vDisks are managed throughout the vDisk lifecycle. Provisioning Services provides support for a full image lifecycle that takes a vDisk from initial creation, through deployment and subsequent updates, and finally to retirement. The lifecycle of a vDisk consists of four stages:
Creating a vDisk
Creation of a vDisk requires preparing the master target device for imaging, creating and configuring a vDisk file where the vDisk will reside, and then imaging the master target device to that file; resulting in a new base vDisk image. This process can be performed automatically, using the Imaging Wizard, or manually. Provisioning Services also provides the option to create a common image for use with a single target platform or for use with multiple target platforms. For details, refer to Creating vDisks.
Deploying a vDisk
After a vDisk base image is created, it is deployed by assigning it to one or more devices. A device can have multiple vDisk assignments. When the device starts, it boots from an assigned vDisk. There are three boot mode options; Private Image mode (single device access, read/write), Standard Image mode (multiple device access, write cache options). For more details, refer to Deploying vDisks.
Updating a vDisk
It is often necessary to update an existing vDisk so that the image contains the most current software and patches. Updates can be made manually, or the update process can be automated using vDisk Update Management features. Each time a vDisk is updated a new version is created. Different devices can access different versions based on the type of target device and version classification. A maintenance device can have exclusive read/write access to the newest maintenance version; test devices can have shared read-only access to versions classified as test versions, and production devices can have shared read-only access to production versions. Versions are created and managed from the vDisk Versioning Dialog. An update can also be the result of merging versions. For more details on updating vDisks, refer to Updating vDisks.
Retiring a vDisk
Retiring a vDisk is the same as deleting. The entire VHD chain including differencing and base image files, properties files, and lock files are deleted. For details, refer to Retiring a vDisk.
Note: In addition to those vDisk tasks performed within a vDisk's lifecycle, there are also other vDisk maintenance tasks that can be performed, such as importing or exporting the vDisk, backing-up vDisks, replicating, and load balancing.