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Best Practices for Configuring Provisioning Server on a Network

This article explains the best practices when configuring Citrix Provisioning Server on a network. Follow these best practices when troubleshooting issues such as slow performance, image build failures, lost connections to the streaming server, or excessive retries from the target device.

Disabling Spanning Tree or Enabling PortFast

With Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) or Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol, the ports are placed into a blocked state while the switch transmits Bridged Protocol Data Units (BPDUs) and listens to ensure the BPDUs are not in a loopback configuration.

• The amount of time it takes to complete this "convergence" process depends on the size of the switched network, which might allow the Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) to time out.

To resolve this issue, disable STP on edge-ports connected to clients or enable PortFast or Fast Link depending on the managed switch brand. Refer to the table below:

 

Switch Manufacturer

Fast Link Option Name

Cisco

PortFast or STP Fast Link

Dell

Spanning Tree FastLink

Foundry

Fast Port

3COM

Fast Start

Large Send Offload

• The TCP Large Send Offload option allows the AIX TCP layer to build a TCP message up to 64 KB long and send it in one call down the stack through IP and the Ethernet device driver. The adapter then resegments the message into multiple TCP frames to transmit on the wire. The TCP packets sent on the wire are either 1500-byte frames for a Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) of 1500 or up to 9000-byte frames for a MTU of 9000 (jumbo frames).

• Resegmenting and storing up packets to send in large frames causes latency and timeouts to the Provisioning Server. This should be disabled on all Provisioning Servers and clients.

• To disable Large Send Offload, open the Network Interface Card (NIC) properties and select the Advanced tab.

• Some NICs do not offer this setting in the properties page. In this case, you must change a registry key change to disable Large Send Offload. To do so, add the following entry to the registry:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\BNNS\Parameters\
DWORD = EnableOffload
Value “0”

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\TCPIP\Parameters\
Key: "DisableTaskOffload" (dword)
Value: "1"

WARNING!
Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Citrix cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

Auto Negotiation

Auto Negotiation can cause long booting times and PXE timeouts, especially when booting multiple target devices. Citrix recommends hard-coding all Provisioning Server ports (server and client) on the NIC and on the switch.

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