It's a tricky balancing act to manage a physical desktop estate and the challenges that it brings in delivering an improved and more flexible level of service to your end users while lowering management costs. It's a near-impossible task that IT administrators face today. This is where the latest VMware technology comes into play and helps you solve these challenges.
VMware Horizon View is a platform that delivers centralized, virtual desktop machines hosted on a server running a hypervisor and located in a data center. The end user then remotely connects to their virtual desktop machine from their end point device, such as a Windows laptop, Apple Mac, or tablet device. This technology, first introduced by VMware in 2002, is what is now known as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, or VDI.
VDI provides users with the freedom to work in a way that suits them, freeing them from the restrictions of not having to be in the office but also allowing them the choice of the device they use. This makes them more productive, and ultimately, your business more agile.
From an IT administrator's perspective, VDI allows you to centrally manage your desktop environment, from being able to manage desktop images to the ease of adding and removing user entitlements—all controlled from a single management console.
Horizon View 6.0 is VMware's latest virtual desktop solution designed to centralize and virtualize your desktop environment using the market-leading virtualization features and technology within VMware's Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) portfolio. Horizon View 6.0 builds upon this technology platform to deliver a rich user experience, enabling BYOD, flexible working, and enhanced security, to name but a few.
Delivering an end user experience requires a different approach from other infrastructure-based initiatives. Getting this right is the key for a project to have a successful outcome, and this book will show you how.
Chapter 1, Introducing VDI and VMware Horizon 6.0, introduces what VDI is and how it compares with other VDI-type technologies. We will then cover the VMware VDI story and history in brief, followed by an overview of the latest solution.
Chapter 2, Horizon View 6.0 Architectural and Feature Overview, introduces you to the different components that make up the Horizon View solution. Each section will start with an overview of a specific feature or component, describing its role in the overall solution, how it fits into the infrastructure, and in some cases, take a look under the hood at how it works.
Chapter 3, Designing and Building a Horizon View 6.0 Infrastructure, starts by talking about where to start and how to run a successful pilot. Before we embark on our VDI project, we need to understand how to approach it. We then go on to look at how we design and size an environment using a real-life example scenario.
Chapter 4, Installing Horizon View 6.0, shows you how to install the Horizon View components. Each section of the installations will be shown in detail using screenshots, detailing each of the options we select and providing reasons as to why we are selecting them. You also have the opportunity to follow the installation process, as we also build out an example lab.
Chapter 5, A Guided Tour of the Horizon View Administrator Console, takes a quick guided tour of the View Administrator console. The Horizon View Administrator is a web-based management console that is used to manage your View environment, allowing you to configure infrastructure components, desktop pools, and user entitlements.
Chapter 6, Building and Optimizing Virtual Desktop Machine OS Images, looks at how to build an operating system image for use as a virtual desktop machine. We will cover the step-by-step process of building the virtual machine, optimizing it for VDI, and then preparing it for delivery to the end user. Using examples, we will build a Windows 7 virtual desktop using linked clones, a Windows 8 full-clone desktop, and a Windows 7 full-clone desktop with access to a hardware-enabled GPU.
Chapter 7, Configuring Horizon View to Deliver Virtual Desktops, follows on from the previous chapter and we will now configure and prepare Horizon View to deliver the virtual desktop machines we built in that chapter. Using the example lab, we will configure three desktop pools for our three virtual desktop machines, one for Windows 7 (a floating assignment with linked clones), one for Windows 8 (a dedicated, full clone), and finally, a manual pool with a dedicated assignment and using an NVIDIA GPU.
Chapter 8, Horizon View Clients, looks at the different options available to end users in order to allow them to connect to their virtual desktop machines, some of the advantages and disadvantages of the different options, and why it matters which one you choose. We will talk about software clients, hardware clients, thin clients, and accessing your desktop from a browser.
Chapter 9, Fine-tuning the End User Experience, covers how we can fine-tune the end user experience. With users now using virtual desktop machines, we need to make sure that the end user experience is running at its optimum level. In this chapter, we will look at how we can tune this experience, firstly with the Active Directory Group Policy templates that control the behavior of the virtual desktop machine, and then with some of the other tools that are available.
Appendix, References, contains useful links related to the official VMware documentation and tools covered in this book.
To get the most out of this book, you should have some experience working as a desktop administrator with skills and knowledge in building and designing Microsoft-Windows-based environments. You should also be familiar with the VMware vSphere platform (ESXi and vCenter Server) and be comfortable with building and configuring virtual machines as well as configuring storage and networking.
Throughout the book, you have the opportunity to follow step-by-step practical guides in order to deploy Horizon View in an example lab environment. If you want to work through the practical examples, you will need the following software:
VMware Horizon View 6.0
vSphere 5.5 Update 1
You can download a trial copy of Horizon View 6.0 from https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/evalcenter?p=horizon.
You will also need the following software to build virtual machines and deploy applications:
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 64 bit
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 32 bit or 64 bit
Microsoft Windows 8.1
Microsoft SQL Express
If you are a desktop administrator or part of an end user computing project team looking into how to get up to speed with the latest VMware Horizon View solution quickly, then this book is perfect for you and your ideal companion to deploy a solution in order to centrally manage and virtualize your desktop estate using Horizon View 6.0. You will need to have some experience in desktop management using the Microsoft Windows desktop operating systems and general Windows applications; you should also be familiar with the Active Directory, SQL, and VMware vSphere infrastructure (ESXi and vCenter Server) technology.
In this book, you will find a number of styles of text that distinguish between different kinds of information. Here are some examples of these styles, and an explanation of their meaning.
Code words in text, database table names, folder names, filenames, file extensions, pathnames, dummy URLs, user input, and Twitter handles are shown as follows: "After installing the certificate, you will need to restart the
View Connection Server service in order for it to pick up the certificate."
Any command-line input or output is written as follows:
Montereyenable.exe – enable
New terms and important words are shown in bold. Words that you see on the screen, in menus or dialog boxes for example, appear in the text like this: "Click on OK when you have completed the configuration."
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