Using the Deploy Desktops option in the VDI workload domain creation wizard means that the creation workflow will deploy the virtual machines that are the virtual desktops as part of creating the VDI environment. Therefore, when you plan to use the Deploy Desktops option, you must prepare a Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 operating system installation with specific criteria and then provide that installation in the form of an OVA file.

About this task

Typically, your organization has its own approved end-user desktop image with software, configurations, and policy settings that your organization wants in its end-user desktops, such as anti-virus and VPN software, browser configurations, user settings, policies, and so on. The VDI environment creation process does not configure such organization-specific needs. However, Cloud Foundation needs the end-user desktop image to be prepared so that the VMware Horizon software and its View components that make up the VDI environment's infrastructure can use the desktop image as a template for the virtual desktops that are served by the VDI environment.

Therefore, to ensure the desktop image can meet the requirements of the VMware Horizon software, you must prepare the Windows operating system in advance and ensure it meets the specific criteria before you generate the OVA file from it. In this Cloud Foundation release, the Windows operating system can be Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10. Cloud Foundation uses the uploaded Windows OVA as the desktop template to create all of the virtual desktops that will be deployed in the workload domain. Therefore, you must create this Windows installation in advance on another machine, either a physical or virtual machine, prepare the installation to meet the detailed requirements, and then convert into the OVA format that you can upload into the VDI workload domain creation wizard.

To avoid deployment issues and have the Windows OVA successfully used as a template virtual desktop in the deployed VDI environment, it must meet specific requirements. Many of the criteria are determined by the View software that underlies the VDI environment. Some requirements might differ according to the Windows operating system, whether it is Windows 7 or Windows 8 or Windows 10. In general, the prepared Windows installation must meet the requirements of a Windows image optimized for VMware Horizon, as documented in the VMware Windows Operating System Optimization Tool Guide: VMware Horizon 6, VMware Horizon 7, and VMware Horizon Cloud-Hosted white paper. This white paper is available at http://www.vmware.com/content/dam/digitalmarketing/vmware/en/pdf/whitepaper/vmware-view-optimizationguidewindows7-en-white-paper.pdf and includes settings to optimize Windows 7 and Windows 8.x for desktops.

Along with the white paper, you can use the VMware OS Optimization Tool (OSOT) to optimize your Windows desktop images. The OSOT takes the white paper's recommendations and automates them. The OSOT is a free VMware Fling that you can download. The VMware Windows Operating System Optimization Tool Guide: VMware Horizon 6, VMware Horizon 7, and VMware Horizon Cloud-Hosted white paper describes how to use the OSOT and the white paper's Appendix A lists all of the optimization settings used in the OSOT templates. The OSOT can help optimize the Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 operating systems that this release of Cloud Foundation supports using for virtual desktops. The OSOT is available at https://labs.vmware.com/flings/vmware-os-optimization-tool

To achieve successful results in the deployed VDI environment, at a minimum, the prepared virtual machine and its installed Windows operating system must meet the following configuration requirements:

  • You must set the virtual hardware version of the template desktop virtual machine to hardware version 11. This release of Cloud Foundation has ESXi 6.0 hosts. For information about virtual machine hardware versions that can run on ESXi 6.0 hosts, see the Virtual Machine Hardware Versions topic in the vSphere 6.0 Documentation Center at https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.0/com.vmware.vsphere.hostclient.doc/GUID-68E5EDAE-66DE-43F8-9420-F424AFEADB1D.html

  • You must use Microsoft Key Management Service (KMS) system license activation to activate the prepared Windows installation, and activate it against the same KMS system that will be reachable by the virtual desktops that will be created during the VDI workload domain creation process. That KMS system must be the same one, so that the virtual desktops can subsequently activate against the same KMS system. That KMS system must be discoverable by broadcast in the Data Center network that you specify in the VDI workload domain creation wizard. If the prepared Windows installation was not already activated for the KMS system or that KMS system is not reachable from your Cloud Foundation system , the virtual desktops that are created based on the prepared Windows image will be unusable.

    This requirement is determined by the View Composer software that is deployed in the VDI environment. As described in VMware KB article 1026556, by default the View Composer QuickPrep process uses KMS to activate Windows guest operating systems. To ensure linked-clone desktops are properly activated, you must use KMS license activation on the parent virtual machine. QuickPrep does not use other volume activation methods such as Multiple Activation Key (MAK) licensing.

  • You must enable the local Administrator user account in the Local Users and Groups in the Windows operating system and it must not be renamed.

  • You must set the password for that Administrator user account and have it in advance of starting the VDI workload domain creation wizard so you can enter that password as you complete the wizard's steps. The VDI environment creation process uses the Administrator account to install additional agents into the Windows installation that are used by the VDI environment infrastructure, such as the App Volumes agent.

  • You must install the latest VMware Tools in the template desktop virtual machine, or upgrade the already installed VMware Tools to the latest version. The latest VMware Tools must be installed prior to installing the View Agent. If the New Hardware wizard appears as you follow the Install/Upgrade VMware Tool on-screen instructions, go through the wizard and accept the defaults.

    For detailed information, see the Installing and Configuring VMware Tools paper at http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vmware-tools-installation-configuration.pdf and the how-to video in the KB article at kb.vmware.com/kb/1018377

  • You must install the View Agent, and install it only after the latest VMware Tools is installed.

    Important:

    The order of installation of VMware Tools and the View Agent is important. If you install them in the incorrect order, or if you do not know the order in which they were installed, uninstall both and reinstall in the correct order.

  • Do not install the App Volumes agent. The App Volumes agent is installed by the VDI environment creation process as needed.

  • You must configure the Windows installation to obtain an IP address using DHCP.

  • If your desktop image is a Windows 7 installation and you intend to use App Volumes in the VDI environment, ensure that the Microsoft Security Update for Windows 7 KB3033929 is installed in that Windows 7 installation. The Microsoft KB article is located at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=46078

  • If you intend to have full clones instead of linked clones, you must implement the customization script in the Windows installation and customize the virtual desktop the way you want it before generating the OVA file. The VDI environment creation process does not customize the virtual desktops. This behavior is by design from the View infrastructure software that underlies the VDI infrastructure. In the case of full clones, the desktops that the wizard creates are only copies of the OVA template that you upload in the wizard. Therefore, if you want customized full clones, the customization script must already exist in the Windows installation and the virtual desktop customized the way you want it for your end users before the OVA file is generated.

In addition to the minimum preparation requirements, you should also perform a full anti-virus scan of the prepared Windows installation before the final step of creating an OVA file.

For best practices recommendations beyond the minimum preparation requirements, see the Reviewers Guide for View in Horizon 6 white paper located at http://www.vmware.com/content/dam/digitalmarketing/vmware/en/pdf/whitepaper/view/vmware-view-evaluators-guide-white-paper.pdf.

Procedure

  1. Obtain the virtual machine that will be the template desktop image for the virtual desktops served by the VDI environment.

    The way you obtain the parent virtual machine depends on whether your organization already has its own approved end-user desktop image that it wants for this VDI environment or if you need to create the virtual machine. If you need to create the virtual machine, see the VMware Horizon product documentation at https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Horizon-7/index.html

  2. Set the virtual hardware version of the desktop virtual machine to hardware version 11.
  3. Configure the Windows operating system in the virtual machine to use KMS system license activation using the same KMS system that will be reachable by the Data Center network configuration you will use for the VDI environment.
  4. Activate the virtual machine's Windows operating system against that KMS system.
  5. Install the latest VMware Tools in the operating system, or upgrade the already installed VMware Tools to the latest version.

    If the New Hardware wizard appears as you follow the Install/Upgrade VMware Tool on-screen instructions, go through the wizard and accept the defaults.

  6. Enable the local Administrator user account in the Local Users and Groups in the Windows operating system.
    Important:

    Do not change the name of this account. It must remain named Administrator.

  7. Set the password for that Administrator user account and make sure you know it for entering in the workload domain creation wizard.

    You would typically use a password that meets your organization's policies for its end-user desktops.

  8. Configure the Windows installation to obtain an IP address using DHCP.
  9. (Optional) : Depending on the software that your organization already requires installed in the operating system, increase the size of the virtual disk to ensure the View Agent can be installed.
  10. Install the View agent in the operating system.
  11. If you are planning to select the Persistence Type option in the VDI workload domain creation wizard to have full clones instead of linked clones, implement the customization script in the Windows installation.

    When the option to have full clones is selected in the wizard, the VDI environment creation process does not customize the virtual desktops. This behavior is by design from the View infrastructure software that underlies the VDI infrastructure. In the case of full clones, the desktops that the wizard creates are only copies of the OVA template that you upload in the wizard, and if you want customized full clones, you must implement the customization script in the Windows installation and customize the virtual desktop the way you want it.

  12. If your desktop image is a Windows 7 installation and you intend to specifying using App Volumes in the VDI environment, install the Microsoft Security Update for Windows 7 KB3033929 into the Windows 7b installation. The Microsoft KB article is located at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=46078
  13. (Optional) : Make any additional configurations or install additional software, according to your organization's needs.

    You might obtain additional configuration recommendations from:

    • VMware Horizon product documentation https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Horizon-7/index.html

    • Reviewers Guide for View in Horizon 6 white paper

    • VMware Windows Operating System Optimization Tool Guide: VMware Horizon 6, VMware Horizon 7, and VMware Horizon Cloud-Hosted white paper

    • Running the OSOT

  14. Perform a full anti-virus scan of the prepared Windows installation.

    Even though running an anti-virus scan is not required for the prepared desktop image to work in the VDI environment, it is strongly recommended.

  15. Export the prepared virtual machine as an OVA.

Results

You have an OVA that is prepared with the requirements for the template desktop virtual machine needed by the VDI environment creation process.