Machine Creation Services and why we should consider it

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In  an earlier article I wrote that I personally don’t get why Citrix created a new Provisioning feature called Machine Creation Services. With the release of XenServer 5.6 SP2 and XenDesktop 5 SP1 things changed!…… a bit.

The combination of XenServer 5.6 SP2 and XenDesktop 5 SP1 added a new feature to Machine Creation Services called Intellicache. Intellicache utilizes local storage, preferably SSD, to cache the most used disk blocks of the read only images used for Machine Creation Services. This feature therefore gives us a huge IOPS advantage over any other  Provisioning product.

So why do I state that it only changed a bit? Does this mean I still wouldn’t use it? There is no yes or no answer to this question.

For most of the customers we @ Qwise work on we just need Citrix Provisioning Services because of FAT clients or blade workstations. For other customers we used Provisioning Services because Machine Creation Services wasn’t available yet or the IOPS penalty for Machine Creation Services was a performance risk. For those customers I would definitely consider and most likely use Machine Creation Services as long as it is combined with XenServer 5.6 SP2.

Daniel Feller, one of the lead architects with Citrix, created a nice decision model to decide when and how to use Provisioning Services and/or Machine Creation Services. Please check the link to his blog for more information

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