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Supplemental Data for VMware View Install Configure Manage Students

This page is intended to supplement the material covered in the VMware View -Install Configure Manage (View ICM) class.   It provides additional details on the various topics for the class.  The content of this page will be appended and modified over time, mostly based on frequently asked questions from students.

New Name – VMware View Horizon 5.2

Version 5.2 has been released, with a new name, officially VMware View Horizon 5.2, and with new features.  Use this VMware View 5.2 Documentation Center web portal to access the latest documentation on VMware View.  The current edition of the View ICM class is based on version 5.1, whose documentation can be found at the 5.1 Documentation Center.   The documentation includes topics such as planning, installing, securing and updating.  Also, it includes the ability to download the main VMware View Product Documentation as PDF files.

Licensing

Premiere Edition includes all the bells and whistles.  Enterprise does not include many feature, such as Linked Clones.  Add-ons and Upgrades are available as well.  Here are the details on Licensing.

 

Multi-media Redirection

Multi-media redirection is provided by VMware View.  The following excerpt is taken from the Administration Guide:

The multimedia redirection (MMR) feature delivers the multimedia stream directly to the client using a virtual channel. This enables full fidelity playback. MMR is supported by View Client and View Client with Offline Desktop on Windows XP, Windows XP Embedded, and Windows Vista client operating systems.

Verify that the View Agent installation in the virtual desktop enabled TCP Port 9427 via the Windows Firewall.

MMR supports the following media formats:

  • AC3
  • MP3
  • MPEG‐1
  • MPEG‐2
  • MPEG‐4‐part2
  • WMA
  • WMV 7/8/9

NOTE:  MMR will not work correctly if the View Client video display hardware does not have overlay support.

MMR is a Microsoft DirectShow filter that forwards multimedia data from specific codecs on the remote system directly through a TCP socket to the client. The data is then decoded directly on the client, where it is played. Administrators can control which desktop pools and which users can use MMR.

DirectShow explanation:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DirectShow

Although MMR is often discussed in VMware View documentation and courses, MMR is not supported for virtual desktops using Windows 7 and PCoIP.  It is supported for RDP 7 and Windows 7.  It is also supported for Windows XP and PCoIP.  But, many implementations are configured for PCoIP and Windows 7, which does not support MMR.  Some documentation, such as KB 1026179 suggests using RDP with Windows 7 desktops, but actually using PCoIP without MMR is typically the better choice.  PCoIP typically does a good enough job of displaying multi-media even without MMR.  Here is a statement from the View documentation:

Although MMR is not supported on Windows 7 virtual desktops, if the Windows 7 desktop has 1GB of RAM and 2 virtual CPUs, you can use PCoIP to play 480p- and 720p-formatted videos at native resolutions. For 1080p, you might need to make the window smaller to get HD quality.

Local Mode and View Transfer Server

VMware View Transfer server requires LSI Parallel virtual SCSI adapters.  Unfortunately, Windows 2008 defaults to LSI SAS, which results in an error message during the Transfer Server installation, informing the administrator that the wrong virtual adapter is used.  Instead of rebuilding the VM and reinstalling Win 2008,  the original VM could be repaired:

  • Shutdown the VM
  • Attach a new virtual disk, specifying to attach to a new virtual SCSI adapter SCSI(1:0)
  • Modify the adapter type of SCSI Adapter 1 to LSI Parallel
  • At next boot, immediately enter the BIOS settings of the VM
  • In the BIOS settings, ensure the VM still boots from the SAS disk
  • After boot-up, use Device Manager to verify Windows detected the second SCSI adapter
  • Shutdown
  • Edit the VM, change SCSI Adapter 0 to LSI Parallel
  • Remove Hard Drive 2 from disk, which should also remove SCSI Adapter 1
  • reboot

See Details at:

http://solori.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/in-the-lab-tweak-2008r2-post-clone-for-view-transfer-server/

Workload Simulation

VMware provides a workload simulator that may be handy for VDI proof of concept testing.  For details, review this article on RAWC Yellow Bricks.

QuickPrep

  • QuickPrep is a process similar to Sysprep that allows linked clones based off a single parent VM to each be personalized.
  • QuickPrep is only applicable for desktop pools using linked clones for provisioning.  Desktop pools using templates for VM provisioning have the guest customization option.
  • A domain administrator account must be selected from the list provided.  This account is used to join the appropriate domain when a VM is deployed using QuickPrep.  The list of domains/domain administrator accounts is maintained in the View Administrator à Servers à VirtualCenter Settings à Edit à View Composer Settings.
  • All linked clones are created with the same SID, which can be a security concern.  This is typically more of a concern with servers than desktops, but nonetheless may raise some eyebrows with security administrators.  To address this, consider securing and/or removing local administrator accounts.
  • The differences between QuickPrep and Sysprep are shown here:

Functions

Microsoft Sysprep

VMware QuickPrep

Removing local accounts Yes No
Changing SID Yes No
Removing master from the domain Yes No
Changing computer name Yes Yes
Joining instance to the domain Yes No (only password resetting)
Generating new system key Yes No
Language, regional settings, date, and time customization Yes (optional) No
Number of reboots 1 (seal & mini-setup) 0
  • QuickPrep is supported for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.  It is not certified by Microsoft (which stands by Sysprep) but works well enough to prevent conflicts between the multiple desktops that are provisioned from a single View Composer master replica.
  • QuickPrep joins each provisioned VM to the domain.  Registered domain entries are removed from Active Directory once the VM is decommissioned.  (This is different from if the VM were deployed using Sysprep, where there is no automatic removal.  Starting with View 4, a deletion script can be run to manually perform such cleanup tasks.)
  • QuickPrep is used to create new SIDs in Active Directory, but all the linked clones share the same SID.  Thus, local administrator accounts for the VMs should be secured and/or removed.

Linked Clones

For a closer look into linked clones, try this article:  Deep Dive into Linked Clones

Post Synchronization Scripts

Scripts can be automatically run following the QuickPrep process of each new desktop when created by VMware View Composer using linked clones.  The following link provides details:

http://www.thatsmyview.net/2009/04/16/post-syncronization-scripts/

Virtual SCSI Device Types

Four types of virtual SCSI adapters are permitted within VMs running on vSphere 5.  When creating Windows XP VMs, the default settings will result in using a virtual IDE device instead of SCSI, which is not ideal.  The best option today is to change the VM’s hardware configuration to use SCSI (instead of IDE) and to choose LSI parallel.  When installing Windows XP, a SCSI driver must be supplied by pressing F6 and providing the following path:

/vmimages/floppies/vmscsi-1.2.1.0-signed.flp

P3D Graphics in View 5.2 and vSphere 5.1

VMware has recently added the ability to provide high-end graphics i virtual desktops by allowing VMs to share hardware GPUs.  Here is a Performance Study on View 5.2 Accelerated Graphics.

Licensing Windows

  • Windows 7 requires that we use KMS volume licensing (not MAK)
  • Perhaps, for smaller environments, VDA subscriptions could be a good fit.   As you can see in this discussion, it is not very clear and should be discussed with you Microsoft account representative. http://communities.vmware.com/thread/275520?start=0&tstart=0

User Data / Profile Management

VMware View 5 now offers its own Persona Management as an alternative to Windows Roaming Profiles.  This is very useful for users, who require more than one virtual desktop and users of Floating Assignment – Linked Clone Pools, where the user will be connected to a different desktop each time they connect.  Here are some useful documents:

GPO Templates

How can GPOs be applied in View?

  • GPOs can be applied to View Manager components at a domain-wide level in order to provide granular control over various areas of the View Manager environment.  Once applied, GPO properties are stored in the local Windows registry of the specified component.
  • Detailed descriptions of these GPOs can be found in the View Administrator Guide.
  • Using administrative templates can be a much easier approach than manually editing the registry of each VM.
  • There is some overhead with using an administrative template, but it can simplify administration.
  • Group Policies will override local settings, so if Group Policies are in place, you cannot make exceptions within a desktop to override the Group settings unless you set up the computer configuration to loopback mode to force the computer configuration to be used regardless of any policies.  Policies are processed in the following order, with the last one overriding all others.
    • Computer configuration (registry/settings)
    • Local policy
    • Site policy
    • Domain policy
    • OU (organizational unit) policy
    • Computer configuration (loopback mode)
  • Loopback is done in the Group Policy editor through the “User Group Policy loopback processing mode Properties”
    • Enabled
      • Replace (local computer settings override Group Policy settings)
      • Merge (local computer settings appended to Group Policy settings, and any local computer settings take precedence over any conflicts)
    • Disabled
  • Group Policies apply to all lower-level sites domains and OUs associated with higher level domains and OUs.  Administrators can restrict policies from affecting the lower-level domains or OUs through “block inheritance”.
  • Not all operating systems are supported for all Group Policies.  For each policy created, make sure that you check which Windows versions the policy may be used on (for example, certain policies are only available for Vista).
  • The administrative template shows possible settings and their options.  The template does not show default values.  Use the template and tweak settings only as needed to optimize the virtual desktop experience and performance.  If no users are complaining about performance, you can leave things alone and make tweaks only after experimenting with changing specific settings.
  • RDP settings can be set in the registry for the View Client.  The names of the settings correspond to the Microsoft setting name for RDP.  More information can be found in the View documentation.
  • These settings appear in the registry under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\VMware, Inc.\VMware View\Client\RDP Settings.
  • Drive mapping from the client device to the View desktop will happen by default, and cannot be changed by the standard RDP configuration options.  To enable/disable the drive mapping, edit the registry setting forRedirectDrives (true or false).
  • Mapping local drives is not available on computers running the View Client on Windows 2000 Professional.

Performance, Best Practices and Windows 8

The VMware Horizon View 5.2 Performance and Best Practices Guide provides details on best practices for configuring View 5.2 for performance.  It emphasizes new features of ver 5.2 and Windows 8 Support.

Windows XP Configuration for VMware View

This is the latest version of the Windows XP Deployment Guide for VMware View.  It includes specific steps for optimizing Windows XP for a VMware View 5 environment.

Windows 7 and Windows 8 Configuration  for VMware View

This is the latest version of the VMware View 5.2 Optimization Guide for Windows 7 and Windows8.  It includes specific steps and a script for optimizing Windows 7 for a VMware View 5 environment.  Also, here is VMware’s latest Server and Storage Sizing Guide for Windows 7

SESparse Virtual Disks – new in View 5.2

VMware Horizon View 5.2 supports a new virtual disk type called SE sparse disk, which allow unused disk blocks to be reclaimed from VMs.  MyVirtualCloud does a good job of providing some details on SESparse virtual disks, including the associated Wipe and Shrink operations.

VMFS – Concurrent Host Limit – DRS Cluster Size for View 5.2

Historically, VMFS limited the number of concurrent ESXi connections to a single shared VMDK file to 8.  In vSphere 5.1, this limit was increased to 32.  View 5.1 does not support the increase, but View 5.2 does.  So, since up to 32 ESXi servers can share the same virtual disk file for Read access and View 5.2 support this, then linked clone pools backed by View 5.2 can run on vSphere Clusters with up to 32 ESXi servers.

Kiosk Mode

In VMware View, virtual desktops may be configured for kisosk mode, which means that the user will not need to log onto Windows or Active Directory.  It is useful on clients where multiple users tend to perform quick transactions.  Users simply interface directly to the application, without logging in and out of Windows.  The View ICM course book describes kiosk mode, but may not provide enough detail for students to implement.   See page 415 of the View Administrator Guide to review specific details for configuring kiosk mode.  Also, this document on Configuring VMware View Kiosk Mode is useful.

Shadowing Users

Althought VMware View does not provide a means to directly shadow user desktop seessions, this link provides some information on how to enable Shadowing by implementing a GPO that allows the vSphere Client console to shadow a PCoIP session.

Recommended Reading:

Designing VMware View

For large environments, a lot of effort should be applied to properly design and optimize the entire View configuration, from the applications in the desktops, to the desktop pools, to the vSphere configuration, to the network and storage configuration, etc.

Here is a Reference Architecture for providing Stateless VMware View Desktops on HP Hardware.

Dell vStart – this is Dell’s latest reference architecture for VDI.   It contains a table indicating what hardware, etc. is required to support various numbers of users.

And one more, here is a Reference Architecture for 1000 Users on Cisco Hardware.

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