Creating Single-User Desktop Pools

VMware Horizon 7 version 7.5 and later

Creating Single-User Desktop Pools

Introduction

With single-user desktops, each virtual machine allows a single end-user connection at a time. In contrast, with session-based desktops, one RDSH server can accommodate many concurrent user connections. This chapter provides the following exercises for creating various types of pools that contain Windows-based single-user desktops:

  • Instant-clone desktop pools
  • Full-clone desktop pools
  • Linked-clone desktop pools

A shared-session, RDSH desktop pool has different characteristics than a single-user automated desktop pool. Exercises for creating an RDSH desktop pool, which is based on a session to an RDSH server, appear in the next chapter, Creating RDSH-Published Desktops and Applications.

Besides Windows-based desktops, you can create Linux-based desktops, see Setting Up VMware Horizon 7 for Linux Desktops.

Deploy an Instant-Clone Desktop Pool

A clone is a copy of a master VM with a unique identity of its own, including a MAC address, UUID, and other system information. The VMware Instant Clone Technology included Horizon 7 Enterprise Edition and Horizon Apps Advanced Edition improves and accelerates the process of creating cloned VMs over the previous View Composer linked-clone technology. In addition, instant clones require less storage and less expense to manage and update because the desktop is deleted when the user logs out, and a new desktop is created using the latest master image.

Creating an instant-clone desktop pool or RDSH server farm is a two-part process:

  • Publishing, also called priming, the master image
  • Provisioning the VMs in the pool or farm

Publishing the master image can take from 7 to 40 minutes, depending on the type of storage you are using. Provisioning the VMs takes only 1 or 2 seconds per VM. You can perform these tasks at separate times, so that the provisioning process occurs either at a scheduled time or immediately after the publishing process is complete.

The Add Desktop Pool wizard or the Add Farm wizard in the Horizon Console guides you through the process of publishing the master image. Completing the wizard for instant clones is similar to adding any type of pool or farm.

For this exercise, you will use the newest Horizon 7 management interface, the Horizon Console.

Important: If your session in the Horizon Console is idle for more than a few minutes, you might be automatically logged out, and if you were in the middle of creating a desktop pool, your changes are lost.

Prerequisites for Deploying an Instant-Clone Pool

To perform this exercise, you need the following:

1. Start the Add Pool Wizard in the Horizon Console

  1. Log in to the Horizon Console, and select Inventory > Desktops.
    The format of the URL for accessing the console is: https://<connection-server-FQDN>/newadmin
  2. Click Add.

2. Select the Automated Desktop Pool Type

  1. Select Automated Desktop Pool.
  2. Click Next.

3. Select the Instant Clone Type and the vCenter Server Instance

  1. Select Instant Clone, and, optionally, add a description of the pool.
  2. Select the vCenter Server instance.
  3. Click Next.

4. Select Floating Assignment

  1. Select Floating. Instant-clone pools can use either floating or dedicated user assignment. For this exercise, we use floating assignment.
    • Dedicated assignment – Each desktop is assigned to a specific user. A user logging in for the first time gets a desktop that is not assigned to another user. The user always gets this same desktop after logging in, and this desktop is not available to any other user.
    • Floating assignment – Users get a random desktop every time they log in. When a user logs out, the desktop is deleted. With automatic deletion, you keep only as many VMs as you need at one time.
  2. Click Next.

5. Choose Whether to Use vSAN

  1. Select Do not use VMware Virtual SAN, and select Use separate datastores for replica and OS disks.
  2. Click Next.

For this exercise, use separate datastores so that you can see the extra settings In the next window. With separate datastores, you can place the replica VM on a solid-state, disk-backed datastore. Solid-state disks have low storage capacity but high read performance, typically supporting 20,000 IOPS. Separate datastores are used in tiered-storage models.

In a production environment, you might select to use VMware Virtual SAN. VMware Virtual SAN, or VMware vSAN™, is a software-defined storage tier that virtualizes the local physical storage disks available on a cluster of vSphere hosts. You specify only one datastore when creating an automated desktop pool or an automated farm, and the various components, such as virtual machine files, replicas, user data, and operating system files, are placed on the appropriate solid-state drive (SSD) disks or direct-attached hard disks (HDDs).

6. Complete the Default Image Settings

Click the Browse button next to the first setting, which is Parent VM.

Important: This page has numerous settings, and in the next steps, we do not copy this screenshot into every step, but instead only refer to it and show a screenshot of the window that appears when you click Browse for that setting.

Note: This page refers to the default image because after the pool is created, you can edit the pool and select a different snapshot to use if you want to push a new image and generate new desktops using that other image.

Describing all the settings in detail is beyond the scope of this quick-start guide. For details about all the settings in the Add Desktop wizard, see the product documentation topic Worksheet for Creating an Instant-Clone Desktop Pool in Horizon Console.

6.1. Select a Parent VM

  1. Select the master VM that you created.
    For instructions, see the guide Creating an Optimized Windows Image for a VMware Horizon Virtual Desktop.
  2. Click Submit.

6.2. Select a Snapshot of the Master VM

  1. Click Browse next to Snapshot, and select the snapshot to use as the default image for creating the pool.
    For instructions, see the guide Creating an Optimized Windows Image for a VMware Horizon Virtual Desktop.
  2. Click Submit.

6.3. Select a VM Folder for the Instant Clones in the Pool

  1. Click Browse next to VM Folder Location, and select the folder to use.
    Note: The Instant Clones folder shown in the screenshot is just an example; you can select any available folder.
    The VM folder is described in Prerequisites for Deploying an Instant-Clone Pool.
  2. Click Submit.

6.4. Select the Resource Cluster

  1. Click Browse next to Cluster, and select a vCenter Server resource cluster.
    Note: The cluster selected in the screenshot is just an example; you can select any available cluster.
  2. Click Submit.

6.5. Select a Resource Pool

  1. Click Browse next to Resource Pool, and select a resource pool.
    Note: The resource pool selected in the screenshot is just an example; you can select any available resource pool.
  2. Click Submit.

6.6. Select a Datastore for the Clones

  1. Click Browse next to Instant-Clone Datastores, and select a datastore.
    Note: The datastore selected in the screenshot is just an example; you can select any available datastore or multiple datastores.
  2. Click Submit.

6.7. Select a Datastore for the Replica Disk

  1. Click Browse next to Replica Disk Datastores, and select a datastore.
    Note: The datastore selected in the screenshot is just an example; you can select any available datastore or multiple datastores.
  2. Click Submit.

6.8. Select a Network

  1. Click Browse next to Network, and note that by default you use the same network as the master image VM.
  2. Click Submit.

6.9. Click Next on the Default Image Page

On the page that summarizes the default image settings you selected, click Next.

7. Enter a Pool ID and Display Name

  1. Add a pool ID.
  2. (Optional) Add a display name, which users will see when they log in using Horizon Client or the HTML Access web client.
    If you do not provide a display name, the pool ID is used for the display name.
  3. (Optional) Select an access group.
    If you do not specify an access group, the pool is placed in the root access group. For more information about access groups, see the product documentation topic Manage and Review Access Groups.
  4. Click Next.

8. Specify Desktop Pool Settings

For the purposes of this exercise, use the default settings, and click Next.

9. Specify Remote Display Settings

  1. Select the HTML Access check box so that users will be able to access virtual desktops using their web browsers instead of Horizon Client.
  2. Select the Allow Session Collaboration check box.
  3. Use the defaults for the other settings, and click Next.

10. Specify Provisioning Settings

  1. Enter a naming pattern for the VMs. For example, for this exercise, you can use Win10-IC.
    This naming pattern helps you identify Windows 10 instant clones in Horizon Console.
  2. Select Provision machines on demand, and use the default minimum of 1.
  3. Set Max number of machines to 10 or fewer (for the purposes of this exercise).
    In a production environment, instant-clone pools have been tested to support up to 2,000 desktops.
  4. Set Number of spare (powered on) machines to 1.
  5. Use the defaults for the other settings, and click Next.

11. Select a Domain Administrator and Browse to the OU

  1. Select the instant-clone domain administrator, which you added in the exercise Add an Instant-Clone Domain Administrator.
  2. Click Browse in the AD Container section.

12. Select the Active Directory OU for the Desktops

  1. Select the OU that you created in the exercise Create a Domain User Account and OUs in AD for Clone Operations, or if this is a test environment, you can select the Computers OU.
  2. Click Submit.

13. Click Next on the Guest Customization Page

Use the defaults for the rest of the settings on this page, and click Next.

Note: For this exercise, you do not enter scripts. In a production environment, you can specify that a script run immediately after a clone is created. You can also run another script before the clone is powered off. These scripts can invoke any process that can be created with the Windows Create Process API, such as cmd, vbscript, exe, and batch-file processes.

14. Begin Deploying the Desktop Pool

Leave the check box at the top of the window de-selected, and click Submit. Entitling users is a separate exercise.

For more information about the available settings in this wizard, see the product documentation topic Worksheet for Creating an Instant-Clone Desktop Pool in Horizon Console.

15. Monitor the Pool Creation Process

To access details about the newly added pool, click the pool name on the Desktop Pools page.

If you do not see the pool listed, click the Refresh icon above the table.

16. Verify That One Instant-Clone Desktop Is Available

In the Machine Status area, verify that one instant-clone desktop is now available. For this exercise, you selected to provision the desktops on demand, with a minimum of one desktop available.

Important: Now that you have created an instant-clone desktop pool, you can entitle users to it, either by using the Add Entitlements wizard, as described in a later exercise, or by using the JMP Integrated Workflow to define a JMP assignment. JMP assignments include information about the App Volumes AppStacks, instant-clone desktops pools, and User Environment Manager settings for specific groups of users. For instructions, see the Quick-Start Tutorial for VMware Horizon JMP Integrated Workflow.

Push a New Image to an Instant-Clone Desktop Pool

To manage OS patches and software updates with instant clones, you use the push-image operation. The push-image operation achieves the same goal as the recompose operation for View Composer linked clones. However, the recompose operation is slower and requires you to plan for maintenance windows to perform the operation at off-peak hours. Because the provisioning of instant clones is faster than that of View Composer linked clones, it is not necessary to plan for maintenance windows.

Unlike linked clones, instant clones do not need to be recomposed, refreshed, or rebalanced. When a user logs out of the desktop, the desktop is deleted and recreated. This approach to desktop deletion and recreation staggers the patching operation across desktops, eliminates boot storms, reduces storage IOPS, and creates less of a load on the vCenter Server.

For this exercise, you will use the newest Horizon 7 management interface, the Horizon Console.

Important: If your session in the Horizon Console is idle for more than a few minutes, you might be automatically logged out, and if you were in the middle of creating a push-image operation, your changes are lost.

Prerequisites for Pushing a New Image

To perform this exercise, you need:

  • Instant-clone desktop pool – You must have completed the exercise Deploy an Instant-Clone Desktop Pool.
  • New VM snapshot – You must have a new image to push to the desktop pool. Therefore, use vSphere Web Client, select the VM that you created for deploying the instant-clone pool, and create a new VM snapshot. For details, see the vSphere documentation topic Taking a Snapshot.

1. Go to the Summary Page for the Pool

  1. Log in to the Horizon Console, and select Inventory > Desktops.
    The format of the URL for accessing the console is: https://<connection-server-FQDN>/newadmin
  2. Click the pool name on the Desktop Pools page.

2. Select to Schedule Maintenance

On the Summary tab, select Schedule from the Maintain drop-down list.

3. Select a New VM Snapshot

  1. Select the new snapshot that you created.
  2. Click Next.

For this exercise, we select a new snapshot taken of the same master VM, but you can also use this page to navigate to a different VM and select a snapshot.

4. Click Next to Start the Task After Users Log Off

Leave the start time set to the default so that the push starts after you complete the wizard, and click Next.

The default is Wait for users to log off. If, instead, you select to force users to log off, you can give users a warning and a grace period of 5 minutes, by default. To edit this setting, after you finish creating the schedule, open the Horizon Administrator (https://<connection-server-FQDN>/admin), navigate to View Configuration > Global Settings, and click Edit in the General settings section.

Note: The Stop at first error check box is available only if the Stop provisioning on error check box is not selected on the Edit Pool > Provisioning Settings tab.

5. Click Finish to Complete the Maintenance Schedule

Click Finish. You are returned to the Summary tab for the desktop pool, where the pending image for the push operation is displayed in the vCenter Server panel. The state changes from Publishing to Published.

6. Monitor Progress for Individual Desktops

Click the Machines (InstantClone Details) tab to monitor which individual desktops are using which image.

Deploy a Full-Clone Desktop Pool

A full clone is an independent copy of a VM. It shares nothing with its master VM, and it operates entirely separately from the master VM used to create it. In this exercise, you create full-clone desktops with dedicated user assignment.

Before Horizon 7 was released, full-clone dedicated desktops were created for users who needed to install their own applications. This requirement was weighed against the management overhead required to maintain each individual full clone and all the data and applications installed in the VM.

With Horizon 7 and App Volumes, you have the alternative of creating Just-in-Time Desktops. You can combine instant-clone desktops with App Volumes writable disks, which allow users to install their own applications. This strategy allows you to create disposable desktops that retain user customizations, personas, and user-installed apps from session to session, even though the cloned desktop is destroyed when the user logs out. Users experience a stateful desktop, while the enterprise realizes the economy of stateless desktops. For more information, see JMP and VMware Horizon 7 Deployment Considerations.

Prerequisites for Deploying a Full-Clone Pool

To perform this exercise, you need the following:

  • Master VM template – Before you can deploy a pool of full-clone desktops, you must create an optimized master image, which includes installing and configuring a Windows operating system in a VM, optimizing the OS, and installing the various VMware agents required for desktop pool deployment. For step-by-step instructions, see the guide Creating an Optimized Windows Image for a VMware Horizon Virtual Desktop.

    Important: Follow the instructions in the guide Creating an Optimized Windows Image for a VMware Horizon Virtual Desktop, but instead of taking a snapshot of the VM after you finish creating and optimizing it, you must clone the VM to a VM template. For instructions, see the vSphere product documentation topic Clone a Virtual Machine to a Template in the vSphere Web Client. When creating instant-clone and linked-clone desktops, you use a VM snapshot, but for full-clone desktops, you must use a VM template instead of a snapshot.
  • Microsoft Sysprep customization specification – If you do not already have a Microsoft Sysprep customization specification for the Windows 10 guest operating system, use the Guest Customization wizard in the vSphere Client to create one. See the vSphere product documentation topic Create a Customization Specification for Windows. You will select this customization specification when completing the Add Desktop Pool wizard.

    Note: VMware recommends that you test a customization specification in vSphere before you use it to create a desktop pool. When you use a Sysprep customization specification to join a Windows desktop to a domain, you must use the FQDN of the Active Directory domain. You cannot use the NetBIOS name.
  • Connection Server – For installation and setup instructions, see the exercises Install Horizon Connection Server, Add the Product License Key, and Add a vCenter Server Instance.
  • VM folder – (Optional) A VM folder in the vCenter Server inventory. Having a specific folder in the vCenter Server inventory helps you locate and manage the virtual desktops in the full-clone pool.

1. Start the Add Pool Wizard in the Horizon Console

  1. Log in to the Horizon Console, and select Inventory > Desktops.
    The format of the URL for accessing the console is: https://<connection-server-FQDN>/newadmin
  2. Click Add.

2. Select the Automated Desktop Pool Type

  1. Select Automated Desktop Pool.
  2. Click Next.

3. Select the Full Clone Type and the vCenter Server Instance

  1. Select Full Virtual Machines, and, optionally, add a description of the pool.
  2. Select the vCenter Server instance.
  3. Click Next.

4. Enable Automatic Assignment

  1. Select Allow automatic assignment.
  2. Click Next.

5. Choose Whether to Use vSAN

  1. Select Do not use VMware Virtual SAN.
  2. Click Next.

In a production environment, you might select to use VMware Virtual SAN. VMware Virtual SAN, or VMware vSAN™, is a software-defined storage tier that virtualizes the local physical storage disks available on a cluster of vSphere hosts. You specify only one datastore when creating an automated desktop pool or an automated farm, and the various components, such as virtual machine files, replicas, user data, and operating system files, are placed on the appropriate solid-state drive (SSD) disks or direct-attached hard disks (HDDs).

6. Complete the Virtual Machine Template Settings

Click the Browse button next to the first setting, which is Template.

Important: This page has numerous settings, and in the next steps, we do not copy this screenshot into every step, but instead only refer to it and show a screenshot of the window that appears when you click Browse for that setting.

Describing all the settings in detail is beyond the scope of this quick-start guide. For details about all the settings in the Add Desktop wizard, see the product documentation topic Worksheet for Creating an Automated Pool That Contains Full Virtual Machines in Horizon Console.

6.1. Select a VM Template

  1. Select the VM template that you created.
    For instructions on creating and optimizing a VM, see the guide Creating an Optimized Windows Image for a VMware Horizon Virtual Desktop. For instructions on creating a VM template, see the vSphere product documentation topic Clone a Virtual Machine to a Template in the vSphere Web Client.
  2. Click Submit.

6.2. Select a VM Folder for the Full Clones in the Pool

  1. Click Browse next to VM Folder Location, and select the folder to use.
    Note: The Win10 folder shown in the screenshot is just an example; you can select any available folder.
    The VM folder is described in Prerequisites for Deploying a Full-Clone Pool.
  2. Click Submit.

6.3. Select the Resource Cluster

  1. Click Browse next to Cluster, and select a vCenter Server resource cluster.
    Note: The cluster selected in the screenshot is just an example; you can select any available cluster.
  2. Click Submit.

6.4. Select a Resource Pool

  1. Click Browse next to Resource Pool, and select a resource pool.
    Note: The resource pool selected in the screenshot is just an example; you can select any available resource pool.
  2. Click Submit.

6.5. Select a Datastore for the Clones

  1. Click Browse next to Datastores, and select a datastore.
  2. Note: The datastore selected in the screenshot is just an example; you can select any available datastore or multiple datastores.
  3. Click Submit.

6.6. Click Next on the Virtual Machine Template Page

On the page that summarizes the default image settings you selected, click Next.

7. Enter a Pool ID and Display Name

  1. Add a pool ID.
  2. (Optional) Add a display name, which users will see when they log in using Horizon Client or the HTML Access web client.
    If you do not provide a display name, the pool ID is used for the display name.
  3. (Optional) Select an access group.
    If you do not specify an access group, the pool is placed in the root access group. For more information about access groups, see the product documentation topic Manage and Review Access Groups.
  4. Click Next.

8. Specify Desktop Pool Settings

For the purposes of this exercise, use the default settings, and click Next.

9. Specify Remote Display Settings

  1. Select the HTML Access check box so that users will be able to access virtual desktops using their web browsers in addition to Horizon Client.
  2. Select Allow Session Collaboration.
  3. Use the defaults for the other settings, and click Next.

10. Specify Provisioning Settings

  1. Enter a naming pattern for the VMs. For example, for this exercise, you can use Win10-FC.
    This naming pattern helps you identify Windows 10 full clones in Horizon Console.
  2. Select Provision machines on demand, and use the default minimum of 1.
  3. Set Max number of machines to 10 or fewer (for the purposes of this exercise).
    In a production environment, full-clone pools have been tested to support up to 2,000 desktops.
  4. Set Number of spare (powered on) machines to 1.
  5. Use the defaults for the other settings, and click Next.

11. Click Next on the Advanced Storage Options Page

Click Next.

12. Select a Sysprep Customization Specification

  1. Select Use this customization specification.
  2. Select the customization specification.
    Note: The customization specification selected in the screenshot is just an example; select the customization specification you created.
  3. Click Next.

13. Begin Deploying the Desktop Pool

Leave the check box at the top of the window de-selected, and click Submit. Entitling users is a separate exercise.

For more information about the available settings in this wizard, see the product documentation topic Worksheet for Creating an Automated Pool That Contains Full Virtual Machines in Horizon Console.

14. Monitor the Pool Creation Process

To access details about the newly added pool, click the pool name on the Desktop Pools page.

If you do not see the pool listed, click the Refresh icon above the table.

15. Check the Machine Status

Scroll down to the Machine Status area, which displays the VM state. The state changes from Provisioning to Customizing to Available.

Deploy a Linked-Clone Desktop Pool

Linked clones allow administrators to easily create and manage pools of similar desktops. Because linked-clone desktops share a base system-disk image, they use less storage than full VMs. All linked-clone desktops can be patched or updated by updating the master VM and VM snapshot.

Prerequisites for Deploying a Linked-Clone Pool

To perform this exercise, you need the following:

  • Master VM and snapshot – Before you can deploy a pool of desktops, you must create an optimized master image, which includes installing and configuring a Windows operating system in a VM, optimizing the OS, and installing the various VMware agents required for desktop pool deployment. For step-by-step instructions, see the guide Creating an Optimized Windows Image for a VMware Horizon Virtual Desktop.
  • AD OU – You must have determined which Active Directory OU to use for storing linked-clone computer accounts. In a test environment, you can use the Computers OU. In a production environment, VMware recommends that you create a specific OU and domain user, and delegate the minimum required permissions, as described in the exercise Create a Domain User Account and OUs in AD for Clone Operations.
  • Connection Server – For installation and setup instructions, see the exercises Install Horizon Connection Server and Add the Product License Key.
  • Composer server – For installation and setup instructions, see the exercises Install the Composer and Add a vCenter Server Instance.
  • VM folder – (Optional) A VM folder in the vCenter Server inventory. Having a specific folder in the vCenter Server inventory helps you locate and manage the virtual desktops in the linked-clone pool.

1. Start the Add Pool Wizard in Horizon Administrator

  1. Log in to Horizon Administrator, and navigate to Catalog > Desktop Pools.
    The format of the URL for accessing the console is: https://<connection-server-FQDN>/admin
  2. Click Add.

2. Select the Automated Desktop Pool Type

  1. Select Automated Desktop Pool.
  2. Click Next.

3. Select Floating Assignment

  1. Select Floating. Linked-clone pools can use either floating or dedicated user assignment. For this exercise, we use floating assignment.
    • Dedicated assignment: Each desktop is assigned to a specific user. A user logging in for the first time gets a desktop that is not assigned to another user. The user always gets this same desktop after logging in, and this desktop is not available to any other user.
    • Floating assignment: Users get a random desktop every time they log in. When a user logs out, the desktop is either refreshed and returned to the pool or deleted, depending on pool settings. With automatic deletion, you keep only as many VMs as you need at one time.
  2. Click Next.

4. Connect to vCenter

  1. Select View Composer linked clones.
  2. Select the vCenter Server instance.
  3. Click Next.

5. Provide a Pool ID

  1. Complete the Desktop Pool Identification window:
    • Add a pool ID.
    • (Optional) Add a display name, which users will see when they log in using Horizon Client or the HTML Access web client.
      If you do not provide a display name, the pool ID is used for the display name.
    • (Optional) Select an access group.
      If you do not specify an access group, the pool is placed in the root access group. For more information about access groups, see the product documentation topic Manage and Review Access Groups.
  2. In the lower right, click Next.

6. Configure Desktop Pool Settings

  1. In the Desktop Pool Settings window, complete the following settings:
    • Leave State set to Enabled.
    • Select VMware Blast to use Blast Extreme as the default display protocol. You can use any display protocol, but the new Blast Extreme display protocol is optimized for all types of devices.
    • Set HTML Access to Enabled.
      Because you are enabling HTML Access, you can access your desktop from a browser if you do not want to install VMware Horizon Client later.
    • For assistance with selecting the other settings, click the ? icon next to the setting, or use the default setting.
  2. Click Next.

7. Configure Provisioning Settings

  1. In the Provisioning Settings window, change the following settings.
    • Enter a naming pattern for the VMs, as described in the Naming Pattern panel of the Provisioning Settings window. For example, for this exercise, you can use Win-10-LC-. This naming pattern helps you identify Windows 10 linked clones in Horizon Administrator.
    • Set Max number of machines to 10 or fewer (for the purposes of this exercise). In a production environment, linked-clone pools have been tested to support up to 2,000 desktops.
    • Select Provision machines on demand, and set the minimum number of machines to 2.
  2. In the lower right, click Next.
  3. In the View Composer Disks window, click Next.

Disposable files consist of the paging file and the system-level Temp directory. The default is to redirect disposable files to a nonpersistent disk that will be deleted automatically when a user’s session ends.

8. Set Storage Optimization

  1. Select Select separate datastores for replica and OS disks.
  2. Click Next.

For this exercise, use separate datastores so that you can see the extra settings In the next window. With separate datastores, you can place the replica VM on a solid-state, disk-backed datastore. Solid-state disks have low storage capacity but high read performance, typically supporting 20,000 IOPS. Separate datastores are used in tiered-storage models.

In a production environment, you might select to use VMware Virtual SAN. VMware Virtual SAN, or VMware vSAN™, is a software-defined storage tier that virtualizes the local physical storage disks available on a cluster of vSphere hosts. You specify only one datastore when creating an automated desktop pool or an automated farm, and the various components, such as virtual machine files, replicas, user data, and operating system files, are placed on the appropriate solid-state drive (SSD) disks or direct-attached hard disks (HDDs).

9. Configure vCenter Settings

  1. In the vCenter Settings window, click Browse next to each text box to make your selections. When making your selections, use the following guidelines:
    • Parent VM: Select the master VM that you created for linked clones in the guide Creating an Optimized Windows Image for a VMware Horizon Virtual Desktop.
    • Snapshot: Select the snapshot of the master VM that you created.
    • VM folder location: If you do not have a folder created, select the data center, and click OK.
    • Linked clone datastores and Replica disk datastores: If you are not using a tiered-storage model, you can select the same datastore for replicas and clones.
  2. Click Next.
  3. In the Advanced Storage Options window, click Next.

For the purposes of this exercise, you can use the defaults, but make sure to read the Advanced Storage Options window and the embedded help text In the window to learn about the storage features available for linked clones.

10. Configure Guest Customization

  1. In the Guest Customization window, use the following settings.
    • Domain: Select the domain and user that were used when configuring View Composer settings.
    • AD container: Click Browse and select the OU that you created in the exercise Create a Domain User Account and OUs in AD for Clone Operations, or if this is a test environment, you can select the Computers OU.
    • Use QuickPrep: Select this option. When you create linked-clone machines, you must modify each VM so that it can function as a unique computer on the network. QuickPrep and Microsoft Sysprep provide different approaches to customization. Because QuickPrep runs faster than Sysprep, and because QuickPrep does not require you to create a customization specification, use QuickPrep for this exercise.
    • Note: For this exercise, you do not enter scripts. In a production environment, you can specify that a script run immediately after a clone is created. You can also run another script before the clone is powered off. These scripts can invoke any process that can be created with the Windows CreateProcess API, such as CMD, VBScript (VBS), EXE, and batch-file processes.
  2. Click Next.
  3. In the Ready to Complete window, click Finish.

You return to the Catalog > Desktop Pools inventory list. The new pool appears in the list.

11. Monitor Progress by Going to the Summary Tab

Double-click the desktop pool to go to the Summary tab for the pool.

12. Check the Machine Status

Scroll down to the Machine Status area, which displays the VM state. The state changes from Provisioning to Customizing to Available.

Note: To create another linked-clone pool, you can select this pool In the Desktop Pools window and click Clone to clone this pool. The pool’s settings are copied into the Add Desktop Pool wizard, allowing you to create a new pool without having to fill in each setting manually. You can clone full-clone and linked-clone desktop pools.