To prepare for a deployment of Linux remote desktops, start by using vSphere Client to create a virtual machine (VM) in vCenter Server. Then install your Linux distribution on the VM.


  • Verify that your deployment meets the requirements for supporting Linux desktops. See System Requirements for Horizon Agent for Linux.
  • Familiarize yourself with the video memory (vRAM) settings requirements for the monitors you plan to use with the VM. See Virtual Machine Settings for 2D Graphics.
  • Familiarize yourself with the custom configuration parameters for VMs. See Virtual Machine Custom Configuration Parameters.
  • Verify that an ISO image file of the guest Linux distribution is in a datastore on your ESXi server.
    Note: When selecting a guest Linux distribution, consider the following limitations for instant-clone desktop pools and multi-session hosts.

    Horizon Agent for Linux only supports instant-clone desktop pools created from virtual machines running the following operating systems:

    • Ubuntu 20.04/22.04
    • Debian 10.x/11.x/12.x
    • RHEL 7.9/8.x/9.x
    • Rocky Linux 8.x/9.x
    • CentOS 7.9
    • SLED/SLES 15.x

    Only virtual machines running RHEL Workstation 7.9/8.x/9.x, Rocky Linux 8.x/9.x, Ubuntu 20.04/22.04, or Debian 10.x/11.x/12.x can support multi-session published desktop pools and single-session or multi-session application pools.


You can create a VM in vSphere from scratch or by cloning an existing VM. This procedure describes creating a VM from scratch.

  1. Log in to vSphere Client.
  2. Right-click any inventory object that is a valid main object of a VM, such as a data center, folder, cluster, resource pool, or host, and select New Virtual Machine.
  3. Select Create a new virtual machine and click Next.
  4. Specify the number of vCPUs and the vMemory size. For the required settings, refer to the following guidelines.
    • If you are preparing the VM for deployment as a single-session virtual desktop pool, follow the guidelines in the installation guide for your Linux distribution.
    • If you are preparing the VM to serve as a multi-session host for a published desktop or application pool, specify at least 8 vCPUs and 40 GB of vMemory.
      Important: A minimum of 8 vCPUs and 40 GB of vMemory is required to support up to 50 user sessions per published desktop or published application.
  5. On the Customize hardware page, select Virtual Hardware to configure hardware settings.
    1. Click Add New Device and select a CD/DVD drive. Set the media type to use an ISO image file, select the ISO image file of the guest Linux distribution that you placed in a datastore on your ESXi server. Then select Connect at power on.
  6. On the Customize hardware page, select VM Options to configure VM settings.
    1. (Optional) In the Boot Options, set Boot Delay to 10,000 milliseconds.

    You can set the boot delay to easily access the VM's BIOS on boot and modify the system settings. After you modify the system settings, you can reset the boot delay.

  7. For detailed information about other custom options, see Virtual Machine Custom Configuration Parameters. After configuring the VM options, Click Finish to create the VM.
  8. Power on the VM and install the Linux distribution from the ISO image that you specified earlier.
    1. In vSphere Client, right-click the virtual machine, select Power, and select Power On to start the virtual machine.

      Because you configured the CD/DVD drive to point to the ISO image of the guest distribution and to connect at power on, the guest distribution installation process begins automatically.

    2. Click the Console tab and follow the instructions in the guest distribution installers.
    Important: Always use a VM equipped with a freshly installed Linux operating system as the golden image of an instant-clone desktop pool. Do not use an already cloned system as the golden image VM.
  9. Configure the desktop environment to use for the specific Linux distribution.

    For more information, see Desktop Environment.

  10. Ensure that the VM hostname is resolvable to
  11. Proceed to Prepare a Linux Machine for Remote Desktop Deployment.

Virtual Machine Custom Configuration Parameters

You can use virtual machine custom configuration parameters as baseline settings when you create a virtual machine for remote desktop deployment.

Table 1. Custom Configuration Parameters
Parameter Description and Recommendations
Name and Folder

The name and location of the virtual machine.

If you plan to use the virtual machine as a template, assign a generic name. The location can be any folder within your data center inventory.


The ESXi server or cluster of server resources that will run the virtual machine.

If you plan to use the virtual machine as a template, the location of the initial virtual machine does not necessarily specify where future virtual machines created from template will reside.

Resource Pool

If the physical ESXi server resources are divided into resource pools, you can assign them to the virtual machine.

Datastore The location of files associated with the virtual machine.
Hardware Machine Version

The hardware machine version that is available depends on the ESXi version you are running. As a best practice, select the latest available hardware machine version, which provides the greatest virtual machine functionality. Certain VMware Horizon 8 features require minimum hardware machine versions.

Guest Operating System The type of operating system that you will install in the virtual machine.

The number of virtual processors in the virtual machine.


The amount of memory to allocate to the virtual machine.


The number of virtual network adapters (NICs) in the virtual machine.

One NIC is usually sufficient. The network name should be consistent across virtual infrastructures. An incorrect network name in a template can cause failures during the instance customization phases.

When you install Horizon Agent on a virtual machine that has more than one NIC, you must configure the subnet that Horizon Agent uses. See Configure a Virtual Machine with Multiple NICs for Horizon Agent for more information.

SCSI Controller The type of SCSI adapter to use with the virtual machine. Select either LSI Logic SAS or VMware Paravirtual (PVSCSI).

Using PVSCSI may require additional steps depending on the version of Windows to be installed. For more information, see the VMware Knowledge Base article Configuring disks to use VMware Paravirtual SCSI (PVSCSI) controllers (1010398).

Select a Disk

The disk to use with the virtual machine.

Create a new virtual disk based on the amount of local storage that you decide to allocate to each user. Allow enough storage space for the OS installation, patches, and locally installed applications.

To reduce the need for disk space and management of local data, you should store the user's information, profile, and documents on network shares rather than on a local disk.