VMware View has offered the ability to serve your desktops as linked clones since View 3.0 with View Composer, but with View 5.1 I still get asked many questions about how linked clones work, how snapshots are involved, delta files, and what other files make up each linked clone virtual desktop. You are probably already familiar with VMDK (Virtual Machine Disks) and snapshots, but the process View Composer takes to create linked clones may still be a bit of a mystery to you. Since the addition of View Storage Accelerator (VSA) in View 5.1 there are also some additional files that are created. This article will describe the files used by linked clones.
For my first post of 2013, I have decided to dive straight into sizing for VMware View 5.1. If you are planning a VMware View implementation then at some stage you will need to look at sizing, and calculating factors like how many desktops per View desktop pool, in addition to network configuration and storage considerations. The purpose of this article is to discuss sizing and configuration maximums for VMware View 5.1. Since VMware ESX 3.x, a configuration maximums document has been published by VMware for each version of vSphere that details the supported maximums for networking, compute, storage, vCenter, host, and even vCloud Director. Because there is no single ‘configuration maximums’ document for VMware View 5.1, I have included reference documents and material at the bottom of this article.
VMware KB 1027217 details the ports required between all the components in VMware View 5.0, but I noticed there were not any up to date diagrams illustrating this, so I’ve attached the View 5 Ports here. This won’t need much explanation, but a few key points to highlight here:
1. The replica View Connection Server detailed here is not a ‘slimmed down’ Connection Server, as both accept connections from the View Client and can tunnel connections. I’ve simply removed the PCoIP Gateway and HTTP(S) Secure Tunnel to keep the diagram tidy.
2. The JMS (Java Messaging Service) communication between the View Connection Server and Desktop VM (View Agent) is very important and requires that the View Connection servers are on the same low-latency LAN as the desktop VMs. This can also be encrypted with ‘Message Security Mode’ enabled.
3. When using RDP from the Windows View Client, notice that the RDP session is established locally (127.0.0.1) via the View Client which connects to the desktop VM.
4. If using the Security Server as a PCoIP gateway or secure tunnelling for RDP, the connection is established between the View Client and the Security Server, and then between the Security Server and the desktop VM (View Agent). In this configuration, the View Client does not connect to the desktop VM directly via RDP or PCoIP.
Configuring the default user profile in Windows 7
When creating your base (parent) image you may want to configure the default user profile so when new users log into the desktop for the first time, it retains certain customisations such as the desktop background colour, shortcuts, etc. Prior to Windows 7 you were able to copy a user profile to the default user profile, but Windows 7 does not permit this method. Instead, you must create an unattend.xml (unattended installation file) with Windows System Image Manager (WSIM) which is part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit.
In some circumstances you may want to configure a custom SSL port for your VMware View Security Server (other than 443). I have had to do this for my home lab as I only have a single external IP address and it’s already listening on 443 for something else. If you edit the Security Server configuration from VMware View Administrator, you will find that you can change the port in the external URL field (E.g. https://view.yourdomain.com:543) but the security server will still listen on 443.
Mark Benson of VMware has created this excellent video on configuring VMware View 4.6 Security Server with PCoIP for remote access. See the full article.
VMware View 4.6 has just been released which includes over 160 bug fixes and support for PCoIP with Secure Gateway servers. See the release notes here: http://www.vmware.com/support/view46/doc/view-46-release-notes.html