Deploying Citrix XenApp 7.11 workloads from the Microsoft Azure cloud can give your IT organization a strategic advantage since it enables the delivery of desktops and applications in an agile way – you pay only for what you use. In fact, the price point for deploying a XenApp farm on Microsoft Azure can be as low as $6.89 per month per user.

In this blog post, we will examine the scalability and economics of XenApp 7.11 on various Azure VM instances A-Series, D-Series, and the new Dv2-Series. I will also aim to provide guidance on selecting from these various Azure VM instance types, as well as what the economic impact is.

To determine the size of your XenApp environment on Azure, the first step is to determine how many users each Azure VM instance can support before without degrading user experience.

In order to determine user scalability of XenApp servers, we used Login VSI 4.1.6 to simulate real-world user interactions within Microsoft Office 2013 applications. Login VSI allows for complete test automation including session launch, user action simulation and the monitoring of session performance.

Test Results summary

The graphs below show side-by-side comparisons of the maximum number of simulated XenApp user sessions supported by the A-Series, D-Series, and Dv2-Series VM instance type in single server scalability testing. As shown, Dv2 VMs offer higher performance compared to the respective A-Series and D-Series VMs. For example, the D13v2 instance (with 8 vCPUs and 56 GB of RAM) hosted the highest densities, sustaining 70 users under Task Worker workload.


The graph below compares the cost efficiency of each instance type based on VDA worker densities achieved in the single server testing. D2v2 instance offers lowest $0.0147 cost per user per hour compute cost. The costs reflect U.S. West pricing (MSRP) for standard VM instances.


Once we determined that D2v2 is the most cost-effective for XenApp 7.11, we ran the tests to measure response times. The graph below shows user density and performance metrics for the D2v2 instance type under the Login VSI Task Worker workloads.


Total estimated costs

The table below shows approximate total costs per user (based on U.S. West pricing) for both Task and Knowledge Worker workloads. Based on the D2v2 compute instance, the monthly cost for each Task Worker workload user is approximately $6.89. An approximate monthly cost for each user running a Knowledge Worker workload is $8.94. Actual costs will vary, of course, depending on the region and instance infrastructure selected and densities achieved with specific user workloads.

Cost per user per month Task worker Knowledge worker
D2V2 Compute instance $3.65 $4.63
Network utilization $0.60 $1.40
Storage utilization $0.12 $0.35
Storage capacity $2.52 $2.56
Total $6.89 $8.94

For a detailed report and summary of results please refer to the complete white paper Scalability and economics of delivering Citrix XenApp services from Microsoft Azure.


Dv2 VMs offer higher performance compared to the respective A-Series and D-Series VMs. D2v2 instance proved to be the most cost-effective for running XenApp 7.11 workloads.

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