Why I ditched XenClient for Hyper-V Part I

I’ve been running Citrix XenClient for almost a year now and it was a great opportunity for me to get a brand new computer because of the limited HCL support. Overall I’m pretty satisfied with the XenClient, but it’s still missing some important features. My computer setup is a Lenovo T500 with 8GB of memory with a standard IDE disk.

The main reason I’m ditching XenClient for Hyper-V is the lack of support and the possibility to get our company image inside a VM. I’ve tested this successfully with MDT2010 in my home lab, but our company PXE service are controlled by CA and internal IT doesn’t support XenClient.

There’s also many other missing features and bugs listed below :

  • Sometimes there’s a graphic bug on the hypervisor, only parts of the screen shows up and I need to shutdown the VM’s and restart my computer.
  • Hibernation doesn’t work properly. My computer get’s really hot and burns a hole in the computer bag if I leave it on for more than 2 hours. This means its better to shut the system down.
  • WI-FI is using 172.x addresses instead of the IP-address provided by DHCP which means you cannot run WI-FI scanners, setup WI-Fi printers, run AirVideo or PlexApp Server for Video Streaming.
  • Battery life is worse
  • Long boot time
  • Wake up from Hibernation takes ages….
  • Wake up from Hibernation connects to unprotected WI-FI instead of my preferred WI-FI network
  • No GUI for hard disk resize
  • No Snapshot function
  • 3GB memory limit per VM

There’s probably a lot more things I’m forgetting, but in the next post I’ll take you through the process of bulding the optimal computer for consultants. The setup will be based upon Windows 2008 R2 SP1 with customization to make it look and feel like a normal Windows 7 machine.

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15 Responses to Why I ditched XenClient for Hyper-V Part I

  1. Looking forward to the other parts of this series. I thought about getting a laptop to run XenClient but I ended up running it on a workstation that I already had instead to test with. I didn’t want to purchase a laptop that I couldn’t switch over and use Hyper-V with RemoteFX on. So when I got a new laptop I P2V my old laptop Windows 7 image and now run it as a VM on my lapotp with Hyper-V using RemoteFX. Works great!

    • Thanks for you comment Jarian, looking forward to meeting up again at Synergy.

  2. Look forward to the next post, I spent an entire day trying to get XenClient 1.1 running on a Dell Optiplex 780. The lack of support for the new Dell Display Port and inability to use my keyboard with smartcard reader made me abandon it. XenClient has a lot of potiential as a client platform for delivering desktops securely, but they need to step up the support for commonly used equipment or it will never reach critical mass. They need a roadmap and architecutre model like the original Windows 3.1 Advanced Server had.

  3. Trond,

    I am not sure you understand the difference with XenClient vs Hyper-V.

    XenClient is meant to be a small portable Type 1 hypervisor. It is meant to have only a couple of VMs very similar footprint; ideal for labs or to run multiple operating systems. Hyper-V on the other hand is comparable to XenServer and ESX; server Hypervisor.

    I dont believe you fully know the XenClient as the “get my company image inside a VM” can be done using synchronizer. You have got alot to learn.

    Additionally, I would recommend to disable alot of the Hybernation, etc. type features as you wont enable these on Hyper-V.

    Finally, if you know XenServer, then XenClient is the compact version of the product. If you know XenServer and some linux you can do alot with XenClient as it has a command line to SSH to the box and do what you like.

    Take a look at my blog regarding XenClient and you will learn about the features to learn more about the product.

    • Hi Al, thanks for your feedback. I totally understand everything about XenClient, this a provoking blog post to get the discussion going. Also to shed some light on the missing features, normal user experience and bugs.

      Had a look a your blog, lots of useful information but who is Al, there’s no About page. Another The Stig? πŸ˜‰

  4. Hi Eric,

    I am doing the same thing as we speak! XenClient will be a great product but for now it’s not for every day usage especially when you want to run some demo VM’s.

    • Yes it will be great, as Doug Brown said last year, XenClient right now is like WinFrame.

  5. Should have had a look at VirtualComputer’s NxTop – a far more mature and usable client hypervisor – that would have solved a lot of the issues you’ve highlighted and works on both intel and AMD

    • Hi Andy, thanks for you comment. I’ve heard about VC but never had time to check it out. Maybe in the future if the Hyper-V doesn’t deliver.

  6. Windows 2008 disables the ability to install codecs for use when playing movies from the cdrom. A much better solution is OpenSUSE and VMWare – you will have a faster booting usable laptop with enough power to run many Virtual Machines.

  7. Hi,
    I too experienced similar issues with v1 of XenClient..the new beta release of 2 is much improved – I think. Has support for more than 3Gb Ram, Ubuntu runs very well..3D graphics, wifi – all work much smoother than the previous release. One problem I have is running external monitors through a docking station – still a bit flaky with 3D graphics enabled..works for several mins then starts to flicker and needs shutdown. All-in-all..much better.

  8. I know it has been a while since you wrote this blog. Version 4.1 of Xenclient is very capable of doing this. It also supports w2k8r2 and xenserver.

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