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Is Citrix Cloud Enterprise Ready? Best Practices to Get the Most Out of Citrix Cloud Deployments


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Citrix Cloud is a new offering from Citrix that enables you to deliver Virtual Apps and Desktops as a service. Citrix Cloud uses a hybrid model: while the control plane of your Citrix site resides in the cloud, you can have the resource plane either on-premises or in the cloud.
Because the Citrix Delivery Controller, StoreFront, Gateway, and SQL database are all hosted and managed by Citrix, Citrix Cloud eases deployment and maintenance for administrators. Citrix administration teams would continue to run their Citrix Virtual Apps servers and Citrix Virtual Desktops VMs from their on-premises infrastructure.
With a heavy push from Citrix towards upgrading customers to Citrix Cloud, a question that every organization has is “Is Citrix Cloud Enterprise ready? Should we move to the cloud?”

Check out this presentation and understand:
• The basics of Citrix Cloud: architecture, features and benefits
• What’s new in the latest release of Citrix Cloud
• Is Citrix Cloud enterprise ready?
• Key considerations for deploying Citrix Cloud
• Monitoring best practices for performance assurance

Published in: Technology
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Is Citrix Cloud Enterprise Ready? Best Practices to Get the Most Out of Citrix Cloud Deployments

  1. 1. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Is Citrix Cloud Enterprise Ready? Best Practices to Get The Most Out of Citrix Cloud Deployments
  2. 2. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Know Your Speaker David Wilkinson Citrix Expert and EUC Architect Vinod Mohan Sr. Product Marketing Manager, eG Innovations Moderator Speakers Srinivas Ramanathan Founder and CEO, eG Innovations Over 15 years of experience working with Citrix technologies. | | | @WilkyIT
  3. 3. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Agenda  Introducing Citrix Cloud: Architecture, Benefits  What's New in Citrix Cloud?  Deployment Considerations  Migrating to Citrix Cloud  Costing Calculator for Azure Workloads  Is Citrix Cloud Enterprise Ready?  Best Practices for Performance Assurance
  4. 4. © eG Innovations, Inc. | A Traditional Citrix Deployment Physical, virtual, on-premises deployment
  5. 5. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Citrix Evolution to the Cloud Physical  Virtualization  Public Cloud  Citrix Cloud Physical Server VMware, Hyper-V, XenServer, Nutanix Azure, AWS Citrix Cloud
  6. 6. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Introducing Citrix Cloud
  7. 7. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Citrix Cloud Architecture Control Plane Resource Plane
  8. 8. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Benefits of Using Citrix Cloud  Simple: Upgrading Citrix components is easier – managed by Citrix  Fast: Deploy Virtual Apps and Desktops in hours, not weeks  Flexible: Hybrid cloud deployment model  Secure: Keep apps, desktops and data under your control  Scalable: Easy to scale up and scale down  Cost-effective: Lesser hardware footprint on-premises
  9. 9. © eG Innovations, Inc. | What Changes in Your Citrix Environment? • You no longer manage the control plane components – Deployment, upgrade and maintenance are owned by Citrix • You are responsible for the upkeep and performance of the resource plane – Core Citrix components (Virtual Apps Servers and Virtual Desktop VMs) are under your control – You still manage the hypervisor and other supporting IT infrastructure components (network, AD, etc.) – New component to manage: Citrix Cloud Connector • Serves as a channel for communication between control & resource plane • Typically deployed in pairs for high availability/failover
  10. 10. © eG Innovations, Inc. | What’s New In the Latest Release of Citrix Cloud
  11. 11. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Local Host Cache • Local Host Cache now available • GA End of Sep ‘18 • BYO StoreFront required! • Critical for Enterprise size adoption • Improved Pooled Desktop • Set-BrokerSite -ReuseMachinesWithoutShutdownInOutageAllowed $true Set- BrokerDesktopGroup -Name "name" -ReuseMachinesWithoutShutdownInOutage $true
  12. 12. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Improved Delegated Administration • Improved Delegated Administration to Citrix Cloud • Now available as of End of Sep ‘18
  13. 13. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Improved Delegated Administration • Roles & Scopes same as Virtual Apps & Desktop on-premises • Users must be added by Identity & Access Management from Hamburger menu in Citrix Cloud
  14. 14. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Configuration Logging • Configuration Logging now available! • GA End of Sep ‘18
  15. 15. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Workspace Environment Management • WEM Cloud was added in early Aug’18 updated release • Same Management Console as on-premises • No Local Infrastructure/DB required
  16. 16. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Workspace Environment Management • New WEM Agent ADMX to allow Cloud Connectors to manage agents • Leave Infrastructure Servers/Agent Port as “Not Configured” Old New
  17. 17. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Deployment Considerations for Citrix Cloud
  18. 18. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Deployment Types • Buying Citrix Cloud due to cost reduction vs. renewal of licenses with support now included – 2-year hybrid usage rights • Deploying Citrix Cloud control plane, but leaving workloads on-premises • Deploying Citrix Cloud control plane and migrating gradually to cloud providers (Azure, AWS, GCP) as hardware needs replacing • Deploying Citrix Cloud control plane, moving virtual apps to cloud, and hosting virtual desktops on premises (due to VDI cost)
  19. 19. © eG Innovations, Inc. | On-Premises vs. Citrix Cloud Comparison • The feature gap is reducing, especially over the past month • Limitations: – Gateway Service has a number of limitations • Customisation is limited • No logging available • EDT not available, standard ICA/HDX only • No Smart Access – No Microsoft App-V Integration – No Custom role for Delegated Administration (rumoured to be coming later in the year) *Citrix Gateway is most often deployed to resource location (BYO Citrix ADC) to remove these limitations. Enterprises will most often like to control entry points for security posture.
  20. 20. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Cloud Connector – Placement • Placement within your environment – Security Zoning – External SSL to Citrix Cloud but Netscaler Service uses this connection to provide users access to VDA • Identify the Risks involved per Zone – Opening AD ports in DMZ – Semi-Trusted
  21. 21. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Cloud Connector – Firewall • Outbound SSL to Citrix Cloud – Don’t enable SSL Decryption or add bypass for * • Cloud Connector to AD (Allow AD Ports) • StoreFront to Cloud Connector • NetScaler STA to Cloud Connector • Cloud Connector VDA • Cloud Connector to Hypervisor Management
  22. 22. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Cloud Connector – Recommendations • SSL is not enabled by default for STA/XML Communication: Please Enable! – Similar to enabling SSL for delivery controllers • Recommendation to reduce the "bypassduration" setting in the BYO Storefront store advanced setting to 0 to accommodate small network blips – Default 60 min exclusion if XML fails from storefront to cloud connector, if multiple listed it will move to next on list
  23. 23. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Cloud Connector – Recommendations • Internet connection needs to be highly available – Consider load balancing proxies, across multiple data centres/internet connections – SD-WAN to combine different paths/connection to reduce reliance on one • Force Local Host Cache when network is unstable
  24. 24. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Cloud Connector – Recommendations • Deploy at minimum 2 per Resource Location – Use high availability sets for Azure – Use Affinity Rules on Hypervisor • Exclude processes/databases files/Logs files for Cloud Connector just like a delivery controller for Antivirus
  25. 25. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Local Host Cache – Force Outage
  26. 26. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Cloud Connector – Active Directory • Consider placement of cloud connectors using the following decision tree
  27. 27. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Cloud Connector – Sizing • 5,000 Desktop OS VDA’s/500 Server OS VDA’s per Cloud Connector • 7-9% Increase in CPU, 6-7% Increase in RAM when LHC is active on BYO StoreFront • Local Host Cache Additional Requirements on top of Minimum requirement: – 1.2GB RAM required for LHC Database – 1.0GB RAM required by HA Service if running for extended period of time – Needs to be accommodated on all Cloud Connectors • Recommended Server Size (Up 5,000/500 + LHC) – 4vCPU, 4GB RAM Virtual Machine (Azure VM –General Purpose A4_v2 = 4vCPU & 8GB RAM) Review Citrix Scalability in a Cloud World – 2018 Edition
  28. 28. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Gateway Service to VDA • Route via Cloud Connector – Additional compute needs allocated to handle network traffic – 75 concurrent users has been indicated per cloud connector – Additional compute resources
  29. 29. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Gateway Service to VDA • Route Direct – More scalability – Load removed from cloud connectors
  30. 30. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Gateway Service – Enabling Direct • Allow “Rendezvous Protocol” in Citrix policies • You must be on VDA 1808
  31. 31. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Migrating to Citrix Cloud
  32. 32. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Migration to Citrix Cloud • Citrix Cloud Migration Tool – Used to assist recreating your farm structure in Citrix Cloud. – Scans your current farm and record all information required to recreate your machine catalogs, delivery groups and hosting connections. – Info exported to a JSON format and can be imported to a farm in Citrix Cloud. • Citrix Policy Migration Tool – Used to export and import Citrix policies between farm, both on-premises and in Citrix Cloud. Shane O’Neil (CTA)
  33. 33. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Updates to Citrix Cloud • Two Environments (identical) – Updates applied to Release A first, then customers migrated to this environment – Then update applied to remaining environment (Release B) • You can opt in to be Early Adopter (i.e –Customer 1)
  34. 34. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Costing Calculator for Your Azure Workloads
  35. 35. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Three Main Pricing Factors • Compute – Type of VM selected (F16s_v2, D2_v2 etc) – Users/Servers will impact total number of servers required – Num of Server/VDI x Num of Hrs VM is on x Per-Hr Unit cost for Compute in Azure • Storage – Standard Storage - No of Users x IOPS Expected x 3600 (3600 is 1 hr) / 10,000 (Storage Access Measure) x Storage Access Cost per 10,000 (There is a scaling per GB cost depending on usage) – Premium: Set charge for size of Storage per month • Network – Num of Users x Outgoing Bandwidth x 3600 (3600 is 1 hr) x Hrs per month x Per GB Network Cost (There is a scaling per GB cost depending on usage)
  36. 36. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Pay-and-Go vs. Reserved Pricing Models • For VDA uptime with 17+ hrs, reserved pricing will be more cost effective
  37. 37. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Recommended Azure Sizing • F16S_v2, previously D2_v2 • Although most effective per user, shutting down VM’s with higher number of users may increase daily uptime. Tight Idle/disconnect timers need to be implemented. • Each environment is different! Test various different VM combinations!
  38. 38. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Citrix Cost Calculator • Based on Standard General Purpose Storage NOT Premium • If MCSIO is used, then an additional 127GB storage is added , this is an additional cost • Licensing included as part of azure compute cost (but not Citrix licenses or RDS) • Network Connectivity to Azure needs to be factored into costs
  39. 39. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Citrix Cost Calculator • Sizing of each components for Citrix Cloud & Citrix on Azure • Smart Scale – 10% Virtual Desktop – 30% Virtual Apps
  40. 40. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Self-Developed Cost Calculator • Freely available spreadsheet for download – Citrix Cloud + Azure & Citrix on Azure • Adjustable input – VM , Network & Storage pricing – Smart Scale percentages – Storage types/sizes – Disaster Recovery – More granular detail of calculation & how calculation was done • Callout to Community for help to move off Excel & automate azure pricing: for-citrix-cloud-azure-citrix-on-azure/
  41. 41. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Is Citrix Cloud Enterprise Ready?
  42. 42. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Challenges to Citrix Cloud Adoption 1. Not everyone has migrated to Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7.x to take advantage of Citrix Cloud 2. Familiarity with cloud deployment model is less 3. Cloud services are more expensive 4. Fears of security and compliance 5. Reliability and performance concerns, missing features
  43. 43. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Is Citrix Cloud Enterprise Ready? 1. Not everyone has migrated to Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7.x to take advantage of Citrix Cloud ─ Because of XenApp 6.5 EOL, more customers are upgrading to Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7.x. And with that, Citrix Cloud adoption is also increasing. 5% 14% 31% 50% Yes, currently using cloud services Yes, considering cloud services Plan to look at cloud services in the future No plan for cloud services 2018 Citrix Migration Survey ― eG Innovations & DABCC 45% of Citrix customers are considering using Citrix Cloud Services ─ Attractive proposition for renewing traditional licenses ─ Shifting expenses from CAPEX to OPEX ─ Citrix Cloud Success Program included in Cloud Subscription
  44. 44. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Is Citrix Cloud Enterprise Ready? 2. Familiarity with cloud deployment model is less – Not a huge variation from the management console – Citrix is trying to make cloud deployment simpler and easy for admins to evaluate/try – Feature comparison between Cloud/On-Premises reducing – Multi-cloud (AWS, Azure, GCP) supported as well as traditional DC deployment
  45. 45. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Is Citrix Cloud Enterprise Ready? 3. Citrix Cloud Services are more expensive – There are different pricing options available: – Organizations can also try Virtual Apps Essentials and Virtual Desktop Essentials services on Microsoft Azure – Speed of deployment vs transitional (Hrs vs Weeks) – Alleviates short-term burst requirements when additional workloads is needed – Citrix Smart Scaling developed to save on cost on cloud compute (shutting down VM’s when workload is not required) – Shifting expenses from CAPEX to OPEX
  46. 46. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Is Citrix Cloud Enterprise Ready? 4. Fears of security and compliance – Citrix Cloud Regions (Americas, European Union, and Asia Pacific and Japan) – Metadata only exchanged between Cloud Connector & Citrix Cloud, data still resides with Customer – Citrix Cloud Government (US Only) to meet regulatory and compliance requirements 5. Citrix Cloud has introduced new features to help improve performance and reliability  Built on Azure Platform (99.5% SLA)  Delegated Administration  Local Host Cache  Configuration Logging  Citrix WEM (for US region)
  47. 47. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Is Citrix Cloud Enterprise Ready? • Ultimately, this depends on each customer’s requirements. • But, in general, Citrix Cloud is here to stay. With every release, Citrix is trying to address customer concerns and making the cloud offering more reliable, secure and easy to use. • While it may not replace the on-prem installations completely, there is growing interest in Citrix Cloud and it’s certainly something to try and evaluate.
  48. 48. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Citrix Cloud Performance Assurance Through End-to-End Monitoring
  49. 49. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Monitoring Using “” Performance Management Challenges • Citrix provides an availability guarantee, not performance SLAs • Need to know about downtime by looking at Issues reported only when many customers are impacted. • Performance issues need to be reported to Citrix Support and wait for their response and resolution
  50. 50. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Monitoring Using Citrix Director Performance Management Challenges • Mainly session-level data • Limited visibility into infrastructure and cloud-connectivity issues • No root cause diagnosis • Limited troubleshooting
  51. 51. © eG Innovations, Inc. | What eG Enterprise Delivers for Citrix Cloud Synthetic and Real User Experience Citrix and Supporting Infrastructure End-to-End Performance Correlation Reports, Analytics, Machine Learning Monitor Every Layer, Every Tier Pinpoint Root Cause of Problems Right-size & Optimize for Maximum Performance Measure All Aspects of Citrix User Experience 1 2 3 4
  52. 52. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Proactive Logon Monitoring with The Citrix Logon Simulator Launch app/desktop on StoreFront Enumerated apps/desktops on StoreFront Log into session via StoreFront / Citrix Gateway
  53. 53. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Control Plane Resource Plane Monitoring Using eG Enterprise eG Enterprise Web Console  Agentless monitoring of the Delivery Controller in the control plane through Citrix APIs  Agent-based monitoring Virtual Apps Server, Cloud Connector, AD, hypervisor in the resource plane  Agentless monitoring of Virtual Desktops VMs
  54. 54. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Monitoring All Aspects of Citrix Cloud Performance • Logon time • Profile load time • Application launch time • Screen refresh latency • User network quality • StoreFront response time • EDT performance User Experience • Bandwidth speed • Line speed • Audio bandwidth • Video bandwidth • Printer bandwidth • Drive bandwidth • Framehawk fps HDX Channels • Active/idle time • Top users by CPU, memory, IOPS, GPU • Top applications by CPU, memory, IOPS, GPU • URLs accesses by users User & Application Activity • Who logged in and when • What applications did they access • When disconnects happen • Idle time in session • Top users by session duration Virtual Apps and Desktops Sessions • ADC, Gateway • StoreFront • Provisioning • Delivery Controller • License Server • Microsoft SQL Server Supporting Tiers • Virtualization platform • Storage • Network in data center • Network to user terminals • Infra services – AD, DNS • Cloud Supporting Infrastructure
  55. 55. © eG Innovations, Inc. | • Is it on the client side? • Is it the user’s network? • Is it due to the control plane? • Is there a Citrix server-side problem in the resource plane? • Is it due to the user’s workload? • Is it due to the virtual platform/hypervisor? • Are any of the on-premises infrastructure components (network, AD, storage, etc.) affecting Citrix performance? Why is the Application Slow? Pinpoint the Root Cause
  56. 56. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Before Migration After Migration Cloud Migration Analysis
  57. 57. © eG Innovations, Inc. | +1 (866) 526 6700 Contact eG Innovations
  58. 58. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Q&A
  59. 59. © eG Innovations, Inc. | Thank You For more information on Citrix Cloud performance monitoring, contact eG Innovations: | Visit David Wilkinson’s blog for informative articles on Citrix Cloud and EUC: