Infrastructure Assessment Executive Summary:
Healthy Helping Hands is a mufti-national health care equipment company with operations in 10 countries. The organization manufactures and distributes a variety of health care products ranging from its unique baby breathing devices to diabetes supplies to wheelchairs. Based on current projections, Health Helping Hands expects to expand the company primarily through small, targeted acquisitions as well as a modest amount of organic growth The organization has been affected by numerous technical challenges, specifically with delivering applications to its users – 4 000 employees approximately 500 of which are contractors. In addition, because the timing and size of acquisitions is unpredictable, the IT staff must have the ability to adjust the technical integration of newly acquired companies to accommodate unpredictable timing for example, while a period of several weeks or months may have been planned, the integration may need to be completed in several days These challenges caused the company to investigate the Citrix Delivery Center offerings leading to the ClO’s decision to move forward with those Citrix Delivery Center products and features that address IT and user needs. With users spread throughout numerous offices, some with and some without IT staff, it is imperative that supportability administration and security are factored into the new solution However, for the 4 000 employees and contractors within the organization the CIO has mandated that users should be provided with a highly available virtualization solution that best suits their job function.
1.1 Current Citrix Environment
Healthy Helping Hands currently runs a Citrix Presentation Server 4 0 farm based on Windows Server 2000 that services the Human Resources (HR) applications- Because this product has reached ‘end- of-life and is no longer supported and this farm has had numerous growth issues the CIO has designated that the new design will incorporate XenApp, XenDesktop, and/or XenServer as appropriate to address present and future application and access requirements. However, before moving into the design phase, the current Presentation Server environment, as well as infrastructure, user requirements, applications and related areas have been assessed to determine current status, issues and considerations for the new design. The Consulting project team worked on-site at Healthy Helping Hands during the week of February 1-5„ 20.10, conducting this Infrastructure Assessment as defined in the Statement of Work, dated January 20, 2010. This document represents the deliverable for the infrastructure Assessment phase of the project.
1.2 Key Project Findings
During the week of February 1, 2010, an assessment of Healthy Helping Hands’Application. Delivery environment was conducted, and the project team determined several key findings:
The current environment is built on 32-bit architecture, although some hardware may support 64-bit architecture.
The CIO wants to migrate all IT platforms to 64-bit during upgrade/replacement programs only.
1.3 Next Steps
After thoroughly reviewing this document, Healthy Helping Hands should take the following actions within the short term (one-to-two weeks) and long term (several weeks or longer):
Migrate all IT platforms to 64-bit for compatibility and support.
1.4 Issue Status and Resolution
The following issues were also addressed during the course of this assessment:
TBC / Users
Currently, only the Human Resources group accesses applications hosted on Citrix Presentation Server 4 0 HR users typically tog on to the HR applications suite as needed, approximately two or three times throughout the day and then tog off when finished due to security requirements. When a new Human Resources employee joins the company, he/she is added to this group and thus gains access to the HR applications suite In general, this group reports overall satisfaction with application access through Presentation Server. However, some users have reported printing issues as described in Section 1 4. With the exception of the San Francisco and New York locations where the majority of the IT staff is located, users are generally frustrated with the IT staff because of hardware and application access issues associated with traditional application delivery In formal and informal settings the CIO has presented the concept of vitalizing applications and desktops, and users have responded favorably Thus, the CIO has decided that Healthy Helping Hands will virtualize all applications and desktops, making the delineation based on job requirements.
All of the HR users currently accessing the Presentation Server-based applications do so by means of Windows XP or Windows Vista laptop or desktop computers. With the exception of Customer Service, most office users have computers that run Windows XP or Vista. The manufacturing employees have access to locked-down antiquated computers on the Manufacturing floor and common areas. For several years, the Manufacturing Department has reported numerous problems related to frequent equipment failures. This has normally been blamed on the environmental conditions, such as dust dirt and vibration, found on the manufacturing floor. The Customer Service employees also have antiquated computers Both the manufacturing and customer service devices will be replaced with new thin client devices as part of this initiative. Some employees have purchased their own handheld devices, such as iPhone, HP iPAQ with Windows Mobile and Blackberry. As part of an earlier initiative, Microsoft ActiveSync is installed on the Citrix servers to facilitate Windows-based PDA sync for a small group of users. This feature is still available but should be disabled for security reasons. These devices are not officially supported by the IT department at Healthy Helping Hands, only ‘best effort" support is provided. Current breakdown of computer devices at Healthy Helping Hands:
TBC / Applications
The HR applications suite, named PositivelyPeople, is based on a front-end application that provides access to various modules, including payroll time sheets, vacation requests, new hires and former employees. The sensitive data in the PositivelyPeople application must be treated with strict confidentiality and must only be accessible to members of the HR user group; distribution of the data must be prevented. The output of the modules can be in either Microsoft Word or Excel file formats, $o these applications are co-located with PositivelyPeople on the same Presentation Servers and icewise presented as published applications. Thus, users are presented with three applications, PositivelyPeople, Word and Excel, and within these applications each user creates his/her own customized view. Installation of PositivelyPeople is performed manually based on a thoroughly documented process and Installation Manager is used to deploy Word and Excel. Because only these three applications are published there is no process for testing and integrating new applications. All applications are published with consistent settings. In addition, all users require access to office productivity applications including e-mail. Several months ago Healthy Helping Hands explored hosting the CAD application on XenApp 5.0 Platinum for Windows Server 2003 (x86), but only a maximum of five concurrent user sessions could successful be hosted on each server due to heavy resource requirements even with CPU and memory optimization enabled. The vendor for PositivelyPeople has tested and certified the application to run on Windows Server 2008. The vendor has also found that leveraging High Availably for XenApp applications would be beneficial Breakdown of all user groups and their application requirements:
Users access applications by means of the Web Interface. The internal Web Interface site, http://applications.healthyhelpinqhands.com is accessible to all employees but only presents applications to the Human Resources group at this time. If the Web Interface will be used in the future environment, this URL should be used because this employee group is already familiar with it. Most of the HR users access their application suite internally; however the IT staff recently created a Secure Gateway/Web Interface server in the DMZ so that users could access their applications while traveling. However, this server is based on older hardware and has had intermittent issues over the past few weeks. Thus, most HR users can no longer rely on having remote access to their applications. In the new environment, all employees should have remote access to their applications and/or desktops, with the exception of manufacturing floor employees and contractors.
The XenApp farm is based on the following:
One dedicated data collector
One internal Web Interface server
One Citrix/Microsoft Terminal Services license server
One SQL Server 2005 server hosting the Data Store and EdgeSight databases
One web server hosting EdgeSight web server and SQL Reporting Services
One antiquated file server hosting old user profiles
One Secure Gateway Web Interface server located in the DMZ
Eight Presentation Server 4 0 servers
Hotftx Rollup Pack 2 (PSE400W2K3R02) is the only hotfix retailed on each of the Presentation Server 4 0 servers.
A Citrix policy is configured for all Human Resources group users and has these characteristics:
At the current lime, virtualized desktops are not used. Published desktops are only made available to administrators, and all users in the HR group access their three applications by means of published applications. Because all applications will be virtualized in the future Healthy Helping Hands will consider published desktops or virtualized desktops for users based on what is deemed most appropriate. The CIO has determined that where virtualized desktops will be used High Availability is required.
A single SQL Server 2005 server currently houses only the Presentation Server 4.0 data store and EdgeSight database. This server is maintained by the Healthy Helping Hands database administrator, and a full backup is performed each night as part of the regular maintenance program.
The backend database for the Positively People application is housed at the main data center. It is based on a clustered configuration of SQL Server 2005. Healthy Helping Hands is moving all databases to SQL Server 2008 based on robust new hardware and virtualized servers. They would like to transition the Citrix and Positively People databases to this new platform as soon as reasonably possible.
Windows Server and Active Directory
The Presentation Servers are based on Windows 2000 Server Healthy Helping Hands understands that Microsoft has ended support for this platform and plans to move to Windows Server 2003. The Terminal Services License Server is hosted on a single domain controller wrth 100 Client Access Licenses (CALs). Because Windows XP devices include embedded Windows 2000 Server Terminal Services licenses, only about half of the Terminal Services CALs have been consumed.
The IT staff of Healthy Helping Hands has built all of the servers in the Presentation Server farm manually. These servers have been in service for several years with no significant changes, so the process of building or rebuilding a server has not been a regular part of maintenance tasks However, an automated, easy-to-use server build process must be incorporated as part of the new farm design. The Citrix-related servers are housed within Active Directory as follows:
Organizational Unit (OU). Citnx Servers
OU: Presentation Servers (contains the Data Collector and member servers in the production farm)
OU Other (contains all other servers)
No logon scripts are enabled for users: Healthy Helping Hands abandoned logon scripts last year in favor of Group Policy Objects. Healthy Helping Hands applies a minimal set of Group Policy Objects (GPOs) to the Presentation Servers. Only one GPO is applied directly to the Citrix Servers OU, which configures Internet Explorer settings. Other policies are applied at a higher level and include settings for Windows Updates. Roaming profiles were implemented previously, but issues were experienced with one of the Positively People modules. Instead, local profiles are being used and administrators must manually delete the profiles when necessary. No Terminal Services-specific home drives have been implemented as they have been deemed unnecessary.
The site layout of Healthy Helping Hands:
Healthy Helping Hands is a worldwide organization comprised of four data centers in New York, San Francisco, London and Hong Kong and numerous regional offices each connected by a private wide area network to a data center. Additionally, hundreds of users work from small regional offices. Appropriately 20% of all users work from home offices or travel part-time. This is likely to increase significant due to a new flexible working policy for corporate users. Because of this, reliability of remote access will become more important. The CIO has emphasized that internal WAN traffic must be kept to a minimum. As such, each user has a “home” data center, to which he/she primary connects; if there is a failure, virtualized applications should fail over to the designated backup data center. Based on this architecture the data centers are designed to support specific functions:
User data is stored on the HP SAN. Healthy Helping Hands plans to have a Hewlett-Packard Storage Works solution with a capacity of more than 1000TB space physically located at each of the four main data centers. Initially, only about 200TB of space will be used, and there is an internal effort underway to delete files that are no longer required. Healthy Helping Hands plans to upgrade the storage solution in order to incorporate redundancy, High Availability and replication between the primary and backup data centers.
Characteristics of all physical servers associated with the Presentation Server 4 0 environment:
Going forward, Healthy Helping Hands is planning to purchase new hardware to support the plan virtualization environment. This capital expenditure has received preliminary budgeting approval; however, where feasible and reasonable, server virtualization should be incorporated m order to maximize the efficiency of data center operations.
Users log on to the Presentation Servers based on Active Directory credentials. In addition, the Positively People application requires secondary credentials. Healthy Helping Hands explored using Citrix Single Sign-on (Password Manager) but the rollout failed because training was not provided to users. Due to the sensitive nature of the HR application, shadowing was disabled during installation of the Presentation Servers. Going forward, however, shadowing should be enabled during installation and only allowed by Citrix policy for Level 3 support personnel Anti-virus software is installed on each server, and it is automatically updated every hour. HR users can access their applications externally by means of the Secure Gateway server; however, this server has had intermittent failures recently. A reliable remote access solution is a requirement for the design project.
Systems Monitoring and Management
Healthy Helping Hands primarily uses EdgeSight Service Monitoring to monitor the Presentation Server environment. When the farm was first implemented, Resource Manager and a centraized monitoring tool were used as the primary monitoring tools but were abandoned when EdgeSight 5 0 was implemented about six months ago. Because EdgeSight Service Monitoring is included with Platinum licensing, there was no additional cost to Healthy Helping Hands.
Although the data center in San Francisco serves as the disaster recovery site for many of Healthy Helping Hands IT operations the Presentation Server environment is not incorporated into this site. A detailed Disaster Recovery Plan for the Citrix environment does not exist at this time. As such, the Citrix environment has not been included in any disaster recovery test. Going forward, the CIO has mandated the use of the San Francisco data center for disaster recovery.
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