Requirements

Prerequisite knowledge

Adobe Connect installation and virtualization experience using Citrix XenApp.

Additional required other products

User level

Advanced

Adobe Connect is a versatile tool that allows you to deliver live online meetings or trainings, as well as, on-demand information and training. Citrix XenApp is a virtualization platform that allows for hosting of applications on a central server. Virtualization improves access to the application, allows for better testing, and helps organizations save costs. This article describes performance of Adobe Connect on XenApp in single node and cluster configurations. It provides in-depth performance calculations too.

About XenApp and virtualization

Citrix XenApp is used to virtualize applications and help access the virtualized applications from any desktop or a thin client, including tablet and mobile devices. This technology utilizes Citrix Systems’ proprietary presentation layer protocol or thin client protocol called Independence Computing Architecture (ICA). ICA transmits high-level window display information. To use a software application remotely, administrators just publish the applications in the farm.

Figure 1 illustrates how a XenApp farm looks. We can create the farm while installing XenApp and other XenApp system can then simply point to the farm to create a clustered environment to distribute load.

About Adobe Connect

Adobe Connect, formerly Adobe Acrobat Connect, is software used to deliver online training materials, conduct web conferences, distribute learning modules, share user desktops, and conduct seminars and webinars. The product utilizes Adobe Flash technology and an add-in. The meeting workspaces are organized as Pods, with each Pod performing a specific role such as, chat, whiteboard, note taking, and so on.

The product is available as an installer that you install on-premise, as a cloud-based application hosted by Adobe, or as a managed service provided by an Adobe partner.

Adobe Connect with XenApp

Why Citrix XenApp?

XenApp reduces the cost of desktop management up to 50% by simplifying the management and delivery of all Windows applications. Centralizing applications in a datacenter reduces costs and increases efficiency by enabling IT to manage a single, centralized instance of each application.

Compared to traditional application deployment technology, virtualized application delivery using XenApp enables organizations to:

  • Reduce costs, by centralizing applications in the datacenter.
  • Improve security, by controlling and encrypting access to data and applications.
  • Provide a better user experience, by making it possible to access demanding applications from thin clients.
  • Update applications easily, by installing a new release or a patch on one central server.
  • Deliver software applications instantly to users anywhere, by on-demand application streaming.
  • Provide consistent experience to all the users and adhere to compliance needs, by maintaining and optimizing a single instance of installation.

Advantages of virtualizing Adobe Connect

The above-listed benefits of XenApp virtualization are available for Adobe Connect too. By virtue of this, one can fulfill varied use cases. For example, during the beta testing there is no need to distribute the application installer to a wide audience. Instead it can be accessed using XenApp environment. If installing Adobe Connect add-in is not an option, say on a thin client or on unsupported environments like on iOS device, Adobe Connect can still be used via XenApp. Users on low latency network can also attend virtual meetings or events, if the bandwidth permits connecting to a XenApp deployment.

Adobe Connect Support for Citrix XenApp

Adobe Connect installed at a remote location, is published on the XenApp farm. As an Adobe Connect meeting is launcher from browser, publish a browser on XenApp server. Optionally, you can publish a browser, with a pre-configured meeting room, to XenApp.

To install the Adobe Connect add-in for all the users, XenApp administrator can follow these steps:

  1. Install AddinChecker on the XenApp server.
  2. After AddinChecker is installed, we see a ”Adobe Connect Add In Checker” folder inside Program Files(x86)/Adobe.
  3. In ‘Adobe Connect Add In Checker’ and execute the batch file runaddinchecker.bat
  4. Verity that adobeconnectaddin and digest.s is there at path %appdata%\Macromedia\Flash Player\www.macromedia.com\bin\adobeconnectaddin
  5. Copy the Macromedia folder for all users in their respective %appdata% folders. Administrators can do this step either manually or run a custom-made script to do so.
  6. It also gets installed if a user connects to a XenApp server using remote desktop connection. Upon logging in, the installation completes and the folder gets copied to the appropriate location.

After the addin is installed for all the users, the users can login to XenApp interface and successfully launch the meeting.

Installing Citrix XenApp and Adobe Connect

For instructions to install Citrix XenApp, see http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp/xenapp65-w2k8-wrapper.html.

For instructions to install Adobe Connect, see http://www.adobe.com/go/learn_cnn9_migrateinstall_en.

For instructions to publish a software application, see http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp65-publishing/ps-publishing-wrapper-v2.html.

XenApp performance analysis

Test environment

The hardware and software we used to set up a farm, for our analysis, is detailed below. In both the cases Adobe Connect 9 was deployed on XenApp server.


Number of Nodes

Hardware and software specifications

Single node set up

  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, E6850 @3.00 GHz
  • Memory: 6 GB
  • OS and platform: Windows Server 2008 R2 (64 bit) and Citrix XenApp 6 server
  • Database: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express (bundled with the applications)

Double node set up

  • Processor: Intel Xeon CPU X54500 @3.00 GHz
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • OS and platform: Windows Server 2008 R2 (64 bit) and Citrix XenApp 6 server
  • Database: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express (bundled with the applications)

Single node set up

Only one machine is used in the farm to create a single node set up. Fifty simultaneous meeting instances can be opened easily on such a set up. The following graphs depict how the load and other parameters get distributed in single node set up.

Double node set up

Unlike the single node setup, the clustered set had two systems added to the farm. We were able to easily open 100 simultaneous meetings. Figure 6 gives the analysis of how the load and other parameters get distributed in a double node set up.

Conclusions

The values of various performance-measuring parameters do not peak as much as in the single node set up, for twice as much Meeting load. All the parameters, like qfarm /load, CPU usage, ADQL, and Context Switches per second, stay within reasonable limits in the double note set up, even though the peak load applied in the double node set up is 100 meetings as compared to the peak load of 50 meetings in the single node set up. Clearly, load-balancing in a cluster leads to more than double the performance of a single machine when accessing Adobe Connect via XenApp server.

Where to go from here

The paper illustrated the use of XenApp server during testing and the fact that double node set up delivers marginally-improved performance over single node set up. For further references, administrators can publish various pre-configured meetings to XenApp, say to create a catalog of meetings unique to each user. To publish a software application, see http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp65-publishing/ps-publishing-wrapper-v2.html. For more information about XenApp, see http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp/xenapp65-w2k8-wrapper.html.