When you create an automated instant-clone farm, you can configure certain settings.

Table 1. Worksheet: Configuration Settings for Creating an Automated Instant-Clone Farm
Setting Description Fill in Your Value Here
ID Unique name that identifies the farm.
Description Description of this farm.
Access group

Select an access group for the farm, or leave the farm in the default root access group.

Default display protocol Select VMware Blast, PCoIP or Microsoft RDP. Microsoft RDP applies to desktop pools only. The display protocol for application pools is always VMware Blast or PCoIP. If you select Microsoft RDP and you plan to use this farm to host application pools, you must set Allow users to choose protocol to Yes. The default is PCoIP.
Allow users to choose protocol Select Yes or No. This setting applies to published desktop pools only. If you select Yes, users can choose the display protocol when they connect to a published desktop from Horizon Client. The default is Yes.
3D Renderer

Select 3D graphics rendering for desktops.

3D rendering is supported on Windows 2008, Windows 2012, and Windows 2016 guests running on VMs with virtual hardware version 11 or later. The hardware-based renderer is supported (at minimum) on virtual hardware version 11 and above in a vSphere 6.0 U1 and above environment. The software renderer is supported (at minimum) on virtual hardware version 11 in a vSphere 6.0 U1 and above 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.

    To use NVIDIA GRID vGPU for an instant-clone desktop pool, the recommendation is to select VMware Blast as a protocol and not allow the user to choose their own display protocols.

  • Manage using vSphere Client. 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.
Pre-launch session timeout (applications only) Determines the amount of time that an application configured for pre-launch is kept open. The default is 10 minutes.

If the end-user does not start any application in Horizon Client, the application session is disconnected if the idle session times out or if pre-launch session times out.

If you want to end the pre-launch session after timeout, you must set the Log off disconnected session option to Immediate.

Empty session timeout (applications only)

Determines the amount of time that an empty application session is kept open. An application session is empty when all the applications that run in the session are closed. While the session is open, users can open applications faster. You can save system resources if you disconnect or log off empty application sessions. Select Never, Immediate, or set the number of minutes as the timeout value. The default is After 1 minute. If you select Immediate, the session logs off or disconnects within 30 seconds.

You can further reduce the time the session logs off or disconnects by editing a registry key on the RDS Host on which Horizon Agent is installed. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\VMware, Inc.\VMware VDM\Plugins\wssm\applaunchmgr\Params and set a value for WindowCheckInterval. The default value is 20000. This means that the poll for the empty session check is every 20 seconds, which sets the maximum time between the last application session close and session log off to 40 seconds. You can change this value to 2500. This means that the poll for the empty session check is every 2.5 seconds, which sets the maximum time between the last application close and session log off to 5 seconds.

When timeout occurs Determines whether an empty application session is disconnected or logged off after the Empty session timeout limit is reached. Select Disconnect or Log off. A session that is logged off frees up resources, but opening an application takes longer. The default is Disconnect.
Log off disconnected session Determines when a disconnected session is logged off. This setting applies to both desktop and application sessions. Select Never, Immediate, or After ... minutes. Use caution when you select Immediate or After ... minutes. When a disconnected session is logged off, the session is lost. The default is Never.
Allow HTML Access to desktops and applications on this farm Determines whether HTML Access to published desktops and applications is allowed. Check the Enabled box to allow HTML Access to published desktops and applications. When you edit this setting after a farm is created, the new value applies to existing desktops and applications as well as new ones.
Allow Session Collaboration Select Enabled to allow users of desktop pools based on this farm to invite other users to join their remote desktop sessions. Session owners and session collaborators must use the VMware Blast display protocol.
Max sessions per RDS server Determines the maximum number of sessions that an RDS host can support. Select Unlimited or No More Than .... The default is Unlimited.
Enable provisioning Select this checkbox to enable provisioning after you finish this wizard. This box is checked by default.
Stop provisioning on error Select this checkbox to stop provisioning when a provisioning error occurs. This box is checked by default.
Naming pattern Specify a prefix or a name format. Horizon 7 will append or insert an automatically generated number starting with 1 to form the machine name. If you want the number at the end, simply specify a prefix. Otherwise, specify {n} anywhere in a character string and {n} will be replaced by the number. You can also specify {n:fixed=<number of digits>}, where fixed=<number of digits> indicates the number of digits to be used for the number. For example, specify vm-{n:fixed=3}-sales and the machine names will be vm-001-sales, vm-002-sales, and so on.
Note: Each machine name, including the automatically generated number, has a 15-character limit.
Max number of machines The number of machines to be provisioned.
Minimum number of ready (provisioned) machines during Instant Clone maintenance operations This setting lets you keep the specified number of machines available to accept connection requests while Connection Server performs maintenance operations on the machines in the farm. This setting is not honored if you schedule immediate maintenance.
Use VMware vSAN Specify whether to use VMware vSAN, if available. vSAN is a software-defined storage tier that virtualizes the local physical storage disks available on a cluster of ESXi hosts.
Select separate datastores for replica and OS disks (Available only if you do not use vSAN) You can place replica and OS disks on different datastores for performance or other reasons.

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

Parent VM Select a parent virtual machine from the list. Be aware that the list includes virtual machines that do not have View Composer Agent installed. You must not select any of those machines because View Composer Agent is required. A good practice is to use a naming convention that indicates whether a virtual machine has View Composer Agent installed.
Snapshot Select the snapshot of the parent virtual machine to use as the base image for the farm.

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

VM folder location Select the folder in vCenter Server in which the farm resides.
Cluster Select the ESXi host or cluster on which the desktop virtual machines run.

With vSAN 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.

Resource pool Select the vCenter Server resource pool in which the farm resides.
Datastores Select one or more datastores on which to store the farm.

A table on the Select Instant Clone Datastores page of the Add Farm wizard provides high-level guidelines for estimating the farm's storage requirements. These guidelines can help you determine which datastores are large enough to store the instant-clones. The Storage Overcommit value is always set to Unbounded and is not configurable.

Note: If you use vSAN, select only one datastore.
Replica disk datastores Select one or more replica disk datastores on which to store the instant-clones. This option appears if you select separate datastores for replica and OS disks.

A table on the Select Replica Disk Datastores page of the Add Farm wizard provides high-level guidelines for estimate the farm's storage requirements. These guidelines can help you determine which replica disk datastores are enough to store the instant-clones.

Networks Select the networks to use for the automated instant-clone farm. You can select multiple vLAN networks to create a larger instant-clone desktop pool. The default setting uses the network from the current parent VM image.

A table on the Select Networks wizard provides the networks, ports, and port bindings that are available to use. To use multiple networks, you must unselect Use network from current parent VM and then select the networks to use with the instant-clone farm.

Domain Select the Active Directory domain and user name.

Connection Server requires certain user privileges to farm. The domain and user account are used by ClonePrep to customize the instant-clone machines.

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

AD container Provide the Active Directory container relative distinguished name.

For example: CN=Computers

When you run the Add Farm wizard, you can browse your Active Directory tree for the container. You can cut, copy, or paste in the container name.

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. Otherwise, a new computer account is created.

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. This option is disabled by default.

Use ClonePrep Provide a ClonePrep customization specification to customize the virtual machines.
  • Power-off script name. Name of the customization script that ClonePrep runs on instant-clone machines before they are powered off. Provide the path to the script on the parent virtual machine.
  • Power-off script parameters. Provide parameters that ClonePrep can use to run a customization script on instant-clone machines before they are powered off. For example, use p1.
  • Post-synchronization script name. Name of the customization script that ClonePrep runs on instant-clone machines after they are created or an image has been pushed to them. Provide the path to the script on the parent virtual machine.
  • Post-synchronization script parameters. Provide parameters for the script that ClonePrep runs on instant-clone machines after they are created or an image has been pushed to them. For example, use p2.
Ready to Complete Review the settings for the automated instant-clone farm.