When Citrix launched XenDesktop 5 I was mostly wowed by all the new features and great consoles. Citrix did a great job in creating a true VDI platform instead of a XenApp spin off which wasn’t good enough for large VDI environments.
Among with XenDesktop 5 Citrix released a new feature called “Machine Creation Services” (MCS). MCS is a sort of lightweight alternative for Provisioning Services (PVS). To be completely honest I totally ignored the feature at first because of the negative IOPS and scalability impact but the last couple of weeks customers are asking about it.
The more I read about MCS the more I don’t get the effort that has been put into it. What I get is that customers are asking for an alternative for Provisioning Services because of design issues, network impact etc. etc. But why focus on a new product, why not change the way Provisioning Services works instead of creating a new “product” which does not scale well.
Let’s focus on one of my favorite products…. Citrix Provisioning Services. PVS is a great product that saves a great amount of disk space, server management time and performance issues and helps with keeping up with best practices like identical and clean servers in XenApp / XenDesktop environments.
As with each product there are always down sights to it. Provisioning Services needs to be implemented carefully and Best Practices have to be followed closely. I f you do all that you will be safe.
The impact that PVS can have on network and storage components are huge because of the offloading of all server hard disks to one file location over the network. To solve this issue I would have loved to see some of the MCS flavor in PVS. Wouldn’t it be great to have a local appliance on each hypervisor host that’s able to cache disk blocks to a local physical hard disk on that host? It would be even better if there was some fancy feature in it that would connect via the local PVS appliance instead of any appliance or PVS server available. This would save a great amount of network traffic and storage IO!
I even like to believe that Citrix offers a product that with some slight changes might be able to do the trick……………. If Citrix is going to release it I would like to enter in the naming contest, Citrix PVS Repeater would be great!