You can create an automated, linked-clone desktop pool based on a parent virtual machine that you select. The Horizon Composer service dynamically creates a new linked-clone virtual machine in vCenter Server for each desktop.

Prerequisites

  • Verify that the Horizon Composer service is installed, either on the same host as vCenter Server or on a separate host, and that a Horizon Composer database is configured. See the Horizon 7 Installation document.
  • Verify that Horizon Composer settings for vCenter Server are configured in Horizon Administrator. See the Horizon 7 Administration document.
  • Verify that you have a sufficient number of ports on the ESXi virtual switch that is used for the virtual machines that are used as remote desktops. The default value might not be sufficient if you create large desktop pools. The number of virtual switch ports on the ESXi host must equal or exceed the number of virtual machines multiplied by the number of virtual NICs per virtual machine.

  • Verify that you prepared a parent virtual machine. Horizon Agent must be installed on the parent virtual machine. See "Creating and Preparing a Virtual Machine for Cloning" in the Setting Up Virtual Desktops in Horizon 7 document.
  • Take a snapshot of the parent virtual machine in vCenter Server. You must shut down the parent virtual machine before you take the snapshot. Horizon 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.
  • Gather the configuration information you must provide to create the pool. See Worksheet for Creating a Linked-Clone Desktop Pool in Horizon Console.
  • Decide how to configure power settings, display protocol, Adobe Flash quality, and other settings. See, "Desktop and Pool Settings for All Desktop Pool Types" in the Setting Up Virtual Desktops in Horizon 7 document.
  • If you intend to provide access to your desktops and applications through VMware Identity Manager, verify that you create the desktop and application pools as a user who has the Administrators role on the root access group in Horizon Console. If you give the user the Administrators role on an access group other than the root access group, VMware Identity Manager will not recognize the SAML authenticator you configure in Horizon 7, and you cannot configure the pool in VMware Identity Manager.
Important: While a linked-clone pool is created, do not modify the parent virtual machine in vCenter Server. For example, do not convert the parent virtual machine to a template. The Horizon Composer service requires that the parent virtual machine remain in a static, unaltered state during pool creation.

Procedure

  1. In Horizon Console, select Inventory > Desktops.
  2. Click Add.
  3. Select Automated Desktop Pool and click Next.
  4. Select View Composer linked clones, select the vCenter Server instance, and click Next.
  5. Follow the prompts to create the pool.
    Use the configuration information you gathered in the worksheet. You can go directly back to any wizard page by clicking the page name in the navigation pane.

Results

In Horizon Console, you can view the machines as they are added to the pool by selecting Inventory > Desktops.

The linked clones might restart one or more times while they are provisioned. If a linked clone is in an error state, the automatic recovery mechanism attempts to power on, or shut down and restart, the linked clone. If repeated recovery attempts fail, the linked clone is deleted.

Horizon Composer also creates a replica virtual machine that serves as the master image for provisioning the linked clones. To reduce space consumption, the replica is created as a thin disk. If all the virtual machines are recomposed or deleted, and no clones are linked to the replica, the replica virtual machine is deleted from vCenter Server.

If you do not store the replica on a separate datastore, Horizon Composer creates a replica on each datastore on which linked clones are created.

If you store the replica on a separate datastore, one replica is created for the entire pool, even when linked clones are created on multiple datastores.

What to do next

Entitle users to access the pool. See, Add Entitlements to a Desktop or Application Pool in Horizon Console.