How to Set Up Horizon View Desktops Managed by Horizon Mirage

Jan 22, 2014
Tina de Benedictis

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Tina de Benedictis is Senior Manager in the End-User-Computing Technical Marketing group at VMware. Her team writes and edits white papers, blog posts, and knowledge base articles on VMware End-User-Computing products.

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By Judy Wu, Solution Engineer, End-User Computing, VMware

VMware Horizon View (formerly VMware View) is a virtual desktop infrastructure solution that simplifies desktop management and provides users with what they need, when they need it. VMware Horizon Mirage provides centralized image management for Windows desktops with enhanced levels of backup and OS migration capabilities. In short, Horizon View is used to build out the virtual desktop infrastructure, while Horizon Mirage manages the content inside the desktops—OS, applications, and user profiles and settings. So it would be fantastic to manage Horizon View desktops with Horizon Mirage, giving IT a single management solution for both physical and virtual desktop environments.

This blog tells you how to set up Horizon View full-clone desktops and manage them with Horizon Mirage.

Topology

The following graphic shows the topology for the environment.

vmware-horizon-view-mirage-integration-diagram

From this topology, it’s easy to summarize the necessary components:

  • Mirage – Mirage Server and Mirage Management Server
  • A reference CVD virtual machine (centralized virtual desktop for base layer capturing; can be a physical machine, but virtual makes more sense in a Horizon View implementation)
  • A virtual machine for app layer capturing (can be a physical machine, but virtual makes more sense in a Horizon View implementation)
  • A template virtual machine that will be used to create a persistent full-clone pool

The following releases and features are supported by the Horizon View / Horizon Mirage integration:

  • Horizon View 5.3
  • Horizon Mirage 4.3
  • Pool types – persistent full-clone pools

Note that the template virtual machine has a two-way arrow connecting it to the Mirage Server. The template virtual machine is backed up and can be restored if necessary from its CVD in the datacenter.

You initially create the desktop pool from the template virtual machine. After that, Horizon Mirage manages individual virtual desktops in one direction only: updated base and application layers are sent directly from the Mirage Server to these virtual desktops as needed. User-controlled layers, if present, can be retained on or removed from these individual virtual desktops.

Installation and Preparation

There are six installation and preparation steps to set up Horizon View virtual desktops for management by Horizon Mirage.

  1. Install Horizon Mirage. (Refer to the VMware Horizon Mirage 4.3 Documentation Center.)
  2. Install Horizon View. (Refer to the VMware Horizon View Documentation.)
  3. Capture a base layer.
  4. Capture an app layer.
  5. Create a template virtual machine for the Horizon View full-clone pool.
  6. Create a full-clone pool.

For steps 1 and 2, refer to the product documentation. This article focuses on what to do after Horizon Mirage and Horizon View are installed.

Capture a Base Layer

After installing the Horizon Mirage Client on a device, a base layer can be captured from the device. In a Horizon View implementation, it makes most sense to use a virtual machine as the base-layer device. To capture a base layer:

1. In the Horizon Mirage Management Console, select Common Wizards > Capture Base Layer.

vmware-horizon-mirage-capture-base-layer

2. The Capture Base Layer window appears. Select the capture type. You can choose to capture a base layer from an existing CVD or create a new reference CVD. (Refer to the Horizon Mirage 4.3 Documentation Center for information on how to create a new reference CVD.) In the example below, we choose to create a new reference CVD.

vmware-horizon-mirage-select-capture-type

3. Follow the prompts to complete the Capture Base Layer wizard. During this process, you select and modify the default CVD policy, or create your own CVD policy, for the Reference CVD. When you modify the default policy or create your own policy, be sure not to select Optimize for VMware Horizon View or Layer assignment only:

vmware-horizon-mirage-add-cvd-policy

Upon successful completion of the task, the captured base layer is listed under Image Composer > Base Layers in the Horizon Mirage Management Console, as shown in the following image.

vmware-horizon-mirage-base-layers

Capture an App Layer

After installing the Horizon Mirage Client on a device, an app layer can be captured from the device. In a Horizon View implementation, it makes most sense to use a virtual machine as the app-layer device. To capture an app layer:

1. In the Horizon Mirage Management Console, select Common Wizards > Capture App Layer.

vmware-horizon-mirage-capture-app-layer

2. From the Select Pending Device window, select the virtual machine from which the app layer will be captured.

vmware-horizon-mirage-select-pending-device

3. Select an upload policy.

4. Follow the prompts to complete the wizard. When the process is complete, a popup message appears on the virtual machine:

vmware-horizon-mirage-app-layer-recording

5. After the process of initializing the app layer recording is complete, a new popup message appears on the virtual machine:

vmware-horizon-mirage-recording-app-layer

6. Next, on the app-layer device, install any software that you want to capture in the current app layer. It is recommended that you capture View Agent in an app layer, not in the base layer.

7. After all applications have been installed, go to the Management Console again. Select Task Monitoring, right-click the Capture App Layer task, and select Finalize App Layer Capture. Alternatively, you can go to Reference CVDs, right-click the corresponding CVD, and select Finalize App Layer Capture. Both of these actions bring up the Capture App Layer dialog shown below.

vmware-horizon-mirage-review-recorded-apps

You will see all the applications that you installed in step 6 listed in this dialog.

8. Select whether you will create a new app layer or update an existing one.

vmware-horizon-mirage-capture-app-layer-detail

It is recommended that you create a new app layer if the applications have been captured for the first time. Otherwise, if you are upgrading the applications, update an existing layer.

9. Follow the dialog to complete the process and upload the app layer to the Mirage Server.

When the task is successfully completed, the captured app layer will be listed under Image Composer > App Layers in the Management Console.

vmware-horizon-mirage-app-layers

Create a Template Virtual Machine

The template virtual machine must have both Mirage Client and View Agent installed. Refer to the Horizon Mirage 4.3 Documentation Center for more details and best practices.

Assign the base layer to the template virtual machine. If all virtual desktops in the pool will share the same app layers, assign the appropriate app layers to the template virtual machine.

Create a Horizon View Full-Clone Pool

Create a Horizon View full-clone pool using the virtual machine template you created. All newly created virtual machines will have a pending status until the devices are centralized. With Horizon Mirage, you centralize the Horizon View virtual desktops, but Horizon Mirage does not use the CVD for backing up, as with physical desktops.

Manage Horizon View Desktops with Horizon Mirage

Now that you have completed the necessary installation and preparation steps, you can begin to manage Horizon View desktops with Horizon Mirage.

Centralize Horizon View Desktops

1. In the Horizon Mirage Management Console, select Common Wizards > Centralize Endpoint.

vmware-horizon-mirage-centralize-endpoint

2. Use Search or filter to select the Horizon View desktops in the full-clone pool that you created.

3. When prompted to select the upload policy for the Horizon View desktops, choose Horizon Mirage CVD policy optimized for Horizon View. If you want to create your own policy for the Horizon View desktops, make sure that either Optimize for VMware Horizon View or Layer assignment only is selected for this policy.

vmware-horizon-view-optimize-for-view

Setting this kind of policy means that the corresponding devices do not upload files to the datacenter. You cannot revert the devices to a Horizon Mirage snapshot or restore user files to previous versions. Horizon Mirage periodically uploads only metadata about these devices, such as the list of installed applications.

Note: It is not forbidden to choose a normal policy (with neither Optimize for VMware Horizon View nor Layer assignment only selected) for Horizon View desktops. If the number of Horizon View desktops is small, you can choose a normal policy so that all data will be uploaded and protected.

4. Select the base layer you created.

5. Select the app layer(s). Multiple app layers can be selected; make sure that at least one of the app layers contains the View Agent.

6. Complete the wizard to finish the process of centralizing the Horizon View desktops.

Create a Collection in Horizon Mirage

In Horizon Mirage, create a Collection to represent the Horizon View desktop pool. Here are the steps:

vmware-horizon-mirage-collections

1. Select Inventory > Collections. All existing collections are listed.

2. Click the “+”button, which displays the Add Collection window.

3. Input a collection Name and Description.

4. Select the collection type. Here we recommend you select Dynamic Collection. With this choice, the extra full-cloned desktops that you create in the future will be automatically included in this dynamic collection. With the Static Collection choice, you would have to add them manually into the collection.

5. Define the pattern to filter the CVDs.

6. Click OK to finish.

Update Base and App Layers to Horizon View Desktops

Horizon Mirage provides a configurable setting for the concurrent number of layer updates in a Horizon View deployment. The default setting provides the optimal end-user experience. You might want to change the setting if the urgency of layer updates takes precedence over user experience. See the Update Base or App Layers for Horizon View Desktops chapter in the Managing Horizon View Desktops with Horizon Mirage documentation.

Before you assign any new layers to the Horizon View desktops, run the layer-conflict report. This prevents conflicts with user-installed applications.

Here are the steps to run a layer-conflict report:

vmware-horizon-mirage-layer-conflict-report

1. Select Reports > Layer Dry-Run (Program) or Layer Dry-Run (Conflicts). The first one is for both base layer and app layers. The second one is for the base layer only.

2. Click the “+” button, which displays the report window.

3. Enter a Report Name.

4. Click the CVDs or Collection tab. Select items from the list and click Select.

5. Click Next and follow the instructions to finish the steps.

The report will be displayed, and you can view the report when the status is Done.

To perform the layer updates, use the Horizon Mirage Management Console to assign a new base layer or app layer(s) to the CVD collection of the Horizon View pool.

Important: When you select which layer-updates to perform, make sure that after the updates are completed, the CVDs are still assigned to at least one layer (base or app) that contains the Horizon View Agent.

References

VMware Horizon View 5.3 Documentation

VMware Horizon Mirage 4.3 Documentation Center

Downloads

VMware Horizon View

VMware Horizon Mirage

I’ll write again in the future when we have further improvements and enhancements to report. You can provide feedback or send questions about managing Horizon View desktops with Horizon Mirage using the Leave a Reply feature at the bottom of this blog.