XenDesktop Lab Within VMware Workstation 8 Teaser

See if I can encourage some interaction between you guys and myself.  I’ll throw this nugget out and see who bites.  So, if you have a pretty beefy VMware ESXi server (16GB to 32GB) in your lab you should be able to build a pretty basic XenDesktop lab with a XenDesktop Studio Server, your physical ESXi server providing desktops and a vCenter server.  Yelp that sounds like an environment that would run pretty smoothly on a single host with 16GB to 32GB of RAM.

Update 7-11-12: For my VDI in a Box lab look here

But what if you are a mere mortal with only a similar setup to mine?  You are running a single workstation running Windows 7 with 8GB of RAM.  Does this preclude me from doing XenDesktop labs?

Answer: Nope.

One of the large challenges for running this lab within a VMware Workstation 8 is having an ESXi server with nested workstations.  It’s one of the practical memory limitations I’ve run into in trying to create this lab.  But remember that XenDesktop has morphed over the years.  One of the “new” features of XenDesktop 5.x was the addition of the Desktop Studio which allows provisioning of VM’s to the supported hypervisor (Hyper-V, XenServer and vSphere).  XenDesktop 5.x still supports a standalone Provisioning Server.

Actually as I’ve engaged folks out in the real world they still architect their XenDesktop 5.x environments with provisioning servers.  The single deployment I did I avoided using a Provisioning Server and used XenDesktop Studio’s sleek integration with vSphere.

You can use this “Legacy” technology to build your lab in VMware Workstation.  The basic components are a Citrix Provisioning Server, XenDesktop Studio (web interface and management) and your workstations.

If you want to play around with XenDesktop and get a feel for the technology this isn’t a bad approach.  This is a theoretical lab that I haven’t built.  Let me know the interest level and I’ll actually build it and blog my experience.

Update 05/23/12:  I attempted a similar lab here

Update 06/23/12: I was successfully able to get a work XenDesktop environment working inside of VMWare Workstation 8 running 16GB of RAM.  Post is located here.

Related Posts

Configuring VMware Workstation network for nested VM’s

Running Xendesktop inside of VMware Workstation

Running Citrix VDI-in-a-Box in VMware Workstation

Published by Keith Townsend

Now I'm @CTOAdvisor

16 thoughts on “XenDesktop Lab Within VMware Workstation 8 Teaser

  1. Hi.

    Please note that I have installe Vmware workstation and create a Vm for Dc, VController, VMaster, XenServer and another one with vdi-in-a-box. Seems to be I have issues with the quick deploy, its asking where to locate the hosting server.

    Which IP should I specify?

    1. You should point it to whatever Hypervisor you are using to create the Virtual Desktops. This can not be VMWare workstation. It has to be vSphere, XenServer or Hyper-V

  2. hey did you ever actually build this? I would love to set this up. i have 16gb of ram on a desktop and am running workstation 8. it would be ideal to use provision server.

    1. Nope… Been thinking about it but haven’t really gotten any feed back on the level of interest. This is one of my more popular posts so it seems like there is decent enough interest so, more than likely I’ll take a crack at it.

      1. ya, im actually installing some of the servers now. what im not sure of is since my vmware workstation is in a production network, how to keep any domains completed separate form my prod network, so nothing shows up from my test environment for my users here.
        i have the full suite of citrix platinum so i would be able to setup provision server etc, thats why i mentioned use provisioning server in ur lab if possible.

      2. Keith,

        I built the lab, but i continue to get
        “STATUS: 0XC000000e INFO: The boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible.”
        errors when i try to pxe boot a vm with a vdisk? sometimes it will boot fully when the image is in private mode. but it definitely never boots when the image is in standard mode. and its always that same error.
        could this be some kind of access/security issue?
        ive reinstalled PVS and recreated the image of the original vm using xenconvert and provisioning services imaging wizard.

    2. Could be an I/O issue with your disk. I would image this is a pretty I/O intensive lab and coupling the PXE boot with slow I/O may make it an issue. I’m also building an alternate lab with the quick deploy.

      1. ya i think its io also, but teh pvs server and the vdisk are sitting on their own separate physical disk. not sure what else to do at this point. let me know if you built your lab what h/w u used etc.

      2. I’ve been working it for the past couple of weeks. I keep getting frustrated with performance on a system with only 8GB of RAM. I’ll have to break it out onto two separate systems which messes up my networking. I’ll post something soon.

  3. hey man any luck? im still getting those errors and i think your right about the disk i/o, are you getting that? and are you setting up the vm’s in a private network inside vmware? thx

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