EUC Weekly Digest – September 19, 2020

Last Modified: Sep 19, 2020 @ 5:24 am

Interesting EUC items from last week:

Citrix App Layering

Citrix StoreFront

Citrix Workspace app

Citrix ADC

VMware

Microsoft

For more immediate updates, follow me at http://twitter.com/cstalhood.

For a list of updates at carlstalhood.com, see the Detailed Change Log.

EUC Weekly Digest – September 12, 2020

Last Modified: Sep 12, 2020 @ 5:26 am

Interesting EUC items from last week:

Citrix StoreFront

Citrix Workspace app

Citrix Gateway

VMware

For more immediate updates, follow me at http://twitter.com/cstalhood.

For a list of updates at carlstalhood.com, see the Detailed Change Log.

EUC Weekly Digest – September 5, 2020

Last Modified: Sep 5, 2020 @ 5:59 am

Interesting EUC items from last week:

Citrix ADC

Citrix ADM

Citrix Gateway

Citrix Cloud

VMware

For more immediate updates, follow me at http://twitter.com/cstalhood.

For a list of updates at carlstalhood.com, see the Detailed Change Log.

EUC Weekly Digest – August 29, 2020

Last Modified: Aug 29, 2020 @ 5:28 am

Interesting EUC items from last week:

Citrix App Layering

Citrix WEM and Profile Management

Citrix Workspace app

Citrix Endpoint Management

VMware

For more immediate updates, follow me at http://twitter.com/cstalhood.

For a list of updates at carlstalhood.com, see the Detailed Change Log.

EUC Weekly Digest – August 22, 2020

Last Modified: Aug 22, 2020 @ 5:54 am

Interesting EUC items from last week:

Citrix ADC

Citrix ADM

Citrix Cloud

VMware

For more immediate updates, follow me at http://twitter.com/cstalhood.

For a list of updates at carlstalhood.com, see the Detailed Change Log.

EUC Weekly Digest – August 15, 2020

Last Modified: Aug 15, 2020 @ 5:11 am

Interesting EUC items from last week:

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops

VMware

Microsoft

For more immediate updates, follow me at http://twitter.com/cstalhood.

For a list of updates at carlstalhood.com, see the Detailed Change Log.

VMware Horizon 2006: Cloud Pod Architecture

Last Modified: Aug 14, 2020 @ 3:48 pm

Navigation

This article applies to all VMware Horizon versions 2006 (aka 8.0) and newer.

Change Log

  • 2020 Aug 14 – updated entire article for Horizon 2006 (aka 8.0)

Planning

Cloud Pod Architecture lets you publish a single icon that load balances connections across multiple pools in multiple pods in multiple sites (datacenters).

  • Global Entitlements – Entitlements are the same thing as published icons. When you create an entitlement (local or global), you are publishing an icon from a pool.
    • For local entitlement, the icon is only published from one pool.
    • For global entitlement, the icon can be published from multiple pools. The pools can be in one pod or from multiple pods.
    • Don’t configure both global and local entitlements for the same pool.
    • A single pool can only belong to one global entitlement.
    • For applications, only one application per global entitlement.
  • Pod Federation – Global entitlements can’t be created until a Pod Federation is created. This federation could be one pod or multiple pods.
    • The pods can be separated into sites. Each site can contain multiple pods.
  • Global Load Balancing – Use Citrix ADC GSLB or F5 GTM to connect Horizon Clients to a globally available Horizon Connection Server. The connected Horizon Connection Server then uses Global Entitlements to select a site/pod/pool.
    • When a user launches a Global Entitlement, the Connection Server selects a pod based on the Global Entitlement Scoping, which can be All Sites, Within site, or Within Pod. This is from the perspective of the Connection Server the user is currently connected to. Horizon will prefer the local pod if possible.
    • Users or groups can be assigned to Home Sites. Global Entitlements can be configured to prefer Home Sites over the normal site/pod selection criteria.
  • Dedicated Assignment – For Dedicated Assignment pools, global entitlement only helps with the initial connection. Once the user is assigned to a desktop then that desktop is always selected. Users are not automatically provided with a desktop from another site if the site containing their dedicated desktop has gone down. The desktop request will fail because the dedicated desktop isn’t available. The administrator could configure a separate Global Entitlement for the users to provide a floating desktop until such time the original site recovers. That floating entitlement should be arranged to deliver desktops from other sites as required.
  • Firewall Ports – The Horizon Connection Servers participating in Cloud Pod Architecture communicate with each other over TCP 135, TCP 22389, TCP 22636, and TCP 8472. Make sure these ports are open. More info at Ray Heffer VMware Horizon 7.4 Network Ports for Cloud Pod Architecture.
  • RBAC – Horizon Console includes a new administrator privilege: Manage Global Sessions. The regular Administrators role has access to multiple pods. The new Local Administrators role can only manage the local pod.

Cloud Pod Limits in Horizon 2006 and newer:

  • Max users = 250,000
  • Max Pods = 50
  • Max Sessions per Pod = 12,000
  • Max Sites = 15
  • Max Connection Servers per Pod = 7
  • Max Horizon Connection Server Instances = 350

Traffic flow (Rob Beekmans – VMware Horizon View Cloud Pod – unwanted routing?):

  • Use F5 GTM or NetScaler GSLB to connect users to a Horizon Connection Server in any pod. If active/active, use proximity load balancing to control which pod is initially accessed.
  • The Horizon Connection Server looks up the Global Entitlements to determine the destination pod for the Pool.
  • User’s PCoIP session goes through the initially connected Horizon Connection Server and across the DCI (Datacenter Interconnect) circuit to the remote pod. There’s no way to re-route Blast/PCoIP through a Horizon Connection Server in the remote pod. In fact, the Horizon Connection Servers in the remote pod are never accessed. You need sufficient DCI bandwidth to handle this Blast/PCoIP traffic.
  • Note: Horizon Cloud Universal Broker doesn’t have this problem.

For more information on multi-datacenter design for Horizon, see VMware Workspace ONE and VMware Horizon Reference Architecture, which includes the following:

  • Identity Manager
  • App Volumes
  • Horizon Cloud Pod Architecture
  • Dynamic Environment Manager
  • SQL AlwaysOn Availability Groups
  • Nnetworking
  • Storage (e.g vSAN)
  • Active Directory
  • Distributed File System
  • Global Load Balancing

Initialize First Pod

  1. In Horizon Console, expand Settings and click Cloud Pod Architecture.
  2. On the right, click Initialize the Cloud Pod Architecture feature.
  3. Click OK to initialize.
  4. A status page is displayed.
  5. On the right, feel free to rename the federation by clicking the Edit button.

    • Enter a new name.
  6. On the left, expand Settings, and click Sites.
  7. On the right, in the top half, highlight the first site, and then click the Edit button to rename the Default First Site to be more descriptive.

    • Enter a Site name.
  8. Click the Site to highlight it to reveal the Pods on the bottom half of the window.
  9. Highlight the pod and click Edit to make the name more descriptive.

    • Enter a Pod name.
  10. See VMware 2080522 Restoring View Connection Server instances in a Cloud Pod Architecture pod federation.

Additional Pods – Join Federation

  1. Connect to Horizon Console in the second pod.
  2. On the left, expand Settings, and click Cloud Pod Architecture.
  3. On the right, click Join the pod federation.
  4. Enter the name of an existing Horizon Connection Server that is already joined to the federation.
  5. Enter credentials, and click OK.
  6. The Join status is displayed.
  7. On the left, expand Settings, and click Sites.
  8. If this pod is in a different site, then in the top half of the window click Add to create a new site.
  9. Give the site a name, and click OK.
  10. Highlight the first site.
  11. On the bottom, highlight the new pod, and click Edit.
  12. Rename the pod and put it in the 2nd site. Click OK.
  13. The top of Horizon Console shows you which Pod you are administering. You might have to refresh the page to see the correct Pod name after it was renamed.

Global Entitlements

Pools and Entitlements are two different things. You can create a pool without entitling anybody to the pool. Entitlements create icons.

Local Entitlements and Global Entitlements are two different things. Global Entitlements are created separately, and then you assign pools from multiple pods to the Global Entitlement. Connections can be load balanced across the pods and pools.

Do not create both Global Entitlements and Local Entitlements for the same pool otherwise users might see two icons. Create the local pool, but don’t entitle it. Instead, create a Global Entitlement and add the local pool to it.

  1. In Horizon Console, on the left, expand Inventory, and click Global Entitlements.
  2. On the right, click Add.
  3. In the Type page, select Desktop Entitlement or Application Entitlement, and click Next.
  4. In the Name and Policies page, give the entitlement (icon) a name. For Application Entitlements, it’s one entitlement per application so include the application name. In Horizon 2006 and newer, you can now specify a Display Name that is different than the name of the entitlement.
  5. Scroll down for more settings:
    1. You can configure tag restrictions (Connection Server restrictions) from this wizard.
    2. You can select a Category Folder where the published icon will be placed on the client’s Start Menu. This feature requires Horizon Client 4.6 and newer.
    3. You can put the published icon on the endpoint’s desktop too.
    4. Configure Category Folder.
  6. Scroll down to the Policies section and configure the following:
    1. Scope determines from which which site/pod the Horizon Agent is selected.
    2. The Use home site checkbox tells the global entitlement to respect user home sites.
    3. Change the Default display protocol to VMware Blast.
    4. You can allow users to reset/restart their machines.
    5. There’s a Pre-launch checkbox. If you need the Pre-launch feature, then enable the Pre-launch checkbox on at least one application, and entitle the application to the users that need the Pre-launch feature.
    6. There’s a checkbox named Client Restrictions. When this is enabled, you can add Client Computer Accounts to an AD Group and entitle the published icon to that computer AD group. The published icon can then only be accessed from the client computers in the AD group.

      Notes:

    7. There’s a selection for Multi-Session Mode. Pre-launch must be disabled to enable this setting.
    8. Make other selections.
  7. Click Next when done.
  8. In the Users and Groups page, add users that can see the icon associated with the Global Entitlement. Click Next.
  9. In the Ready to Complete page, click Finish.
  10. On the right, click the link for the name of the Global Entitlement.
  11. Switch to the Local Pools tab.
  12. On the Local Pools tab, click Add.
  13. Select the local pools you want to add and click Add. Remember, only add one app per Global Entitlement. Also, you can only add pools from the local pod. To add pools from a different pod, you must point your Horizon Console browser to the other pod and edit the Global Entitlement from there.
  14. Go to another pod and view the Global Entitlements.
  15. On the right, click the hyperlink for the name of the Global Entitlement.
  16. On the Local Pools tab, click Add to add pools from this pod.
  17. You can configure backup global entitlements. A backup global entitlement delivers remote desktops or published applications when the primary global entitlement fails to start a session because of problems such as insufficient pool capacity or unavailable pods.
    1. Create a Backup Global Entitlement containing the backup pools. You don’t have to assign anybody to the Backup Global Entitlement.
    2. Edit the production Global Entitlement.
    3. Under Backup Global Entitlement, click Browse.
    4. Change the selection to Backup Global Entitlement, select the Backup Global Entitlement and click Submit.
  18. Horizon Console, at Inventory > Desktops can show if a Local Pool is a member of a Global Entitlement. Scroll to the right to see the Global Entitlement column.

Monitoring

  1. Once Global Entitlements are enabled, a new Search Sessions node is added, which allows you to search for sessions across federated pods.
  2. The Dashboard in Horizon Console shows the health of remote pods.

Home Sites

The Home Sites feature causes Global Entitlements to prefer pools in the user’s Home Site before looking for pools in remote sites.

  1. Configure your Cloud Pod Architecture with multiple Sites and at least one Pod per Site.
  2. In Horizon Console, on the left, click Users and Groups.
  3. On the right, switch to the Home Site Assignment tab.
  4. Click Add.
  5. Find a user or group for this home site, and click Next.
  6. Select the site to assign the users to and click Finish.
  7. Home Sites can be assigned to both users and groups. User assignments override group assignments.
  8. Edit your Global Entitlement and ensure that Use Home Site is checked. You can optionally require that each user has a Home Site.
  9. Each Global Entitlement can have its own Home Site configuration that overrides the global Home Site configuration.
    • In Horizon Console, click the hyperlink for the Global Entitlement’s name, switch to the tab named Home Site Override, and then click Add.

  10. Since you could have a combination of default Home Site for user, default Home Site for group, and Global Entitlement-specific Home Sites, it’s helpful to know which Home Site is effective for each user and Entitlement.
    • In Horizon Console, in the Users and Groups node, switch to the Home Site Resolution tab. Find a user, and it will show you the Home Site Resolution.

Related Pages

VMware Horizon 2006: RDS Farms/Pools

Last Modified: Aug 14, 2020 @ 3:40 pm

Navigation

This post applies to all VMware Horizon versions 2006 (aka 8.0) and newer.

Change Log

  • 2020 Aug 14 – updated entire article for Horizon 2006 (aka 8.0)

Overview

This post details VMware Horizon configuration for Remote Desktop Session Host (RDS) Horizon Agents. Virtual Desktops are detailed at Master Virtual Desktop and Virtual Desktop Pools.

Before following this procedure, build a master RDS Session Host.

Before you can publish applications or RDS desktops, you must create an RDS Farm. An RDS Farm is a collection of identical (cloned) Remote Desktop Session Hosts. Applications must be installed identically on every machine in the farm. If you have different applications on different Remote Desktop Session Hosts, then these are different RDS Farms.

Once the RDS Farms are created, you publish icons from them by either creating a Desktop Pool or an Application Pool or both. When creating a Desktop Pool or Application Pool, all members of the RDS Farm are selected. It is not possible to select a subset of Farm members.

VMware Tech Paper Best Practices For Published Applications And Desktops in VMware Horizon 7:

  • vSphere Best Practices – Hardware, Network Adapters, ESXi BIOS Settings, ESXi Power Management
  • Core Services Best Practices – Active Directory, DNS, DHCP, NTP, KMS, RDS Licensing
  • ESXi Host Sizing Best Practices
  • RDSH Configuration Best Practices – Optimization
  • Horizon 7 Best Practices – Instant Clones, Load Balancing
  • User Environment Management Best Practices – Horizon Smart Policies, Folder Redirection, User Profiles, Printers, Hardware Graphics Acceleration
  • App Volumes Best Practices – dedicated AppStacks
  • Antivirus Best Practices
  • Maintenance Operations Best Practices – scheduled reboots

RDS Farms – Instant Clones

For a description of Instant Clones, see Instant Clones for RDSH in VMware Horizon 7.1 YouTube video.

  1. You select a snapshot from a master image.
  2. Horizon creates a template VM that boots from the master snapshot. After some prep, the template VM shuts down and creates a new snapshot.
  3. The template snapshot is copied to a Replica VM on every LUN (datastore) that will host RDS Farm VMs.
  4. For each datastore, Horizon creates a Parent VM on every host in the cluster. This parent VM is powered on and running at all times.
  5. The linked clones can finally be created by forking the parent VM to new linked clone VMs. Notes:
    1. Once the Parent VMs are created, creating/recreating linked clones is fast. But it takes time to create all of the Parent VMs.
    2. And the Parent VMs consume RAM on every host. If you have multiple datastores and/or multiple pools, then there are multiple Parent VMs per host, all of them consuming RAM.
  6. You can schedule a periodic reboot of the Instant Clones, which causes the Instant Clone machines to refresh (revert) from the parent VM.
  7. Instant Clones require Distributed vSwitch and Distributed Port Group with Static Binding and Fixed Allocation. Standard vSwitch is not supported. Multi VLAN and vGPU for Instant Clones in VMware Horizon 7.1 YouTube video.

Create an Automatic RDS Farm

If you upgrade vCenter to 6.7 or newer, then you must upgrade your ESXi hosts to 6.7 or newer at the same time. Afterwards, take a new snapshot of the master image and perform a push operation. See Upgrade Instant-Clone Desktop Pools When You Upgrade vCenter Server to vSphere 6.7 or Later at VMware Docs.

Master Image Preparation

  1. Make sure your RDS master Agent has the VMware Horizon Instant Clone Agent feature installed.
  2. Make sure your RDS master Agent is configured for DHCP.
  3. Computer Group Policy – Make sure the Master VM is in the same OU as the Instant Clones so the Master VM will get the computer-level GPO settings. Run gpupdate on the master after moving the VM to the correct OU. New Instant Clones do not immediately refresh group policy so the group policy settings must already be applied to the master VM. See VMware 2150495 Computer-based Global Policy Objects (GPOs) that require a reboot to take effect are not applied on instant clones.
  4. Shut down the master image.
  5. Edit the specs of the master VM to match the specs you want the linked clones to have.
  6. Take a snapshot of the master image.
  7. In Horizon Console, on the left, expand Inventory, and click Farms.
  8. On the right, click Add.
  9. In the Type page, select Automated Farm, and click Next.
  10. In the vCenter Server page, select Instant Clone, select the vCenter Server, and then click Next.
  11. In the Storage Optimization page, click Next.
  12. In the Identification and Settings page:
    1. Enter a name for the Farm. A VM folder with the same name will be created in vCenter.
    2. Note: There’s no place to set the Display Name here. You do that later when creating a Desktop Pool.
    3. Scroll down to the Farm Settings section.
    4. Horizon supports Pre-launch. If pre-launch is enabled on a published app, when the user logs into Horizon Client, an empty RDS Session is immediately established. When the user double clicks an icon, the program launches quickly since there’s already a pre-launched session. When the user closes Horizon Client, the pre-launch session is disconnected for the duration specified here. The minimum duration is 10 minutes.
    5. For Empty session timeout, set it to 1 minute. For When timeout occurs, set it to Log off. You usually want the session to end when users close all of their applications.
    6. For Log off disconnected sessions, specify a disconnect timer. This is in addition to the idle timer configured in Global Settings.
    7. There’s a Allow Session Collaboration checkbox, which adds a VMware Horizon Collaboration icon in the system tray of the remote desktop, which lets you invite users to collaborate. See Session Collaboration for details.
    8. Max sessions per RDS Host will block connections if this number is exceeded. You can leave it set to Unlimited.
  13. Click Next.
  14. The Load Balancing Settings page lets you configure what metrics are used for even distribution of users across the farm. By default, only Session Count is considered. You can add other metrics like CPU or Memory. Click Next.
  15. In the Provisioning Settings page:
    1. Enter a Naming Pattern. Make sure the name includes {n:fixed=3} or something like that. Computer names must be 15 characters or less.
    2. In Farm Sizing, enter the number of machines to create.
  16. Click Next.
  17. In the vCenter Settings page, click Browse next to each option and make a selection. These are self-explanatory. Scroll down to see all options. Then click Next.
  18. In the Guest Customization page:
    1. Select an OU to place the new virtual machines. This should be an OU that is configured with group polices for the RDSH machines.
    2. Consider the Allow reuse of pre-existing computer accounts check box.
  19. Click Next.
  20. In the Ready to Complete page, click Submit.

To view the status of RDS Farm creation:

  1. Click the farm name.
  2. The bottom of the Summary tab shows you the State of the Publishing progress.

  3. You can watch the progress in vSphere Client. It goes through a couple longer tasks, including cloning the snapshot, and creating a digest file.
  4. Eventually the tab named RDS Hosts will show the new virtual machines.
  5. Once the RDS Hosts are created, you publish resources from them by either creating a Desktop Pool, or an Application Pool, or both.

Add more RDS Hosts to an Automatic Farm

To add RDS hosts to an existing RDS Automatic Farm.

  1. On the left, expand Inventory, and click Farms.
  2. Click the link for an automated farm.
  3. On the right, click Edit.
  4. Switch to the Provisioning Settings tab and change the Max number of machines. Then click OK.
  5. It should not take long to add the new VM.
  6. The RDS Hosts tab of the RDS farm shows the new RDS host(s).

Update an Automatic Farm

Master Image Preparation

  1. Power on the master session host.
  2. Login and make changes.
  3. After making your changes, shut down the master session host.
  4. Right-click the virtual machine, and take snapshot. You must create a new snapshot.
  5. Name the snapshot, and click OK.
  6. You’ll need to periodically delete the older snapshots. Right-click the master VM, and click Manage Snapshots.
  7. Delete one or more of the snapshots.
  8. In Horizon Console, go to Inventory > Farms.
  9. Click the farm name’s link.
  10. On the Summary tab, click Maintain, and then click Schedule.
  11. One option is to schedule Recurring reboots, which revert the RDS Hosts to a clean state.
  12. To push out an updated Master Image, change the Schedule to Immediate.
  13. Select Start Now, or select Start at a future date/time. Click Next.
  14. In the Image page, uncheck the box next to Use current parent VM image, select the new snapshot, and click Next.
  15. In the Scheduling page, decide if the reboot should wait for users to logoff or force them off and then click Next.
  16. In the Ready to Complete page, click Finish.
  17. The RDS Farm’s Summary tab (scroll down) shows you that it’s publishing the new image.

  18. After the image is published, on the RDS Hosts tab, you can check on the status of the maintenance task.

Instant Clones Maintenance

To perform Instant Clone Maintenance:

  1. If you click an Instant Clones RDS Farm name…
  2. And switch to the RDS Hosts tab, you can select a machine, and then click Recover, this causes the VM to be deleted and recreated, thus reverting to the master image snapshot.

  3. On the Summary tab of the RDS Farm, you can click Maintain > Schedule to schedule a reboot of every VM in the RDS Farm. Rebooting causes the VMs to revert to the master image snapshot.
  4. Specify how often you want the reboot to occur, and then click Next.
  5. In the Image page, you don’t have to change the snapshot. Click Next.
  6. Decide what to do about logged on users, and click Next.
  7. In the Ready to Complete page, click Finish.
  8. If you click the Maintain menu again, you can click Reschedule to change when the reboots are scheduled. Or click Cancel.
  9. If you click Schedule again, you can only schedule a one-time update, typically to replace the master image snapshot used by the RDS Farm.
  10. ESXi hosts running Instant Clones can be placed into maintenance mode without any special instructions.

RDS Farms – Manual

RDSH Machines in Manual Farms are cloned manually in vCenter. Instant Clones are not used.

To create a manual RDS Farm:

  1. Make sure neither the View Composer Agent nor the Instant Clone Agent is installed on your RDS servers, and make sure you saw the screen to register the Agent with a Horizon Connection Server.
  2. On the left, expand Inventory, and click Farms.
  3. On the right, click Add.
  4. In the Type page, select Manual Farm, and click Next.
  5. In the Identification and Settings page, enter a name for the Farm.
  6. Scroll down to the Farm Settings section.
    1. There is a pre-launch option. If pre-launch is enabled on a published app, when the user logs into Horizon Client, an empty RDS Session is immediately established. When the user double clicks an icon, the program launches quickly since there’s already a pre-launched session. When the user closes Horizon Client, the pre-launch session is disconnected for the duration specified here. The minimum duration is 10 minutes.
    2. For Empty session timeout, set it to 1 minute. For When timeout occurs, set it to Log off. You usually want the session to end when users close all of their applications.
    3. For Log off disconnect sessions, specify a disconnect timer. This is in addition to the idle timer configured in Configuration > Global Settings.
    4. There is an Allow Session Collaboration checkbox, which adds a VMware Horizon Collaboration icon in the system tray of the remote desktop, which lets you invite users to collaborate. See Session Collaboration for details.
  7. Click Next.
  8. The Load Balancing Settings page lets you configure what metrics are used for even distribution of users across the farm. By default, only Session Count is considered. You can add other metrics like CPU or Memory. Click Next.
  9. In the Select RDS Hosts, select one or more identical Remote Desktop Session Hosts. Click Next.
  10. In the Ready to Complete page, click Submit.
  11. If you click the farm name…
  12. On the RDS Hosts tab, you can click Add to add more registered RDS Hosts. Make sure every Host in the RDS Farm is identical.

Publish Desktop

To publish a desktop from an RDS Farm:

  1. In Horizon Console, on the left, expand Inventory, and click Desktops.
  2. On the right, click Add.
  3. In the Type page, select RDS Desktop Pool, and click Next.
  4. In the Desktop Pool ID page, enter an ID and name. They can be different. The ID cannot contain spaces. Click Next.
  5. In the Desktop Pool Settings page:
    1. You can select a Category Folder where the published icon will be placed on the client’s Start Menu.
    2. You can type in a new category folder name, or select an existing one. Also select Shortcut Locations.
    3. There is a checkbox named Client Restrictions. When this is enabled, you can add Client Computer Accounts to an AD Group and entitle the published desktop to that computer AD group. The published desktop can then only be accessed from the client computers in the AD group.
    4. Notes on Client Restrictions:
  6. Click Next.
  7. In the Select an RDS farm page, select a farm, and click Next. The farm can be either Instant Clone or Manual.
  8. In the Ready to Complete page, check the box next to Entitle users after this wizard finishes, and click Submit.
  9. In the Entitlements window, click Add.
  10. Browse to an Active Directory group, and click OK.
  11. Then click Close.
  12. If you go to Inventory > Farms, click your farm name, there will be a RDS Pools tab, where you can see which Desktop Pool is associated with this farm. An RDS Farm can only belong to one Desktop Pool.

Publish Applications

To publish apps from an RDS Farm:

  1. In Horizon Console, on the left, expand Inventory, and click Applications.
  2. On the right, click Add, and then click Add from Installed Applications.
  3. In the Select Applications page, select a RDS Farm.
  4. The purpose of this wizard is to publish and entitle applications from an RDS Farm. The entitlements will apply to all of the applications you select on this page. If you want different entitlements for different applications, run this wizard multiple times and select different applications. Once the applications are published, you can change their entitlements individually.
  5. Select one or more applications. Notice that File Explorer is not one of the options. You can manually add that application later.
  6. There are additional options at the bottom of the Select Applications page. Notice the Entitle users box is checked by default.

    1. There’s a Pre-launch option for published applications. You can optionally enable it on at least one application, and then entitle the pre-launch application to the users that need the Pre-launch feature.
    2. You can assign tags for Connection Server restrictions, which lets you control visibility of icons for internal users vs external users.
    3. You can select a Category Folder where the published icon will be placed on the client’s Start Menu and/or Desktop.
    4. There’s a checkbox named Client Restrictions. When this is enabled, you can add Client Computer Accounts to an AD Group and entitle the published application to that computer AD group. The published application can then only be accessed from the client computers in the AD group. Notes on Client Restriction:
  7. Click Next when done.
  8. The Edit Applications page lets you rename the published icons. Click Submit when done.
  9. Click Add to select a group that can see these icons. This is the normal entitlement process.

    1. There is an option for Unauthenticated users, which is detailed at Providing Unauthenticated Access for Published Applications at VMware Docs.
    2. Before you can configure Uauthenticated Access on published applications, you must add a Domain Account that will be used for anonymous access at Users and Groups > Unauthenticated Access.
    3. Then go to Settings > Servers and Edit a Connection Server.
    4. On the Authentication tab…
    5. …enable Unauthenticated Access, and select the Default unauthenticated access user account.
    6. Back in your entitlement, you select Unauthenticated Users, and entitle it to the Domain User that is your anonymous account.
  10. You can run the Add Application Pool wizard again to publish more applications with different entitlements.
  11. If you click the name one of the application pools…
  12. …on the Entitlements tab, you can change the entitlements

Manual Application Publishing

Instead of publishing an existing application from the Start Menu, you can add an application manually:

  1. Go to Inventory > Applications, click Add, and select Add Manually.
  2. File Explorer is an application that has to be added manually.

  3. When publishing Explorer, add the /separate switch. This prevents the full desktop from appearing when launching published Explorer through HTML Blast (Source = RDS Desktop being presented when opening an app at VMware Communities)

Icon for Published Application

  1. You can select an Application Pool, then open the Application Icon menu and click Associate Application Icon.

Published App Monitoring

If you click a Farm name, you can view Sessions connected to that Farm and the published application each user is running. Monitor > Sessions does not show published application information, but RDS Farm > Sessions does.

  1. In Horizon Console, on the left, expand Inventory and click Farms.
  2. On the the right, click the link for one of the farms.
  3. Switch to the tab named Sessions.
  4. As you scroll down the table you’ll see sessions with Type = Application.
  5. If you scroll to the right, you’ll see the Application Name in the far-right column.

Show application pools associated with RDS Farm

  1. If you go to Inventory > Farms, click your farm name…
  2. …and switch to the RDS Pools tab, you can see which Application Pools (published applications) are associated with this farm. You can click the link for a pool to be taken to the pool’s property pages.

Anti-affinity

You can configure Horizon to restrict the number of instances of an application running on a particular RDS host. Here are some limitations:

  • If the user already has a session then anti-affinity is ignored.
  • If the application is launched from within an RDS Desktop then anti-affinity is ignored.
  • Not recommended for Horizon Mobile clients.

See Configure an Anti-Affinity Rule for an Application Pool in Horizon Console at VMware Docs.

Do the following to configure Anti-Affinity in Horizon Console:

  1. On the left, go to Inventory > Applications.
  2. On the right, edit an existing application pool.
  3. Scroll down. In the Anti-Affinity Patterns field, enter process names to match. Wildcards are supported. Each match is counted.
  4. In the Anti-Affinity Count field, enter the maximum number of process name matches that can run on a single RDS Host.

Related Pages

VMware Horizon 2006: Master RDS Host

Last Modified: Aug 16, 2020 @ 5:49 am

Navigation

Use this post to build a Windows Server Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) that will be used as the source image for additional cloned Remote Desktop Session Hosts. Or you can build each Remote Desktop Session Host manually using the steps detailed in this post. Virtual Desktop is detailed in a separate article.

This post applies to all VMware Horizon versions 2006 (aka 8.0) and newer.

Change Log

  • 2020 Aug 14 – updated entire article for Horizon 2006 (aka 8.0)

Hardware

  • The session host pools will use the same hardware specs (e.g. vCPUs, memory size, network label) specified on the master session host. Adjust accordingly.
  • Set the vCPUs to 8. Two is the minimum. See VMware whitepaper for more information.
  • Typical memory for an 8 vCPU session host is 24 – 48 GB (e.g. 32 GB).
  • For New Hard disk, consider setting Thin provision. And increase the size so it can store the locally cached profiles (C:\Users).
  • The session host should be configured with a VMXNET 3 network adapter.
  • When building the master session host, you will probably boot from an ISO. When you are ready to create the pool (RDS farm), ensure the CD/DVD drive points to Client Device, and is not Connected. The important part is to make sure ISO file is not configured.
  • There’s no need for the Floppy drive so remove it.
  • If you have any Serial ports, remove them.

NIC Hotplug – Disable

  1. Users could use the systray icon to Eject the Ethernet Adapter. Obviously this is bad.
  2. To disable this functionality, power off the virtual machine.
  3. Once powered off, right-click the virtual machine, and click Edit Settings.
  4. On the VM Options tab, expand Advanced, and then click Edit Configuration.
  5. Click Add Configuration Params.
  6. On the left, enter devices.hotplug. On the right, enter false.
  7. Then click OK a couple times to close the windows.
  8. The VM can then be powered on.

VMware Tools

See VMware Product Interoperability Matrices for supported versions of VMware Tools with different versions of Horizon Agent.

VMware Tools includes the Shared Folders feature, which prevents roaming profiles from being deleted properly. When installing VMware Tools, make sure you deselect Shared Folders so it is not installed.

After installing VMware Tools, open Registry Editor and go to HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\NetworkProvider\Order. Look in the ProviderOrder value on the right, and ensure that vmhgfs is not listed. If it is, remove it.

Windows

Disable Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Config

  1. In Server Manager, switch to the Local Server page.
  2. On the far right, click the link for On next to IE Enhanced Security Configuration.
  3. Click Off for both Administrators and Users. Click OK.

Windows Update

Whenever you deploy a virtual machine from a template and SysPrep is executed during the cloning process, all Windows Update settings are reset. You must reconfigure Windows Update on every new virtual machine (or use group policy).

  1. In Server Manager, click Local Server on the left. Then on the right, click the link for Last checked for updates.
  2. If Windows Server 2016 or 2019, click Advanced Options.

    • In Windows Server 2012 R2, on the left, click Change settings.
  3. If Windows Server 2016 or 2019, check the box next to Give me updates for other Microsoft products when I update Windows, and then click the back button. Then click Check for Updates.

    • If Windows Server 2012 R2, check the box next to Give me updates for other Microsoft products when I update Windows, and click OK.
  4. Windows Update will automatically start checking for updates.
  5. Install any updates it recommends.

Local Administrators Group

Add your Horizon Admins group to the local Administrators group.

  1. In Server Manager, open the Tools menu, and click Computer Management. Or launch it by right-clicking the Start Button.
  2. Add the Horizon Admins group to the local Administrators group.

C: Drive Permissions

The default permissions allow users to store files on the C: drive in places other than their profile.

  1. Open the Properties dialog box for C:\.
  2. On the Security tab, click Advanced.
  3. Highlight the line containing Users with Create Folders permission, and click Remove.
  4. Highlight the line containing Users with Create Files permission, and click Remove.
  5. Click OK to close the Advanced Security Settings window.
  6. Click Yes to confirm the permissions change.
  7. If you see any of these Error Applying Security windows, click Continue.
  8. Click OK to close the C: drive properties.

Installs

Install/Upgrade VMware Horizon Agent

To install Horizon Agent on Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH), do the following:

  1. Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, and Windows Server 2012 R2 are supported.
  2. VMware Tools – Only install Horizon Agent after you install VMware Tools.
    1. If you need to update VMware Tools, uninstall Horizon Agent, upgrade VMware Tools, and then reinstall Horizon Agent.
    2. See VMware Product Interoperability Matrices for supported versions of VMware Tools with different versions of Horizon Agent.
    3. If VMware Tools 11.x, VMware recommends running the following: (source = VMware 78434 Performance issues for Horizon 7 when using VMware VMTools 11.x)
  3. Download Horizon Agent 2006.
  4. Run the downloaded VMware-Horizon-Agent-x86_64-8.0.0.exe.
  5. If you want the URL Content Redirection feature, then you must run the Agent installer with the the following switches: /v URL_FILTERING_ENABLED=1
  6. In the Welcome to the Installation Wizard for VMware Horizon Agent page, click Next.
  7. In the License Agreement page, select I accept the terms, and click Next.
  8. In Desktop OS Configuration page, select RDS Mode and click Next.

    1. Click OK to install the role.
    2. Restart the machine.
    3. After restart, login, and re-run the Agent installer.
  9. In the Network protocol configuration page, select IPv4, and click Next.
  10. In the Custom Setup page, several features are disabled by default. Feel free to enable them.
    1. USB Redirection is an option.
    2. For Instant Clone RDS Farms, select VMware Horizon Instant Clone Agent. For Manual RDS Farms (no Instant Clone), don’t select the Instant Clone Agent.
    3. VMware Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business is an option. See Configure Skype for Business at VMware Docs for details.
    4. Scanner Redirection is an option. Note: Scanner Redirection will impact host density.
    5. Serial Port Redirection is an option.
    6. There’s an option for Horizon Performance Tracker, which adds a program to the Agent machine that can show the user performance of the remote session. You can publish the Tracker.

    7. For unauthenticated users, there’s a Hybrid Logon option.
  11. Click Next when done making selections.
  12. Click OK to acknowledge the USB redirection message.
  13. If you see the Register with Horizon Connection Server page, enter the name of a Horizon Connection Server, and click Next. You only see this page if you deselected both View Composer Agent and Instant Clone Agent features. Registration is necessary for Manual RDS Farms (no Instant Clones).
  14. In the Ready to Install the Program page, click Install.
  15. In the Installer Completed page, click Finish.
  16. Click Yes to restart the server.
  17. If you want to know what features were selected during installation, look in HKLM\Software\VMware, Inc.\Installer\Features_HorizonAgent. Or look in the installation log files as detailed at Paul Grevink View Agent, what is installed?

  18. To verify installation of the URL Content Redirection feature, check for the presence of C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware View\Agent\bin\UrlRedirection.
  19. There’s also an IE add-on.
  20. URL Content Redirection is configured using group policy.

Install/Upgrade Dynamic Environment Manager (DEM) Agent

All editions of Horizon 2006 are entitled to Dynamic Environment Management (DEM).

  • Horizon Standard Edition and Horizon Advanced Edition are entitled to DEM Standard Edition, which only has personalization features that replace Persona. If you are using FSLogix Profile Containers for profiles, they you probably don’t need DEM Standard Edition.
  • Horizon Enterprise Edition is entitled to DEM Enterprise Edition, which has all DEM features, including Smart Policies, Privilege Elevation, etc.

To install DEM Agent:

  1. Make sure Prevent access to registry editing tools is not enabled in any GPO since this setting prevents the FlexEngine from operating properly.
  2. Based on your entitlement, download either DEM 2006 Standard Edition, or DEM 2006 Enterprise Edition.

  3. Run the extracted VMware Dynamic Environment Manager Enterprise 10.0 x64.msi.
  4. In the Welcome to the VMware Dynamic Environment Manager Enterprise Setup Wizard page, click Next.
  5. In the End-User License Agreement page, check the box next to I accept the terms, and click Next.
  6. In the Destination Folder page, click Next.
  7. In Choose Setup Type page, click Custom.
  8. In the Custom Setup page, click Next. Note: the DEM Management Console is typically installed on an administrator’s machine.
  9. In the Choose License File page, if installing on a Horizon Agent, then no license file is needed.
  10. In the Ready to install VMware Dynamic Environment Manager Enterprise page, click Install.
  11. In the Completed the VMware Dynamic Environment Manager Enterprise Setup Wizard page, click Finish.
  12. If you have PCoIP Zero Clients that map USB devices (e.g. USB drives), then you might have to set the following registry value. (Source = VMware 2151440 Smart card SSO fails when you use User Environment Manager with a zero client)
    • HKLM\Software\VMware, Inc.\VMware VDM\Agent\USB
      • UemFlags (DWORD) = 1
  13. DEM is enabled using Group Policy and configured using the DEM Management Console.

Logon Monitoring

By default, in services.msc, the VMware Horizon View Logon Monitor service is not running. Set it to Automatic and start it.

The logon logs are stored at C:\programdata\VMware\VMware Logon Monitor\Logs on each Horizon Agent.

Inside each session log file are logon time statistics.

Remote Desktop Licensing Configuration

The only way to configure Remote Desktop Licensing in Windows Server 2012 and newer is using group policy (local group policy or domain group policy).

  1. For local group policy, run gpedit.msc.
  2. Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Remote Desktop Services > Remote Desktop Session Host > Licensing.
  3. Double-click Use the specified Remote Desktop license servers. Change it to Enabled, and enter the names of the Remote Desktop Licensing Servers. Click OK.
  4. Double-click Set the Remote Desktop licensing mode. Change it to Enabled, and select Per User. Click OK.
  5. In Server Manager, open the Tools menu, expand Remote Desktop Services, and click RD Licensing Diagnoser. If you don’t see this option, then install it as a Windows Feature under RSAT.
  6. The Diagnoser should find the license server and indicate the licensing mode. It’s OK if there are no licenses installed on the Remote Desktop License Server.

Antivirus

VMware Tech Zone Antivirus Considerations in a VMware Horizon Environment contains exclusions for Horizon View, App Volumes, Dynamic Environment Manager, ThinApp, etc.

Install antivirus using your normal procedure. Instructions vary for each Antivirus product.

Microsoft’s virus scanning recommendations (e.g. exclude group policy files) – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/822158.

Carbon Black

Interoperability of VMware Carbon Black and Horizon (79180)

Symantec

Symantec links:

Trend Micro

Trend Micro Links:

Sophos

Sophos Endpoint Security and Control: Best Practice for running Sophos on virtual systems: we’ve amassed the following practical information about how you can optimize our software to work with this technology.

Sophos Endpoint Security and Control: Installation and configuration considerations for Sophos Anti-Virus on a Remote Desktop Services server: It maybe desirable to disable the Sophos AutoUpdate shield icon

Sophos Endpoint Security and Control: How to include current version of Sophos in a disk image for cloned virtual machines: This procedure will make sure that the produced target/cloned computers:

  • Get their distinct identity with Enterprise Console, under which they can be subsequently managed.
  • Have the desired version of Sophos Anti-Virus already installed and configured on the created image.

Palo Alto Traps

  • Install Traps Agent for Windows:
    • Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) installation—Intended for non-persistent endpoints that replicate (also referred to as spawn) from a golden image which has Traps installed.
    • Temporary session—Intended for either physical or virtual endpoints (such as a Remote Desktop Server) that repeatedly revert to a snapshot (or image) on which Traps is not installed.

Windows Defender Antivirus

Configuring Microsoft Defender Antivirus for non-persistent VDI machines – Microsoft Blog

Deployment guide for Windows Defender Antivirus in a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environment – Microsoft Docs

Onboarding and servicing non-persistent VDI machines with Microsoft Defender ATP

Cylance

CTX232722 Unable to launch application with Cylance Memory Protection Enabled. Cylance must be run in compatibility mode in order to the VDA and Cylance to run on the same machine. See the article for detailed instructions.

Install Applications

Install applications that will be executed on these machines.

VMware Tech Zone Best Practices for Delivering Microsoft Office 365 In VMware Horizon 7 with Published Applications describes how to install Office365 ProPlus Click-to-run with Shared Computer Activation.

VMware OS Optimization Tool

  1. See VMware Windows Operating System Optimization Tool Guide for details on this tool.
  2. Download the VMware OS Optimization Tool VMware fling.
  3. Run the extracted VMwareOSOptimizationTool.exe.
  4. Go to the Public Templates tab and download or update your templates.
  5. On the Optimize tab, choose a template.
  6. Then click Analyze on the bottom of the window.
  7. On the Optimize tab, review the optimizations, and make changes as desired. Then on the bottom left, click Optimize.
  8. The History tab lets you rollback the optimizations.

Seal and Snapshot

  1. Go to the properties of the C: drive, and run Disk Cleanup.
  2. On the Tools tab, click Optimize to defrag the drive.
  3. Run slmgr.vbs /dlv and make sure it is licensed with KMS and has at least one rearm remaining.
  4. Run Delprof2 to clean up local profiles. Get it from http://helgeklein.com/download/.
  5. Make sure the master session host is configured for DHCP.
  6. Session hosts commonly have DHCP reservations.

  7. Run antivirus sealing tasks. For example:
    1. Symantec: Run a full scan and then run the Virtual Image Exception tool – http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=TECH173650
    2. Symantec: run the ClientSideClonePrepTool –http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=HOWTO54706
  8. Base Image Script Framework (BIS-F) automates many image sealing tasks. The script is configurable using Group Policy.
  9. Shutdown the master session host.
  10. Edit the Settings of the master virtual machine, and disconnect the CD-ROM. Make sure no ISO is configured in the virtual machine.
  11. If Instant Clones, take a snapshot of the master session host.

  12. Use can now use Horizon Console to create RDS Farms.

Full Clone Post-Cloning Tasks

If you use vCenter to clone the machine instead of using Horizon Instant Clones, then after the machine is cloned, do the following on the cloned machine:

  1. Static IP – Configure a static IP address (or DHCP reservation).
  2. Windows Update – Run Windows Update. SysPrep always disables Windows Update so you must run it at least once to re-enable it.
  3. Join domain – Join the machine to the domain if SysPrep didn’t do it for you.
  4. Active Directory OU – Move the Active Directory computer object to the correct OU.
  5. Horizon Agent – uninstall the Horizon Agent and reinstall it so it registers with a Horizon Connection Server.
  6. Antivirus – Re-configure antivirus. Instructions vary based for each product. Go to the antivirus vendor’s website and search for a cloning procedure.
  7. Firewall rules – Add the new machine to any firewall rules (PCoIP, Blast) between the Horizon Security Server and Horizon Agents.
  8. Horizon Console – In Horizon Console, add the new machine to a Remote Desktop Services farm.

Related Pages

VMware Horizon 2006: Virtual Desktop Pools

Last Modified: Aug 16, 2020 @ 5:50 am

This article details Horizon pool configuration for Virtual Desktops. RDS Farms and pools are detailed in a separate article at https://www.carlstalhood.com/vmware-horizon-8-rds-farms-pools/.

Navigation

This post applies to all VMware Horizon versions 2006 (aka 8.0) and newer.

Change Log

  • 2020 Aug 14 – updated entire article for Horizon 2006 (aka 8.0)

Non-Persistent – Instant Clones

All editions of Horizon 2006 include Instant Clones so there is no need to use Composer. Composer is deprecated in Horizon 2006 and will be removed in a future release.

Notes on Instant Clones:

  • The master VM snapshot is copied to every LUN containing instant clones. Composer does the same.
  • If you deploy 12+ VMs per host of the same pool, then “Parent” machines are created on each ESXi host for each datastore. These “parent” machines are powered on and consume CPU/Memory/Disk resources. If you have six hosts and three datastores containing instant clones, then Horizon creates 18 parent virtual machines. Composer does not need parent virtual machines.
    • For lower density, Horizon 2006 supports Smart Provisioning, which eliminates the need for “Parent” machines. See the Smart Provisioning YouTube video for an overview.
  • Persistent disks are not supported with Instant Clones.
    • An alternative is Microsoft FSLogix, or VMware App Volumes Writable Volumes
  • See Instant-Clone Desktop Pools at VMware Docs.
  • Also see VMware Technical White Paper VMware Horizon 7 Instant-Clone Desktops and RDSH Servers

Infrastructure Prep

  • Each desktop pool points to one vSphere cluster.
  • Ensure vSwitch has sufficient ports for the new virtual desktops.
    • Instant clones require static port binding with the elastic port allocation. Do not change the port binding to ephemeral.
  • Ensure the VLAN has enough DHCP addresses for the desktop pool.
  • KMS Licensing is required – MAK licensing is not supported
  • The virtual desktop pools will use the same hardware specs (e.g. vCPUs, memory size, network label, GPU) specified on the master virtual desktop. Adjust accordingly.
  • The master image should be in the same vSphere cluster where the instant clone virtual desktops will be created.
  • ESXi must be version 6 update 1 or newer
  • Master VM must be version hardware version 11 or newer
  • In Horizon Console, add Instant Clone Domain Accounts
  • In Horizon Console, enable View Storage Accelerator on your vCenter connection.
  • If you upgrade vCenter to 6.7 or later, then you must upgrade your ESXi hosts to 6.7 or later at the same time. Afterwards, take a new snapshot of the master image and perform a push operation. See Upgrade Instant-Clone Desktop Pools When You Upgrade vCenter Server to vSphere 6.7 or Later at VMware Docs.

Disk space

  • One or more LUNs (datastores) for storage of the virtual desktops.
  • By default, Replicas are copied to each LUN that contains virtual desktops.
    • It’s possible to place the Replica and the instant clones on separate LUNs. If you use a dedicated Replica LUN, then there is only one copy of the Replica no matter how many LUNs are used for storing virtual desktops.
    • Note: NFS VAAI requires the Replica to be copied to each virtual desktop LUN.
  • .vswp files – Plan for disk space for memory swap and graphics memory overhead. If the master virtual desktop has 4 GB of RAM configured and if none of its memory is reserved then each linked clone will have a 4 GB .vswp file.
    • To reduce the size of the .vswp files, edit each virtual desktop and reserve its memory. Whatever memory is reserved will be subtracted from the .vswp file size.
  • Instant Clone Delta disks – Delta disks start small whenever the virtual desktop boots and grow until the user logs off of the virtual desktop and it reboots.

Non-Persistent, Floating, Automatic, Instant Clone Desktop Pool

Master Image Preparation

Do the following on the master image that the virtual desktops will link to:

  1. Video Memory – shut down the master, Edit Settings (hardware) in vSphere client, expand Video card, and set video memory. More video memory means more client monitors. The maximum number of displays and maximum resolution of client monitors depends on the ESXi version, the Horizon version, and the Windows version with newest versions providing the greatest number of client monitors.
  2. DHCP – Make sure the master VM is configured for DHCP.
  3. Join domain – Join the master VM to the domain.
  4. Computer Group Policy – Make sure the Master VM is in the same OU as the Instant Clones so the Master VM will get the computer-level GPO settings. Run gpupdate on the master after moving the VM to the correct OU. New Instant Clones do not immediately refresh group policy so the group policy settings must already be applied to the master VM. See VMware 2150495 Computer-based Global Policy Objects (GPOs) that require a reboot to take effect are not applied on instant clones.
  5. KMS Licensing or Active Directory-Based Activation is required.
  6. Snapshot – Shut down the master image and take a new snapshot.

Floating Pool

Use Horizon Console to create an Instant Clone pool:

  1. Login to Horizon Console.
  2. On the left, under Inventory, click Desktops.
  3. On the right, if you select an existing pool, you can click Duplicate to copy the settings to a new pool.
  4. On the right, click Add.
  5. In the Type page, select Automated desktop pool.
  6. In the vCenter Server page, select Instant Clone, select a vCenter server, and click Next.
  7. In the User Assignment page, select Floating, and click Next.
  8. In the Storage Optimization page, if you want to use storage tiering, check the box for Select separate datastores for replica and OS disk. Click Next.
  9. In the Desktop Pool Identification page, do the following:
    1. Give the pool a unique ID, which is not shown to the users. Horizon creates a vCenter VM folder with the same name as the Pool ID.
    2. Enter a Display name, which is shown to the users.
    3.  If you intend to use Identity Manager (aka VMware Access), then leave Access group set to /. Otherwise, if you intend to delegate administration of this pool, then select an Access group that the delegated administrators have been assigned to.
  10. Click Next.
  11. In the Provisioning Settings page, do the following:
    1. in Virtual Machine Naming, enter a Naming Pattern. You can use {n:fixed=3} to specify the location for incremented numerals in the machine names. Make sure the naming pattern does not conflict with any existing machines. Remember, the maximum computer name length is 15 characters.
    2. In Desktop Pool Sizing, enter the maximum number of desktops to create. Ensure that the DHCP scope has enough addresses for the Max number of desktops specified here. If your desktop pool size exceeds a single VLAN, then you can create multiple pools and combine them into a Cloud Pod Global Entitlement.
    3. Select Provision all machines up-front to create all of the machines now.
    4. Or select Provision machines on demand, which tells Horizon to create the machines (up to the maximum) as users connect.
    5. If you’re not creating all machines up-front, then specify the Number of spare (powered on) machines. As users connect, Horizon creates more machines to try to keep this number of spare machines running and waiting for a new connection.
  12. Click Next.
  13. In the vCenter Settings page, most of these are self-explanatory. Click Browse next to each option, and make your selection.
  14. If the Parent VM (aka Master VM) is not showing up in the list, then check the box next to Show all parent VMs and click the … next to the VM to see the issue.
  15. Instant Clones monitors/resolution – the number of monitors configured on the Master Image (snapshot) is displayed. If not correct, delete the snapshot, edit the master VM’s Hardware Settings, expand video card, make your desired changes, and take another snapshot.
  16. Scroll down for more settings.
  17. Datastores – select one or more datastores on which the virtual desktops will be placed.
    • If you selected to put Replica on a different datastore, then you’ll have another Browse button for Replica disk datastores.
  18. When selecting Networks, you can use the Network from the parent image, or uncheck the box and select a different network.
  19. Click Next when done.
  20. In the Desktop Pool Settings page:
    1. You can select a Category Folder where the published icon will be placed on the client’s Start Menu and/or Desktop.

      1. Change the selection to Select a category folder from the folder list.
      2. You can type in a new category, or select an existing one.
      3. Then click Submit.
    2. In the Desktop Pool Settings page, Horizon Enterprise Edition lets you select a Session Type, which means you can optionally publish applications from virtual desktops.
    3. Change the selection for Logoff after disconnect to After, and specify a disconnect timer.

      • You can also use Group Policy to configure this. The GPO overrides the pool setting. Install the Horizon GPO Templates if you haven’t already. Edit a GPO that applies to the Horizon Agents. Find the Disconnect Session Time Limit (VDI) setting at VMware View Agent Configuration > Agent Configuration.
      • Horizon also has an Idle Time Until Disconnect (VDI) for virtual desktops. Note: RDSH idle timer is configured using Microsoft RDSH GPO settings, not Horizon GPO settings.
    4. You can allow users to restart their machines.
    5. If you choose Dedicated assignment instead of Floating assignment, there’s an option for Refresh OS disk after logoff. Leaving it set to Always is strongly recommended. The other options cause the delta disk to grow, and will cause data loss surprise for the users when you later push a new image. Instant Clones floating assignment pools always refresh on logoff.
    6. Reclaim VM disk space is also an option for Dedicated assignment pools. Floating assignment pools always refresh on logoff so there’s no need to reclaim disk space.
  21. Click Next.
  22. In the Remote Display Settings page:
    1. In 3D Renderer, there’s an option for NVIDIA GRID VGPU if you have GPUs installed.
    2. There’s an Allow Session Collaboration checkbox, which adds a VMware Horizon Collaboration icon in the system tray of the remote desktop, which lets you invite users to collaborate.  See Session Collaboration for details.
  23. Click Next.
  24. In the Guest Customization page,
    1. Next to AD container, click Browse, and select the OU where virtual desktop computer objects will be placed. You can type (paste) into the AD container field.
    2. Consider checking the box next to Allow reuse of pre-existing computer accounts.
  25. Click Next.
  26. In the Ready to Complete page, you may entitle users now, or leave it unchecked and do it later. Click Submit.

If you opted to add entitlements now:

  1. In the Add Entitlements window, click Add.
  2. Find a group that will have permission to log into these desktops, and click OK.
  3. Then click OK.

To check the status of the virtual desktops:

  1. Go to Inventory > Desktops.
  2. You might have to click the refresh icon on the top right to see the new pool.
  3. Click the link for the pool name.
  4. On the Summary page, if you scroll down, the vCenter Server section has a State field where you can see the status of the pool creation process.  It takes several minutes to publish the master image snapshot. After the snapshot is copied to the Replica, vSphere creates a digest file for View Storage Accelerator, which takes a few more minutes.
  5. Horizon Console has a Pending Image progress bar that doesn’t update automatically. To refresh it, scroll up and click the refresh icon.

  6. You can watch the progress in vSphere Client’s Recent Tasks list. In high-density pools, Instant Clones are forked from the cp-parent machine. In low-density pools, Instant Clones are cloned from the cp-replica.


  7. Eventually the pool’s tabs named Machines and Machines (InstantClone Details) will show the new machines.
  8. iccleanup.cmd can show you (list) the structure of the Instant Clones. For higher-density pools, there is a cp-parent at the bottom of the hierarchy. For Smart Provisioning of lower-density pools, there is no cp-parent.

If you wish to automate the creation of the pool, Aresh Sarkari at Automating Desktop Pool creation using PowerCLI – VMware Horizon 7.x explains New-HVPool -spec 'C:\temp\DesktopPool\LinkedClone.json' and the contents of the JSON file.

Entitle Virtual Desktops

To make a pool accessible by a user, it must be entitled.

  1. In Horizon Console, go to Inventory > Desktops.
  2. Click the link for a pool name.
  3. Switch to the Entitlements tab to see the existing entitlements.
  4. Click Add entitlements.
  5. In the Add Entitlements window, click Add.
  6. Find a group that will have permission to log into these desktops, and click OK.
  7. Then click OK.

Add Machine to Pool

  1. In Horizon Console, on the left, expand Inventory, and click Desktops.
  2. On the right, click the link for an existing Desktop Pool.
  3. At the top, click Edit.
  4. Switch to the Provisioning Settings tab, scroll down, and change the Max number of machines. Then click OK.
  5. With Instant Clones, this won’t take very long. In high-density pools, the new machine is forked from the cp-parent. In low-density pools, the new machine is cloned from the cp-replica.

  6. If you open the pool, the tabs named Machines and Machines (InstantClone Details) show the new machines.

Update a Pool

Master Image Preparation

  1. Power on the master/parent virtual desktop.
  2. After making your changes, shut down the master virtual desktop.
  3. Right-click the virtual machine and take snapshot. You must create a new snapshot.
  4. You’ll need to periodically delete the older snapshots. Right-click the master VM, and click Manage Snapshots.
  5. Delete one or more of the snapshots.
  6. In Horizon Console, go to Inventory > Desktops.
  7. Click the link for a pool name.
  8. On the Summary tab, click Maintain, and then click Schedule.
  9. In the Image page, select the new snapshot. Notice the snapshot’s monitor/resolution settings. Click Next.
  10. In the Scheduling page, decide when to apply this new image. If you select Force users to log off, notice you can customize the logoff message in Global Settings. Click Next.
  11. In the Ready to Complete page, click Finish.
  12. The pool’s Summary tab, near the bottom, indicates that the image is being pushed.

  13. You can click the tab named Machines (InstantClone Details) to check on the status of the push task. Notice the Pending Image.
  14. The snapshot is copied to each datastore.
  15. The snapshot is attached to a Replica, powered on, then powered off. Digest is then computed.
  16. Then the Replica is attached to a parent, and the parent is powered on. This all takes a bit of time. But the existing Instant Clones remain accessible until the Replica preparation is complete.
  17. Once Replicas are prepared, each machine is rebooted once.
  18. Eventually the Pending Image field will be cleared and the desktops are available again.

Host Maintenance – Instant Clones

ESXi hosts running Instant Clones can be placed into maintenance mode without any special instructions.

Instant-Clone Maintenance Utilities at VMware Docs:

  • IcCleanup.cmd – use this utility to unprotect and delete some or all of the internal VMs created by instant clones. This is the easiest method of cleaning up Instant Clone internal machines.
  • IcUnprotect.cmd – use this utility to unprotect folders and VMs, delete VMs, and detect VMs whose master image or snapshot is deleted.
  • IcMaint.cmd – This command deletes the master images, which are the parent VMs in vCenter Server, from the ESXi host, so that the host can be put into maintenance mode. This utility generally isn’t needed. Also see VMware 2144808 Entering and exiting maintenance mode for an ESXi host that has Horizon instant clones.

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