Citrix is getting ready to release Provisioning Services 5.1 Service Pack 1 in the next few weeks.  A Citrix knowledgebase article has been released detailing the release notes of the Provisioning Services 5.1 Service Pack 1.  Let’s go over what is new, what has been removed, and what has been fixed in Provisioning Services 5.1 Serivce Pack 1.

What’s new in Provisioning Services 5.1 SP1?

**Licensing – **Licensing support has been updated for XenDesktop and VM Hosted Apps in XenApp.  Grace period has been changed.

  • **Licensing Support for XenDesktop **– XenDesktop Advanced, Enterprise, and Platinum no longer need a separate Provisioning Services license.  Provisioning Services now functions like XenApp Platinum for licensing.
  • Licensing Support for VM Hosted Applications in XenApp – VM Hosted Apps do not need a separate license.  Provisioning Services now works with a XenApp Enterprise or Platinum license.  This allows you to provision virtual machines to leverage the new XenApp 5 Feature Pack 2 VM Hosted App feature.
  • **Licensing Grace Period – **30 day licensing grace period without the 5 minute shutdown message.

**Unified Edition **– The OEM edition has been merged with the Retail Edition.

**Linux **– Ubuntu is now on the list of supported Linux distributions.

**XenConvert 2.0.2 **– A new version of XenConvert has been released with improved functionality:

  • Convert from separate Windows Boot and System Volumes.
  • Improved capability with VHDs produced by Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.
  • Synchronized dismount of any VHD mounted by XenConvert.
  • Converts Windows Server 2003 servers that were upgraded from Windows Server 2000.
  • Converts files with short names in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.
  • Supplements Project Kensho 1.1 by supporting virtual machine conversions that use Open Virtualization Format (OVF).

For more information on XenConvert 2.0.2 see Citrix knowledgebase article CTX121646 – Citrix XenConvert 2.0.2.

What functionality has been reduced in Provisioning Services 5.1 SP1?

Port Blocker – Port Blocker functionality has been reduced

**Comma delimited MCLI – **Comma delimiter use in the OU list ‘mcli run adddevicetodomain’ has been reduced since a comma is legal character in an OU name.  Using a forward slash (‘/’) is the recommended replacement delimiter.

What functionality has been removed in Provisioning Services 5.1 SP1?

**Specify a database mirror failover partner – **Specify a database mirror failover partner functionality has been removed when adding additional Provisioning Servers to the farm.   I wrote about this in one of my earlier blogs Provisioning Services 5.1 Specify Database Mirror Failover Partner…Huh? which I went over trying to figure out how to set up this feature.  After trying different methods of SQL mirroring and replication, I couldn’t get this to work.  I posted a tweet at @citrixsupport and finally received a reply from Pete Downing the Principal Product Manager of Provisioning Services.  He said, ” What you are seeing is unfortunately a bug and we are addressing. You will notice that we will release a SP1 in the next few weeks for PVS 5.1, however, you will notice this feature will be removed. We decided to do this because our DB caching feature is solving the use-case we set out to solve for the time being. We are not ditching this feature and will re-introduce it in the next release of PVS. We would like to re-introduce with solid best practices and documentation. Essentially this feature was to be an easter egg for some end-users to test and unfortunately got too exposed.”.  I hope they do re-introduce this functionality later on.  It would be a nice feature to have for multi-site Provisioning Services farms.

What has been fixed in Provisioning Servers 5.1 SP1?

  • Cannot add an Active Directory group with a ” in the name.
  • The Status Tray on 64bit Target Devices do not show how much RAM-cache is allocated and used after adding the WcMaxRamCacheMB registry key.
  • If you do not have a valid path for a Server/Store set, the Console message states that you dont have any active servers.
  • When specifying the Stream service, User/Credential/Domain, the Config Wizard fails when a condition is applied.
  • Failure to write the SPN when creating a new computer account in Active Directory.
  • Event ID 106 “Licensing grace period expired” has been supressed.
  • When upgrading the Database from 5.0.x to 5.1 the Config Wizard does not allow the server to join an existing site.
  • Target Devices hang/lock up intermittently when the write-cache is stored on the Target Device’s local hard disk.**  **
  • Boot Device Manager has been enhanced with OEM specific messaging.
  • The Config Wizard shows a message to upgrade the database even though user is creating a new database.
  • When the Target Device’s hard drive fills up using local Write-cache, the Device begins a non-stop reconnect between HA servers.
  • The Config Wizard fails when connecting to a network database with the Soap and Stream services configured to run as Network Service.

As you can see Provisioning Services 5.1 Service Pack 1 has added some new features, reduced functionality in some features, and addressed some issues since the release of Provisioning Services 5.1.  With all service packs and hotfixes there are known issues and limitations.  For a complete list of the known issues and limitations in Provisioning Services 5.1 Service Pack 1 see Citrix knowledgebase article CTX121336 – Citrix Provisioning Services 5.1 SP1 Release Notes.

If you have found this article interesting or if you have any other insights, please feel free to contact me via email.