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.

Of data and skill

Would you buy a full-blown fire brigade to put out a dumpster fire?

The same applies to Digital Experience Monitoring, if all you are looking for is a solution to put out a dumpster fire perhaps it’s better to hire a specialist who will have a look and help you put out the fire. But when Quality of Service means more to you than just a networking term, when it’s of strategic importance that the IT services you deliver is well received by your customers, when you want data to back up your strategic investments that’s when you start looking for Digital Experience Monitoring.

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“Here’s to the crazy ones”​

I have several inspirational quotes hanging in my office, one is from the 1997 “Think different” campaign; “Here’s to the crazy ones” especially the ending of the statement is what always keeps me going, so call me crazy and I will wear it with pride. Now the world of business is filled with these kinds of inspirational quotes like for instance Henry Ford’s “If You Always Do What You’ve Always Done, You’ll Always Get What You’ve Always Got” and most are from leaders that embraced change to achieve their goals. The IT industry has in the last decades perhaps seen the most of these “crazy ones”, people or companies that dared to think different.

So how does all of this relate to application layering you might ask?

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Layers make everything better

App Layering makes everything better

How would you be able to change in a world where 80% of our budget is spend on “keeping the lights on” ? Furthermore change is being perceived as scary, there might be repercussions on your decision to change so we play it safe and maintain the status the quo. We wait and look in awe at the early adopters and whenever one fails you use this as a proving point of your own fears.

It could be you’ve dared to try something new, but the first iteration was very disappointing. We’ve learned our lesson and try to categorize everything in the hype-cycle waiting for technology to pass the through of disillusionment. But after the through of disillusionment comes the 2nd generation. And this is where we are today when we look at application layering. A technology which was first broadly introduced by VMware with App Volumes, sure there were obviously others before them, but I believe VMware made the concept of layering “mainstream”. One of those early companies was Liquidware, founded in 2009, who believed their solutions should not be tied to 1 specific eco-system. That organizations should be able to benefit from their solutions no matter which choices they make when it comes to a workspace delivery. This customer and user-centric focus is the reason I chose to work here. Putting customer value over shareholder value. A wise lesson I’ve learned from one of my former CEO’s.  

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