There has been a lot of talk lately about solutions for delivering XenDesktop and XenApp to branch locations that have high latency or congestion.  So much so that Citrix recently posted a KB article that discusses WAN Optimization solutions and recommends CloudBridge as the best choice. You can find the article here.  In light of this, I would like to add some detail as to why the Citrix CloudBridge is the best choice.

As some of you know, Citrix developed its HDX technology for XenDesktop/XenApp to deliver a “high definition” experience to end users, despite their device or location.  While the HDX technology is efficient, WAN optimization and protocol acceleration techniques can provide further benefits in the presence of high latency or congestion. This is where Citrix CloudBridge comes in. Citrix CloudBridge represents the merging of the Branch Repeater technology into the CloudBridge appliances to provide for optimized and secure WAN connectivity.

What’s unique about the CloudBridge platform is that it incorporates the HDX technology, offering the best optimization performance for XenDesktop and XenApp.  As a result of understanding the HDX technology, it can correctly interpret the traffic going over these channels, perform the right optimization techniques and prioritize the various communication messages within an ICA session. These priorities are then mapped to network layer QoS mechanisms to provide a consistent end-end experience.  The diagram below shows the details of how HDX channels are identified, optimized and prioritized.

Not only is it “HDX aware,” but also CloudBridge actively participates in the ICA session by communicating with the XenDesktop and XenApp client/server.

All nice marketing sentiments, right?  No, the advantages of using CloudBridge are quite real, and we recently had Tolly Group perform testing to measure the CloudBridge benefits vis-à-vis another popular WAN optimization product.  The tests involved measuring the amount of WAN bandwidth needed to support a given number of active XenDesktop users, and so a lower number means the device is performing better compression.  Below is a snap shot of those results, and for more details on the Tolly Group testing, you can find the full report here.

The numbers back up the recommendation by the XenDesktop team.  Setting aside the performance differences, a “Citrix on Citrix” approach promotes smoother deployments faster troubleshooting, guaranteed inter-operability and support.