When you create a linked-clone desktop pool, the View Administrator Add Desktop Pool wizard prompts you to configure certain options. Use this worksheet to prepare your configuration options before you create the pool.

You can print this worksheet and write down the values you want to specify when you run the Add Desktop Pool wizard.

Before you create a linked-clone pool, you must use vCenter Server to take a snapshot of the parent virtual machine that you prepare for the pool. You must shut down the parent virtual machine before you take the snapshot. View Composer uses the snapshot as the base image from which the clones are created.

Note:

You cannot create a linked-clone pool from a virtual machine template.

Table 1. Worksheet: Configuration Options for Creating a Linked-Clone Desktop Pool

Option

Description

Fill In Your Value Here

User assignment

Choose the type of user assignment:

  • In a dedicated-assignment pool, each user is assigned to a machine. Users receive the same machine each time they log in.

  • In a floating-assignment pool, users receive different machines each time they log in.

For details, see User Assignment in Desktop Pools.

Enable automatic assignment

In a dedicated-assignment pool, a machine is assigned to a user when the user first logs in to the pool. You can also explicitly assign machines to users.

If you do not enable automatic assignment, you must explicitly assign a machine to each user.

vCenter Server

Select the vCenter Server that manages the virtual machines in the pool.

Desktop Pool ID

The unique name that identifies the pool in View Administrator.

If multiple View Connection Server configurations are running in your environment, make sure that another View Connection Server configuration is not using the same pool ID.

A View Connection Server configuration can be a standalone View Connection Server instance or a pod of replicated instances that share a common View LDAP configuration.

Display name

The pool name that users see when they log in from a client device. If you do not specify a display name, the pool ID is displayed to users.

Access group

Select an access group in which to place the pool or leave the pool in the default root access group.

If you use an access group, you can delegate managing the pool to an administrator who has a specific role. For details, see the role-based delegated administration chapter in the View Administration document.

Note:

Access groups are different from vCenter Server folders that store virtual machines that are used as desktops. You select a vCenter Server folder later in the wizard with other vCenter Server settings.

Delete or refresh machine on logoff

If you select floating user assignment, choose whether to refresh machines, delete machines, or do nothing after users log off.

Note:

You set this option on the Desktop Pool Settings page.

Desktop Pool Settings

Settings that determine the machine state, power status when a virtual machine is not in use, display protocol, Adobe Flash quality, and so on.

For descriptions, see Desktop Pool Settings for All Desktop Pool Types.

For a list of the settings that apply to linked-clone pools, see Desktop Pool Settings for Linked-Clone Desktop Pools.

For more information about power policies and automated pools, see Setting Power Policies for Desktop Pools.

Stop provisioning on error

You can direct View to stop provisioning or continue to provision virtual machines in a desktop pool after an error occurs during the provisioning of a virtual machine. If you leave this setting selected, you can prevent a provisioning error from recurring on multiple virtual machines.

Virtual machine naming

Choose whether to provision machines by manually specifying a list of machine names or by providing a naming pattern and the total number of machines.

For details, see Naming Machines Manually or Providing a Naming Pattern.

Specify names manually

If you specify names manually, prepare a list of machine names and, optionally, the associated user names.

Naming pattern

If you use this naming method, provide the pattern.

The pattern you specify is used as a prefix in all the machine names, followed by a unique number to identify each machine.

For details, see Using a Naming Pattern for Automated Desktop Pools.

Max number of machines

If you use a naming pattern, specify the total number of machines in the pool.

You can also specify a minimum number of machines to provision when you first create the pool.

Number of spare (powered on) machines

If you specify names manually or use a naming pattern, specify a number of machines to keep available and powered on for new users. For details, see Naming Machines Manually or Providing a Naming Pattern.

When you specify names manually, this option is called # Unassigned machines kept powered on.

Minimum number of ready (provisioned) machines during View Composer maintenance operations

If you specify names manually or use a naming pattern, specify a minimum number of machines that are provisioned for use in remote desktop sessions while View Composer maintenance operations take place.

This setting allows users to maintain existing connections or make new connection requests while View Composer refreshes, recomposes, or rebalances the machines in the pool. The setting does not distinguish between spare machines that are ready to accept new connections and machines that are already connected in existing desktop sessions.

This value must be smaller than the Max number of machines, which you specify if you provision machines on demand.

See Keeping Linked-Clone Machines Provisioned for Use in Remote Desktop Sessions During View Composer Operations.

Provision machines on demand

or

Provision all machines up front

If you use a naming pattern, choose whether to provision all machines when the pool is created or provision machines as they are needed.

  • Provision all machines up front. When the pool is created, the system provisions the number of machines you specify in Max number of machines.

  • Provision machines on demand. When the pool is created, the system creates the number of machines that you specify in Min number of machines. Additional machines are created as users connect to the pool for the first time or as you assign machines to users.

Min number of machines

If you use a naming pattern and provision desktops on demand, specify a minimum number of machines in the pool.

The system creates the minimum number of machines when you create the pool. This number is maintained even when other settings such as Delete or refresh machine on logoff cause machines to be deleted.

Redirect Windows profile to a persistent disk

If you select dedicated user assignments, choose whether to store Windows user-profile data on a separate View Composer persistent disk or the same disk as the OS data.

Separate persistent disks let you preserve user data and settings. View Composer refresh, recompose, and rebalance operations do not affect persistent disks. You can detach a persistent disk from a linked clone and recreate the linked-clone virtual machine from the detached disk. For example, when a machine or pool is deleted, you can detach the persistent disk and recreate the desktop, preserving the original user data and settings.

If you store the Windows profile in the OS disk, user data and settings are removed during refresh, recompose, and rebalance operations.

Disk size and drive letter for persistent disk

If you store user profile data on a separate View Composer persistent disk, provide the disk size in megabytes and the drive letter.

Note:

Do not select a drive letter that already exists on the parent virtual machine or that conflicts with a drive letter that is used for a network-mounted drive.

Disposable File Redirection

Choose whether to redirect the guest OS's paging and temp files to a separate, nonpersistent disk. If you do, provide the disk size in megabytes.

With this configuration, when a linked clone is powered off, the disposable-file disk is replaced with a copy of the original disk that was created with the linked-clone pool. Linked clones can increase in size as users interact with their desktops. Disposable file redirection can save storage space by slowing the growth of linked clones.

Disk size and drive letter for disposable file disk

If you redirect disposable files to a nonpersistent disk, provide the disk size in megabytes and the drive letter.

The disk size should be larger than page-file size of the guest OS. To determine the page-file size, see Record the Paging File Size of a View Composer Parent Virtual Machine.

When you configure the disposable file disk size, consider that the actual size of a formatted disk partition is slightly smaller than the value you provide in View Administrator.

You can select a drive letter for the disposable file disk. The default value, Auto, directs View to assign the drive letter.

Note:

Do not select a drive letter that already exists on the parent virtual machine or that conflicts with a drive letter that is used for a network-mounted drive.

Use vSphere Virtual SAN

Specify whether to use VMware Virtual SAN, if available. Virtual SAN is a software-defined storage tier that virtualizes the local physical storage disks available on a cluster of ESXi hosts. For more information, see Using Virtual SAN for High-Performance Storage and Policy-Based Management.

Select separate datastores for persistent and OS disks

(Available only if you do not use Virtual SAN) If you redirect user profiles to separate persistent disks, you can store the persistent disks and OS disks on different datastores.

Select separate datastores for replica and OS disks

(Available only if you do not use Virtual SAN or Virtual Volumes) You can store the replica (master) virtual machine disk on a high performance datastore and the linked clones on separate datastores.

For details, see Storing Replicas and Clones on Separate Datastores for Instant Clones and View Composer Linked Clones.

If you store replicas and OS disks on separate datastores, native NFS snapshots cannot be used. Native cloning on a NAS device can only take place if the replica and OS disks are stored on the same datastores.

Parent VM

Select the parent virtual machine for the pool.

Snapshot (default image)

Select the snapshot of the parent virtual machine to use as the base image for the pool.

Do not delete the snapshot and parent virtual machine from vCenter Server, unless no linked clones in the pool use the default image, and no more linked clones will be created from this default image. The system requires the parent virtual machine and snapshot to provision new linked clones in the pool, according to pool policies. The parent virtual machine and snapshot are also required for View Composer maintenance operations.

VM folder location

Select the folder in vCenter Server in which the desktop pool resides.

Host or cluster

Select the ESXi host or cluster on which the desktop virtual machines run.

With Virtual SAN datastores (a vSphere 5.5 Update 1 feature), you can select a cluster with up to 20 ESXi hosts. With Virtual Volumes datastores (a vSphere 6.0 feature), you can select a cluster with up to 32 ESXi hosts.

In vSphere 5.1 or later, you can select a cluster with up to 32 ESXi hosts if the replicas are stored on VMFS5 or later datastores or NFS datastores. If you store replicas on a VMFS version earlier than VMFS5, a cluster can have at most eight hosts.

In vSphere 5.0, you can select a cluster with more than eight ESXi hosts if the replicas are stored on NFS datastores. If you store replicas on VMFS datastores, a cluster can have at most eight hosts. See Configuring Desktop Pools on Clusters With More Than Eight Hosts.

Resource pool

Select the vCenter Server resource pool in which the desktop pool resides.

Datastores

Select one or more datastores on which to store the desktop pool.

A table on the Select Linked Clone Datastores page of the Add Desktop Pool wizard provides high-level guidelines for estimating the pool's storage requirements. These guidelines can help you determine which datastores are large enough to store the linked-clone disks. For details, see Storage Sizing for Instant-Clone and View Composer Linked-Clone Desktop Pools.

You can use shared or local datastores for an individual ESXi host or for ESXi clusters. If you use local datastores in an ESXi cluster, you must consider the vSphere infrastructure constraints that are imposed on your desktop deployment. See Storing View Composer Linked Clones on Local Datastores.

With Virtual SAN datastores (a vSphere 5.5 Update 1 feature), you can select a cluster with up to 20 ESXi hosts. With Virtual Volumes datastores (a vSphere 6.0 feature), you can select a cluster with up to 32 ESXi hosts.

In vSphere 5.1 or later, a cluster can have more than eight ESXi hosts if the replicas are stored on datastores that are VMFS5 or later or NFS. In vSphere 5.0, a cluster can have more than eight ESXi hosts only if the replicas are stored on NFS datastores. See Configuring Desktop Pools on Clusters With More Than Eight Hosts.

For more information about the disks that are created for linked clones, see View Composer Linked-Clone Data Disks.

Note:

If you use Virtual SAN, select only one datastore.

Storage Overcommit

Determine the storage-overcommit level at which linked-clones are created on each datastore.

As the level increases, more linked clones fit on the datastore and less space is reserved to let individual clones grow. A high storage-overcommit level lets you create linked clones that have a total logical size larger than the physical storage limit of the datastore. For details, see Set the Storage Overcommit Level for Linked-Clone Virtual Machines.

Note:

This setting has no effect if you use Virtual SAN.

Use View Storage Accelerator

Determine whether to use View Storage Accelerator, which allows ESXi hosts to cache common virtual machine disk data. View Storage Accelerator can improve performance and reduce the need for extra storage I/O bandwidth to manage boot storms and anti-virus scanning I/O storms.

This feature is supported on vSphere 5.0 and later.

This feature is enabled by default.

For details, see Configure View Storage Accelerator for View Composer Linked Clones.

Use native NFS snapshots (VAAI)

(Available only if you do not use Virtual SAN) If your deployment includes NAS devices that support the vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI), you can use native snapshot technology to clone virtual machines.

You can use this feature only if you select datastores that reside on NAS devices that support native cloning operations through VAAI.

You cannot use this feature if you store replicas and OS disks on separate datastores. You cannot use this feature on virtual machines with space-efficient disks.

This feature is supported on vSphere 5.0 and later.

For details, see Using VAAI Storage for View Composer Linked Clones.

Reclaim VM disk space

(Available only if you do not use Virtual SAN or Virtual Volumes) Determine whether to allow ESXi hosts to reclaim unused disk space on linked clones that are created in space-efficient disk format. The space reclamation feature reduces the total storage space required for linked-clone desktops.

This feature is supported on vSphere 5.1 and later. The linked-clone virtual machines must be virtual hardware version 9 or later.

For details, see Reclaim Disk Space on View Composer Linked Clones.

Initiate reclamation when unused space on VM exceeds:

(Available only if you do not use Virtual SAN or Virtual Volumes) Type the minimum amount of unused disk space, in gigabytes, that must accumulate on a linked-clone OS disk to trigger space reclamation. When the unused disk space exceeds this threshold, View initiates the operation that directs the ESXi host to reclaim space on the OS disk.

This value is measured per virtual machine. The unused disk space must exceed the specified threshold on an individual virtual machine before View starts the space reclamation process on that machine.

For example: 2 GB.

The default value is 1 GB.

Blackout Times

Configure days and times during which View Storage Accelerator regeneration and the reclamation of virtual machine disk space do not take place.

To ensure that ESXi resources are dedicated to foreground tasks when necessary, you can prevent the ESXi hosts from performing these operations during specified periods of time on specified days.

For details, see Set Storage Accelerator and Space Reclamation Blackout Times for View Composer Linked Clones.

Transparent Page Sharing Scope

Select the level at which to allow transparent page sharing (TPS). The choices are Virtual Machine (the default), Pool, Pod, or Global. If you turn on TPS for all the machines in the pool, pod, or globally, the ESXi host eliminates redundant copies of memory pages that result if the machines use the same guest operating system or applications.

Page sharing happens on the ESXi host. For example, if you enable TPS at the pool level but the pool is spread across multiple ESXi hosts, only virtual machines on the same host and within the same pool will share pages. At the global level, all machines managed by View on the same ESXi host can share memory pages, regardless of which pool the machines reside in.

Note:

The default setting is not to share memory pages among machines because TPS can pose a security risk. Research indicates that TPS could possibly be abused to gain unauthorized access to data in very limited configuration scenarios.

Domain

Select the Active Directory domain and user name.

View Composer requires certain user privileges to create a linked-clone pool. The domain and user account are used by QuickPrep or Sysprep to customize the linked-clone machines.

You specify this user when you configure View Composer settings for vCenter Server. You can specify multiple domains and users when you configure View Composer settings. When you use the Add Desktop Pool wizard to create a pool, you must select one domain and user from the list.

For information about configuring View Composer, see the View Administration document.

AD container

Provide the Active Directory container relative distinguished name.

For example: CN=Computers

When you run the Add Desktop Pool wizard, you can browse your Active Directory tree for the container.

Allow reuse of pre-existing computer accounts

Select this option to use existing computer accounts in Active Directory for linked clones that are provisioned by View Composer. This option lets you control the computer accounts that are created in Active Directory.

When a linked clone is provisioned, if an existing AD computer account name matches the linked clone machine name, View Composer uses the existing computer account. Otherwise, a new computer account is created.

The existing computer accounts must be located in the Active Directory container that you specify with the Active Directory container setting.

When this option is disabled, a new AD computer account is created when View Composer provisions a linked clone. This option is disabled by default.

For details, see Use Existing Active Directory Computer Accounts for Linked Clones.

Use QuickPrep or a customization specification (Sysprep)

Choose whether to use QuickPrep or select a customization specification (Sysprep) to configure licensing, domain attachment, DHCP settings, and other properties on the machines.

Sysprep is supported for linked clones only on vSphere 4.1 or later software.

After you use QuickPrep or Sysprep when you create a pool, you cannot switch to the other customization method later on, when you create or recompose machines in the pool.

For details, see Choosing QuickPrep or Sysprep to Customize Linked-Clone Machines.

Power-off script

QuickPrep can run a customization script on linked-clone machines before they are powered off.

Provide the path to the script on the parent virtual machine and the script parameters.

Post-synchronization script

QuickPrep can run a customization script on linked-clone machines after they are created, recomposed, and refreshed.

Provide the path to the script on the parent virtual machine and the script parameters.