AWS Partner Network (APN) Blog

Configuring AWS Resources to Enable a Remote Workforce on Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops

By Battulga Purevragchaa, Partner Solutions Architect at AWS
By Sid Singh, Partner Development Manager at AWS

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Businesses around the world are starting to adapt to a remote workforce on a large scale faster than ever. Remote working is becoming the new normal, or at least a must-have capability.

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is a solution that gives your workforce fast and secure access to company resources from any location at any time. Citrix is an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Technology Partner with the AWS Networking Competency.

This post shows you how to determine the best and least expensive infrastructure for running Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Why Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Service on AWS

There are five main reasons companies are running Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops on AWS:

  • Better way to work remotely
  • Cost savings
  • Improved security
  • Simplified management
  • Increased IT agility

Better Way to Work Remotely

No matter where employees work or what devices they use, your teams need to tackle tasks without interruptions and delays.

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops keeps employees connected with high-quality audio, video, and collaboration tools. All on virtual desktops that look, feel, and act just like traditional PCs.

In addition, you can deploy your Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops environment globally by leveraging 76 AWS Availability Zones across 24 AWS Regions (at the time of publication).

Cost Savings

Running Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops on AWS helps reduce your infrastructure costs. You can use a wide selection of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance types with various pricing models—such as On-Demand, Dedicated, and Reserved Instances—to meet employee requirements in a way that best fits your goals.

Your team can deploy Citrix to enable thousands of employees with different user capabilities. User types are defined based upon consumption requirements, such as required CPU and memory, or pooled or persistent virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

Improved Security

With more endpoints and remote workers than ever, risks are on the rise. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops lets you adjust policies based on user location and device to keep security breaches at bay.

Since all data is stored in the cloud, and not on devices, you’ll have peace of mind regardless of where or how people work. Moreover, AWS provides services to protect endpoints and sensitive data with token-based single sign-on (SSO), encryption tools, key management, and threat detection that continuously monitors your infrastructure and accounts in real-time.

Simplified Management

From improving the user experience to protecting company data, your IT team is tasked with a tremendous amount of responsibility. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops empowers you to provide the same secure, reliable experience across any device or network—all from within a single management console.

You can manage every endpoint with ease, even if your IT team is small. To ensure business continuity, you can easily implement high availability and disaster recovery solutions by using multiple AWS Availability Zones.

Increased IT Agility

When you’re responsible for meeting the needs of offshore employees, contractors, contingent workers, and more, providing a seamless experience can be a big challenge. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops allows users to have remote access to Windows, Linux desktops, and applications over the cloud, including graphics-intensive apps.

With AWS, you can easily provision the required infrastructure resources needed for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops environment by scaling up or down along with the needs of your organization. This also reduces cost and improves your ability to meet these IT demands.

How to Determine the Right Infrastructure

There are three primary ways to run Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops on AWS:

  1. Extend an existing on-premises Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops environment to AWS.
  2. Build a net-new Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops environment hosted on AWS.
  3. Leverage the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Service with Citrix Cloud, and create one or more resource locations within one or more AWS Regions.

Use Citrix Cloud and resource locations within AWS Regions

Figure 1 – Use Citrix Cloud and resource locations within AWS Regions.

The third option provides the best overall value to the most organizations. Citrix manages the control plane to get the same secure, virtual experience across operating systems. The AWS Quick Start for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is the fastest way to set up a proof of concept. It automatically deploys a Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops environment on AWS.

Defining User Type by Consumption Pattern

Keep in mind that it’s important to define your user types based on upon their consumption patterns. For example, task users typically do not consume heavy amounts of memory and CPU. Knowledge users, however, need more of both.

This table shows how you can define user types based on their resource consumption:

Type of Users App Usage vCPU Memory IOPS
Task 2 – 7 1 vCPU 1 GB 6
Knowledge 6 – 10 2 vCPU 2 GB 10-20
Power 8 – 12 2 vCPU 3-4 GB 15-25
Designer graphics-intensive 4 vCPU 7-8 GB 20-30

The following table shows how to use your user types to determine the AWS instance types you need to run Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops. This example uses a thousand users with different configuration options:

How to use your user types to determine the AWS instance types you need to run Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops

Figure 2 – User types can determine Instance types. Click image to enlarge.

Selecting Amazon EC2 Instance Types

We take into consideration various Amazon EC2 instance purchasing options for running Windows on AWS. Dedicated Hosts allow you to use your existing eligible software licenses from vendors such as Microsoft. Also, because Dedicated Host is a physical server fully dedicated to your use, you can address other corporate compliance requirements as well.

In addition, you could use Dedicated Instances. Like Dedicated Hosts, they are dedicated to a single customer. However, Dedicated Instances may share hardware with other instances from the same AWS account that are not Dedicated Instances. Also, Dedicated Instances charge the Region Fee of $2 per hour regardless of the number of Dedicated Instance running in an AWS Region.

Another option is to use Reserved Instances, as they provide a significant discount (up to 72 percent) compared to On-Demand pricing.

Using the ISV Workload Migration Program

Citrix is a participant in the AWS ISV Workload Migration Program. This program provides guidance, technical, and funding support to accelerate migrations of your Citrix workload to AWS.

To enable seamless migrations, AWS and Citrix have curated a list of resources and mutual partners that can help in migrating and setting up Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops on AWS through a turnkey solution. These partners have access to a series of documented technical playbooks and reference architectures that cover different use cases and established best practices.


Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Service on AWS is a great choice to empower your remote workforce. Leveraging our strategic partnership, Citrix and AWS have developed a proven methodology to help you run Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops on AWS.

To save you money, AWS provides a variety of infrastructure options. By basing your Amazon EC2 instance types on the requirements of your different users, you can select from pricing models such as On-Demand, Dedicated, and Reserved Instances.

To get started, please contact the ISV Workload Migration Program.


Citrix – APN Partner Spotlight

Citrix is an AWS Networking Competency Partner. They transform how businesses and IT work, and as an extension of their ongoing collaboration with Amazon, Citrix now delivers networking and desktop virtualization solutions on AWS.

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