An automated farm consists of RDS hosts that are instant-clone virtual machines in vCenter Server. There is no other cloning technology available for automated farms.

An automated instant-clone farm created from a golden image using the vmFork technology (called instant clone API) in vCenter Server. Instant clone technology replaces View Composer linked clone as the process for creating automated farms in Horizon 8. In addition to using the instant clone API from vCenter Server, Horizon 8 also creates several types of internal VMs (Internal Template, Replica VM, and ParentVM) in order to manage these clones in a more scalable way.

Although helpful in speeding up the provisioning speed, the use of parentVM does increase the memory requirement across the cluster. In some cases when the benefit of having more memory outweighs the increase in provisioning speed, Horizon 8 automatically chooses to provision instant clones directly from replicaVM, without creating any parentVM. This feature is called Smart Provisioning. A single instant clone farm can have both instant clones that are created with parentVMs or without parentVMs.

When parentVM is used, instant clones share the virtual disk of the parentVM and therefore consume less storage than full VMs. In addition, instant clones share the memory of the parentVM when they are first created, which contributes to fast provisioning. Once the instant clone VM is provisioned and the machine starts to be used, additional memory is utilized.

An instant-clone desktop farm has the following benefits:
  • The provisioning of instant clones is fast, with or without using parentVM.
  • Instant clones are always created in a powered-on state, ready for use.
  • You can patch a farm of instant clones in a rolling process with zero downtime.

Connection Server creates the instant-clone virtual machines based on the parameters that you specify when you create the farm. Instant clones share a virtual disk of a parentVM and therefore consume less storage than full virtual machines. In addition, instant clones share the memory of a parentVM and are created using the vmFork technology.

Before you create an automated instant-clone farm, you must prepare an RDS host golden image virtual machine. See Prepare an RDS Host Golden Image Virtual Machine.