When you create a linked-clone desktop pool, the View Administrator Add Pool wizard prompts you to configure certain options. Use this worksheet to prepare your configuration options before you create the pool.

You can print this worksheet and write down the values you want to specify when you run the Add Pool wizard.

Before you create a linked-clone pool, you must use vCenter Server to take a snapshot of the parent virtual machine that you prepare for the pool. You must shut down the parent virtual machine before you take the snapshot. View Composer uses the snapshot as the base image from which the clones are created.

Note

You cannot create a linked-clone pool from a virtual machine template.

Worksheet: Configuration Options for Creating a Linked-Clone Desktop Pool

Option

Description

Fill In Your Value Here

User assignment

Choose the type of user assignment:

In a dedicated-assignment pool, each user is assigned to a desktop. Users receive the same desktop each time they log in.

In a floating-assignment pool, users receive different desktops each time they log in.

For details, see User Assignment in Desktop Pools.

Enable automatic assignment

In a dedicated-assignment pool, a desktop is assigned to a user when the user first logs in to the pool. You can also explicitly assign desktops to users.

If you do not enable automatic assignment, you must explicitly assign a desktop to each user.

vCenter Server

Select the vCenter Server that manages the virtual machines in the pool.

Pool ID

The unique name that identifies the pool in View Administrator.

If multiple View Connection Server configurations are running in your environment, make sure that another View Connection Server configuration is not using the same pool ID.

A View Connection Server configuration can be a standalone View Connection Server instance or a group of replicated instances that share a common View LDAP configuration.

Display name

The pool name that users see when they log in with View Client. If you do not specify a display name, the pool ID is displayed to users.

View Folder

Select a View Folder in which to place the pool or leave the pool in the default root folder.

If you use a View Folder, you can delegate managing the pool to an administrator with a specific role. For details, see Using Folders to Delegate Administration.

Note

View folders are different than vCenter Server folders that store desktop virtual machines. You select a vCenter Server folder later in the wizard with other vCenter Server settings.

Delete or refresh desktop on logoff

If you select floating user assignment, choose whether to refresh desktops, delete desktops, or do nothing after users log off.

Note

You set this option on the Pool Settings page.

Pool Settings

Settings that determine the desktop state, power status when a virtual machine is not in use, display protocol, Adobe Flash quality, and so on.

For descriptions, see Desktop and Pool Settings.

For a list of the settings that apply to linked-clone pools, see Desktop Settings for Linked-Clone Desktop Pools.

For more information about power policies and automated pools, see Setting Power Policies for Desktop Pools.

Virtual machine naming

Choose whether to provision desktops by manually specifying a list of desktop names or by providing a naming pattern and the total number of desktops.

For details, see Naming Desktops Manually or Providing a Naming Pattern.

List of desktop names

If you specify names manually, prepare a list of desktop names and, optionally, the associated user names.

Naming pattern

If you use this naming method, provide the pattern.

View Manager uses your pattern as a prefix in all the desktop names and appends a unique number to identify each desktop.

For details, see Using a Naming Pattern for Automated Desktop Pools.

Max number of desktops

If you use a naming pattern, specify the total number of desktops in the pool.

You can also specify a minimum number of desktops to provision when you first create the pool.

Number of spare (powered on) desktops

If you specify names manually or use a naming pattern, specify a number of desktops that View Manager keeps available and powered on for new users. For details, see Naming Desktops Manually or Providing a Naming Pattern.

When you specify names manually, this option is called # Unassigned desktops kept powered on.

Minimum number of ready (provisioned) desktops during View Composer maintenance operations

If you specify names manually or use a naming pattern, specify a minimum number of desktops that are ready and provisioned while View Composer operations take place.

This setting lets you keep desktops provisioned and ready to accept connection requests from users while View Composer refreshes, recomposes, or rebalances the desktops in the pool.

This value must be smaller than the Min number of desktops, which you specify if you provision desktops on demand.

See Keeping Linked-Clone Desktops Provisioned and Ready During View Composer Operations.

Provision desktops on demand

or

Provision all desktops up front

If you use a naming pattern, choose whether to provision all desktops when the pool is created or provision desktops as they are needed.

Provision all desktops up front. When the pool is created, View Manager provisions the number of desktops you specify in Max number of desktops.

Provision desktops on demand. When the pool is created, View Manager creates the number of desktops that you specify in Min number of desktops. View Manager dynamically creates additional desktops as users connect to the pool for the first time or as you assign desktops to users.

Min number of desktops

If you use a naming pattern and provision desktops on demand, specify a minimum number of desktops in the pool.

View Manager creates the minimum number of desktops when you create the pool. View Manager maintains the minimum number of desktops even when other settings such as Delete or refresh desktop on logoff cause desktops to be deleted.

Redirect Windows profile to persistent disks

If you select dedicated user assignments, choose whether to store Windows user-profile data on a separate View Composer persistent disk or the same disk as the OS data.

Separate persistent disks let you preserve user data and settings. View Composer refresh, recompose, and rebalance operations do not affect persistent disks. You can detach a persistent disk from a linked clone and recreate the linked-clone desktop from the detached disk. For example, when a desktop or pool is deleted, you can detach the persistent disk and recreate the desktop, preserving the original user data and settings.

If you store the Windows profile in the OS disk, user data and settings are removed during refresh, recompose, and rebalance operations.

Disk size and drive letter for persistent disk

If you store user profile data on a separate View Composer persistent disk, provide the disk size in megabytes and the drive letter.

Note

Do not select a drive letter that already exists on the parent virtual machine or that conflicts with a drive letter that is used for a network-mounted drive.

Disposable File Redirection

Choose whether to redirect the guest OS's paging and temp files to a separate, nonpersistent disk. If you do, provide the disk size in megabytes.

With this configuration, when a linked clone is powered off, View Manager replaces the disposable-file disk with a copy of the original disk that was created with the linked-clone pool. Linked clones can increase in size as users interact with their desktops. Disposable file redirection can save storage space by slowing the growth of linked clones.

Disk size and drive letter for disposable file disk

If you redirect disposable files to a nonpersistent disk, provide the disk size in megabytes and the drive letter.

The disk size should be larger than page-file size of the guest OS. To determine the page-file size, see Keep a Record of the Parent Virtual Machine's Paging-File Size.

When you configure the disposable file disk size, consider that the actual size of a formatted disk partition is slightly smaller than the value you provide in View Administrator.

You can select a drive letter for the disposable file disk. The default value, Auto, directs View to assign the drive letter.

Note

Do not select a drive letter that already exists on the parent virtual machine or that conflicts with a drive letter that is used for a network-mounted drive.

Select separate datastores for persistent and OS disks

If you redirect user profiles to separate persistent disks, you can store the persistent disks and OS disks on different datastores.

Select separate datastores for replica and OS disks

You can store the replica (master) virtual machine disk on a high performance datastore and the linked clones on separate datastores.

For details, see Storing View Composer Replicas and Linked Clones on Separate Datastores.

If you store replicas and OS disks on separate datastores, native NFS snapshots cannot be used. Native cloning on a NAS device can only take place if the replica and OS disks are stored on the same datastores.

Parent virtual machine

Select the parent virtual machine for the pool.

To use features that are supported in View Manager 4.5 or later, such as redirecting disposable data to a separate disk and customizing the linked clones with Sysprep, you must select a parent virtual machine on which View Agent 4.5 or later is installed.

Note

You cannot use View Composer to deploy desktops that run Windows Vista Ultimate Edition or Windows XP Professional SP1.

Default image (snapshot)

Select the snapshot of the parent virtual machine to use as the base image for the pool.

Do not delete the snapshot and parent virtual machine from vCenter Server, unless no linked clones in the pool use the default image, and no more linked clones will be created from this default image. View Manager requires the parent virtual machine and snapshot to provision new linked clones in the pool, according to pool policies. The parent virtual machine and snapshot are also required for View Composer maintenance operations.

Publish base image to the Transfer Server repository.

Select this option if you use the pool to provision local desktops. When a local desktop is provisioned, View Transfer Server downloads the base image from the Transfer Server repository to the client.

You can also publish the base image after you create the pool.

vCenter Server folder

Select the folder in vCenter Server in which the desktop pool resides.

Host or cluster

Select the ESX host or cluster on which the desktop virtual machines run.

In vSphere 5.1 or later, you can select a cluster with up to 32 ESXi hosts if the replicas are stored on VMFS5 or later datastores or NFS datastores. If you store replicas on a VMFS version earlier than VMFS5, a cluster can have at most eight hosts.

In vSphere 5.0, you can select a cluster with more than eight ESXi hosts if the replicas are stored on NFS datastores. If you store replicas on VMFS datastores, a cluster can have at most eight hosts. See Configuring Pools on Clusters With More Than Eight Hosts.

Resource pool

Select the vCenter Server resource pool in which the desktop pool resides.

Select Datastores

Select one or more datastores on which to store the desktop pool.

A table on the Select Datastores page of the Add Pool wizard provides high-level guidelines for estimating the pool's storage requirements. These guidelines can help you determine which datastores are large enough to store the linked-clone disks. For details, see Storage Sizing for Linked-Clone Desktop Pools.

You can use shared or local datastores for an individual ESXi host or for ESXi clusters. If you use local datastores in an ESXi cluster, you must consider the vSphere infrastructure constraints that are imposed on your desktop deployment. See Storing Linked-Clone Desktops on Local Datastores.

In vSphere 5.1 or later, a cluster can have more than eight ESXi hosts if the replicas are stored on datastores that are VMFS5 or later or NFS. In vSphere 5.0, a cluster can have more than eight ESXi hosts only if the replicas are stored on NFS datastores. See Configuring Pools on Clusters With More Than Eight Hosts.

For more information about the disks that are created for linked clones, see Linked-Clone Desktop Data Disks.

Storage Overcommit

Determine the storage-overcommit level at which View Manager creates linked-clone desktops on each datastore.

As the level increases, more linked clones fit on the datastore and less space is reserved to let individual clones grow. A high storage-overcommit level lets you create linked clones that have a total logical size larger than the physical storage limit of the datastore. For details, see Set the Storage Overcommit Level for Linked-Clone Desktops.

Use View Storage Accelerator

Determine whether to use View Storage Accelerator, which allows ESXi hosts to cache common virtual machine disk data. View Storage Accelerator can improve performance and reduce the need for extra storage I/O bandwidth to manage boot storms and anti-virus scanning I/O storms.

This feature is supported on vSphere 5.0 and later.

This feature is enabled by default.

For details, see Configure View Storage Accelerator for Desktop Pools.

Use native NFS snapshots (VAAI) - Tech Preview

If your deployment includes NAS devices that support the vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI), you can use native snapshot technology to clone virtual machines.

Note

Native NFS snapshot technology (VAAI) is a Tech Preview feature. The feature is available for you to try out, but it is not recommended for production use and no support is provided.

You can use this feature only if you select datastores that reside on NAS devices that support native cloning operations through VAAI.

You cannot use this feature if you store replicas and OS disks on separate datastores. You cannot use this feature in a pool that is enabled for View Storage Accelerator or virtual machine disk space reclamation.

This feature is supported on vSphere 5.0 and later.

For details, see Using View Composer Array Integration with Native NFS Snapshot Technology (VAAI).

Reclaim VM disk space

Determine whether to allow ESXi hosts to reclaim unused disk space on linked clones that are created in space-efficient disk format. The space reclamation feature reduces the total storage space required for linked-clone desktops.

This feature is supported on vSphere 5.1 and later. The linked-clone virtual machines must be virtual hardware version 9 or later.

For details, see Reclaim Disk Space on Linked-Clone Desktops.

Initiate reclamation when unused space on VM exceeds:

Type the minimum amount of unused disk space, in gigabytes, that must accumulate on a linked-clone OS disk to trigger space reclamation. When the unused disk space exceeds this threshold, View initiates the operation that directs the ESXi host to reclaim space on the OS disk.

This value is measured per virtual machine. The unused disk space must exceed the specified threshold on an individual virtual machine before View starts the space reclamation process on that machine.

For example: 2 GB.

The default value is 1 GB.

Blackout Times

Configure days and times during which View Storage Accelerator regeneration and the reclamation of virtual machine disk space do not take place.

To ensure that ESXi resources are dedicated to foreground tasks when necessary, you can prevent the ESXi hosts from performing these operations during specified periods of time on specified days.

For details, see Set Blackout Times for ESXi Operations on View Desktops.

Active Directory domain

Select the Active Directory domain and user name.

View Composer requires certain user privileges to create a linked-clone pool. The domain and user account are used by QuickPrep or Sysprep to customize the linked-clone desktops. For details, see Create a User Account for View Composer.

You specify this user when you configure View Composer settings for vCenter Server. For details, see Configure View Composer Settings. You can specify multiple domains and users when you configure View Composer settings. When you use the Add Pool wizard to create a pool, you must select one domain and user from the list.

Active Directory container

Provide the Active Directory container relative distinguished name.

For example: CN=Computers

When you run the Add Pool wizard, you can browse your Active Directory tree for the container.

Use QuickPrep or a customization specification (Sysprep)

Choose whether to use QuickPrep or select a customization specification (Sysprep) to let View Manager configure licensing, domain attachment, DHCP settings, and other properties on the desktops.

Sysprep is supported for linked clones only on vSphere 4.1 or later software.

After you use QuickPrep or Sysprep when you create a pool, you cannot switch to the other customization method later on, when you create or recompose desktops in the pool.

For details, see Choosing QuickPrep or Sysprep to Customize Linked-Clone Desktops.

Power-off script

QuickPrep can run a customization script on linked-clone desktops before they are powered off.

Provide the path to the script on the parent virtual machine.

Post synchronization script

QuickPrep can run a customization script on linked-clone desktops after they are created, recomposed, and refreshed.

Provide the path to the script on the parent virtual machine.

Allow reuse of pre-existing computer accounts

Select this option to use existing computer accounts in Active Directory for linked clones that are provisioned by View Composer. This option lets you control the computer accounts that are created in Active Directory.

When a linked clone is provisioned, if an existing AD computer account name matches the linked clone desktop name, View Composer 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 Active Directory container setting.

When this option is disabled, a new AD computer account is created when View Composer provisions a linked clone. This option is disabled by default.

For details, see Use Existing Active Directory Computer Accounts for Linked Clones.