When you create an instant-clone desktop pool, you can configure certain options. You can use this worksheet to record your configuration options before you create the pool.

Before creating an instant-clone desktop pool, take a snapshot of the golden image. You must shut down the golden image in vCenter Server before taking the snapshot.
Note: You cannot create an instant-clone desktop pool from a VM template. You must first convert the VM template to a VM.
Table 1. Worksheet: Configuration Options for Creating an Instant-Clone Desktop Pool
Option Description Fill In Your Value Here
User assignment Select Floating or Dedicated.

In a floating user assignment, users are assigned random desktops from the pool. Floating instant-clones are compatible with App Volumes. For a floating instant-clone desktop pool, the MAC address is preserved on a resync or refresh.

In a dedicated user assignment, each user is assigned a particular remote desktop and returns to the same desktop at each login. Between each login and logout, the computer name and MAC address is retained for the same desktop. Any other changes that the user makes to the desktop are not preserved. Dedicated instant-clones with Refresh OS Disk After Logoff to Always are compatible with App Volumes.

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.

Enable Multi-User Assignment In a dedicated-assignment pool, you can assign multiple users to each machine in the pool.

Multi-user assignment is not supported for automatic user assignment or linked-clone desktop pools.

If an assigned user has a connected or disconnected session on a multi-user assignment machine, other assigned users will be unable to launch a session on that machine.

vCenter Server Select Instant clones and select the vCenter Server that manages the instant-clone VMs.
Desktop Pool ID The unique name that identifies the pool.

If you have multiple Connection Server configurations, make sure that another Connection Server configuration does not use the same pool ID. A Connection Server configuration can consist of a single Connection Server or multiple Connection Servers

Display name The pool name that users see when they log in from a client. If you do not specify a name, the pool ID is used.
Access group Select an access group for 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.

Note: Access groups are different from vCenter Server folders that store desktop VMs. You select a vCenter Server folder later in the wizard.
State If set to Enabled, the pool is ready for use after provisioning. If set to Disabled, the pool is not available to users. During provisioning, if you disable the pool, provisioning stops.
Connection Server restrictions You can restrict access to the pool to certain Connection Servers by clicking Browse and selecting one or more Connection Servers.

If you intend to provide access to desktops through VMware Identity Manager, and you configure Connection Server restrictions, the VMware Identity Manager app might display desktops to users when those desktops are actually restricted. VMware Identity Manager users will be unable to launch these desktops.

Category Folder

Specifies the name of the category folder that contains a Start menu shortcut for the desktop pool entitlement on Windows client devices.

Automatically logoff after disconnect
  • Immediately. Users are logged off when they disconnect.
  • Never. Users are never logged off.
  • After. The time after which users are logged off when they disconnect. Type the duration in minutes.

    The logoff time applies to future disconnections. If a desktop session is already disconnected when you set a logoff time, the logoff duration for that user starts when you set the logoff time, not when the session was originally disconnected. For example, if you set this value to 5 minutes, and a session was disconnected 10 minutes earlier, Horizon 7 will log off that session 5 minutes after you set the value.

Allow users to reset/restart their machines

Specify whether users can reset the virtual machine or restart the virtual desktop.

A reset operation resets the virtual machine without a graceful operating system restart. This action applies only to an automated pool or a manual pool that contains vCenter Server virtual machines.

A restart operation restarts the virtual machine with a graceful operating system restart. This action applies only to an automated pool or a manual pool that contains vCenter Server virtual machines.

Refresh OS disk after logoff Select whether and when to refresh the OS disks. This option is available for dedicated assignment pools.
  • Always. The OS disk is refreshed every time the user logs off. Dedicated instant-clones are compatible with App Volumes.
  • Every. The OS disk is refreshed at regular intervals of a specified number of days. Enter the number of days.

    The number of days is counted from the last refresh, or from the initial provisioning if no refresh has occurred yet. For example, if the specified value is 3 days, and three days have passed since the last refresh, the desktop is refreshed after the user logs off.

  • At. The OS disk is refreshed when its current size reaches a specified percentage of its maximum allowable size. The maximum size of a instant clone's OS disk is the size of the replica's OS disk. Enter the percentage at which refresh operations occur.
  • Never. The OS disk is never refreshed.
Reclaim VM disk space Determine whether to allow ESXi hosts to reclaim unused disk space on instant clones that are created in space-efficient disk format. The space reclamation feature reduces the total storage space required for instant clone desktops.
Initiate reclamation when unused space on VM exceeds: Type the minimum amount of unused disk space, in gigabytes, that must accumulate on a instant clone OS disk to trigger space reclamation. When the unused disk space exceeds this threshold, Horizon 7 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 Horizon 7 starts the space reclamation process on that machine.

The default value is 1 GB.

Display Assigned Machine Name Displays the host name of the assigned machine instead of the desktop pool display name when you log in to Horizon Client.

If no machine is assigned to the user then, Display Name (No Machine Assigned) appears for the desktop pool when you log in to Horizon Client.

Allow user to initiate separate sessions from different client devices With this option selected, a user connecting to the same desktop pool from different client devices gets different desktop sessions. The user can only reconnect to an existing session from the same client device. When this setting is not selected, users are always reconnected to their existing session no matter which client device is used.
Default display protocol Select the default display protocol. The choices are Microsoft RDP, PCoIP, and VMware Blast.
Allow users to choose protocol Specify whether users can choose display protocols other than the default.
  • Yes. Allow uers to choose a display protocol.
  • No. Do not allow users to choose a display protocol.
3D Renderer

Select 3D graphics rendering for desktops.

3D rendering is supported on Windows 7 or later guests running on VMs with virtual hardware version 8 or later. The hardware-based renderer is supported (at minimum) on virtual hardware version 9 in a vSphere 5.1 environment. The software renderer is supported (at minimum) on virtual hardware version 8 in a vSphere 5.0 environment.

On ESXi 5.0 hosts, the renderer allows a maximum VRAM size of 128MB. On ESXi 5.1 and later hosts, the maximum VRAM size is 512MB. On hardware version 11 (HWv11) virtual machines in vSphere 6.0, the VRAM value (video memory) has changed. Select the Manage Using vSphere Client option and configure video memory for these machines in vSphere Web Client. For details, see "Configuring 3D Graphics" in the vSphere Virtual Machine Administration guide.

3D rendering is disabled if you select Microsoft RDP as the default display protocol and do not allow users to choose a display protocol.

  • NVIDIA GRID vGPU. 3D rendering is enabled for NVIDIA GRID vGPU. The ESXi host reserves GPU hardware resources on a first-come, first-served basis as virtual machines are powered on. You cannot use vSphere Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) when you select this option.

    You can select either PCoIP or VMware Blast as a display protocol with NVIDIA GRID vGPU for an instant-clone desktop pool.

  • Manage using vSphere Client. Select this setting for all non-vGPU options. The 3D Renderer option that is set in vSphere Web Client (or vSphere Client in vSphere 5.1 or later) for a virtual machine determines the type of 3D graphics rendering that takes place. Horizon 7 does not control 3D rendering. In the vSphere Web Client, you can configure the Automatic, Software, or Hardware options. These options have the same effect as they do when you set them in Horizon Console. Use this setting when configuring vDGA and AMD Multiuser GPU Using vDGA. This setting is also an option for vSGA. When you select the Manage using vSphere Client option, the Configure VRAM for 3D Guests, Max number of monitors, and Max resolution of any one monitor settings are inactive in Horizon Console. You can configure the amount of memory in vSphere Web Client.
  • Disabled. 3D rendering is inactive. Default is disabled.
Allow Session Collaboration Select Enabled to allow users of the desktop pool to invite other users to join their remote desktop sessions. Session owners and session collaborators must use the VMware Blast protocol.
Stop provisioning on error Specify whether Horizon 7 stops provisioning desktop VMs if an error occurs and prevents the error from affecting multiple VMs.
Naming pattern Specify a pattern that Horizon 7 uses as a prefix in all the desktop VM names, followed by a unique number.
Max number of machines Specify the total number of desktop VMs in the pool.

Provision machines on demand

Min number of machines

Provision all machines up front

Specify whether to provision all desktop VMs when the pool is created or to provision the VMs when they are needed.
  • Provision all machines up front. When the pool is created, Horizon 7 provisions the number of VMs you specify in Max number of machines. For a floating instant-clone desktop pool, the MAC address is preserved on a resync or refresh.
  • Provision machines on demand. When the pool is created, Horizon 7 creates the number of VMs based on the Min number of machines value or the Number of spare (powered on) machines value, whichever is higher. Additional VMs are created to maintain this minimum number of available VMs as more users connect to desktops. This provides dynamic pool expansion capability where the size of the pool expands and contracts to accommodate the number of users who need desktops. When Horizon 7 is deployed on VMware Cloud on AWS, you can configure the Elastic DRS feature (rapid scaling) so that additional hosts can be automatically created (and conversely decommissioned) to meet the capacity required by the desktop pool. For more information about VMware Cloud on AWS, see the VMware Cloud on AWS documentation at https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Cloud-on-AWS/index.html.
Desktop pool sizing Specify the maximum number of desktop VMs and powered on spare machines in the pool. For details, see Naming Machines Manually or Providing a Naming Pattern in Horizon Console.
Number of spare (powered on) machines Specify the number of desktop VMs to keep available to users.
Select separate datastores for replica and OS disks Specify whether to store the replica and OS disks on a datastore that is different from the datastores that the instant clones are on.

If you select this option, you can select the options to select one or more instant-clone datastores or replica disk datastores.

Golden Image in vCenter Select the golden image in vCenter Server for the pool.
Snapshot (default image)

You can specify the number of monitors and resolution for your instant-clone desktop pool by setting those parameters in the golden image and taking a snapshot. The required vRAM size is calculated based on your specifications. Select the snapshot of the golden image to use for the pool. The instant-clone desktop pool that is created is based on the snapshot and inherits those memory settings. For more information about configuring video memory settings in vSphere Client, see the vSphere Single Host Management guide in the vSphere documentation. For more information about changing the resolution for your instant-clone desktop pool, see the VMware Knowledge Base (KB) article http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2151745.

The snapshot lists the following details:

  • Number of monitors
  • VRAM size
  • Resolution
VM folder location Select the folder in vCenter Server for the desktop VMs.
Cluster Select the vCenter Server cluster for the desktop VMs.
Resource pool Select the vCenter Server resource pool for the desktop VMs.
Datastores Select one or more datastores for the desktop VMs.

The Select Instant Clone Datastores window provides high-level guidelines for estimating the pool's storage requirements. These guidelines help you determine which datastores are large enough to store the clones. The Storage Overcommit value is always set to Unbounded and is not configurable.

Note: Instant clones and Storage vMotion are compatible. When you create an instant-clone desktop pool on a Storage DRS datastore, the Storage DRS cluster does not appear in the list of datastores. However, you can select individual Storage DRS datastores.

Select the networks to use for the instant-clone desktop pool. You can select multiple vLAN networks to create a larger instant-clone desktop pool. This option uses the network type from the current golden image configured in vSphere Client and displays networks based on the network type of the parent VM: DVS, NSX-t, and Standard. You can use the same network as the parent VM or select a network from the list of available options. Networks are filtered based on the parent VM network type available in the selected cluster.

The Select Networks wizard provides a list of networks based on the parent VM network type available in the selected cluster. To use multiple networks, you must unselect Use network from current parent VM image and then select the networks to use with the instant-clone pool. The Show All Networks switch shows or hides (greys out) incompatible networks within the selected network type. By default, only compatible networks are shown.

Important: If you already have another pool using same parent and same snapshot but created with different network than parent VM, the new Instant Clone pool will not use the parent VM network as expected. To avoid this outcome, select the Show All Networks option and then manually select the desired network.

The wizard displays error messages for the following incompatible networks:

  • vmcNetworks. This network belongs to VMC internal network
  • dvsUplinkPort. Cannot use network because it does not meet the naming standards for a virtual switch uplink port.
  • notConfiguredOnAllHosts. Cannot use network because it is not configured on all hosts in the cluster.

The wizard does not list the Standard network type for selection. Therefore, if the parent VM network type is Standard, then you must select Use network from current parent VM image.

The wizard also provides the list of ports and port bindings that are available to use: static (early binding) and ephemeral. Instant-clones only support static port group types and ephemeral port group types are grayed out and listed as incompatible.

All selected NSX-t network segments must be the same size, such as all /24 networks. Unequal sized segments can result in provisioning errors.

vGPU Profile The vGPU profile for the pool is the vGPU profile of the snapshot you selected. The pool inherits this profile. This profile cannot be edited during the pool creation process.

After a pool is provisioned, you can publish a new image to change the vGPU profile.

Mixed vGPU profiles on a single vSphere cluster (containing any number of ESXi hosts) are supported.

For vCenter Server version 6.0, only single vGPU profiles with performance mode are supported.

For vCenter Server version 6.5 and later, use the following guidelines for multiple vGPU profiles:

  • You can use multiple vGPU profiles with the GPU consolidation assignment policy for all GPU hosts within a cluster.
  • A mixed cluster of GPU enabled and non-GPU enabled hosts is supported.
  • Using a mixed cluster of some hosts with GPU consolidation assignment policy and some hosts with GPU Performance assignment policy is not recommended.
To get better performance from a single profile for all vGPU desktops, you need to set GPU assignment policy of all GPU hosts within a cluster to best performance.
Domain Select an Active Directory domain. The drop-down list shows the domains that you specify when you configure instant-clone domain administrators.
AD container Specify the Active Directory container's relative distinguished name.

For example: CN=Computers

In the Add Desktop Pool window, you can browse the Active Directory tree for the container. You can also copy, paste, or enter the path for the AD tree for the container.

Allow reuse of pre-existing computer accounts

Select this option to use existing computer accounts in Active Directory when the virtual machine names of new instant clones match the existing computer account names.

When an instant clone is created, if an existing AD computer account name matches the instant-clone virtual machine name, Horizon 7 uses the existing computer account after resetting the password. Otherwise, a new computer account is created. When the instant clone is deleted, Horizon 7 does not delete the corresponding computer accounts.

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

When this option is disabled, a new AD computer account is created when Horizon 7 creates an instant clone. If an existing computer account is found, Horizon 7 uses the existing computer account after resetting the password. When the instant clone is deleted, Horizon 7 deletes the corresponding computer account. This option is disabled by default.

Power-off script Specify the path name of a script to run on the desktop VMs and the script parameters before the VMs are powered off.
Post-synchronization script Specify the path name of a script to run on the desktop VMs and the script parameters after the VMs are created.