Learning the Basics of Citrix Provisioning Services and XenApp 5 for Windows Server 2003 Part 3 of 3

Prepare the Master Image for Updating

In Part 2, you learned how to:

  • Create a master image,
  • Create a vDisk in PVS for the master image,
  • Install Target Device software,
  • Use XenAppPrep,
  • Download XenConvert,
  • Optimize a master image,
  • Use XenConvert, and
  • Test streaming a new image.

In this Part 3, you will learn how to:

  • Update a Master Image,
  • Prepare for updating a new Master Image, and
  • Test streaming an updated Master Image.

On the PVS server, copy the Rev 1 .PVP and .VHD files to Rev 2 for the future updates.  Please ignore any .LOK files.  Open a command prompt and change to the PVS Store folder.  If you have used the file names I have used, type in the following commands (shown in Figure 117):

copy "XenApp 5 x64 (Rev 1).pvp" "XenApp 5 x64 (Rev 2).pvp"
copy "XenApp 5 x64 (Rev 1).vhd" "XenApp 5 x64 (Rev 2).vhd"

Note:  Your file sizes may differ from what is shown.

Figure 117

The advantage to copying the Master Image vDisk now is that there is an exact copy of the master immediately available for updating.  If you wait until a later time to make the copy, the vDisk could be in use.  That would delay being able to do maintenance or install updates.

Note:  There are numerous ways to manage vDisks.  Use a method that incorporates your standard naming, storage and maintenance policies and procedures.  The example shown in Figure 93 is just that, an example.  Daniel Feller of Citrix, wrote an article Provisioning Services for XenApp Best Practices 7 — Image Management (http://blogs.citrix.com/2009/05/01/provisioning-services-for-xenapp-best-practices-7-image-management/) that covers some ideas to consider.

The PVS Store folder should now look like what is shown in Figure 118.

Figure 118

Update the Master Image

In the PVS Console, right-click vDisk Pool and click Add Existing vDisk…. (Figure 119).

Figure 119

Click Search, the Rev 2 vDisk is added to the dialog box, click Add, click OK on the One vDisk added popup and click Close (Figure 120).

Note:  if you have a Highly Available multi-server PVS environment you also want to uncheck Enable load balancing for these vDisks — especially when using local vDisk stores.

Figure 120

The vDisk is added to the vDisk Pool (Figure 121).

Right-click the Rev 2 vDisk and select File Properties (Figure 122).

Figure 122

Click the Options tab and verify that Active Directory machine account password management is selected (Figure 123).

Figure 123

If you are using Microsoft KMS or MAK licensing management, click the Microsoft Volume Licensing tab and verify your license management type is selected (Figure 124).

Figure 124

Click the Mode tab, if necessary change the Access Mode to Private Image and click OK (Figure 125).

Figure 125

Right-click Device Collections and click Create Device Collection….(Figure 126).

Figure 126

Enter a Name and Description and click OK (Figure 127).

Figure 127

Right-click the new Device Collection and click Create Device… (Figure 128).

Figure 128

Enter a Name, a Description, verify Boot from is set to vDisk and enter a MAC address (Figure 129).

Figure 129

Click the vDisks tab and click the Add button for vDisks for this device (Figure 130).

Figure 130

Select the Rev 2 vDisk, click OK and click OK (Figure 131).

Figure 131

Right-click the new device, click Active Directory and click Create Machine Account…(Figure 132).

Figure 132

Select the correct Domain, Organization unit and click Create Account (Figure 133).

Figure 133

After the Machine Account is successfully created, click Close (Figure 134).

Figure 134

The new machine account appears in Active Directory Users and Computers (Figure 135).

Figure 135

Create a DHCP reservation for the Maintenance VM or Server (Figure 136).

Figure 136

Verify the Maintenance VM or Server is set to boot from Network (Figure 137).  Screen shot is from XenServer 5.6 SP2.

Figure 137

Boot the maintenance server.  The server receives the streamed Private Mode vDisk and automatically adds itself to the XenApp farm (Figure 138).

Figure 138

After a manual refresh, you can see the server in the Provisioning Services console (Figure 139 and Figure 140).

Figure 139

Figure 140

Double-clicking the PVS Virtual Disk systray icon shows the Maintenance Server is using the Rev 2 vDisk and is in Private Image mode (Figure 141).

Figure 141

Close the Virtual Disk Status dialog by clicking on “X” in the upper right corner.  Now the maintenance server can be updated.  In my test I installed Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash.

Figure 142 shows my Add or Remove Programs before updating the Master Image.

Figure 142

Figure 143 shows my Add or Remove Programs after updating the Master Image.

Figure 143

The maintenance server needs to be prepared to be placed back into standard image mode.

For 64-bit Server 2003, launch a command prompt and navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\Citrix\XenAppPrep.

For 32-bit Server 2003, launch a command prompt and navigate to C:\Program Files\Citrix\XenAppPrep.

Execute the command XenAppPrep /PVS and DO NOT REBOOT (Figure 144).

Figure 144

If there are errors, go to http://support.citrix.com and resolve the errors.

Run the PVS Device Optimizer (Figure 145).

Figure 145

Verify ALL boxes are selected and click OK (Figure 146).

Figure 146

Before proceeding with shutting down the maintenance server, the server needs a few more optimizations (Figure 147).  Back in the command prompt from Figure 144:

  1. Flush the local DNS Resolver Cache: ipconfig /flushdns.
  2. Run chkdsk on all partitions on the Master Image server (If there are any errors found, run chkdsk /f /r)
  3. Use a Sysinternals utility to zero out empty vDisk areas and reduce storage (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897443) : sDelete –c c: (Note: sDelete can take a very long time to run depending on the size and number of partitions.  sDelete needs to be run on all partitions on the Master Image server.)
    1. Update from fellow CTP Andrew Wood 5-Jun-2014: Just a note that as of v1.61 of sdelete (the latest) the -c and -z options changed round. It used to be that -c zerod out and -z “cleaned”. Now -z is “zero out” and “-c” is clean. The impact is that to optimise your image for virtualization (zero out file so they can deduplicated/compressed better when at rest) -z is the option you want rather than -c (which will not zero out but change data).

From the Sysinternals Website:

Using SDelete

SDelete is a command line utility that takes a number of options. In any given use, it allows you to delete one or more files and/or directories, or to cleanse the free space on a logical disk. SDelete accepts wild card characters as part of the directory or file specifier.

Usage: sdelete [-p passes] [-s] [-q] <file or directory> …
sdelete [-p passes] [-z|-c] [drive letter] …

-a Remove Read-Only attribute.
-c Clean free space.
-p passes Specifies number of overwrite passes (default is 1).
-q Don’t print errors (Quiet).
-s or -r Recurse subdirectories.
-z Zero free space (good for virtual disk optimization).

Figure 147

Shut down the maintenance server.

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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

4 Responses to “Learning the Basics of Citrix Provisioning Services and XenApp 5 for Windows Server 2003 Part 3 of 3”

  1. Andrew Wood Says:

    Carl,

    Just a note that as of v1.61 of sdelete (the latest) the -c and -z options changed round.

    It used to be that -c zerod out and -z “cleaned”. Now -z is “zero out” and “-c” is clean

    The impact is that to optimise your image for virtualization (zero out file so they can deduplicated/compressed better when at rest) -z is the option you want rather than -c (which will not zero out but change data)

    hth

    a.

    Reply

  2. Blair Muller Says:

    Hey Carl,

    Great article. I’m following your manual. In the section under Figure 145 and 146 it shows that we need to run the optimizer. When I try to run the optimizer I get the error 28999. You cannot modify the installation of this product while booted from a VDisk Image. Any Ideas?

    Reply

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