Sunday, September 13, 2009

HA Provisioning Server without SAN or NAS!

By:Rich Brumpton

I've loved Provisioning Server for a long time now, and Citrix has been doing a great job of moving forward with additional features and functionality. They have also provided a very thorough job of documenting the many possible configurations of PVS in an HA configuration. One that has been possible for a while, but has not made it into the white papers is local disk HA. (Explained in this article and also detailed by Jarian Gibson on his blog here).

This local disk HA option is a perfect example of the trade-off we often have to make between a low upfront cost and easy operations in the future. I've run into many great PVS prospect customers who do not own a SAN, but still require high-availability from PVS because so many of their users rely on it for XenApp server or VDI machines. It does however increase operating expenses to deploy it this way because you have to copy multi-gigabyte files around multiple times throughout a single versioning of a vDisk. Compare this to using a shared LUN ($) (with a cluster file system ($)) where you only have to copy the file once.

So when choosing a HA method for PVS, be sure to take into account where the best place to make that investment is. Lower initial cost or easier operations, which one is worth more?

In a future blog post I will explore an undocumented method for managing vDisks that can be even quicker and easier than using a regular shared LUN or folder, on the right kind of storage.

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