I have to agree with Chris. I have never run Citrix though a 64K pipe. I think you first need to look at running everything through Citrix. If you are running exchange access through the same pipe it will eat up every bit of it. If you run it through Citrix and your Citrix servers are on the same network as the data servers that connection should be fine. Second is also what is the untilization on your Citrix servers. Can you get a baseline at some point with no users on then see what it is like when the users are on. There are serveral things to look at: CPU, Free PTE, Disk IDLE Time, Free Memory, Pages/sec, Processor queue length. Those are some of you key indicators. Also with you Citrix Connection make sure you have them set for the lower speeds. With out looking at it the next steps would be hard to determine, but that is where I would at least start.
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  • Peacekeeper
    Consider getting that 64k line upgraded first. it seems like it is choking your system ask your telecom people to give you a half a T1 line or 384K bandwidth before moving apps to the local workstations. VR, Peacekeeper
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  • Sleiman
    Hi; First of all; thank you very much and very nice chatting with you, as I mentioned my network consists of seven branches which are located in different places; Every each branch has at least 30 computers, and every each computer has access to Citrix (HQ) and mail service. I thought of upgrading the main backbone to 512Kps. Or installing on each branch a 2003 sever with navision and exchange server on other one, those will synchronize with the one on HQ branch. Can you tell me if it is Ok? Or there?s another way 2- how about using a one way satellite internet connection just to synchronize the navision with all branches, and the existing 64Kps for the mail server: Thanks and Best Wishes Sliman
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  • Imaginetsecurity
    From my first posted reply...Please clarify some of the configuration. How many users at each site are contending for their respective 64Kbps access link? Are there any other services across the link such as Internet, file servers, etc.? What is the bandwidth from the HQ site to the Internet? Are all the backend services (Exchange and Navision) located at the HQ site and is HQ also the Citrix site? Are your end users accessing those backend services via Citrix sessions? Are the users using Citrix for Internet access?.... I think you have answered that there are 30 users per branch and each is using Citrix at HQ over their branch's 64Kbps link. Citing another previous response, and calculating the BW @ 5-20Kbps per session and you have between 150Kbps and 600Kbps needed per user for simultaneous Citrix access. The 64Kbps links are not sufficient for that load. I am still unlcear as to the other questions about your scenario: 1) whether Exchange is being accessed from Citrix sessions or separate thick clients. 2) what other traffic is going across the WAN links outside of Citrix sessions? 3) what is the BW of the HQ Internet access (relevant to Exchange and Internet traffic)? Additional questions now: 1) what are your hardware specifics for your Exchange and Navision servers? Relevant to whether they are sufficient to handle their loads...the previous perfmon suggestions would answer some of those questions. 2) What versions of client software (Exchange and Navision) are you using in Citrix? For that matter, if Office or other programs are used over Citrix, what are their versions? 3) what country/state is the HQ location in and are most branches in the same country/state or coming from different countries/states? Before looking at satellite connections or other upgrades, if we knew more about the situation our diagnosis would be more accurate and the recommended course of action more effective...please answer the above questions and others from other postings and we can get better answers for you.
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  • ChristopherLee
    From working for one of the top 7 Citrix resellers in North America during my past life, I can tell you that Citrix will be fine with bandwidth as little as 3Kbps/conn (assuming you have done the right thing to optimize the transmission of keyboard and screen signals,). Mind you, this minimum bandwidth requirement does not factor the requirement of your File and Print traffics (this you will need 3rd party traffic shaping tools that _understands_ Citrix, like PacketShaper). My previous response assumes Citrix being used as the mean to access email and Navision (you should migrate them onto Citrix, if not already). If there continues to performance issues accessing these apps from within Citrix, the problem with your 1) Citrix Server over-utilized, 2) slow network at HQ, 3) Slow Exchange, or 4) Slow DB server. This is where you have to do some performance benchmarking and optimization (and this was where my former employer make its millions). 'nuff said. Chris
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  • Khilving
    Hi Sliman, Don't lease more bandwidth yet, unless you own stock in the carrier! Bandwidth is not about speed, its about capacity. Increased capacity only fixes congestion problems. You indicate satellite links, and I would suspect the extra 491 msec that adds to the round trip as the most likely problem. Here is a quick and inexpensive way of determining if the problem is from the satellite delay. At one location, have only one node active. This node will have the best possible performance across that satellite link. If it is too slow, adding more bandwidth will not help. If it is acceptable, add nodes until you see a performance drop. You can use that as your baseline for maximum nodes per 64Kbps and scale each site's bandwidth needs accordingly.
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