IBM: Considerations when deploying Notes 8.0.1 Standard on a Citrix server

by Volker Weber

The Citrix platform user load for Lotus Notes® 8.0.1 client is limited to 14 Standard clients. ... This issue was discovered using a 4 GB RAM, 2 Xeon-processor box, with a single IDE drive.

How many concurrent users do you run on your Citrix servers with Notes 6 or 7?

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Comments

is the notes client supported on x64 servers that should take care of the memory problem

Flemming Riis, 2008-03-12

Using LN 6.5.4. Average 15 users, sometimes peaking around 25 user per box ...
Citrix servers: Dual processors, 4gb ram, SAN ...

Richard Civil, 2008-03-12

Flemming, probably not, otherwise the technote would mention it. Notes 8 is also not supported on 64 bit Vista.

Volker Weber, 2008-03-12

Then we have to use the little stepbrother a.k.a. Notes 8.0.1 Basic.
Bummer! The new Citrix hardware arrives on this friday....

Marco Simon, 2008-03-12

I see this more of a platform issue than a specific issue with the application - Citrix can only handle a max number of users for any application, IBM are just kind enough to give a heads up for how many can be supported on a single citrix server.

There's no reason why you can't virtualise the entire farm on one big Blade with multiple partitions though, if required. Common practice for many heavy applications.

Ben Rose, 2008-03-12

We used to do 25 clients per server with Notes 5 and Citrix, back in the day...

Scott Hanson, 2008-03-12

Well, It might not be "supported" on x64, but it sure works just as stable.
We have been running 8.0 on vista x64 and W2K3 x64 w/citrix PS 4.5 x64 since 8.0 was released. We have not had any problems with it (beyond the usual hacking to get it properly installed).

We do experience a higher performance when running on TS/Citrix x64 tan when running on TS/Citrix x32. Probably due to the superior I/O caching and memory-handling in the x64 edition.

So, Marco, I would not care too much about the "supported". Try it and You'll never go back to TS/Citrix x32 again.

Dag Kvello, 2008-03-12

One of our Notes customers has a centralized Citrix Infrastructure which has to support up to 100 users per server. The farm supports around 4000 users in total, in average there are 60 people on a server.

They tested 8.0.1 standard on a citrix server already... no chance...

Henning Kunz, 2008-03-12

Henning, do you think that Dag's point about Citrix x64 could help your customer as well?

Ed Brill, 2008-03-12

Personally i dont get why they posted a test with a ide drive instead of what they recomend , as soon as that system will start to swap it will die.

Flemming Riis, 2008-03-12

We run 25-30 Notes 7 users per box.

Sorry but I pitty anyone who has to run Notes 8 standard on Citrix if my desktop performance is anything to go by...maybe this is as a blessing in disguise.

I still contend that IBM should have tarted up the C++ client instead of all this Eclipse rubbish...but hey thats just me.

Colin Williams, 2008-03-12

Is this a limitation of 32-bit platform or Citrix? Let's say for a configuration with Citrix 4.5, Windows 2003 Enterprise/32-bit, 4xdual-core CPUs and 16GB of RAM, can you have 50 concurrent users?

Mirel Popa, 2008-03-12

-Is this a limitation of 32-bit platform or Citrix? Let's say for a configuration with Citrix 4.5, Windows 2003 Enterprise/32-bit, 4xdual-core CPUs and 16GB of RAM, can you have 50 concurrent users?

32bit limit at 4gb but you can only use 2gb for user mode so its even worse.

to use more than 4gb you need PAE support or 64bit

Flemming Riis, 2008-03-12

-32bit limit at 4gb but you can only use 2gb for user mode so its even worse

meant kernal not user.

Flemming Riis, 2008-03-12

We have some customers on a Citrix-Farm with Notes 7. I will show how Notes 8.0.1 works with Citrix at the Softsphere Conference.

Frank Hüttner, 2008-03-12

Frank, can you give us any advance information, so we don't have to wait half a year? ;-)

Flemming and Mirel, just read the IBM technote, and you will see that it is neither 2, 4 nor 16 GB.

Volker Weber, 2008-03-13

Ed, they are already investigating techniques to support 8.0.1 without drastically increasing the number of servers in their farm .They are very interested in the standard client on the farm, because they have some "exotic" users using some homebrewed eclipse plugins on local installed clients. Which means they invested already some time in developing plugins for that platform.

Henning Kunz, 2008-03-13

-Flemming and Mirel, just read the IBM technote

i did read it :)

its 4gb with userva set , but that leaves 1gb for system that will give you trouble for most real workloads.

so thats why i mentioned 2 , the 4 and 16 wasnt directly related to this

Flemming Riis, 2008-03-13

Hi Volker, here is the german abstract:

Der Vortrag veranschaulicht die Installation und Konfiguration des aktuellen IBM Lotus Notes Clients 8.0.1 unter Citrix Presentation Server 4.5. Mit der Version 8.0.1 wird erstmals offiziell der Citrix Presentation Server 4.5 von IBM unterstützt. Sie erhalten einen Überblick der Möglichkeiten und Erfahrungswerte aus der Praxis. Diese erleichtern Ihnen die Planung eines möglichen Rollouts. Besonderheiten, wie z.B. Mehrsprachigkeit, werden im Vortrag berücksichtigt.

Frank Hüttner, 2008-03-13

@Ben: No. The low number of users is probably due to the fact that Lotus Notes 8.0.1 Standard is based on Java - which means native terminal server memory optimizations like copy on write won't apply (since the libraries aren't native), hence the application will use a LOT more memory than NATIVE apps (where the majority of memory consumption will be shared among multiple instances of the same app, greatly enhancing scalability, and only requiring the full allocation for the first instance of the app on the server).

32 bit vs. 64 bit is relevant only because 32 bit implies "very finite" memory so that you'll hit the hard limit much sooner than with native applications. 15 users per server is ridiculous. So with 64 bit the limit will be higher if you have more memory, but memory consumption will still be worse than with native apps and new instances will consume the full amount of memory of the first instance - much unlike native apps.

@Fleming: when a terminal server starts threshing, you have run out of physical memory. Whether you use SAS or IDE doesn't matter that much - it means performance will be unacceptable with either. That's not the limit they are hitting here.

Jan Tietze, 2008-03-13

Frank, vielen Dank. Aber das ist auch nur eine weitere Ankündigung. :-) Ich denke, wir werden das Problem gelöst haben, bevor sechs Monate um sind.

Volker Weber, 2008-03-14

With Notes 7 I support 30 - 40 concurrent users on Windows Terminal Services (WTS) 2003. This is 32-bit Windows 2003, running on IBM HS20 blades with with 2GB RAM, dual Xeon CPU's, fibre channel SAN for data and separate U320 drives on the blade for the OS and swap. I have another older Dell tower with 2GB RAM, I don't even know what kind of SCSI drives, and dual P4 CPU's that supports 12 - 15 users. Everyone on all the WTS boxes runs Notes 7.0.2, Office 2003 SP2, and IE7.

You'll never get a full 4GB of memory to use on any 32-bit x86 hardware regardless of the OS because of the way it maps device I/O. It's a hardware limitation, not some awful conspiracy by Microsoft. You'll have the same issue with 32-bit Linux or OSX (if there is such a beast). There is a good writeup about it on codinghorror.com. If you want to try to tune the memory on your 32-bit WTS servers read this in its entirety, including the comments and particularly the link to Brian Madden's blog.

So, back to the issue at hand. 14 users on a WTS server, or upgrade to 64-bit Windows and add more memory. That sounds a lot like the Exchange 2007 rip and replace scenario to me. Wasn't that called "a bad thing"?

Charles Robinson, 2008-03-15

This is pretty bad news... On one side you have all nice feature you want to show the world in Notes 8 standard client. But you have to do it either upgrade all the hardware OR put crazy servers upgrade... This is a sad news.

Vincent Yeung, 2008-03-25

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