Configuring Transparent Page Sharing Scope in VMware Horizon 7.0

Introduction to Transparent Page Sharing

Using Transparent Page Sharing (TPS) multiple virtual machines could share pages if the contents of the pages were same. If multiple virtual machines running the same Operating System pages having identical content can exist on a host. Once hypervisor identifies the pages having similar hash value for multiple virtual machines on a host, it shares the pages among virtual machines by creating pointers. This helps in freeing up memory on the host for new pages. Understanding security concern Transparent Page Sharing is disabled by default on the ESXi host and can be enabled at any point of time.

Impact of Disabling Transparent Page Sharing in VMware Horizon environment

In a VMware Horizon Deployment running 100’s of virtual desktops having similar operating system in a pool TPS can saves significant amount of physical memory on ESXi host by creating pointers for similar pages instead of a duplicate page. If you are upgrading an existing VMware VDI environment, you might see heaving memory utilization on the ESX host.

Configuring Transparent Page Sharing in VMware Horizon Environment

Post accessing the security risk associated with enabling Transparent Page Sharing in a desktop environment, you can configure TPS based on a desktop pool settings.

As you can see in screenshot below Transparent Page Sharing have 4 scopes to choose.

  • Virtual Machine – Virtual Desktops in this pool will not participate in Inter-VM TPS.
  • Desktop Pool – Virtual Desktops in this pool will participate in Inter-VM TPS with all desktops with in the same pool.
  • Pod – Virtual Desktops in this pool will participate in Inter-VM TPS with other desktops belonging to same pod.
  • Global – Virtual Desktops in this pool will participate in Inter-VM TPS with other desktops belonging to same as well as different pod.

tps-scope

Conclusion

You can configure Inter VM-TPS can under advanced storage setting at the time of creating pool or after creating pool. In a environment, where non-view virtual machines and view virtual machines co-exist on the same ESXi host and Transparent Page Sharing is desired, then the approach should be to enable Transparent Page Sharing on the ESXi host by Changing the  ESXi setting Mem.ShareForceSalting in every desired host to “0”

I hope this will be informative for you. Thanks for Reading. Do share it on social media if you find it worth sharing. Happy Learning :-).

VMware Horizon 7.0 Step by Step : Deploying Desktop Pool with Persistent Disk

Introduction to Persistent Disk

In Automated Dedicated Desktop Pool, Persistent disks can be leveraged to store user information and user-generated data (not user-installed applications). You can create persistent disk at the time you create linked clone desktop pool. You can place a persistent disk can be placed on same or seperate LUN from the linked clones LUN. View Composer preservers user information on the persistent disk when OS data is updated, refreshed or rebalanced.

Deploying Automated Desktop Pool with Persistent Disk

Login to VMware Horizon Admin Console. Go to Catalogs –> Desktop Pool. Click on Add to create new desktop pool. Click Next to proceed.

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Selected Dedicated. Choose Enable Automatic assignment if you don’t want to assign desktops to user manually. Click Next.2Select View Composer Linked Clone and select View Composer from the list.  3

Assign ID and Display Name. Click Next to proceed.4Configure the Desktop Pool Settings as per configuration requirement. I kept the settings default in my LAB. Click Next to proceed. 5

Choose the Naming Pattern / Pool Size and Provisioning Time. Click Next to proceed.6

Choose Redirect Windows Profile to a persistent Disk. Configure the Persistent Disk Size. This will create a new persistent disk and attach the disk to the virtual desktop.7

Choose if you want to user VMware Virtal SAN.8

Under vCenter Settings. Choose Parent VM, Snapshot, VM Folder location and Resource settings. 9Configure Advanced Storage Options and click next.

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Choose the Domain & Customization Script to use.11

Review the settings and click Finish.12

Once Virtual Desktop are deployed entitled users can login to Virtual Desktops. 13 15 16 17

Conclusion

Using Persistent disk, administrator can store user data on to a persistent storage which can be easily attached to detached an attached to another desktop in case needed.

Thanks for reading. I hope this will be informative for you. Do share in social media if you find it worth sharing.

VMware Horizon 7.0 Step by Step : Updating Linked Clone Desktop Pool

Introduction

In few of my earlier post, I covered the step by step process of Refreshing and Reblancing Virtual desktops in a pool. Another administrative activity you might be required to be performed on a pool for Updating Linked Clone Desktop Pool provisioned in a Desktop Pool. Updation can be providing new OS to the end users i.e. upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10 or it can be providing new applications to the end users in existing OS. In both the case, you will be required to recompose the Pool  / Desktop.

At the time of recomposing, all the linked clones desktops are attached to a new replica. As the linked cloned desktops are connected to a new replica, all changes occurred in the existing delta disk will be lost and users will get brand new virtual desktop. The Recompose command can be used to roll out new software or a new service pack.

Updating Linked Clone Desktop Pool

You can either update linked clone individually or all the desktop in a pool. To update all the linked clone desktops in a Pool, Login to VMware Horizon Admin Console and go to Catalog –> Desktop Pool . Double click on the pool you want to update.

In my Lab I have deployed a linked clone using Base OS image.

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Under View Composer select Recompose2

Change the Parent VM if you want to use a different parent Virtual Machine or Change the snapshot if you want to keep the same parent VM but different updated snapshot.3

Schedule when you want to perform this task.4

Click Finish to update the linked clone desktop pool.5

Linked clone desktop will enter in maintenance mode and then update will be applied. As we are updating the linked clone desktop using an updated snapshot a complete new replica will be created on the datastore.6 7

Once deployed, entitled users can connect to assigned desktops.8

Summary

Updating a linked clone desktop is a process utilize lot of resources during customization, it is advisable to schedule recomposing task during off peak hours. I hope this will be informative for you. Thanks for Reading!!! Be Social and share it in Social media, if you feel worth sharing it

 

VMware Horizon 7.0 Step by Step : Rebalance Linked-Clone Virtual Machines

Introduction

Once you have deployed Automated Desktop with Linked Clone, you might be required to perform administrative activities like Refreshing Desktop pool virtual machines to reduce the operating system data, rebalancing of linked-clone virtual machines among data store, migrating of virtual machine to a newly added datastore. updating an linked clone desktop pools or management of persistent disk.In this post I will be discussing the process for Refreshing an Automated Desktop pool with Linked Clone.

In one of my previous post I discussed on the steps to refresh linked clone desktop pool. Once we have a Linked Clone Desktop Pool deployed, it might be possible that a new datastore is added and you are required to re-balance the linked clone desktops between new and old datastore OR you have to migrate the linked clone to new datastore.

Note : Do not use vSphere Client or vCenter Server to migrate or manage linked-clone virtual machines. Do not use Storage vMotion to migrate linked-clone virtual machines to other datastores.

Once rebalance task gets initiated VMware View Composer manages the movements of linked clones between datastore. View Composer ensures that the linked clones’ access to the replica is maintained during and after the rebalance operation. If necessary, View Composer creates an instance of the replica on the destination datastore.

Step by Step Rebalancing Linked-Clone Virtual Machines

Before initiating rebalancing / migrating task, new datastore is required to be added to the list of datastore used by Desktop Pool.

Click on Edit in summary tab of the desktop pool to add a new datastore.

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Go to vCenter Settings and click on Browse infront of Datastore.2 3

Select Show all datastore (including local datastores) to list all the datastores. Select the new datastore from the list you want to be available for the pool.4 5

Migrating Virtual Desktops to new Datastore

Now we have two datastore’s allocated to the pool and presently all the datastores are hosted on a single datastore. 6

To Migrate all the virtual desktop to newly added datastore initiate the Rebalance task at pool level. Go the Summary tab of the Pool and Select Rebalance under View Composer Tasks.7 8

Choose the time when you want to start the rebalance task. 9

Click on Finish to start the task.10 11

Post completion of task, virtual desktops will be moved to newly added datastore.12

Rebalancing desktops between datastores

In order to rebalance desktops between datastores allocated to desktop pool, you need to select the individual desk and choose Rebalance task.

13 14 15 16Post completion of task virtual desktop will be balanced between allocated datastores.17

Summary

It is recommended to perform rebalance during off hours as the process will create refreshed desktops on new datastore. Do not use vSphere Client or vCenter Server to migrate or manage linked-clone virtual machines. Do not use Storage vMotion to migrate linked-clone virtual machines to other datastores.

Thanks for Reading!! I hoped this is informative for you. Be social and share it in social media, if you feel worth sharing it.

VMware Horizon 7.0 Step by Step : Refreshing an Automated Desktop Pool with Linked Clone

Introduction

Once you have deployed Automated Desktop with Linked Clone, you might be required to perform administrative activities like Refreshing Desktop pool virtual machines to reduce the operating system data, re-balancing of virtual machine among datastore, migrating of virtual machine to a newly added datastore. updating an linked clone desktop pools or management of persistent disk.In this post I will be discussing the process for Refreshing an Automated Desktop pool with Linked Clone.

Once you choose View Composer to create Virtual Desktops using Linked Clones, it takes a snapshot of the clone’s OS Disk. Once the users starts interacting with the Virtual Desktops deployed using Linked Clones, the Clone’s OS disk starts growing. A clone’s OS disk expands each time data is written to it from within the guest operating system. The growth of OS Disk will be little faster if you are not redirecting their paging files and system temp files to a temporary disk.

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To reduce the storage utilization, an administrator can leverage machine refresh operation to restores the OS disks to their original state and size. A refresh operation takes less time to revert the OS disk to the snapshot than the time it takes to delete and recreate the clone. A machine refresh operation does not affect the View Composer persistent disk if attached.

An machine refresh operations can be performed on floating as well as dedicated assignment pool deployed using Linked Clone’s. You can initiate an machine refresh operation on demand, as a scheduled event or when the OS data reaches a specified size.A machine refresh operation preserves the unique computer information set up by QuickPrep or Sysprep. You do not need to rerun Sysprep after a refresh to restore the SID or the GUIDs of third-party software installed in the system drive.

Refreshing an Automated Desktop Pool / Desktop Step by Step

You can perform refresh task either on Pool or on Individual Desktop. In the post I will be performing refresh operation on a virtual desktop part of this pool.

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Before initiating Refresh task on a virtual desktop lets have a look on the virtual desktops files size.

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To perform Refresh task, Login to VMware Horizon Admin Console. Go to Desktop Pools –> Pool Name. Select the Desktop you want to refresh.

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Click on View Composer and select the Refresh task.3

Choose the time when you want to get the refresh task initiated.4

Review the settings and click on Finish to initiate the Refresh task.5 6 7 8 9

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Post refresh task, Virtual Desktop disk file will be refreshed back to its original size. 10Conclusion

A machine refresh operation restores the virtual desktop disk of each linked clone to its original state and size, reducing storage costs. It is advisable to schedule refresh operations during off-peak hours.

I hope this will be informative for you. Thanks for visiting. Please share it in social media if you feel worth sharing it.

VMware Horizon 7.0 Step by Step | Creating an Instant Cloned Pool

Introduction

In one of my earlier post, I covered the advantages, limitations and how Instant clones are different form VMware View Composer. In this post I will be covering the steps to create an Instant Cloned Pool. Instant clone desktop pool is an automated desktop pool created using the vmFork technology. vCenter Server deploy the desktop VMs based on the settings configured at the time of pool creation. Addition to sharing the virtual disk of a parent virtual machine, instant clones share the memory of a parent virtual machine.

Instant Clone Engine Domain Administrator

Instant Clone Engine Domain Administrator is required to be configured which handles the Active Directory needs for the cloned desktops. You can configure Instant Clone Administrator using View Administrator Pool.

Apart from the default permission below permission is required for the user account in Active Directory.

  1. List Contents
  2. Read All Properties
  3. Write All Properties
  4. Read Permissions
  5. Reset Password
  6. Create Computer Objects
  7. Delete Computer Objects

20 21 VMware Horizon Agent Configuration in Parent Virtual Machine.

Partent Virtual machine should have VMware Horizon Instant Clone component installed. You can either have VMware Horizon VIew Composer or VMware Horizon Instant Clone component at the time of VMware Horizon Agent installation in Parent Virtual Machine.

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Steps by Step : Creating an Instant Clone Pool

Login to VMware Horizon Admin console. Go to Catalog –> Pools. Click on Add to add new Poo. Choose Automated Desktop Pool.

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Instant Cloned support only Non – Persistent desktop as desktop gets refreshed automatically every time user logged out. Choose User assignment as Floating and click on Next.2

Choose Instant Clones and select the listed vCenter Server. Click Next to proceed.3

Provide the appropriate ID and the Display Name for Desktop Pool identification. Configure the Access Group in case needed. Click Next to proceed.

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Configure the Desktop Pool Settings as per organization policies and click Next.5

Configure the provisioning settings for new virtual desktops like Naming Pattern, Size of Desktop Pool & Provisioning Timings. Click Next.6

Choose if you want to store new Virtual Desktop’s on Virtual SAN datastore or not. Click Next to proceed.7

Click on Browse and choose the Parent VM.

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Choose the Snapshot of the Parent VM.9

Choose the VM folder location.10

You cannot choose individual host while deploying Instant Cloned Virtual Desktops. Choose the cluster and select OK11

Choose Resource Pool and the Datastore to host Instant Cloned Virtual Desktops.12

Choose the Domain name and AD Container.

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Review the settings and Click Finish to deploy Instant Cloned Desktops.15

Once successfully deployed, desktops can be entitled to the users for use.16 17

Post entitlement users can access entitled virtual desktops using Horizon Client.18 19I hope this would have been informative for you. Thanks for visiting. Do share this in social media if you find it worth sharing. Happy Learning :-).

 

VMware Horizon 7.0 Step by Step | Introduction to Instant Clone

Introduction to Instant Clone

During a keynote session VMware announced the technology working behind Instant Clones (Fargo/VMFork) that allows a running Virtual Machine to be forked to a child clone. Initially this child clone will use real memory and disk space of the parent and later on once write to the memory or disk starts, it starts storing this data in delta space. As Instant clone forks a running VM, the clones can be created very quickly in comparison to VMware View Composer. Horizon 7 is the first VMware product to use VMFork. Using Instant Clone Technology, Administrator can parent virtual machine whenever new desktops are needed, just in time for a user to log in. The desktop created using Instant Clone are completely stateless and the desktop gets refreshed once the user log off.

Characteristics of Instant Clone

  1. The provisioning of instant clones is faster than View Composer linked clones.
  2. Instant clones are always created in a powered-on state, ready for users to connect to.
  3. When a user logs out, the desktop VM is deleted.
  4. With the push-image operation, you can re-create the pool from any snapshot of any parent VM.
  5. View storage accelerator is automatically enabled.
  6. Transparent page sharing is automatically enabled.

Instant Clone requirements

  1. vSphere 6.0 Update 1 or later.
  2. Virtual machine hardware version 11 or later.

Benefits of Instant Clone Technology over View Composer Clones

  1. Virtual Desktop prepared using Instant Clone do not need to be refreshed, recomposed or re-balanced. Instant cloned virtual desktops gets deleted and recreated from latest patch once user logs out. Thus eliminating boot storms, which reduce storage IOPS requirement and generating less load on the vCenter Server.
  2. In case of Instant Clone Technology, CBRC ( Content-Based Read Cache) is no more required as the instant cloned desktops are short-lived and gets deleted once the user log out.
  3. Generally, SEsparse wipe-and-shrink sweeps and frees up unused blocks. This operation is also no more required for Instant cloned desktops as desktops either gets deleted or re-imaged after user logged out.
  4. Unlike View Composer, Instant Clone Technology does not need a database, which greatly simplifies the Horizon 7 architecture.

Limitations of Instant Clones

  1. RDS hosts are not supported.
  2. Windows 7 and Windows 10 are supported but not Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.
  3. Only floating user assignment is supported. Users are assigned random desktops from the pool.
  4. IPv6 is not supported.
  5. Instant-clone desktops cannot have persistent disks.
  6. Sysprep is not available for desktop customization.
  7. Instant clones cannot reuse existing computer accounts in Active Directory.
  8. Persona Management is not available.
  9. 3D rendering is not available.

Conclusion

Instant Clones are a great new feature in Horizon 7 and provisions desktops in much lesser time than Linked Clones. Instant clones bring the advantages like reducing boot storms, lesser provisioning time and lesser store utilization. I hope this will be informative for you. Do share if you find this in social media if you find this information worth sharing. Thanks for visiting. Happy learning :-).

 

VMware Horizon 7.0 Step by Step | Configuring Horizon Event Database

Introduction

VMware Horizon records events like administrator actions, end-user actions, system failures and errors etc. You can either leverage Microsoft SQL or Oracle Database for recording events. Before proceeding to configure VMware Horizon to log events database is required to be created and configured.

VMware Horizon 7.0 Step by Step | Creating SQL Database for Events Database

In this post I will be covering the steps to configure Microsoft SQL database for VMware Horizon Events.

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Configuring Horizon Event Database Step by Step

Login to VMware  Horizon Admin Console. Go to Even Configuration and click on Edit.

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Configure the Database Server Name, Database Type, Port, Database Name, Username and Password. Click OK to proceed.

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Conclusion

In this post I covered the steps to configure database for VMware Horizon Events. The configuration process is very simple if SQL server & Database instance is configured correctly.

I hope this will be informative for you. Thanks for visiting. Happy learning 🙂

VMware Horizon 7.0 Step by Step | Creating SQL Database for Events Database

Introduction

VMware Horizon records events like administrator actions, end-user actions, system failures and errors etc. You can either leverage Microsoft SQL or Oracle Database for recording events. Before proceeding to configure VMware Horizon to log events, In this post we will be covering the steps to create a Microsoft SQL database. You do not need to create an ODBC data source for this database.

Supported Database

Below is a list of supported Databases for storing Events.

 

Database

Service Packs/Releases

Editions

Microsoft SQL Server 2014 (32- and 64-bit)

No SP, SP1

Standard /Enterprise

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 (32- and 64-bit)

SP2

Express / Standard / Enterprise

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 (32- and 64-bit)

SP2, SP3

Express / Standard / Enterprise / Datacenter

Oracle 12c

Release 1 (any release up to 12.1.0.2)

Standard One / Standard / Enterprise

Step by Step : Creating Microsoft SQL Database

Connect to Microsoft SQL Instance using Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio.

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Right click on Databases and click on Create a New Database.3

Type in the Database Name and click on OK.4 5

Next we need to create a new user and map the new database to the new account. Under Security, right click on Login and click on New Login.6

Give the appropriate Login Name to the new Login account. Choose SQL Server Authentication and configure password as per organization password policy.

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Click on User Mapping and select the new database created earlier. Choose db_owner as the database role for the new database and click OK.8

Database Error while configuring Event viewer database in VMware Horizon Admin Console.

You may get below error message while configuring Event Viewer database in VMware Horizon Admin Console. The reason is because the TCP/IP ports are not configured properly.

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To correct the above error, connect to Microsoft SQL Server using Microsoft SQL Configuration manager.

10 Under SQL Server Configuration Manager, navigate to SQL Server Configuration Manager –> SQL Server Network Configuration –> Protocols for VIM_SQLEXP –> TCP/IP:

Ensure that the TCP Dynamic Ports and TCP Port values are cleared with no values for:

  • IP1
  • IP2
  • IP3
  • IP4
  • IP5
  • IP6

Change the TCP Port to 1433 if not configured.

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Restart the SQL Server service to get the changes into effect. Once SQL server service get restarted, VMware Horizon Event database can be configured.

Conclusion

In this post I demonstrated the process to create and configure a new database for storing VMware Horizon Events. In next blog I will cover the steps to configure database for VMware Horizon Events via VMware Horizon admin console.

I hope this will be informative for you. Thanks for visiting the blog. Happy learning :-).

 

VMware Horizon 7.0 Step by Step | Creating RDS Desktop Pool

Introduction

In earlier releases of VMware View, RDS Desktop Pool was known as Microsoft Terminal Services pool. In comparison to desktop provisioned in an automated desktop pool where desktops are based on a virtual or physical machine, RDS desktops are based on session to an RDS host. Each RDS host is a windows server that can host multiple RDS Desktops. An RDS Desktop pool is always associated with a farm, VMware View provides load balancing of the RDS Host in a farm by directing connection requests to the RDS host that has the least number of active sessions. An RDS desktop supports the RDP, PCoIP, and VMware Blast display protocols. You can also configure HTML access in case needed.

Prerequisite

  1. Automated or Manual Farm should already be created. (If not already created, you will be asked to create Farm during Pool creation process)
  2. RDS host status should be in Available.

Step by Step Creating RDS Host Pool

Login to VMware Horizon Admin Console. Go to Catalog –> Desktop Pools and Click on Add.

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Choose RDS Desktop Pool from the list and Click on Next.2Provide appropriate Pool ID and the Display Name of the pool.

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Configure the Desktop Pool Settings as per organization requirements. In Lab, I kept the settings default. Click Next to proceed further.4Choose the Farm from the list and click Next.

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Review the configuration and click on Finish.6

Once created, new RDS pool will be available for entitled users.7

Entitle the users to the pool. 8Once entitled user will be able to login to RDS pool. 9

Conclusion

In this post, I covered the process of creating Remote Desktop Service Desktop pool using exiting Farm. A RDS pool can have either Automated or Manual Form as an backend. You cannot configure Automated and Manual Farms together as an backend to a single pool.

I hope this will be informative for you. Thanks for visiting. Happy Learning 🙂