XenServer PVS Accelerator Cache Sizing


How large should we make our PVS Accelerator cache? Too large and we waste resources. Too small and we lose the performance.

Let’s take a step back and recall our best practice for sizing the RAM on Provisioning Services.  We would typically say allocate 2GB of RAM for each vDisk image the server provides.  This simple recommendation gives the PVS server enough RAM to cache portions of the image in Windows system cache, which reduces local read IO. So for a PVS server delivering

  • 1 image:  we would allocate 2GB of RAM (plus 4GB more for the PVS server itself)
  • 2 images:  we would allocate 4GB of RAM (plus 4GB more for the PVS server itself)
  • 4 images:  we would allocate 8GB of RAM (plus 4GB more for the PVS server itself)

Easy.

Let’s now focus on the XenServer portion of PVS Accelerator. If we use RAM as our PVS Accelerator cache, how many GB should we allocate?

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Provisioning Services Accelerator


An interesting new feature was included with the XenServer 7.1 release: Provisioning Services Accelerator.

In a single sentence,

PVS Accelerator overcomes PVS server and network latency by utilizing local XenServer RAM/Disk resources to cache blocks of a PVS vDisk to fulfill local target VM requests.

Take a look at the demo video to see:

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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

PVS vs MCS – Part 2: Scalability


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 Part 1 of the PVS vs MCS debate, we saw Provisioning Services bridges the gap between the physical and virtual world Machine Creation Services bridges the gap between the on-premises and cloud world Let’s continue digging into the PVS vs MCS debate and focus on scalability. Scalability plays a big role in the solution. If one solution only scales to 500 … Continue reading PVS vs MCS – Part 2: Scalability