Citrix PVS server wait 1 minute before if starts booting target device

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One year before I have started tests with Citrix Provisioning Services. I have tested 6.x version on VMware 4 and 5. In that PoC installations everything’s works fine. In November and December 2013 we decided to move our Citrix environment to Hyper-V 2012. So I have started new tests. I found out, that Target Device is waiting approximately 1 minut before is starts booting from vDisk. We have already start production on Hyper-V 2012 R2, but this problem is also occurring.

On Janunary 19th I wrote a post on Citrix Discussions Board: PVS 7.1 – takes 1 minute before PVS shows “boot menu”. Other users also confirmed, that they observed that problem only on Hyper-V 2012 installation.

Here is one reply from Citrix Employee:

citrix_pvs_boot_01

 

I have also opened case in Citrix Support. After investigation they said, that this behavior of Hyper-V Virtual Machine BIOS, and Microsoft should look at it, and solve it. So I have also opened the case in Microsoft Support. They said, that would make a contact with Citrix and give me an answer. So I’m waiting. I will post here any result if a get any.

And now, I will describe, how this problem looks like. I used port mirroring feature to collect network traffic (this functionality is available on all 3 leading hypervisors). I post here two screenshots from Microsoft Network Monitor (they both show traffic on Target Device VM).

Let’s start Target Device Virtual Machine. I have DHCP configured to serve only IP addresses and PXE to inform VM about TFTP server address and boot image (we can do this without PXE setting only 66 and 67 options on DHCP configuration). In green frame we can see communication with DHCP and PXE server. VM getIP configuration and know where is TFTP server with boot image. So the next steop is to contact with TFTP sever and download boot image file: ardbp32.bin. Red frame shows communication with TFTP server. The first column shows time offset. Right now we have only 4 seconds difference between starting machine and downloading image.

citrix_pvs_boot_02

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When downloading ends the image boot file is executed in VM. This image software should connect to PVS server to obtain vDisks list and to boot from one of them, You can see message: “Connecting to the Provisioning Services. Please wait…”. So we are waiting (on VMware and XenServer you don’t have to wait).

citrix_pvs_boot_04

Let’s look at network traffic. We stoped just below red frame. When finally our image software start communication with PVS server it tooks him about 51 seconds to do this (77 – 26). And, what is more important, this communication is initiated by Target Device (and not by PVS sever).

citrix_pvs_boot_03

So we get vDisks list or VM just start booting from proper vDisk assigned to that machine.

citrix_pvs_boot_05

That’s it. Target device boot.

As I wrote above – I’m waiting for any information from support. If I get any information I will share it with you.

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There are 2 Comments

  1. Posted by Swix Reply

    Any news on this problem?

    • Posted by jarek Reply

      Hello Swix,
      sorry for late answer, but I was offline during vacation.

      I got email from Microsoft support, that they are sure, that this problem lays not in Hyper-V VM BIOS code but in Citrix loader.
      Citrix responded, that on other hypervisors (XenServer, VMware) this code works correctly – and this is the problem on Microsoft site. Moreover, they are not going to change anything right now in BIOS loader, because they are focusing right now on Generation 2 VM and UEFI (right now PVS Sever 7.1 doesn’t support Generation 2 VM machines – in Hyper-V – so you can’t use this mechanism for Windows 2012 R2 VM).
      So right now we have live with it and wait for new version of PVS Server, that will support UEFI and Generation 2 (but only for Windows 2012 R2).

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