Full Clone VMs with Machine Creation Services

Since its inception, a Machine Creation Services VM was based on thin cloning technology.  Each VM would read from the same copy of the master image while any writes would be directed to a VM-specific differencing disk. Because the differencing disk only contains writes, it is often thin provisioned to save on storage space.

thin-cloneThis approach is perfect for pooled, non-persistent desktops.  But what about personal, persistent desktops?  With the XenApp and XenDesktop 7.11 release, Machine Creation Services now supports full cloned VMs.

full-cloneInstead of each VM reading from the same copy of the master image, each VM receives a full clone of the master VM’s disk. All reads come from the VM’s cloned disk and all writes go to the same disk.

If you recall, I spent some time discussing the differences between Machine Creation Services and Provisioning Services in order to help administrators better determine when to use which image management solution.  In fact, this discussion was spread across 7 different blogs

With this new capability, I need to make one addition to the summary.  Machine Creation Services now supports full cloned VMs.


Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
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7 thoughts on “Full Clone VMs with Machine Creation Services”

  1. The technology works with both xa that xd catalog? I can not find the option in the MCS wizard selecting “Server OS”. Thanks


    1. Nothing. When you go with the dedicated desktop model (regardless if using thin or thick provisioned), once that VM is created, it is no longer updatable via MCS. Dedicated, persistent desktops requires 3rd party desktop management solutions.


  2. Hi Daniel,
    I found out that MCS can provision maximum 9 Full Clones at a time. How can I increase this threshold? I don’t think I’ll have a storage issue as the storage is based on a very large all-flash VSAN cluster.



  3. In MCS full clone, do we need to place master image in all the storage LUN’s to create VM’s in storage LUN’s? or having master image in one LUN is sufficient?


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