Citrix XenDesktop 7.6, Provisioning Services 7.6 and the XenDesktop Setup Wizard with Write Cache and Personal vDisk Drives

December 24, 2014

Active Directory, PVS, XenDesktop, XenServer

The original articles I wrote for XenDesktop 7.1 and PVS 7.1 and XenDesktop 7.5 and PVS 7.1 have proven to be extremely popular. This article will show the same process as the original articles but use XenDesktop 7.6 and PVS 7.6 and show what differences XenDesktop 7.6 and PVS 7.6 bring to the process.

Introduction

A while back, I worked on a project where the customer required the use of a Write Cache drive and a Personal vDisk (PvD) drive with XenDesktop 7.1 using Provisioning Services (PVS) 7.1. Getting information on the process to follow was not easy and, as usual, the Citrix documentation was sorely lacking in details. As with most things involving XenDesktop and or PVS, there is NO one way or one right way to do anything. This article will give you detailed information on the process I worked out and documented and now updated for XenDesktop 7.6 and PVS 7.6.

Assumptions:

  1. PVS 7.6 is installed, configured and a farm created.
  2. XenDesktop 7.6 is installed and a Site created and configured.
  3. Hosting resources are configured in Studio.
  4. PXE, TFTP and DHCP are configured as needed.

This article is not about the pros and cons of PvD. It is simply about what process can be used to create virtual desktops that require the use of a Write Cache drive and PvD. I will not be discussing the overhead of PvD or the delay it brings to the startup, shutdown and restart processes or the I/O overhead, the storage impact or the storage I/O requirements or what is needed for High Availability or Disaster Recovery needs for PvD.

Lab Setup

All servers in my lab are running Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 fully patched. The lab consists of:

  • 1 PVS 7.6 server
  • 1 XenDesktop 7.6 Controller running Studio
  • 1 SQL 2012 SP1 Server
  • 1 Windows 7 SP1 VM

I am using XenServer 6.2 fully patched for my hosting environment. There are separate Storage Repositories for the Virtual Machines (VM), PvD and Write Cache as shown in Figure 1.

Update: This has been tested with XenServer 6.5 with no changes or issues.

Figure 1

Figure 1

The Hosting Resources are configured in Studio as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2

Figure 2

To start off, in my lab I created my Organization Unit (OU) structure in Active Directory (AD) for my domain, WebstersLab.com, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3

Figure 3

One of the reasons to use PvD is to allow users to install applications. In order to do this I created an AD security group, shown in Figure 4, that will contain the AD user accounts and that AD security group will be made a member of the local Administrators security group.

Figure 4

Figure 4

Three AD user accounts were created, shown in Figure 5, for the three different PvD users for this article.

Figure 5

Figure 5

Those three test user accounts were placed in the LocalAdmins AD security group as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6

Figure 6

Most organizations that use XenDesktop to serve virtual desktops or servers require that Event Logs persist between reboots or the security team sits in the corner crying. Other items that may need to persist between desktop/VM reboots are antivirus definition files and engine updates. To accomplish these a Group Policy with Preferences is used. Why not manually change the file system and registry? Because the XenDesktop setup wizard completely ignores all the careful work done by creating folders on the Write Cache drive. When the Write Cache and PvD drives are created, they are empty and will NOT carry over ANY of the manual work done before hand. So just forget about doing any of the items usually done by pre creating a Write Cache drive. The Write Cache drive is always created as Drive D and the PvD is created with the drive letter assigned during the Wizard. My Group Policy with Preferences is linked at the OU that will contain the computer accounts created by the XenDesktop Setup Wizard. These are the settings in the policy used for this lab.

  • Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Event Log Service\Application\Control the location of the log file – Enabled with a value of D:\EventLogs\Application.evtx
  • Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Event Log Service\Security\Control the location of the log file – Enabled with a value of D:\EventLogs\Security.evtx
  • Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Event Log Service\System\Control the location of the log file – Enabled with a value of D:\EventLogs\System.evtx
  • Computer Configuration\Preferences\Folder – Action: Update, Path: D:\EventLogs
  • Computer Configuration\Preferences\Control Panel Settings\Local Users and Groups – Action: Update, Group name: Administrators (built-in), Members: ADD, <DomainName>\<Security Group Name>
  • User Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar\Remove the Action Center icon – Enabled

These settings will:

  • Keep the user from getting popups from the Action Center
  • Create the EventLogs folder on drive D (the Write Cache drive)
  • Redirect the Application, Security and System event logs to the new D:\EventLogs folder
  • Add the domain security group that contains use accounts who should be local admins to the desktop’s local Administrators group

Create the Virtual Machine

Next up is to create a Windows 7 VM to be used as the Master or Golden image. Do just basic configuration of the VM at this time. Do not install any applications at this time.

Citrix provides a PDF explaining how to optimize a Windows 7 image. http://support.citrix.com/servlet/KbServlet/download/25161-102-648285/XD%20-%20Windows%207%20Optimization%20Guide.pdf

Once the basic VM is built there are four things that need done before joining the VM to the domain.

  1. Fix the WMI error that is the Application event log. I know it is not a critical error but I am OCD and simply must have error free event logs. Run the Mr. FixIt (this one actually works) from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2545227.
  2. Install the hotfix for using a VMXNet3 network card in ESXi. Request and install the hotfix from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2550978.
  3. From an elevated command prompt, run WinRM QuickConfig. This allows the desktops to work with Citrix Director.
  4. Disable Task Offload by creating the following registry key:
    1. HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\TCPIP\Parameters\
    2. Key: “DisableTaskOffload” (dword)
    3. Value: 1

The Write Cache drive will become drive D when it is created so before installing any software change the CD drive letter from D to another letter. I use Z.

The VM is ready to join the domain. After joining the domain, shutdown the VM.

Now two hard drives need to be added to the VM. One for the Write Cache drive and the other for the PvD drive. NOTHING will be done to these drives, they are just stub holders so Windows knows there should be two additional drives. The Write Cache and PvD drive must be different sizes or strange things can happen. If they are the same size, it is possible the write cache file and page file can be placed on the PvD drive and not the Write Cache drive. To make your life easier, keep the drives different sizes with the PvD drive being larger. For this article, I will use a 10GB Write Cache drive and a 20GB PvD drive. Make sure the new drives are created in the proper storage locations as shown in Figures 7 through 9.

Figure 7

Figure 7

Figure 8

Figure 8

Figure 9

Figure 9

Power on the VM, login with a domain account, start Computer Management and click on Disk Management as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10

Figure 10

Click OK to initialize the two new drives as shown in Figure 11.

Figure 11

Figure 11

The two new drives appear in Disk Management as shown in Figure 12.

Figure 12

Figure 12

Leave the drives unformatted and exit Computer Management.

Install PVS Target Device Software

At this time, any software and updates needed can be installed. After all software and updates are installed, mount the PVS 7.6 ISO to the VM, open My Computer and double-click the CD.

When the PVS installer starts, click Target Device Installation on both screens as shown in Figures 13 and 14.

Figure 13

Figure 13

 

Figure 14

Figure 14

Follow the Installation Wizard to install the PVS Target Device Software. On the last page of the Installation Wizard, leave Launch Imaging Wizard selected and click Finish as shown in Figure 15.

Figure 15

Figure 15

You can exit the PVS Installer screen and unmount/disconnect the PVS 7.6 ISO from the VM’s CD drive.

Click Next on the Imaging Wizard as shown in Figure 16.

Figure 16

Figure 16

Enter the name or IP address of a PVS Server, select the option for Credentials and click Next as shown in Figure 17.

Figure 17

Figure 17

To Create new vDisk, click Next as shown in Figure 18.

Figure 18

Figure 18

Enter a vDisk name, Store, vDisk type and click Next .as shown in Figure 19.

Figure 19

Figure 19

Select the licensing type and click Next as shown in Figure 20.

Figure 20

Figure 20

Verify only the C drive is selected and click Next as shown in Figure 21.

Figure 21

Figure 21

Enter a Target device name, select the MAC address, select the target device Collection and click Next as shown in Figure 22.

Figure 22

Figure 22

Click Optimize for Provisioning Services as shown in Figure 23.

Figure 23

Figure 23

Verify all checkboxes are selected and click OK as shown in Figure 24.

Figure 24

Figure 24

Depending on the .Net Framework versions installed on the VM, the optimization process could take from less than a second to over an hour.

Once the process has completed click Finish as shown in Figure 25.

Figure 25

Figure 25

The vDisk is created.

Once the vDisk is created, a Reboot popup appears as shown in Figure 26. DO NOT reboot at this time. Depending on your hypervisor, you may need to shutdown to make the next change. The VM needs to be configured to boot from the network first and the hard drive second. If this change can be made while the VM is running, make the change and click Yes. If not, click No, shutdown the VM, make the change and power the VM on to continue.

Figure 26

Figure 26

Before we continue, what did the Imaging Wizard do inside of PVS? First, a vDisk was created as shown in Figure 27.

Figure 27

Figure 27

Second, a Target Device was created, as shown in Figure 28, with the MAC address of the VM, linked to the vDisk just created and the Target Device is configured to boot from its hard disk because the vDisk is empty right now.

Figure 28

Figure 28

Once the VM has been configured to boot from the network first and the hard drive second, either power on the VM or click Yes to reboot the VM as previously shown in Figure 26. When the VM is at the logon screen, logon with the same domain account and the Imaging Wizard process continues as shown in Figure 29.

Figure 29

Figure 29

When the Imaging Wizard process is complete, click Finish, as shown in Figure 30, and shutdown the VM.

Note: If there are any errors, click Log, review the log, correct any issues and rerun the Imaging Wizard.

Figure 30

Figure 30

Configure the vDisk in PVS

What has happened is that the Imaging Wizard has now copied the contents of the VM’s C drive into the vDisk. That means the C drive attached to the VM is no longer needed. Detach the C drive from the VM as shown in Figures 31 and 32. DO NOT DELETE the C drive, just detach it.

Figure 31

Figure 31

Figure 32

Figure 32

Now that the VM has no C drive, how will it boot? In the PVS console, go to the Target Device, right-click and select Properties as shown in Figure 33.

Figure 33

Figure 33

Change the Boot from to vDisk as shown in Figure 34.

Figure 34

Figure 34

The vDisk contains everything that was on the original C drive and the vDisk is still set to Private Image mode. That means everything that is done to the vDisk is the same as making changes on the original C drive. Any changes made now will persist. When the vDisk is changed to Standard Image mode, the vDisk is placed in read-only mode and no changes can be made to it. Before the VM is powered on, an AD Machine Account must be created. Right-click the target device, select Active Directory and then Create Machine Account… as shown in Figure 35.

Figure 35

Figure 35

Select the Organization unit from the dropdown list as shown in Figure 36.

Figure 36

Figure 36

Once the correct Organization unit has been selected, click Create Account as shown in Figure 37.

Figure 37

Figure 37

When the machine account is created, click Close as shown in Figure 38. If there is an error reported, resolve the error and rerun the process.

Figure 38

Figure 38

Power on the VM and logon with domain credentials. Open Computer Management and click on Disk Management. Here you can see the holders for the 10GB Write Cache and 20GB PvD drives and the C drive (which is the vDisk) as shown in Figure 39.

Figure 39

Figure 39

Exit Computer Management.

You can also verify the VM has booted from the vDisk by checking the Virtual Disk Status icon in the Notification Area as shown in Figure 40.

Figure 40

Figure 40

As shown in Figure 41, the Virtual Disk Status shows:

  • The vDisk status is Active,
  • The IP address of the PVS server streaming the vDisk,
  • That the Target Device is booting from the vDisk,
  • The name of the vDisk, and
  • The vDisk is in Read/Write mode.
Figure 41

Figure 41

Exit the Virtual Disk Status.

Install the Virtual Delivery Agent

The XenDesktop 7.6 Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) needs to be installed. Mount the XenDesktop 7.6 ISO to the CD. Double-click the CD drive and the XenDesktop installation wizard starts. Click Start for XenDesktop as shown in Figure 42.

Note: At this time, PvD is only supported for desktop operating systems. PvD will not work and is not supported for XenApp 7.6.

Figure 42

Figure 42

Select Virtual Delivery Agent for Windows Desktop OS as shown in Figure 43.

Figure 43

Figure 43

Select Create a Master Image and click Next as shown in Figure 44.

Figure 44

Figure 44

Select the appropriate HDX 3D Pro option and click Next as shown in Figure 45.

Figure 45

Figure 45

Verify Citrix Receiver is selected and click Next as shown in Figure 46.

Figure 46

Figure 46

Enter the Fully Qualified Domain Name of a XenDesktop 7.6 Controller, click Test connection and, if the test is successful (a green check mark is displayed), click Add as shown in Figures 47 and 48. Repeat until all XenDesktop 7.6 Controllers are entered. Click Next when all Controllers are added.

Figure 47

Figure 47

Figure 48

Figure 48

Verify all options are selected and click Next as shown in Figure 49.

Figure 49

Figure 49

Select the appropriate firewall rules option and click Next as shown in Figure 50.

Figure 50

Figure 50

Click Install as shown in Figure 51.

Figure 51

Figure 51

The VDA installation starts as shown in Figure 52.

Figure 52

Figure 52

When the VDA installation completes, verify Restart machine is selected and click Finish as shown in Figure 53.

Figure 53

Figure 53

Disconnect/unmount the XenDesktop 7.6 ISO from the VM.

Update Virtual Delivery Agent Software

Citrix updates the VDA software often. At the time this article was released, 23-Dec-2014, there was one Public update to the VDA software (ICAWS760WXnn005 where nn is either 32 or 64 for the bitness of your desktop OS).

To check for recommended available updates, in your browser, go to XenDesktop 7.6 Recommended Updates.

Click on Support, select XenDesktop from the dropdown. Change All Versions to XenDesktop 7.6, click on Software Updates and then Public. See if there is any update for XenDesktop 7.6. If there is, download and install the VDA update.

After the VM restarts, log back in to the desktop with domain credentials.

Update Personal vDisk Software

Citrix updates the Personal vDisk software often. At the time this article was released, 23-Dec-2014, there was no update to the Personal vDisk software.

To check for an available update, in your browser, go to http://www.mycitrix.com and logon with MyCitrix.com credentials.

Click on Downloads, select XenDesktop and Components from the two dropdowns. See if there is any update for XenDesktop 7.6. If there is, download and install the Personal vDisk update.

Log back in to the desktop with domain credentials.

Configure Personal vDisk

By default, PvD uses two drive letters: V and P. V is hidden and is a merged view of the C drive with the PvD drive. If drive V is already used, the drive letter can be changed.

If needed, change the hidden PvD drive letter:

  • Key : HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Citrix\personal vDisk\Config
  • Value : VHDMountPoint [REG_SZ]
  • Set this to the drive letter of your choice. Ensure that “:\” is appended to the end of your entry (Example: X:\ )

Both user profile data and applications and machine settings are stored in the PvD. By default, this is a 50/50 split if the PvD size is at least 4GB or larger.  The percent to be allocated for applications and machine settings can be configured by setting the following registry value:

  • KEY: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Citrix\personal vDisk\Config
  • VALUE: PercentOfPvDForApps
    • By default, this value is set to 50
    • Changing this to 80 will result in the V: drive being allocated 80% of the PvD disk

Note: This value must be changed before the PvD is placed into production.

Everything is now complete. Before running the PvD Inventory, follow your standard procedure for sealing the image. This process is unique to every environment. For my lab, I have no antivirus software and I am not using WSUS so I have no registry keys to clear out. Manually run the PvD Inventory. Click Start, All Programs, Citrix, Update personal vDisk as shown in Figure 54.

Figure 54

Figure 54

The PvD inventory starts. Leave Shut down the system when update is complete selected as shown in Figure 55.

Figure 55

Figure 55

After the inventory completes, the VM is shutdown.

PVS XenDesktop Setup Wizard

Make a copy of the VM and create a template of the copy. That way the original VM is still available just in case.

When making the template, make sure the template is stored on a storage location that is available when running the XenDesktop Setup Wizard. Change the template to boot from network only.

Since the C drive was detached, that leaves the Write Cache and PvD storage locations. If you do not, an error “<host resource> has no available templates defined that are fully accessible by all hosts” is displayed during the XenDesktop Setup Wizard. In the PVS console, click on the vDisk Pool node, right-click the vDisk and select Properties as shown in Figure 56.

Figure 56

Figure 56

Change the Access mode to Standard image and Cache type to Cache on device hard drive as shown in Figure 57.

Note: If you leave the Cache type at the default of Cache on server, when you run the XenDesktop Setup Wizard there will not be an option to configure the Write Cache drive size.

Note: I am using Cache on device hard drive for this article. With PVS 7.6, Cache in device RAM with overflow on hard disk is now the popular option. I highly recommend you read the following two articles by Dan Allen before making a decision on the Cache Type to use:

  1. Turbo Charging your IOPS with the new PVS Cache in RAM with Disk Overflow Feature! – Part One
  2. Turbo Charging your IOPS with the new PVS Cache in RAM with Disk Overflow Feature! – Part Two
Figure 57

Figure 57

Right-click the Site and select XenDesktop Setup Wizard as shown in Figure 58.

Figure 58

Figure 58

Note: If you get an error popup that states “No Standard Image vDisk exists in this Site”, that simply means the vDisk is still in Private Image mode.

Click Next as shown in Figure 59.

Figure 59

Figure 59

Enter the name of a XenDesktop 7.6 Controller and click Next as shown in Figure 60.

Figure 60

Figure 60

Select the host resource from those configured in Citrix Studio and click Next as shown in Figure 61.

Figure 61

Figure 61

Enter the logon credentials for the host resource and click OK as shown in Figure 62.

Figure 62

Figure 62

Select the appropriate template and VDA version and or functionality desired and click Next as shown in Figure 63.

Figure 63

Figure 63

Select the vDisk and click Next as shown in Figure 64.

Figure 64

Figure 64

Select whether to Create a new catalog or Use an existing catalog and click Next as shown in Figure 65. If you Create a new catalog, enter a Catalog name and Description.

Note: The wizard creates a Machine Catalog in XenDesktop and a Device Collection in PVS with the Catalog name entered here.

Figure 65

Figure 65

Select Windows Desktop Operating System and click Next as shown in Figure 66.

Figure 66

Figure 66

Since we are using PvD, select The same (static) desktop, also select Save changes and store them on a separate personal vDisk and click Next as shown in Figure 67.

Figure 67

Figure 67

Make the appropriate choices.

For this lab, I am creating 3 VMs (desktops) with 2 vCPUs, 2 GB RAM, a 10GB write cache disk, a 20 GB PvD disk and changing the PvD drive to Y. Click Next as shown in Figure 68.

Note: If you do not see the option Local write cache disk that means you left the vDisk at the default of Cache on server. Exit this wizard, correct the vDisk properties and rerun the wizard.

Figure 68

Figure 68

Select Create new accounts to have new AD computer accounts created and click Next as shown in Figure 69.

Figure 69

Figure 69

Select the Domain, OU, Account naming scheme and click Next as shown in Figure 70.

Figure 70

Figure 70

Verify the Summary information, click Finish, as shown in Figure 71, and the wizard will begin creating the following:

  • Virtual Machines
  • AD computer accounts
  • Target Devices
  • Machine Catalog in XenDesktop Studio
Figure 71

Figure 71

When the wizard is complete, click Done as shown in Figure 72.

Figure 72

Figure 72

Looking at the Device Collection in the PVS console (you may need to right-click the Site and select Refresh) shows the three target devices with only one powered on at this time as seen in Figure 73.

Figure 73

Figure 73

Looking in Active Directory Users and Computers shows the new computer accounts as seen in Figure 74.

Figure 74

Figure 74

Create XenDesktop Delivery Group

In Citrix Studio, right-click on the Machine Catalogs node and select Refresh. The new Machine Catalog created by the XenDesktop Setup Wizard is shown in Figure 75.

Figure 75

Figure 75

Currently there is no Delivery Group to deliver the desktops. Right-click the Delivery Groups node in Citrix Studio and select Create Delivery Group as shown in Figure 76.

Figure 76

Figure 76

Click Next as shown in Figure 77.

Figure 77

Figure 77

Select the Machine Catalog and the number of machines to be added from the catalog to this delivery group and click Next as shown in Figure 78.

Figure 78

Figure 78

Select Desktops and click Next as shown in Figure 79.

Figure 79

Figure 79

Click Add… as shown in Figure 80.

Figure 80

Figure 80

Use the Select Users or Groups dialog to add users and click OK as shown in Figure 81.

Figure 81

Figure 81

Click Next as shown in Figure 82.

Figure 82

Figure 82

Select the appropriate StoreFront option and click Next as shown in Figure 83.

Figure 83

Figure 83

Enter a Delivery Group name, Display name, an optional Delivery Group description for users and click Finish as shown in Figure 84.

Figure 84

Figure 84

From here, there are many options that can be configured. For this lab, I edited the Delivery Group and set both Weekdays and Weekend peak hours to 24 hours as shown in Figure 85.

Figure 85

Figure 85

Every XenDesktop project I have been on, the customer wants all desktops powered on at all times. To do this, on a Controller start a PowerShell session and enter the following commands as shown in Figure 86:

add-pssnapin *citrix*

Get-brokerdesktopgroup | set-brokerdesktopgroup -PeakBufferSizePercent 100

Note: I had a reader leave me a comment on the original article that said this setting does not apply to user assigned desktops. But, I never got more than one desktop to start (out of the three in my lab) until I set the PeakBufferSizePercent. As soon as I entered that command, within a few seconds the other two desktops powered on.

Figure 86

Figure 86

Exit the PowerShell session. After a few minutes, all the desktops will power on. The desktops will reboot, I think, two times before they are ready for users to login. Back in the PVS console, the vDisk will show three connections and all three target devices will be powered on as shown in Figures 87 and 88.

Figure 87

Figure 87

Figure 88

Figure 88

Understanding How Personal vDisk Works

Now let us look at how the Write Cache and PvD drives work.

All three desktops are powered on. I will log in as a different user into each desktop.

All three users are presented with the standard Windows 7 desktop configured during the creation of the master image VM as shown in Figure 89.

Figure 89

Figure 89

Before we take a look at user customization and personalization, let’s see what is on the Write Cache and PvD drives. I had to show system and hidden files and operating system files. Figures 90 and 91 show the Write Cache drive which shows the write cache file, page file and the EventLogs folder.

Figure 90

Figure 90

Figure 91

Figure 91

Figure 92 shows there is not much of anything useful to see on the PvD drive.

Figure 92

Figure 92

Back in Citrix Studio, refresh the Delivery Group and you will see there are now Sessions in use with no Unregistered or Disconnected machines as shown in Figure 93.

Figure 93

Figure 93

Double-click the Delivery Group to see detailed information as shown in Figure 94.

Figure 94

Figure 94

The first user is Ms. Know-It-All who probably knows Windows 7 better than the helpdesk team. She configures her desktop to get all the Windows 7 “frilly” stuff out of her way as shown in Figure 95.

Figure 95

Figure 95

The second user is Ms. Tree Hugger who wants a pretty cool picture for her background as shown in Figure 96.

Figure 96

Figure 96

The third user is Ms. Astrophysicist who needs a picture of her Tesla as her background as shown in Figure 97.

Figure 97

Figure 97

Now that each user has customized their desktop, reboot each desktop, log back in to each desktop and verify the user’s customizations persisted.

User Installed Software

What about installing software? User1 installed NotePad++ since she knows more than you do anyways, User2 installed Google Chrome to save the world from Internet Exploder and User3 installed Mathematica so she could do some physics work. The three desktops are shown in Figures 98 through 100.

Figure 98

Figure 98

Figure 99

Figure 99

Figure 100

Figure 100

Now that each user has installed an application, reboot each desktop, log back in to each desktop and verify the user’s installed application persisted. Since we are using PvD to allow users to install applications, where are the applications installed? Looking at User1, we can see that Notepad++ was installed to c:\Program Files\Notepad++ as shown in Figure 101.

Figure 101

Figure 101

User2’s Google Chrome is installed to C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application as shown in Figure 102.

Figure 102

Figure 102

User3’s Mathematica is installed to C:\Program Files\Wolfram Research\Mathematica\10.0 as shown in Figure 103.

Figure 103

Figure 103

The C drive view is a combination of the hidden drive, V by default, and C. When users install applications they will install as usual to the C drive. There is no need to install to the visible PvD drive, P by default.

Updating the Master Image

How is the master image updated if an application needs to be installed that all users need? Simple, in the PVS console create a Maintenance version, update it, test it and then make it available to users. In the PVS console, right-click the vDisk and select Versions as shown in Figure 104.

Figure 104

Figure 104

Click New as shown in Figure 105.

Figure 105

Figure 105

A new Maintenance version of the vDisk is created as shown in Figure 106. Click Done.

Figure 106

Figure 106

In the PVS console, go to the Device Collection the original master target device is in, right-click the target device and click Properties as shown in Figure 107.

Figure 107

Figure 107

Change the Type from Production to Maintenance and click OK as shown in Figure 108.

Note: In a production environment, you would have a dedicated Target Device to use for Maintenance versions of vDisks.

Figure 108

Figure 108

In the hypervisor, start that VM and open the VM’s console. An option to boot into either the Production version or the Maintenance version is shown. Select the Maintenance version as shown in Figure 109.

Figure 109

Figure 109

What has happened is that the target device has been configured to boot from a Maintenance image and during the bootup communication, the PVS server recognized the MAC address and offered the target device the maintenance vDisk to boot from. The maintenance vDisk is in Read/Write mode so changes can be made to the vDisk. Login to the desktop with domain credentials. I installed Adobe Acrobat Reader as shown in Figure 110.

Note: Whatever software is installed, verify that any license agreements and popups are acknowledged and any other configurations needed are done before sealing the image and running the PvD Inventory. For example, in Acrobat Reader I acknowledged the license agreement and disabled updater.

Figure 110

Figure 110

Before running the PvD Inventory, follow your standard procedure for sealing the image. This process is unique to every environment. For my lab, I have no antivirus software and I am not using WSUS so I have no registry keys to clear out. Manually run the PvD Inventory. Click Start, All Programs, Citrix, Update personal vDisk as shown in Figure 111.

Figure 111

Figure 111

The PvD inventory starts. Leave Shut down the system when update is complete selected as shown in Figure 112.

Figure 112

Figure 112

After the inventory completes, the VM is shutdown. Once the VM has shut down, in the PVS console, right-click the vDisk and select Versions as shown in Figure 113.

Figure 113

Figure 113

Select the Maintenance version and click Promote as shown in Figure 114.

Figure 114

Figure 114

PVS 7.6 adds the ability to now have a Test version for a vDisk that uses PvD.  This was not possible prior to version 7.6.

Select Test and click OK as shown in Figure 115.

Figure 115

Figure 115

The vDisk version is promoted to Test, as shown in Figure 116. Click Done.

Figure 116

Figure 116

In the PVS console, go to the Device Collection the original master target device is in, right-click the target device and click Properties as shown in Figure 117.

Figure 117

Figure 117

Change the Type from Maintenance to Test and click OK as shown in Figure 118.

Note: In a production environment, you would have dedicated Target Devices to use for Test versions of vDisks.

Figure 118

Figure 118

In the hypervisor, start that VM and open the VM’s console. An option to boot into either the Production version or the Test version is shown. Select the Test version as shown in Figure 119.

Figure 119

Figure 119

What has happened is that the target device has been configured to boot from a Test image and during the bootup communication, the PVS server recognized the MAC address and offered the target device the Test vDisk to boot from. The Test vDisk is in Read-only mode so no changes can be made to the vDisk. Login to the desktop with domain credentials.

There are several things to notice with the Test version of the vDisk:

  1. The application that was installed for all users is there (Figure 120),
  2. The vDisk is in Read-only mode (Figure 121), but
  3. The write cache is located on the PVS server (Figure 122) because,
  4. There is no Write Cache drive (Figure 123),
  5. There is no PvD drive attached (also Figure 123), but
  6. The stub holders for the write cache and PvD drives are still there (Figure 124).
Figure 120

Figure 120

Figure 121

Figure 121

Figure 122

Figure 122

Figure 123

Figure 123

Figure 124

Figure 124

Once testing is completed, shutdown the VM.

Once the VM has shut down, in the PVS console, right-click the vDisk and select Versions as shown in Figure 125.

Figure 125

Figure 125

Select the Test version and click Promote as shown in Figure 126.

Figure 126

Figure 126

Select Immediate and click OK as shown in Figure 127.

Figure 127

Figure 127

The updated vDisk is now available for use as shown in Figure 128. Click Done.

Figure 128

Figure 128

Verify the Master Image Update

Restart the desktops for them to start using the updated vDisk. The desktops will automatically reboot after a few minutes. This is normal. Wait until this reboot is complete before allowing the users access to the desktop. Log in to each desktop and verify the new application is available and the user’s original customizations and installed applications persisted after the update. The three desktops are shown in Figures 129 through 131.

Figure 129

Figure 129

Figure 130

Figure 130

Figure 131

Figure 131

And there you have it, one way to do a XenDesktop 7.6 with Personal vDisk process.

Citrix lists four ways to do this process in eDocs, three with PVS and one with MCS. http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/provisioning-7/pvs-inventory-vdisks-pvd.html

I think it is strange they have MCS listed as a process in the PVS documentation but that is beside the point.

I hope this detailed process explanation will help you in working with PvD with XenDesktop 7.6 and PVS 7.6.

There is a PDF available of this article for $1.99.

Thanks

 

Webster

, , , , ,

About Carl Webster

Webster is a Sr. Solutions Architect for Choice Solutions, LLC and specializes in Citrix, Active Directory and Technical Documentation. Webster has been working with Citrix products for many years starting with Multi-User OS/2 in 1990.

View all posts by Carl Webster

73 Responses to “Citrix XenDesktop 7.6, Provisioning Services 7.6 and the XenDesktop Setup Wizard with Write Cache and Personal vDisk Drives”

  1. Rikesh Says:

    I am doing 20GB PvD and 10GB write cache. My PvD is x: instead of P:. I have disabled user profile redirecton in registry as we use UPM. How do I allocate all 20GB for apps only. Once i make changes I update personal vdisk inventory and start production vm and it says I only have 20mb left!? Please can you help!! Appreciate it

    Reply

  2. RIkesh Says:

    Hi Carl

    Thanks for this, I will set Page Filing before XD. However you said leave D: (WBC) and P(PVD) as stub holders before XD Wizard, shouldn’t I atleast convert D: on the master so I can do page filing on the D: – 256. So far I can only do no page filing on C:

    Reply

    • Carl Webster Says:

      You don’t really need to do anything with the WC and PvD drives. Those instructions are for a specific set of customers who had storage specifically for the write cache drives. The XD Setup Wizard nor the Hosting Connection in Studio allow you to specify a separate storage location for the WC drive. The latest version of this article for XD 7.12 ad PVS 7.11 show this process of not doing anything with the WC or PvD drives. PVS will automatically place the page file on the WC drive.

      https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-12/install-configure/personal-vdisk/personal-vdisk-configure-manage.html

      “The personal vDisk size should always be larger than the Provisioning Services write cache disk (otherwise, Provisioning Services might erroneously select the personal vDisk for use as its write cache).”

      Thanks

      Webster

      Reply

      • Rikesh Says:

        Hi Carl

        What is the reason you leave PvD as stub holderin master image?

        I am doing 20GB PvD and 10GB write cache. My PvD is x: instead of P:. I have disabled user profile redirecton in registry as we use UPM. How do I allocate all 20GB for apps only. Once i make changes I update personal vdisk inventory and start production vm and it says I only have 20mb left!? Please can you help!! Appreciate it

      • Carl Webster Says:

        You do not have to do that for the PvD or Write Cache drives. You can let the Wizard handle everything. This was based on a customer that wanted the WC drive in a specific datastore and the wizard does allow you to select that.

        Webster

  3. topokin Says:

    Hallo Carl

    I followed the steps in converting the Master Image. The conversion is in two processes, but I observed that I can never be able to boot the Master Image during the second process (copying of vDisk) once additional Disks (WriteCache and PVD) are present. Though booting through “ISO” did indicated that a vDisk is found, but it stuck there without proceeding. I always have to complete the conversion first a single Diskt “SystemDisk” before adding any other.

    I am using Version 7.11. Has something changed as to the procedure in this version or I am missing something.

    Thanks

    Reply

  4. Rikesh Says:

    Hi Carl,

    Nice article, I have followed it after installing VDA, installing windows updates then I ran the inventory for personal vdisk

    1) Do we only do that when its in private mode?

    2) I want to do a personal vDisk, I’ve done the two attached drives for WBC and pvd and we use Cache in RAM with overflow hard disk. I’ve kept them as stub holders, as there isn’t a part mentioned when to create the simple volumes and choose the letters of the WBC and PvD? I need WBC to be D: (I think that is default) and I need PvD to be a O: – do I configure that in disk management, or do I leave it as stub holder and do it through the XenDesktop Wizard??

    3) I want persistent for Sys Admin users – when I do a personal update, I install Adobe Reader for example, separate from others. Do I need to run the inventory everytime or do I install it like a normal PC and it stays?

    4) I’ve backed up the converted vDisk and want to use that as a base image template but not officially created one, not sure how but if I do use it for a persistent department, can I just reimport it to PVS and manually create the attached storages, or do I have to do it properly and go through the process again?

    Thank you in advanced

    Reply

    • Carl Webster Says:

      1. You can only do it while in Private or Maintenance mode.
      2. The write-cache drive is always drive D (Figures 90 and 91) and you choose the PvD drive letter in the wizard (Figure 66).
      3. Users can install their own applications anytime they want as long as there is drive space available.
      4. Copy the vDisk, rename it and add it to the Store.

      Webster

      Reply

      • Rikesh Says:

        Hi Carl

        Thanks for response

        After converting it to vDisk, when can I set the page file. before xendesktop wizard or after?

        https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX122141
        I want to do page filing, what stage do I do this? I still haven’t assigned a letter yet… as I haven’t done the XenDesktop Wizard. When Do I assign the letter on the master image?

      • Carl Webster Says:

        After initial VM creation OR
        Before running the Imaging Wizard OR
        After running Imaging Wizard OR
        Before installing the VDA OR
        After installing the VDA OR
        at anytime prior to changing the vDisk to Standard Image mode.

  5. ansar Says:

    pls help me out, i need to complete this project by tomorrow

    my issue is “how to troubleshoot a target device not booting into a v disk in pvs 7.6

    please give me some points, so that i can preapre my presentation

    Reply

  6. FAnsary Says:

    Fantastic article Carl.
    My Customer have a similar requirement. Just had a below query:

    1. Golden Image should have static IP assigned or DHCP will do before converting it into vDisk.
    2. What should be an ideal ratio of PvD , applications and machine settings considering I have to assign 100 GB PvD.
    3. No need of roaming profile, correct me if I am wrong ? 🙂
    4. I am having SCCM and McAfee in my environment so what cleanup I have to do before sealing the vDisk ?

    Reply

  7. fbifido Says:

    Stephen Kingston Stetler Says:
    August 21, 2015 at 2:34 pm
    Hello Dmitry,

    “I would never consider doing it again without user profile management, whether it is Citrix UPM, AppSense DesktopNow, RES Workspace Manager”

    “Common sense, at some point, will tell you that you are better off keeping this deployment as non-persistent as possible”

    Lovely, Words to keep for life, Thank you.

    To me PvD was a way to help non-persistent desktop via
    faster roaming profiles
    faster folder-redirection
    because they are now on the PvD, that’s connected to the VDI.

    Reply

    • Carl Webster Says:

      I will point you to the PvD info in the Citrix docs where it says for creating machine catalogs:

      “There are three types:
      o Pooled, random: Desktops are assigned randomly – users connect to a new (random) desktop each time they log on. When a user logs off, the desktop becomes available for another user. When the desktop is restarted, any changes that were made are discarded.
      o Pooled, static: Desktops are permanently assigned – users connect to the same (static) desktop each time they log on. When that user logs off, the desktop remains available only for that user. When the desktop is restarted, any changes that were made are discarded.
      o Dedicated: Desktops are permanently assigned to a user. When that user logs off, the desktop remains available only for that user. When the desktop is restarted, any changes that were made are retained. You can save changes to a local VM disk or to a specified drive letter on a separate Personal vDisk.

      http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-7/install-configure/machine-catalogs-create.html

      Also, in the XenDesktop Setup Wizard, if you select “A fresh new (random) desktop each time”, you are not given the option to also select “Save changes and store them on a separate personal vDisk”.

      Since my article deals with using the XenDesktop Setup Wizard for creating the desktops with PvD, I will leave it at that.

      Thanks

      Webster

      Reply

  8. fbifido Says:

    Hi,
    love this blog, always looking forward to your next citrix blogs.

    I have not seen any blog/article of any kind, showing how to setup & configure cache in ram with overflow to disk.

    Q1) This setup dose not work for random pool desktop ?
    Q2) have you tried PVS with Windows 10 VDI?
    Q3) Have you tried PVS 7.7 TP ?
    Q4) Have you tried Citrix AppDisk ?

    Thanks

    Reply

    • Carl Webster Says:

      There are many articles on the Internet about Cache to Device RAM with Overflow to Disk. Citrix has several that explain it in detail.

      1. Yes it does.
      2. Writing that article at this very moment. It will be released when Citrix officially releases XenDesktop and PVS 7.7.
      3. All 3 of the PVS 7.7 TPs I have worked with.
      4. No.

      Webster

      Reply

      • fbifido Says:

        Thanks.

        Correction:

        I have not seen any blog/article of any kind, “SHOWING” how to setup & configure cache in ram with overflow to disk, “IN DETAIL” like this blog.

        or in PHD terms “Step-by-Step Guide”

        Thanks again.

      • fbifido Says:

        Q1) This setup dose not work for random pool desktop ?

        I have read a few post on citrix & other tech forum about
        Personal-Vdisk giving a lot of problem in Random Pool Desktop.
        not releasing vdisk from one vdi to connect to another vdi, etc…

      • Carl Webster Says:

        Using Random Pooled with PvD makes no sense to me.

        Webster

      • Carl Webster Says:

        From one of my Citrix contacts who is one of the people in charge of PvD (minor editing for grammar):

        “PvD is an ‘in VM’ technology … it really does not care anything about the image management other than if the inventory is current. While we initially released PvD for dedicated, it certainly could be used with random pools too. The reason we’ve not done that yet, is because XD does not have the concept of assigning PvD (or disks for that matter) to users … only desktops/machines are assigned to users. And thus PvD disks are assigned to machines and not users.

        So it is correct we’ve only officially supported dedicated based pools (in order to ensure the user gets their machine next time that has their PvD attached). But certainly if someone manually created a random pool and assigned PvDs, it would work … but the user’s PvD disk could change and it would be the same scenario as if a group of physical machines were rotated around amongst users … you would not get exactly the same machine each time.

        In order for Citrix to really support PvD with random pools, we will need to allow PvDs to be assigned to users AND then attached to the machine the user connects each time. Else the user would get a random machine with the respective PvD attached which may or may not be the same one they had last session.

        Make sense?

  9. Philip Waller Says:

    Hi Carl

    so i am lead to believe that the Write cache disk is no longer required with the XD wizard as this is created on the fly unlike the streamed wizard (old method)

    Thanks

    Reply

    • Carl Webster Says:

      If you do not create a separate drive for the write cache, PVS will put the write cache on the image’s C drive.

      Thanks

      Webster

      Reply

  10. anton Says:

    Hi Carl,
    thank you for that great step by step, it is very helpful. Sometime now I can read that people change to Hyper-V. Is there a docu like this one but without xenserver environment?

    Reply

  11. Deepak Says:

    Hi Carl,

    I have followed the procedure mentioned above to create PVD based VDI using Citrix PVS. I have set the Vdisk Access mode to Write cache on RAM Overflow to Disk But the Write cache location automatically changes to Cache on Server option. I noticed that the Write cache drive D, is not formatted.

    Need your suggestion to resolve the issue.

    Thanks
    Deepak

    Reply

  12. Craig Avery Says:

    Hi Carl

    I have been searching for some good information on update your vmware tools on PVS 7,6.

    I have tried reverse image , just getting myself tied in knots. Is there a guide out there on how to upgrade vmware tools. I tried the vmware workstation method as well and that failed as it could not read the file once I copied it back.

    Thank you

    Regards

    Reply

    • Carl Webster Says:

      I talked to a couple of my friends about this. The consensus is:

      Create a maintenance version
      Boot the maintenance target device
      Update VMware tools
      Reboot maintenance target device
      Verify no issues
      Shutdown maintenance target device
      Promote to Test version
      Power on test target devices
      Go through validation testing
      If no issues, promote to production
      If any issues, revert back to original production version

      Thanks

      Webster

      Reply

      • Craig Avery Says:

        Hi Carl

        As always thank you for your reply. I tried the above and lost my KMS Licensing. Did the whole rearm thing , still did not work

        Regards

        Craig

    • Stephen Kingston Stetler Says:

      Hey Craig,

      Do you happen to know which version of VM Tools is currently installed, as well as which version you are upgrading to? I did a direct upgrade just the other day from 5.1 -> 5.5 while booted in the streamed vDisk and had no problems, all went swimmingly. Clearly there was no change to the network stack, for if there were that would have caused an instant bluescreen.

      If Carl’s suggestion does not work (it’s the path I used!), then you know you need to boot from a local disk to avoid the streamed vDisk which means Reverse Imaging. In my experience, reverse imaging is a laborious process. If you’re on PVS 7.x, use P2PVS.exe to perform the reverse image to ensure you’re using the latest and greatest code from Citrix. PVS 6 and prior, you can use file-based copy BNImage.exe to perform the reverse image.

      Best regards,
      Stephen Kingston Stetler
      Twitter: @Kingston2

      Reply

  13. Víctor P. Says:

    Hi Carl,
    Great article, Im new on Xendesktop and Im looking for some information on how to activa te the Windows 7 virtual machines, or what kind of microsoft license I need, etc, either using MCS por PVS. Thank you very much for your help!

    Reply

    • Carl Webster Says:

      I only use KMS.

      Webster

      Reply

    • Stephen Kingston Stetler Says:

      Hello Victor,

      If you’re using MCS to deploy, the only supported activation method is KMS, like good man Carl says. PVS, in contrast, supports both KMS and MAK activation methods.

      Best regards,
      Stephen Kingston Stetler
      Twitter: @Kingston2

      Reply

  14. Rakesh Says:

    Hello,
    I was setting up a XD7.6 lab & here are my setups ->
    1. Hypervisior – XS6.5 On runs Windows 2008, Windows 2012 R2, Windows 7 and 8.1
    XD 7.6 runs on Windows 2012 server
    PVS 7.6 also runs on windows 2012 server
    Windows 2008 R2, Windows 8 runs images on PVS servers & everything seems fine;
    however when I run Windows 7 on PVS after installing target device & boot system it says “vDisk is not available. Please check your network PXE boot Configuration and restart imaging wizard.”
    can you guide me what is issue and how can i fix it pls?

    Reply

  15. Jim Says:

    Hi,
    I’m new to Xendesktop and looking for some basic information on sizing for pvs-cache-in-ram-with-disk-overflow.

    I take it the cache to RAM uses the individual xendesktop’s allocated RAM and overflow also stays on XD allocated disk.

    I have created a XD pool with machines and assigned the following
    RAM: 4GB
    OS partition 50Gb (C drive)
    Overflow disk: 15GB (D drive)
    Is this a best practice and good use of resources?
    I assume 4GB allocated RAM is insufficient for OS performance and caching.

    Reply

  16. Amanjot Singh Says:

    Brilliant Article

    Reply

  17. Richard Says:

    Hey Carl,

    Thanks so much for the thorough article! You noted that some companies want to have persistent event logs. However, the article says to redirect the event logs to the write cache which is non-persistent storage. Did I misinterpret your intention here?

    Thanks!

    Richard

    Reply

    • Carl Webster Says:

      The contents of the PVS created and managed write cache do disappear BUT I manually create a separate write cache drive. When there are multiple drives, PVS will use the smaller drive for the write cache drive. That is why it is important that the PVD drive be larger than any manually created write cache drive. If they are the same size (PVD and write cache drives), then there is no telling which one PVS/XD will use for PVD.

      By manually creating a write cache drive, the drive contents that I put there persists between reboots. The PVS write cache drive (.vdiskcache) is what is cleared between reboots.

      Thanks

      Webster

      Reply

  18. Richard Says:

    Hi Carl,

    Thanks so much for writing this thorough article! You note that some companies need the event logs to be persistent. Why then do you redirect them to the write cache, which is non-persistent storage?

    Thanks again!

    Reply

  19. Phyo Says:

    Hi Carl,
    I’m going for citrix certification in a few days & your blog REALLY REALLY HELPS me A LOT. Prior to this I’ve only little knowlege of vdisks thought i have some knowlege on MCS with master image.
    Again, THANKS for your effort & great blog !!!

    Reply

  20. Aerospace Says:

    In Figure 57:

    you said, I am using Cache on device hard drive for this article. With PVS 7.6, Cache in device RAM with overflow on hard disk is now the

    popular

    Question is if we go ahead with “Cache in device RAM with overflow on hard disk” selected and follow AS IS mentioned in the

    article, would it create any issues later?

    or Shall we go ahead with “Cache on device hard drive” whilst initial provisioning then update the vdisk to “Cache in device RAM

    with overflow on hard disk” and reboot VD’s so for them to pickup the new cache type?

    http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/provisioning-7/pvs-xendesktop-setup-wizard-readme.html

    Note: When creating a machine template for SCVMM 2012, ensure that it has a similar hard disk drive structure and that it can boot

    from a vDisk in Private Image mode. Examples:

    •to use Boot Device Manager (BDM) to boot a VM with write cache, create a VM with 2 hard disk drives.

    in the above article it says, template should have two drives attached one for BDM and another for write cache but, at the time of the provisioning these are discarded as also says in the article.

    We are using BDM and WC but, not the PvD.so do we need to create two HDD in the VM template, 1 with 8 MB BDM HDD and 1x 6 GB WC HDD as stub folders in the template

    Reply

    • Carl Webster Says:

      “Question is if we go ahead with “Cache in device RAM with overflow on hard disk” selected and follow AS IS mentioned in the
      article, would it create any issues later?”

      Absolutely not. My lab has minimal resources and I didn’t have the RAM to allocate enough RAM to each VM created to test that option.

      For SCVMM 2012, I do not know as I don’t use SCVMM but I would “assume” that answer to be yes, create the two drives.

      Webster

      Reply

    • Stephen Kingston Stetler Says:

      Hello Aerospace,

      Write Cache (wC) in device RAM with overflow on hard disk will definitely not create any issues, and is particularly useful in shared storage environment based deployments. Citrix just posted a great article on how you can measure the exact utilization of your wC in RAM.

      http://blogs.citrix.com/2015/08/19/digging-into-pvs-with-poolmon-and-wpa/

      That said, if you are deploying on a hyper-converged architecture such as Nutanix, with no shared storage and all write I/O being sent to hot cache on local SSDs, the new wC option is far less compelling, and even appealing for that matter. Save the RAM on your target and instead leverage the synergies found by mating Nutanix with Citrix.

      Best regards,
      Stephen Kingston Stetler
      Twitter: @Kingston2

      Reply

  21. Dmitry Parmit Says:

    Hey Carl. Excellent write up (love the humor bits). I got two questions that you may or may not have answers to…
    1 – Ever tried moving PvD from one VM to another? I guess if master is sealed there is probably no reason for it, but I am just curious why Citrix has not yet came out with persona disk that could follow the user from any VM in the pool, roaming all applications and customizations to any VM in the pool.

    2 – (This one is for PoSH guru Webster) For PVS bit, when running XD Wizard to create your VMs, can the same be achieved using custom PoSH script instead? We have unique VM naming convention that does not adhere to PVS or XD standard vm1, vm2… We use username within VM name. Makes things easier for support. I created XD MCS PoSH script to adhere to our naming convention, but curious if same could be achieved with PVS.

    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Carl Webster Says:

      Dmitry,

      1. PvD is associated with a specific VM which is associated with a specific user account. Citrix does provide PoSH scripts to move PvD stuff for a DR scenario. http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xenapp-xendesktop-76/xad-pvd.html and go to Restore scenarios.

      2. Uber Super Genius Joe Shonk does not use the XD Setup Wizard and uses nothing but PoSH scripts to have more control over the provisioning process. So yes, it is possible.

      Thanks

      Webster

      Reply

      • Dmitry Says:

        Third question. Not related to other two.

        What if you throw Citrix UPM in the mix? Anything to lookout for? Does it even makes sense to enable UPM with PvD?
        (Yes, I am doing research on creating next gen VDI environment for my company 🙂

      • Carl Webster Says:

        Anything can make sense if you want it to!

        UPM is installed with the VDA (by default).

        UPM can be used to place “things” outside of the PvD which will save space and allow those “things” to be in a central storage location that may be easier to relocate in a DR situation.

        All you can do is test to determine what works best for your users, your apps and your environment.

        Webster

      • Dmitry Says:

        Thanks again. As always, you wisdom is greatly appreciated.
        Now, I just need to figure out the best way to implement something like this in multi-forest, multi-subnet environment with custom VDI naming convention and full redundancy across all parts of the infrastructure (PVS, DHCP/BOOTP, TFTP, DDC, SF and etc) across two data-centers… and on the 7th day he rested….

      • Stephen Kingston Stetler Says:

        Hello Dmitry,

        After having a successful production deployment of PvD under my belt, I can confidently tell you that I would never consider doing it again without user profile management, whether it is Citrix UPM, AppSense DesktopNow, RES Workspace Manager, etc. There are many reasons why you will want to do this, and I highly recommend this post from Citrix:

        http://blogs.citrix.com/2012/05/21/beware-the-5050-split-with-pvd/

        Bottom line, adding PvD to the mix just made your non-persistent virtual desktop deployment persistent. Common sense, at some point, will tell you that you are better off keeping this deployment as non-persistent as possible – you should listen. When that PvD fails, and it will – trust me, you will be glad the user’s profile will be preserved.

        Best regards,
        Stephen Kingston Stetler
        Twitter: @Kingston2

  22. Steve Says:

    Carl –
    Best $1.99 I’ve spent in a long time. THANK YOU so much for writing this article. I was tearing my hair out getting the pVdisk to work correctly and things weren’t registering. Followed your article pretty much step/step with a few carefully chosen deviations along the way.

    All the best and THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH once again! -S

    Reply

  23. Lubo Says:

    Hi Carl,
    thank you for your article, everything works fine except one thing.
    WriteCache disk is not created on WriteCache virtual disk but on iSCSI virtual disk storage. Can you give me advice how to fix it?
    Thank you!

    Reply

    • Carl Webster Says:

      You must be using ESXi. From what I have been told, ESXi and the XenDesktop Setup Wizard do not honor what the template has.

      Webster

      Reply

  24. Matheen Says:

    Hi Carl
    Fantastic article with nice explanations. I have a question on PvD.

    Planning to design 400 VDIs with PvD on a DC using PVS & XD7.6. The underlying storage will be replicated to second DC.
    I would like to know how would I make these 400 VDIs with PvD made available to the second DC (in case of Disaster)..
    I could not find any citrix article explaining that.
    Thanks once again.

    Reply

  25. Patel Says:

    The VDA agent, is that installed after running to PVS imaging wizard and capturing the image? Is there a reason it cant be installed before hand and be captured in the Vdisk image with the imaging wizard?

    Reply

    • Carl Webster Says:

      As stated at the end of the article, Citrix has 4 different methods for this process. One of them is to do the VDA install after the image is in PVS. I prefer to do the VDA before PVS because the VDA installs so many drivers.

      Thanks

      Webster

      Reply

  26. Robert Says:

    Thank you for the post Carl.
    Verry usefull.

    Reply

  27. Grainne Says:

    Hi Carl,
    Really great article has really made it all a bit less daunting!! I’m in the process up putting together a design for migration of all our legacy PS4 & PS4.5 & xenapp 5 farms to a new XenApp 7.6 environment and upgrading out licenses to Platinum so can get the additional features AppDNA & PVS etc.. One question I have is regarding VM Hosted Apps – A lot of the above would apply I think for creating the vdisks (I won’t be using Personal vdisks), in your document I would go as far as Figure 79 where you are creating the Delivery Group – here as I want to use VM Hosted Apps – would I select “Application” instead and finish off that way instead. Is all the information preceding Figure 79 relevant to VM HOsted apps also??

    I would be really grateful for your input.

    Thanks

    Reply

  28. JEM Says:

    Thank you Carl…

    Reply

  29. SALAHUDDIN Says:

    this is realy helpfull

    Reply

  30. Mick Says:

    Hi,

    juste taking time to say thank you for this post, very detailed, it will be helpfull.

    Reply

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