Creating a Writable Volume

This lesson will walk you through creating a Writable Volume. 

What is a Writable Volumes

The App Volumes Writable Volumes feature enables the creation of a per-user volume where the following user-centric data can be installed and configured in different ways and move with the users:

  • Application settings
  • Licensing information
  • Configuration files
  • User-installed applications

The key differences between AppStacks and Writable Volumes are:

  • AppStack VMDKs are mounted as read-only and can be shared among multiple desktop virtual machines (VMs) within the data center.
  • Writable Volumes are dedicated to individual users and are mounted as the user authenticates to the desktop. Writable volumes roam with the user for non-persistent desktops.

Writable Volumes are not a replacement, but a complementary product to a user enviroment management solution.  VMware User Environment Manager is a companion to App Volumes and provides management of user application settings that are applied when the user logs in or when an application launches. VMware User Environment Manager can manage data within writable volumes at a more granular level, and provide contextual rules to enforce policies based on different conditions or events.  To find out more information on VMware User Enviroment Manager please see Module 1 of this lab.


Creating and Assigning a Writable Volume

You are now ready to walk through the creation of a Writable Volume.

Launch Google Chrome


  1. On the Main Console desktop, launch the Google Chrome browser

Login to App Volumes Manager

To login to the App Volumes Manager:

  1. Open the AppVolumes shortcut folder
  2. Click on AppVol-01 shortcut
  3. Enter Username: administrator
  4. Enter Password: VMware1
  5. Click Login


Create Writable Volume

  1. Click on the VOLUMES tab
  2. Click Writables
  3. Click Create

Assign a User

First you need to determine who the writable volume will be assigned to.

  1. In the Search Active Directory box, type user2mod2
  2. Click Search
  3. Select CORP\user2mod2

Configure the Writable Volume

In this window you enter a variety of information pertaining to the writable volume.  This includes the template type.  Your template type determines what types of information will be stored within your writable volume.  You have three options to choose from.

  • Profile-Only:  Captures only the profile information of that user
  • UIA Only - Captures all user-installed applications but does not capture any data that is written to the user profile
  • UIA+Profile -  Includes all user-installed applications and user profile data

Enter the following information:

  1. Confirm the storage type is listed as vcsa-01a.corp.local: [RegionA01] ESX04a-Local. In a production enviroment you should place the writable volume on to shared storage optimized for random IOPs with 50% read/write.
  2. Accept the default destination path.
  3. Drop down the source template section and select the /template_uia_only.vmdk (10GB).  You can expand the size of your writable volume once the volume has been created.
  4. Exception Resolution allows an administrator to define what happens if the writable volume becomes unavailable for attachment.  Select Block user login.
  5. Click the Limit the attachment check box.
  6. Enter base.  This will prevent the writable volume from attaching to any virtual machines who's machine name doesn't begin with "base."
  7. Click Create.

Execute the Creation of the Writable Volume

  1. Select Create volumes immediately
  2. Click Create

Confirm the Writable Volume was Created

  1. Click + next to the writable volumes.  As you can see, the writable volume for user2mod2 has been created

You have the ability to modify the Writable Volume in the following ways:

  • Edit - Allows you to modify such settings as Exception Resolution and Limit Attachment
  • Disable - Prevents a user from being able to attach to the Writable Volume
  • Expand - Allows you to increase the size of the writable volume.
  • Move - Is for when you want to relocate your writable volume to a different datastore
  • Backup - Schedule backups of your writable volumes.  
  • Restore - Restore a Writable volume

Close Browser

  1. Click on the X to close Chrome

Allow End Users to Review Size of Their Writable Volume

With a simple registry edit you can allow your users to view the size of their writable volume.  Please consult the following KB for more information.


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