While attending Citrix Synergy this week in San Francisco, I have had the privilege to chat with several partners and customers who are deploying or planning to deploy the Branch Repeater VPX. It is has been rapidly gaining traction with our customers. On a number of occasions however they mentioned a potentially dangerous situation they ran into when importing the XVA file into their XenServer environment.

The situation occurs then walking through the “Import VM…” wizard in XenCenter. When they arrived at the “Configure virtual network interfaces…” step, the wizard automatically chooses and shows the network interfaces that will be mapped to interface0 and interface1 which subsequently will serve as the accelerated pair (apA) within Branch Repeater (screenshot below). Special attention needs to be paid to the interfaces that appear in this list before completing the wizard. In a few cases, the administrator who was importing the VPX clicked past this step and didn’t realize exactly what networks her/she would be bridging with the Branch Repeater VPX once the VM was started.

Secondly, the last step in the wizard presents the option to automatically start the newly imported VPX once the wizard completes (screenshot below). The default within XenCenter is to have this option checked. It is a good idea to get in the habit of un-checking this box when importing a Branch Repeater VPX, especially in the case where you may not have the XenServer that is to host the VPX properly placed or configured in the environment yet.

In the cases of the customers I chatted with, they ended up creating some nasty routing loops by bridging networks and actually causing outages. In one case they inadvertently circumvented some security measures that needed to be in place.

The moral of the story is when importing a Branch Repeater VPX, be sure you are intimately familiar with the network architecture of your XenServer environment; specifically where the Branch Repeater is and isn’t supposed to be placed.

Now, back to some killer sessions at Citrix Synergy 2010 !