Being able to extend your existing infrastructure to a cloud provider is a great option if you need more power for a specific period. In a previous blog (XenApp on Azure, is it really that easy ?) I show you how to have a fully existing infrastructure, fully hosted in Azure, in few click and very quick. But, this is a random infrastructure, nothing to do with your existing one and nearly impossible to adapt it and link it to be able to use it like it was a part of your company environment.

In Studio (XenApp / XenDesktop administrator console)  it is possible to create an Hosting link to Microsoft Azure. So here is how to proceed using the GUI in Studio. I will use Windows 10 Enterprise vhd I preconfigured in Azure with a VDA installed. Keep in mind that would be the same with a XenApp server 2008R2 / 2012R2 or 2016.

First in Studio, go to the Configuration node and the Hosting, right click and chose Add Connection and Resources :

The wizard is opening and the setup is pretty straight forward, create a new connexion by chosing Microsoft Azure the click on Next

Enter you Azure Subscription ID and give a name to this connection, click on Create new…

The a web pop-up should appear, you need to use the account linked to your Azure Subscription ID, click on Connect

I had few issue having this pop-up displaying, there is a time-out who can occur and throw an exception in the wizard, you just need to try again.

Once everything has been verified, a green check appear with Connected, then you can click on Next

The Azure Region need to be chosen, the click on Next

Give a name for these Resources and click on Next

The Summary is displaying before making the final change and save it to XenApp / XenDesktop database, Click on Finish

Now you can see a new Hosting Connection and Resources added to it.

Now this is done, it means in Studio, we can use this Hosting connection and create a Machine Catalog (MCS).

Go in Studio and right click on Machin Catalog to create a new one :

The wizard is opening, first windows is the introduction to catalog creation, you can skip it and go to the next

As I chose to deploy Windows 10 Enterprise, my choice will be Desktop OS here, you can do the same with Server OS and Windows 2008R2 / 2012R2 / 2016, click Next

Machine will be powered managed and deployed using Citrix Machine Creation Services with the Resources we created at the beginning of this blog, click Next

Chose the way you want to manage your user’s desktops, click Next

Then, browse until the vhd of the VM you prepared. This is fairly easy for me as I just began to fill my Azure subscription with stuffs, but with this kind of name scheme, if you already have many, you need to go to your Azure portal and check these information on the VM properties, click Next

You need to be sure you VM is properly shutdown and the Close.

Next you need to chose the Storage and the licensing of your VMs, click Next

Chose the number of VM you wish to create, the VM type you see the best for your workload, I chose the Standard_D2_v2 :

Then click Next

Chose the Network Interface available, or the one you want to use if you have several already configured in Azure, click Next

Chose the OU where the Computer account will be created and the naming scheme, then click Next

Give a name to your Machine Catalog and you’re ready to go, click on Finish

Now the Machine creation begin. It took some time to create the 26 VMs, I found it quiet long, I would need to check what was the real time the next time I will create some VM again.

At the end, the Machine Catalog is ready with the freshly created VMs in Azure in it :

 

Next blog about Azure stuffs with XenDesktop and XenApp will be to create a Delivery Group and deliver these VM from Azure. I would like to go further more and define some trigger when these VMs should be fired up (DR scenario)

Also, I want to check how Citrix Smart Tools (ex Lifecycle Management) can interact with Azure on my on-prem infrastructure.

 

 

 

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  • Chris Marreel

    Hello,
    Thanks for this walk-through, but I don’t see where you can specify an “availability set” of Azure. And apparently you cannot specify such an “availability set” once the VM is already created in Azure, it should be done during creation-time, and the creation is done via the Citrix Studio… a catch-22 ?

    Any thoughts are welkome.

    Greetings,
    Chris Marreel

    • Hi Chris,
      As your Resource Group is already created in Azure, it means this choice is already be made or is made with the Resource Group you target I guess. (or not ? :))

      Stephane

    • Chris Marreel

      Hi Stephane,

      The “Create Machine Catalog”-function from the Citrix Studio, where I choose to deploy them in the Azure-Hosting-configuration I had created in Citrix Studio, creates an extra “Resource Group” (naming citrix-xd-a64c664a-79f4-415c-a9f5-286553f0954e-74pr in my case), and in this resource group there are the newly created machines. These were created from the VHD-master-image I have uploaded to Azure.
      But the newly created machines (the XenApp-hosts) are in this extra “Resource Group”, just as the “Network interfaces” and the “Storage accounts”.

      When I select the Virtual Machines I notice they are NOT part of an “Availability Set”, and When I select the “Availability Set” I see the message “The availability set can only be configured when creating a virtual machine. You must recreate the virtual machine to move it in or out of an availability set.” so I cannot change this, it should be ‘specified’ at the moment the Citrix Studio has created these VM’s, but I don’t see an option to specify this.

      And as far as I know, it’s important for production servers to specify such an ‘availability set’ as this is the only way to ensure high availability (planned or unplanned maintenance events).

      P.S. I’m already working with the current XA/XD version (7.13 at the moment).

      Thanks for looking into this, and sharing your thoughts.
      Greetings,
      Chris MARREEL

    • Chris

      You can’t assign an Availability Set after the vm is created… https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/windows/change-availability-set
      But i think, maybe if you configure it at the Resource Group level, vms should take this Availability Set by default.
      I would need to run some test to try it out but I blow my lab away and I need to find some time to try it out 🙂

      Stephane