VDI with VMware View


The traders with 6 screens and two machines each needed a more elaborate VDI system. But for the back office, with a mere two screens each, I deployed VMware Horizon View.  I’ve upgraded though View 3, 4 and 5 and expect to upgrade to View 6 soon.  We have mixture of HP thin clients and repurposed PCs.  With a little VDI optimisation Windows 7 will work great in a VDI environment.

Some things to know:

  • Your storage needs to be rock solid before attempting VDI
  • Your connectivity to storage needs to be rock solid before attempting VDI. Consider NFS datastores over 10GB networking.
  • Zero clients are easier to manage than Windows Embedded clients
  • Test peripherals like smartcard readers. View client has a group policy setting to forward smartcards.
  • You can’t resize the disks of a thin-cloned VM.  Make the disk large to start with (maybe shrink the partition)
  • Manage your scheduled antivirus scans. Spread these out.
  • VMware View agent needs a couple of Windows 7 hotfixes. These are mentioned in the admin docs. Set these as pre-requisites of your View Agent package.
  • If you have good user profile management (optimised roaming profiles) then staff won’t mind so much if you replace their VM once in a while. The new one still have their wallpaper and preferences.
  • Don’t try patching or updating software on a new VM until deployment is complete.  Delays during deployment, caused by patching or group policy scripts, will cause View deployment to timeout. A view pool postsync script to delete c:\DontPatchImStillDeploying.FLAGFILE works ok.  PostSync scripts can also be used to tag VMs per-pool (so you can target departmental apps to them. Set a HKLM reg key and include this in SCCM hardware inventory; or drop a flag file for software inventory)