XenClient 2.1 a usability review


Whilest working on the PQR smackdown I will write a small update about XenClient 2.1.

I’ve installed XenClient 2.0 about a month before going to Citrix Synergy in Barcelona, the reason for this was to gain knowledge about the product. I was expecting a lot of sessions and discussions about XenClient and didn’t want to be the guy would just listened, I like to participate in discussion, but participation calls for knowledge.

So now were about 3 months ahead since my first encounter with XenClient, since then I’ve cursed the product on a weekly bases but still remained working with it. I’m not the kind of guy that abandons a product that fast, I was hoping for releases that would fix the bugs I encountered.

First I’ll introduce you with my laptop.

Today, 1st of January, I upgraded my installation to XenClient 2.1. I should have done that a while ago already but never made it to that point. I had no backup for my efforts to make a backup all failed due to several reasons not interesting enough to all of you.

Upgrading is a breeze.

1. Download the upgrade

2. Put it on a CD

3. Boot your laptop with the Xenclient 2.1 CD

4. Choose Advanced

5. Upgrade

After the upgrade is done, you need to upgrade your XenClient tools. The available virtual machines all get an Exclamation mark next to them to remind you the XenClient tools require an upgrade.

I went of started my Virtual machine and browsed to the CD, all went well. Running the installation I got the message “Upgrade is not possible, you first have to remove the previous version”.

!!Update!! I’m also running a Windows 2008 virtual machine for demo purposes, when trying to upgrade the tools running there, no message was shown about not being able to upgrade. The upgrade proces didn’t go well but that was expected. The fact that the message wasn’t shown is strange, as it did in my Windows 7 vm.

My co-worker @JrLangedijk will update tomorrow so that will be the proof of the pudding, I’m waiting to see if my upgrade meesage was a glitch of a feature.

I’ve included the picture of the XenClient tools software below to show you it really states it’s “Updating” the software. Mind you it is not updating the software becasue I removed the software before it would go forward. So the upgrade appeared to be a clean installation, no problems with it, just thought Citrix would be able to do the remove/re-install quietly without me noticing. The re-installation of the XenClient tools software took at least 20 minutes.

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After that a reboot is required. So within  50 minutes or so, I was up and running again.

After logging in I noticed a sluggish behaviour… Lucky @KBaggerman reminded me of a new feature, with the upgrade Citrix XenClient reverts your vCPU configuration back to 1. This can only be changed by a powershell command.

So CTRL-0  and open the command screen.

with the command Xen-vm -n <virtual machine name> set vcpus <number> you can change the number of vCPU’s you assign to a VM. I changed mine back to 2 quickly.

The option to set you vCPU is no longer available in the GUI, also it’s been removed in the new VM wizard. with XenClient 2.1 all your VM by default get 1 vCPU… not my choice I would say.

 

Screen crashes

Perhaps too soon but since yesterday I haven’t had any screen crashes. Of course it might just be luck but it at least one thing I think is a big plus from 2.0.

Just tested the youtube movie Big Buck Bunny in 1080p format full screen with nog glitch whatsoever.

Battery life

From another blog I read about the battery life and the incorrect display within XenClient guest OS. I checked this with my laptop but my results are not as drastic as written in the other blog. perhaps when the battery life remaining is low the differences are greater than when around 90%.

 

 

The picture above is like it’s shown inside the guest vm. the picture below is how the battery status is shown in XenClient.

 It’s not that a big difference, just 1% off. Still it’s not clear why the diffrence is there. I’m gonna monitor if the changes go up when the battery goes empty. The battery is now at 31%, it’s going pretty fast, but still they’re almost in sync.

 

Built-in HSPA+ broadband modem

My laptop is equiped with the possibility to add a mobile broadband SIM into the rear of the laptop. XenClient sometimes recognizes this SIM and gives me the option to fill in all the details. It however will never allow me to connect to the Internet with it.

 When I look at device management inside my guest vm, the drivers seems to be oke. This is still under investigation.

I was looking at seamless application yesterday  and noticed that my CPU was spiked constantly. I’ve attached a screenshot to clarify it.

only the subscribe is installed… no other vm is running so no communication is happening.

Tommorow the quest goes on… if I find new stuff that is interesting to write about, this will be the place you find it. Stay tuned.

 

It’s Friday the 13th, no better day to test some more on this day….

Finally my demo laptop received, it’s a Dell laptop, a Latitude i7. Can’t find any model reference so it’s a Dell.

I decided to do some basic checks on the Dell to see if the behaviors are different than my own HP 8560P. First of all I tried the dreadfull 1080P FullScreen demo test.

If I did this test with my HP 8560p my screen would crash for sure, not always but most of the time and to much for me to dare testing it over and over.

First I tried a 720p movie with an awfull lot of birds flying around…

 

I opened this move at the highest resolution, 720p, at fullscreen. no issues what so ever.

Next movie is beautiful nature scenry at 1080p full screen…


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