D: Deploying a Farm

D: Deploying a Farm

About Farm Deployment

A farm is a collection of Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS servers) on Microsoft Azure that host applications and desktops. You can use farms to simplify RDS host management by serving subsets of users that vary in size or have different desktop or application requirements. Farms can provide session-based desktops and remote applications.

Ideally, you provide the resources that users need to do their jobs without delays, and at the same time, avoid the cost of unused resources that are powered on but sitting idle. Horizon Cloud Service provides power management capabilities for the Microsoft Azure servers so hosts are automatically powered hosts on and off and deallocated, as needed. The result is that farms can automatically scale out to the maximum size when necessary, and scale down to minimum size when not needed. This reduces cloud capacity costs, as well as computing costs for deallocated servers.

You first set up these options in the Horizon Cloud Service farm profile when you create the farm, and you can edit the settings at any time later.

Exercise D1: Creating a Farm

When the new image has been published, you can use it to create farms.

  1. In the navigation bar of Horizon Cloud Service Administration Console, select Inventory.
  2. Select Farms.

2. Select New

In the Farms window, click New.

3. Provide the Required Information About the New Farm

  1. In the New Farm window, Definition tab, provide the following information, and then scroll down.
    • Name: Enter a name for this farm.
    • Description: Enter an optional description.
    • Farm Type: Specify the type of asset this farm provides to end users:
      • Desktops: Provides session-based desktops
      • Applications: Provides access to remote applications
    • Location: Select the location associated with the node containing the RDSH image. This selection filters the choices in the Node field to display only the nodes in the selected location.
    • Node: Select the node.
    • Server Model: Select the model to use for the farm's server instances, which defines the resources used when farm server instances are created, including capacity.
    • Image: Select the assignable RDSH image.
    • Preferred Protocol: Select the default display protocol that you want the end-user sessions to use.
    • Preferred Client Type: Select the type used when end users launch session-based desktops from Workspace ONE, either a Horizon Client or a browser for HTML Access.
    • Domain: Select the Active Directory domain registered with your environment.
    • Join Domain: Select Yes so that the server instances are automatically joined to the domain when created.
  2. Scroll to the Farm Size section.

4. Provide Information About the Farm Size

  1. In the Farm Size pane, provide the information to enable the farm to automatically scale up or down on demand:
    • Min Servers: Specify the minimum number of servers you want in this farm.
    • Max Servers: Specify the maximum number of servers you want in this farm.
      Note: The minimum number of server instances is initially powered on. As demand increases, additional servers are powered on until reaching the maximum. As end-user demand shrinks, servers are powered off until reaching the minimum. Each server is completely empty of user sessions before the system powers it off.
    • Sessions per Server: Specify the number of concurrent end-user sessions per server that this farm should allow.
      Note: This number cannot be updated after the farm is created.
    • VM Names: Enter a name for all server VMs created for this farm to which a number is appended, such as win2016-1, win2016-2, and so on. The name must start with a letter and can contain only letters, dashes, and numbers.
    • Computer OU: Enter the Active Directory Organizational Unit where the server VMs are to be located. For example, OU=RootOrgName,DC=DomainComponent,DC=eng, and so on. The entries must be comma-separated with no spaces in between.
    • Run Once Script (optional): You can enter the location of scripts that you want run after system preparation completes.
    • Session Timeout Interval: Enter the amount of time the sessions can be idle before the system forces a log out from the session-based desktops or applications that are served by this farm.
      Note: This timeout applies to the logged-in session to the underlying Windows operating system, and is separate from timeout settings that govern Horizon Client or HTML Access logged-in sessions.
    • For more information about these settings, see Exercise D2: Explore RD Session Host Power Management.
  2. In the lower right corner, click Next.

5. Provide Required Information for Rolling Maintenance

  1. In the Management tab, provide the information for the Rolling Maintenance panel.
    • Rolling Maintenance: Select the maintenance type, either according to:
      • Scheduled: Select a time cadence such as daily or weekly.
      • Session: Specify the number of user sessions at which the farm should begin rolling maintenance.
    • Server Action: Select the action that the system should perform on servers that are undergoing maintenance:
      • Restart: Restart the sever VMs.
      • Rebuild: Delete server VMs and then re-provision them from their RDS desktop image.
  2. Scroll to the Power Management panel.

6. Provide Required Information for Power Management

  1. In the Power Management panel, provide the information used to optimize the farm for your unique business needs. This is where you determine the thresholds at which new capacity is powered up or down, for automatic shutdown or deallocation of unused servers. Set the thresholds at which the system automatically grows and shrinks the number of powered-on server instances as it responds to demand and use:
    • Optimized Performance: Keeps more hosts powered on than are needed to service the current end-user workload. As more users log in, Horizon Cloud Service continues to power on hosts in advance, up to the threshold of the maximum farm size. This option increases capacity costs by having the next server ready before requested, but decreases the chance of a delay when users make the request.
    • Optimized Power: Waits as long as possible before powering on the next server instance, and more progressively deallocates unused hosts, leaving fewer available resources for end users. This option decreases capacity costs by using the servers longer before powering new ones, but increases the chance of a delay when users try to log in. You can even set the minimum number to 0, so all servers automatically power down when no users need them. However, the next users who log in experience a delay while the server powers back on, which might take several minutes.
    • Balanced: Strikes a 50:50 balance between optimizing for performance (time-to-availability for users), and optimizing for power (minimizing between capacity costs).
  2. Scroll down to the Timeout Handling section.

7. Provide Required Information for the Timeout Handling

  1. In the Timeout Handling panel, provide the required settings. This is where you configure how you want the system to handle different user session types.
    • Empty Session Timeout: Specify how to handle idle user sessions: never timeout idle sessions, or timeout after a specified number of minutes. Note: When a session is disconnected, the session is preserved in memory. When a session is logged out, the session is not preserved in memory, and any unsaved documents are lost.
    • Log Off Disconnected Sessions: Specify when the system logs the user out of a disconnected session.
    • Max Session Lifetime: Specify the maximum number of minutes the system should allow for a single user session.
  2. Scroll down to Schedule Power Management and click Add a row.

8. Schedule Power Management

  1. Set the power management schedule:
    • Name: Provide a recognizable name for this schedule.
    • Days: Select the day or days of the week to run the schedule.
    • Start Time: Select a time of the day to start the schedule. You might need to scroll to see all options.
    • End Time: Select the time of the day to end the schedule.
    • Timezone: Set the time zone if it differs from the default.
    • Min Desktops: Enter the minimum number of desktops to include.
  2. In the lower right corner, click Next.

9. Verify the Summary Information

  1. In the Summary tab, review all settings to verify they are correct and complete.
  2. In the lower right corner, click Submit.

10. Verify in VMware Horizon Cloud Service

View the farm you just created.

For more information, see VMware Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure Administration Guide, and click Farms in Horizon Cloud > Create a Farm.

After you finish creating farms from the image, proceed to the next exercise to review RDS host power management.

Exercise D2: Exploring RD Session Host Power Management

Horizon Cloud Service provides power management capabilities for the Microsoft Azure servers, automatically powering hosts on and off and deallocating them as needed. You can see the results of setting up the farm you just created by returning to Microsoft Azure.

1. Verify in Microsoft Azure

  1. Return to the Microsoft Azure portal.
  2. Review the hosts that the farm automatically creates there.

2. Automatic Shutdown or Deallocation

  1. You can set up automatic shutdown or deallocation of unused servers. 
  2. From the navigation bar, select Virtual machines, and view the status showing each subscription as running or automatically deallocated.

3. Automatic Creation of Resource Groups

  1. Horizon Cloud Service streamlines administration tasks, such as the automatic creation of resource groups, which contain all farm-related components. 
  2. From the navigation bar, select Resource groups > Overview to view resource group details.

4. Automatic Definition of Network Security Group Rules

  1. Network security group rules are automatically defined. From the navigation bar, select More services.
  2. Select Network security groups.
  3. Select a group to view the security rules.

For more information, see VMware Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure Administration Guide, and click Applications in Your Horizon Cloud Inventory.

After you finish reviewing RDS host power management, proceed to the next exercise to add applications from the farm.

Exercise D3: Adding Applications from the Farm

Horizon Cloud Service can auto-discover applications installed on the farm, or you can manually specify an application. Select the applications to be published, and assign them to end users or groups.

  1. In the Horizon Cloud Service Administration Console navigation bar, click Inventory.
  2. In the Inventory menu, select Applications.

2. Select New

In the Applications window, click New.

3. Select the Auto-Scan from Farm Option

In the New Application window, under Auto-Scan from Farm, click Select.

4. Provide Definition Information

  1. In the New Application window, provide the Definition information required
  2. In the lower right corner, click Next.

5. Select Applications to Publish

  1. In the Applications tab, select the applications to be published.
  2. In the lower right corner, click Next.

6. Provide Attributes

  1. In the Attributes tab, provide the appropriate attributes.
  2. In the lower right corner, click Next.

7. Verify the Summary Information

  1. In the Summary tab, review to verify that the selections are correct and complete.
  2. In the lower right corner, click Submit.

8. Verify Addition of New Applications

In the Applications window, the green banner verifies that three new applications were added.

For more information, see VMware Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure Administration Guide, and click Applications in Your Horizon Cloud Inventory > Importing New Applications from an RDSH Farm Using Auto-Scan from Farm.

After you finish adding applications from the farm, proceed to the next section to explore assigning desktops and applications to users and groups.