bjohn
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Using linked clones as permanent workstations

Currently we are using Windows 7 and we recompose once a month with Windows updates. We use profile unity to save user settings. Going to Windows 10, I want to just leave the VM's alone and patch and update them with SCCM and avoid the recompose. Also, i want to get rid of profile unity. Anyone see any issues using linked clones as permanent workstations, or stick with full clones?

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14 Replies
BenFB
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

We have over 1,000 persistent linked clones and it works great. We've been doing this for over 5 years with success but recomposes can be a little disruptive. We are actively implementing Profile Unity and when a recompose is too disruptive to a department we give the pool a persistent disk.

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angelage1
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

Is this Horizon VDI?  If that's the case, I don't recommend having permanent linked clones.  That's not what linked clones are designed for.  Overtime, as more data is written to linked clones, we've gotten reports of slower performance from customers who've implemented this.  We think the reason is because of the data structure that linked clones maintain.  It sounds like what you really want is persistent VDI, which is typically served by full clones.  Why don't you just deploy full clones to start with? 

-Angela Ge, Horizon Product Management

Angela Ge Product Line Manager, VMware Horizon
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bjohn
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Yes, horizon VDI. Trying to save storage space by using linked clones.

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bjohn
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

@benfb

You mention persistent linked clones, but then you also mention recomposes. Are the linked clones used as permanent machines? Sorry if I misread the reply.

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kn0rki
Contributor
Contributor

over time - the delta files of your linked clones are greater as full clones.

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BenFB
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

They are dedicated machines and are essentially used as permanent machines. We don't allow the users to install applications and they don't have admin rights (They submit a request and our team that manages the parents will get it added). In addition all of the parents are powered on monthly to run Windows updates/update applications (They had a go at FlexApp but ran into some issues) and then the pools are recomposed. With profile unity and persistent disks our users don't even know when a recompose takes place (This includes our developers that are writing code).

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bjohn
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

OK, same as what I do basically - monthly recompose. sometimes PU takes too long when users logout, reboot, leading to complaints. Mainly why I want to switch to "static" machines. We don't use the fancy features in PU like profile disk or anything.

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BenFB
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

We are seeing that same issue with ProfileUnity.

Give persistent disks a try (it redirects the users profile and gives the users a space to save files). It "persists" between recomposes so all of the users settings should remain intact. If you have Horizon Enterprise I would start with Instant Clones and App Volumes user writeable disks (The equivalent of persistent disks). At some point VMware will likely end of life linked clones.

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bjohn
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

We always had PU, so never bothered with persistent disks. Maybe I should... Have you tried PU with profile disks? or start introducing full clones...

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BenFB
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

We started with ProfileUnity and then rebuild a few pools with persistent disks. I don't manage ProfileUnity so I'm not sure what all it can do but the users are much happier with persistent disks (Part of the reason we needed persistent disks is because some users have 30 GB+ profiles (It's developer build files that need to run locally) and ProfileUnity would time out doing the synchronization).

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angelage1
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

You mentioned saving storage as a reason for this.  What storage platform do you use?  Does it not have deduplication?

Angela Ge Product Line Manager, VMware Horizon
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bjohn
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I'm not a "storage guy", but I know we use a VNX 5300.

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techguy129
Expert
Expert

As mention, you should either stick with Full clones or a great option is to use UEM and App Volume writable volumes to provide a persistent like experience.

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angelage1
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

VNX is dedupe-capable, so I think your best bet is to use full clones with dedupe turned on.

Angela Ge Product Line Manager, VMware Horizon
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