Now XenDesktop 5.6 is out, let go for a blog about what’s new and interesting in this release. It begins with official documentation, RTFM rules apply. Quick note, PvD technology is the integration of the RingCube technology bough by Citrix last year.
What’s New in XenDesktop 5.6
XenDesktop 5.6 includes the following new features and enhancements:
- Personal vDisk – This feature is a personalization solution for virtual desktops. Two new types of catalog allow you to preserve the assignment of users to desktops even when the disk is cleaned at restart; the same user is assigned the same desktop for later sessions. The new catalogs are pooled with personal vDisk (for pooled-static virtual desktops) that you manage with Desktop Studio and streamed with personal vDisk that you manage with Provisioning Services. In addition, a dedicated storage disk is created, before logon, so users can store their data on the desktop, including any applications they install. For background information on this feature, see About Personal vDisks.New commands have also been added to the XenDesktop Software Development Kit (SDK) to support this feature.
- System Center support – XenDesktop now supports Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager and Microsoft System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager.
- Virtual Desktop Agent – A new version of the Virtual Desktop Agent fixes issues in the version included with XenDesktop 5.5.
- Citrix Licensing – Citrix Licensing 11.10 lets you assign access to the License Administration Console using Active Directory Users and Groups.
- Desktop Director – Desktop Director 2.1 supports personal vDisks and contains fixes since the last release. For more information, see the Desktop Director documentation.
- Fixed issues – For information on the issues that have been fixed in this release, see CTX124164.
It looks great but how does Personal vDisk works ? I got it up and running very easily in my lab but now I would like to understand a bit more. I found a cool video on Citrix TV – XenDesktop 5.6 Personal vDisk feature overview :
How does PvD works ?
if you compare XenDesktop “classic” mode with PvD enable, you will notice very fast your virtual desktop model will change. You will move from assigned / pool desktops to a pooled desktop with PvD only model. Which means, one user will have one VM, the VM is assigned on first login.
PvD allows us to deliver a desktop where the Operating System / the Common Base Image / and the user’s Workspace will be separated to allow Operating System or Base Image maintenance without affecting the User Workspace (profile, user installed apps etc)
Architecture details :
What about Profile Management ?
PvD can be use as a simple profile management solution if your user are using only one desktop, in most of the case you won’t have to bring another piece of software to manage user profile. As PvD is moving on the P: drive user’s profiles and as the VM will always remain the same for every user, you might leave PvD acting as a simple user profile management solution.
If you chose to use Citrix Profile Management, it works as well, just as usual. You can combine profile management with PvD features. Citrix Profile Management will detect the presence of PvD and adjust its configuration automatically (UPM 4.1).
How does it look like ?
Here are some screenshots creating a new catalog Pooled with Personal vDisk (with MCS) in Desktop Studio 2.1:
Now creating Streamed VMs with Personal vDisk through XenDesktop Setup Wizard in PVS 6.1 console :
And what you can observe in Provisioning Services 6.1 console :
From Desktop Studio 2.1 console
In a next blog I will dive further in detail of PvD,under the hood, debugging, issues, use case etc..
Citrix eDocs – release notes : [link]
Citrix eDocs – about Personal vDisk : [link]
Citrix TV – XenDesktop 5.6 Personal vDisk overview : [link]
Citrix eDocs – What’s new in User Profile Management 4.1 : [link]