Feb 21, 2016

Installing and Configuring Citrix Provisioning Services 7.6 (Part 2)


In this part of our article series we will continue with the configuration of the PVS Server. In the first part we went through the installation steps of the PVS Server, the PVS console and the PVS Target Device.


If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

 

Introduction

In this article series we will go through the installation and configuration of Citrix Provisioning Services 7.6, so at the end of the series you will have a functional PVS infrastructure including OS streaming to the Target Devices.

Configuration 1st PVS Server

At the end of the installation the Provisioning Service Configuration Wizard is automatically started, but can be started out of the Start Menu shortcut. The wizard starts with an informational screen.

                 Figure 1: Provisioning Services Configuration Wizard Introduction

PVS Target Devices normally use a DHCP IP address as the OS Streaming is based on an image. The first question in the configuration wizard is about the location of the DHCP services. In most cases the DCHP service will run on a separate computer (not on the PVS server), so that answer will be most used. If you don’t have a DCHP server the PVS software includes a very small basic DHCP service.

                 Figure 2: Provisioning Services Configuration WizardDHCP Services

Secondly the wizard would like to know which PXE services you would like to use. If you would like to use PXE (you can use an alternate method called BDM). If you are using PXE, I recommend using the PXE service of PVS to keep your set-up simple and understandable. However you should be sure that no other PXE services are running in the same VLAN.

                 Figure 3: Provisioning Services Configuration WizardPXE Services

As this is our first PVS server we should create a new environment. An environment is called a farm within PVS, so we needed to choose Create Farm.

                 Figure 4: Provisioning Services Configuration WizardCreate Farm

PVS is using a SQL database to store the information. PVS 7.x supports SQL 2008 or higher. SQL express is also supported, but logically that’s not recommended. In the next screen you specify the SQL server details. What’s really nice about PVS is the full support of database mirroring including automatic failover if you specify the failover partner in the database configuration part.

                 Figure 5: Provisioning Services Configuration WizardDatabase

After specify the SQL server information the database name should be provided including the name for the three levels within the PVS infrastructure (farm, site and collection). These names are only visible/used in the console and can be changed to something different without consequences after the initial configuration. Lastly we need to specify which AD group contains the accounts, which will become the PVS administrators.

 Figure 6: Provisioning Services Configuration WizardNew Farm

The next step is specifying the store name and store location. At the Store location the vDisk(s) will be stored. You can use a UNC path, shared LUN of local storage. Many types of local storage are being used to avoid that the data is travelling on the network twice (from the store to the PVS server and from the PVS server to the Target Devices). However using local storage implies that you need to arrange a sync between the PVS servers, while PVS does not have a sync mechanism in place (often DFS-R is user for this specific task).

 Figure 7: Provisioning Services Configuration WizardNew Store

Just like other Citrix products PVS is using the Citrix License Server. In most circumstances this will be the same server used for XenApp or XenDesktop.

 Figure 8: Provisioning Services Configuration WizardLicense Server

Optionally a user account can be provided. This user account is required when using a shared LUN or UNC path to access the vDisk on this storage location. When using local storage the network service account can be used. Citrix advises the user Network service account when possible. Take into consideration that the account provided here will also be used to contact the database. If your database administrator does not allow computer accounts as an SQL account, you should also specify a user account here.

 Figure 9: Provisioning Services Configuration WizardUser Account

Just like user accounts, computer objects in AD have their own password, which is changed on a regular basis. PVS has a functionality built in to arrange that this process is still functioning although the same vDisk (image) is used by multiple devices. During the initial wizard you can specify the time frame this password needs to change. There is also a group policy setting that sets the change password time frame. This policy and the configuration in PVS should match.

 Figure 10: Provisioning Services Configuration WizardActive Directory Computer Account Password

PVS is based on demand streaming. In the Network Communications window we need to specify which network card (or actually IP address) is used for streaming the OS to the Target Devices and on which IP address management tasks are executed. The IP addresses are stored into the configuration, change the IP address later should be followed by a reconfiguration of the PVS configuration. The streaming IP address can be re-configured within the console, while the management IP address requires a re-run of the Configuration Wizard again. If required also the communication ports can be changed here.

 Figure 11: Provisioning Services Configuration WizardNetwork Communications

In many cases the TFTP service is used to load the bootstrap file. If you are using TFTP you need to check this option. The default file location provided is correct and does by default require no changes.

 Figure 12: Provisioning Services Configuration WizardTFTP and Bootstrap

Within the configuration you need to specify which PVS server(s) can be used for starting the Target Devices. You can specify between 1 and 4 servers. As every PVS server can fulfill this role it’s recommended to add as many PVS servers as possible (four as a maximum). Besides the boot process these IP address are also contacted in case a booted Target Device loses connection with his PVS server to re-connect to the PVS infrastructure.

 Figure 13: Provisioning Services Configuration WizardStream Servers Boot List

With this last configuration step the configuration wizard has all the information required. A summary of the configuration is shown. By pressing Finish the database will be created, the services will be configured and by default started automatically.

 Figure 14: Provisioning Services Configuration WizardConfirm configuration settings

When you are using a Windows Firewall you need to open the necessary ports manually. Unfortunately the installation wizard does not take over that. PVS is using several port ranges, so be sure you have all ports added to the Windows Firewall. During the wizard you will get a message reminding you to about this fact, when an active Windows Firewall is detected.

 Figure 15: Provisioning Services Configuration WizardWindows Firewall

At the end of the wizard and everything went fine, we will get to see all green checkmarks at the activities executed during the configuration wizard and the first PVS is up and running.

 Figure 16: Provisioning Services Configuration WizardFinished
 

Configuration following PVS Server(s)

On the second (and following) PVS server you will start the same wizard. Normally you will answer the same questions as for the first PVS server. Starting from Figure 2 DHCP will run on another machine and in Figure 3 PXE Service will run on this machine. Next you will logically choose another option than the first server. The following servers will join an existing farm (created at the first PVS server).

 Figure 17: Provisioning Services Configuration Join existing farm

Next we need to provide the SQL server name as shown in Figure 5. As we are joining a farm, we need to select the farm. When more PVS databases are available on the same SQL server, you can choose which farm you would like to join.

 Figure 18: Provisioning Services Configuration Choose Existing Farm

The next decision is if the PVS server will join an existing site or a new site is to be created. Each site needs at least one site, while two are recommended for fault tolerance. I will use an existing site, so I can show the load balancing and fault tolerant options later in this article. You can also move a PVS server to a different site using the management console.

 Figure 19: Provisioning Services Configuration Choose Site

The same applies to the Store. Also here you can use the existing store or create a new one. It depends on your Store set-up which option you will choose, mostly you will use the existing store.

 Figure 20: Provisioning Services Configuration Choose Store

Next we need to choose if we use the network service account or a specific account as shown in Figure 9. The same reasons apply for the selection as at the first PVS server. From this point the wizard is exactly the same as the first PVS server, so you follow the steps from Figure 9 also for the following PVS servers. After the wizard has fully run, the PVS server has joined the farm and we are ready to do some additional configuration, which I will describe later on in this article series.

 

Summary

In this article part I described the initial configuration wizard of the first and following PVS server. Now both servers have executed this initial wizard we are ready to do the preparations for creating the vDisk, which will be described in the upcoming part.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:



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