Deep dive into Citrix Cost Calculator for Azure

During the last few week i have spent alot of time understanding this calculator and would like to share my views/experience on this blog.

Accessing the Calculator

The cost calculator has been developed by Citrix to give an estimated price for Microsoft Azure costs in combination with Citrix Cloud. It can be access through the following URL https://costcalculator.azurewebsites.net/costCalculator.

Upon access to the calculator it will display an option for Extending Citrix into Azure or Cloud Service.

ACacl1.PNG

This essentially changes one main thing, around terminology such as Zone/Resource location and the included components as shown below.

Cloud Service

ACacl2.PNG

Extend

ACacl3.PNG

Scalability of Resource Location core components

I have worked out the following are the points at which the calculator will add additional servers to the component based on user volume:

Component Max User

Citrix Cloud

Cloud Connector 11,000
Storefront 1,400
Netscaler 1,600
Domain Controller 100,000
Citrix on Azure
Delivery Controller 9,900
Database Server 1,400
License Server 5,500
Storefront 1,400
Netscaler 1,600
Domain Controller 100,000

This is automatically done by the calculator when the above number are reached.

For  the following examples we will use Citrix Cloud

To verify this scalability you can check the “machines used” section of the calculator.  For example 1,000 HSD User’s + 500 VDI users in UK South Azure and 1,000 HSD User’s + 500 VDI users in UK West Azure will give a machine count:-

  • 1 x Citrix Cloud Connector + 1 if High Availability is selected per Azure DC = 4 in total

ACacl25

https://docs.citrix.com/content/dam/docs/en-us/citrix-cloud/downloads/xenapp-xendesktop-service-sizing-scalability.pdf indicates a volume of 5,000 VDA’s per 2vCPU but does not directly indicate a need for an additional server although the VM selected by default for this component is a 2vCPU Server so the maximum 11,000 does not reflect the scalability testing they have performed.

  • 2 x Citrix Storefront Server + 1 if High Availability is selected per Azure DC = 6 in total

ACacl24

  • 1 x Citrix Netscaler Server + 1 if High Availability is selected per Azure DC = 4 in total

ACacl26.PNG

Getting Started with a basic calculation

By default a default organisation and deployment profile is created. This must be changed to meet your requirement. Follow the below steps to setup the calculator

Step 1 : – Change the currency to your own local currency (in my case £)

Step 2:  Delete both Resource locations unless coincidentally that your resource location are west coast and new York office.

Step 3: First thing to do is Add new Resource Location and enter the following

  • Enter the Profile Name,
  • Select the Azure region – Select preferred Azure region
  • Use Smart Scale (Enabled by Default)

Included Components

  • Citrix Cloud Connector (Mandatory) – Required
  • Citrix StoreFront -Included – Mainly required for Branding if or known as BYOD Storefront in Citrix Cloud
  • Citrix Netscaler – Included – Required to Load Balance within Azure
  • Domain Controller – Included
  • High Availability – Enabled  Adds N+1 to all the above componentsACacl4.PNG

Step 4 : Repeat step 3 if a multiple data centre is required. In my case i added a 2nd DC in UK West

Step 5: Select Organisation Profile, Select Hours

ACacl5.PNG

Step 6: Under hours select the average hours per week your full time/part time worker generally work.

ACacl6.PNG

Why is this requested?

This is linked to the resource location “Use Smart Scale” option as this is how the calculator will calculate the cost of compute based on the hours worked per week. So for example there monthly per user cost will based on 173.333hrs per month ( 40hrs x 52 / 12 = 173.333). Based on my calculations there is about 30% buffer for Hosted Shared Desktop to allow session/disconnect timeouts and shutdown above specific hours in this calculator. For VDI (depending on Azure VM Size) it is between 7-15% buffer added to allow session/disconnect timeouts and shutdown but easier in a VDI as it is a one to one relationship.

See also smart scale limitations at end of article.

Step 7: Select Organisation Profile, Select WorkLoads

ACacl7.PNG

Step 8: By default task and knowledge work are created. The following can be adjusted to suite your environment.The IOPS/Bandwidth has been taken from LoginVSI as standardised example of that workload.

  • Outgoing bandwidth is the chargeable network amount leaving Microsoft azure.
  • Storage Needs in GB – this is personal storage such as folder redirection/ documents etc and can be changed to 0 if you are standing up separate file services.
  • Storage Redundancy related to personal storage previous and can be set to Local standing up separate file services solution or if required choose to only have the storage within the Azure DC or replicate to another.
  • Windows 10 VDI related to if it is HSD (Server Based) or Windows 10 (Desktop OS)

ACacl8

Step 9: For Knowledge work we will change to be a Windows 10 VDI and choose Pooled VDI.

ACacl9.PNG

NOTE: Selecting dedicated VDI type has no impact on costs/storage required.

Step 10: Select Organisation Profile, Select Users

ACacl10

Step 11: Select Add User

ACacl11

Step 12: Enter the following details (or your own numbers) and click save changes.

  • Choose Azure DC or Resource Location (not sure why it is called group)
  • Hours – Full Time  – Relates to the 40hrs in Step 6
  • Workload – Type of User in Step 8 & 9
  • Citrix VDA Size – D2v2 (best for multi-user)
  • Quantity = 1000

ACacl12.PNG

Why is D2v2 recommended?

D2v2 is the most cost effect Azure VM.

ACacl13.PNG

Each D2v2 VM can host up to 19 users per server, although the calculator has reduced this down to 14 to allow some margin of error and different usage patterns.

ACacl14.PNG

See more at the following citrix blog around the testing down in Azure VM’s.

https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2016/09/26/xenapp-7-11-scalability-economics-on-microsoft-azure/

Step 13:  I repeated step 12 and added same user count but in UK West Azure DC.

Step 14:  Click Add User again to add some VDI User – Enter the following details (or your own numbers) and click save changes.

  • Choose Azure DC or Resource Location (not sure why it is called group)
  • Hours – Full Time  – Relates to the 40hrs in Step 6
  • Workload – Type of User in 9
  • Citrix VDA Size – A2 (2CPU 3.5GB , 100HDD)
  • Quantity = 500

 

ACacl15.PNG

Step 15:  I repeated step 14 and added same user count but in UK West Azure DC.

Step 16:  The following summaries now the azure DC, type of hours, type of user, Azure VM and number of users.

ACacl16

Step 17: Select Deployment Profile, Select Citrix VDA

ACacl17

Step 18 –  Storage needed per VDA is additional disk added to the VDA. i.e a D2v2 will have 70GB Disk, A2 has 100GB). So only enter additional disk requirement here. Storage redundancy is explained in Step 8

ACacl18

Step 19 – User per VDA section allow the default recommended number of users per server to be adjusted. So for example D2v2 is at 14 for both task & knowledge. If you believe this should be increased then you can go in and alter this setting and the calculator will take this into account.

ACacl19

Step 20 – Select Deployment Profile, Select Infrastructure

ACacl17

Step 21 – This section allows the infrastructure component assigned Azure VM sizes to be changed.

ACacl20.PNG

I would recommend changing Cloud Connector to D3v2 as the additional CPU benefit the time taken to register VDA as per.  As per the following link https://docs.citrix.com/content/dam/docs/en-us/citrix-cloud/downloads/xenapp-xendesktop-service-sizing-scalability.pdf

Other Azure VM sizing should be independantly review to ensure it meets requirement/user connection etc.

Calculator Outcome

Monthly estimate summary and Breakdown by Consumption category. Highlighting the  monthly breakdown sections in the pie chart will indicate the exact cost.

ACacl21

Under charge comparison it lists the compute/storage/network and again highlight the  bar chart section will list the exact cost.

ACacl22

and finally a cost comparison by Azure DC , highlighting the resource location will indicate the cost associated with each.

ACacl23

Other reporting available is

Rate Sheet

Selecting rate sheet, this allow two main options

ACacl27.PNG

Azure Hybrid User Benefit – This reduces the windows licensing included in the Azure VM’s by up to 40%. You need to have the necessary existing license agreement in place to do this.

Compute/Storage/Network – These tabs allow the Compute/Storage & Network costs to be adjusted to different values if you have a different agreement with Microsoft or have discount. By default the cost included is the retail price.

Saving Estimates

Estimates of Azure cost can be saved if you have a Microsoft account, one you login you be able to save and retrieve your previous saved quotes

ACacl28.PNG

This can be done through the cost calculator under the currency value.

ACacl29.PNG

Smart Scale known limitation

Smart-Scale Limitations.PNG

Citrix have recommend that VDI be powered managed by the built in power management capabilities (i.e logoff and power down) and HSD’s.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s