You can create an automated full-clone desktop pool based on a Linux virtual machine template. VMware Horizon 8 dynamically deploys the desktops, creating a new virtual machine in vCenter Server for each desktop.


  • 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 vCenter Server is added to Horizon Connection Server.
  • Verify that you have prepared the virtual machine for cloning. See Preparing a Linux Virtual Machine for Desktop Deployment.
  • Verify that Horizon Agent is installed on the Linux guest operating systems. See Install Horizon Agent on a Linux Virtual Machine.
  • If you use the Winbind solution to join the Linux virtual machine to Active Directory, you must finish configuring the Winbind solution in the virtual machine template.
  • If you use the Winbind solution, you must run the domain join command on the virtual machine. Include the command in a shell script and specify the script path to the Horizon Agent option RunOnceScript in /etc/vmware/viewagent-custom.conf. For more information, see Setting Options in Configuration Files on a Linux Desktop.
  • Prepare a virtual machine template that Horizon 8 will use to create the machines. Horizon Agent must be installed on the template. See Create Virtual Machine Templates for Full-Clone Linux Virtual Desktops.
  • Gather the configuration information you must provide to create the pool. See Worksheet for Creating an Automated Full-Clone Desktop Pool.
  • If you plan to provide access to your desktops and applications through VMware Workspace ONE Access, 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 Workspace ONE Access will not recognize the SAML authenticator you configure in Horizon 8, and you cannot configure the pool in VMware Workspace ONE Access.


  1. Create a guest customization specification.

    See "Create a Customization Specification for Linux" in vSphere Virtual Machine Administration on the VMware vSphere Documentation portal. Fully test the capabilities of the virtual machine created using the specification, including DHCP and authentication.

    When you create the specification, make sure that you specify the following settings correctly.

    Setting Value
    Target Virtual Machine OS Linux
    Computer Name Use the virtual machine name.
    Domain Specify the domain of the Horizon 8 environment.
    Network Settings Use standard network settings.
    Primary DNS Specify a valid address.
    Note: To create a guest customization specification for a Debian machine in vSphere 7.0, follow the steps described in VMware Knowledge Base (KB) article 85845. For more information on the Guest OS Customization Support Matrix, see
  2. In Horizon Console, add an automated desktop pool.
    Select Inventory > Desktops > Add.
  3. Select Automated Desktop Pool and click Next.
  4. Select Full Virtual Machines, select the vCenter Server instance, and click Next.
  5. Follow the prompts in the wizard to create the pool.
    The following steps explain how to configure the minimum required settings for the pool. To configure additional settings, use the configuration information you gathered in the Worksheet for Creating an Automated Full-Clone Desktop Pool. You can go directly back to any wizard page by clicking the page name in the navigation pane.
    1. On the Desktop Pool Settings page, set the following options.
      Option Description
      Default display protocol VMware Blast
      Allow users to choose protocol No
      3D Renderer Manage using vSphere Client for 2D desktop and NVIDIA GRID vGPU for 3D desktop
      Session Types You can enable the VM Hosted Applications feature by selecting the supported session type for the desktop pool:
      • Desktop. Select this option to use the pool as a regular desktop pool. All the virtual machines in the pool can only be used to host desktops.
      • Application. Select this option to use all the virtual machines in the pool to host applications.
      • Desktop and Application. When this option is selected, the virtual machine in the pool can either host a regular desktop session or host an application session. The first connection to the particular virtual machine will determine the session type of the virtual machine.

      For more information about the VM Hosted Applications feature, see the technical marketing white paper "Best Practices for Published Applications and Desktops in VMware Horizon and VMware Horizon Apps" available at

    2. When prompted, set the Virtual Machine Naming options.
      Option Description
      Specify names manually Enter names manually.
      Naming Pattern For example, specify LinuxVM-{n}.

      You must also specify the following desktop pool sizing options:

      • Maximum number of machines
      • Number of spare, powered-on machines
    3. When prompted, select the vCenter Server settings in sequence.
      You cannot skip a vCenter Server setting:
      1. Template
      2. VM folder location
      3. Host or cluster
      4. Resource pool
      5. Datastores
  6. Wait until all the Linux virtual machines in the desktop pool become available.

What to do next

Entitle users to access the pool. See "Entitling Users and Groups" in Horizon 8 Administration on the VMware Horizon Documentation portal.