Use the information in this article to create a base virtual disk image.
A virtual disk acts as a hard disk for a target device and exists as disk image files on a Citrix Provisioning server or on a shared storage device. A virtual disk consists of a VHDX base image file, any associated properties files, such as a
.pvp file and if applicable, a chain of referenced VHDX differencing disks,
When creating a virtual disk image file, keep the following in mind:
- Create as many virtual disk image files as needed, as long as you have enough space available on the provisioning server. Ensure that you have enough available space on the storage device containing the virtual disk image files.
- Virtual disk files use FAT (File Allocation Table) or NTFS (New Technology File System) file systems for Microsoft operating systems.
- Depending upon the file system used to store the virtual disk, the maximum size of a VHDX file (virtual disk) is 2 terabytes (NTFS) or 4,096 MB (FAT).
- A virtual disk can be shared (Standard Image) by one or more target devices, or it can exist for only one target device to access (Private Image).
The Cache on hard disk feature option currently appears in the product but does not function.
The first stage in the lifecycle of a virtual disk is creating one. Creating a virtual disk requires preparing the master target device for imaging. Once the image is prepared, create and configure a virtual disk file where the virtual disk resides. Image the master target device to that file. These steps result in a new base virtual disk image. This process can be performed automatically, using the Imaging Wizard, or manually. Citrix Provisioning includes an option to create a common image for a single target platform or for use with multiple target platforms.
Your administrative role determines what information is displayed and tasks performed in the Citrix Provisioning console. For example, view and manage virtual disks in sites in which you are a site administrator. However, unless the farm administrator sets a site as the owner of a store, the site administrator cannot perform store management tasks.
Citrix Provisioning only supports automated virtual disk capture. More steps require a virtual disk attached to the machine being captured, ensuring that a P2PVS switch can be used with P2PVS or the imaging wizard. Use automation steps to accommodate such scenarios.
The following provides an overview of the steps necessary to create a virtual disk automatically and manually.
Automatically creating a virtual disk image using the imaging wizard
Using the Imaging Wizard is the recommended method for creating virtual disk images.
The master target device, physical or virtual, is prepared by installing and configuring the operating system. Also, configure applications in the base virtual disk image. For details, see Preparing the Master Target Device.
To image the master target device, run the Imaging Wizard to automatically create a virtual disk file on a server or shared storage. After running the Wizard, image the master target device to that file.
Manually creating a virtual disk file then creating the image using Provisioning Services imaging
This process is the optional method used to create virtual disk images.
- Prepare the master target device, physical or virtual, by installing and configuring the operating system. Prepare applications in the base virtual disk image. A virtual disk file is then created on a provisioning server or shared storage. Access it using any server providing the virtual disk. The file must be mounted, formatted, then unmounted manually using the console or from the target device.
In the Citrix Provisioning console, a new virtual disk file can be created by right-clicking on the vDisk Pool or the Store, and then selecting the Create new vDisk menu option. Once created, vDisks display in the details pane when a site’s virtual disk pool is selected, or when a store in the farm is selected.
- The master target device is imaged to the new virtual disk file using the Citrix Provisioning imaging utility.
The imaging utility converts a server or desktop workload from an online physical machine running Windows to a XenServer virtual machine or provisioned virtual disk. The imaging utility converts a server or desktop workload from an offline virtual machine or disk, containing any guest operating system, to a XenServer VM.
Creating virtual disk files manually
The following procedure describes how to manually create a virtual disk file:
- In the console tree, right-click on the vDisk Pool in the site where you want to add vDisks, then select the Create vDisk menu option. The Create vDisk dialog appears.
- If you accessed this dialog from the site’s virtual disk pool, in the menu, select the Store where this virtual disk resides. If you accessed this dialog from the store, from the menu, select the site where this virtual disk is added.
- In the Server used to create the vDisk menu, select the provisioning server that creates the virtual disk.
- Type a file name for the virtual disk. Optionally, type a description for this new virtual disk in the description textbox.
- In the Size text box, scroll to select the appropriate size to allocate for this virtual disk file. If the disk storing the virtual disk images is formatted with NTFS, the limit is approximately 2 terabytes. On FAT file systems, the limit is 4,096 MB.
- In the VHDX Format text box, select the format as either Fixed or Dynamic (2,040 GB for VHDX emulating SCSI; 127 GB for VHDX emulating IDE). If the VHDX format is Dynamic, from the VHDX block size menu, select the block size as either 2 MB or 16 MB.
- Click Create vDisk, a progress dialog opens. Depending on the disk size and other factors, it takes several minutes or more to create the virtual disk. After the virtual disk is successfully created, it displays in the Citrix Provisioning console’s details pane and is ready to be formatted.
- Right-click on the virtual disk in the Console, then select Mount vDisk. The virtual disk icon displays with an orange arrow if mounted properly.
A virtual disk image cannot be assigned to, or boot from a target device until that target device exists in the Citrix Provisioning database. After creating the target device, in the Console, select the Hard Disk boot option.
About the common virtual disk image feature
The Common Image feature allows a single virtual disk to simultaneously support multiple target device platforms, greatly reducing the number of vDisks an administrator must maintain. The procedure for creating a common image depends on the target device platform.
Supported target device platforms include:
- A combination of XenServer VMs and physical devices (virtual-to-virtual and virtual-to-physical). For details, see vDisks.
- Multiple types of physical devices (different motherboards, network cards, video cards, and other hardware devices). For details, see Creating a Common Image for use with Multiple Physical Device Types.
- Blade servers. For details, see vDisks.
Create common images for use with XenServer VMs and physical devices, or blade servers
XenServer Platinum Edition enables the provisioning of physical and virtual servers from the same workload image.
- Appropriate XenServer Platinum Licensing.
- Support for PXE on the local network.
- DHCP must be installed and configured on the local network.
Select from the following target device platforms:
- Create a common image that boots from a physical or virtual server.
- Create a common image that boots from a blade server.
To create a common image that boots from a physical or virtual machine, complete the procedures as follows.
Install a supported Windows Operating System with the latest patches and device drivers on a physical machine. This physical machine serves as the master target device.
Install the Citrix Provisioning Target Device Software
- Log on to the master target device as a domain administrator, or a domain user (with local install privileges).
- Install the Citrix Provisioning server target device software on the physical machine.
- Follow the onscreen prompts by selecting installation default settings.
- When prompted, reboot the master target device from the hard disk drive.
Download XenConvert software and installation instructions from either the Citrix Provisioning product download site or the XenServer product download site.
After successfully installing XenConvert on the target device:
Run XenConvert on the target device to convert the physical machine into a XenServer VM.
Set the VM’s vCPU setting to be the same as the physical system’s vCPU setting.
This step is important for NT5 OS.
Change the XenServer VM MAC (it is using the physical system’s MAC address of the NIC), or remove the NIC to add a new one.
Boot the XenServer VM.
- Log on to the master target device as a domain administrator, or a domain user (with local install privileges).
- Run windows-pvdrivers-xensetup.exe, which can be downloaded from on the XenServer Product installation CD or product download site. The Citrix XenServer Windows Tools Setup warning dialog appears.
- Click Yes to continue the install.
- Follow the onscreen prompts and select the default settings. At the Choose Install Location dialog box, click Install.
- When prompted by Windows Plug and Play dialogs, select the option to find drivers automatically.
- When prompted select Yes for any unsigned driver dialog.
- When prompted, reboot the master target device.
- Verify that Citrix Provisioning successfully binds to the XenServer NIC and the physical systems NIC.
Use either the Citrix Provisioning Imaging Wizard or XenConvert to create the XenServer virtual disk image. When creating the virtual disk image, you must select to optimize target device settings. Otherwise the VM fails to boot.
After successfully creating the XenServer virtual disk image, boot both the physical and virtual machines in standard image mode.
For details on using the Citrix Provisioning Imaging Wizard, see Using the Imaging Wizard. For details on using XenConvert to create the XenServer virtual disk image, see XenConvert product documentation on the Citrix Provisioning or XenServer product download site.
Create a common image that boots from a blade server
To create a common image using the common hard drive method that boots from heterogeneous Blade servers, complete the following steps:
- Use the Console to create a virtual disk file.
Log on to the blade server to create a system:
a. Install the OS on the new machine.
b. Install HP System Pack. This process installs all drivers.
c. Install all necessary Windows updates.
d. Install Citrix Provisioning target device software.
- PXE boot from the new system’s hard disk drive, then verify that the system can recognize the virtual disk. The virtual disk is shown from “My Computer” as a partition.
- Physically move the HDD or HDDs in a RAID system to the other system (usually the older system).
- Boot from the new systems hard disk drive.
- After Windows installs the driver’s, reboot when prompted.
- Verify that NIC drivers installed correctly.
- PXE boot from the hard disk drive on the second system.
- Use either the Citrix Provisioning Imaging Wizard or XenConvert to create the virtual disk image.
- After imaging completes, shut down the system.
- Set both systems to boot from the virtual disk.
- On the Citrix Provisioning console, change the virtual disk mode to standard cache on local hard disk drive.
Create a common image for use with multiple physical device types
Using the common NIC method, a single virtual disk can simultaneously support different motherboards, network cards, video cards, and other hardware devices. The result is a virtual disk capable of being used by heterogeneous target devices, greatly reducing the number an administrator must maintain. Use the information in this article to create a common image for physical devices.
Make sure all target devices using the common image have a consistent HAL; they must have the same number of logical processors.
A single processor, hyper-threading capable system is considered to have two logical processors when hyper-threading is enabled in the BIOS.
- The BIOS structure, presented to the OS during the boot process, must be of the same format for all target devices that share a Standard Image. BIOS structure contains a list of all the components connected to the motherboard so that the appropriate drivers are loaded. This configuration allows the components to function properly.
- Have either a 3Com Managed PC Boot Agent (MBA) or a PXE-compliant NIC available. This card is the common NIC that is inserted into each target device during the Common Image build process.
- Install all the latest device drivers on each target device.
- Device drivers are missing if devices do not respond after you configure the common image. For example, if a target device’s USB mouse and keyboard do not respond after you assign the common image to the target device, the drivers for that target device’s chipset have not been installed. Go to device manager and check to insure no yellow exclamation mark appears on any devices, especially USB root HUBs and controllers.
- Determine which target device contains the latest motherboard chipset. This target device is used as the first target device in the common image build process. The latest Intel chipset driver contains all the drivers for the previous chipset. It is not necessary to install as many drivers when you build the common image.
- Except on the first target device, disable built-in NICs on all target devices using the common image. Leave the built-in NIC on the first target device enabled. Disabling the NICs prevents confusion about which NIC to use during the common image building process.
- Install Citrix Provisioning components.
Building the common image
To build a common image:
- Configure the master target device
- Export specific data files
- Boot the master target device
- Add extra target devices to the common image
When building the common image, create a virtual disk that has enough space to accommodate additional information added by the common image build process.
Configuring the master target device
- Insert the common NIC into the Master Target Device.
- Install the target device software on the Master Target Device. Select both the common NIC and built-in NICs during the installation process.
- Create a virtual disk, then mount, format, and unmount it. Create a virtual disk that has enough space to accommodate additional information added by the common image build process.
- Run the Imaging Wizard on the target device to build the virtual disk.
- Citrix recommends making a copy of the original virtual disk created in Step 3 and save it in the virtual disk directory on the provisioning server.
- On the first target device, copy CIM.exe from C:\Program Files\Citrix\Provisioning Services to a removable storage device, such as a USB flash drive. This utility is used to include disparate target devices in the common image.
- Shut down the Master Target Device and remove the common NIC.
Exporting specific data files
Insert the common NIC into a target device added to the common image, then boot the target device from its local hard drive.
Although the Windows OS must be installed on this target device, the target device software does not have to be installed.
Copy CIM.exe from the removable storage device to this target device.
At a command prompt, navigate to the directory in where CIM.exe is located. Run the following command to extract the information from the target device into the .dat file:
CIM.exe e targetdeviceName.dat
where targetdeviceName identifies the first target device that uses the common image. For example, TargetDevice1.dat.
Copy the .dat file created in Step 3 to the removable storage device.
Shut down the target device and remove the common NIC.
To include more target devices with disparate hardware in the common image, repeat this procedure for each device, giving each .dat file a unique name.
Booting the master target device
Reinsert the common NIC into the Master Target Device. Insert the NIC into the same slot from which it was removed during the Configuring the Master Target Device procedure. Before booting the Master Target Device, enter the BIOS setup and verify that the common NIC is the NIC used in the boot process.
Using the common NIC, boot the Master Target Device from the virtual disk, in Private Image mode.
.datfile associated with the first target device from the removable storage device to the master target device.
At a command prompt, navigate to the directory where the CIM.exe and the .dat file are located.
Run the following command to merge the information from the .dat file into the common image:
CIM.exe m targetdeviceName.dat
Shut down the Master Target Device.
Adding more target devices to the common image
Insert the common NIC into more target devices included in the Common Image. Insert the NIC into the same slot from which it was removed in the Exporting Specific Data Files procedure.
Using the common NIC, boot the target device off the virtual disk in Private Image mode.
Allow Windows time to discover and configure all the device drivers on the target device. If prompted by the “Found New Hardware Wizard” to install new hardware, cancel the wizard and proceed to Step 4.
Sometimes, Windows can’t install drivers for the built-in NIC on a target device, and the drivers cannot be installed manually. The common NIC and the target device’s built-NIC are similar to each other. As a result, the driver installation program tries to update the driver for both NICs. For example, if the common NIC is an Intel Pro 100/s and the target device’s built-in NIC is an Intel Pro 100+. To resolve this conflict, open System Properties. On the Hardware tab, click the Device Manager button. In the Device Manager list, right-click the built-in NIC and click Update Driver to start the Hardware Update Wizard. Choose Install from a list or specific location and specify the location of the NIC’s driver files.
Open Network Connections. Right-click the connection for the built-in NIC and click Properties in the menu that appears. The icon for the built-in NIC is marked with a red X.
Under This connection uses the following items, select Network Stack and click OK.
From a command prompt, run the following command:
C:\Program Files\Citrix\Provisioning Server\regmodify.exe
After completing Steps 4–6, reboot the target device and allow Windows to discover and configure any remaining devices. If prompted by the “Found New Hardware Wizard” to install new hardware, proceed through the Wizard to complete the hardware installation.
Using the original virtual disk, repeat Step 1 through Step 6 for each of the additional target devices you want to include in the Common Image.
Once target devices have been included in the Common Image, open the Console. Set the disk access mode for the Common Image virtual disk to Standard Image mode, then boot the devices.
Deployments using Device Guard
Device Guard represents a combination of enterprise and software security features. It can be used to provide a highly secure environment which allows you to configure systems so that only trusted applications can be used. See the Microsoft site for more information about Device Guard deployments.
When using Device Guard, consider the following:
- Device Guard is a property of an individual VM. This functionality is configured on the Hyper-V host where the VM resides, after the VM is created.
- Enable Device Guard in the master image prior creating the image. Once enabled, you can image the virtual disk.
- See the Microsoft documentation site to configure Device Guard.
- See the Microsoft documentation site to configure nested virtualization.
- Once the virtual disk is created, use the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Setup Wizard to provision the VMs.
- Once the VMs are provisioned, manually enable nested virtualization for each VM on the Hyper-V host on which it has been provisioned.
Citrix Provisioning only supports Device Guard using Hyper-V 2016 and newer.
In this article
- Automatically creating a virtual disk image using the imaging wizard
- Manually creating a virtual disk file then creating the image using Provisioning Services imaging
- Creating virtual disk files manually
- About the common virtual disk image feature
- Create common images for use with XenServer VMs and physical devices, or blade servers
- Create a common image that boots from a blade server
- Create a common image for use with multiple physical device types
- Building the common image
- Configuring the master target device
- Exporting specific data files
- Booting the master target device
- Adding more target devices to the common image
- Deployments using Device Guard