A new and very easy way to testdrive Citrix XenApp 7.8 in Azure

Citrix recently announced that there is a XenApp 7.8 offering in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace which makes ti very easy to testdrive XenApp 7.8. All you have to do is wait for about two hours. 

To get started with XenApp in the Azure Marketplace, all you need to bring to the table is an Azure subscription. Citrix will handle everything else – really!

  1. Login to the Azure portal.
  2. Enter basic Azure settings like subscription and location information and general deployment settings, like credentials and machine sizes.
  3. Press “Create”.

Deployment typically takes about two hours. Once the environment has finished deploying, you will receive a notification email containing a link to StoreFront/NetScaler as the front-end of the deployment. Login using the same credentials you had specified in Step 2 above.  All of the applications that you need to do basic administration of the Citrix environment will be available to you.

PikePlace SF

XenApp environment topology

The environment that is created will follow this model:

PikePlace architecture

It’s a simple XenApp deployment consisting of:

  • Desktop Delivery Controller
  • License Server
  • StoreFront
  • 2 VDAs
  • NetScaler VPX Gateway
  • RDP Jump Box for administration

All machines are deployed onto a single VNET and storage account within a Resource Group.  To delete the deployment after use, you can simply delete the Resource Group.

Under the hood

Powering our XenApp deployment in the Marketplace is an ARM template. ARM Templates are declarative JSON files that can be used to create and configure complex multi-VM solutions in Azure. You can now create your own unique and repeatable XenApp topology in Azure by creatively extending our template. To view the XenApp template, follow the Template Link URL in the deployment.

PikePlace Template


There are some limitations of this environment.

  1. This offering is intended as a trial, not production. A separate production offering of XenApp will be available in the Azure Marketplace later this year.
  2. All VMs deployed through this offering get provisioned onto an ARM VNET. You will not be able to use Desktop Studio to directly provision additional VDAs. This is because XenApp 7.8 supports only Azure Classic and not Azure Resource Manager as a hosting platform. Support for Azure Resource Manager is coming soon.
  3. You will get an SSL security warning that you need to ignore in order to proceed to the StoreFront site. This is because NetScaler is currently secured using a self-signed SSL certificate (you can accept it or ignore the warning or install your own certificate on NetScaler). We are working on an innovative solution that will use LetsEncrypt to automatically procure SSL certificates and deploy them.


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