Integrate Nutanix with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops

A Primer to Integrate Nutanix with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops

Whether you’re a Nutanix administrator looking to integrate Citrix capabilities or a Citrix administrator hoping to utilize Nutanix tools, there are a few things you need to know to get started.

Nutanix and Citrix can combine to provide true hybrid and multi-cloud management. Together, they deliver secure, on-demand access to virtual apps, desktops, and data for any person, on any device, in any location.

What can you expect with Nutanix and Citrix?

By accessing Citrix Apps and Desktops on Nutanix, users will have:

  • A Citrix-ready platform
  • The ability to extend Citrix on Nutanix to the cloud
  • The same look and feel as Citrix on AHV
  • Access to co-developed plugins for seamless integration

To start, what should you know about Nutanix?

To integrate Nutanix and Citrix, you need some background on Nutanix, including its functionality and its key concepts. Here’s a quick look at foundational areas that you should know before integrating the two systems:

What is a Nutanix Cluster?

A Nutanix Cluster refers to the operations of the cluster as a whole, including cluster configuration, cluster management across the physical units, and management.

What is Distributed Storage Fabric?

The Distributed Storage Fabric in Nutanix makes sure data that’s written has the performance and flexibility that local storage provides without the complexity of centralized storage.

What is AOS?

The AOS is like the cluster control tier, regardless of the hypervisor and hardware you use.

What is AHV?

The AHV, also known as the Acropolis Hypervisor, is a new task-provided hypervisor that helps in scenarios where you’re still running with ESX or Hyper-V and moved from traditional cluster to ESX on Nutanix.

What should you know about Citrix?

To integrate Nutanix and Citrix, there are some key concepts from Citrix that users need to know, too.

What is CVAD?

CVAD, or Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, consists of the controllers and the site configuration that you manage as a single entity to deliver VDAs to users.

What is VDA?

A set of operating systems with apps that users need to get access to. It might be multi-user servers or single-user systems.

What are MCS and Citrix Provisioning?

Provisioning refers to mass-building individual systems. For example, if you want to create 20 or 200 servers with a similar configuration, how can you do that without building 200 individual things over and over again?

There are two technologies that can help: MCS (machine creation services) and Citrix Provisioning. Both give you the ability to start with one base image and create dependent clones from them.

Citrix Provisioning has some extra infrastructure to get this done, while MCS can do it with just the site, hypervisor, and storage solution.

Integrating CVAD with Nutanix AHV

CVAD needs the ability to issue commands to hypervisors:

  • Create VMs from a given reference image to meet a certain requirement
  • Create disks
  • Power VMs on and off

CVAD has built-in components to interact with ESX, Hyper-V, and various cloud platforms.

To connect AHV for VM creation, provisioning, and power management tasks, a plugin is needed.

To get the plugin, go to You can search for Citrix in the search bar, or you can go to Downloads, AHV, then go to the filter on top and select Citrix.

You’ll find Nutanix AHV Plugin for Citrix, which is what you’ll need to download. Nutanix AHV Plugin for Citrix is one plugin that allows the following CVAD components to connect to AHV:

  • Citrix Studio: MCS Catalog creation and VM power management tasks
  • Citrix Provisioning: PVS Catalog creation and VM power management via Studio
  • Citrix Cloud Connector: Allows MCS Catalog creation and VM power management task for Citrix cloud to on-prem VDA’s hosted on Nutanix AHV

You’ll also see another Citrix-based plugin, Citrix Director, which is a monitoring tool that provides a more complete look at workloads. It can report VM stats for VMs in AHV, provide IOPS, I/O bandwidth, and average I/O latency.

What’s a Shadow Clone?

A Shadow Clone is a native feature of the Nutanix storage fabric. It’s a game-changer for MCS delivery and one of the key benefits of doing an MCS-based catalog delivery off of a Nutanix cluster because it happens automatically.

When Nutanix detects a read-only disk that’s in use by two or more guest VMs, Nutanix replicates the base disk to each of the nodes’ local storage.

What is the result? Faster MCS catalog boot times and reduced network impact associated with base-disk read operations.

There are a few things to consider when using a shadow clone, including:

  • The feature applies to linked clones only
  • Applies to both MCS temp catalogs and MCS persistent catalogs (linked clones)
  • Does not apply to MCS persistent catalogs (full clones)
  • Does not apply to PVS-based catalogs
  • Nutanix handles storage and disk replication; to CVAD (XD) it looks like one storage

Want a little extra Nutanix training and Citrix Training?

We’ve got it. Whether you’re new to Nutanix or Citrix, or just want to learn more about how the two can work together, here’s a list of extended training courses to consider:

Nutanix Training

Citrix Training

This quick introduction to Nutanix and Citrix integration provides a great foundation, but feel free to check out the recording of our recent webinar to get more in-depth instructions and advice.