Is PVS still the go to solution in 2022?

The IT world is full of “feuds” most of the time it is between 2 companies and/or people but in rare occasions it is within the same company. One such feud is within Citrix between PVS and MCS. For those not in the know I will give a short overview. For PVS we have to go back in time, back to 2006 when they acquired a company named Ardence. This company, which was founded back in the 80’s, had build a solution to “stream” an OS via the network to endpoints. The main reason was IOPS (or should I say the lack thereof) and image management. MCS was added a few years later as a less complex alternative which relied more on thin-provisioning philosophy and as such was not based on any streaming functionality. Now advances have been made over the years in both areas and when you check Citrix own documentation (Design Decision: Provisioning Model for Image Management ( ) it says there’s only 3 reasons why you would choose PVS:

  1. You have a complex/multi-site deployment
  2. Requires Frequent Changes
  3. When you don’t have optimized hardware/storage

Now, scenario 3 is a no-brainer, anybody not buying modern storage/hardware should not even think about large scale RDS/VDI on-premise. Scenario 2 is also easily addressed: application layering. When all there is left in the base image is the OS and perhaps your Office 365 how hard can it be. Version management is not necessary if we do proper QA and if deploying a new base-image following patch-Tuesday is too much to handle perhaps we have bigger issues. So that leaves scenario 1 Complex/Multi-site. And even for that I wonder if we bought the right hardware/storage how much of an issue can it be. I mean, I’ve not heard from any cloud player they are using PVS or PVS like solutions so I feel there are other ways to address that issue. Furthermore complexity is a very broad definition; I’ve had customers with large scale deployments that ran into issues on network design and boot storms while using PVS so it’s not like PVS is the silver bullet. So when it becomes time again to refresh your design please approach the challenge with a 2022 mindset and not a 2000 mindset.

So yes, these days I would advocate MCS over PVS.

BTW: when you choose the right App Layering solution (read: FlexApp) you can also use the same packages for all those “pesky“ physical machines, cloud desktops or any other competing VDI/RDS solution.

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