For a pod in Microsoft Azure, you can use the Import Virtual Machine wizard to create the master virtual machine (VM) using an operating system image from the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. In the process, the VM is automatically configured with the elements and agent-related software required to conform to the Horizon Cloud environment's requirements. At the end of the creation process, the VM is listed on the Imported VMs page and you can take further actions on it, such as pairing the VM with the cloud plane, customizing the VM, installing additional drivers, and so on.

Important: If your pod in Microsoft Azure is configured to use a proxy, you must create the base master VM using the alternative manual method, and not the automated Import Desktop method.

Pods of different manifest versions require different subsequent steps on the VM that results from the Import Virtual Machine wizard.

Pod manifests 1600 and later
Starting with pod manifest 1600, the automated workflow results in a VM that is not yet paired with Horizon Cloud. After the VM is created and listed on the Imported VMs page, you use the Reset Agent Pairing action on it to pair it with the cloud plane.
Pod manifests earlier than 1600
When the wizard creates a VM in a pod with a manifest earlier than 1600, the automated workflow pairs the VM with the cloud plane in the process. At the end of the process, the resulting VM is listed on the Imported VMs page with the agent in the active state.

By default, the system sets Optimize Windows Image, regardless of operating system, and Remove Windows Store Apps, for Windows 10 operating systems, to Yes. Keeping those toggles set to Yes is strongly recommended to help prevent you from encountering Microsoft Windows Sysprep issues that might occur when the VM is later published as an image.

Also by default, in the Advanced Options section, the wizard sets Yes to install those agent-related custom setup options that are both appropriate according to your other selections in the wizard and which are supported for use in the Horizon Cloud environment. If you want to change the default selections, expand the Advanced Options section in the Import Desktop - Marketplace window and set the toggles according to your needs.

As an example, the 3D support in RDSH agent option is selected by default in the Advanced Options section when you have selected a Microsoft Windows Server operating system in the OS drop-down list. However, when you have selected a Microsoft Windows client operating system that 3D support in RDSH agent option is not selected for installation. Because that option is only applicable for RDSH use, and RDSH farms only use server operating systems, the Import Image wizard automatically sets the appropriate 3D support in RDSH setting based on your OS choice.

Tip: Starting with the December 2019 service release, the Import Virtual Machine wizard provides the option of either having the wizard-created VM joined to a specified Active Directory domain or not having the VM joined to the domain at the end of the creation process. Prior to the December 2019 service release, the wizard-created VM was always automatically joined to an Active Directory domain that you specified in the wizard.

However, due to a known issue, if you are using the wizard with a pod of manifest earlier than 1600, you should enable the Domain Join option and have the wizard join the VM to a domain. Until the known issue is fixed, if you are using the wizard to create a VM in a pod with a manifest lower than 1600 and you disable the Domain Join toggle, the import VM process fails in the final steps of the process. For updated information about this issue, see the Release Notes for the December 2019 service release, linked from the Horizon Cloud documentation page.

Prerequisites

If you are creating an image with a Microsoft Windows 10 operating system, verify that you have valid licensing for that operating system. At this time, the Microsoft Azure documentation indicates that to legally run Windows 10 in Microsoft Azure, you must have licensing for Microsoft Windows 10, typically by purchasing an E3 or E5 license. Please verify licensing requirements and restrictions with your Microsoft Licensing distributor.

By default, this process installs the VMware Dynamic Environment Manager FlexEngine component in its typical mode. VMware Dynamic Environment Manager provides various options for achieving the persistence of end-user data, settings, and profiles of desktops provisioned by your pod. For more information, see the Dynamic Environment Manager product documentation.

Procedure

  1. In the Horizon Cloud Administration Console, click Inventory > Imported VMs and then click Import.
  2. In the Import Virtual Machine window, click From Marketplace.

    From Marketplace choice in the Import Virtual Machine selection screen
  3. Select the destination location and pod for the imported VM.
    After you select a location, the choices in the Pod list are filtered to show the pods available in the selected location.
    Important: If you are planning to use this image for GPU-enabled desktops or remote applications, ensure that the selected pod resides in a Microsoft Azure region that supports GPU-enabled virtual machines (VMs). GPU-enabled VMs are only available in some Microsoft Azure regions. See Microsoft Azure Products by region for details.
  4. Select the details for the base VM.
    Option Description
    OS Select the Microsoft Windows operating system to use for the image's underlying VM.
    • If you are going to use this image for VDI desktops, select one of the Windows 10 operating systems that are listed in the drop-down list. Do not select one of the server operating systems for a VDI desktop image.
    • If you are going to use this image for RDSH session desktops or RDS-based remote applications, select one of the listed server operating systems.
    Note: This drop-down menu takes a few moments to populate the entries.
    Include GPU Enable this toggle to specify a GPU-enabled VM for this master VM.
    Important: When enabling GPU, after the master VM is created, you must log into the VM's operating system and install the supported NVIDIA graphics drivers to get the GPU capabilities of the Microsoft Azure GPU-enabled VM. You install the drivers after the VM import process is completed.

    If this VM is created in a pod at manifest 1600 or later, you usually install the drivers after using the Reset Agent Pairing action on the VM as described in Step 9 below.

    Domain Join Enable this toggle to specify that the resulting VM will be joined to one of Active Directory domains that are registered with your Horizon Cloud tenant as part of the automated process. When enabled, select the Active Directory domain from the drop-down list. The resulting VM will be joined to the selected domain. Domain administrator accounts in that domain will be able to log in to the resulting VM.

    When this toggle is disabled, the resulting VM is not joined to an Active Directory domain. Only the account credentials that you specify in Step 5 below can be used to log in to the resulting VM.

    Enable Public IP Address Enable this toggle to configure a public IP address for this master VM. When enabled, the VM gets both a private IP address and a public one.

    When this toggle is disabled, the VM is configured with only a private IP address in your Microsoft Azure environment.

    Optimize Windows Image By default, this toggle is enabled to create a master VM that meets VMware recommendations and best practices for optimizing a VM's Microsoft Windows operating system. This optimization includes adjusting default operating system services features to meet the best practices, such as:
    • Disabling physical desktop features that are irrelevant in a virtual environment, to provide more efficient VM performance.
    • Disabling certain Windows system services, such as Windows Update, so that control of that service is isolated to administrators instead of the end users.

    For more details, see Deciding to Optimize the Windows Image When Using the Import Desktop Wizard.

    Important: Keeping the default setting is strongly recommended to help prevent you from encountering Microsoft Windows Sysprep issues that might occur when the VM is later published as an image.
    Remove Windows Store Apps This toggle is visible only when OS is set to a Microsoft Windows 10 operating system. By default, this toggle is enabled to create a master VM that:
    Important: Keeping the default setting is strongly recommended to help prevent you from encountering Microsoft Windows Sysprep issues that might occur when the VM is later published as an image.
  5. Provide administration details.
    Note: The user name and password you enter must meet the Microsoft requirements for acceptable user names and passwords for creating a VM in Microsoft Azure. For the list of requirements, see username requirements and password requirements in the Microsoft documentation.
    Option Description
    Username Type the admin name that you want for the VM's local administrator account. This local administrator account is created in the VM during the process. This name will be used for the local admin account to access the VM's operating system, and also used during the convert to image process. This name can be a maximum of 15 characters in length, must not end in a period ("."), and must not be one of the admin names that are not allowed when creating a VM in Microsoft Azure.
    Important: Ensure you can remember this local administrator account information (this name and the password that you specify in the Password text box), or that you write it down so you can retrieve the information later. You will need these credentials when you want to add any third-party applications to this master image and when performing the New Image workflow to publish this master image to the system.
    Password Type the password that you want for that administrator account. The password must adhere to the Microsoft Azure password rules:
    • Must not be one of the admin account passwords that are not allowed when creating a VM in Microsoft Azure
    • Must be from 12 through 123 characters in length and meet three out of the following four complexity requirements:
      • Contain a lowercase character
      • Contain an uppercase character
      • Contain a digit
      • Contain a special character, such as (!@#$%/^&*)
    Verify Password Re-type the password.
    Windows license question

    The intent of this license question depends on whether you are using a Microsoft Windows Server or a Windows 10 client operating system for this master VM.

    • When the OS choice is set to a Microsoft Windows Server operating system, enable this toggle to specify both:
      • That you are eligible to use the Azure Hybrid Benefit (also known as Azure Hybrid Use Benefit or HUB) with the selected OS choice
      • That you want to apply that Azure Hybrid Benefit to this master image VM

      When you enable this toggle, you must also check the check box that is displayed.

      As described in the Microsoft Azure documentation, the Azure Hybrid Benefit is designed by Microsoft to save you money when you already have valid Microsoft Windows Server licenses. The Azure Hybrid Benefit FAQ is located in the Microsoft Azure documentation at https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/hybrid-benefit/faq/. According to the Microsoft Azure documentation, when you have a Windows Server license with Software Assurance or a Windows Server subscription for the selected server operating system, you can use the Azure Hybrid Benefit for the virtual server instances that have those Windows Server operating systems.

    • When the OS choice is set to a Microsoft Windows 10 client operating system for this master VM, Horizon Cloud sets the VM to use the Windows Client license type by default and you cannot change this setting. By design, Horizon Cloud sets the same license type on the VM that would be set if you manually used the Microsoft Azure portal and created the VM from the Azure Marketplace with the selected Microsoft Windows 10 operating system. At this time, the Microsoft Azure documentation indicates that to legally run Windows 10 in Microsoft Azure, you must have licensing for Microsoft Windows 10, typically by purchasing an E3 or E5 license. Please verify licensing requirements and restrictions with your Microsoft Licensing distributor.
  6. In the Name field, provide a name for the master VM and an optional description.
    Important: Do not enter a name that was previously used for a master VM that has been converted into an assignable image in your Horizon Cloud environment. For example, if a master image was converted into an assignable image so that it is listed on the Images page, do not enter the same name here. Due to a known issue, the VM creation process fails silently if you reuse a name that is already listed on the Images page. The system will not create the VM in Microsoft Azure, however, an error message does not appear in the Administration Console.

    The name must adhere to the following rules:

    • It cannot contain an underscore character (_).
    • It can have only alphanumeric characters and the hyphen.
    • The name must start with an alphabetic character (not a number).
    • The name cannot end with a hyphen (-).
  7. Use the toggles in the Advanced Options section to customize the Horizon agent features that will be installed in the master VM.
    When the option's toggle is enabled, the corresponding feature will be installed in the master VM.
    Note: In addition to the options you see selected in this wizard, the workflow process always installs the following key features by default.
    • Horizon agent - HTML5 Multimedia Redirection. Redirects HTML5 multimedia content in a Chrome or Edge browser to the user's local system to optimize performance.
    • Horizon agent - Horizon Performance Tracker. Monitors the performance of the display protocol and system resource usage.
    • Horizon agent - vRealize Operations Desktop Agent. Collects activity-related data from user sessions in the desktop instance or farm server instances based on this image, and sends that data to the Horizon Cloud cloud monitoring service (CMS) for historical data collection and reporting.
    • VMware Dynamic Environment Manager client components. Enables use of VMware Dynamic Environment Manager features with the desktop VMs and server VMs that are provisioned based on this image.
    Option Description
    Enable Flash MMR Provides the ability to redirect Flash multimedia content that is streamed to the virtual desktop to stream directly to the client computer and decoded on the client system, to optimize performance. The client system plays the media content, offloading the demand on the virtual desktop.
    3D support in RDSH Applicable when the OS choice is set to a server operating system. Provides 3D graphics support to applications that run on a GPU-enabled RDSH server image.
    MMR for Terminal Services Provides the ability to redirect multimedia content that is streamed to the virtual desktop to stream directly to the client computer and decoded on the client system, to optimize performance. The client system plays the media content, offloading the demand on the virtual desktop.
    Client Drive Redirection Allows Horizon Client users to share local drives with their virtual desktops and RDS-based applications.
    Skype for Business Provides the ability to use the virtual desktops to make optimized audio and video calls with Skype for Business.
    Webcam Support (Real-Time Audio Video RTAV) Redirects webcam and audio devices that are connected to the users' client systems so that those devices can be used on the virtual desktop.
    Smart Card Not installed by default. Lets users authenticate with smart cards when they use the PCoIP or Blast Extreme display protocol.
    Thin Print Allows users to print to any printer available on their client computers, without installing additional drivers.
    Scanner Redirection Not installed by default. Redirects scanning and imaging devices that are connected to the users' client systems so that they can be used on the virtual desktop or RDS-based application.
    USB Redirection Not installed by default. Gives users access to locally connected USB flash drives and hard disks in the virtual desktops and RDS-based applications.
    Note: For guidance on using USB redirection securely, see the Horizon 7 Security guide and the Configuring Remote Desktop Features in Horizon 7 guide. The version 7.10 (September 2019) of those guides are at security guide and remote desktop features guide. For example, you can use group policy settings to disable USB redirection for specific users.
    URL Redirection Not installed by default. Allows Horizon Client to determine which URLs should be handled using the virtual desktop or application instead of using the users' client system, and open those URLs using the virtual desktop or RDS-based application.
    Serial Port Redirection Not installed by default. Redirects devices that are connected to the serial ports on the users' client systems so that they can be used on the virtual desktop or RDS-based application.
    Geolocation Redirection Not installed by default. Allows for sharing the client system's geolocation information with Internet Explorer 11 on the virtual desktop. This option results in the Horizon Geolocation Redirection option installed when the agent is installed in the master VM. Additional requirements are needed after the master VM is ready. For details, see the Horizon 7 topic System Requirements for Geolocation Redirection (version 7.10).
    Help Desk Provides the ability to collect real-time performance-related, detailed desktop and session metrics from live desktop sessions. Live sessions are sessions that are active, idle, or disconnected. Logged-off sessions are not in this set of live sessions. Those metrics can help you troubleshoot the health of the virtual desktops. Those metrics are used in the Administration Console's user card, which is part of the system's help-desk-related features.
    Note: If you turn off this toggle, performance-related metrics from live user sessions in the desktop instances or farm server instances based on this image are not collected. As a result, real-time live user-session data will not be send to the cloud monitoring service (CMS). As a result, such live user-session data cannot be reported in the user card for such sessions or within reports on the Reports page. For details, see The User Card in the Horizon Cloud Administration Console and Reports Page.

    To collect historical session data, in addition to the vRealize Operations Desktop Agent that the Import Virtual Machine wizard installs by default, your Horizon Cloud environment must also have the CMS sessions feature enabled in the General Settings page. If the CMS sessions feature is disabled, historical session data will not be available to you in the Administration Console. To verify the CMS sessions feature's setting in your environment, see the Monitoring table row in Edit General Settings.

    For extended details about the preceding agent-related options used for VDI desktops and RDS hosts, as well as about all of the Horizon agent features that are always installed by default, see Horizon Agent Custom Setup Options (for those options applicable to a VDI desktop) and Horizon Agent Custom Setup Options for an RDS Host in the VMware Horizon 7 product documentation.
  8. Click Import.
    The system begins creating and configuring the master VM. It can take approximately 45 minutes for the overall process to finish at its final point where:
    • For pods of manifest 1600 and later, the VM is listed on the Imported VMs page with powered-on status (green dot) and with an agent status of Not Paired.
    • For pods of manifests prior to 1600, the VM is listed on the Imported VMs page with powered-on status (green dot) an agent status of Active.

    When the VM is initially instantiated in the Microsoft Azure cloud, its name appears on the Imported VMs page. Use the refresh icon to see the latest status of the VM on the page.

    If the VM creation process fails, the system generates a notification about the failure and displays a Failed link in the Agent Version column. Clicking that link opens the Notification page where you can read the reason for the failure.

    Important: When creating an image in Microsoft Azure China cloud, the process can take up to two (2) hours to complete. The process is subject to geographic network issues that can cause slow download speeds as the binaries are downloaded from the cloud control plane.
  9. If the VM is in a pod of manifest 1600 and later, after the automated process is finished and you refresh the page to see the resulting VM with its green powered-on dot and an agent status of Not Paired, use the Reset Agent Pairing action on the VM to pair it with Horizon Cloud.
    Important: Skip this step if you are using a pod of manifest earlier than 1600. In pods that are at versions earlier than this release, the automated wizard results in a VM that is paired with Horizon Cloud with the agent in active state. If you see the resulting VM has an agent status of Active and an agent version number like 19.2, the process is complete.
    If your pod has manifest 1600 and later, after the automated process is finished, the resulting VM is not yet paired with Horizon Cloud. The VM's Agent Status column will display Not Paired, as illustrated in the following screenshot.
    Screenshot of the Imported VMs page listing the VM with Not Paired in the Agent Status column

    Select the VM and then click More > Reset Agent Pairing. The system pairs the VM with the cloud plane. This process can take several minutes to complete. During the pairing process, the VM is restarted and its agent status changes from Not Paired to Unknown to Active. Use the circular arrow icon to refresh the Imported VMs page to see the VM's current status.

Results

The VM pairing process is completed when the Agent Status column displays Active and an agent version, such as 19.3.0. The following screenshot illustrates a VM after the pairing process is completed.
Screenshot of an imported VM with its Agent Status column displaying Active (19.3.0)

What to do next

Customize the image's Windows operating system, including configuring things like wallpapers and installing the applications you want the VM to provide to your end users. If you enabled a public IP address for the VM, you can connect to the created VM by using the IP address displayed on the Imported VMs page in an RDP client like Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection. For details, see Customize the Master Image VM's Windows Operating System.

Note: If your pod is configured to use a proxy, you are responsible for providing a way for the virtual desktop VMs and farm server VMs to be configured with the proxy.

If you selected Yes for Include GPU, you must log into the VM's operating system and install the supported NVIDIA graphics drivers to get the GPU capabilities of the Microsoft Azure GPU-enabled VM. You install the drivers after the VM is created and the Imported VMs page shows that the agent-related status is active. See Install NVIDIA Graphics Drivers in a GPU-Enabled Master Image.

If you want to use the features of NSX Cloud and its NSX-T Data Center components with the farm server instances or VDI assignment desktop instances based on this master image, you must log into the VM's operating system and install the NSX agent before publishing the image. See the topics VMware NSX Cloud and Horizon Cloud Pods in Microsoft Azure and Install the NSX Agent in the Master Image.

The import process installs the VMware Dynamic Environment Manager client components by default. The FlexEngine client component is installed using its typical mode. The installation path in the resulting VM is C:\Program Files\VMware\Horizon Agents\User Environment Manager. If you want to use VMware Dynamic Environment Manager with the desktop VMs and farm server VMs based on this image, configure a separate file server in your Microsoft Azure subscription that has at least SMB 2 enabled. Then configure VMware Dynamic Environment Manager using that file server. Also configure the GPO settings that are required when the FlexEngine is installed in its typical mode. For details, see the VMware Dynamic Environment Manager documentation topics in the Dynamic Environment Manager product documentation.