VMware View

View Composer – disk savings and more

View Composer is one of the really exciting new parts of the VMware View solution. I’ll let Rick Westrate give us the overview. A New “View” of Virtual Desktop Computing | Virtual Insanity.

Composer is what I consider to be one of the most exciting new features
of this release (even though it’s really a separate product). The storage cost associated with deploying virtual desktops has been up to now, one of the largest barriers of adoption. Many
organizations I deal with loved VDI and what it represented in terms of
data security and lowered management costs, but they just couldn’t get
over putting all their desktop storage on expensive, SAN-based storage….  View Composer solves
this problem for the rest of the world as it allows you to
significantly reduce the amount of storage used by employing linked
clones. Composer allows you to identify a “gold image” from which you desktop pool will be created. You then tell Composer what LUN’s to store the VM’s on and then the fun begins. Composer creates a replica on each of the LUN’s you provided and then there, the small linked clones are built. The provisioning is extremely fast and as you can imagine, highly space efficient.  … 

Composer isn’t just a storage savings tool. It’s also a game changer for desktop management. Now
that you have all these linked clones for your desktop pool, you have
the option to now manage the lifecycle of these desktops from the image. That’s
in contrast to how thing normally work where once a desktop is created
you have to continually patch it and upgrade it to maintain it
(applications, windows updates, virus updates, and security updates). With
the linked clones, we can now simply update the image at the top of the
tree and re-home all the downstream desktops to the new version of the
image. This is called a “Re-Compose” operation Think about the ramifications of that! You
could roll out a new application to 1000’s of users with a few clicks,
with a high degree of certainty by simply Re-Composing your users to a
new version of the master image. Good stuff!! With
the addition of the User Data Drive option which employs Windows
Profile Folder Redirection technology, you can ensure that your user’s
personal settings persist even after refreshing their desktop or even
moving them to a completely new version of their desktop. Heck,
you can even schedule a refresh of your user’s desktops every x days to
ensure that your user’s never experience “Windows Rot” through the
“Refresh” function.

Rod Haywood gives us a deep dive into the storage savings. Musings of Rodos: Storage Analysis of VMware View Composer.

Can I turn 16TB of storage for 1000 VDI users into 619GB, let me show
you how it’s actually done. The release today of VMware View Manager 3
brings to market the long anticipated thin provisioning of storage for
virtual desktops. Previewed in 2007 as SVI (Scalable Virtual Images)
what does this now released View Composer linked clone technology look
like under the hood? How much storage will it actually use? …

He goes through the files and directories created when you use View Composer, e.g.

Using the Add Desktop wizard in the View Administrator you can
create a pool of desktops based on a snapshot from a ParentVM. As part
of the process you have to choose a VM and one of its snapshots. When
this is done a unique replica is created. This process is marked as (1)
on the diagram. Here a copy of the machine is performed, into a new
directory however the disk is thin provisioned. If our original disk
was 15G yet only 2G was consumed, the disk in the replica will only by
2G. This process can take a short period of time as the data copies,
but it is a once off process. This thin provisioned disk is the master
disk that all of the clone VMs will use as their base. You can make
changes to the parent VM, and the replica can not be harmed.

Necessary to understand what is going on — a nice walkthrough before you sit down and try it yourself.


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