11 Replies Latest reply on Nov 3, 2008 1:20 PM by mullstu

    VI3.5 And Citrix PS 4.5

    nonu Enthusiast

      Hi Everyone,

       

      Has anyone tested PS 4.5 (or any of the citrix version) on the  VI 3.5??

       

      And can Anyone just provide me an info as to what has changed in VI3.5,which would make it work better than VI3.0.

       

      I have read quite a few number of threads about vmware and citrix and very few says it works well,but yes it can be tweaked to some level for a better performance.

       

      So coming back to my question will the VI3.5 make citrix performace any better?

       

      Thanks,

       

      Nonu.

        • 1. Re: VI3.5 And Citrix PS 4.5
          rDale Enthusiast

           

          I dont think the answer to your question or the problem of running citrix on vmware is 100% in 3.5 but more a mix between the new hardware assists delivered by hardware vendors such as the neterion x-frame v-nic and intel VT etc that are supported in 3.5, personally i dont see the problem with citrix I run many citrix servers with 20 to 30 office users per 1 core vm. However if you want to  walk down that path you might want to look at Xen Desktop as a more supported alternative.

           

           

          It also has alot of do with the correct utilisation and design in citrix of when to load locally when to silo, isolate stream etc. and how you built/setup the host that will run these machines. Virtualisation of citrix isnt only about the hardware consolidation. There are all other aspects cloning, HA, snapshots, page sharing etc etc.

           

           

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: VI3.5 And Citrix PS 4.5
            nonu Enthusiast

            I understand that Virtualization of citrix isn’t only about the hardware consolidation, but as per what you said VI3.5 has nothing different in terms of running citrix on the Vmware, it's same as we used in the VI3..except we can make use of specialized hardware which 3.5 can use and thus have citrix run on those hosts, can you also tell me what advantage i will have in terms of running citrix on the specialized hardware.

             

            Since you are already running Citrix on Vmware ..can i ask which application are ur users using and what is the response time.

             

            We are just weighing are options so just wanted to know.

             

            I know there are couple or articles which tells us about tweaking citrix to run on the Vmware, have you done any kind of tweaking in Vmware to run citrix.

             

            Thanks,

            Nonu

            • 3. Re: VI3.5 And Citrix PS 4.5
              ctfoster Master

               

              Some points here you might find useful - I'm installing 4.5 next week.

               

               

              http://virtrix.blogspot.com/search?q=this+tuning+list+

               

               

              http://www.brianmadden.com/content/article/A-short-guide-to-virtualizing-Presentation-and-Terminal-servers-on-VMware-ESX-3

               

               

              If you found this or any other post helpful please consider the use of the Helpfull/Correct buttons to award points

               

               

               

               

               

              • 4. Re: VI3.5 And Citrix PS 4.5
                depping Champion
                VMware EmployeesUser Moderators

                And like Oracle, Citrix will support their PS only on Xenserver.... Had a presentation last week about what will happen with Citrix as a company since they bought Xen. It seems to me they will be focussing on total virtualisation from the desktop to the application and the servers. And they told me PS on VMware is a no go but works fine on Xensource... which seems bogus to me. Maybe in the past, but with the hardware assist vmware incorporated in 3.5 this should not be a problem anymore. especially on the quadcore dual proc machines.

                 

                 

                 

                 

                Duncan

                My virtualisation blog:

                http://www.yellow-bricks.com

                • 5. Re: VI3.5 And Citrix PS 4.5
                  nonu Enthusiast

                  Thanks for that input Duncan,but the point which i had raised that has "anyone tested it and is there some signifcant increase due to hardware assist".

                   

                  I am not sure which hadware will I be putting on that is,being finalized but I am sure it's not quad core,but a dual core AMD.

                   

                   

                  I would assume if it would had probably VMware would had realeased a paper on it right away.

                   

                   

                  Anyways I am going to dirty my hands with this once again.. and will let you guys know how it went.

                   

                   

                  Thanks for your help and if you anyone have any more information please feel free to post your inputs in this thread.

                   

                   

                  Thanks,

                   

                   

                  Nonu

                  • 6. Re: VI3.5 And Citrix PS 4.5
                    TomHowarth Guru
                    User ModeratorsvExpert

                    And they told me PS on VMware is a no go but works fine on Xensource... Comments like that from Citrix PS will find the company on the wrong end of a  EU law suit on restrictive practices, Oracle too are treading on thin Ice.  PS4.5 works fine on 3.x.x and 3.5. 10 -20 users a single vCPU box are expected loading depending on application sets. I personally have not seen any increase in performance on 3.5 over 3.x.x but that is with the same hardware, but that is not to say there wont be with newer hardware. but HET

                     

                     

                     

                    Tom Howarth

                    VMware Communities User Moderator

                    • 7. Re: VI3.5 And Citrix PS 4.5
                      jasonboche Champion
                      vExpert

                      I'm running many Citrix Presentation Server 4.0 servers within VMware ESX 3.0.1 (will be upgrading to ESX 3.5 in the next few months).

                       

                      I'm continually pulling together performance and threshold data which I'm going to summarize in report format to my business lines and I'll probably share with the VMware community.

                       

                      I will tell you right now that for the Citrix servers I virtualized on ESX 3.x, I'm seeing extraordinary results that have so far exceeded my expectations. I'm running Citrix on ESX 3.5 at home but I don't have a lot of user load to throw at it to get any sort of decent performance results.

                       

                      Citrix on VMware ESX 2.x flat out sucked for any sort of practical user load due to the context switching which had to go through the less-efficient binary translation in ESX 2.x to access CPU Ring 0

                       

                      I knew there were significant improvements made in VMware ESX 3.x even without the help of CPU hardware assist but I didn't expect to see this much improvement. Now that I'm virtualizing Citrix on VMware ESX 3.x, it's absolutely blowing my mind and my co-workers (at least the virtualization minded ones) are wetting themselves.

                       

                      I can only hope that Citrix on ESX 3.5.x is the same or better.

                       

                      A few of the things we're seeing:

                      1. The VM is handling slighly more users with a fraction of the hardware used

                      2. The VM is managing application memory more efficiently which I think will allow us to get more theoretical users on a VM than on physical hardware because with 4GB of usable RAM, we always run out of memory first. The memory efficiency is is due to VMware's Content-Based Page Sharing (see http://www.waldspurger.org/carl/papers/esx-mem-osdi02.pdf). My incomplete knowledge of VMware's page sharing up to this point was that pages were shared between VMs only. The memory efficiency I'm seeing when running Citrix inside a VM suggests that VMware page sharing is being used to share common memory pages inside of just a single VM of the same Citrix published application that is being run 40 times in 40 concurrent users sessions.  An email to me from Carl Waldspurger confirmed that VMware's Content-Based Page Sharing works both inter-VM and intra-VM.

                       

                      Here is some recent informal teaser data from Citrix Resource Manager that I will share so far that Citrix administrators should be able to appreciate. A comparison of phsyical hardware versus virtual hardware of 2 Citrix boxes load balanced and running the same applications in the same production silo.

                       

                      PB1 is running on physical hardware. HP BL25p blade, 4 AMD Opteron processor cores, 4GB RAM, local disk storage.

                      http://communities.vmware.com/servlet/JiveServlet/download/863663-5954/pb1anon.jpg

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                      PB6 is a P2V of PB1 running on virtual hardware. VMware ESX 3.0.1, VM configuration is 1 virtual AMD Opteron processor core, 4GB RAM allocated, HP EVA SAN disk storage for the .VMDK.

                      http://communities.vmware.com/servlet/JiveServlet/download/863663-5953/pb6anon.jpg

                       

                       

                       

                      At this point, the higher CPU utilization spikes seen on the virtual PB6 is not much of a concern and is not causing a noticable impact to end users. In fact, it's more of a blessing. It accomplishes one of the core reasons we virtualize in the first place: to make more use of existing hardware. Look at the 4 mostly idle CPU cores on PB1. Waste of money and processors due to all the idling.

                                                                                                      Jason Boche

                      VMware Communities User Moderator

                       

                      Message was edited by: jasonboche

                       

                      Due to blog articles referencing this post, I updated my post on 3/26 adding the bit that VMware confirmed with me that Content-Based Page Sharing functions both inter and intra VM.

                      1 person found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: VI3.5 And Citrix PS 4.5
                        rDale Enthusiast

                         

                        Thats some cool data; one interesting thing is the increase in context switches, I wonder if the more you load those VMs that your unacceptable percieved performance would come not from memory or simple cpu time but from a sort of application wait state due to to many context switches. Which if the case would bring up another question if you where to dedicate a host to run only citrix vms what would the ideal host cpu characteristics be like.

                         

                         

                        I would be under the impression that the threshold on the citrix server would be a controlled by the processors ability to complete transactions and switch to the next request, maybe processor Queue would be a good place to monitor.

                         

                         

                        My citrix servers are running on average of 25 users each and get very good application response these are free floating along with all the other VMs, ill post some stats next week; and the modifications I made maybe you have some more tricks I can add to my boxes.

                         

                         

                         

                         

                         

                        Do you run your citrix servers free floating with other VMs or on dedicated boxes ?

                         

                         

                        • 9. Re: VI3.5 And Citrix PS 4.5
                          jasonboche Champion
                          vExpert
                          rDale wrote:

                           

                          Thats some cool data; one interesting thing is the increase in context switches, I wonder if the more you load those VMs that your unacceptable percieved performance would come not from memory or simple cpu time but from a sort of application wait state due to to many context switches. Which if the case would bring up another question if you where to dedicate a host to run only citrix vms what would the ideal host cpu characteristics be like.

                           

                           

                          We know as Citrix administrators there exists a user count threshold where performance and user experience tanks. We haven't hit that yet with 40 users on our Citrix VMs. I've asked for my manager's approval to take one of the Citrix servers out of the silo which will force user count per server to ~50 so we can start to discover where exactly that threshold is in a Citrix VM with our application silo specific characteristics. The threshold will change from silo to silo. For this particular application silo, the threshold may be 50 users. For a silo that runs other applications, that threshold may be much lower, like 20 users. It all depends on the published application load in the silo.

                           

                          Trust me, I'm keeping a keen eye on context switching. It's already reaching the boundaries of my comfortability level but if end user performance is not suffering, I can raise my context switching alarm level from 18,000/sec. to say 30,000/sec. Again, it's all about finding the sweet spot just before the tanking starts to happen.

                           

                           

                          I would be under the impression that the threshold on the citrix server would be a controlled by the processors ability to complete transactions and switch to the next request, maybe processor Queue would be a good place to monitor.

                           

                          My citrix servers are running on average of 25 users each and get very good application response these are free floating along with all the other VMs, ill post some stats next week; and the modifications I made maybe you have some more tricks I can add to my boxes.

                           

                           

                           

                          I would definitely like to see what you are doing. From my side, I don't have any tricks up my sleeve as far as the VM configuration or the guest configuration. One of the benefits ESX 3.x brought to us was they eliminated the need to specify the "workload = terminalservices" parameter in the .vmx file which one needed to use on ESX 2.x for tuning. It's automagic in ESX 3.x. As far as customizations inside the guest OS after the P2V, that list isn't too lengthy because I don't want my Citrix platforms to be radically different between physical and virtual for support reasons:

                           

                           

                          -


                           

                          P2V Steps

                          VMware VirtualCenter/ESX:

                          1. Create a new VM from scratch

                          a. Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition

                          b. 1 vCPU

                          c. 4,096MB RAM (4GB RAM)

                          d. 1x 37GB LSI Logic SCSI drive

                          e. 1 NIC, tied to appropriate network

                          f. Detach any attached floppy and/or CD-ROM devices

                          g. Set floppy and CD-ROM devices to host based

                           

                          Using P2V Assistant (Compresses down to 3.5GB tar.gz):

                          1. Boot physical server using P2V Assistant boot CD

                          2. If using Fast Ethernet on the physical server or switch, follow these sub steps on the physical server once it is finished booting up from the CD:

                          a. Close the P2V Server application window

                          b. hard code NIC speed/duplex to 100Mbps/Full Duplex:

                          i. Open a terminal session console

                          ii. Switch user to root by issuing the command: su –

                          iii. Issue the command: mii-tool –F 100baseTx-FD eth0 (and/or eth1 depending on how many NICs are detected)

                          iv. Issue the mii-tool command once again to verify NIC(s) are at the correct speed/duplex

                          v. Close terminal console

                          vi. Re-launch P2V Server application window for which there is an icon on the desktop

                          3. Add a 37GB virtual SCSI disk to the helper VM. This will be an existing drive which would have been created when the new VM was created from scratch early on

                          4. In Windows Disk Management, “rescan” the disks so that the new disk can be seen.

                          5. Install P2V Assistant software in helper VM

                          6. Launch P2V Assistant application

                          7. Select a task: “Clone a source…”

                          8. Enter the IP address of the server which was booted with the P2V Assistant boot CD. The IP address will be on display on the physical server in the P2V Server application window.

                          9. Highlight the drive and choose next

                          10. Choose “Yes, clone the disk, then reconfigure system files in the target disk”. If you do not choose this option, the VM will not boot due to inaccessible boot device BSOD.

                          11. Uncheck both of the following two boxes:

                          a. Uncheck Do not copy temporary system files such as pagefile.sys and hyberfile.sys

                          b. Uncheck Do not copy temporary internet files

                          12. Choose “Use a direct disk device…”

                          13. Click the “Select” button and choose the new disk from step 3.

                          14. Target VMware Product, choose “ESX Server 2.1.x, 2.5.x, or 3.x (1vCPU).

                          15. Of the remaining two boxes:

                          a. Uncheck the box for pre-installing the temporary SVGA driver

                          b. Check the box for Attempt to preserve drive letter to volume mappings (by default it is already checked)

                          16. The P2V process will complete after a period of time. Usually around 20-60 minutes depending on hardware and network speeds.

                          17. At the end, VMware may warn you of an error in the P2V process regarding a long file name issue. This appears to be OK to ignore.

                          18. Shut down the helper VM and power off

                          19. Detach (remove) the 37GB virtual SCSI disk from the helper VM. DO NOT delete the disk from the datastore!

                          20. We need to disable all HP services in the P2V’d VM. Failure to do this will cause one of the HP Insight 7.90 services to hang the VM at the logon screen and use 100% of the ESX host processor:

                          a. Reboot the P2V’d VM into Winternals ERD Commander 2005

                          b. Select the Windows installation you wish to repair: D:\WINDOWS Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Server, Service Pack 1

                          c. Open the Service and Driver Manager

                          d. Disable all HP services. Failure to do this will cause one of the HP Insight 7.90 services to hang the VM at the logon screen and use 100% of the ESX host processor

                          e. Choose Start|Log Off|Restart

                          f. After the helper VM reboots and goes through POST, power it off. Don’t let it boot into Windows.

                           

                          Using VMware Converter (Compresses down to 13GB tar.gz):

                          1. VMware Converter could be used as an alternative to the P2V Assistant tool in order to migrate the physical server into a VI3 virtual infrastructure, however, it will create less compressible .vmdk file which considerably lessens the .vmdk’s portability because it won’t fit on a DVD when using this tool

                          2. For maximum efficiency, configure the correct NIC speed/duplex before starting the P2V process

                          3. Before powering on the new VM for the first time:

                          a. Change virtual SCSI controller type from BusLogic to LSI Logic (not performing this step will result in BSOD when booting to the Command Console or finding no hard drive when booting to ERD Commander 2005)

                          b. Set virtual RAM to 1,024MB

                          c. Set number of processors to 1

                          d. Remove any virtual USB or Serial port virtual hardware

                          e. Detach any attached floppy and/or CD-ROM devices

                          f. Set floppy and CD-ROM devices to host based

                          4. There are other steps and considerations to complete this parallel process properly and consistently with the P2V Assistant process to arrive at the same end point but in the interest of time conservation, I’m not going to go through it all here. The fact that VMware Converter generates a .vmdk file that won’t compress down to a reasonable size does not make this alternative attractive at all.

                           

                           

                          Boot to Windows 2003 OS:

                          1. Before powering on the new P2V’d VM:

                          a. Remove any virtual USB or Serial port virtual hardware

                          b. Detach any attached floppy and/or CD-ROM devices

                          c. Set floppy and CD-ROM devices to host based

                          2. Power on the new P2V’d VM and boot into Windows

                          3. Windows Server 2003 will find a bunch of hardware. When it asks you to reboot, don’t

                          4. Install VMware Tools (Complete installation)

                          5. When asked if you’d like to set hardware acceleration, choose Yes. This will bring up the display properties sheet. Click the Advanced button. Troubleshoot tab. Move the slider from None to Full and then click OK. Change resolution to 1024x768. Click OK.

                          6. In Device Manager, remove both COM ports and Parallel port

                          7. Shut down and power off VM

                          8. Power up VM

                          9. Change CDROM drive letter to Z:

                          10. SNMP Service, Agent tab: Uncheck Physical checkbox. Uncheck Datalink checkbox.

                          11. Delete HP/Compaq NICs if they exist. Only the VMware Accelerated AMD PCNet NIC should remain

                          12. Rename Local Area Connection xx to Local Area Connection 1

                          13. Ensure correct TCP/IP setting for new vNIC

                          14. Change ACPI Multiprocessor PC HAL to Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) PC HAL. This is needed for proper CPU idling. The yellow image was based off a SMP HAL and our VM is not vSMP enabled. Don’t reboot yet.

                          15. Perform the following to allow Windows to completely remove locally cached user profiles (the VMware file \Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\VMware\hgfs.dat prevents this without this tweak)

                          Access the Windows Registry. Choose Start > Run, then type regedit. The Registry Editor window opens.

                          Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\NetworkProvider\Order\.

                          Right-click ProviderOrder and choose Modify. In the Edit String Value dialog box, edit the value data string and remove the characters ,hgfs (including the leading comma)

                          For example, if the value data string contains LanmanWorkstation,hgfs then change it to LanmanWorkstation

                          If the value data string contains only hgfs, then erase it and leave the value data string empty.

                          Click OK.

                          Close the registry editor. Choose File > Exit

                          16. Reboot

                          17. Login. A hardware discovery may be made requiring another reboot.

                          18. Reboot

                          19. Clear the contents of all three event logs (Application, System, and Security)

                          20. Shut down the VM.

                          21. Boot the VM from the Windows Server 2003 Command Console or ERD Commander 2005 and delete C:\pagefile.sys if it exists before snapping image. This will conserve image size. It is possible this file may not already exist which is fine. See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/255205

                           

                          Making the VM portable to other ESX Servers:

                          22. The following steps are optional. To compress the VM and make it portable for moving in and out of the lab or moving across the network to a different ESX host, follow these instructions

                          23. Configure floppy and CD-ROM devices:

                          a. Detach any attached floppy and/or CD-ROM devices

                          b. Set floppy and CD-ROM devices to host based

                          24. Log on to the ESX server as root

                          25. Change directory to the location of the VM to be compressed (ie. root@mnesx1 /# cd /vmfs/volumes/lab_msa_1/psbase01/)

                          26. On the ESX host where the new P2V’d VM exists, the following files can be deleted:

                          a. *.log (rm *.log –f)

                          b. *.nvram (rm *.nvram –f)

                          27. On the ESX host, edit the .vmx file and remove the line similar to the following:

                          sched.swap.derivedName = "/vmfs/volumes/414e3788-7b3ab862-4bf0-000802b03d6c/psbase01/psbase01-43ab3dd5.vswp"

                          28. Now go up one level (root@mnesx1 /vmfs/volumes/lab_msa_1/psbase01# cd ..)

                          29. root@mnesx1 /vmfs/volumes/lab_msa_1# ll -h

                          30. You should see the directory where the VM lives

                          drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1.1K Dec 3 10:21 psbase01

                          drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 3.0K Dec 2 20:55 sqlprod1

                          drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1.6K Dec 2 20:55 sqlprod2

                          drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1.8K Dec 2 20:43 labadwfb03

                          drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1.9K Dec 2 20:33 labsqltest

                          drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 2.5K Dec 2 20:24 mndhcp

                          drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1.2K Nov 28 15:29 isos

                          drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1.6K Dec 2 21:05 Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Gold

                          drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1.6K Dec 2 20:53 Windows Server 2003 Standard Gold

                          31. Create the compressed tarball (root@mnesx1 /vmfs/volumes/lab_msa_1# tar -czf psbase01.tar.gz psbase01/)

                          32. After considerable amount of time (it’s compressing 37GB), the compression procedure will finish and you should see the single .tar.gz file sitting in the directory you’re in currently

                          33. root@mnesx1 /vmfs/volumes/lab_msa_1# ll -h

                          drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1.1K Dec 3 10:21 psbase01

                          -rw-rr 1 root root 3.4G Dec 3 10:54 psbase01.tar.gz

                          drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 3.0K Dec 2 20:55 sqlprod1

                          drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1.6K Dec 2 20:55 sqlprod2

                          drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1.8K Dec 2 20:43 labadwfb03

                          drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1.9K Dec 2 20:33 labsqltest

                          drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 2.5K Dec 2 20:24 mndhcp

                          drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1.2K Nov 28 15:29 isos

                          drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1.6K Dec 2 21:05 Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Gold

                          drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1.6K Dec 2 20:53 Windows Server 2003 Standard Gold

                          34. At this point, the single .tar.gz file can be safely copied to a USB drive or burned to DVD (assuming it fits) for portability to other ESX Servers. To extract the tarball, use the command tar -xzvf filename.tar.gz Due to the way we packaged the tarball, this command will create whatever directory structure exists in the tarball. Referencing the example above, a folder called psbase01 will be created and the file contents will be placed in that folder.

                           

                           

                           

                           

                           

                           

                           

                          -


                           

                          Do you run your citrix servers free floating with other VMs or on dedicated boxes ?

                           

                           

                          The Citrix VMs are free floating - VMware DRS puts them wherever it feels like putting them.

                           

                           

                           

                           

                           

                          Jason Boche

                          VMware Communities User Moderator

                          • 10. Re: VI3.5 And Citrix PS 4.5
                            nonu Enthusiast

                             

                            Thanks jason for all the data you posted,it's great to see inputs in such details from one of the VMTN moderator..

                             

                             

                            Thanks a lot,it looks very positive and whatever I Have tried till now it's looking great both on VI3.5 and VI3.0.1.

                             

                             

                            Will post some results in couple of weeks.

                             

                             

                            Thanks a lot guys for all your valuable inputs...

                             

                             

                            Paras

                             

                             

                            • 11. Re: VI3.5 And Citrix PS 4.5
                              mullstu Lurker

                               

                              Jason,

                               

                               

                              Have you been able to increase your Citrix server user count to over 50? If so do you happen to have any statistics on the servers during that time. I am looking to have Presentation Server v4.5 run in a VMWare 3.5 environment for contingency purposes and I want to see what you had for results, if any.

                               

                               

                              Thanks.