PVS 6.1 Hell

I am currently working on a XenApp 6.5 design for a government agency here in Canada and as part of the whole thing we decided to use the latest and greatest platforms available. Yes, some may say this is a crazy approach. But my take is if I will deal with bugs, better deal with new ones than the old stuff. So we moved ahead and got VMware ESXi 5.0 as the virtualization platform and XenApp 6.5 (that is not that new) with PVS 6.1 (this is new, introduced with XenDesktop 5.6).

Everything seemed to be working fine. Creating and blowing up images, etc. All cool. Problem is the VMXNET NIC is what is supposed to be the best, supported by all vendors etc. You get the drill. So we decided to use the best performing, most supported NIC and here is where the nightmare started.

First problem encountered, after running the PVS Imaging Wizard and restarting the VM so the VHD creation would start, no matter what we would get the stupid “The vDisk is not available”. Tried everything you can imagine, from hiring a voodoo guy from Haiti to making sure the server was facing Mecca. No luck.

Once I had the brilliant idea to use the E1000 that damn P2PVS started working. Great. One problem down, a much bigger one to go.

All VMs to be deployed using PVS would blue screen, with the exception of the one where we created the image from. This was a known issue with PVS 5.6, addressed by hotfix CPVS56SP1E011. Thing is this is PVS 6.1 so that issue should not exist correct? Well, wrong. The same root cause still applies to PVS 6.1.

Once we opened the VM settings for the VMs that we would get BSOD when booting off the PVS image and changed the ethernet PCI to match the one shown on the VM used as a master for the image, everything started working perfectly.

So the lessons learned here:

1. Stick to the E1000 driver on your PVS images. Will probably make your life easier.
2. Make sure the ethernet PCI matches the master VM (found under Options, Advanced, General). Once that is done there will be no BSODs on your VMs.


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