A quick look at Citrix Provisioning Services 6
One of the sessions on Citrix Synergy was all about Citrix Provisioning Services. I watched it online and was wowed because the session was all about the next version of Citrix Provisioning Services version 6.0.
What’s so cool about the next version is that they really listened to the community and implemented some really cool features. The features I will focus on are related to vDisk management. vDisk management includes updating vDisks, creating new vDisks, testing new or updates vDisks etc etc.
Let’s start with how we do an update prior to version 6. The vDisk is in production and therefore read-only, locked and in use. So we have to copy the vDisk, which is a new file so we need extra storage, and update it. After updating we will have to assign the vDisk to a test vm and test the vDisk. Then when all is ok we assign the vDisk manually to all the targets.
This really is a lot of work and will have some impact on performance because you are actually copying a live vDisk.
Provisioning Services 6 will add a whole new feature set to make life easier. A vDisk will get versioning and a snapshot like way of working.
We will use the same example as before. Now we can create a new version of the vDisk and a svhd file is created next to the base vhd file which holds only the changes which we are about to do.
This saves us a lot of time, storage and even better there no longer is a performance impact.
It gets even better! Each version can be assigned to either Test, Acceptance or Production. PVS will automatically assign the vDisk to an already prepared VM for each of those steps. When it’s time to go into production with the new vDisk you can manually or automatically merge the svhd with the base vhd because each snapshot adds a IO impact.
Now for automation! There are some updates we do over and over again like Windows Updates, Anti-Virus and application virtualization pre loading. The examples are pretty easy to script with Powershell so why do them manually? If you use a script why can’t we automate it? Provisioning Server 6 adds an options called automatic updating. You can schedule tasks that:
- Create a new vDisk version
- Runs a script
- Adds the vDisk version to Test, Acceptance or even production
Ain’t that great!?
So when will this all be released? I don’t know exactly. In one demo a timeline was given with a beta somewhere in the near future and a release date in Q4 – Q1 2012.