NetApp recently released the Version 1.0 of its VSC for Citrix XenServer.
Now why am I so excited about it?

It makes the administration of your NFS-based Storage a lot easier.  It offers some brilliant features to support your virtual Desktop environment, like:

  • Storage controller discovery and configuration.
  • NFS storage repository provisioning, deduplication, resizing, and destruction.
  • Rapid VM cloning (in existing and new NFS-based storage repositories) for persistent desktops and virtual servers powered by NetApp FlexClone.
  • Cloned VMs are instantly available in the Citrix XenDesktop for placement into catalogs.

It is easy to install, easy to configure and easy to use. Just like XenServer.
The perfect match 🙂

There are a few basic things you need:

  • XenServer or XenServer Resource Pool (Version 6.0 and higher)
  • XenCenter installed on Windows
  • NetApp 7-mode or NetApp Cluster Mode (Version 7.3.6 and higher)
    • NFS license
    • FlexClone license (required for rapid VM cloning)

If you have that ready you can go and download your VSC from the NetApp Website.  After the installation you add your storage system to the VSC.

Now you can add a new Storage Repository pointing to the „Pool“-Menu where you will find „Provision Storage Repository“.
Just enter the Details you want your new SR to have and in the background a new volume will be created and mounted to the XenServer.After you added the volume and NFS SR you can always go and resize, deduplicate or destroy it using the VSC.

I imported our Linux Demo VM to the new NFS SR. The Demo VM comes pre-installed with a 4GB disk. To be honest, my lab is not the newest or fastest hardware and I am using the Data ONTAP Simulator, so it took more then 15 minutes to import the VM.

To clone, you right click the VM and choose the NetApp VSC menu. A new wizard will open where you can choose naming scheme, how many clones etc.

Before I started the cloning I took a look at my storage usage on the NetApp

Filesystem               total       used      avail capacity  Mounted on
/vol/vol0/               808MB      132MB      676MB      16%  /vol/vol0/
/vol/vol0/.snapshot       42MB      352KB       42MB       1%  /vol/vol0/.snapshot
/vol/nfs_for_xenserver/       50GB     4153MB       14GB      70%  /vol/nfs_for_xenserver/
/vol/nfs_for_xenserver/.snapshot        0TB        0TB        0TB     —%  /vol/nfs_for_xenserver/.snapshot

Then I started the cloning process. Now remember the import took about 15 minutes. The creation of the 10 new XenClone VMs took 28 seconds!
(while I am writing this I am still smiling :))

After the cloning my storage usage was 200MB more, instead of 40GB. So my savings are 90%.

Filesystem               total       used      avail capacity  Mounted on
/vol/vol0/               808MB      132MB      675MB      16%  /vol/vol0/
/vol/vol0/.snapshot       42MB      380KB       42MB       1%  /vol/vol0/.snapshot
/vol/nfs_for_xenserver/       50GB     4317MB       14GB      70%  /vol/nfs_for_xenserver/
/vol/nfs_for_xenserver/.snapshot        0TB        0TB        0TB     —%  /vol/nfs_for_xenserver/.snapshot

Filesystem                used      saved       %saved
/vol/vol0/               133MB        0MB           0%
/vol/nfs_for_xenserver/     4317MB       40GB          90%

The Download package, more Information and an Administration Guide can be found at