Create a Desktop Pool

When you create a desktop pool, you select configuration options that determine how the pool is managed and how users interact with the desktops.

We will walk through the steps to create an Instant Clone Desktop Pool but because of time and resources in the lab environment, we will cancel out before completing. We will use an existing Desktop Pool to complete the remaining lab lessons.

Instant Clone Desktop Pool

An instant-clone desktop pool is an automated desktop pool. vCenter Server creates the desktop VMs based on the settings that you specify when you create the pool. Instant clones share a virtual disk of the master image and therefore consume less storage than full VMs. In addition, instant clones share the memory of the master image. Instant clones are created using the vmFork technology.

Before you can deploy a pool of desktops, you must create an optimized master image, which includes installing and configuring a Windows or Linux operating system in a VM, optimizing the OS, and installing the various VMware agents required for desktop pool deployment.

We will not be creating the optimized master image in this lab as it has already been set up for us in the interest of time. For step-by-step instructions, see the guide Creating an Optimized Windows Image for a VMware Horizon Virtual Desktop.

https://techzone.vmware.com/creating-optimized-windows-image-vmware-horizon-virtual-desktop

Launch Google Chrome Browser

  1. On the main console desktop, launch the Google Chrome shortcut located on the desktop.

Launch the Horizon Console

To perform desktop or application pool deployment tasks, troubleshooting tasks, or manage JMP workflows, you must log in to Horizon Console. You can access Horizon Console through the Horizon Administrator Web interface. We will use the new HTML 5 Horizon Console for this lab.  With the latest version of Horizon Console, it is in feature parity with almost everything that you can do in the Horizon Administrator Flex console.  We will launch the Horizon Console using the URL https://horizon-01.corp.local/newadmin

  1. Click on the Horizon favorites bookmark bar at the top of the Chrome browser and Click on Horizon-01-NewAdminConsole
  2. Enter administrator as the Username
  3. Password is VMware1!
  4. Click on Sign In

Horizon Console

The Horizon Console

The Horizon Console is the newest HTML5 based web interface to manage Horizon 7 Environments. Horizon Console is used to create and manage virtual desktops and published desktops and applications. Horizon Console also integrates VMware Horizon Just-in-Time Management Platform (JMP) Integrated Workflow features for managing workspaces.

Horizon Console is available after you install and configure Horizon Connection Server.

Add a Desktop Pool

The Add Desktop Pool wizards guides you through the steps of creating an instant-clone desktop pool.  We will not go over the steps to clone or configure a desktop image but will use one already created for this lab. For more information on how to clone a desktop or create a new virtual machine to use, please consult the documentation at https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Horizon-7/7.9/horizon-virtual-desktops/GUID-C875E8BE-20C9-4845-96DC-70F125BCA907.html

  1. Click on Desktops in the left navigation pain under Inventory
  2. Notice the existing Instant Clone Pool - IC-Pool1. Do not click on the existing pool at this time.
  3. Click on Add in the Desktop Pools pain to add a new desktop pool

Desktop Pool Type

  1. Select the Automated desktop pool
  2. Click Next

Options here are

  • Automated : Desktops are created when pool is created or on demand based on pool usage
  • Manual : Select existing virtual machines, physical machines or 3rd Party Virtual Machines
  • RDS Desktop pool

Instant Clone on vCenter Server

  1. Choose the Instant Clone option from the vCenter Server screen.
  2. Click on the vCenter Server: vcsa-01a.corp.local

View Storage Accelerator Ignore

Click on Ignore for View Storage Accelerator pop up

With the vCenter Server selected, Click on Next

User Assignment

  1. From the User Assignment screen, Click on Dedicated
  2. Click Next to continue

With Dedicated, each user is assigned a particular remote desktop and returns to the same desktop at each login. This is a one-to-one desktop-to-user relationship. With Floating assignment users log in to any available desktop. This reduces the number of desktops required if everyone does not need to be logged in at the same time.  We will pick Dedicated for this pool so that we can see the new feature of Longer-lived Instant Clones.  We will explain more on this feature shortly.

Storage Optimization - Storage Policy Management

From the Storage Optimization page:

  1. Click on Next as we do not use vSAN in this lab.

Desktop Pool Identification

On the Desktop pool identification screen,

  1. Enter IC-TestPool1 as the pool ID
  2. Display name is IC-TestPool1
  3. Keep access group as is with the /
  4. You can enter anything in the Description field like Test pool created for HOL
  5. Click on Next

Provisioning Settings

Provision Settings:

  1. Make sure Enable Provisioning is checked as this will provision the desktop pool after completion.
  2. For the Virtual Machine Naming, use the naming convention: Test-{n}. Using a token n is replaced with a unique number. You can also add a fixed length with number of digits.
  3. Click on Provision machines on demand.  

We will only provision machines as we need them with a minimum number of 1 and max number set to 2.

  1. Min number of machines is set to 1

Note the warning message "Minimum number of ready/(provisioned) machines must be less than maximum and minimum number of machines. Be sure to edit the Max number of machines below to 2.

  1. Desktop Pool Sizing: Max number of machines set to 2.
  2. Number of spare (powered on) machines set to 1
  3. Click Next

vCenter Settings

For vCenter Settings, we have already created the master image in the environment that we will be using so we will enter the information here.

  1. Parent VM in vCenter, click on Browse... and select /RegionA01/vm/base-w10-1709-x64-01, click Submit
  2. Snapshot, click on Browse....select /IC Desktop Base HOL 2019, click Submit
  3. VM Folder Location, click on Browse....select Discovered virtual machine, click Submit
  4. Resource settings, Cluster, click on Browse....select RegionA01-IC01, click Submit
  5. Resource Pool, click on Browse....select RegionA01-IC01, click Submit
  6. Datastores, click on Browse....select the ESX04a-Local datastore, click Submit

Warning

Click OK on the warning pop up.

Click Next on the Desktop Pool

Click on Next

Longer Lived Instant Clones

With the latest version of Horizon, we introduce the feature of Longer Lived Instant Clones. Longer Lived Instant Clones have functionality similar to Linked Clones. This features is only available for dedicated pools.  It supports the same refresh options as linked clones:

  • Never (not recommended since this would be a full clone)
  • Refresh every X days
  • At X% disk utilization
  • Always

Longer Lived Instant Clones supports disk reclamation.

You would use Longer Lived Instant Clones in the following use cases:

  • Collection of log files
  • Auditing of the Desktops
  • Compliance/Regulatory
  • Anywhere you used linked clones

We will show you the settings in the next lesson.

Desktop Pool Settings

  1. Scroll down to the bottom.
  2. This is where you set the Longer Lived Instant Clones setting for Refresh OS disk after logoff, set to Every
  3. Enter 30 for days
  4. We would click on Reclaim VM disk space but this is not available in this lab environment and is disabled. But here is where you would enter the value for the Initiate reclamation when unused space on VM exceeds. Leave as is and don't modify.
  5. Click on Next to continue.

Remote Display Settings

You can set the Remote Display protocol for the desktop pool to be either: Blast, PCoIP or RDP. Keep as Blast.

Click on Next.

Guest Customization

Guest Customization options, we will keep the defaults, click Next.

Ready to Complete

The Ready to Complete screen lets you review the resettings. You can also click on the Entitle Users after this wizard finishes to go to the entitle screen. We will cancel out of this and will look at entitlements for an existing Instant Clone pool.

  1. CLICK on Cancel as we do not have the resources or time to continue the creation of the Instant Clone Desktop Pool.

Due to limited resources and time in this lab environment, we will cancel out of Creating an Instant Clone Desktop Pool and instead look at an existing Instant Clone pool already provisioned.

Confirm cancel of Creation

Click Ok to confirm.

Existing Desktop Pool

The lab has an existing Instant Clone Desktop Pool created for users named IC-Pool1.  In the next step we will connect into that Desktop Pool through VMware Horizon HTML Access.

Open a New Tab in Chrome

  1. Open a new tab in Chrome by clicking on the tab.
  2. Click on VMware Horizon from the bookmark bar
  3. Click on VMware Horizon HTML Access to login to Horizon

Open VMware Horizon HTML Access

  1. Enter Username: user1mod1
  2. Enter Password: VMware1!
  3. Click on Login

Click on Instant Clone Pool

Click on the Instant Clone Pool to launch the Desktop.

Confirm Instant Clone Desktop

  1. If "Enable Copy and Paste" window present, you can click on OK to dismiss it. This is from another part of this lab.
  2. Desktop opens in the Horizon tab. Notice Host Name and User.  You are logged into one of the Instant Clone Desktops named WIN10IC-# desktop with the Username user1mod1.

Sign Out of Desktop

We will disconnect from the desktop.

  1. Click on the Window's Icon for the Desktop only
  2. Click on person icon
  3. Click Sign out

This will sign out from that Instant Clone Window's desktop and disconnect.

Confirm Disconnected

Click Close in the Disconnected popup.

Close VMware Horizon tab in Chrome

  1. Click on X on the VMware Horizon tab to close it
  2. NOTE: Do NOT close the VMware Horizon 7 tab as you will use it in the next step

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