Have you used Provisioning Services 5.1 with read-only stores? Do you remember how much manual process was involved to switch from read-only to read-write? Provisioning Services 5.6 addresses this with the new Store Management Wizard.

In case you didn’t have the chance to check Read-only stores during the Synergy Provisioning Services deep dive class, I will provide you some insights into it.

First, you might ask when you should use Read-only vDisk storage with Provisioning Services. When you are using a SAN for vDisk storage and also using client-side write-back cache (disk or RAM), you can obtain the maximum benefit from the Read-only storage feature. In these environments, use of this feature completely eliminates the need to deploy shared/clustered file system software, reducing deployment costs and complexity, and maximizing scalability and performance.

Ok, now that you like the feature, how is the performance improved? It eliminates the overhead of the normal Provisioning Services disk locking mechanism. This impact is primarily visible during the target device boot and performance is improved 25-50% depending on the number of target devices booting concurrently (greater improvement is achieved with higher device counts).

In case you already know about this feature but you haven’t tested it yet because you thought it was a lot of work (it had to be done manually with Provisioning Services 5.1), I have great news: Provisioning Services 5.6 drastically improves the management aspect of the read-only stores with the new Store Management Wizard that can switch the read-only store modes from maintenance (read/write) to active (read/only) with a simple click. When you have to do any maintenance you change to read/write (maintenance mode) choosing a specific server and when updates to the vDisk are completed, you just change to read/only – again using the Store Management Wizard, so no more manual diskpart commands.

It works with iSCSI and Fibre Channel; you only need to make sure the partition is set to read/only at the NTFS level before you present it to all the other Provisioning Servers in your farm.

If you are entitled to Provisioning Services based on XenApp or XenDesktop licensing, you can download the new version 5.6 of Provisioning Services at www.citrix.com/mycitrix once you login.

Elisabeth Teixeira – Principal Engineer – Worldwide Technical Readiness

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