Migrating a Citrix XenDesktop Environment to a New VMware vCenter Instance

By Hank Smith
Posted in Virtualization
On October 20, 2014


Recently we ran into a situation where a customer had requested an upgrade to their existing VMware vCenter from version 5.1 to 5.5. Upon reviewing the existing vCenter server, we noticed both VMware SSO and SRM were being used on the same server. Based on VMware best practices, we recommended separating vCenter, SSO and SRM to three distinct servers. The migration of the services to the three new servers worked without any issue. However, the existing Citrix XenDesktop environment was pointing to the old vCenter instance. Unfortunately Citrix doesn’t make it easy to simply point to the new vCenter instance.


The Citrix XenDesktop 5.6 environment was using Machine Creation Service (MCS) along with Personal vDisk (PVD) features. Both features integrate heavily into the virtual infrastructure, in this case VMware vCenter. To resolve this issue, Gotham created new virtual desktops based on the new vCenter instance. We then followed http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/xendesktop-7/cds-manage-personal-vdisks.html to back up and restore the PVD’s to the new virtual desktop. The PVD migration could only take place when the user was logged off, as the PVD was locked. Following the backup and restore of the PVD, we simply disabled access to the old virtual desktop and enabled access to the new virtual desktop.


Overall this was a tedious process even given a small XenDesktop implementation. If this was a much larger deployment of XenDesktop with PVD this would have been a major issue.

Hank Smith

Hank Smith

Hank is an expert in the design, development, and delivery of cost-effective, high-performance technology solutions. As manager of Gotham’s Virtualization practice, Hank builds motivated, productive teams for Gotham’s large-scale networking and infrastructure engagements, develops implementation standards and methodologies around virtualization technologies, and manages overall design and implementation of multiple infrastructure projects.