Limitations of Hyper-V when using Citrix Provisioning Services

Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS) is a great solution to make sure servers are installed exactly the same way while reducing storage consumption and administration.
In a traditional way of deploying Citrix XenApp or Microsoft Remote Desktop Servers (a typical use case for Citrix PVS) each server had a dedicated set of harddisks. When using multiple Citrix servers the administrator needs to make sure each server is configured the same. The server should have the same set of applications, service packs and configuration.

Using Citrix PVS a master disk is used. This master disk is published to a set of Citrix servers using software streaming.

When using Citrix PVS in a Hyper-V environment, mind Hyper-V only supports PXE on the legacy (emulated) network adapter. The legacy adapter is limited to 100 Mbps. This is true for Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V as well as for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.

The other type of virtual network adapter available in Hyper-V is the synthetic adapter which supports speeds up to 10 Gbps but does not support PXE.

If 100 Mbps proves to be a bottleneck there are some tricks to use the synthetic adapter after boot. You will need to dedicate two virtual network adapters for Citrix PVS. One for the PXE boot process and one for the rest of the disk streaming. See this posting which mentions a tool named nvspbind.exe to change the binding of the PVS software.

 

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About Marcel van den Berg
I am a technical consultant with a strong focus on server virtualization, desktop virtualization, cloud computing and business continuity/disaster recovery.

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