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VDI on Azure: How to Manage Costs & Performance [Case Study]

See how they benefited from Citrix on Azure

Author: Neil, Practice Lead  
Last updated: December 18, 2017

Do you need a desktop environment that is more efficient to run than your current solution?

Cost-effective virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is fast becoming a reality and it’s all down to the power of the cloud.

In fact, we have first-hand experience in the benefits cloud VDI can offer an organisation, as we‘re currently moving a European rating agency’s Citrix Estate to Microsoft Azure. Not only is this helping them gain cost transparency, it is also improving the performance of their desktop solution.

So, how are we doing it and what are the takeaways for your organisation?

Here’s our approach to controlling desktop costs and boosting performance with VDI on Azure.

Why VDI on Azure Wins Out

When we first engaged with the client, they were running an on-premises Citrix estate, with a handful of hypervisors and cloned Microsoft Servers (2012).

While they had recently upgraded from XenDesktop 6.5 to XenDesktop 7.6, there was little room for scalability or increased performance and all virtual desktop sessions had to be carried out through Remote Desktop Services (RDS).

Because of this, memory and compute resources were limited, despite the firm needing to run resource-intensive computations and algorithmic analysis for their financial solutions.

With the firm looking to cut costly CAPEX investments - but continue their rapid business expansion - VDI on Azure became the obvious solution.

Moving from a Citrix Estate to VDI on Azure

As the firm looks to expand across the globe, the on-premises data centre is no longer delivering the business-critical performance it needs. Each user desktop is identical and inflexible, restricting power users who need faster performance and app delivery.

We’re now addressing these issues in Azure by deploying varying sizes of virtual machines (VMs) to provide an optimal desktop image for each user. Their virtual desktop infrastructure needs to be able to stretch on-demand and facilitate rapid deployment for staff onboarding.

Azure is the perfect foundation for this level of elasticity and will help the firm scale up in a matter of days rather than the months it took them to procure and provision new hardware on-premises.

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What’s Next? How We’ll Make the Journey to Citrix on Azure

To move the firm’s estate into the cloud, we started with a migration of their productivity suite to Office 365 and then moved the rest of their workspace infrastructure to a Citrix on Azure environment.

With no dedicated policy or profile management on-site, the firm needed a fresh approach to desktop distribution and access. We’ve already aligned the firm’s on-premises Active Directory with Azure AD credentials and will use this to assign persistent desktops to each user, regardless of their location.

We also conducted a deep dive into the firm’s applications to determine which were the best candidates for migration are and which need re-architecting.

The end result is a fully-integrated Citrix on Azure solution, which the firm can scale at will to meet fluctuating workload demands.

Key Takeaways: How to Get the Most out of VDI on Azure

For organisations looking to gain a similar advantage from VDI on Azure, we recommend following three simple steps:

  1. Determine potential ROI before you begin
  2. Look at licences and subscriptions 
  3. Optimise your infrastructure

1. Determine potential ROI before you begin

Operational costs, staff training, and security are all costs to consider. But you also need to think about the specific business outcomes VDI on Azure will bring to your organisation.

2. Look at licences and subscriptions

Can you reduce your licensing fees and improve visibility of costs by moving to the cloud? Right-sizing your virtual machines can make it easier to consolidate workloads and cut licensing.

3. Optimise your infrastructure

Based on the calculations you’ve done, work out how efficient VDI architecture can help with cost. For example, are you wasting storage on duplicated or redundant data?

Undertaking these steps will set you on the right path to cloud success and will help you get the most from Citrix on Azure.

To learn more about our approach to cloud desktop migration, check out our cloud workspace page and start your journey to VDI on Azure today.

Topics: Azure, VDI, Citrix

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