Design Decision: Ancillary Infra Considerations

Moving Citrix workloads to the Azure cloud include more than just moving the Citrix server images. Citrix users rely on print services, while applications rely on supporting infrastructure such as databases or web servers. To provide the best experience for users, these supporting infrastructure services and workloads need to be accessible during the transition.

Here are the questions that you need to answer about the supporting infrastructure:

What information do I need to have about my infrastructure servers?

  • Basic information: Host name, physical or virtual, appliance or server, the hypervisor and hardware version, server role and purpose

  • VM Specs: Number of cores/vCPUs, core speed, Memory

  • OS Information: OS Name and Version, End of Support Date, End of Life Date

  • Networking: Number of required vNICs, IP addresses, NIC Emulation mode, VLANs Assigned Name / Number, VLANs communications flows, Inbound ports and protocols, Outbound ports and protocols, load-balancer required

  • Storage: Root Device Volume (GB), other attached storage and size (GB), virtual disk format, encryption, number of volumes, disk configuration

  • Backup: Backup Frequency and Type, Backup Available, Known good backup, Backup Date/Time

  • Software: Required Software List, Software Versions, Vendors, File systems accessed, software verified to work in Azure Cloud

  • Metrics: Have available metrics over the last 30 days for Max CPU, Steady-state CPU, Max IOPS, Steady-state IOPS, Network Bandwidth (ingress/egress), Max Memory, and Stead-state Memory

  • SSL Certificate Requirements

  • Migration: System Downtime window, Preferred Application (Infrastructure) Migration Strategy, Recovery Time Objective, Recovery Point Objective, Acceptable downtime during migration, Application Migration Priority, Data Criticality, Assigned Disaster Recovery Tier

  • Dependencies: Uses any type of Hardware-based key (like a USB Key), other workloads dependent on this server, does this workload depend on another server or service

How do I verify the applications running on them can be hosted in Azure and determine if the server should be migrated, rebuilt, or sunset?

  • Reach out to the application vendor and verify they can be virtualized in Azure. If the vendor does not know, then install and test the application in a development or test subscription

  • Determine if applications are necessary to have available in Azure. If not, plan to keep them on-premises until they can be sunset

  • Reach out to the application vendors to determine if all the applications in a Citrix workload are supported in Azure. If not, the applications that are not supported may need to be placed in a different Citrix workload that will be kept on premise and eventually sunset

  • If the applications are supported in Azure, request information on migrating the application from the vendor

  • Use the Azure Migrate: Server Migration Tool to determine if a server can be live-migrated

  • If the server is virtual and is supported in Azure, but unable to be live-migrated, consider exporting the OS boot disk and importing it into Azure and creating an image in the gallery

  • If the application server is supported but cannot be migrated or the OS disk copied, then plan to rebuild the server in Azure

How will printers and print servers get migrated to Azure?

  • Print servers can be migrated to Azure like other infrastructure servers. Any printers that are connected to that print server need to be accessible via a routable protocol like TCP

  • Print servers in the cloud will need to be managed just as they were locally

  • Consider using Citrix Universal Printing

  • Consider looking at centralized SaaS cloud printing services

  • Test and verify any printing solutions

What are the best practices for migrating databases to Azure?

  • Always keep the database as close as possible to the applications that use the database to avoid unnecessary latency or Azure egress charges

  • Azure RDS supports SQL Server, PostgreSQL, and MySQL database engines. Other database engines either need to have their schema, data, and code converted to one of the RDS supported formats or be migrated to IaaS servers running the source database engine

  • Always migrate to RDS versions where possible

  • Consider using the Database Migration Assistant to assist with any database migrations

What about physical or virtual appliances?

  • Identify the best process to patch and secure the appliances in Azure

  • Physical appliances cannot be migrated to the cloud, so check with the vendor to verify that virtual versions of the appliances are available that will work in Azure

  • For virtual appliances, check with the vendor to verify Azure compatibility, since in some situations you may need to change versions

When is Azure Files a good solution for application data?

  • Azure Files supports Windows, macOS, and Linux clients through direct mount of SMB and NFS file shares

  • Azure Files supports Active Directory Authentication

  • Azure File Sync can be used to replicate SMB file shares between Azure Files and Window on-premises file servers

  • Applications can share data through the File REST API interface from any location

  • Use Azure Files as persistent storage volumes for stateful containers, such as user layers or profiles

Migrating supporting infrastructure

Use of Azure Migrate: Server Assessment or Movere (Microsoft SaaS offering) is recommended for planning the migration

-  Azure Migrate offers an Azure VMware Solution tool in Preview to assist you in migrating if you are currently using VMware for virtualization in your on-premises data center and plan to use VMware in Azure as well

-  Movere is available through the Microsoft Solution Assessment and Microsoft Cloud Economics Program

Use of Azure VMware Solutions provides the following advantages if you are currently using VMware virtualization in your on-premises data center:

-  Administrators are familiar with the VMware interface and are comfortable with the administration tools and interfaces

-  Migration of VMs can be accomplished through a Microsoft agentless approach that supports replicating up to 500 VMs simultaneously (similar to using vMotion)

Migrate machines as physical servers Azure

Migrate on-premises machines to Azure

Migration overview: SQL Server to Azure SQL Database

Why Azure Files is Useful?

Citrix Profile Management with Azure Files

Use Azure Migrate Service

Use Movere

Migrate VMware VMs to Azure

Design Decision: Ancillary Infra Considerations