We are currently ramping up our ArcGIS Desktop usage and capacity in a Citrix environment and I am wondering if there is some good documentation available regarding best practices for Citrix server hardware specifications, configuration, etc.

Our specific use case is 15-30 active ArcGIS Desktop users that spend about 60% of the time working on map products and 40% of the time working with geoprocessing tools to run vector-based analysis, etc. We are running ArcGIS 10.1 for the time being. No ArcScene or ArcGlobe work at this time, but occasionally some heavy analysis work and detailed mapping with complex Maplex labeling and several data frames that has the potential to bog down the server for individual users.

We are currently in preliminary roll-out using an old server and are looking to purchase a new server for increased performance. Our goal is to provide similar performance inside of Citrix as a user would expect from a decent workstation.

Below is what we are currently thinking of purchasing. We are also planning to buy a second one of these for failover purposes. We have read that running ArcGIS in a virtualized server environment is not a good practice, so this will be a dedicated physical server.

  • Processors: Dual Intel Xeon E5-2690 v2 (10 cores, 25M Cache, 3.00 GHz)
  • Memory: 64GB RAM
  • Hard Drives: 2x 600GB SAS/10k
  • Video Card: Currently unknown, any recommendations would be appreciated.

Below are links to existing documentation I have found, but I am looking for some specific hardware recommendations and potential pitfalls based on your personal experiences:

Below are my specific questions, I apologize that there is not just a single question in this post, but I felt that splitting them up would not give a complete picture of the situation.

  1. Would a server similar to the above be appropriate for this usage case, or is it way too much or too little?
  2. Is there a general guideline to follow regarding number/speed of processor cores per ArcGIS Desktop user?
  3. Is there a general guideline to follow for amount of RAM to accommodate each user?
  4. What standalone video card requirements are there to provide ArcGIS Desktop users a good experience (no 3D visualization required)?
  5. What documentation is available to help determine server specifications and configuration for the specific case of running ArcGIS Desktop in Citrix?
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  • Are your users printing? Overall I think you have all the information available. as for video card OpenGL/DirectX with Scalability was 6 to 10 users per Q4000.blogs.citrix.com/2013/02/22/how-many-users-can-share-a-gpu – Mapperz Oct 16 '13 at 17:25
  • Yes, the users will be printing to their local printers. Thank you for that video card link. – jmpreiks Oct 16 '13 at 18:01
  • @jmpreiks, Did this server configuration help with your implementation? Can You share your experience (1 year) on this question? Thanks – Farid Cheraghi Jun 8 '15 at 22:31

I found what appears to be a very good resource for sizing servers and desktops for all types of GIS applications. The Esri Capacity Planning Tool (CPT) provides a very detailed analysis of server capacity for all types of situations. The specific section in the documentation referencing Citrix and other Terminal Server applications can be found here.

The Excel Workbook that makes up the Capacity Planning Tool is updated regularly for new software and hardware and is available as a link under the Resources section of the Esri Press page for Building a GIS: System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers

ArcGIS for Desktop Citrix CPT Design solution

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