It’s been a very short eight months since we (RingCube) joined Citrix, and since then, I’ve been amazed how quickly things have come together. When you switch from startup to a larger company, one expects the development cadence to slow somewhat, but it was not so this time. In the past eight months we’ve had not one but two releases of Personal vDisk (a tech preview release last fall followed by a fully integrated release in XenDesktop 5.6 last month), which means the pace really has kept up with our RingCube days where we had releases about twice a year. At Synergy Barcelona last October, we were heads-down working on XenDesktop 5.6 and I couldn’t really talk too much about the underlying architecture of Personal vDisk at that time. Since we’ve finished that now, I’ll be able to go into much deeper detail this time at Synergy San Francisco.

For those of you unfamiliar with what Personal vDisk is, it’s the feature of XenDesktop that provides persistent personalization for pooled VDI VM images. This means you (as an administrator) can provision a pooled VDI environment (with all the benefits such as reduced storage costs and single image management) but still provide users with personalization capabilities (departmentally or user installed apps, persistent settings changes, etc). Without a persistent personalization feature like Personal vDisk, users would lose those changes each time their VM was reverted back its controlling snapshot.

This time, Dave Wagner and I will be peeling back the layers of the architectural onion, talking not just to what Personal vDisk does (like we did back in Barcelona), but how it works behind the scenes. This includes:

* How PvD processes application resource I/O requests – We’ll talk here about PVD’s filtering architecture and how we maintain coherence between the two locations for user workspace content (the base VM image content as well as changes accumulating in the user’s PvD)

* How PvD uses rules to satisfy each request it sees – How PvD internally uses catalogs to quickly resolve the correct location for each resource (files, keys, etc) request it sees

* How the user’s PvD is merged with base image changes when changes occur – Our image update capability, whereby the magic of persistent personalization occurs.

* How PvD volumes (disks) are organized and managed – We’ve changed our disk layout since the tech preview in order to allow us to provide some cool new features in XenDesktop 5.6. We’ll outline how our disks are structured and how PvD manages application space and user data space.

We’ll also talk about the following, which are not really architectural deep-dive discussions but are still important:

* How PvD interacts with profile management solutions

* Changes to Desktop Studio and the Provisioning Services XenDesktop wizard to support PVD

* New PVD features in XenDesktop 5.6 (PvD reset, Desktop Director integration, etc)

… plus more that we’ll likely add to the agenda between now and Synergy. The time we have in the session is short, so we’ll need to move quickly to cover all the material I’ve outlined above. So make sure to mark your calendars and attend SYN119, “Deep Dive on XenDesktop personal vDisk” at Synergy San Francisco! (Arrive early, since we’ve already been told that the demand for this session is very high.)

Synergy quick link:

I hope to see all of you at SYN119!