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Best Practices for Creating a XenDesktop Image

Citrix has reviewed the documentation for creating a XenDesktop Base Image, and as i see it this will be better than before since you now create one base image, and after creating the vdisk you start to make it “private” or as you want to publish it.

That will speed up the process of creating new Vdisks for new users.

Here is the new guidlines described in CTX121028

Create a Golden Image

A golden image is the image that is going to be streamed to the various VMs that the end users connect to.

1. Install the host operating system to the virtual machine (VM).
2. Add all the various applications that required by the end user.
3. The VM should be in Workgroup mode and not added to the domain at this point.
4. Do not install the VDA Agent.
5. Once the image is created with XenTools and installed minus the VDA agent, install the Provisioning Server Target Device Software. Once installed, shut down the VM and proceed to Creating the vDisk File.

Creating the vDisk File in the Console

To create a new vDisk file in the Console.

1. In the Console tree, right-click on the vDisk Pool in the site where you want to add those vDisks, then select the Create vDisk menu option. The Create vDisk dialog appears.
2. If you accessed this dialog from the site’s vDisk pool, in the drop-down menu, select the store where this vDisk should reside. If you accessed this dialog from the store, from the drop-down menu, select the site where this vDisk should be added.
3. In the Server used to create the vDisk drop-down menu, select the Provisioning Server to create the vDisk.
4. Type a filename for the vDisk. Optionally, type a description for this new vDisk in the description textbox.
5. In the Size text box, scroll to select the appropriate size to allocate for this vDisk file.
6. In the VHD Format text box, select the format as either Fixed or Dynamic (Maximum size: 2040 GB for VHD emulating SCSI; 127 GB for VHD emulating IDE).
7. Click Create vDisk, a progress dialog opens. Depending on the disk size and other factors, it might take several minutes to create the vDisk. After the vDisk is successfully created, it displays in the Console’s details pane and is ready for formatting.
8. Right-click on the vDisk in the Console, then select Mount vDisk. The vDisk icon appears with an orange arrow, if mounted properly.

Formatting a vDisk

For a target device to access the new vDisk, after you have created and allocated space for the vDisk file on the Provisioning Server, you must format the vDisk.

To format a mounted vDisk from the Console

In the Console, the vDisk should appear as a removable disk to the operating system.

1. Open a Windows Explorer window (click My Computer on the Desktop or on the Start Menu).
2. Right-click on the vDisk, then select Format.
3. Create a descriptive name for the volume label for the vDisk.
4. Click Start. Then click OK on the warning message that appears.
5. After formatting, close Windows Explorer and unmount the vDisk.

To unmount a vDisk

To unmount a vDisk and make it available to target devices, in the Console, right click on the vDisk, then select the Unmount vDisk <vDisk name> option.

To create a target device entry in the database

1. Right-click on the collection where this target device should reside.
2. Select Create Device. The Create Device dialog box appears.
3. Type the name and MAC address of the device, and optionally a description for that device, and click OK.

Note: The Name of the Target Device should be unique to the Domain Environment. The existing computer name of the end point that is going to be provisioned should NOT be used to avoid any conflicts within the Domain.

To assign a vDisk to a target device

1. In the Console tree, expand the Device Collections folder and click on the collection folder where this target device is a member. The target-device appears in the details pane.
2. Right-click on the desired target device and select Properties. The Target Device Properties dialog appears.
3. On the General tab, select Hard Disk from the Boot from option.
4. Click on the vDisks tab and click Add within the vDisk for this Device section. The Assign vDisks dialog appears.
5. To locate vDisks to assign to this target device, select a specific Store or Server under the Filter options, or accept the default settings, which includes All Stores and All Servers.
6. In the Select the desired vDisks list, highlight the vDisks to assign, click OK, and click OK again to close the Target Device Properties dialog.

Selecting Network Boot in XenCenter Console

1. In XenCenter go to the General tab of the VM that is being Imaged and click Properties.
2. Select the Startup Options tab and move Network Boot to the Top of the boot order list.

Running Image Builder

To image the Master Target Device’s hard drive to the vDisk, complete the following steps.

1. The target device vDisk status icon should appear in the target device tray. Double click on the icon to display the vDisk status. The status should be Active.

- Or -

Verify vDisk file availability to the target device by opening an Explorer window on the target device system (select My Computer from the desktop or Start menu). The vDisk uses the next available drive letter. For example, if your target device has an A: drive, C: drive and D: drive, the vDisk drive is assigned to E: at installation time. The size of this disk matches the size of your vDisk.

2. After verifying that the target device has access to the vDisk file on the Provisioning Server, from the target device, select Start>All Programs>Citrix>Provisioning Server>Provisioning Server Image Builder.
3. Click the Optimize button, review the changes that will be made and click OK.
4. Be sure that the Delete all files and folders in the destination path before selecting the Building Image checkbox.
5. Click Build to begin the image building process, and click Yes to confirm the build. This takes several minutes to complete. When the imaging process is complete, the following message appears:
“The target device image build is complete.”
6. Click OK, and then click Close.
7. Shut-down the target device.

The target device can now be set to boot from the vDisk. Use the General tab on the Console’s Target Device Properties dialog to set the target device to boot from the vDisk.

Boot Target to vDisk

1. In the Provisioning Server Console, right click the Target Device and go to Properties.
2. Change the Boot From pull down to vDisk.
3. Power on the VM.

Add the Target Device to the Domain

1. Once booted, right click My Computer and select Properties.
2. Go to the Computer Name tab and click Change.
3. Select the Domain type in the name of the domain and click OK.
4. Reboot.

Installing VDA Client

1. Install the desired applications.
2. Install the VDA Client then shutdown the VM and switch the Vdisk to Standard Image mode.

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