C: Creating an Image

C: Creating an Image

About Image Creation

Microsoft provides a variety of VM templates in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. Horizon Cloud Service provides the ability to import Windows 2012 R2 or 2016 data center-edition servers. Upon import, Horizon Cloud Service joins the VM to the domain, enables the RDS role, automates the Horizon and DaaS installations, and performs a bootstrap process, enabling secure pairing of the DaaS agent to the Horizon Cloud Service node. All of this is automated, although the process can be performed manually if you want to convert an existing VM to a Horizon Cloud Service image yourself. After the imported VM is configured with the necessary applications, Horizon Cloud Service converts the VM to an image by automatically running SYSPREP and sealing the OS. You can then use the image to create RDS session host farms and assign dedicated and floating VDI desktops.

Exercise C1: Importing VMs from Microsoft Azure Marketplace

This exercise demonstrates how to import a Windows Server VM from the Microsoft Azure Marketplace, configure it with applications, and convert the VM to an image to automatically build images, which can be used to deploy a farm of remote desktop RD Session Host servers.

  1. In the navigation panel of the Horizon Cloud Service Administration Console, click Inventory.
  2. In the Inventory menu, click Imported VMs.

2. Import a Windows VM

In the Imported VMs window, click Import, which imports a Windows VM from the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.

3. Select the Marketplace

In the Import Desktop window under From Marketplace, click Select.

4. Provide Destination and Desktop Details

  1. In the Import Desktop Marketplace window, provide the required information for the Destination Desktop and Desktop Details panels:
    • OS: Select the Microsoft Windows Server OS to use from the operating system to use from the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. Selecting a desktop OS enables you to assign desktops. Selecting a Windows server 2016 OS provides you with more options.
    • Server Model: Select a server VM specification.
    • Domain: Select the Active Directory domain that you want configured in the base VM.
    • Enable Public IP Address: Set the toggle to Yes to configure a public IP address for this master image VM. When set to Yes, the VM gets both a private IP address and a public one. If you set the toggle to No, the VM is configured with only a private IP address.
  2. Scroll to the next panel. Horizon Cloud Service displays the supported operating systems and server models in the menus.

5. Provide Admin Credentials and Properties Details

  1. In the Admin Credentials for the Desktop panel and the Properties panel, provide the required information.
    • Username: Enter the administration username for the VM account. This username is used for the local administration account to access the OS of the master image VM.
    • Password: Enter the password for the administrator account, which must adhere to the Microsoft Azure rules.
    • Verify Password: Re-enter the password to verify.
    • Do you have a Windows Server License: Set the toggle to Yes, and select the check box to confirm that you have the proper license.
    • Name: Enter a unique name for the master image VM.
    • Description: You can enter an optional description to accompany the name.
  2. Scroll to the next panel.

6. Provide Horizon Agent Details

  1. Click Advanced Options to reveal the Horizon Agent Features panel.
  2. Accept the default to install all features in the master VM:
    • Enable Flash MMR: Redirects Flash multimedia content that is streamed to a remote desktop directly to the client computer, which plays the media content, offloading the demand on the RDS desktop and improving performance optimization.
    • 3D support in RDSH: Provides 3D graphics support to applications that run on the RDS desktop.
    • MMR for Terminal Services: Redirects multimedia content that is streamed to the remote desktop directly to the client computer, which plays the media content, offloading the demand on the RDS desktop and improving performance optimization.
    • Client Drive Redirection: Allows Horizon Client users to share local drives with their RDS desktops and applications.
    • Skype for Business: Provides the ability to use the RDS desktops to make optimized audio and video calls with Skype for Business.
    • Webcam Support (Real Time Audio Video RTAV): Redirects webcam and audio devices that are connected to the client systems so that those devices can be used on the remote desktop.
    • Smart Card: Lets users authenticate with smart cards when using PCoIP or Blast Extreme display protocols.
    • Thin Print: Allows users to print to any printer available on the client computers, without installing additional drivers.
    • Scanner Redirection: Redirects scanning and imaging devices that are connected to the client systems so that they can be used on remote desktops or applications.
    • Enable USB: Provides access to locally connected USB flash drives and hard disks in the RDS desktops and applications.
    • URL Redirection: Allows Horizon Client to determine which URLs should be handled by the remote desktop or application instead of being opened by the users’ client system, and open those URLs using the remote desktop or application.
  3. In the lower right corner, click Import.

7. Verify the VM Imported Successfully in Microsoft Azure

  1. When the success banner verifies that the import is complete, you can return to the Microsoft Azure portal.
  2. Verify that the VM was successfully completed.

8. Explore the Details of the Imported VM

  1. Select the imported VM.
  2. Explore the details.

9. Verify That the Imported VM Is Now Active

  1. Return to the Horizon Cloud Service Administration Console, where the imported VM is displayed.
  2. Horizon Cloud Service automates the customization of the master image VM, and the status changes to Active when the process is complete.

For more information, see VMware Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure Administration Guide, and click Creating Desktop Images for a Horizon Cloud Node in Microsoft Azure > Create a Master Virtual Machine Automatically from the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.

Note: It is also recommended that you optimize the image using the VMware Windows Operating System Optimization Tool. This tool includes templates that you can customize to enable and disable Windows system services and features across multiple systems. Many Windows system services are enabled by default. You can disable services or features using the optimization tool, and improve performance by eliminating unnecessary services or features. For instructions, see the VMware Windows Operating System Optimization Tool Guide.

When you finish importing the RDS-enabled master image VM, proceed to the next exercise to customize it.

Exercise C2: Customizing the Windows VM

You can customize the Windows operating system of the new master image VM, set wallpapers, and install applications to provide to your end users. If you enabled a public IP address for the master image VM, you can connect to the VM by using the IP address displayed in the Imported VMs window in an RDP client like Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection.

1. RDP to a Public IP

Depending on your configuration, you can use either a private or public IP address to RDP to the new master image VM.

2. Copy the IP Address

  1. Use the IP address of the master image VM to connect to the RDS-enabled Windows Server operating system.
    • Public IP address: RDP into it using that IP address.
    • Private IP address: RDP into it by one of these two methods:
      • Use another VM in your Microsoft Azure subscription that does have a public IP address, and do an outbound RDP into the master image VM.
      • Use your VPN and RDP into the master image VM over your corporate network.
  2. Log in to the RDS-enabled Windows Server operating system using the credentials that you set up when creating the master image VM, and enter the username as \username.
  3. Copy the IP address.

3. Log in with a Local Administrator Account

  1. When the login window is displayed, you can log in to Horizon Client.
  2. Once you are connected, you can add end-user applications and video GPU drivers, and any other required configurations to the VM.
  3. Install the third-party applications and drivers that you want available to run in the multi-user RDS desktop environment.
    • In the Windows Server operating system, right-click the Start button and click Command Prompt (Admin) to open a command prompt as an administrator.
    • In the command prompt, use the following command to determine the install mode of the server:
      change user /query
    • The server is in RD-Execute mode if you receive the following response:
      Application EXECUTE mode is enabled
    • In the command prompt, use the following command to switch the server into RD-Install mode, a special mode to install applications so they can run in a multi-user environment:
      change user /install
    • Install the third-party user applications you want to provide to your end users in their RDS desktops or as remote applications.
    • Return to the command prompt, and issue the following command to switch the server back into RD-Execute mode:
      change user /execute
  4. In the operating system, install any custom drivers you want in the RDS desktops, such as GPU-backed VMs that leverage NVIDIA GPUs.
  5. Make any customizations or configurations you want to the RDS desktops, such as adding custom wallpaper, setting default fonts or colors or themes, adjusting the taskbar default settings, and so on.
  6. When you finish, sign out of the operating system. Note: Do not shut down the Windows operating system, but instead, use Sign Out.

For more information, see VMware Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure Administration Guide, and click Creating Desktop Images for a Horizon Cloud Node in Microsoft Azure > Customize the Guest Windows Operating System of the Master Image Virtual Machine.

After you finish customizing the master image VM, proceed to the next exercise to convert the master image VM to an assignable image.

Exercise C3: Converting the Master VM to an Image

When the master image VM is ready, it is made assignable. For this exercise, you can use any VM with the Agent and bootstrap process already complete.

  1. In the Horizon Cloud Service Administration Console navigation bar on the left, select Inventory.
  2. In the Inventory menu, select Images.

2. Start Creating a New Image

In the Images window, click New.

3. Provide New Image Details

  1. In the New Image window, provide the following information.
    • Location: Select the location associated with the node where you have the configured master image VM.
    • Node: Select the node to serve the desktop from.
    • Desktop: From the list of VMs on the selected node, select the desktop you want.
    • Image Name: Accept the auto-populated name associated with the Desktop selection, or enter a unique name for this image.
    • Company Name: Enter an identifying name. This name appears as the default in all desktops created with this image.
    • Timezone: Accept the auto-populated time zone, or set a new one, to be the default time zone for all desktops created with this image.
    • Admin credentials for the desktop: Enter the credentials for the local administrator account that is enabled in the master image VM.
      Note: These credentials are the user name and password that were entered in the wizard when the master VM was created in the Imported VMs window.
  2. In the lower right corner, click Publish.

4. Wait for the Published Status

Wait until the status changes to Published to use the assignable image for creating a farm.

For more information, see VMware Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure Administration Guide, and click Creating Desktop Images for a Horizon Cloud Node in Microsoft Azure > Convert a Configured Master Virtual Machine to an Assignable Image.

After you finish importing and customizing a master image VM and converting it into an assignable image, proceed to the next section to use the assignable image to create RDSH farms, and then add and assign applications from the farms.