Streaming a Full OS to a ThinClient … Step by Step

Provisioning Server(PVS) has been a amazing addition to the citrix “Dynamic Delivery Center” line up.  It is a game changing technology that has a wide range of use cases.

So for those of you not familiar with PVS …. The brief of it is.  We virtualize the Disk IO allowing you to host a full OS image in your data center and stream simultaneously to thousands of diskless Endpoints. (PCs, Servers, Thin clients, Virtual or physical) windows or linux

This is not another Altiris, SMS, or Ghost imaging solution. We do not stream the full image down to the endpoint we only send the blocks of information that the client requests into memory when they request them.

Common Use Cases-

1.  PCs .. Distribute processing power out to the edge but still manage centrally with one image.

2.  VDI .. Reduce storage 90%, dramatically reduce application and single image management.

3.  Datacenter.. Web and Application Server Farms- One Image, Consistency, flexible and dynamic.

4.  Thin Clients – Stream full OS to Thin Client- One image, no protocol limitations, central management.

So in this blog I want to address the specific use of streaming a full XP OS image to a Thin Client. There is usually a lot of confusion around this use case so hopefully we can clear it up some.

1.       First thing we need to do is make sure the Thin Client we are going to stream to has the following. In the examples you will see the Wyse V90L and HP 57xx Platforms.

           a.       Hardware capacity to run the OS and application locally on device.  CPU 800mhz+, 256mb+

           b.      Verify it has a standard IDE or EIDE interface that we can connect a hard drive to or if the

                   thinclient vendor has a Flash option that gives you at least 4GB of space that will work also.

           c.       Make sure you have the XP drivers for the hardware platform or if streaming linux

                     have the linux hardware drivers.

           d.      I am going to be using a Wyse V90 and a HP 5730 but as long as your TC can meet the above

                   requirements you should be able create a image successfully.

List of Required items:

    -Laptop eide harddrive

    -Eide hdd ribbon cable

    -If using a 80 pin ide HHD you will most likely need a converter to 40 pin eide as seen here. I would use a 40 laptop drive if the TC has a 40pin IDE interface to avoid having to use a converter.                                                                

       -Small Phillips screw driver

       -External usb cd/dvd drive

       -PVS 4.5/5.0 sp2 server running

Note *Microsoft XPe can be used but since every xpe image is custom for each manufacture you are never sure what you are going to get.  Sometime you can just install the pvs client and run image builder and it works fine but if it is missing some core components you will be scratching your head wondering why things are not working.   

2.       Open up TC and identify IDE slot and remove eide flash card if one exists.



3. Connect EIDE hard drive  


4.       Connect the USB DVD/CD Drive to use to install OS

5.        Insert XP CD, boot from CD and install the OS, add hardware drivers for platform.

  You will need to get these from your TC vendor. If they have a xpe version of the hardware you should  be able to copy them over from the xpe image.

6.        Install PVS client software into the image

7.       Add MAC address and Hostname of TC into the pvs console 


     8.       Right Click on client and choose properties> Set client to boot from HDD  

9.       Right Click on Vdisk Pool >Create vDisk  for our VHD image

10.    Right Click on Client >Properties>Vdisk Tab > Add  the vdisk we just created in step 9

 11.   PXE or ISO boot thin client and run image builder to start creating image.

  12.   You now should have a xp vdisk for you thin client. You can set the Vdisk to standard mode which enables you to stream this one vdisk to thousands of thinclients.  So not much different from doing this with a PC or a Server but just make sure you have requirements in step 1 covered and you should be fine.