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Author: Neil, Practice Lead  
Last updated: April 19, 2018

The global virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) market is set to grow 11.31% by 2020.

With more organisations considering the move to a virtualised desktop environment, let’s take a look at the key benefits and practices behind hosting a Citrix VDI estate in the Azure cloud.

Why Azure VDI for Cloud Workspace?

You may already have a rich heritage with Citrix in you datacentre. But moving your estate to the cloud can open up new possibilities for desktop management.

VDI readiness guide

At RedPixie, we’ve experienced this shift first-hand, designing, building, and managing Citrix estates from the WinFrame days all the way through to XenDesktop.

As the technology’s progressed, we’ve been able to build new capabilities for our clients and deliver a better desktop experience. Here’s just a few:

Benefits of Azure VDI

  • Elasticity – the ability to quickly expand or reduce compute, memory, and storage makes it easier to rightsize your VDI estate for maximum performance.
  • Baked-in security – user data is stored in Microsoft data centres rather than on local operating systems, making it easier to secure and backup.
  • Transformation catalyst – free up valuable resources in your on-premises environment for things like Windows 10 desktop transformation.

I talk about these benefits in an episode of Pixie TV, which you can watch below.

What are your Options in Citrix on Azure?

When Citrix and Azure joined forces earlier this year, they brought together two cutting edge workspace models.

The innovation behind both Microsoft and Citrix’s architecture allows users to access virtual apps on virtual desktops while meeting the levels of performance they’d expect from their PC or Mac.

When it comes to moving from a private to a public cloud environment, a hybrid model is key.

Citrix offers a number of tools to make this transition possible and the Microsoft Azure Stack plays an important part in supporting the flexible migration of workloads between these environments.

While Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) deployments should be the ultimate destination for VDI, you can test early proof of concepts in an Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) environment to ensure the foundational plumbing meets your network requirements.

What’s the Process for Moving to Azure VDI in the Cloud?

Organisations looking to move to PaaS model within Citrix on Azure, need to consider the various layers of their architecture.




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While it’s easy to focus on the user and control layers when moving desktops to the cloud, the access layer is also an important consideration. How your users access virtual apps on virtual desktops plays a big part in the way you design your architecture.

When migrating from the private cloud to the public cloud, optimised architecture can make the biggest difference to managing costs. If you plan to retain some of your data or applications on-premises, then a hybrid cloud model becomes an essential component of your desktop migration.

Citrix helps minimise operating costs by analysing your workspace needs and rightsizing your estate in Azure. Workloads can be deallocated when they’re not active, eliminating the ongoing costs of storage and compute.



Now that Citrix has partnered with Microsoft, companies can enrol users with XenDesktop and XenApp directly through the Azure Marketplace.

RedPixie best practices for Azure VDI in the cloud

Make sure your architecture is watertight from day one. This is the best advice I can give any organisation looking to bring their Citrix VDI estate to Azure.

Citrix engineer, Lyndon-Jon Martin (see video above), suggests this level of planning and preparation is vital to successful VDI in the public cloud and the main driver behind their Executive Business Centres. 




Cut Costs, not Corners

Learn how with our free cloud VDI checklist

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There are three key reasons VDI projects fail:

  • Lack of justification – Why is Azure VDI integral to your business mission? Is it just a novel way to deliver desktops or a platform for innovation and transformation?
  • Lack of foresight – Have you jumped into a VDI project without carrying out due diligence? There may be prerequisites you haven’t considered and need to assess before you make any irreversible decisions.
  • Lack of experience – Is your IT team equipped to deal with the migration to cloud VDI? If your architects begin to second-guess themselves, the whole project will crumble.

To overcome these challenges, you need to build a business case, assess your current environment, design with availability and scalability in mind, and monitor all your processes after deployment.

Getting the most from your Citrix on Azure subscription means planning your architecture with business outcomes in mind:

  • What do you want to achieve?
  • Why are you considering Citrix on Azure?
  • What is the overall business benefit?

Paying close attention to these requirements and pain points helps both us and Citrix provide a more personalised workspace project.

What are the next steps?

With the rise of cloud computing, VDI finally has a flexible and secure foundation for performance and delivery. In fact, Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) technology has proved so promising, organisations from nearly every vertical are now planning for its adoption, according to a Citrix report.

At RedPixie, this is something we’ve been quick to capitalise on, working with Citrix and Azure to provide better business outcomes for our clients. To find out more about Azure VDI and the work we’ve been doing in this sector, take a look at our cloud workspace practice page. 


VDI calculator

Topics: Azure, VDI, Cloud

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