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Creating a Dedicated Desktop Pool

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Dedicated Desktop Pool Pre-Requisites

For creating a Desktop Pool following pre-requisites must be configured:

    • Reachable Dedicated Session Provider: Following dedicated session host servers can be used for serving dedicated desktops to users:
      • VMware ESXi/ vCenter Server
      • Microsoft Hyper-V/ SCVMM Server

      These servers must be configured as Dedicated Session Provider.

    • Authorization/Authentication Server is configured (If User based pool need to be created) and post pool creation for authenticating the user session
    • Registered Devices in HyWorks Controller (If Device based pool needs to be created): As shown in image below the devices are registered, renamed for better identification
    • Golden Image (Source VM): If new provisioned VMs should be served to end users, one golden image with all prerequisites installed, must be available.

Once above pre-requisites are configured in zPortal Controller, administrator can proceed with Desktop Pool creation.

Dedicated Desktop Pool Creation Process

Launching Add Desktop Pool Wizard

To launch Add Desktop Pool wizard, follow the below steps:

  1. Login to zPortal Controller Management Console using appropriate admin credentials
  2. Go to Workspace -> Desktop Pools tab
  3. In Desktop Pools screen, click on Add New Pool button
    <zportal-add-dedicated-pool1.png>
  4. Add Desktop Pool wizard will be launched and General screen will be displayed by default
  5. Now Add Desktop Pool wizard is invoked, next step is to configure General Configurations of Desktop Pool.

General Screen Configurations

The first screen shown in Add Desktop Pool wizard is General screen, which consists of following two types of settings:

  1. Common Configurations: Settings common for all types of desktop pools
  2. Deciding Configurations: Configurations which will change the flow of desktop pool and are deciding factors.

Common Configuration in General Screen

Following configurations in General screen are common for all types of desktop pools:

  1. Name: Mandatory field* for providing logical name for Desktop Pool which will be used to identify Desktop Pool.
    1. Two desktop pools with same name cannot exist in zPortal organization).
    2. Only following special characters are supported: _ SPACE () {} # @ : –
  2. Description: Optional field for logical description for desktop pool, can be used by administrator to define Desktop Pool’s purpose and associated details.
  3. Entitlement Type: Defines the type of the clients to be configured and given access of desktop session. A Desktop in zPortal deployment can be associated with a device or a user and thus Desktop Pools in zPortal can be of two types:
      1. Device Based: Desktop Pools in which Desktops are assigned to devices and thus any valid user login from the device always gets the session of same Desktop which is assigned to the device from where user is logging-in.
      2. User Based: Desktop Pools in which Desktops are assigned to users and thus a valid user logging-in from any device or location gets the session of same Desktop which is assigned to this user.

    Entitlement Type selection in General screen will also enables the corresponding client type screen in Desktop Pool wizard, e.g. Selecting Entitlement Type as Device based will enable Devices screen, where as selecting Entitlement Type as User based will enable Users screen (For configuring users as clients) (Refer below image)
    <zportal-add-dedicated-pool2.png>

  4. Connection Profiles: Connection profiles dropdown field can be used to use specific connection profile for this pool.  Administrator can opt to leave the connection profile as None as well, leaving Connection Profile Fall model to decide applicable connection profile.
    <zportal-add-dedicated-pool3.png>
  5. Active/ Inactive Pools: A Desktop Pool can be made active/ inactive from Add/Edit Desktop Pool wizard. When user logs-in, only active pools are searched for assignments, inactive pools are ignored while providing Desktops to clients (devices or users).
    <zportal-add-dedicated-pool4.png>
    To make a pool active, keep Active checkbox as selected in General screen of Desktop Pool wizard, uncheck Active checkbox for making a pool inactive.

Deciding Configuration of General Screen

Considering that all common configurations are done as required and now administrator is configuring the important and deciding factors to create a desktop pool for serving the dedicated desktop. Following configurations will be important:

  1. Desktop Virtualization Type: This must be selected as Dedicated Virtual Desktop, which will enable following options:
    1. Select Session Provider: For selection of dedicated session providers (VMware ESXi/vCenter or Microsoft SCVMM/Hyper-V Servers) configured in Session Provider section. One of the added dedicated session provider can be selected using this dropdown list.
      <zportal-add-dedicated-pool5.png>

    Once administrator has correctly selected the dedicated session provider. Next available deciding control is Provisioning Type

  2. Provisioning Type: Type of dedicated desktops to be used in this pool
    1. For using existing desktops Provisioning Type to be selected as This enables Desktops tab to be used to get desired dedicated desktops from selected dedicated session provider.
      <zportal-add-dedicated-pool6.png>
    2. For provisioning new desktops by cloning gold image, Provisioning Type should be selected as Selecting Provisioning Type as Dynamic, enables Deployment and Customization tabs, to be used for provisioning and preparing customized new desktops
      <zportal-add-dedicated-pool7.png>
    3. Select Assignment Life Span: This option Assignment Life Span of a dedicated desktop pool defines, if the client assignment to the Desktop will persist after session or not. Based on the persistence of assignment, Desktop Pools can be of following two types:
      • Permanent: Desktop Pools in which Desktops are permanently assigned to the clients (Devices or Users) and thus the same Desktop is provided to same client (User or Device) on every successful login. The client to Desktop assignment is always remembered.
      • Temporary: Desktop Pools in which assignments do not persist after the session is removed, which means on every successful logon the session to different Desktop can be provided. The client to Desktop assignment is removed and is not remembered.

      <zportal-add-dedicated-pool8.png>

One more important thing to understand is that zPortal Controller does not support Pool of External Session Providers and thus none of configured External Session Providers are listed in Select Session Provider dropdown list. Details about using External Session Providers will be covered in the later section of the document.

Desktops Configuration

In case of Shared Virtual Desktop, desktop sessions are given from the shared session hosts from selected team. Thus no additional Desktop screens are needed.

 

But if selected Desktop Virtualization Type is Dedicated Virtual Desktop, then desktops need to be configured.

 

If administrator wishes to use existing virtual machines in their virtualization environment, these existing VMs can be configured as Desktops for clients and where as if administrator is willing to create new virtual machines in the deployment that can also be done.

 

We will be learning how to achieve the above two purposes in this section of document, which will also detail about Desktops, Deployment and Customization screens of the Desktop Pool wizard.

Using Existing Virtual Machines as Desktops

For configuring existing virtual machines in the virtualization hypervisors, the following settings should have been configured in the General screen of Add Desktop Pool wizard:

  1. Desktop Virtualization Type: Selected as Dedicated Virtual Desktop
  2. Select Session Provider: Appropriate dedicated session provider (VMware/ vCenter Server or Microsoft Hyper-V / SCVMM) is selected.
  3. Desktop Provisioning: Must be selected as None
    <zportal-add-dedicated-pool9.png>

Administrator can configure existing virtual machines as Desktops from Desktops tab in Add Desktop Pool wizard as follows:

 

Desktops screen in Add Desktop Pool wizard, provides following options to administrator

  • Add: To add Desktops into this pool
  • Remove: Remove added Desktops
  • Search: To search any already added Desktops page
  • Refresh: To refresh the list of already added Desktops
    <zportal-add-dedicated-pool10.png>

Add Desktops to Pool

To add Desktops to pool, click on Add Desktops button in Desktops screen – it will open Available Desktops dialog

    • Available Desktops Dialog
      Displays list of all available Desktops in the selected Dedicated Session Provider.
      <zportal-add-dedicated-pool11.png>
Note:

A Desktop can be configured only once in zPortal deployment and thus Available Desktops dialog lists only virtual machines which are not yet configured in any of the Desktop Pools in the zPortal Controller.

 

Therefore, if administrator is not able to see any specific virtual machine in Available Desktops dialog then either of the following conclusions can be made:

    • It has been already configured in any existing Desktop Pool
    • The Dedicated Session Provider cache does not have details of this Desktop (Can be resolved by refreshing the Available Desktops list as explained below).

In Available Desktops dialog, administrator has the following options

    • Refresh the list of Desktops to get a fresh list of Desktops from Dedicated Session Provider: In case when new Desktops have been added or removed in backend, then refresh call can help in getting an updated list of Desktops else zPortal Controller uses cached list of Desktops. Click on Refresh button to refresh the operations.
    • Search: Any specific Desktop
    • Select Single, Multiple or Select All and Add Desktops using respective checkboxes
      • Add Desktops to Desktop Pool
        Once administrator has selected virtual machines from Available Desktops dialog, clicking on OK button will add these Desktops to Pool and these Desktops will now be displayed in Desktops screen.
        <zportal-add-dedicated-pool12.png>
      • Remove Desktops from Pool
        To remove added Desktops from pool, select the Desktops from Desktops screen and click on Remove button. Selected Desktops will be removed from Desktops screen and will be available in Available Desktops list now.
        <zportal-add-dedicated-pool13.png>

        Note:

        Please note that while editing an existing Desktop Pool, removing already added Desktops will not be displayed in the Available Desktops list in the very same wizard until administrator commits the changes in the pool editing and re-opens the Edit Desktop Pool wizard.

      • Refresh List of Added Desktops
        To refresh already added Desktops in Desktops screen, click on Refresh button.
      • Search any Desktop in Added Desktops list
        For searching any specific Desktop(s) in added Desktops list, enter any appropriate search text in Search text box and press Enter key or click on Search icon displayed.The Desktops matching the search criteria will now be highlighted and be displayed first.
        <zportal-add-dedicated-pool14.png>

Provision New Desktops Using Deployment and Customization Screens

If deployment requires multiple fresh machines to be created for end users, then administrator can opt to choose Desktop Provisioning as Dynamic.

The term Desktop Provisioning is used for creating multiple copies of existing virtual machine on the Dedicated Session Provider.

For provisioning new Desktops, the following configurations should be pre-configured:

    • Dedicated Session Provider of type VMware / vCenter Server or Microsoft Hyper-V / SCVMM is configured and is selected as Dedicated Session Provider in General screen on Desktop Pool wizard
    • Desktop Provisioning is set as Dynamic

<zportal-add-dedicated-pool15.png>

Once above configurations are done then the Deployment and Customization screens will be enabled which can be used to deploy new Desktops.

Configure Deployment Options Using Deployment Screen

Selecting a Source VM

Source VM also termed as gold image, will be copied multiple times to provision multiple Desktops. Following important configurations should be remembered while selecting the Source VM:

    • Source VM Format on Dedicated Session Provider: The source VM should be a virtual machine and cannot be a template.
    • VMware Tools/ Integration Services:
      • Latest VMware tools must be installed in source VM, if selected dedicated session provider is of type VMware
      • Latest Integration Services should be installed on source VM, if selected dedicated session provider is of type Microsoft Hyper-V/ SCVMM.
    • zPortal Desktop Agent Installation: Source VM should have zPortal Desktop Agent installed as zPortal Desktop Agent is required for post installation customization of virtual machine and ensures remote access for new valid users.
    • Source VM Power State: Should be in running state which helps zPortal Controller to determine the zPortal Desktop Agent availability in the Source VM. However, if administrator knows that all prerequisites are correctly installed and configured in gold image then gold image machine can be kept in powered-off state as well.
    • Source VM should be a Fresh Installed Image: Source VM should preferably be a fresh installed virtual machine. Using a virtual machine as source VM which was created using provisioning may result in customization failure since customization can be done only once on virtual machines.

 

To select a source VM:

  1. Click on Browse button to open Available Desktops dialog
  2. Available Desktops dialog functionality for Source VM is same as Available Desktops dialog on Desktops screen except that
    1. Only one Desktop can be selected as source VM
    2. Selecting a Desktop and clicking on OK button will evaluate the source VM for the power state and zPortal Desktop Agent availability.
    3. On finding the above configurations correct on selected VM, Available Desktops dialog will be dismissed (See image below)
      <zportal-add-dedicated-pool16.png>
    4. If select Desktop is having any configuration limitations then appropriate error will be displayed with option to continue and cancel with selection, following possible errors could be prompted:
          • Unable to check Desktop Agent availability on ‘QA-Win7x64Gold-06112015’. Reason: Unable to connect to Desktop Agent on ‘172.17.3.14’. Make sure ‘zPortal Desktop Agent’ Service is installed and running on this Desktop.
          • Unable to check Desktop Agent availability on ‘Win7-GoldSysprepTest’. Reason: The Desktop is not in power on state.
            Note:

            If Administrator is sure about the selected Desktop (Any displayed configuration error can be ignored) click on Continue Anyway button to proceed or click on Cancel button to cancel the Source VM selection dialog and correcting the issues on virtual machine

    5. Considering that source VM is selected. Let’s move to next available configuration.
Desktop Name Prefix

As the label suggest Desktop Name Prefix is used for naming new Desktops in Dedicated Session Provider, which means the newly created virtual machines will be named using Desktop Name Prefix.

Its only prefix as zPortal Controller appends hyphen and a unique number in the end of each Desktop name for keeping a unique name e.g. administrator is willing to provision 5 new virtual machines and provided Desktop Name Prefix as ‘NewVM’ then provisioned Desktops will have name as NewVM-1, NewVM-2….NewVM-5.

<zportal-add-dedicated-pool17.png>

Note:

    • Providing a prefix with text which will make a duplicate name after appending the number is not validated in Desktop Pool wizard and thus results in Desktop creation failure.
    • Desktop Name Prefix cannot be more than 75 characters
    • It’s a mandatory field in Deployment screen, keeping it blank will display relevant error.
Clone Type

Clone type field in Desktop deployment defines the type of clones to be created of source VM. Following two types of clone Desktops can be created:

    • Full Clone: A full clone is an independent copy of a virtual machine that shares nothing with the parent virtual machine after the cloning operation. Ongoing operation of a full clone is entirely separate from the parent virtual machine.Supported Dedicated Session Providers: Microsoft Hyper-V (2012R2/2016/2019) and Microsoft SCVMM server (2012R2/2016/2019)
    • Linked Clone: A linked clone is a copy of a virtual machine that shares virtual disks with the parent virtual machine in an ongoing manner. This conserves disk space, and allows multiple virtual machines to use the same software installation.Supported Dedicated Session Providers: VMware vCenter Server (v5.5, v6.0 & v6.5),Linked Clone is supported with vCenter Server only thus Linked Clone option is only enabled when selected Dedicated Session Provider is of type VMware / vCenter Server and is vCenter Server.
      <zportal-add-dedicated-pool18.png>
    • Linked Clones in zPortal: Linked cloning in zPortal uses the following mechanism:
      1. When Linked Clones are initiated, zPortal creates an exact replica or full clone of the Gold Image (Source VM).
      2. Then linked clone of Replica VMs are created.
      3. Having replica VM ensures that if gold image is modified in any manner, linked clones won’t get affected and if it requires to re-create all the linked cloned desktops then new replica VM can be deployed from gold image.
Max Desktop Capacity

The count of maximum number of Desktops to be created using Desktop Provisioning.

<zportal-add-dedicated-pool19.png>

The field accepts value from 1 to 1000, but this should be provided wisely as per requirement and available resources on the Dedicated Session Provider.

Once changes are committed zPortal Controller will start creating the virtual machine as per provided number and in case Dedicated Session Provider is not having sufficient resources, provisioning will fail.

Desktop Creation Schedule

This parameter defines the schedule of new VM creation; administrator can choose to provision new desktops in the following two schedules:

    • Provision all Desktops now: Proceeding in Desktop Pool wizard with schedule as Provision all Desktop now will create all desktops as per specified Max Desktop Capacity.
      <zportal-add-dedicated-pool20.png>
    • On Demand: Create desktops as per the demand arrives. While configuring Desktops on demand following two parameters are considered
      1. Count of Desktops to create now: Defines how many desktops should be created first. E.g. if Create Now Desktops count is specified as 2, then at least 2 desktops will be created first as part of Desktop Provisioning.
      2. Count of spare Desktops to be provisioned: Defines how many spare or extra desktops to be kept in Desktop Pool. E.g. Count of spare Desktops to be provisioned is 2, which means in this desktop pool at least 2 desktops will always be free and as soon as count of free desktop count goes to 1 it will start creating a new desktop to maintain the spare Desktop count.
        <zportal-add-dedicated-pool21.png>

Administrator can choose any of desktop creation schedule as per requirement.

Power on Desktop Post Provisioning

Keeping the checkbox selected will power on the virtual machine after cloning is completed whereas un-checking this option will keep Desktop in powered off state after creation.

<zportal-add-dedicated-pool22.png>

Deployment Settings for Replica VM and Cloned VMs

Deployment Settings enables administrator to define target datastores and resource pools for the cloned desktops and replica VMs.

Deployment settings gets dynamically updated as per selected Clone Type option in following manner

    1. For Linked Clone: Option to choose Replica VM Deployment Settings, gets enabled along with Cloned VMs Deployment Settings.
    2. For Full Clone: Option for Cloned VMs Deployment Settings gets enabled.

Keeping the Deployment Settings options unchecked, will keep all configurations as default, which means all cloned VMs will use same configuration as gold image.

Considering that Clone Type is selected as Linked Clone, following configurations will be available:

<zportal-add-dedicated-pool23.png>

    • Replica VM Deployment Settings: The section can be used to change the location of the replica VM on dedicated session provider. To change configurations of replica VM, click on button Change Location.
      • Change Location
        Clicking on Change Location button will open Available Datastores dialog, which can be used to specify new location for the replica VM.Administrator can select the following two locations attributes by expanding the resource tree:

        • Resource Pool
        • Datastore

        In screenshot below, it is shown that datastore is changed to datastore-181 and pool has been changed to Migrated from 79, which means the newly created desktops will be in datastore-181 and under pool Migrated from 79.
        <zportal-add-dedicated-pool24.png>

    • Cloned VMs Deployment Settings: Like replica VM deployment configurations, datastore and resource pool configurations of cloned VMs can also be modified. To modify the configurations of cloned VMs, click on button Cloned VM Deployment Settings.
      • This will start displaying the currently applied configurations for cloned VMs (set to Default, which means same as gold image)
      • Click on Change Location button to invoke Available Datastores dialog, follow steps mentioned in above section to change configurations of cloned VMs.
        Note:

          • Please note, Available Datastores dialog, displays all the available datastores and resource pools but it does not evaluate the feasibility of cloned VMs deployment on the target datastores or resource pool and administrator must choose these configurations carefully to avoid provisioning failure.

        As a thumb rule, the datastores and resource pools should be chosen in a manner they are able to read from replica image.

    • Deployment Settings Support for dedicated session providers
    • Linked Clones: Option to move replica VM and cloned VMs are available.
          • SCVMM Servers: These advanced deployment settings are not supported with SCVMM servers configured as Dedicated Session Providers though shown as enabled. Clicking on Change location button with SCVMM server configured as Dedicated Session Provider will show the Available Data Stores dialog with error no data centers found.
            <zportal-add-dedicated-pool25.png>
          • Hyper-V Servers: With Hyper-V Servers administrator will be able to change the Datastores up to available drives level and pool selection will not be available.
            <zportal-add-dedicated-pool26.png>
            Changing the Datastore in case of Hyper-V servers will create a folder with name SnapVDI-Cloned-VMs in the selected drive and will keep Desktops files in folder with the name of Desktop. As in the below screenshot where Datastore has been changed to D:\ drive, the newly created Desktops will be located at D:\SnapVDI-Cloned-VMs\<Desktop Name>.
            <zportal-add-dedicated-pool27.png>
          • VMware ESXi Servers: Administrators will be able to change the Datastores as well as Resource Pools also in case of ESXi servers.
            <zportal-add-dedicated-pool28.png>
          • VMware vCenter Server: As vCenter Servers presents two cases as per supported clone types and as per accessible ESXi servers.
            • Linked Clones: Option to move replica VM and cloned VMs are available.

              Please note the wizard will display the available Resource Pools and Datastores of all ESXi servers, but administrator should choose target locations carefully so that after completing the pool wizard provisioning does not fail.

            • Full Clone: In case of full clones with vCenter Server administrator will be able to change the Resource Pool or Datastore.

Customize Provisioned Desktops Using Customization Screen

Deployment screen ensures the deployment options which affects the new Desktops configurations on Dedicated Session Provider E.g. Name of Desktop, Location, Power State, Count Etc. but the newly created Desktops may require some internal system level customizations which will be specific for specific Desktops e.g. computer name of all new Desktops must be different, locale etc.

 

For customizing such changes, customization screen can be used. On Customization screen administrator can opt to enable or disable customization.

 

Before moving to Customization process or available options, we must learn that few pre-requisites are met for customization to run successfully.

Desktop Customization Pre-requisites and Limitations

  1. The source VM must have VMware tools installed if selected Dedicated Session Provider is of type VMware/ vCenter Server
  2. The source VM must have zPortal Desktop Agent installed to initiate the customization
  3. The source VM must be a fresh installed virtual machine in which customization is not run earlier. A single Desktop cannot be customized twice and thus if source VM is already customized once the clones i.e. new Desktops will not be able to run customization
  4. The source VM should not be having expired product key as customization may get interrupted due to the activation notification thrown in between
  5. The source VM should be configured with DHCP network settings as all clones will be created with same network settings and thus causing IP conflict and affecting zPortal Controller to Desktop Agent communication
  6. When joining cloned VMs to domain:
    • Specified credentials should have sufficient rights on the target OU (if specified) else on domain controller to create objects
    • Cloned VMs must be able to communicate with domain controller to move it to specified domain (specify DNS servers or DNS servers are provided from DHCP)

Disabling Customization

Disabling the customization will create all Desktops as identical in terms of computer name, network settings, locate, product key. It can be a handy option if administrator is willing to customize new Desktops manually from Dedicated Session Provider or using any independent tool. To disable customization,

  1. Keep Customization needed checkbox unselected and proceed to next screen
    <zportal-add-dedicted-pool29.png>

Enabling Customization

Administrator can opt to customize the new copies of the Desktops by selecting the checkbox Customization needed in Customization section of Desktop Pool (The screen will be enabled only when Desktop Provisioning is set to Dynamic). The following customizations in new clones are possible:

  1. Owner Name: Owner name of the Desktop (Optional)
  2. Organization Name: Organization name of the Desktop (Optional)
    <zportal-add-dedicated-pool30.png>
  3. Computer Name: Computer name of the Desktop. To keep each Desktop identical zPortal Controller will append the provided computer name with hyphen and a unique number e.g. 5 new Desktops are provisioned and computer name is specified as ‘ProVM’ then computer name of 5 Desktops will be ProVM-1, ProVM-2 and so on.  Computer name cannot be more than 9 characters long. (* Mandatory field if customization is enabled)
  4. Local Username: The new local user to be created on new Desktop. (Optional)
    Note:

    If leaving Local Username field blank then, it should be make sure that at least one local admin (other than Administrator) user is already available on gold image, because post Sysprep administrator user gets disabled and could lead to configuration with no local administrator.

  5. Local Password: Password to be set for new local user (* Mandatory field if local username is provided)
  6. Workgroup/ Domain Configurations:
    1. Join a workgroup is selected by default and requires entries in Workgroup textbox
      <zportal-add-dedicated-pool31.png>
    2. Join a Domain: If new Desktops need to be joined to existing Domain then this option can be selected while enable following fields:
      1. Domain Name: e.g. snapvdi.com (* Mandatory if Join a domain combo box is selected)
      2. Username: User with privileges to join a machine to domain e.g. domain admin user (* Mandatory if Join a domain combo box is selected)
      3. Password and Confirm Domain Password: Password for domain admin user (* Mandatory if Join a domain combo box is selected)
        <zportal-add-dedicated-pool32.png>
  7. DNS Configurations:
    1. Preferred DNS: Preferred DNS to be configured in network settings (Optional)
    2. Alternate DNS: Alternate DNS to be configured in network settings (Optional)
  8. AD Path: Full OU path to which this computer should be registered. The provided domain username should have adequate rights to create objects in specified OU. (Optional)
  9. Select Locale: For configuring local language of new Desktop
    <zportal-add-dedicated-pool33.png>
  10. OS Product Key: Provided product key will be applied on new Desktop however if creating multiple Desktops then this should be mass activation key or should be left blank for activating the OS later manually.
    <zportal-add-dedicated-pool34.png>

Provisioning and Customization Process

The Desktop Customization in zPortal deployment is done using the following flow sequence:

  1. Once all the customization attributes are properly configured and administrator committed the pool changes by completing the Desktop Pool wizard, zPortal Controller will mark that the new Desktops will require customization. (This can be observed in Desktop Details dialog -> SYSPREP Info)
  2. Source VM will be powered off and will be cloned multiple times as specified – New Desktops will be created as per provided deployment options
  3. Desktops will be powered on automatically if configured or will require manual power on from administrator if Power on Desktop Post Provisioning is not enabled
  4. After Desktops are powered on, zPortal Controller will try to communicate with zPortal Desktop Agent on each Desktop

    Note: This step requires that the source VM must have VMware tools and zPortal Desktop Agent is installed

  5. Till step #4, new Desktops are exact replica of the source VM, Desktop details will display attribute SYSPREP Info as Required, which specifies that the new Desktop will require customization
    <zportal-add-dedicated-pool35.png>
  6. Once zPortal Controller can communicate with zPortal Desktop Agent on new Desktops, it will share the customization details with each Desktop
  7. Desktops will be rebooted and will run setup to customize the Desktop as per provided parameters (This step may take some time depending on the hardware, software resources and network settings)
  8. Once the setup is completed, all new Desktops will be having a unique name, same local user with same password, joined with specified domain or workgroup, set with specified locale and activated with provided OS Product key.
  9. The Desktop status will start displaying as Responding in Desktops VMs tab with Sysprep Info attribute showing as completed.

Client Configuration

It’s important to understand that the client in Desktop Pools can be either a device or user and this is determined by Entitlement Type attribute in General Settings of Add Desktop Pool wizard.

 

If administrator is deploying zPortal for users, then Entitlement Type should be selected as User based and if administrator is willing to serve desktop to devices then Entitlement Type should be selected as Device based.

Devices Screen to Configure Devices in Desktop Pool

Assuming administrator has selected Pool Type as Device based, which will now enable Devices screen in Add Desktop Pool wizard. Device screen provides following options to administrator:

    • Add: To add Devices into this pool
    • Remove: Remove added Devices
    • Search: To search any already added Devices
    • Refresh: To refresh the list of already added Devices

<zportal-add-shared-pool6.png>

    1. Add Devices to Pool
      For adding devices to Desktop Pool, click on Add Device button. This will invoke Available Device Dialog

        • Available Devices Dialog
          Displays list of all registered devices in zPortal Controller (except devices which are already added in this pool). The behavior of Available Devices and Available Desktops is little different in a manner that Available Devices dialog lists those devices as well which are used in other Desktop Pools also, due to the design that a device can be assigned with multiple Desktops using multiple Desktop Pools. In Available Devices dialog, administrator has the following options

          • View list of available device
            • Displaying the currently assigned Desktop and Pool information as well to avoid same device being used in different pools
          • Refresh the list of Devices to get a fresh list of Devices registered with zPortal Controller
          • Search: Any specific Device
          • Select Single, Multiple or Select All devices using respective checkboxes
            <zportal-add-shared-pool7.png>

            • Add Devices from Available Devices Dialog: In Available Devices dialog, select all required devices and click on OK button to add them in Desktop Pool. Administrator will be navigated back to Device screen with displaying all selected devices as added.

<zportal-add-shared-pool8.png>

  1. Remove Devices from Desktop Pool
    To remove added Devices from pool, select the devices from Devices screen and click on Remove button. Selected devices will be removed from devices screen and will be available in Available devices list now.
    <zportal-add-shared-pool9.png> 
  2. Refresh List of Added Devices
    To refresh already added devices in Devices screen, click on Refresh button.
  3. Search any Device in Added Devices list
    For searching any specific device(s) in added devices list, enter any appropriate search text in Search text box and press Enter key or click on Search icon displayed.The devices matching the search criteria will now be highlighted and be displayed first.
    <zportal-add-shared-pool10.png>

Users Screen to Configure Users as Clients in Desktop Pool

Assuming administrator has selected Entitlement Type as User based, which will now enable Users screen in Add Desktop Pool wizard. User screen provides following options to administrator:

    • Add: To add Users into this pool
    • Remove: Remove added Users
    • Search: To search any already added Users
    • Refresh: To refresh the list of already added Users

<zportal-add-shared-pool11.png>

    1. Add Users to Pool
      For adding users to Desktop Pool, click on Add button. This will invoke Available Client Dialog

        • Available Client Dialog
          Displays list of all available groups, OUs and users from configured authorization server except clients (groups, OUs or users) which are already added in this pool.In Available Clients dialog, administrator has the following options

          • Search: Any users, groups or OUs based on multiple filters.
          • Refresh the list of Users to get a fresh list of users available in Authentication server
          • Select Single, Multiple or Select All users using respective checkboxes
            <zportal-add-shared-pool12.png>

            Note:

            Groups or OUs are not supported with Workgroup and LDAP/Novell eDirectory type authentication servers and thus if configured authentication server is either of Workgroup or Novell eDirectory then Available Clients dialog will not display any group or OUs in respective tabs.

      Using Available Clients dialog to performing multiple operations:

        • Search, Select and Add Clients in Added Users list
          By default, no users, groups or OUS are listed and administrator must initiate explicit search for adding the users.Available Clients dialog provides advance search options to list down users, groups or OUs. These advanced options are:

          • Client Type Selection: Option to specify, the type of client to be searched, this could be user, group or OU
          • Search by Attribute: Administrator can specify what search attribute to be used for searching the client e.g. for Microsoft Active Directory this search attribute could be SAM Account Name, Name or Display Name
          • Search Option: Administrator can also specify the search option as Starts with, End With, Contains or Equals to narrow down the searches

          For searching any specific user(s) in added users list, enter any appropriate search text in Search text box and press Enter key or click on Search icon displayed. The users, groups or OUs matching the search criteria will be displayed.
          <zportal-add-shared-pool13.png>

      The screenshot above displays user search operation, similarly administrator can change Client Type to Group or OU and initiate search for respective objects in configured authorization server.

      In Available Users dialog, select all required users and click on OK button to add them in Desktop Pool. Administrator will be navigated back to User screen with displaying all selected users as added.
      <zportal-add-shared-pool14.png>

  1. Remove Users from Pool
    To remove added Users from pool, select the users from Users screen and click on Remove button. Selected users will be removed from Users screen and will be available in Available Users list now.
    <zportal-add-shared-pool15.png>
  2. Refresh List of Added Users
    To refresh already added users in Users screen, click on Refresh button.

Important Points for Adding Groups or OUs as Client:

  1. If groups or OUs are being added as clients for permanent dedicated Desktop Pools, then assignments should be kept Automatic as one virtual machine can be assigned to only one user (client) at a time.
  2. If the assignment is kept manual then none of the users (members of added group/OU) will be given session of desktops, as assignment is automatic.

Desktop Assignment Screen

Desktop Assignment screen provides interface for associating clients with Desktops.

In Desktop Assignment screen by default Auto Assignment checkbox is selected which enables the auto assignment of clients to Desktops.

Note:

While creating desktop pool with Dynamic Desktop Provisioning, Desktop Assignment screen is not displayed, as all cloned VMs are going to have same configurations and assignment will be done automatically to clients (as per configured Assignment Type).

Auto Assignment

Selecting checkbox Auto Assignment will create a dynamic assignment of clients to Desktops based on the status and availability of Desktops automatically, which means zPortal Controller will automatically assign Desktops to respective clients on first come first server basis until all the Desktops are consumed.

The scenario is best suited when all configured Desktops are having similar configurations and thus it does not matter which Desktop has been assigned to which client.

However, based on Assignment Life Span configuration i.e. Permanent or Temporary in General settings, the automatic assignments will be retained. E.g. administrator has configured a device based pool with assignment type a permanent and has enabled auto assignment, then for the first-time login from the device will randomly assign the Desktop to this device but the same assignment will be retained and will be made permanent so that every time on successful login same Desktop will be given access from same device.

On the other hand, if administrator has created a user based temporary assignment pool, the assignments will not be retained after the session is disconnected which means new assignments will be done every time based on Desktops availability and the session of same Desktop to same user will not be guaranteed.

<zportal-add-dedicated-pool36.png>

Auto Assignment Use Cases

Below is the list of cases when Auto Assignment checkbox must be selected to enable auto assignment of clients:

    • Assignment Type is Temporary: For all the pools where Assignment Type has been selected as Temporary, then Auto Assignment checkbox should be kept selected.
    • Selected Clients Are Groups or OUs: In user based pool if administrator is willing to assign the Desktops to group of users or OUs rather than assigning it to users then Auto Assignment should be kept checked.
    • All Desktops are having same configurations: If all the Desktops are having similar configurations then it’s better to make assignment automatic.
    • All permanent pool where administrator is willing to enable Auto Assignment

Manual Assignment

If the selected Desktops need to be assigned to clients manually, then administrator can uncheck the Auto Assignment checkbox which then displays the list of clients and Desktop select dropdown for each client.

Deselecting Auto Assignment checkbox enables interface for assigning Desktops to Devices (Refer below screenshot). Administrator can select appropriate Desktop from displayed dropdown list.

Note:

One Desktop can be assigned to one client only and therefore selecting same Desktop for more than one client will display corresponding error and administrator will not be able to proceed.

<zportal-add-dedicated-pool37.png>

Above screenshot is for device based pool and thus listing the devices, in same way desktops can be assigned to users also.

Desktop Assignment Screen Skipping

There are cases when the auto assignment is by default enabled and thus even the Desktop Assignment screen is not displayed in Desktop Pool wizard.

These cases are:

    • Desktop Provisioning is selected as Dynamic: When Desktops are configured in Desktop Pool using Desktop Provision Then Auto Assignment is used and Desktop Assignment screen is not displayed. Refer screenshot below:
      <zportal-add-dedicated-pool38.png>
    • Selected Desktop Virtualization Type is of type Shared Virtual Desktop: In Shared Virtual Desktop Pool, all clients access the sessions from single session host server and thus no assignment is required and Desktop Assignment screen is not displayed.
      <zportal-add-dedicated-pool39.png>

Advance Settings

In Desktop Pool wizard, following advance options can be configured as per requirements from Advance screen:

    • Keep Desktops in Power on State: The possible configurations are:
      • Not Configured: zPortal Controller will not modify Desktops power state if found powered off
      • All Desktops: zPortal Controller will keep all the configured Desktops in Desktop Pool in power on state always. Thus, if the Desktop goes into power off state in any circumstances, zPortal Controller will try to power it on
      • Specified Desktops – Count: zPortal Controller will try to keep specified number of Desktops in power on state e.g. if total of 10 Desktops are configured in Desktop Pool and Specified Desktop Count is 5 then zPortal Controller will keep at least 5 out of 10 Desktops in power on state.

        It does not mean that zPortal Controller will power off remaining Desktops rather it only keeps track of powered off Desktops and as soon as powered on Desktops count goes below the specified level i.e. 5 it will initiate a power on command for any of the powered off Desktop to keep count as 5.

    • Power on State Timing: This setting will only be displayed if the setting ‘Keep Desktops in Power on State‘ is configured as All Desktops or Specified Desktops. Using this configuration Administrator can configure the timing when Desktops must be kept powered on. The possible configuration can be:
      • Always: Which means specified or all Desktops will be always kept powered on
      • Before Specified Timing: To be entered in HH:MM TT format and specifies when the Desktops will be powered on if found powered off. zPortal Controller starts the Desktops power on process before the specified timing to get them ready before the specified time.
    • Power action when user logs off: The setting Power action when user logs off specifies what action will be taken by zPortal Controller once the user will log off its session. Possible actions can be:
      • Not Configured: Do not take any action
      • Power Off: Power off the Desktop, once user has logged off the session
      • Suspend: Suspend the Desktop, once user has logged off the session
        Note:

        The setting Power action when user logs off will not be enabled when the Keep Desktops in Power On state is configured as All Desktops due to the reason that keeping all the desktops in Powered on state will contradict with the setting of power action on user log off.

    • Force user logs off after session disconnect: This setting specifies what logoff action should be taken when user session gets disconnected. The possible configurations are:
      • Never: Do not log off user session if gets disconnected
      • Immediately: Immediately logoff user session when session gets disconnected
      • After Specified Time: Log off user session when session gets disconnected after the specified time e.g. log off user session after 10 minutes of disconnection
    • User Permission (Add user to local Administrator group): Selecting the option will make the logged in user a member of local administrator group on the target Desktop. Unchecking will not modify the user privileges on the Desktops.
    • Dedicated Linux VM Pool: A special configuration to be used when Linux based dedicated desktops to be delivered to end users.

<zportal-add-dedicated-pool40.png>

Administrator should configure appropriate Advance settings as per requirements in Advance screen and can move to Summary screen for verifying the configured options.

Summary Screen

Once all the configurations i.e. General Settings, Desktops Configuration, Client Configuration, Desktop Assignment and Advance Configurations are done, Add Desktop Pool wizard presents the Summary screen, which displays the details of all configured options.

Summary screen provides the opportunity to verify all the configurations done using previous screens.

Administrator can go back using Back buttons on respective screens to modify the configurations if required or click on Finish button to commit the pool changes. zPortal Controller will start the operations required after pool creation e.g. Desktop Provisioning or getting Desktop details etc.

Summary screen provides information for

    • General Configuration: Name, Description, Entitlement Type, Session Provider, Desktop Provisioning Type, Assignment Life Span, Is Active details
    • Desktops: If existing Desktops are configured
      • Number displaying number of Desktops configured in the Pool
    • Deployment: If Dynamic Desktop Provisioning is configured
      • Template: Name of selected Source VM
      • Name Prefix:
      • Cloning Type
      • Max Capacity
      • Creation Schedule
      • Create New
      • Spare
      • Power on Desktop post provisioning:
      • Store: What datastore has been configured
      • Pool: What resource pool is selected
    • Client: Client type and number of clients configured e.g. Devices: 3
    • Assignment: Number – how many assignments are present in pool e.g. 3
    • Advance configuration details:
      • Power On state:
      • User logoff power action
      • Force user logoff after session disconnect
      • Add user to local Administrator group
        <zportal-add-dedicated-pool41.png>
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