I was so impressed with XenClient Enterprise I bought the company. I mean, of course, I downloaded the product (formerly known as NxTop). The first hurdle was to clear up a disk being used as an ESXi datastore. Vmotioning the disks worked fine to the QNAP which left an apparently empty datastore. ESXi 5.0 refused to unmount or remove it though saying it was “in use” and giving a VC: 637 or similar in the kernel log. Reboots didn’t help and even sshing on to the console and manually removing the .locker directory didn’t help. Didn’t do any harm though! The correct, geeky way to solve this problem would have been to dig through ESXi and find the cause. But I have kids with homework to do so I used the quicker tactic of simply physically removing the disk. ESXi still booted, no problem at all.

Now I’ve installed XenClient Express on that drive, but first the disk controller had to be put in AHCI mode, which the installer helpfully told me. I thought the change would prevent my other O/Ss from booting and VMware station to have a problem but it hasn’t affected them at all. Going for broke, I installed XenClient Enterprise over the top. Will have to wait and see how long the license lasts.

Now just have to persuade grub to give me the option of booting off either disk.


PoC is easy

Working for RedPixie on a VDI PoC at a client recently, we were asked “how have you guys managed to get all this VDI working so quickly when everyone else has tried and failed?”

The answer is that installing software out of the box in a greenfield proof of concept environment is easy. Whether it be vCloud Director or Citrix Streaming Server, installing it is half a days work. But you can’t do that and then say “I’ve installed a cloud for the client”.

All the technical challenges in these types of professional services engagements are to do with integrating the product into the existing environment. Environments that have evolved over decades and are embedded with processes built one way and resistant to be change. I like the analogy of changing the direction of a supertanker. Every client’s environment is different. Understanding it, and the culture, is as important as understanding the product.