Citrix XenApp on MCS: adding a persistent drive


Citrix XenApp on MCS: adding a persistent drive

In this blog I will talk about how to add a drive to your MCS driven Citrix XenApp solution. 

Why a persistent drive?

Perhaps you wonder about why I wanted a persistent drive with an MCS driven solution. With a PVS driven solution it’s a common solution to have a drive that becomes the D disk to store event viewer files, app-v cache etc etc. With MCS it’s not that common and for a current project the customer asked about the possibilities.
So the persistent drive is meant for all data of the Citrix XenApp servers you want to keep after the update. Is it useful? who knows, that was not the question and was not our goal to investigate. We set off looking how to do it so that if the use case was there we knew how to set it up. 
Why do you do it…. just because we can 🙂

Options

There are a two ways to reach Rome, we looked a some to see if they succeeded.
  • Add a disk to the golden image
  • Add a disk to a deployed Citrix XenApp virtual machine

Golden image

As you all know, I’m assuming you do, Citrix MCS will only copy the C disk and will not look at any other disks you have setup at your golden image.
So the first thought of solution, adding a disk to the golden image, failed and only the C disk was available after deployment and updating the servers.

Virtual machine

After deploying a catalog with virtual machines we added (by hand for now) a disk to hold some data. On the disk we created a few files, added a few directories.. the normal stuff.
On the C disk we added some data as well for we needed to make sure our references were correct.
At the virtual machine level we saw three disks configured, the C disk, a identity disk and the newly configured disk.
After did an update of the catalog we noted that the C disk was refreshed (no really? 😉 ) and that the D disk with the data was still there.
Of course this was what we thought would happen so the champagne stayed in the fridge.

Management

Of course adding a disk manually to a few hundred servers after they are deployed is not what you want to do in your environment. adding a disk can be scripted and automated pretty easily. For this project the environment is super duper small and adding a disk to the virtual machines once is no issue at all.

Deleting the catalog

If you delete the catalog and thus the virtual machines the D disk will be gone as well. If you recreate the catalog you will need to add the D disk to the virtual machines again. This is because Citrix doesn’t offer adding a extra disk through the console.

One more thing

In the beginning I didn’t like Citrix MCS that much at all, but since the 7.x version of it I’ve been using it more and more. The simplicity of the management is attractive to customers I noted. 
One thing all customer are searching for is information on when the update of a catalog is ready and the new image is deployed. I have to agree with them on that, there is no real “I’m done, please remove the maintenance” message anywhere. 
Citrix could add some feature that would send a message by SMS, E-mail or with iOT to alert administrators about the state of the update… 
Just my 2cents..
Next week, we’ll be doing some more testing, perhaps I can share more information.

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