A number of Citrix products, such as XenDesktop, XenApp, Provisioning Services and XenClient, require a database for storing configuration settings and in some cases runtime and change log information. Because of these dependencies the database design is a vital part of every Citrix Architecture Design.

Most information required for designing a database platform to host the Citrix databases is available publicly, but hard to find since it’s spread across a multitude of knowledge base articles or white papers.

In order to simplify and speed-up the design process, we’ve consolidated the information into a single document and augmented it with recommendations and best practices. The result of our efforts has become part of the latest release of the Citrix Virtual Desktop Handbook.

Within the database chapter we’ll focus on the following design decisions:

  • Database Vendor and Version – Database platforms are available from a large number of software vendors, but which vendor does Citrix recommend and -most importantly- support?
  • Database Edition – Datacenter, Enterprise, Standard, Web, Workgroup or Express?
  • Database and Transaction Log Sizing – How large does a XenDesktop database grow when 5,000 MCS-based virtual desktops are added to the site? Does a XenApp environment for 5,000 users need a larger database and what about the XenApp Configuration Log database?
  • SQL Server Sizing – Are 2 cores and 4 GB RAM enough resources for a SQL server to host a XenDesktop database? Does the number of users or virtual desktops have an impact?
  • High-Availability – Mirroring, Clustering or VM-level HA? What is the recommended option?
  • Authentication and Authorization – Windows Authentication or SQL Authentication and what are the minimum permissions required for normal operations?

The current release still focuses on XenDesktop 5.6, XenApp 6.5, Provisioning Services 6.x and XenClient Enterprise 4.5, but we’re actively working on updating the Citrix Virtual Desktop Handbook, including the database chapter. We hope to have an initial release ready by early Q4. Stay tuned…