I am often asked by customers with Citrix XenApp farms containing less than five servers why they should use Citrix Provisioning Services. To be honest mostly they are telling me that they do not need this product because their farm is way to small. Is that really true?

Sure you will benefit more from the ability to provide more Citrix XenApp servers within minutes if you will manage a farm with more servers than five or ten. From my point of view there are other aspects which are more interesting and will make your everyday life much easier!

Monday morning, you just grabbed your first coffee and before even taking your first sip your telephone rings. On the other end Mr. Parker who tried to run a calculation in Excel but instead of calculating the clalculation ran into an error. As you cannot ask him to turn his computer on and off as this will be of no use to his Citrix XenApp session you are advising him to log off and on again.

„Hooray calculation works again!“ – and it does because Mr. Parker got send to another server this time…

This will be your first annoyance as you now know that possibly there are some or more inconsistencies in your farm. So your precious time will be lost by trying to find out on which servers the calculation does not work and why. Worst case will picture you reinstalling those servers.

Probably there was just an update not installed on all servers so it is friday evening and you are going to update your servers this night or even on saturday! Why would you do that? Sure, because you cannot spare even one server and have to install the update during planned downtime or as we also can call it weekend.

If you do have an automated installation this will sure be done much faster but still it will take some time and if you will perform this one during weekdays at night you do not know wether everything works 100% right and you will not just see a bunch of angry users at the next day mooching around your desk.

Another day you might have made a change to all your servers but the next day noone is able to work anymore. So you will have to revert everything back. How long will take? I do not wanna know…

It sure is possible to go on like this but I guess you will get my point now.

Citrix Provisioning Services will make it possible to just foster a single virtual disk which will be provided by the streaming service to all your Citrix XenApp servers. Thus all your servers will be the same and after you updated the virtual disk all your servers will still be the same. Do you need to roll back because something went wrong? No problem just assing your old virtual disk and reboot. Done!

Updates anyone? Sure, just start your template machine, update your virtual disk assign to your servers and after your nightly restart you are done.

Best of all after you did restart your servers they will reset to their previous state and start again from the virtual disks state.

So Citrix Provisioning Services will

  • minimize the time it takes to update all your servers
  • maximize server uptime
  • make it easy to expand your farm
  • will provide you with a fast rollback mechanism
  • put aside weekend shifts for server updates
  • minimize storage space demand
  • deliver updates to any amount of servers within one reboot
  • provide you with a consistent server state
  • make troubleshooting easier

I sure could come up with some more specious arguments but I guess this will do it for now. As you see Citrix Provisioning Services are not just a better imaging process it will improve your and your users life considerably!

I can only advise you to choose a known Citrix solutions advisor as you will tremendously benefit from their experience. Maybe you will go with a Platinum partner from the start?

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