Creating Linked-Clone Automated pools using VMware Horizon View

logo
After Installing VMware Horizon View series followed by the Basic Configuration guide we can go ahead and create our first Linked-Clone pool. For a source (golden image) of our first pool we must have an optimized virtual machine managed by the same vCenter server registered in View Connection servers. We also must have a View Agent installed on that virtual machine (more about VMware View Agent) and a created snapshot. Based on that snapshot a Replica virtual machine will be created as part of the pool creation, which will be used for read operations by all virtual desktops part of that pool.

Let’s create our first linked-clone VDI pool

The starting point of all Horizon View management tasks is the View Administrator. It can be accessed via https://ViewCS_address/admin. The user name should belong to the domain group which we have configured during the installation of the first View Connection server (Step 8)

View Administrator

Once logged, navigate to Inverntory ->Pools and click on Add button

navigate

VMware Horizon View supports three type of Pools. Automated pool is created when we need a bunch of automatically created desktops based on one or more golden imaged (Link-cloned or Full cloned). Manual Pool is created when you want to add already installed and configured virtual or physical machines (Installation of View Agent is required). Horizon View allows also to access Terminal Service Pool using View Client. Let’s choose Automated Pool and click Next…

add pool1

The Automated Desktops pools in VMware View could be Dedicated (every user access his/her own desktop every time) or Floating (the end user get the first available desktop from the pool). Both of them have their own use cases. Let’s choose Dedicated and Enable Automatic Assignment, which means that we don’t have manually assign each desktop to a particular user, but the user will automatic assigned when he login for the very fisrt time and will get the same desktop every time when he use login to the View Client.

type of automated pool

Now we have to choose what kind of desktop we want our pool to create. Full virtual machines uses virtual machine templates as a source, while View Composer linked clones use virtual machine snapshot. For Linked-clones we must have View Compose installed in our View Pod. Let’s select View Composer linked clones and select the only one composer which we already have installed.

Lined clone

Select a pool ID, display name and a folder where the pool will be placed. Note that those folders are View folders, not vSphere folders.

VDI folder

From the Pool Settings menu, you can make selections of all possible virtual desktop settings. The settings bellow are the default values and must be changed to fit your customer needs. A good example how those settings could grand some operational bonuses is the Allow users to reset their desktops option. It can reduce the request which the end user create for the service desk to reset their desktops if the OS hangs. For Test purposes we are going to leave the settings by default.

Pool Settings

Provisioning Settings allow us to enable/disable provisioning of desktops from the pool. Also you can choose how many desktops you want to be created and when. A Naming Pattern is a mandatory field also. You have the options for manual or automated naming, following your approved naming conversion.  We will select 5 desktops, 1 of them to be powered on all the time, 1 to be created right after the pool creation and 4 to be created on demand.

Provisioning settings

View Composer Disks are separate from the OS disks. They can be used if you need. Horizon View supports two type of composer disks – Persistent disk (the data on that disk remain the same during refresh/recompose operations) and Disposable disk which is being delete during reset/refresh/recompose operations. Bellow are the default values.

View composer disks

The Storage Optimization options allow us to place the OS disk on a separate high performance disk and to store the users’ persistent disk on a separate datastores, which allow us to backup them separately.

Storage Optimization

All of the vCenter settings are mandatory. As we already mention, the Linked-clones are made by a snapshot of the golden image. Here first you select the Parent VM and then you have the option to select a snapshot. The parent VM may have more than one snapshot. You also may have configured different resource pools for every desktop pool, which might be useful if you want to set different settings on each of them (reservation/sharing)

settings

Horizon View also supports several type of advanced storage options like NFS VAAI, SE Disk, View accelerator. Blackout times also could be configured from this menu, enabling us to set a time window when the virtual desktops from this pool could be used by the users.

advanced storage options

Lined-clones will be automatically added to the domain controller. You can specify to which container you want to added. Linked Clones support two types of customization – QuickPrep and Sysprep. Both of them have their pros and cons. Which one you will choose depends on the needs of your customer. For our test purposes we are going to use Sysprep since it generates new SID for every desktop, while QuickPrep keeps the SID the same. For Sysprep you must have a pre-defined customization templates.

customization

Once the Pool has been created, you should assign a group which will use it. This can be done by Right click -> Entitlements. Most of the settings which we did during the pool creation can be changed by Right click -> Edit

entitlement

Here is a list with the tasks completed by the View Admin from vCenter point of view

vCenter

And at the end you can see the status of the created desktops from the pool which we have just created

desktops

The following two tabs change content below.

Nikolay Nikolov

VDI Engineer
Nikolay has 9 years work experience in IT and 5 of them in the Virtualization technologies mainly based on VMware products. Currently works as VDI Engineer at MSD IT Global Innovation Center and he is an ex-member of VMware CoE at IBM. He holds VCIX6-DCV, VCIX6-DTM and VCP on DCV, DTM, NV and Cloud, Nutanix NPP certificate and also Master Degree of Computer Systems and Networks. Honored with vExpert 2015/2016 by VMware and Nutanix Technology Champion 2016/2017.

Latest posts by Nikolay Nikolov (see all)

About Nikolay Nikolov

Nikolay has 9 years work experience in IT and 5 of them in the Virtualization technologies mainly based on VMware products. Currently works as VDI Engineer at MSD IT Global Innovation Center and he is an ex-member of VMware CoE at IBM. He holds VCIX6-DCV, VCIX6-DTM and VCP on DCV, DTM, NV and Cloud, Nutanix NPP certificate and also Master Degree of Computer Systems and Networks. Honored with vExpert 2015/2016 by VMware and Nutanix Technology Champion 2016/2017.
Bookmark the permalink.

6 Comments

  1. Can we do the same through any scripts like power CLI ?

  2. Is it possible to configure syslog server for linked clone VM’s?
    When user log off, vm gets refreshed and logs in the VM get deleted. Can we move those logs to syslog server with some configuration?

  3. What settings did you have in your customization settings for sysprep in vSphere? I’ve created my settings, but my linked clones are stuck at customizing. They sit at the local admin login and do not join the domain. I can create a pool fine using quickprep, but we need local antivirus installed. Quickprep doesn’t seem to work for that.

    • Hi Robert,
      have you try your customization specification separately out of Horizon View?
      I’ve seen similar problems before. You can check first if you are getting TCP/IP settings from your DHCP, second – what account do you use for domain join (retype your password, maybe it is wrong). To get a better understand where to dig for the root cause, have you tried to join any of the VDs to the domain manually after provisioning?

Leave a Reply