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Tech Brief: Optimizations for Citrix DaaS and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops - Cost

  • Contributed By: Steven Gallagher


Citrix has enabled and released features allowing IT admins and end-users to reduce costs for your organization. Learn about how to configure these features to allow the right balance between delivering a great end-user experience and optimizing costs.

Summary of the components and features available in Citrix DaaS and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops:

Component Citrix DaaS Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops LTSR (2203) Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops CR (2308)
- Schedule-based and load-based settings
- Dynamic Session Timeouts
- User logoff notifications
- Autoscale Tagged Machines
Autoscale Insights
Automated Reclamation Service
Workspace Environment Management
- CPU Management
- Memory Management
- I/O Management
- Fast Logoff
- Citrix Optimizer
- Multi-session Optimization
- Optimizing Unified Communications Solutions
- Browser Content Redirection
- Monitor Autoscale-managed machines
Session Recording
- Lossy screen recording
- Compressed recording
- Archive and delete recordings on schedule
Citrix Workspace app
- Activity Manager
Provisioning Services
Machine Creation Services
- Machine Creation Services (MCS) storage optimization

Citrix DaaS / Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops


Citrix Autoscale was built to empower organizations to address user traffic fluctuations resulting from burst scenarios, disaster-recovery planning, seasonality, etc. This solution automatically power manages your infrastructure to ensure optimal end-user experience and cost efficiency. See how cost savings can be achieved while delivering an excellent user experience and enhancing the security posture of our deployment.

By default, Autoscale is disabled for delivery groups. To manage Autoscale for a delivery group (if applicable), follow these steps:

  1. From Manage > Full Configuration, select Delivery Groups in the left pane.
  2. Select a group and then select Manage Autoscale in the action bar. The Manage Autoscale window appears.
  3. Configure settings as needed. For information about Autoscale settings, see Autoscale.
  4. Select Apply to apply any changes you made and to keep the window open. Or select Save to apply changes and to close the window.


Schedule-based and load-based settings

Schedule and Peak Times

If your business operates on a consistent timetable, consider using the schedule-based autoscaling feature to set specific times for starting up or shutting down virtual machines.


Load-based Settings

Capacity buffer ets you keep a buffer of powered-on machines. A lesser value decreases the cost. A greater value ensures an optimized user experience so that when launching sessions, users do not have to wait for additional machines to power on. By default, the capacity buffer is 10% for peak and off-peak times.


Dynamic Session Timeouts

To speed up the process of clearing remaining sessions and reduce expenses, Autoscale enables you to set different timeout periods at various times throughout the day.


User logoff notifications

To better achieve cost savings, Autoscale lets you force log off lingering sessions. It enables you send a custom notification to the users and specify a grace period after which the sessions are force-logged off.


Autoscale Tagged Machines

Autoscale provides the flexibility to power manage only a subset of machines in a delivery group. This feature can be helpful in cloud bursting use cases where you want to use on-premises resources (or reserved public cloud instances) to handle workloads before cloud-based resources address extra demand (burst workloads).




Read more: Product Documentation: Autoscale


Read more: Tech Brief: Autoscale

Autoscale Insights

You can analyze the effectiveness of the Autoscale settings based on machine usage from the previous week. Through the analysis, you can gain these insights into the effectiveness of Autoscale settings:

  • Identify financial waste resulting from over-provisioning.
  • Determine whether the user experience is negatively impacted because of under-provisioning.
  • Ensure that the capacity provisioned is correctly aligned with the machine usage.

To achieve this goal, follow these steps:

  1. Select an Autoscale-enabled delivery group.
  2. Click the Autoscale Insights tab in the bottom pane.
  3. The following graph compares machine usage data from the previous week and the number of machines to be powered on based on Autoscale settings.


  4. To check the effectiveness of Autoscale settings at a specific time slot, hover your mouse over that slot on the graph. An information box appears, showing the comparison results and detailed machine counts:




Read more: Product Documentation: Autoscale Insights

Automated Reclamation Service

The Automated tagging enables easy identification of inactive machines, eliminating the need for custom scripts and manual tracking to identify and reclaim unused persistent machines. Also, automated tagging offers a clearer view of your VDI environment. Identifying unused resources provides insights into your infrastructure’s efficiency, helping identify cost efficiencies and improve your cloud expenditure.

To configure the VDI reclamation service, follow these steps:

In this example, a tag named 'UnusedVDI' will be assigned to machines whose last connection time was more than 30 days or had no value. The Citrix administrator can then check for machines marked with the 'UnusedVDI and take action to reclaim machines.

  1. Define the tag to be assigned to unused persistent machines.

    • New-BrokerTag -Name ‘UnusedVDI’
    • Note the TagUid (for example, TagUid 123)
  2. Use the command New-BrokerAutoTagRule

    • New-BrokerAutoTagRule -Name ‘UnusedVDI’ -ObjectType ‘Machine’ -RuleText “-AllocationType Static -IsAssigned $true -Filter {SummaryState -ne ”InUse” -and (LastConnectionTime -lt ‘-30’ -or LastConnectionTime -eq `$null)}” -TagUid 123
  3. Check for machines marked with the tag “UnusedVDI” and release them.

Workspace Environment Management

Extend the value of your Citrix DaaS deployments with Workspace Environment Management by optimizing the user experience, accelerating user logins, improving the manageability of the user environment, and reducing costs with improved server scalability. Workspace Environment Management (WEM) system optimization consists of the following settings:

  • CPU Management
  • Memory Management
  • I/O Management
  • Citrix Optimizer
  • Multi-session Optimization

These settings are designed to lower resource usage on the agent machine. They help to make sure that freed-up resources are available for other applications. Doing so increases user density by supporting more users per server.

System Optimizations

The WEM System Optimization feature is a group of settings designed to dramatically lower resource usage on a VDA on which the WEM Agent is installed.

CPU Management

Optimizes the CPU usage on the machine with the WEM agent installed.

  1. From Manage > Environment Management (Web), select Configuration Sets in the left pane.
  2. Select a configuration set and then select System Optimization, select CPU Management


Memory Management

Optimizes the application RAM usage on machines with the WEM agent installed.

  1. From Manage > Environment Management (Web), select Configuration Sets in the left pane.
  2. Select a configuration set and then select System Optimization, select Memory Management


I/O Management

Optimize the I/O priority of specific processes so that processes contending for disk and network I/O access do not cause performance bottlenecks.

  1. From Manage > Environment Management (Web), select Configuration Sets in the left pane.
  2. Select a configuration set and then select System Optimization, select I/O Management


Citrix Optimizer

Optimize user environments for better performance. Citrix Optimizer runs a quick scan of user environments and applies template-based optimization recommendations.

  1. From Manage > Environment Management (Web), select Configuration Sets in the left pane.
  2. Select a configuration set and then select System Optimization, select Citrix Optimizer



The Citrix Optimizer Tool can be applied to operating systens with the Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) installed. The tool is Powershell based, but also includes a graphical UI.

Multi-session Optimization

Optimize a multi-session OS machine with disconnected sessions for a better user experience with connected sessions.

  1. From Manage > Environment Management (Web), select Configuration Sets in the left pane.
  2. Select a configuration set and then select System Optimization, select Multi-session Optimization




Read more: System Optimization


Read more: Citrix Optimizer Tool


Optimizing Unified Communications Solutions

Citrix has worked with the vendors of the following unified communications solutions to offer Optimization Packs. These packs help offload voice and video content to the endpoint device wherever possible. When used with supported Citrix versions and endpoint client devices. When the requirements are not met (such as connecting from an unsupported platform or client device) or using a different, unified communications solution, a generic fallback approach can be used. This provides optimization of audio and video for sessions. Optimizing Unified Communications Solutions within virtual desktops can increase server scalability, reduce costs, and improve user experience.

Microsoft Teams

Citrix delivers optimization for desktop-based Microsoft Teams using Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and Citrix Workspace app. By default, we bundle all the necessary components into the Citrix Workspace app and the Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA).

Citrix optimization for Microsoft Teams includes VDA-side HDX services and an API to interface with the Microsoft Teams hosted app to receive commands. These components open a control virtual channel (CTXMTOP) to the Citrix Workspace app-side media engine. The endpoint decodes and provides the multimedia locally, moving the Citrix Workspace app window back into the hosted Microsoft Teams app.

By default, the Microsoft Teams redirection setting is Allowed.



The installation of the Zoom application in a VDI environment requires administrator privileges and two installation steps:

  • The software must be installed within the Virtual Desktop, typically within the image on the VDI server.
  • The Zoom Media Plugin is installed on each endpoint device accessing the VDI.


Read more: Reference Architecture: Optimizing Unified Communications Solutions


Read more: Optimization for Microsoft Teams


Read more: HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Skype for Business


Read more: Cisco Jabber Softphone for VDI


Read more: Cisco Webex Meetings for Virtual Desktop Environments


Read more: Avaya Equinox VDI


Read more: Zoom Meetings for VDI

Browser Content Redirection

Browser content redirection controls and optimizes how Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops deliver any web browser content (for example, HTML5) to users. Only the visible area of the browser where content is displayed is redirected. This feature uses the Citrix Workspace app for Windows or Citrix Workspace app for Linux for instantiating a corresponding rendering engine on the client side, which fetches the HTTP and HTTPS content from the URL, increasing server scalability, reducing costs, and improving user experience.

By default, the Citrix Workspace app tries client fetch and client render. The server-side rendering is tried when client fetch and client render fail. If you also enable the browser content redirection proxy configuration policy, the Citrix Workspace app tries only server fetch and client render.

By default, the Browser content redirection setting is Allowed.




Read more: Browser Content Redirection Documentation


Read more: Browser content redirection policy settings


Monitor Autoscale-managed machines

The Monitor > Trends > Machine Usage page displays the total number of Autoscale enabled Multi-session and Single session OS machines powered on for a selected delivery group and time period. This metric indicates the actual usage of machines in the delivery group. From the Single-session OS Machines or the Multi-session OS Machines tab, select the Delivery group and time period.

The Monitor > Trends > Machine Usage page also displays the estimated cost savings achieved by enabling Autoscale in the selected delivery group. Estimated Savings is calculated as the percentage of savings per machine per hour (in US $) as configured in Manage > Edit Delivery Group > Autoscale.




Read more: Monitor Autoscale-managed machines

Session Recording

Session Recording Record the on-screen activity of any user session hosted from a VDA for Server OS or Desktop OS over any type of connection, subject to corporate policy and regulatory compliance.

Lossy screen recording

Lossy screen recording lets customers adjust compression options to reduce the size of recording files and accelerate navigating recorded sessions during playback.

You can enable lossy screen recording in any of the following ways:

  • Activate a system-defined session recording policy that has lossy screen recording enabled.
  • Create and activate a custom session recording policy. Select Enable lossy screen recording when creating the custom policy.
  • Select Enable lossy screen recording when configuring an event response policy. When a monitored event is detected later, lossy screen recording is triggered. After you enable lossy screen recording, you can adjust compression options through the Lossy Screen tab of Session Recording Agent Properties.


Compressed recording

You can enable compressed recording for parts of Thinwire-transmitted session screens that are not H.264 compressed. This feature reduces recording file size significantly.


  • This feature is disabled by default.
  • The minimum version required for the VDA is 2303.

To enable compressed recording, complete the following steps:

  1. Log on to the server where the Session Recording agent is installed.
  2. From the Start menu, choose Session Recording Agent Properties.
  3. In Session Recording Agent Properties, click the Recording tab.
  4. Under Compressed recording, select the Enable compressed recording for Thinwire-transmitted session screens on this VDA machine checkbox.


Archive and delete recordings on schedule

You can schedule site-level tasks to automatically archive and delete recordings on a regular basis.

  1. Select Configuration > Server Management from the left navigation of the Session Recording service.
  2. Click the ellipsis (…) next to a target site.
  3. On the Site settings page, select Storage maintenance.
  4. Schedule tasks as needed and then click Apply changes.




Read more: Configure session recording policies


Read more: Configure event response policies


Read more: Enable or disable lossy screen recording


Read more: Enable or disable recording


Read more: Manage recordings on schedule

Citrix Workspace app

Activity Manager

Activity Manager is a powerful tool that IT teams can apply to drive sustainability and energy savings initiatives in your organization by enabling your users to be more responsible and drive discipline towards managing their sessions. Users can seamlessly interact with their sessions, ending or disconnecting sessions that are no longer required, freeing up resources and optimizing performance on the go.


To enable Activity Manager:

  1. Select Workspace Configuration > Customize > Features.
  2. In the Activity Manager section, turn on the toggle to enable Activity Manager.
  3. You can then customize the access permissions as follows.
    • To enable Activity Manager for all end users, select Enable for Everyone.
    • To enable Activity Manager for selected users and user groups, select Enable for selected user and user groups. You can then select the directory to which the users or user groups belong. Once the appropriate directory is selected, you can view relevant users and user groups.

Users accessing persistent and non-persistent sessions will now have direct access to take specific session actions. They no longer need to raise a support ticket to reset, hibernate, force quit, and more. As IT admins, you can enable this feature for your users to empower them and reduce the support tickets related to resets, power off, etc., where the users cannot continue further without IT intervention.

Users can do the following actions on an app or desktop by clicking the respective ellipsis(…) button.

  • Disconnect: The remote session is disconnected, but the apps and desktops are active in the background.
  • Log out: Logs out from the current session. All the apps in the session are closed, and any unsaved files are lost.
  • Shut Down: Closes your disconnected desktops.
  • Force Quit: Forcefully power off your desktop.
  • Restart: Shut down your desktop and start it again.
  • Hibernate (coming soon): When the user hibernates, the OS and machine are shut down. While the running apps are closed, the status is saved. When the user Resumes the session, the apps are launched, making it the most energy-efficient and end-user-efficient option available.


Read more: Activity Manager

Provisioning Services

Citrix Provisioning streams a single shared disk image to multiple individual machines rather than copying images to them. Citrix Provisioning enables organizations to reduce the number of disk images they must manage, even when the number of machines grow. Also, machines are streaming from a single shared image in real time, and machine image consistency is ensured. At the same time, large pools of machines can completely change their configuration, applications, and even operating systems, all within the time it takes to reboot. This best-in-class approach enables organizations to install and update the security and application patches to a single shared image in minimal time while meeting business goals.



Read more: Citrix Provisioning on Microsoft Azure


Read more: Citrix Provisioning on Google Cloud Platform


Read more: Citrix Provisioning on Nutanix on AWS

Machine Creation Services

Machine Creation Services (MCS) provides image management and provisioning control from within the Citrix Studio console for simplified administration, which is especially beneficial in a public or hybrid cloud deployment. MCS integrates directly with APIs of public clouds and hypervisors to streamline management. MCS builds intelligently linked clones from a master image to provision multiple virtual machines. The clones include a differencing disk and an identity disk linked from a base disk.

Machine Creation Services (MCS) storage optimization

The Machine Creation Services (MCS) storage optimization feature (MCS I/O) is only available on Azure, GCP, Citrix Hypervisor, VMware, and SCVMM. MCS I/O retains the technology cache in RAM with overflow to hard disk to provide the most optimal multi-tier write cache solution. This functionality allows an administrator to balance the cost in each tier, RAM and disk, and performance to meet the desired workload expectation.




Read more: Machine Creation Services (MCS) storage optimization


Read more: Design Decision: The scalability and economics of delivering Citrix DaaS on Azure


Read more: Design Decision: Performance Considerations

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