2 Replies Latest reply on Aug 15, 2018 12:10 PM by ActualVirtual

    Advice on types of VM pools

    ActualVirtual Lurker

      Hi - I'm a beginner VMware admin, working on a Horizon 7 system (with vSAN & vSphere).


      We need to create a pool of about 60 VMs for research students, and I'm having trouble figuring out which technology to use.  I would appreciate advice.


      This will be different from our standard computer lab situation.  We've created a master Windows 10 VM with some typical programming tools preinstalled.  When each student connects for the first time, they should be permanently assigned a VM cloned from that master, then they should be able to install their own software and modify files on the hard drive as desired, with all changes preserved on their personal VM all year - in other words, it should behave like a standard workstation, and never revert their changes.


      1. This rules out using standard Instant Clones, since per the documentation, "Instant-clone desktops cannot have persistent disks"... but the next sentence is "Users can use VMware App Volumes to store persistent data."  The examples I've seen of App Volumes aren't similar to what I'm doing, so I'm not sure how this would work, but it's a possible option.


      2. I have not installed View Composer, since I'd originally assumed we'd use Instant Clones because they are newer/better/faster, but linked clones with View Composer (as long as I don't "recompose" the pool VMs during the course of the year) might be the way to go.


      3. We could make an automatic VM pool with dedicated user assignment, and select Full Virtual Machines.  Our disks are all SSDs, so I wonder if I activated vSAN deduplication, whether it would use any more storage than instant/linked clones.


      It would be nice if I could roll out changes to all VMs at once - installing Windows updates and new versions of the starter software every couple of weeks - by updating the master VM and making a new snapshot or template, but if this ability would delete all user modifications to the VM or interfere with giving users full admin access to install their own software, I can live without it.


      Thanks for reading this far.  So am I way off base, or does one of these options jump out as an obvious best solution?

        • 1. Re: Advice on types of VM pools
          techguy129 Expert

          I suggest you take a look at App Volumes. The writable volumes will provide you with a persistent desktop experience while using non-persistent desktops. It will allow you to capture the install programs and so on that you need. You can capture profile settings as well with writable volumes or you can use UEM as a better alternative. This is the method we use for our COSC students. We use linked clones as they are ready to go for a quick login.


          Working with Writable Volumes

          • 2. Re: Advice on types of VM pools
            ActualVirtual Lurker

            Thank you - I installed App Volumes, got it working, and it does exactly what you said, "persistent desktop experience".  Guess I didn't realize how writable AppStacks volumes would be integrated, but it's all seamless to the user.  Still got plenty to figure out (looking into UEM next), but this is a great start.