Last week we announced a new version of Citrix Personal vDisk (PVD), version 5.6.5. This version of PVD contains a number of enhancements and improvements based on feedback from customers and partners gathered over the past few quarters. We’ve focused our development efforts in this release around two key areas:

  • Improving usability
  • Improving performance

We’ve improved usability by addressing some of the common concerns we’ve received from customers who have deployed PVD. Specifically, we’ve improved PVD usability in v5.6.5 in the following ways:

  • Removing the PVD application area drive letter V: – now, PVD will only consume one drive letter, P: (default, can be changed during PVD deployment) , instead of two. We heard from customers that end users did not always understand what the V: drive was used for, and why its content always mirrored that of the C: drive. The P: drive will still continue to contain the user’s “profile” data (eg, contents of C:\users)
  • Automatic space adjustment between application area and profile area – now, PVD will automatically extend the application area (formerly the V: drive as described above) by using unused profile space. The amount by which the application space is extended, as well as thresholds for determining when the space will be expanded can be customized by the administrator. This allows end users to more easily utilize the entire PVD space allocated to them by their administrator, without needing to resort to manual disk resizing or manual per-user configuration. See the PVD 5.6.5 documentation for more information on configuring these parameters.

We’ve also listened to customers that were concerned with the VM density reduction imposed by PVD (as measured by LoginVSI tests) in XenDesktop 5.6. The new version of PVD reduces this overhead from ~20-25% down to 11-14% for Windows 7 desktops, a 44% improvement. This improvement was achieved by optimizing PVD’s filesystem filter driver (a similar optimization was performed in the Citrix App Streaming/Offline Plugin filter driver to achieve comparable results – see our previous blog entry for details on this improvement in more detail). Another benefit of the optimization we made in the new version of PVD results in improved application compatibility, especially when interacting with other filesystem filter drivers.

Existing PVD deployments will be automatically upgraded to the new version when the base image’s PVD software is updated. This update will occur automatically on first boot of the catalog VMs and does not require any interaction from the end user or administrator.

We encourage you to try this new version of PVD – our development and test teams have put a lot of work into making this the best release of PVD yet, and we’re excited to see it made available to customers.