Updated IO Optimization with Machine Creation Services


With the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop 1903 release, Machine Creation Services continues to improve! The RAM-based write cache feature has been updated and improved. I wanted to see how the new RAM-based write cache capability compared to the previous version and how it compares to a desktop without using a RAM-based write cache. First, let’s look at the 95th percentile IOPS with a LoginVSI knowledge worker workload running for one hour with different sizes for the RAM cache Seeing a 15-20% reduction in storage IOPS from the 1811 RAM cache and a 50%+ reduction compared to using no RAM … Continue reading Updated IO Optimization with Machine Creation Services

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. This 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. Instead of each VM reading from the same copy of the master image, each VM receives a … Continue reading Full Clone VMs with Machine Creation Services

PVS vs MCS – Part 7: Summary


As Q said in the final episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, “All good things must come to an end” and after 6 previous blogs focusing on deciding between Provisioning Services and Machine Creation Services, it is time to end. As I explained, over the past 5 years, improvements were made to Provisioning Services and Machine Creation Services.  While Provisioning Services simplified deployment and maintenance, Machine Creation Services improved performance and delivery capabilities. Five years ago, if someone had to decide between the two, most likely the answer would be Provisioning Services.  But now in 2016, because of the … Continue reading PVS vs MCS – Part 7: Summary

PVS vs MCS – Part 6: Architecture


This is part of a series comparing Provisioning Services and Machine Creation Services Part 1: Resource Delivery Options Part 2: Scalability Part 3: Storage Optimization Part 4: Deployment Part 5: On-going Maintenance Part 6: Architecture Part 7: Summary In the previous blogs comparing PVS with MCS, I focused on functionality within each technology, but this time I’m focusing on how easy is it to manipulate. Consider the following: A single XenApp/XenDesktop (including Machine Creation Services) architecture can span multiple geographical sites. A single Provisioning Services architecture can span multiple geographical sites. However, having a single XenApp/XenDesktop/Provisioning Services farm span across … Continue reading PVS vs MCS – Part 6: Architecture

PVS vs MCS – Part 5: On-Going Maintenance


This is part of a series comparing Provisioning Services and Machine Creation Services Part 1: Resource Delivery Options Part 2: Scalability Part 3: Storage Optimization Part 4: Deployment Deploying Machine Creation Services is extremely easy as there is nothing to deploy. Deploying Provisioning Services is easier with Hyper-V Gen2 VM support and the single-stage Boot Device Manager. This sounds great, but what about on-going maintenance?  (something many fail to consider) Overall, the update process for both imaging technologies are simple to perform through the respective consoles.  However, with Provisioning Services, there have historically been some special considerations in order to … Continue reading PVS vs MCS – Part 5: On-Going Maintenance

PVS vs MCS – Part 4: Deployment


This is part of a series comparing Provisioning Services and Machine Creation Services Part 1: Resource Delivery Options Part 2: Scalability Part 3: Storage Optimization Part 4: Deployment Part 5: On-going Maintenance Part 6: Architecture Part 7: Summary So far, the latest analysis between Machine Creation Services and Provisioning Services included within XenApp and XenDesktop 7.9 has only focused on how Machine Creation Services has improved, but what about Provisioning Services?  Has anything been improved? Most definitely! Especially around simplifying the deployment of Provisioning Services. Hyper-V Previously, Provisioning Services supported Hyper-V, or to be more specific, with generation 1 Hyper-V … Continue reading PVS vs MCS – Part 4: Deployment

Machine Creation Services RAM Cache and XenServer IntelliCache


As I was discussing the storage optimization capabilities in the Machine Creation Services vs Provisioning Services debate, I mentioned the use of a XenServer RAM-based read cache. This can be misunderstood as XenServer IntelliCache (a mistake I’m sad to say I’ve made in the past). XenServer IntelliCache (released with XenServer 5.6 SP1) and XenServer RAM Cache (released with XenServer 6.5) are two different capabilities of XenServer, both of which tries to reduce the  IO impact on shared storage. Let’s walk through different deployment scenarios with Machine Creation Services in XenApp and XenDesktop 7.9. Scenario 1: Shared Storage on any Hypervisor … Continue reading Machine Creation Services RAM Cache and XenServer IntelliCache