Citrix Provisioning Services vs Machine Creation Services 2014 revision

Two years ago I started writing the Citrix Provisioning Services versus Machine Creation Services decision trees. A year and 12k visitors later it’s time for an updated version. The Provisioning Services vs Machine Creation Services decision tree has gotten a lot of attention over the last year. It’s used on Citrix blogs and more recently in one of the Citrix webinars by Atlantis Computing. This makes me proud and definitely works as an energizer to continue working on projects like this.

I’m writing this in such a way you won’t need to read the earlier articles but of course you are free to do so anyway.

The first article by Daniel Feller can be found here.
My article called Provisioning Services vs Machine Creation Services can be found here.
The 2013 revision of Provisioning Services vs Machine Creation Services can be found here.

After Daniel posted his decision tree over three years ago a lot has changed.

  • New Citrix features like XenServer Intellicache, MCS for “XenApp on XenDesktop 7″ and Citrix Provisioning Services in memory caching (with spill-over to disk)
  • In memory caching and deduplication by vendors like Atlantis Computing
  • Hardware vendors like FusionIO who are delivering local flash based storage with IO figures with over 200k IOPS
  • Local SSD storage prices have dropped massively and predictions are prices will continue to drop this year
  • The introduction of a new industry called Web-Scale technology with leading vendors like Nutanix. Bas van Kaam wrote an excellent article on WebScale technology.

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Citrix XenDesktop 7 is all about simplicity!

Citrix XenDesktop 7 is probably one of the biggest product releases by Citrix ever. The consolidation of two of the strongest products, XenApp and XenDesktop into one single product is a huge step forward on so many levels!

For those of you who worked with me or who I had the honor to discuss IT in general, know that I focus on simplicity. I can get really irritated about products with great functionality but are managed with terrible management tools and a lot of different consoles. This is why I love products like SMS Passcode and RES Software products.
For what I’ve seen in the latest announcements and while testing preview releases of XenDesktop 7 (also known as Excalibur), this really is a product that comes close to true simplicity. I’m really happy with the consolidation of products, features and consoles.

This article is not going to be a “what’s new and hip style” article, there are plenty of those out there. What I want to show you is how much simpler this release makes our lives on a product and architectural level. Not only on the implementation side but especially on the management side.

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Citrix NetScaler sizing guide

NetScaler Sizing Guide intro

About a year ago Citrix started with the NetScaler Tri-Scale method to scale up, in or out the Citrix NetScaler platform. Although this sounds great and gives you an option to pay-as-you-grow we all understand that we should take proper care for initial sizing. Doing so makes sure your users won’t be disappointed and plain simply pay less $$$.

Citrix NetScaler Access Gateway MPX

Citrix NetScaler Access Gateway MPX

My focus for this article is small to midrange sized Citrix NetScaler platforms up to the MPX 8600 6 Mbit/s. My experience is based on projects within the Netherlands and unfortunately for me this is as big as it gets. This doesn’t mean you can’t use the information when sizing larger platforms. This is also the reason why you will not find any information about clustering in this article.

This article is a follow up on two earlier articles mainly focused on the performance and sizing of a virtual (VPX) Citrix NetScaler Access Gateway, now called NetScaler Gateway.

How to maximize your virtual Citrix NetScaler Access Gateway performance

Citrix NetScaler Access Gateway VPX user scalability numbers explained

This leads to questions about why there is a difference in theoretical and practical numbers. I’m not Google and therefore can’t answer them all but I will try to answer some of them.

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Provisioning Services vs Machine Creation Services 2013 revision

This article has been update with a 2014 revision. Click here to go to the PVS vs MCS 2014 revision.

Over one and a half year ago I wrote a follow up on an article by Citrix architect Daniel Feller. The original article by Daniel Feller needed an update and now mine is getting pretty outdated as well.

I’m writing this in such a way you won’t be needing to read the earlier articles but of course you are free to do so anyway.

The first article by Daniel Feller can be found here.
My article called Provisioning Services vs Machine Creation Services can be found here.

After Daniel posted his decision tree over two years ago a lot has happened. New Citrix features like XenServer Intellicache and MCS for “XenApp on XenDesktop 7” have been released and are changing the whole decision making process.
On top of that vendors started to work on solving the whole storage IO issue.

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