PVS vs MCS – Part 1: Resource Delivery Options

This is part of a series comparing Provisioning Services and Machine Creation Services

Five years ago, Citrix released Machine Creation Services.  As a way to help admins decide between Provisioning Services and Machine Creation Services, I created a decision tree, breaking the decision across multiple requirements.

A lot has changed.

Provisioning Services changed.

Machine Creation Services changed.

You know what didn’t change?  Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson.

You know what else hasn’t changed? The decision tree.  It is old. It is outdated. It is no longer useful.

So my recommendation to you: STOP USING IT!

I want to look at the PVS vs MCS debate again based on the current technology.

I first want to look at the type of resources each platform can deliver.

Both imaging platforms are able to deliver virtual RDS and VDI workloads to XenServer, Hyper-V and vSphere.  The difference between the two lies in the ability to support physical and cloud-hosted workloads.

Provisioning Services, because it relies on network streaming of the master image, is able to deliver the image to virtual and physical endpoints. Imagine if you were in a school computer lab where every 45 minutes the class changed and the endpoint had to run an entirely new suite of software.  With Provisioning Services, we can quickly re-provision physical endpoints with the speed of a reboot.

Machine Creation Services, on the other hand, requires virtualization.  It communicates with the underlying hypervisor and deploys new virtual machines based off of a master image.  Not only does this approach allow one to run on XenServer, Hyper-V and vSphere, but it also allows Machine Creation Services to deploy virtual machines to the Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS clouds.

If I put this into a simple to understand table, we would get the following:


Provisioning Services bridges the gap between the physical and virtual world.

Machine Creation Services bridges the gap between the on-premises and cloud world.

But of course, the similarities/differences are far greater than what type of resources each method delivers.  And we will get into more in future blogs.

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
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3 thoughts on “PVS vs MCS – Part 1: Resource Delivery Options”

  1. Hi Daniel, I’d say PVS/MCS it’s also a question about persistence. Even if Citrix does not like it but lot of our customers still want dedicated persistent desktops. We use MCS for that matter. What we personally would like to see is the usability of the full clone feature leveraged by MCS. This would eliminate the linked clone issue we’re facing not being able to move our VMs around between our different SRs on our XenServers.




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