Upgrading to PVS 7
In an earlier published article series I described the upgrade for a XenDesktop 7.x environment. In those environments often Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS) is also in place, wherefore currently the same release cycle is being used as XenDesktop. This means that even a quarter a new PVS version will be released. Also updating PVS was not easy and simple in the beginning, especially the target devices with an updated vDisk including the new Target Device Software. From PVS 7.6 cumulative update 1 this process is made much easier. I will write down both options in this article for updating the Target Devices. But let’s start with the upgrade of the PVS server(s).
Upgrading the PVS Server(s)
For the PVS servers the upgrade starts with taking care that you can go back to the current situation in the case the upgrade fails in some way. For the PVS Servers themselves I make a snapshot/checkpoint of the VM before starting the upgrade process. Secondly we should create a full back-up of the database. In my case the environment is already PVS 7.8 but I named the database to a previous version. This shows that you should name the database as general as possible and nothing using version numbers in it (of the product the database is being used for).
Just to be sure Citrix also advices to make a back-up of your vDisks. After making the back-ups it’s time to start the upgrade process. Logically you will pick a moment that the farm is not heavily in use as the server which is being upgraded is not available for serving the Target Devices.
To take care no target devices are connected to the server you are upgrading you can disable the Stream Service. The option is available in the contect menu of the server from the Provisioning Services Console however this option is not always functioning. For those situations you can easily stop the service Citrix PVS Stream Service.
Next step is to start the Provisioning Services software. I’m using the autorun option for this article and select the Server Installation option.
The installation will show the required prerequisites and will automatically install those. Net Framework 4.5.2 is also required, however I’m upgrading from a PVS 7.8 situation (which has already installed this version of the .Net Framework).
During the installation of the prerequisites the progress is shown. As soon as all prerequisites are successfully installed the installation automatically continues with the installation wizard of the actual Provisioning Services software.
For those familiar with the actual installation of PVS, you will notice that the steps are exactly the same. So just like the initial installation you need to accept the license agreement after the introduction window.
The next step is providing some personal information, which is not used anywhere so don’t bother to much about this step.
Next you can change the installation destination folder, but I would advise to keep the default if possible.
After specifing the destination the upgrade can be executed by using the Install button.
After the installation, a message will be shown that the software is installed (actually upgraded) successfully.
After choosing the Finish button to acknowledge the installation wizard automatically the Provisioning Services Configuration Wizard will be started. Continue the wizard via the Next button as this is a requirement within the upgrade steps. Remember that it is important that this part is done under a user account that has (temporary) assigned sysadmin rights on the SQL server.
If everything is functioning as it should be, then most of the settings are already configured as in the current configuration. Logically you need to check if the setting is correct. The wizard starts with the question if DHCP is running on this machine (and which DHCP services you are using) or running on another machine. In almost every organization the service will run on another computer.
The second question is you are using PXE on this machine or a service that runs on another computer (which also should be checked if you are using a BDM to boot the Target Device). Check if the one that applies to your infrastructure is selected.
The next step is an important one. As you are upgrading your PVS environment you need to choose Farm is already configured option to continue the wizard. This will arrange that the database will be upgraded to the level of the upgrade we are executing at this moment.
Next step is to check if the license server information is filled in correctly. Also remember if you are upgrading from an older version that you check if the license server version is computable with the PVS version to which you are upgrading right now.
Next step is specify which account is being used for the Stream and Soap service, where the configuration should be already filled in. A specified user account is required if the Store is located on a remote machine and/or when computer accounts are not allowed as a login within Microsoft SQL.
Next you can check your settings for Active Directory Computer Account password settings are still correct for your infrastructure.
After the AD configuration the current network configuration is shown for both streaming as management.
Also the TFTP and bootstrap location is shown during the wizard. Again check if the settings are correct for your infrastructure.
Also the Stream Server Boot List is preserved during the upgrade and is shown in the configuration wizard.
Finally after reviewing all, setting the configuration wizard is ready to save the configuration and execute the upgrade process.
As this is the first PVS server we are upgrading, the database will be upgraded. Did you made the back-up of the database already and is the user account running the wizard sysadmin?
After choosing the upgrade the configuration wizard will continue the steps to configure the software and restart the services.
After the first server it is time to upgrade the other PVS servers. The steps are exactly the same as the first server for both the installation and the configuration wizard. The only difference is that the upgrade message is not shown as the database is already upgraded with the first server.
Also the console should be upgraded. The steps are exactly the same as the console installation. The only part that can be changed is the destination location. As this is really straight forwarded I won’t show all steps one by one.
Before PSV 7.6 CU1 it was really difficult to upgrade an existing vDisk. There is a process available to convert the vDisk into a VM again. On that VM the PVS software could be uninstalled and the new version could be installed after that. With the new software a new vDisk could be created. I tried this twice at a customer but we failed both times. Most companies used this moment to create a complete new vDisk from scratch. Of course this was pretty time consuming and the vDisk creation should be automated so no steps were forgotten. Many IT departments are suffering with the update of the target device software.
When your current PVS infrastructure is on PVS 7.6 CU1 or higher the target device software can be upgraded within the vDisk. That makes the upgrade is much easier and smoother. You can now use the normal vDisk update steps by copying the current vDisk and open it in private mode or use the versioning option.
For this article I will use the versioning option, so I create a new vDisk version in maintenance version and boot a target device with this version.
Next we will start the PVS installation and choose from the autorun the option Target Device Instalaltion.
Next you need to choose the Target Device installation. Logically you would expect to choose the Install Upgrade Wizard, but that is not the case. So definite choose Target Device Installation.
The installation wizard is exactly the same as the normal installation. So it starts with a welcome screen.
Next we have to accept the license agreement.
Followed by providing some optional user information.
After the user information you can change the destination location if required. As there is no specific reason I would use the default location.
With the Install button the upgrade is actually started.
After the upgrade the wizard shows that the upgrade is executed successfully.
After the installation/upgrade, the Target Device software the machine needs to be restarted.
After the restart the Target Device software is running on the version (in my situation version 7.9).
Now it is time to update other software (optional), for example the VDA version. After the updates it’s time to shut down the machine and in my case promote the version to the next level and execute the test phase.
After upgrading the Target Device software the PVS infrastructure is fully upgraded to the latest version.
Wrapping it up
In this article I described the upgrade steps for the full PVS infrastructure. The upgrade started with upgrading the first PVS server, where the configuration wizard executed the database upgrade. After the first server the remaining PVS servers needed to be upgraded using the same procedure. The target device software update was pretty difficult in the past. Luckily from PVS 7.6 CU1 you can also upgrade the current vDisk with a new version of the PVS Target Device software instead of creating a new full vDisk. This makes the upgrade much easier, quicker and smoother.