Citrix HDX 3D Pro and Nvidia Grid Browser experience

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working closely with Rachel Berry (Citrix) and Jason Southern (Nvidia) on some unexpected web browser behavior with web browsers on Nvidia grid enhanced VDI and RDS virtual machines running Citrix HDX 3D Pro. This work has resulted in a new support article from Citrix CTX202065.

In this article I’ll go a bit more in depth to explain our findings and hopefully help you to get better performance from web browsers but also give you some technical detail for situations where other applications may not perform as well as one would expect.

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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 Advanced Image Management

With the release of Citrix XenDesktop 7 two provsioning methods are now available which fully support  hosted shared (HDC) and hosted private (HDC). The first provisioning method is Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS) and the second is Machine Creation Services (MCS).

There are a couple of important differences between the two provisioning methods which you need to know before choosing the right method for your design. In one of my earlier articles I showed a decision tree which helps choosing between both methods. I would recommend to read this great article about storage resource usage, by Nick Rantalan, as well.

This article focusses on a very important difference between Citrix Provisioning Services and Machine Creation Services, Advanced Image Management.

Advanced Image Management

Advanced Image Management (AIM) is more than simply assigning an image to a specific machine or a group of machines. It’s about a proper way of upgrading and assigning images according to DTP principles in a simple and time efficient manner. Automation plays an important part of AIM as it saves time and more importantly leaves out the possibility of human errors. Andrew Morgan wrote an excellent article about why you want to prevent human errors by using automation.

PVS offers great image versioning functionality, automated DTP and even automated image updates with the integration of third party solutions like Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager. This Citrix article explains the functionality in fine detail.

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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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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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The mystery of the missing use case for stateful VDI

The mystery of the missing use case for stateful VDI

Since I started doing VDI projects a couple of years ago on each project I run into cases where certain user groups demand a personal stateful VDI desktop. I have heard lots of reasons, the problem is that I haven’t heard a single good one yet!

The first thing I run into is that customers want to squeeze all of their users onto VDI while most of the times 80% of the users will have the same experience on a RDS desktop. Would we ever think of letting a user install his own applications on a RDS desktop?? I don’t think so!

So what about the 20% of the users that actually need a VDI desktop? Do they also need to install their own applications? I would say no but let’s look at some of the use cases users think of.

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