XenClient and Provisioning Services

Add a comment January 28th, 2011

So! I was supposed to go and have a lecture on Provisioning Services a few weeks ago and i needed a demo. As im running XenClient on my laptop, and with the SP1 update XenClient gets support to provisioning services! So i thought why not set up an internal Provisioning Server on my XenClient? How hard can it be!

Well it wasnt that hard, you just need a little bit of Linux knowlege to be able to do it!

I started out by installing a Server 2003 with provisioning services, only problem I had with this was to get XenClient tools installed but it works good.  I configured local storage and the PVS server was up and running. Oh and i also installed the Licens Server, to be able to get licensing going for the PVS.

I had to decide on which network to use for provisioning thou, i dont want it spam dhcp stuff outside of my laptop, so first i thought hey lets use the internal network option in xenclient to isolate the network. Turns out there is a bug thou in XenClient that wont turn on the internal network unless there is a cable plugged in the physical network port. That sucked! What about the wireless?

In xenclient all guests share the wireless and they all get an internal address, so it suited me fine! Now all i needed to do was to add the dhcp options to the internal dhcp server. XenClient uses dnsmasq as a dhcp server and dns forwarder.  All i needed to do was to edit /etc/dnsmasq.brwireless and add the options there! Awesome. So now all i need to do is install a Master Target Device!

I created a new guest, called it MTD and installed XP on it. When it was finished I installed the PVS tools to make an image of it and runned the wizard. Of course i configured the guest to also use the wireless network. It prepared XP to be sucked into PVS and rebooted. When it was rebooting I turned it of and set it to only boot on network. Started it again, crossed my fingers and waited for it to boot on the network. It started good I saw it got the bootfilename to boot from, but it wouldnt boot! It timed out all the time. When i looked closer it tried to boot from the PVS netboot image, but from the wrong server! The ip i had specified in the dhcp-option wasnt used. It tried to connect to xxx.xxx.xxx.1 which is the XenClient host OS. After some fiddling around with dnsmasq and confirming that i entered the correct ip to the PVS server i found somewhere on google that some networkcards have problems with that option. And they default to dhcp server. This meant i couldnt get it to boot from the PVS unless the PVS was the dhcp server!

Well no problem, i disabled dhcp part of dnsmasq and installed the builtin dhcp-service from windows and configured it with the same options. Tried to boot the MTD again and voila! I was making a Golden Image of my XP!

All i had to do then was to create a new guest, called it TD1 and make it boot from the network! I had to make a local drive to the guest as you have to create a disc with every XenClient guest. But made it just 1 gb so thats no biggie.

So now i have my laptop running a provisioned XP client wherever i go. Im going to make a win7 guest that i can use as my private image. This works really good and as im a consultant can use a clean image at every new job!

Downsides thou that i havnt had time yet to work out, shouldnt be a problem thou, is that i always have to be connected to a wireless network as the guest will thing the network is disabled otherwise! But all i need to do is to figure out how to activate the network manually. Or wait until citrix fixes that bug to be able to use the dedicated internal network!

  1. January 23rd, 2014 at 23:56 | #1

    Trond,I am not sure you understand the dirfefence with XenClient vs Hyper-V.XenClient is meant to be a small portable Type 1 hypervisor. It is meant to have only a couple of VMs very similar footprint; ideal for labs or to run multiple operating systems. Hyper-V on the other hand is comparable to XenServer and ESX; server Hypervisor.I dont believe you fully know the XenClient as the get my company image inside a VM can be done using synchronizer. You have got alot to learn.Additionally, I would recommend to disable alot of the Hybernation, etc. type features as you wont enable these on Hyper-V.Finally, if you know XenServer, then XenClient is the compact version of the product. If you know XenServer and some linux you can do alot with XenClient as it has a command line to SSH to the box and do what you like.Take a look at my blog regarding XenClient and you will learn about the features to learn more about the product.

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