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.

NVIDIA GRID vGPU is the only 3D rendering option offered for automated farm of instant clone RDS hosts.

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 sessions 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.
Bypass Session Timeout Enable this setting to allow application sessions to run forever.

Application sessions that run forever are supported on Windows and Linux clients.

This setting is not available for application pools in a cloud pod architecture environment.

Application sessions that run forever are not supported for unauthenticated users.

Do not enable this setting if the max session timeout value is set to Never.

When you restart Connection Server, existing forever running application sessions no longer run indefinitely.

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 Host Determines the maximum number of sessions that an RDS host can support. Select Unlimited or No More Than .... The default is Unlimited.
Load Balancing See Load Balancing Settings for the list of settings.
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 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.

Golden image Select a golden image virtual machine from the list.
Snapshot Select the snapshot of the golden image virtual machine to use as the base image for the farm.

Do not delete the snapshot and golden image 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 golden image virtual machine and snapshot to provision new instant clones in the farm, according to farm policies. The golden image 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.

For the maximum limit on the cluster, see the KB article on Sizing Limits and Recommendations.

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, there is 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 farm. The default setting uses the network from the current golden image.

The Select Networks wizard provides a list of networks based on the golden image network type: DVS, NSX-T, VDS, and Standard. To use multiple networks, you must unselect Use network from current golden image and then select the networks to use with the instant-clone farm. The Show All Networks switch shows or hides (greys out) incompatible networks within the selected network type. By default, only compatible networks are shown. If you select an incompatible network, such as vmcNetworks, you see this error message: This network belongs to VMC internal network.

The wizard also provides the list of ports and port bindings that are available to use: static (early binding) and ephemeral.

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

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 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 creates an instant clone. This option is disabled by default.

Image Publish Computer Account Publishing instant-clones requires an additional computer account in the same AD domain as the clones. If you want to use pre-created computer accounts instead of auto-created computer accounts, you must also create the additional computer account and specify its name here. Then you do not need to delegate Create and Delete of computer objects to the provisioning account.
Use ClonePrep or a customization specification (Sysprep) Choose whether to use ClonePrep or select a customization specification (Sysprep) to configure licensing, domain attachment, DHCP settings, and other properties on the 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 golden image 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 golden image 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.

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

After you use ClonePrep or Sysprep when you create a farm, you can edit the customization type or spec name. Changes to the customization spec are not reflected on the farm until a new push image is scheduled, and the currently published image continues to use the old spec even if it has been edited or deleted. If push image fails, the farm continues using the old unedited spec. However, the farm settings continue to point to the new spec name if it has been changed.

For more information about the differences between ClonePrep and Sysprep, see #GUID-33172AD1-8B82-4F6B-87CD-7513EDF09CE8.

Ready to Complete Review the settings for the automated instant-clone farm.