City of Sandy and XenServer

City of Sandy and XenServer

While I personally moved back over to VMware for my personal servers, the City of Sandy still uses Citrix for it’s virtual platform. While I had a dislike for it before, it is becoming more bearable and easier to deal with. The past few months have been me learning how to really work this hyper-visor properly. Along with XenDesktop, it has been quite a ride.

Mixed thoughts about NetApp – We have a small NetApp setup in our datacenter that is used for our file storage for the Xen environment. While it was hot stuff when we got it, it just doesn’t seem to have the performance that was promised. Heck, our small 18TB homemade storage server has more I/O capacity than the NetApp, even though it lacks more spindles. It is hard to say whether the NetApp is to blame, or the Citrix environment, but either way something is not operating as it should.

XenDesktop5 to 7 – A few months ago, XenDesktop7 was released, and boy was it about time. Our XenDesktop5 environment was falling apart, and we had users connecting through storefront, access gateway, secure access and some other web interface for only 35 virtual desktops. With XenDesktop7, there was a focus on more mobile and WAN usage, so maybe it could benefit our patrol officers, whom are using crappy MiFi’s on a crappy 3G Verizon connection. The transition was anything but smooth… At least for the first week. It took me about a week to find our why every XenDesktop conversion was failing, and it turns out my user profile name was too long, and the installer fatally errored and kicked me out, breaking the machine. I don’t know who puts a user profile length in place for a string that needs a user profile, but way to go Citrix! Anyway after that, the conversion took only another week and was much smoother. Now that everyone is moved over to storefront and XenDesktop7, things have settled down and are returning to normal.

XenServer 6.2 Upgrade – This is yet to happen. As of right now, one of my coworkers is on vacation, and we are waiting for him to return so we can finish this upgrade. Because XenServer 6.1 broke all of the XenDesktop environments, we had to wait for XenDesktop7 to come out and then upgrade XenServer. But since all of the desktops are now moved, we can continue with our upgrade plan and see if we get any performance boost. I am hoping that we will see dramatically higher I/O and VM performance. I would also like to see XenDesktop video quality increase, but that may just be a dream.

Other than that, not much has happened in the past few months. I have been accepted into OSU and I move down to Corvallis late September. But until I move, I will continue to work at the City and see what I can do to make things better…

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