I wanted to do a post of my initial experiences with the deployment and management of VMware View 4.6. I have used VMware server virtualization for years and in the past month had a need and opportunity to deploy VMware View for production use. The scenario was that we currently had Xendesktop deployed for a pro0f of concept (POC) by our internal Citrix admins and engineers. It should be defined up front that their knowledge and experience is with XenApp and not Xendesktop. This is not a bash Citrix Xendesktop post so don’t read it that way. A month or so later I was approached about using VMware View for virtual desktop deployments from the guys who deployed Xendesktop. Of course I said!
It’s been about a year ago since I deployed VMware View in a lab setting so a few changes were made to product from that version, which I can’t remember, to the current View 4.6. I refreshed my knowledge of VMware View in it’s current form and it was all down hill from there. Using a couple (half) of the HP BL460 G1 blades from the previous Xendesktop deployment I installed the latest version of esxi. I decided to go with NFS so the storage guy carved up enough storage for the pilot from the EMC NS array. I created a virtual machine for vCenter and one for MS SQL making sure that the base operating system was Windows 2008 R2 x64. Once those were installed an configured, I added the two esx hosts and made all of the default and needed configurations to support HA and DRS. Once I was done with that part I could begin installing the components to support VMware View.
The View components that I installed and required up front to deploy virtual desktops, without local mode or external access, were the View Connection Server and View Composer. Getting the View components install and configured literally took me around 45 minutes with no issues at all. Installing the first virtual desktop took me the longest up till now due to all of the tweaking of the Windows 7 operating system and getting the base applications installed. Once the desktop was done I shut it down, took a snapshot, and created a desktop pool that used a preconfigured customization in vCenter that would be used to sysprep the virtual desktops. Now this is all high level and details were left out about the design that would in most cases apply to any VDI deployment whether you were using Citrix Xendesktop or VMware View. Things like service account creation, Active Directory OU structure, security groups for VDI access/administration, folder redirection and so on. In the end this is what the logical environment would look like.
All is not done but it’s a great start and so far the initial user base is much happier. We have tested VMware View desktops with Mac users, Windows users, Linux users, thin clients, and even with the iPad client. Took awhile to get the thin client going but it was resolved very quickly after reading the setup instructions. I even got rid of that old desktop and replaced it with a thin client which works much better.