Install Horizon 6 – Part 6 – Creating a Desktop Pool

Horizon View has a few different types of desktop pools. Each pool handles desktops in different ways, and they each have different purposes. The type of pool that you select will be determined by a number of factors including the use case, the storage infrastructure and application requirements. There are 4 different desktop pools:

  1. Full Clone Pools – Each virtual desktop is a full VM cloned from a template in vCenter.
  2. Linked Clone Pools – virtual desktops are based on a snapshot and shares their disk with the parent virtual machine. Changes to the linked clone are written to a delta disk.  The virtual machines are managed by View Composer.
  3. Manual Pools – The machines consist of virtual and/or physical machines that have had the View Agent installed. These machines are not managed by View.
  4. Terminal Services Pool – The machines that are part of thhese pools are Windows Servers with the Remote Desktop Services Role installed.

Once you have chosen the pools type, you have to select the desktop assignment model. Basically you can choose between two different type of desktop assignment:

  1. Floating – Desktops are assigned to users at login and are returned to the pool of available desktops when the user signs out.
  2. Dedicated – Desktops are assigned to a user, and the user gets the same desktop at each login. Desktops can be assigned automatically at first login or manually by an administrator.

In this post we will cover how to create a Linked clone desktop pool with floating assignment.

Note: before setting up a linked clone desktop, View Composer have to be installend and configured. I covered this topic in Part 2 and Part 4 of this series.

  • Log into View Administrator and, under Catalog, select Desktop Pools.1
  • Click Add, to create a new pool. 2
  • Select the Pool Type that you want to create. Here select Automated Pool and click Next. 3
  • Select if you want Floating or Dedicated Desktops. 4
  • Choose the type of virtual machines that will be deployed. For the purpose of this post, I select View Composer Linked Clones. 5
  • Provide an ID and a Display Name for the pool. The ID field is the official name of the pool, and it cannot contain any spaces. The Display Name is the “friendly” name that users will see when they select a desktop pool to log into. If you want you can also add a description.6
  • In the next screen we will have to select the pool settings that control how the pool will work. Some of the options are:
    • Default power state of desktops
    • Display protocols
    • Behavior on user logoff
    • Adobe Flash settings789
  • After that we have to configure the provisioning settings for our new pool. Here we will choose provisioning behavior, desktop names, and how many desktops will be provisioned. 10
  • The next screen allows you to decide if you will use non-persistent disk for disposable files. Disposable files are classified as temporary files and page files.  If a disposable disk is used, these files will be redirected to here, and this disk is deleted whenever the VM is shut down.11
  • Select the option to store Replicas on a separate datastore if you want to place them on a different storage tier.12a
  • After you choose whether or not to place the Replica Disks on a separate datastore, you need to configure the pool’s vCenter settings. 12In order to configure each setting, you will need to click the Browse button on the right hand side of the screen. Each step must be configured in order.
    1. Select the Parent VM that the Linked Clones will be based on and click OK.
    2. Choose the VM snapshot that the Linked Clones will be based on.
    3. Configure the vCenter folder where the linked clones will be placed in.
    4. Select a vSphere cluster where the virtual machines of your desktop pool will be run
    5. The next step is to place the desktops into a Resource Pool.
    6. Select the datastores where the Linked Clones and the Replicas will be stored.
      • Linked Clones can be stored on multiple datastores, so you can select multiple datastores in this section.  You can also configure View to allow the datastores to be overcommitted by changing the Storage Overcommit option on each datastore.
      • Replicas can only be stored on a single datastore.  Select the datastore that you want to store them on and click OK.
  • The next screen is for configuring the advanced storage options. The three options that can be configured on this screen are the View Storage Accelerator, disk space reclaimation and the option to use native NFS snapshots. If you use View Storage Accelerator or disk space reclamation, you can configure blackout times where vCenter will not run these tasks. 20
  • After you have configured the advanced storage options, you need to configure the Guest Customization settings.  This screen allows you to select the domain and organizational unit for the desktops and whether Sysprep or Quickprep will be used to prepare the desktops.22
  • Review the settings for the pool and verify that everything is correct. Before you click Finish, check the Entitle Users checkbox in the upper right. This will allow you to select the users and/or groups who have permission to log into the desktops. 23
  • After you click Finish, you will need to grant access to the pool. View allows you to entitle Active Directory users and groups. Click Add to entitle users and groups.24
  • Search for the user or group that you want to add to entitle. If you are in a multi-domain environment, you can change domains by selecting the domain from the Domains box. Click on the users or groups that you want to grant access to and click OK. Note: It’s better to use Active Directory security groups and entitle those to desktop pools rather than use direct user entitlement. 25

You can check the status of your desktop pool creation in vCenter.
Once the desktops have finished composing, you will be able to log into them through the Horizon View client or Blast .

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