Product Documentation

Microsoft Azure virtualization environments

Jun 16, 2016

Connection configuration

When using Studio to create a Microsoft Azure connection, you need information from the Microsoft Azure Publish Settings file.  The information in that XML file for each subscription looks similar to the sample below (your actual management certificate will be much longer):

<Subscription
ServiceManagementUrl="https://management.core.windows.net"
Id="o1455234-0r10-nb93-at53-21zx6b87aabb7p"
Name="Test1"
ManagementCertificate=";alkjdflaksdjfl;akjsdfl;akjsdfl; sdjfklasdfilaskjdfkluqweiopruaiopdfaklsdjfjsdilfasdkl;fjerioup" />

The following procedure assumes you are creating a connection from Studio, and have launched either the Site creation wizard or the connection creation wizard.

  1. In a browser, go to https://manage.windowsazure.com/publishsettings/index.
  2. Download the Publish Settings file.
  3. In Studio, on the Connection page of the wizard, after you select the Microsoft Azure connection type, click Import.
  4. f you have more than one subscription, you are prompted to select the subscription you want.

The ID and certificate are automatically and silently imported into Studio.

Power actions using a connection are subject to thresholds. Generally, the default values are appropriate and should not be changed. However, you can edit a connection and change them (you cannot change these values when you create the connection). For details, see Edit a connection.

Virtual machines

When creating a Machine Catalog in Studio, selecting the size of each virtual machine depends on the options presented by Studio, the cost and performance of the selected VM instance type, and scalability.

Studio presents all of the VM instance options that Microsoft Azure makes available in a selected region; Citrix cannot change this presentation.   Therefore, you should be familiar with your applications and their CPU, memory, and I/O requirements. Several choices are available at difference price and performance points; see the following Microsoft articles to better understand the options.

Basic tier: VMs prefixed with "Basic" represent the basic disk. They are limited primarily by the Microsoft supported IOPS level of 300.  These are not recommended for Desktop OS (VDI) or Server OS RDSH (Remote Desktop Session Host) workloads. 

Standard tier: Standard tier VMs appear in four series: A, D, DS, and G.

Series

Appear in Studio as

A

Extra small, small, medium, large, extra large, A5, A6, A7, A8, A9, A10, A11.  Medium and large are recommended to test using Desktop OS (VDI) or Server OS (RDSH) workloads, respectively.

D

Standard_D1, D2, D3, D4, D11, D12, D13, D14.  These VMs offer SSD for temporary storage.

DS

Standard_DS1, DS2, DS3, DS4, DS11, DS12, DS13, DS14.  These VMs offer local SSD storage for all disks.

G

Standard_G1 – G5. These VMs are for high performance computing.

When provisioning machines in Azure premium storage, be sure to select a machine size that is supported in the premium storage account.

Cost and performance of VM instance types

For US list pricing, the cost of each VM instance type per hour is available at 
http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/details/virtual-machines/.

When working with cloud environments, it is important to understand your actual computing requirements.  For proof of concept or other testing activities, it can be tempting to leverage the high-performance VM instance types. It may also be tempting to use the lowest-performing VMs to save on costs. The better goal is to use a VM appropriate for the task.  Starting with the best-performing may not get the results you need, and will become very expensive over time - in some cases, within a week.  For lower-performing VM instance types with a lower cost, the performance and usability may not be appropriate for the task.

For Desktop OS (VDI) or Server OS (RDSH) workloads, testing results using LoginVSI against its medium workload found that instance types Medium (A2) and Large (A3) offered the best price/performance ratio. 

Medium (A2) and Large (A3 or A5) represent the best cost/performance for evaluating workloads. Anything smaller is not recommended. More capable VM series may offer your applications or users the performance and usability they demand; however, it is best to baseline against one of these three instance types to determine if the higher cost of a more capable VM instance type provides true value. 

Scalability

Several constraints affect the scalability of catalogs in a hosting unit. Some constraints, such as the number of CPU cores in an Azure subscription, can be mitigated by contacting Microsoft Azure support to increase the default value (20). Others, such as the number of VMs in a virtual network per subscription (2048), cannot change.

Currently, Citrix supports 40 VMs in a catalog. 

To scale up the number of VMs in a catalog or a host, contact Microsoft Azure support. The Microsoft Azure default limits prevent scaling beyond a certain number of VMs; however, this limit changes often, so check the latest information: http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/azure-subscription-service-limits/.

A Microsoft Azure virtual network supports up to 2048 VMs.

Microsoft recommends a limit of 40 standard disk VM images per cloud service. When scaling, consider the number of cloud services required for the number of VMs in the entire connection. Also consider VMS needed to provide the hosted applications.

Contact Microsoft Azure support to determine if the default CPU core limitations must be increased to support your workloads.