Thank you to all that attended the EMEA region Tech Talk “What’s new in the latest version of XenDesktop?” on Thursday, November 18. There were over 600 people in attendance!

This XenDesktop 5 Tech Talk session will be repeated for the Americas audience on December 2nd and all are welcome to attend. You can also view a replay of the first presentation which can be accessed here:

There were quite a few questions posted during the webinar that we did not have time to answer so I have posted most of the Q snd A below:

Q: Will there be a XenDesktop 5 Express?
A: Yes. This edition will include the DDC and XenServer with 10 licenses.

Q: Is there an early release available for download?
A: The Early Release program has ended.

Q: What are the changes in storage requirements? .. In terms of IOPS, etc. compared to XD 4?
A: This information is not currently available. This type of data based on testing will be available after the product is released.

Q: What does small scale VDI means?
A: The exact number is not known but it will most likely be based on storage requirements. More details will be published after the product release.

Q: Can we stream apps to Virtual desktops?
A: Yes, this is the same as with XenDesktop 4

Q: Does this integrate with XenApp as normal?
A: Yes

Q: What limitations does quick deploy have?
A: The Quick Deploy is for VDI only and requires the SQL Express database.

Q: Do we still have the various Desktop profiles / profiling (eg.. laptop users etc)
A: Yes, FlexCast offers desktops for all types of users and use cases

Q: What additional costs are required to upgrade to XenDesktop 5
A: If you have XenDesktop 4 and have SA – then nothing.

Q: How does XenDesktop perform with high performance 3D applications such as Autodesk 3ds Max, Maya etc. Does it give a comparable performance to running on local machines?
A: XenDesktop 4 supports 3D Pro Graphics and XenDesktop 5 will add this support in Q1 2011

Q: Can the SQL be MSDE?
A: No

Q: When will XD5 be available for partner download / Licenses (System Integrator)
A: We are looking at mid-December but not able to give you a public date.

Q: Will be the new XenDesktop supported by EdgeSight?
A: Yes, PLAT edition will include EdgeSight agents

Q: I missed a portion of this seminar.  Where can I get a step-by-step set of instructions on how to setup XD5 if all you currently have running is XenApp 6?
A: There will be a step by step Quick POC Kit released by year end.

Q: Is this version compatible with the previous version? or does data held in IMA db needs to be migrated to SQL db beforehand?
A: The upgrade path is to build a parallel site, upgrade the VDA and migrate the desktops. There is no migration from IMA to XenDesktop 5 database.

Q: Does this work with AD2003?
A: Yes

Q: Will there be new version of Provisioning Server when XenDesktop5 is launched?
A: The latest version is PVS 5.6

Q: Is the DDC supported on Windows 7 x64?
A: The VDA is supported on Windows 7 64 bit

Q: XenDesktop 4 does not have a method to back and restore desktop groups and all the config data. In XD5 is there a method to do this?
A: Backup and restore of this data will be done using SQL Server tools and methods

Q: DDC was working on Windows 2003 only, is new one supported on W2K8R2?
A: Yes, the XenDesktop 5 DDC runs on Windows 2008 and Windows 2008 R2.

Q: Is IP base access possible?
A: A virtual desktop can be assigned to the IP address of an endpoint device

Q: Do you still need to use the synchronizer for XenClient virtual machines?
A: Yes, the synchronizer is used for XenClient virtual machine transfers

Q: What is actually the biggest benefit using XenDesktop 5 compared to version 4 besides the scalability due to the changed architecture?
A: Scalability, resilience and management

Q: Will there be SmartAuditor available for XenDesktop 5?
A: No

Q: If the database fails will connections be lost?
A: Yes and SQL Mirroring is the best practice to provide HA

Q: How deep is HCL integration i.e control of vCenter or SCVMM management?
A: The HCL (Hypervisor Communication Library) is a wrapper around the plugins for XenServer, ESX and Hyper-V management

Q: What is the ratio between master and diff disk?
A: The diff disk is the same size as the master vm

Q: When do you use MCS over PVS and vice versa?
A: MCS is perfect for POCs and small VDI deployments but will have other use cases. Provisioning Services is scalable and has minimal storage requirements.

Q: Do the number of snapshots impact boot up time for the V Desktop?
A: The snapshot chain is consolidated and then used as the new master with the update process. The boot up time should not be affected.

Q: Does the diskspace save of the diffdisk on NFS require “Thin Provisioning” feature of NFS ?
A: Yes we take advantage of the storage feature set

Q: If you have persistent diff disks, would they be preserved if the gold image is patched?
A: Yes the diff disk for dedicated desktops is persistent

Q: Can VDI machine storage be in RAM and in logoff write it in disk? What will happen if network drops between VDI and storage cache?
A: VDI requires access to the storage to read and write to disk

Q: Which version of ESX supports in XenDesktop 5?
A: VMware vSphere 4.1 (ESX 4.1 and vCenter 4.1, and ESXi 4.1 and vCenter 4.1 ). VMware vSphere 4 Update 1 (ESX 4.0 and vCenter 4.0). VMware Infrastructure 3 (ESX 3.5 Update 5 and VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 6).

Q: What about storage size in this case?
A: Storage requirements will depend on the type of storage and the type of provisioning used

Q: Why only SQL2008 and not SQL2005?
A: SQL2005 was not tested but should work

Q: Just to confirm – a small POC can be done with just the DDC and no requirement for PVS?

A: Yes, it will use Machine Creation Services to provision the desktops.

Q: When you say that MCS creates a “copy” of the Master image, does that mean an actual copy (taking up disk space) will be created on the storage? Or will Identity and Diff disks be linked to the master image through MCS (like PVS streaming)?
A: Yes there is one copy that all virtual machines will read from and each has a diff disk to write to – all on the storage

Q: So to summarize – Quick Deploy + MCS is primarily targeted @ POC success.
A: Yes but will also have other use cases

Q: How is the performance of XenDesktop 5 over a WAN, such as Desktops as a service?
A: Excellent – the HDX user experience allows for superior performance

Q: Can you run XenDesktop 5 virtual desktops on XenClient?
A: No but you can use the ENT and PLAT licenses for XenClient vms or XenDesktop vms

Q: Any option for MAC notebooks, similar to VMWARE View’s “local mode”, previously offline mode ?
A: MAC notebooks can be used as an endpoint device only, running the Citrix Receiver

Q: Will the diff disk be the same size as the written portion of the master image OR the size of writes which are different from the master?
A: It is the same size as the written portion of the master vm

Q: Does the controller support SQL 2008 SP1?

A: SQL Server 2008 must have Service Pack 2

Q: Can the Controller be run on VM?
A: Yes the controller can be a virtual machine.

Q: Is the new XML service (.net) also works on port 80? and the vda on 8080 ?
A: The default VDA registration port is 80

Q: Can we use any SAN/NAS for storage?
A: Any SAN or NAS should work but NFS is recommended.