A Citrix Admin’s Guide to WVD

With WVD getting a lot of attention lately, with this blog i am trying to bridge that gap between the Citrix and the WVD. Both technologies can either independently exist or be used together to deliver a remote access service to the customers! However it is important to understand the caveats of these technologies in order to better serve customers in these demanding times.

Anyone who understands remote access solutions / VDI technologies know well that the basic high level architecture for all these technologies remain the same.

  • Firstly, we would need an Active Directory infrastructure with domain controllers accessible to the resources being setup for delivery.
  • There is a Web interface that helps users to connect to the services they are entitled to (Storefront, RDWeb)
  • To process all the request they would need some sort of a processing unit in between the actual resources and the web interface service (RDBroker, Delivery Controller)
  • Then typically you have some sort of a mechanism to pool all these resources into different sets, serving different purposes for the organization.(Machine Catalogs)
  • one would also need some way to group the applications / desktops to be served to provide permissions to the users (Delivery groups, Application groups, RDS App Groups)
  • Further to this you would need to have a way to be able to provide persistent experience for the users so you would need a profile management solution
  • All this would be for nothing, without providing users a way to access the resources externally in a secure manner, hence some sort of a gateway service (Citrix Gateway, RDGateway)

So if we had to compare the different components of Citrix virtual apps and desktop to Windows virtual desktop, it would look something like this:

WVD Tenant:

WVD Tenant is the first component you would be setting up on your Azure account to get started with Windows Virtual Desktop. Think of it as the XenDesktop Site that you are configuring on your Citrix. However here you are doing it all on Azure.


Hostpool’s are a collection of machines that are hosted on azure and group together for a common purpose. You can have multiple hostpools for different purposes as intended by your organization. They are basically what we call in the VDI world “Session Hosts”. Consider these as the Machine Catalogues in Citrix

Majorly we can have 2 different types of hostpools in WVD

  • Personal Hostpool, Where each user session gets a dedicated Desktop that he can logon to (Dedicated Desktops)
  • Pooled Hostpool, These type of hostpools are created to cater to Multi-Session connections from end users and if you would like to provide a random desktop from a pool of desktops on azure.


An AppGroup is basically clubbing of various applications / Desktop to be delivered to a set of users. Consider these as the Delivery Group / Application Group in Citrix. A Hostpool can have multiple AppGroups, But any AppGroup can only be associated with one Hostpool at any point of time.

There can be two types of AppGroups:

  • RemoteApp – This type of AppGroup is used to publish applications
  • Desktop – This type of AppGroup is used to publish Shared, pooled or dedicated Desktops.

When a hostpool is created, by default a Desktop AppGroup is created. Which can be deleted if not required!

Note that all user allocations are done to the AppGroups not the HostPool. Also, WVD supports only allocating the Azure AD user to the AppGroup. Hence planning this is crucial for your WVD deployment.

Another important point to note here is unlike Citrix Delivery Groups where you may assign a user to both Desktop and Applications in a single delivery group / machine catalog, you can only ever tag the user to either a RemoteApp AppGroup or a Desktop AppGroup in a Hostpool.


Since WVD is a desktop as a Service, there is really any control on the RDWeb. All of this is hosted and maintained by Microsoft for free of cost. So once you setup your WVD Tenant and create resources, all you need to do is access the portal: https://rdweb.wvd.microsoft.com/webclient with your organization’s credentials to access resources entitled to you. Consider this as the Citrix Gateway Service on Citrix Cloud

– V-Desktops


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About Surendra Dhondale

A Truly Passionate IT Guy, leveraging skills learned over years to provide the best solutions/answers for difficult IT questions!! Knowledge Areas/Skill Summary: - Technology Leadership - Technology Transformation - Technical Consulting - Solution Architecture - Infrastructure Design - DevOps - EUS/EUC expert - Data Science, ML / AI - Passionate about Automation / Scripting - Programming

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