Using XenServer with Citrix products

XenServer provides features that enhances its interoperation with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, Citrix DaaS, and Citrix Provisioning.

For more information about these products, see:

Supported versions

You can find the versions of these products that XenServer 8 interoperates with on the Citrix website: Supported Hypervisors for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (MCS) and Citrix Provisioning (PVS).


To use XenServer for your Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops or Citrix DaaS workloads, you must have a XenServer Premium Edition license. For more information, see Licensing.

XenServer is now an entitlement of the Citrix for Private Cloud, Citrix Universal Hybrid Multi Cloud, and Citrix Platform License subscriptions for running your Citrix workloads. Read more.

You can find more information about XenServer licenses at the XenServer website.

XenServer features for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops

The following XenServer features are designed for use with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, Citrix DaaS, and Citrix Provisioning:

  • Intellicache: Using XenServer with IntelliCache makes hosted Citrix Virtual Desktop deployments more cost-effective by enabling you to use a combination of shared storage and local storage. It is of particular benefit when many VMs all share a common OS image. The load on the storage array is reduced and performance is enhanced. In addition, network traffic to and from shared storage is reduced as the local storage caches the primary image from shared storage.

  • Read caching: Read caching improves a VM’s disk performance by caching data within the host’s free memory. It improves performance in a Citrix Virtual Desktops Machine Creation Services (MCS) environment where many VMs are cloned off a single base VM, as it drastically reduces the number of blocks read from disk.

  • PVS-Accelerator: The XenServer PVS-Accelerator feature offers extended capabilities for customers using XenServer with Citrix Provisioning. PVS-Accelerator provides many benefits including data locality, improved end-user experience, accelerated VM boots and boot storms, simplified scale-out by adding more hypervisor hosts, and reduced TCO and simplified infrastructure requirements.

  • Smooth roaming support for Virtual Desktop Tablet Mode: XenServer, in conjunction with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, enables you to experience Windows 10 Continuum experience in a virtualized environment.

  • Graphics virtualization: XenServer provides the virtual delivery of 3D professional graphics applications and workstations in XenServer through GPU Pass-through (for NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel GPUs) and hardware-based GPU sharing with NVIDIA vGPU™ and Intel GVT-g™.

Migrating from other hypervisors

By using the XenCenter Import wizard, Citrix customers can easily migrate their VMs from VMware to XenServer.

Migrating from VMware

As part of its software streaming technology, Citrix Provisioning stores a shared disk image (vDisk) as a VHDX/AVHDX file.

VHDX is a virtual hard disk format that is used to store the disk data for VMs. It is an improved version of the VHD format that provides better performance, fault tolerance, and data protection features in addition to a larger capacity.

AVHDX (Automatic Virtual Hard Disk) is a disk image format that is part of the VHDX standard for virtual hard disks. It is used to store the snapshot or checkpoint information of VMs. Whenever you create a snapshot on a VM, an AVHDX file is automatically generated to preserve the current state of the virtual hard disk. This file can be used to track the snapshot information of VMs. Each AVHDX file is linked to the previous AVHDX file, creating a chain that contains all changes made since the base virtual hard disk file.

By importing a VHDX/AVHDX file using the XenCenter Import wizard, you can migrate your vDisk from VMware to XenServer. For information on how to use the XenCenter Import wizard to import a VHDX/AVHDX file, see Import disk images.


You cannot import a VHDX/AVHDX file that is larger than 2 TB.

Best practices

When configuring and managing your XenServer environment there are steps you can take to optimize how it works with Citrix products.

For in-depth articles that describe reference architectures and deployments, see our TechZone.

Installing and upgrading

  • When first installing XenServer hosts, you can enable Intellicache to cache VM data locally and improve performance. For more information, see Intellicache.

  • If you are upgrading from an earlier version of Citrix Hypervisor or XenServer, the method you use for this upgrade can depend on your Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops workload. For more information, see Upgrade scenarios for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops.

Configuring your environment

  • The XenServer host comes installed with a default TLS certificate. However, to use HTTPS to secure communication between XenServer and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, install a certificate provided by a trusted certificate authority. For more information, see Install a TLS certificate on your host.

Memory usage

  • When XenServer is first installed, it allocates a certain amount of memory to the control domain. In many Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops environments, it is advisable to increase the amount of memory allocated to the control domain beyond this default.

    Increase the control domain memory in the following cases:

    • You are running many VMs on the server
    • You are using PVS-Accelerator
    • You are using read caching

    For information about changing the amount of control domain memory and monitoring the memory behavior, see Memory usage.

Using XenServer with Citrix products