Using AWS Directory Service and Amazon RDS with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops
By Andrew Kloman, Partner Solutions Architect at AWS
Citrix is an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Technology Partner, and the Citrix Ready Program showcases verified products that are trusted to enhance Citrix solutions for mobility, virtualization, networking, and cloud platforms.
The Citrix Ready designation is awarded to third-party partners that have successfully met test criteria set by Citrix, and gives customers added confidence in the compatibility of the joint solution offering.
Please note that Citrix does not support Amazon RDS. However, AWS has completed Citrix Ready verification testing, and customers can try to use Amazon RDS at their own risk and with AWS Support. If Citrix customers experience technical difficulty, Citrix may require the customer to replicate the issue on a supported RDMS.
For more information, see the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop Product Documentation.
In this post, we dive into the benefits of Amazon Web Services (AWS) that are related to the needs of Citrix customers, including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon RDS for Microsoft SQL Server Standard Edition, among others. We also provide a deployment guide to help you launch Citrix on AWS.
Benefits of Amazon RDS
As customers move to AWS, they want to make use of higher-level services in the stack. In previous Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, customers needed to deploy Microsoft SQL Server DB on Amazon EC2 instances and manually provision, configure, patch, and backup the database.
Now, customers can use Amazon RDS, which makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. It provides cost-efficient and resizable capacity while automating time-consuming administration tasks, such as hardware provisioning, database setup, patching, and backups.
Amazon RDS also allows organizations to focus on applications so you can give them the speed, high availability, security, and compatibility they need. Amazon RDS supports using Windows Authentication with a Microsoft SQL Server DB Instance, which is a requirement for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops.
Learn more about the database requirements for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops.
Benefits of Amazon Directory Services
Customers can deploy their own Microsoft Active Directory on Amazon EC2 instances, or make use of AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory, also referred to as AWS Managed Microsoft AD. AWS Directory Service enables your directory-aware workloads and AWS resources to use AWS Managed Microsoft AD on the AWS Cloud.
AWS Managed Microsoft AD is built on Microsoft Active Directory and does not require you to synchronize or replicate data from your existing Active Directory to the AWS Cloud. You can use standard AD administration tools and take advantage of built-in features, such as Group Policy and Single Sign-On (SSO). With AWS Managed Microsoft AD, you can easily join Amazon EC2 and Amazon RDS for SQL Server instances to your domain.
How Do I Get Started?
A full deployment guide is available to build a proof of concept (POC) environment. The guide contains installation instructions for all the software and services needed. This does not include Citrix Cloud services, but rather a full deployment of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops.
This post does not go into detail for connecting the environment for public internet-facing endpoints via the NetScaler Access Gateway. For information on deploying the Citrix NetScaler Access Gateway on AWS, see the Validated Reference Design solution guide.
What Does the Deployment Guide Build?
Once complete, your POC will support the components listed below. Experience with AWS and Citrix is not required.
- An Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) that is highly available spanning two Availability Zones (AZs) using an AWS Quick Start CloudFormation template
- Bastion host running Microsoft Server 2016
- AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory
- Amazon RDS for Microsoft SQL Server Standard Edition
- Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7.18
Figure 1 – Multi-Availability Zone deployment is suggested for pilot and production environments.
What is the Accelerate Program for Citrix?
The Accelerate Program for Citrix enables customers to quickly adopt or migrate Citrix solutions on AWS. If you are running Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and/or NetScaler on-premises and are interested in moving to the AWS Cloud, this could be an interesting offer for you.
In cooperation with Citrix, we have assembled an AWS Accelerator to help you plan and execute a successful trial migration while using your existing licenses. You can also use Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop Service on Citrix Cloud to manage your AWS-based resources.
What is the Trial Period Funding?
To provide a controlled trial or migration period to customers, AWS and Citrix are offering a customer trial package for 60 days. For each customer nominated and approved, they will receive $5,000 in AWS Promotional Credits and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop Service for up to 25 Citrix users for up to 60 days.
We welcome feedback about the deployment guide and encourage you to let us know how it helped your project be successful.
Citrix – APN Partner Spotlight
Citrix is an APN Advanced Technology 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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