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master vm sysprep? Best way to create 150 or so private VMs

Ken Hankish


Hi, just want to confirm the best way to create 100+ dedicated, persistent VMs (no vdisk involved aka streaming)   Each one of these must end up dedicated to one user, permanently.   


We just finished some extensive testing with XD 7.6, and I created the VMs using MCS since that seemed to be the way to do this.  As each person logged in, they were assigned a unique VM, and after logout/in again they still got that one unique VM.   So I think I've figured that out, but let me know if I'm missing anything.  The bad thing if I recall about this method is if you forgot one thing, there was no way to put it on the master and have it "refresh" existing VMs.


Also, I read in Citrix eDocs that MCS does sysprep for you.    So I assume this means you DON'T need to do it on your master VM?     We use Microsoft MDT (a free download, normally part of System Center) to build the master VM and one of it's default steps is to execute sysprep.  (I can disable that though)     Any other products you all use to build your master VM besides MDT?


From there on out for managing them, I'm thinking of installs/uninstalls/registry changes using PDQ Deploy.   And pushing windows updates to them using Microsoft's WSUS.

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MCS changes the computer name in the registry automatically. No sysprep needed.


Citrix does not have any method of creating full clones. You do that the normal way by cloning the VMs using your hypervisor's cloning method and then add the cloned machines to a "Manual" (Other Service or Technology) catalog.

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MCS does not use SysPrep when it creates the linked clones. There's no need to run it before creating the linked clones but you're welcome to leave it in your execution list as long as sysprep is completely done before you create the linked clones.


I strongly discourage using MCS (linked clones) for persistent desktops, especially if you plan to backup/recover them or might need to move them to a new cluster, new storage, or new vCenter in the future. Full clones are the more flexible option.

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Thanks Carl.  Okay, so you confirm I don't run sysprep if using MCS.  In fact this link states that:


  Important: If you are using Provisioning Services or Machine Creation Services, do not run Sysprep on master images.

Another forum user says MCS uses something "lighter" than sysprep, whatever that means.


Can you link to steps on doing this "full clone" process?  Is this part of a wizard?  Or is it more complicated.  Hopefully it allows creation of 100+ VMs at once, not a one-by-one process.






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Full Copy is faded when I right click, COPY on a template. However, I do see the Full Copy option when right click an actual VM that actually has attached storage.     Also, without actually doing it, I assume it will only create one copy (one VM at a time) ? If so, doing this 130 or so times would be painful. So I assume that's why you mention scripting.   Assuming you mean powershell, knowing which command or commands would be helpful.  I ran into this link searching: 

http://blogs.citrix.com/2014/09/10/scripting-automating-vm-operations-on-xenserver-using-powershell/   and I assume these excerpts are the ones that would pertain to me?   

  • Get the source VM or Template
  • Decide if we’re doing a clone or copy (i.e. thin vs. thick provision)
  • Schedule the creation of the VMs
  • Wait for the creation to finish
  • If we started with templates, then we need to provision VMs from the copies/clones and wait for the provisioning to finish   (I'm not sure what they mean by this..You'd create 100 copies, that are not VMs (what are they then?), and then provision 100 VMs from them?

I assume their sample script they provide will work with XD7.6   

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