Creating an AppStack

In this lesson you will be creating, provisioning, and assigning an AppStack.

What is an AppStack

An AppStack is a bundle of applications and supporting data, contained within a read-only virtual disk.  AppStacks are created and managed through the App Volumes Manager. To get started you will need to login to App Volumes Manager.

Launch Google Chrome

  1. On the Main Console desktop, launch Google Chrome

Navigate to the App Volumes Manager


  1. Select a new tab in Chrome

Login to App Volumes Manager

Login to the App Volumes Manager:

  1. Click on the AppVolumes shortcut folder
  2. Select the AppVol-01 shortcut
  3. Enter Username: administrator
  4. Enter Password: VMware1!
  5. Verify the Domain selected is CORP
  6. Click on Login

Create an AppStack

Now you are ready to create your AppStack.

  1. Click on VOLUMES
  2. Confirm you are on the AppStacks tab
  3. Click Create

Enter the AppStack Information

Enter the following information: 

  1. For the name of your AppStack enter: 7-Zip  
  2. Confirm Storage is set to [RegoinA01] ESX04a-Local.  This is where your AppStack will be stored.  In a production environment it should reside on shared storage optimized for 100% reads.
  3. Keep the Path as the default
  4. The template size of your AppStack is 20 GB.  However you can create a custom-sized template based on your needs.  More information can be found here.
  5. In the description field enter Version 16.04
  6. Click Create

Complete Creation of the AppStack

  1. Confirm Perform in the background is selected
  2. Click Create

Confirm the Creation of the App Stack

  1. Click the refresh button.  You should now see the 7-Zip AppStack listed
  2. Click the + Symbol next to 7-Zip

Note:  If the AppStack does not appear, click on the refresh button again.

Provision an AppStack

You are ready to begin the provisioning process.   This is where you will load the applications into the AppStack.  How many applications that can reside in an AppStack will vary based on factors such as size and IO load of the application(s).  Performance testing should be done in order to determine what is most appropriate for your environment.

  1. Notice how App Volumes informs you of the next step in the process
  2. Click on Provision

Provisioning VM Requirements

It is important that the provisioning virtual machine (VM) resembles the target environment where the AppStack will be deployed to.  This includes: OS version, patches, service packs, or applications.  Additional provisioning VM requirements include:

  • The App Volumes agent needs to be installed.  This has been done for you in the lab.
  • The VM should not contain any AppStacks assigned to it.  
  • The VM should be in a clean state.

To preserve a clean provisioning VM you should always take a snapshot before you begin the AppStack creation process.  Once provisioning has been completed, revert the VM to the previous snapshot.  More information on snapshots can be found here.  In this lab, a snapshot has been created for you.



  1. Enter base in the search box
  2. Click Search
  3. Click on the radio button for CORP\BASE-W10-X64-01$
  4. Click Provision

Confirm Start Provisioning

Next you will attach the AppStack to your provisioning VM.

  1. Click Start Provisioning

Provisioning Mode

  1. Once again the next step is described for you.

Navigate to vCenter

  1. Click on the Login tab


Login to vCenter

Confirm you are on the vSphere Client logon page.  If not, click on the vCenter shortcut folder, and select the vSphere Client (HTML) shortcut.  

  1. Check the box to use Windows session authentication
  2. Click on Login

Launch Web Console

  1. Select the base-w10-1709-x64-01 VM
  2. Click on Launch Web Console

Login to Provisioning VM

  1. Click on Send Ctrl+Alt+Del

Enter Credentials

Enter the following information to login to the provisioning VM:

  1. User name: [email protected]
  2. Password:  VMware1!
  3. Press Enter


Confirm Capture Process has Started

Once logged in, you should see a pop up windows that states you are now in provisioning mode. DO NOT click on OK until you have completed the installation of your application(s).  

Note:  If you did click on OK,  follow the steps to update an AppStack, which are defined in the next chapter.


Navigate to the Application

  1. Click on the folder icon to open Windows Explorer located on your provisioning VM's desktop

Browse to the Application

In this case you will be installing 7-Zip.  

  1. Type \\controlcenter in the navigation field.
  2. Double-click on the 7-Zip folder

Launch Application

  1. Double click on 7-zip_16.04-x64

Install Application

  1. Click on Install

Complete Installation

  1. Click on Close

Close Windows Explorer

  1. Click the X to close Windows Explorer

Complete the Capture Process

  1. Click on OK

Confirm Installation is Complete

  1. Click Yes


  1. Click OK to reboot the provisioning VM


Note:  If you see a pop up regarding Analyzing the installed application,  you can ignore it.


Login to Provisioning VM

Once the reboot has completed, you will need to log back into the Provisioning VM.  

Note:  The reboot may take a couple minutes

  1. Once the login screen appears, click on Send Ctrl+Alt+Delete
  2. Enter User name: [email protected]
  3. Enter Password: VMware1! and press Enter

Confirm Provisioning Complete

  1. Click OK to confirm the process has completed successfully

Assign the AppStack

You are now ready to assign your AppStack.  An AppStack can be assigned to a user, group, computer, or OU.  This includes RDS Hosts.  To find out more information on various ways to assign an AppStack, please consult  Digital Workspace Tech Zone.

Note: AppStacks can be assigned to a physical machine under certain conditions.  You can find more information on this topic by clicking here.

Note:  How the AppStacks are assigned, and the number of AppStacks assigned can affect a users login time.   Please review the  App Volumes Reference Architecture Guide for more information.

Launch the Horizon HTML Client

You will now login to the Horizon Client to view your virtual desktop.

  1. Open a new tab in Chrome
  2. Select the VMware Horizon shortcut on the bookmarks bar
  3. Select the VMware Horizon HTML Access

Login to the Horizon Client

  1. Username: user2mod2
  2. Password: VMware1!
  3. Click Login

Launch the Virtual Desktop

  1. Click on the Instant Clone Pool to launch your virtual desktop

Close Notification

  1. Click on OK to close the Enable Copy and Paste Notification

Note:  This may take a minute or two to appear.

Review desktop

  1. Right click on the README file located on your virtual desktop
  2. Notice how there is no 7-Zip listed
  3. Click on the desktop of the provisioning VM to close the menu

Navigate Back to the App Volumes Manager

  1. Click on the App Volumes Manager tab in Chrome

Note:   If the App Volumes Manager is no longer opened, click on the App Volumes shortcut folder and launch the AppVol-01 shortcut.  Login with  username:  Administrator and password:  VMware1!


AppStack Assignment

  1. Click on the + sign next to 7-Zip if needed
  2. Notice how there is currently 0 Assignments
  3. Click on Assign

Assign User

For the purposes of this lab you will assign this AppStack to a user.  The AppStack will connect when the user logs onto any virtual machine with the App Volumes agent installed.  In a production environment, you would typically assign an AppStack to a OU or user group.

  1. In the Search Active Directory box enter user2mod2
  2. Click Search
  3. Select the check box next to CORP\user2mod2
  4. Click Assign

Attach the AppStack

You have two options on when you would like the AppStack to appear for the user.  Either attach it next time the user logs in, or have it appear immediately.  

  1. Click Attach AppStacks immediately
  2. Click Assign

Test the AppStack

Now you will verify the AppStack is mounted to the users virtual desktop

  1. Click back to the VMware Horizon browser tab

Note:  If you have closed the Horizon Client, click on a new tab in Chrome, and select the VMware Horizon Shortcut.  Login with username: user2mod2, and password VMware1!

Confirm Application has been Installed

  1. Right click on the README file located on the desktop
  2. Notice how 7-Zip is listed.  

Note:  No shortcut for 7-Zip resides on the target virtual desktop, because there was no shortcut placed in the C:\All Users\Desktop folder during the provisioning process.

Sign off Virtual Machine

  1. Click on the Windows symbol
  2. Click on the user icon
  3. Click Sign out

Close Window

  1. Click on Close

Close Google Chrome

  1. Click on the X to close Google Chrome.


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