Last month, we launched a new Citrix Cloud Service; you can find the announcement here.

The New Linux VDA Image Service offers an easy way to create an MCS-ready and Azure-friendly Linux VDA image (VHD), which can be used as a base image to feed XenDesktop to create a machine catalog. In this blog post, I will describe in detail the steps needed to provision a Linux VDA machine catalog using the base image generated by this service.

How to create a Linux base image?

Before you can start using the service, make sure you have an account in Citrix Cloud and also a Microsoft Azure subscription.

To use the Linux VDA Image Service, do the following:

  1. Sign in to Citrix Cloud, navigate to the Labs Services section, and select the Linux VDA Image Service.


  2. Click Start. Citrix Cloud needs your Microsoft Azure account (subscription) to create a Linux Image VM in that subscription, and then its OS disk can be used as base image. Click the Login button and enter your azure credential here. Be sure to use the same Azure subscription as the one you used to create the host connection.


  3. After logging into Azure, provide the necessary details for the image creation process.  Parameters marked with (*) are mandatory. If you have multiple Azure subscriptions, select the one you want to create the image VM in. The Location can only be ‘West US’ at the moment. If you want the image to be created in another location, you can download the Azure Storage Explorer here.  After the image is created in West US, you can then copy the image to the location you want the image to be in.


  4. Click A Linux image VM is being created in the background, and the whole process could take up to 15 minutes. After the image VM is created, the VM is turned off. A tree view will be shown, so that the user will know where to find the image.

Creating Linux machine catalog using MCS

  1. Launch Citrix Studio from your Citrix Cloud client portal and navigate to Machine Catalogs in the left pane
  2. Right-click Machine Catalogs and click Create Machine Catalog to launch the machine creation wizard.
  3. Click Next on the Introduction page
  4. On the Operating System page, select Server OS and click Next.
  5. On the Machine Management page, select Citrix Machine Creation Service (MCS) as the deployment technology and select the target Microsoft Azure hosting resource from the Resources list. Click Next.
  6.  On the Master Image page, select your master image in the tree view. At the topmost level are all the resource groups in your subscription except those that represent the MCS catalog created by XenDesktop. When you select and expand a particular resource group, it displays a list of all storage accounts in that group. If there are no storage accounts in a resource group, there are no child items under that resource group. If you have manually created a number of resource groups and storage accounts to host your manually created VMs in your subscription, the Master Image page displays all those resource groups, storage accounts, containers, and VHDs even though not all those VHDs are master images that you want to use for the provisioning. Select the storage account that has your master image. When you expand the storage account, it displays a list of containers. Expand the container that has the master image VHD and select the VHD that you want to use as the master image for the catalog.
  7. Select a storage type.  XenDesktop supports Standard and Premium Storage for provisioning VMs in Azure. Your master image VHD can be hosted in either type of storage account, but for the VMs to be provisioned in Azure, XenDesktop will create new storage accounts based on the storage type you select.


  8. Type the number of VMs you want to create, select a VM instance size, and click Next. Only those VM instance sizes that are supported for the storage type selected in the previous step are listed. Size Standard_A2_V2 is recommended for Linux VDA.


  9. Uncheck all the checkboxes in the Write Back Cache page.
  10. Select a network card and the associated network. Only one network card is supported.


  11. Select a resource location domain and type your machine naming scheme.


  12. Review the catalog summary, type the catalog name, and click Finish to start provisioning.


  13. After the provisioning is complete, a new resource group is created for your Azure account, which hosts all the VMs, storage accounts, and network adapters for the catalog you provisioned. The default power state for the VMs after provisioning is Stopped (deallocated).