PVS or MCS – Operations Is Important

As we continue to decide between using Provisioning Services or Machine Creation Services in an environment, we need to go beyond the Big Picture factor explained in a previous blog. The second thing we should look at is the operational aspect of the solution. Operational models are rather boring. Who cares about supporting the environment? Well, the users will care and so will you.

First, both models require you to have an operational model in place so you can maintain the base desktop images. We all know Windows 7 Service Pack 1 is coming. How will you update your virtual desktops? This is what the operational model should define.

With Machine Creation Services, the update model is fairly easy. You start your master VM. You install the updates. You shut down. And you use Desktop Studio to push the updates out to all of your pooled desktops.

Provisioning Services is a little different. With PVS you will want to make a copy of the vDisk image. You need to put it into Private Image mode. You need to boot and install the updates. Turn it back into standard image mode, and then run the update command within the console. It doesn’t sound too daunting and it really isn’t. The challenge comes into play when you have updates that impact the connectivity to the Provisioning Services server.

Think about what happens for a moment. You need to update your image. The update impacts the network connection, disabling it for a moment before enabling it again. This is really no big deal unless you NEED the network to continue processing desktop operations. With a PVS streamed desktop, if the network fails, the desktop pauses until the network is restored. If the update disables the network, the desktop pauses. The update will NEVER continue because the desktop is paused.

These types of updates can be done with Provisioning Services, but it requires the team to follow proper processes to prevent issues. Just another consideration to take into account when deciding between PVS and MCS. Stay tuned for more.

Daniel – Lead Architect
XenDesktop Design Handbook

6 thoughts on “PVS or MCS – Operations Is Important”

  1. Actually with PVS shared vDisk you we don’t have this problem. I use dedicated gold image VM and use XenConvert after each change. It’s a takes more time but there is no problems with network driver at all.
    So any problems with SP1 on PVS and i am able use on XenDesktop iSCSI and FC storage instead of NFS only (like MCS) 🙂

    But for private vDisk (private desktops) network driver update is real problem.


    1. A comment to your comment, what i have seen after converting image with xenconvert is that office gets broken, any experience with similar?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.