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Cloning a Citrix VM

Posted on 2010-08-17
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I have read a few things lately about this but it hasn't quite sunk in. Can someone provide a good run down on how to do this? The Citrix server is currently running in a production environment, but I can remove access for a weekend, it will need to be back up on a Monday though as the rest of the servers wont be able to handle the load.

At the moment my thoughts are this:

Move server1 to a dummy farm
Clone server1 to create server2
Move server1 back to production farm (Scared that there will be a problem with it after moving it back..)
Run a VM sysprep procedure (Any doco on this?)
Change the STA ID
Move Server2 into production farm

Any suggestions?

Citrix PS 4.5 on Server 2003

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Question by:shavedham2kg
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aspxmike earned 500 total points
ID: 33460847
In the past, I have followed this method:

1. Copy Sysprep (from Windows CD\Support\Tools\Deploy.cab) onto the local C: Drive of server1
2. Download XenApp Prep (http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX116063) onto the local C: Drive of server1
3. Shutdown server1
4. Clone server1 (and call the cloned server "server2")
5. start server1 (everything should function as normal)
6. Disconnect the NIC from server2 (just untick "Connect on Startup")
7. Start server2
8. Run Sysprep on server2 (and select Factory reseal and reboot as the method)
9. During the server reboot, go through the Sysprep process - enter computername (server2), IP settings, etc
10. After server2 is started up, install XenApp Prep (from C: Drive)
11. Follow the included documentation of XenApp Prep to prep your server
12. Shutdown server2
13. Reconnect the NIC for server2
14. Start server2

Thats it you'll now have server1 and server2 in you Citrix farm.
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by:shavedham2kg
ID: 33460936
That simple? great I will give it a go.

I will wait for a few more suggestions before closing this :)
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by:paulsolov
ID: 33461387
I would recommend creating a new VM for Citrix. I have done this quite a few times and a clean VM specifically designed for Citrix will boost performance. For instance we found that reserving memory, disabling baloon driver keeps users from disconnecting when memory spools up the VM.  

We also noticed that you will get less users per VM but you can scale horizontilly vs vertically.  Setup a template, install sysprep into vCenter and deploy as many as you need.
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by:aspxmike
ID: 33461431
paulsolov; you are correct, however the question is about cloning an existing Citrix server, which shaves a whole lot of time off deployment. Also if the original VM is built right, then cloning it will have the same performance benefits as building from scratch, because you still ARE scaling horizontily.

shavedham2kg; I left out 1 obvious step. You should join the domain after enabling the NIC on server2
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by:paulsolov
ID: 33461490
It takes quite a bit of time to clean up the VM from the software that is specific to the old hardware.  When you consider the time it takes to build a new VM vs clone, clean, and test we found that it was comparable, depending on the apps installed obviously.  

It did help a lot in baselining when some of the apps didn't work as well we knew it wasn't an issue inherited from the P2V'd VM.  Most of the issues were directly attributed to baloon drivers, reserve memory, HAL, etc..

If doing a P2V be carefull when using OEM Windows such as Dell, you'll run into activation issues.  Also remove any and all Dell, HP, etc.. software

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by:paulsolov
ID: 33461501
If you're using vCenter you don't need to copy the sysprep tools to local drive.  Place in vCenter and after you P2V, clean up and create template.  Afterwards deploy and it will prompt you on name, domain, SID.  VMware makes it easy, skip the manual steps if you can.
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by:aspxmike
ID: 33461747
OK, one of us are talking about the wrong thing. My understanding, is that server1 is already a VM, where as you understand it to be a physical VM, that needs to be P2V'd.

If it IS a case of of a physical server that needs to be P2V'd, then you are correct, it is more ideal to create from scratch, however, if you have a stack of applications installed on a Citrix Server, in most cases (for me anyway) it will be easier to clone and cleanup.
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by:dnsguru44
ID: 33467337
I worked on a very large project where cloning was our only option to bring XenApp servers up quickly.  It worked perfectly...

Key point to remember is #6 from aspxmike's solution... make sure you disconnect the network cards or you will have all kinds of issues.  And if you have an "altaddr" set don't forget to change that too.  Of course change the hostname and IP, standard stuff which can be done as everyone states with ESXi 4 and vCenter.  

Lastly, I highly recommend using XenApp Cloning tool - http://community.citrix.com/display/xa/Xenapp+Cloning+Tool


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by:shavedham2kg
ID: 33507045
aspxmike - Are you suppose to select Factory, Reseal or both?
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by:aspxmike
ID: 33508173
Just reseal
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