Part2- 1st look at Amazon Microsoft Azure costs for Citrix and VMware deployments

So in my previous article – link – I wrote about the cost calculator found for running Citrix on Microsoft Azure, Not sure you read that one but if you didn’t perhaps it would be a good idea to start there. So in this article I will look at the same configuration as I chose in Microsoft Azure and build it in Amazon. Amazon like Microsoft offers a great deal of possible deployment scenario’s. In azure you get templates that you can deploy, virtual machines, mail functionality, networking and so on. AWS is no different here, when you first look at the cost calculator – link – it is a bit overwhelming, too many options. For a first time visitor it won’t be instantly clear which one to pick.

Perhaps it is me but all the abbreviations are not that clear for me, but I found the one I needed. Well there are two options to go from, I picked EC2 instead of Workspace which would seem more obvious. Workspace is the VDI model that Amazon is offering it comes with the applications and everything. Ready to run so to say. If the Azure cost calculator would offer similar I would have picked this one, but the Azure/Citrix one is offering hardware only at this moment. to make sure we compare apples to apples I looked at the AWS EC2 offering, here Amazon is offering to deploy servers for you. That looks a lot like the Microsoft Azure offering.

So let’s get cracking.

The numbers

First let’s get the numbers. From the previous article we know that Microsoft was offering the following numbers of servers to deploy our environment;

  • 62 machines (worker and backend)
  • High availability (I’m reading double them all)

So we had 6 backend components all high available which makes 11 servers for the backend.  This leaves 51 worker machines for our 750 users waiting for a desktop. Diving a bit deeper it means we got;

  • 2 Domain controllers
  • 1 license server (no need for high availability)
  • 2 delivery controllers
  • 2 SQL servers
  • 2 storefront server
  • 2 NetScalers (Netscaler is deployed as a Linux variant)

For Netscaler they got a different solution at Amazon, you pick a Linux version and select e.g. the M4.large. You can select whether you want a cluster or not. A cluster with the M4.large would cost you $386 per month.

Amazon cost calculator

So let’s fill in the cost calculator, I picked the EC2 offering as explained before. So I picked 51 worker machines with the size M4.large / EBS optimized.



When you look at the sizing of the machines there are several options. I picked the one closest to the one I got from Microsoft Azure, so my work machine in Amazon is 2vCPU with 8GB RAM. As you see there are more options here so you could pick a larger server with more user sessions instead of the 15 or so we got now on the worker machine.

Instance type

As you can see there are different instance types just like with Azure. For the NetScaler you need the Linux variant. If you need a SQL server you have three options. I select the Enterprise and standard to see the differences.


In Microsoft Azure the server was deployed with 2vCPU and 7GB RAM by default. Depending on you user count and work machine count this could become an issue. So I looked around what was available here.

SQL instance

The thing that got me thinking was the SQL database server, in the cost calculator of Microsoft Azure a standard server is shown by default. the SQL server there is 2vCPU 7GB, the same as the worker machines and any other machine. I think this might be a little on the light side for your Citrix Database. So here I had the option to select a standard SQL of Enterprise version. I picked the later one as I think SQL is an Enterprise functionality. I wil show also the standard version and the difference in pricing.


So my SQL server in Amazon is a 8vCPU with 61GB and an SSD for performance. This is a lot different from the D2V2 version


If I select the standard version of SQL the end price is changing obviously as we need less hardware. So to make sure I keep it apples to apples I have to change it in Amazon. If I change the azure side from D2v2 to D13v2 (8vCPU/56GB) price per month goes up to $ 9K.

So let’s select a standard server as we did before…


So with this in place, two of each, 51 worker server and two Linux NetScalers. What I can do next is add some extra IP addresses, tell them what I expect the data to be going out and coming in. Looking at what I filled in at Azure that would be 750kbps time 750 users.

The price doesn’t change whether I fill in 0.1 GB/month or 10GB/month. Only when I ask for two load balancer the price is raised a bit. I guess, no better, I hope that with Azure Citrix components are load balanced, haven’t see any mentioning of it but I think the HA option takes care of that… is that, anyone know?

So here I selected two load balancers and 1GB/month of traffic going through them which is far more than actually will be handled.


So then we can look at the costs, they show a good drill down of what I requested. The total price with this setup is $5100 per month so about 63K for a whole year.


If we change the SQL server to a decent one with a bit more cores and a bit more Enterprise readiness we see the price rising to $7600 per month and that would lead to 91K per year.


Together with the offering of the Amazon EC2 server come the licenses for the Windows and SQL servers. With this price you have a running server farm without the Citrix licenses. Both Microsoft Azure as Amazon are only offering the Microsoft licenses in their offering.


I took a look at both Microsoft Azure and Amazon to see what a deployment in the cloud would cost. This was because of the Citrix Azure cost calculator coming online. I was wondering what the costs would be, roughly, and because I want to come prepared at customers I dug in. Seems that Amazon has smarter prices from what it looks now. We just looked at a server environment and not a VDI environment, this is due to the fact that the Citrix Azure cost calculator is only offering a server based solution.. apples with apples remember?

So of course this is a high level overview and once Citrix has their official calculator online (can’t see it is not the official one but got word through twitter that this was a prototype calculator). Still the costs shown are the cost that Azure is calculating. I was wondering how this would work out, after the Champagne about the close connections no one was asking if the price for the customer would be better or worse.

The same question of course is with VMware and Amazon, it is still to see that is will cost the customer to plant your environment in the cloud. I did a post a while back comparing Citrix and VMware cloud offerings last year and only when someone has their own cloud the prices are reasonable. Any foreign cloud is always extra in costs as you need to hire resources.

Time will tell how they will sell this to customers, I’m waiting for the story and when that story is there and the prices are online we do another article.


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