Automating Small Environments–Practical Tips For SMBs #VDM30for30

There is a big push in the industry towards automation – and for good reason.  IT departments are being tasked to do more with less, and automation enables them to do that.  A lot of the focus on automation is around DevOps, configuration management, and enabling self-service application deployment.

A lot of the tools to support these areas are built for larger enterprises where there is a need to build up or scale out production applications quickly or deploy full application stacks for testing.

It makes sense to automate in larger enterprises as there are a lot of benefits.  It enables IT to be more responsive to the business and internal customers.  Giving developers the tools to deploy their own application stacks frees up sysadmins to work on other tasks, and there is usually a resource or two that can become an expert on the automation and find ways to utilize it to drive more value out of it.

But what about smaller environments?  IT staffs are usually pretty small and focused on putting out the fires before they burn down the facility.  Procedures aren’t always well defined or even defined enough to automate a task.  They’re probably not deploying a lot of new applications or servers for production or development environments, and the applications that are deployed most likely benefit from scaling servers up rather than scaling out.

Automation tools like vRAC and Puppet Enterprise are usually too complex and too expensive for this space, and even if the budget is there, the business case isn’t. 

And yet the SMB space is probably the space that can benefit from automation the most.  So how can they utilize their limited resources to do more with less?

There are a couple of tips I have for automating in an SMB:

  1. Understand where you will get the most value from automating – There are still tasks that you need to do on a regular basis, or there are infrequent tasks that are time consuming.  Maybe its provisioning, or terming, a new user.  Maybe its creating mailboxes in Exchange or running a report manually.  There is value in automating these routine tasks, and you will recover the time you put into it pretty quickly.
  2. Document your processes – As you run through a task that you plan to automate, put the process down on paper.  You can’t automate a process if you don’t know how it should run.  Documentation can also help with troubleshooting after you’ve automated the process.
  3. Start Small – Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it takes time to program and troubleshoot a script.  Start small by automating the most common or time consuming parts of the task and then add features as you have time or need them.
  4. Avoid Scope Creep – It’s easy to get carried away as you start to automate tasks and processes.  But if you’re not going to get any value from automating a task, move it to the bottom of the list.  The last thing you want to do is to spend so much time on a low-priority task that other, higher priority tasks slip. 
  5. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel – You can find script repositories and tutorials for many tasks in just about any language.  Use these as a base and modify them to fit your environment rather than writing something from scratch.
  6. Dedicate Time – Time is a premium commodity in the SMB IT departments that I’ve worked in.  Automating frequent and/or time consuming tasks will be a net time gainer, and you will gain that time back down the road. 

Stories I’ve Never Wanted to Leave…#VDM30in30

Earlier this week, Gina Minks posted an article called “The 1st Story I Never Wanted to Leave.”  John Price also posted about this today.  I thought the concept was fascinating, and I wanted to share something in this vein.

I was an avid reader when I was growing up.  I was often reading something, and I loved hanging out in the Sci-Fi section of my local Barnes and Noble. 

The book that really stands out to me is Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson.  I don’t remember exactly when I read Red Mars for the first time, but the first book in the Mars Trilogy was extremely immersive.  I could imagine myself riding along with John Boone, Maya Toitovna, and the rest of the First 100 as they explored the red planet and built a new home.  Although this series did continue with two other books, by the time I got to Blue Mars, I started to lose interest in the series as the red planet became more earth-like and the feel of the story changed from colonizing a new world to politics and building a government.

I reread Red Mars earlier this year, and one thing that stood out to me was that there was so much I missed when I read it as a teenager.  I didn’t have the life experience to really understand the characters or the situation they were in.  As a teenager, I saw it as a cool story about people living on another world, but as an adult, I could relate to the characters better and understand the situation they went into.  I could also better appreciate the language that Robinson used.

This book made a huge impact on me, and there are days where I want to sit down and write about intrepid explorers trekking across the surface of Mars.

Horizon View 6.0 Application Publishing Part 1: Introduction #VDM30in30

One of the advantages that Citrix had over VMware in the EUC space was the ability to just publish specific applications to users with the MetaFrame/Presentation Server/XenApp line of products.  This suite utilized the Microsoft Terminal Services/RDSH roles on Windows Server to present users with centrally hosted and managed applications as if those applications were installed locally on their computer.

Application publishing was one of the new features that VMware added in Horizon 6.0 when it was released earlier this summer.  Like XenApp, this feature relies upon Windows Servers with the Remote Desktop Session Host role. 

The new application publishing feature reuses a lot of the infrastructure that is deployed to support virtual desktops.  This feature utilizes the same connection servers and security servers as the virtual desktop environment, and access to the published applications is done through the Horizon Client.    This provides a single point of management for the entire environment.

Why Publish Applications?

Application publishing technology is not new.  Citrix and Microsoft have both had versions of this technology for some time.  Many of the reasons for using those programs also apply to the Horizon application publishing feature.

The most common reasons I know of for publishing out applications are;

  • You want to centrally manage and provide access to core/critical Windows desktop business applications
  • You work in multiple locations and want applications to follow you – such as medical personnel in a hospital
  • You want to provide secure access to specific applications to remote users.

These are just a few of the reasons to publish out applications, and that list is by no means exhaustive. 


The licensing model for publishing applications from servers using Remote Desktop Services is different from the licensing model for virtual desktops.  Like virtual desktops, Remote Desktop Services is not covered under the standard Windows licensing, and Microsoft requires separate RDS CALs to enable this feature on Windows Servers. 

A separate license server is required to manage the RDS CALs.  If this license server is not available, the RDSH services will shut down after the trial period expires.  Configuring the RDS license server is beyond the scope of this series, but there is a good walkthrough here.

More information on licensing Remote Desktop Services can be found on the Microsoft site, and you should contact your Microsoft licensing rep if you have any questions.  The whitepaper in the link also covers licensing Microsoft desktop applications such as Office in RDS environments.

Up Next

The next article in this series will cover how to configure a Windows Server as an Remote Desktop Session Host and add it into Horizon View as an application host.  Publishing out applications will be covered after that, and the final article in this series will cover how to access published applications from within a Horizon View virtual desktop.

Using the Right Tool for the Job #VDM30in30

At the last Wisconsin VMware User Group meeting, there was a spirited, yet friendly, discussion between one of the leaders and a VMware SE whether people should use vCenter Orchestrator or PowerCLI.  The discussion focused on which was better to learn and use for managing and automating vSphere environments.

That conversation got me thinking about what the “right tool” is and how to select it.

So what is the right tool?  Is it Orchestrator?  PowerCLI?  Or something else?

As with anything else in IT, the answer is “It Depends.”   The automation engineer’s toolbox has grown significantly over the years, and before you can really answer that question, you need to understand what tasks you’re trying to accomplish and the capabilities of the different tools.

Not all automation tools are intended to be used the same way, and using one does not preclude using another to supplement it.  vCenter Orchestrator, for instance, is a workflow automation tool with a number of canned workflows for handling routine tasks in vSphere, and it is the underlying automation engine for the vCloud vRealize Automation Center.  But it also includes plugins for interfacing with and/or managing other systems – including PowerShell scripts on other hosts.  It is great for tasks that may be run multiple times, either on-demand or scheduled, but it may not be the right fit for quickly automating a one-off task.

PowerCLI, on the other hand, is based on PowerShell.  It is a great command line shell with powerful scripting capabilities.  Like Orchestrator, it is extensible, and Microsoft and other vendors have released their own PowerShell modules.  This allows an administrator to automate a large number of 3rd-party systems from a single shell.  But while it has some workflow capabilities and even a configuration management tool in Desired State Configuration, it isn’t necessarily the best tool for large scale orchestration or providing the front or middle tiers for large scale batch processing, enterprise self-service, or orchestration.

These are just two examples of the tools that you can pick from when automating your environment.  In the last couple of years, VMware has significantly expanded the number of scripting languages that they support by releasing additional SDKs for a variety of programming and scripting languages.

I should point out that neither of the two camps in this conversation were wrong.  An admin should ideally know of multiple tools and when to use them to maximum effect to solve a problem.

How I Use PowerCLI and vCenter Orchestrator

My answer to the question of “PowerCLI or vCenter Orchestrator” is best summed up by this classic meme:

Why Not Both

A lot of the automation that I’ve done at $Work has used both PowerShell, including PowerCLI, and vCenter Orchestrator working together to accomplish the tasks.

I use PowerShell to do almost all of the heavy lifting against a variety of systems including Active Directory, Exchange, vCenter, and even Microsoft Online Services.  The scripts are usually less than 200 lines, and my goal was to follow something similar to the Unix Design Philosophy where each script specializes in one specific task.  This, in my opinion, makes it easier to modify, add new features, or reuse code in other jobs.

I use vCenter Orchestrator for three things.  The first is to tie together the various scripts into workflows.  The second is to act as a job scheduling agent since I don’t have something like UC4 or Tidal in my environment.  The third is to enable me to offload tasks to developers or the help desk without having to give them any additional rights on other systems.

By utilizing the strengths of both Orchestrator and PowerShell, I’m able to accomplish more than just relying on one over the other.

Sunday Recipe–BBQ Chicken With Bacon #VDM30in30

This week’s VDM30in30 recipe combines everyone’s favorites – chicken, bacon,  BBQ sauce, and cheese into a single delicious dish that can be prepared in the oven or on the grill. 

This recipe started off as an attempt to replicate a similar dish from a local restaurant.  That restaurant, which is no longer in business, had a similar dish as a nightly special.  My wife loved it, and she said that she thought it was something that we could make at home.


  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 8 strips of bacon, cooked
  • 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Grill Directions:

1. Prepare your grill for direct cooking over medium heat.  Oil the grill grate to prevent chicken from sticking.

2. Cook chicken for 8-10 minutes until internal temperature reads 165 degrees with a thermometer, flipping once halfway through. 

3. Apply BBQ sauce to chicken,and then top with bacon and cheese.

4.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes until sauce has thickened and cheese has melted.

5. Remove from grill and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Oven Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place chicken in a shallow baking dish.

3. Bake chicken for 25 minutes or until temperature reads about 165 degrees with a thermometer.

4. Apply BBQ sauce to chicken,and then top with bacon and cheese.

5. Bake for another 5-8 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165 degrees.

6. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.

#VDM30in30–The halfway Point

Today is November 15th, and we’re halfway through the month.  That also means we’re halfway through VDM30in30.

So far, it’s been a great experience with some great content by the participants.  Some of the highlights so far are:

  • Anthony Chow’s OpenStack Deep Dive Series
  • Rob Nelson and Eric Wright explaining the Theory of Constraints
  • Gabe Maentz delivering some great content on what the Data Gravity storage array can do
  • Jonathon Frappier’s home lab upgrade series
  • James Brown’s “Keeping Up While Living in the Midwest” post that may lead to a regular podcast
  • John Price’s career recap and white board skills posts

I’m looking forward to seeing what comes in the last half of the month.

To Self-Publish…or Not To Self-Publish… #VDM30in30

At the Chicago VMUG User Conference two months ago, I happened to tweet something during Nick Marshall’s morning keynote that was inferred as volunteering to write a book.

Oh yeah, here’s the tweet:

Although that project did not pass the spouse acceptance test, and other priorities prevent me from committing the time to take on a project of that magnitude, I have been thinking about smaller writing projects.  One of the questions that I’ve been trying to work through is do I pitch ideas to various tech book publishers, or do I publish the book myself using self-publishing options from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other companies?

There are benefits and drawbacks to each option.  Publishers have resources for editing, reviewing, and marketing books, but the schedules can be very tight to fit the deadlines.  Self-publishing provides more freedom to write on your own schedule, but the author is responsible for finding their own editor.

There is a financial component to this model as well.  A publisher may provide an advance, but it may be a while before you see any royalties, and that is only if the book makes a profit.  Self-publishing provides no money up front, but you get to keep everything you make from the sale of the book.

These aren’t the only items that need to be considered when choosing whether to work with a publisher or self-publish.  There are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration.

What are your thoughts? Please share on Twitter by tweeting me at @seanpmassey.

Enabling Windows Server 2008 R2 Desktops in Horizon 6 #VDM30in30

VMware introduced support for Windows Server 2008 R2 virtual desktops in Horizon View 5.3.  This support wasn’t enabled out of the box.  It required an administrator to edit the View LDAP database to enable the feature and a special command-line only installation of the agent on the target desktop.

Horizon View 6 brought many new changes, including better support for Windows Server desktop.  The first patch set also added better support for this feature.

Why Use Windows Server 2008 R2 as a Desktop OS?

Historically, Microsoft licensing for virtual desktops has been a pain.  In the past, it required connecting endpoints to be covered under software assurance or users to be covered under expensive subscription-based licensing, and there were no service provider licensing options.

Although some of this appears to be changing with the latest per-user licensing SKUs that will be available on December 1st, 2014, the service provider side still hasn’t been fixed.

From a cost perspective, there are some benefits as well.  Windows Server Data Center licensing allows for unlimited Windows instances on licensed virtual hosts.  This can generate significant savings compared to VDA subscriptions.

Note: I am not an expert on Microsoft licensing, and the features and terms of Microsoft’s licensing can change frequently.  Please contact your Microsoft representative if you have any questions on licensing products for virtual desktop environments.

Enabling Windows Server 2008 R2 Desktop Support

Enabling Windows Server 2008 R2 desktop support have been streamlined from Horizon View 5.3, and manual edits to the LDAP database are no longer required.

The steps to enable this support are:

1. Log into the Horizon View Administrator console.

2. Go to View Configuration –> Global Settings

3. Click Edit.

4. Check the Enable Windows Server 2008 R2 Desktops checkbox and click OK.


Installing the Horizon View Agent

The process for installing the View Agent on Windows Server desktops has also been streamlined.  Installing the agent in View 5.3 required a command-line installation with a special switch to force the installer into desktop mode as the installer was geared for servers with the RDSH role. 

That has changed as well, and the installation process for Server 2008 R2 desktops is now the same as installing it on Windows 7/8/8.1 virtual desktops.

Horizon view 6.0 Part 12–Installing and Configuring A Security Server #VDM30in30

Horizon View provides a secure method for granting users access to their desktops from anywhere with an Internet connection on any device without needing a VPN connection.  Now that a desktop pool has been set up and desktops are provisioned, it’s time to set up that remote access.

The Security Server

The View Security Server is VMware’s method of addressing remote access.  This component of the Horizon View environment contains a subset of the Connection Server components, and it is designed to sit in a DMZ and act as a gateway for Horizon View Clients.  It’s essentially a reverse proxy for your View environment.

Each Security Server that is deployed needs a corresponding Connection Server, and they are paired during the installation process.  Because the Security Server is an optional component, each Connection Server is not required to have one, and a Connection Server cannot be paired to more than one Security Server.

Each Security Server also needs a static IP address.  If it is externally facing, it will need to have a publicly addressable static IP.  This IP address does not need to be configured on the server’s network card as both Static 1:1 NAT and PAT work with Horizon View.

Security Server Firewall Ports

In order to enable remote access, a few ports need to be opened on any firewalls that sit between the network where the Security Server has been deployed and the Internet.  If the server is deployed into a  DMZ, the firewall will also need to allow traffic between the Security Server and the Connection Server.

The rules that are required on the front-end, Internet-facing firewall are:

  • HTTP – TCP 80 In
  • HTTPS – TCP 443 In
  • HTTPS – TCP 8443 both directions (if Blast is used)
  • PCoIP – TCP 4172 In, UDP 4172 both directions

If you are deploying your Security Servers in a DMZ configuration with a back-end firewall, you need to configure your firewall to allow IPSEC traffic to the Connection Servers.  These rules depend on whether network address translation is used between the DMZ and Internal network.  For more information on the rules that need to be enabled, please see this VMware KB article.

The Security Server will also need to communicate with the Horizon View desktops.  The following ports will need to be opened to facilitate this:

  • PCoIP – TCP/UDP 4172 both directions

Note: If you’re using application-aware firewalls like Palo Alto Networks devices, make sure that any application protocols required by Horizon View aren’t blocked between the DMZ and Internal network.  Also, updates to the application signatures or the PCoIP protocol may impact users’ access to virtual desktops.

Configuring Horizon View for a Security Server

The Security Server installation will prompt for a Connection Server to be paired with and a pairing password during the install process.  This must be set up before the installation starts.  To set up the pairing password, take the following steps:

1. In View Administrator, go to View Configuration –> Servers

1. View Configuration

2. Click on the Connection Servers tab and select the Connection Server you want to pair with.

2. Connection Servers Tab

3. Click on More Commands and select “Specify Security Server Pairing Password.”

3. Specify Security Server Pairing Password

4. Specify your pairing password.  When you do this, you will also be able to configure how long that password will be valid for.  If the password is not entered in that time period, or if you encounter errors with the install that are not resolved before the timeout period expires, you will need to create a new password.

4. Password Screen

Note: Pairing passwords can time out or be invalidated by hitting the back button during the Security Server installation after the pairing password has been entered.  If this happens, the password will need to be recreated using the steps above.

Installing the View Security Server

Once the pairing password is set up, you can start the Security Server installation.

1. Double-click the installer to start the installation.

2. Accept the license agreement


3. The next screen gives you the option to change the installation directory by clicking the Change button.  For this installation, we’ll be installing to the default location, so click Next.


4. Select Security Server


5. Enter the hostname or IP address of the Connection Server the Security Server will be paired with.


6. Enter the pairing password.


7. In order for View Clients to properly connect to the Security Server, you need to configure the External URLs for the server.  The items that need to be configured are:

  • External URL – the fully-qualified public domain name and port such as
  • PCoIP External URL – the public IP address and port number.  If this server is behind a NAT, this should be the IP address that can be reached from the Internet.  Example:
  • Blast External URL – the fully-qualified public domain name and port used by VMware Blast such as


8. The View Installer will give you the option to automatically configure the Windows Firewall for View.  Click Next to allow the installer to set up the Windows Firewall.  If you do not want the installer to configure the firewall, you will need to configure these rules manually after installation.

Note: This also configures the IPSec Rules that are needed for secure communication between the Security Server and the Connection Server.


9. Click Install to finish the installation.

10. Click Finish to close the installer.

11. If you log back into View Administrator and go to View Configuration –> Servers –> Security Servers, you should see your newly added Security Server.

14. Security Tab

Horizon View 6.0 Part 11–Creating A Desktop Pool #VDM30in30

Every system needs a way to group entities in order to organize them, delegate administration, and control security on them.  Horizon View uses desktop pools to group desktops, apply Horizon View specific policies, and entitle access to users. 

Horizon View has a few different types of desktop pools.  Each pool handles desktops in different ways, and they each have different purposes.  The type of pool that you select will be determined by a number of factors including the use case, the storage infrastructure and application requirements.

The type of desktop pools are:

  • Full Clone Pools – Each virtual desktop is a full virtual machine cloned from a template in vCenter.  The virtual machines are managed by View Connection Servers.
  • Linked Clone Pools – Each virtual desktop is based on a snapshot and shares its disk with the parent virtual machine.  Changes to the linked clone are written to a delta disk.  The virtual machines are managed by View Composer.
  • Manual Pools – The machines that make up the manual pool consist of virtual and/or physical machines that have had the View Agent installed.  These machines are not managed by View.
  • Terminal Services Pool – The machines that make up these pools are Windows Servers with the Remote Desktop Services Role installed.

There is one other choice that needs to be selected when creating a desktop pool, and that is the desktop assignment type.  There are two desktop assignment types:

  • Floating Assignment – Desktops are assigned to users at login and are returned to the pool of available desktops when the user signs out.
  • Dedicated Assignment – Desktops are assigned to a user, and the user gets the same desktop at each login.  Desktops can be assigned automatically at first login or manually by an administrator.

For this walkthrough, I will be doing an Automatic Assignment Linked-Clone desktop pool.  These pools are usually referred to as Non-Persistent Desktop Pools.

Before you can set up a Linked Clone pool, View Composer will need to be installed and configured.

1. Log into View Administrator.  Under Catalog, select Desktop Pools.


2.  Click Add to add a new pool.


3. Select the Pool Type that you want to create.  For this, we’ll select Automated Pool and click Next.


4.  Select whether you want to have Floating or Dedicated Desktops.  For this walkthrough, we’ll select Floating and click Next.


Note: The Enable Automatic Assignment option is only available if you select Dedicated. If this option is selected, View automatically assigns a desktop to a use when they log in to dedicated pool for the first time.

5. Choose the type of virtual machines that will be deployed in the environment. For this walkthrough, select View Composer Linked Clones and click Next.


6. Each desktop pool needs an ID and a Display Name.  The ID field is the official name of the pool, and it cannot contain any spaces.  The Display Name is the “friendly” name that users will see when they select a desktop pool to log into.  You can also add a description to the pool.


7. The next screen after setting the pool name is for the pool settings.  There are a lot of options here, that control how the pool will behave.  Some of the options are:

  • If the pool is enabled
  • Default power state of desktops
  • Display protocols
  • Adobe Flash settings




8. The next screen will allow you to configure the provisioning settings for the pool.  This screen allows you to control provisioning behavior, computer names, and the number of desktops provisioned in the pool.


9. The next screen allows you to set up a special non-persistent disk for disposable files.  Disposable files are classified as temporary files and page files.  If a disposable disk is used, these files will be redirected to here, and this disk is deleted whenever the VM is shut down.

This screen allows you to determine how the virtual desktop will handle these files.


10. Select the option to store Replicas on a separate datastore if you want to place them on a different storage tier.  Andre Leibovici has a good article on the benefits of placing Linked Clone replicas on a different datastore.


11. After you choose whether or not to place the Replica Disks on a separate datastore, you need to configure the pool’s vCenter settings.  This covers the Parent VM and the snapshot that the Linked Clones will be based on, the folder that they will be stored in within vCenter, and the cluster and datastores that will be used.

In order to configure each setting, you will need to click the Browse button on the right hand side of the screen.  Each step must be configured in order.


11-A. The first item that needs to be configured is the Parent VM that the Linked Clones will be based on.  Select the VM that you want to use and click OK.


11-B. The next step is to select the Parent VM snapshot that the Linked Clones will be based on.  Select the snapshot that you want to use and click OK.


11-C. After you have selected a Parent VM and a snapshot, you need to configure the vCenter folder in the VMs and Templates view that the VMs will be placed in.  Select the folder and click OK.


11-D. The next step is to place the pool on a vSphere cluster.  The virtual machines that make up the desktop pool will be run on this cluster, and the remaining choices will be based on this selection.  Select the cluster that they should be run on and click OK.


11-E. The next step is to place the desktops into a Resource Pool.  In this example, I have not resource pools configured, so the desktops would be placed in the Cluster Root.


11-F. The final two steps of this section are to select the datastores where the Linked Clones and the Replicas will be stored.  Linked Clones can be stored on multiple datastores, so you can select multiple datastores in this section.  You can also configure View to allow the datastores to be overcommitted by changing the Storage Overcommit option on each datastore.


11-G. Replicas can only be stored on a single datastore.  Select the datastore that you want to store them on and click OK.


Note: After you have configured the Replica Datastore, you may receive the following warning about storing Replicas and Linked Clones on local datastores.  If you are using a SAN or a NAS and not storing any Replicas or Linked Clones on local datastores, you can ignore this message.

Warning after 18-19

12. The next screen is for configuring the advanced storage options.  The three options that can be configured on this screen are the View Storage Accelerator, disk space reclaimation and the option to use native NFS snapshots.

If you use View Storage Accelerator or disk space reclamation, you can configure blackout times where vCenter will not run these tasks.


13. To set the blackout times for the pool, click the Add Button and select the days and times when you do not want these operations to run.  You can set multiple schedules.


14. After you have configured the advanced storage options, you need to configure the Guest Customization settings.  This screen allows you to select the domain and organizational unit for the desktops and whether Sysprep or Quickprep will be used to prepare the desktops.


15. Review the settings for the pool and verify that everything is correct.  Before you click Finish, check the Entitle Users checkbox in the upper right.  This will allow you to select the users and/or groups who have permission to log into the desktops.

If you need to make a change to the pool settings, the left-hand column contains links to each page in the wizard.


17. After you click Finish, you will need to grant access to the pool.  View allows you to entitle Active Directory users and groups.  Click Add to entitle users and groups.


18. Search for the user or group that you want to add to entitle.  If you are in a multi-domain environment, you can change domains by selecting the domain from the Domains box.  Click on the users or groups that you want to grant access to and click OK.


Note:  I recommend that you create Active Directory security groups and entitle those to desktop pools.  This makes it easier to manage a user’s pool assignments without having to log into View Administrator whenever you want to make a change.

19. You can check the status of your desktop pool creation in vCenter.  If this is a new pool, it will need to clone the VM into a Replica before it can create the Linked Clone desktops. 


Once the desktops have finished composing, you will be able to log into them through VMware Blast or the Horizon View client. 

I realize that there are a lot of steps in the process of creating a desktop pool.  It doesn’t take nearly as long as it seems once you get the hang of it, and you will be able to fly through it pretty quickly.  These steps can also be automated using the View PowerCLI cmdlets from any Connection Broker in the environment.