Citrix PVS vs MCS - Despectus

· 2 min read

I know this subject has been cover thousand times here and there but this is an eternal discussion we have whatever the forum or the meeting going on when we speak about Citrix. To remind people not familiar with MCS or PVS here are the main differences :

MCS : Machine Creation Service

PVS : Provisioning Services

All the blogs, articles, white papers are very good and very technical with a lot of details but lake too often of “real life” example. Of course this is important to know  detailed performance measuring iOPs in read and write, cache mode, disk and storage type etc. but what most of the time everyone is missing is a crucial component : complexity and ability of the technical team to handle PVS and/or MCS.

At many of my customers place we’ve implemented PVS architecture on multi-site with DFS-R and SAN / NAS etc to provision XenApp 6.5 farm lightning fast and this is every time a success when everything is setup correctly and when everything works as expected. BUT the complexity we leave behind at the customer’s place leave me a though that in 70% of the case, they will call us back to fix an issue they created while trying to handle PVS and surrounding component. 20% won’t call us but nothing will change, event the XenApp servers will remain in the same state as when we left. Of course writing documentation and how to for everything won’t solve this issue because managing XenApp servers provisioned with PVS is complex and needs good organisation and an understanding of the product.

PVS is in version 7.1 (April 2014) and haven’t evolve that much during last couple of years, some say PVS will disappear with time to let MCS take over, but I honestly don’t know what are the plan for Citrix about PVS. But as PVS is an awesome technology, I think Citrix will bring more and more feature to MCS and keeping the simplicity while adding feature will be an interesting chalenge.

To keep this topic short (that never happen when we speak about this during CTP meetings or forums 🙂 ) I would say for large enterprise I would continue to use PVS on the current and new deployment but put in my customer’s mind the overhead of complexity could cost more than intelligent storage solution (software, hardware) and introduce few desktops (XenDesktop 7.5) provisioned by MCS to let them play with it a bit. For the SMB, there is no question about this choice, MCS is so dead simple this will remain the big win on all other solution on the market (for now)

The eternal debate is around performances and most of the time iOPs, every one know the gap between PVS and MCS is closing and MCS tend to have very decent performance comparing to PVS but when it’s about management, the simplicity of MCS leave far behind PVS.

That was my two cents, I wanted to write it down because when I’m traveling around the world I often have this question coming again and again and it’s good to have another point of view, less technical about that.

Despectus : Point of View