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Questions from our Citrix Cloud AMA

by Marius Sandbu

I’m seeing a lot of questions around Citrix Cloud these days. What is it? How can we use it? What is supported? How to design a solution with it? There are always a lot of questions around the technology. So, a couple of weeks ago, we hosted the first (of many) AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Citrix Cloud and we got A LOT of questions during the one-hour session!

This blog is just highlighting the questions with some more detailed responses, and hopefully some of this info can answer any questions you might have as well. NOTE: Most answers are from the group that was part of the AMA panel, and might not reflect official answers from Citrix.

Where are the Azure data centers, so I can place my application servers in the same data Center?

Answer: when you are doing Citrix provisioning using Citrix Cloud, you can specify which of the Azure regions you want to provision resources in.

Where should the VDAs reside if you have a mixture of on and off prem data storage?

VDAs which are running applications should always be stored as close to the data as possible. If you have a mixture of on-prem and off-prem data storage it might be that VDAs should be placed mixed on both locations as well, depending on latency, and if you have applications that need to access the data.

For us the main thing stopping us from adopting Citrix Cloud is the absence of CCU licensing. As an EDU customer, we have thousands of students, named user licensing simply is not affordable. Is there anything planned in terms of CCU?

Answer: You can read more about the  current licensing models here at https://www.citrix.no/buy/licensing/product.html. At the moment, there is no planned in terms of CCU.

Is SSO to the VDAs with Azure AD as idP now available?

Answer: Yes, this is possible! You can see more about the workspace integration with Azure AD here https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/citrix-cloud-management/identity-access-management/connect-azure-ad.html. Also, you can mix if you are running your own NetScaler and Storefront you can still build an environment with FAS (Federated Authentication Service) and provide SSO from Azure AD as iDP.

How will Windows Virtual Desktop be in with Citrix Cloud? Just another hosting connection?

Answer: Since WVD is going to be a separate offering in Azure, my guess will be that it is going to be a separate hosting connection.

Is there any way to do 2 factor auth for Admin login to Citrix Cloud Control Plane? Or is that at least on the roadmap?

Answer: Currently the only way to do this is binding the control plane to Azure AD and having MFA from there.

Is there a timeline for NetScaler gateway service going to be updated to support MFA?

Answer: As most Cloud Services, there is no specific timeline, but pay attention to the roadmap here https://www.citrix.no/products/citrix-workspace/roadmap.html

Are there any plans to build a control plane inside Switzerland? Is Microsoft and Google planning to have datacenter over here?

Answer: No concrete plans have been defined yet, currently the control plane is placed within a geographic region such as US, EMEA. It might be that for instance a NetScaler Gateway PoP might be added there eventually, more information about the services and available can be found here https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/overview/signing-up-for-citrix-cloud/geographical-considerations.html

When will analytics be available in EU cloud?

Answer: No dates here, look for more news here https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-analytics/whats-new.html

Can I use Citrix cloud as a single logon and licensing platform for multiple on-prem xenapp or xendesktop setups?

Answer: Yes, you can do this. You can mix firstly using Workspace aggregation if you have separate environments https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/workspaces/add-on-premises-site.html (this doesn’t cover licensing)

But also with Citrix Cloud you can use Zones to define multiple locations where you have Cloud Connect instances in the separate sites and use Citrix Cloud also for licensing https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-virtual-apps-desktops-service/manage-deployment/zones.html

Which ports are required to connect directly to the VDA?

Answer: You can see the list of ports needed for Citrix Cloud here https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX101810#Citrix_Cloud

Is NC series supported for XenApp and Xendesktop NV series today?

Answer: Currently Citrix only supports the NV-series (You can see here https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX131385 ) but we know it works with the other GPU types as well.

Will Windows 10 multi user be available in Citrix Cloud if Azure hosts your VDAs?

Answer: Yes, Citrix is building their own offering on top of Windows Virtual Desktop.

Is there a Citrix licensing service offered in Citrix cloud?

Answer: Yes you can read more about it here https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/citrix-cloud-management/citrix-cloud-service-license-usage.html except for PVS where the licensing server needs to be placed locally https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/provisioning/current-release/configure/cloud-connector.html

Can we integrate on-prem Radius (two factor authentication) with Workspace app?

Answer: If you are hosting your own data plane, meaning that if you are using your own NetScaler you can use your on-prem Radius based authentication option, but if you are going all in for Citrix Cloud the only supported option is Azure AD with MFA there.

The Current SLA of 99.9% is not good enough for our business, what are the options?

Answer: Hi, the current SLA level of Citrix Cloud is 99.5%, ref https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/overview/service-level-agreement.html if that is not an option you would need to build your own service based upon regular software components.

When will Autoscale available for on-prem control layer?

Answer: If the question is about NetScaler Autoscale, there is nothing defined yet.

Could you please give a word on Citrix cloud data centers and locations?

Answer: more information about the services and available can be found here https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/overview/signing-up-for-citrix-cloud/geographical-considerations.html

If a company in India wants to go in Citrix cloud, will there be any data latency?

Answer: The Control plane for Citrix is available in ASIA, EMEA, USA therefore you might expect some latency for the control plane but hosting for instance the data plane and the VDAs in a Cloud datacenter in India the end-user will not notice any considerable latency.

Shall we go for build Citrix Infra in Azure as a code instead of Citrix cloud?

Answer: Citrix Cloud and Infra as Code are not equally exclusive since Citrix Cloud is hosting the management capabilities. Infrastructure as Code in this case would allow for faster provisioning of any delivery controller and/or VDA but the imaging process would be the same using MCS, unless you want to have static machines.

What will be the Bandwidth between Citrix cloud connector to Citrix cloud?

Answer: There is no specified bandwidth usage of the Cloud Connector, but it depends on if you are using for instance NetScaler Gateway as a service it will be using the Cloud Connector to proxy the end-user traffic to the VDAs.

Is there any way to use only Azure AD instead standard AD?

Answer: Yes, look here –> https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/workspace-configuration.html
this allows for use of Azure AD for standard authentication from the end-user perspective.

Is possible to use database as a service from Azure for Citrix Deployment – deployment without Citrix Cloud but on Azure based

Answer: No not yet.

Is enough to have Azure AD for MCS provisioning? previous comment related to Azure AD and standard AD with link mentioned, that YES, but inside article is mentioned:  Citrix Cloud Connector installed in the on-premises Active Directory domain. The machine must also be joined to the domain that is syncing to Azure AD. Then it means Azure ID is not enough and standard AD is still required right?

Answer: You would still need regular Active Directory, because of the integration that is with Citrix, now if you are using Azure you can also use Azure AD Domain Services which is AD delivered as a PaaS Service.

Customer is asked for exact number for SLA, is 99.90% correct? and what is TTR – time to resolve ticket for P1 issues?

Answer: The SLA is 99.5% and more information at the article here https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/overview/service-level-agreement.html 

In regard to slow performance of Studio in Citrix Cloud, is there plan to move it from HTML5 based to Web based etc?

Will it in the future be possible to use Citrix Cloud with PVS on Azure?

Answer: No, since PVS requires network specific access which will not be possible to use on Azure.

What happens if I only use one Cloud Connector? Does auto-update is disabled on this Cloud Connector and will it loose connectivity if it missed a couple updates from Citrix?

Answer: Yes, If the Cloud Connector is unable to update for a certain period, the Cloud Connector will be considered outdated. Once a Cloud Connector is outdated, Citrix Cloud will remove the connector machine from service, and it will no longer accept connections or service requests.

Will the current Powershell automations be able to be ported to the Cloud Storefront?

Answer: Not that they are aware of, since some of the cmdlets have some specific requirements and do not apply to a cloud setup. You can however take a look at the release notes here https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-virtual-apps-desktops-service/sdk-api.html

How will you create / select URL when accessing Citrix deployment through Citrix cloud

Answer: If you are running Citrix Cloud with Workspace (Cloud based storefront) you can use a predefined URL where you get a domain name that looks like https://something.cloud.com which you can customize as you like, read more about that here https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/workspace-configuration.html

However, if you are running NetScaler on-prem but with Citrix Cloud you can still define which URL you want.

I am currently testing Citrix Cloud, we have a PoC and while managing the Apps and Desktops services via Studio it slows down a lot and most times it does not open, it hangs at loading. We use Force Point with proxy and 443 is open, is there anything else to be opened? It takes a long time to open Studio Console?

Answer: Yes all communication with Studio in Citrix Cloud is using outbound HTML 5 Receiver which is built upon WebSocket. If you have any proxy like ForcePoint in my experience it will affect the performance of the studio console, also if you have a tenant in not the closest region. Citrix Cloud management can be either in EMEA, US or ASIA and if you have a region in not the closest it will also affect performance.

How do you troubleshoot in Citrix Cloud and how do you troubleshoot with Citrix Cloud Connector?

Answer: When it comes to troubleshooting and monitoring Citrix Cloud we only have a few options, first off is the view. If there are any issues on Citrix Cloud using the Citrix Cloud status board –> https://status.cloud.com (this allows us to subscribe to alerts using SMS, Phone or WebHooks to forward to Microsoft Teams or Slack) The Cloud Connector itself doesn’t have a dedicated event log but provides events into the Application log on the server it is installed on. If you are looking for errors, sort after Citrix Broker events. Logs are also placed within C:\ProgramData\Citrix\WorkspaceCloud\Logs (In case you are using some log gathering tool such as Log Analytics

Does Citrix Cloud support the newly announced Nvidia image in Azure with MCS?

Answer: Not yet, but from a technical perspective it does work.

Does Citrix Cloud support Oracle Cloud?

Answer: Yes, you can read more about architecting on Google Cloud here https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-virtual-apps-desktops-service/downloads/service-oracle-cloud-infrastructure.pdf

What is different feature wise supporting AWS vs Azure with Citrix Cloud

Answer: You can read more about the difference between the two providers and Citrix support here http://bit.ly/2GtJKoP

When is Citrix Cloud going to work with Microsoft WVD

Answer: Once Citrix is done with their extension to WVD, stay tuned!

Is Citrix Cloud supporting Windows2019 in Azure and on-prem?

Answer: Not yet, soon!

What is the URL to follow new features coming in Citrix Cloud?

Answer: Stay tuned here https://www.citrix.com/blogs/tag/whats-new/ and here https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-virtual-apps-desktops/1808/whats-new.html

How do you roll back catalogs when the resource is hosted on Azure?

Answer: With Azure and MCS you have some limitations when it comes to rollback since there is a set of VHD merges being done using snapshots features in Managed Disks. The best option to do rollback is to have a snapshot of the master image that you have precreate with different versions you can read more about it here https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/windows/snapshot-copy-managed-disk then you can switch when you do rollback to another version

When can we expect OKTA to be integrated with Citrix Cloud?

Answer: Soon I hope 😊

That was most of the questions we got at the webinar, so if you have any follow-up questions feel free to reach out to us or put a comment in the section below.

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