Using ThinApp with VMware View

VMware View administrator allows you to distribute and manage applications to View desktops and pools. In order to do this you must have the following requirements:

  • The ThinApp package must be created as a MSI.
  • The package must have been made with ThinApp 4.6 or later (or repackaged with)
  • The packages must be on a file server in the Active Directory domain that can be accessed from the View Connection server and the View desktops. Authentication and file permissions should support the use of computer objects. Read access should be given to the Active Directory group Domain Computers. Read and Execute should be given to users to allow for streaming.
  • ThinApp templates are used to group specific ThinApp application together to be deployed to a View desktop. The applications can be grouped by function, application, etc. Using ThinApp templates makes administrating the deployment of applications to pools much easier.

    VMware View 5 Persona Management Notes

    Persona Management is an alternative method of redirecting users data versus using Windows Roaming Profiles. This is good for those enterprises that have not implemented roaming profiles, Persona Management can be used within VMware View to manage the entire user experience. IF an enterprise has implemented roaming profiles you can still use your existing data configuration with View.

    You cannot use View Persona Management and Windows Roaming Profiles to manage the same user data; but you can use them together to manage separate pieces of the data. This is done by specifying the files and folders in the Windows Roaming Profiles Synchronization policy.

    Preferably, you should use Persona Management instead of Roaming Profiles to speed up logon and logoff times. At login, only the files that Windows requires will be downloaded. The remainder will be downloaded as needed. Changes to any local files or folders will be uploaded to the repository by default every 10 minutes. During logoff only files that were changed and not replicated will be uploaded.

    For a Persona Management deployment you must install the View Agent with the View Persona Management option.  To enable Persona Management you must either import the ADM template into an Active Directory Group Policy Object (GPO) or import the template into the local policy of the template.  Next use enable the Manage User Persona option.  Continue by enabling and configuring the remaining policies.

    Hardware Requirements To Support Local Mode Desktops

    If you are going to run local mode desktops, you should me aware of the following items. If you are running VMware View 5 on top of vSphere 5, first you must make sure that you virtual template if set to hardware level 7, not level 8 as it is not supported at this time.

    For Windows 7, at this point you should not be running Windows XP, you will need an Intel Dual Core or an AMD Athlon 4200+ or above. If it is a 64-bit version of Windows 7 then you should have an Intel P4, Core Duo or i7; or an AMD64 except for the Opteron revision C.

    For your disk space, you will need the size of the virtual machine plus room for a snapshot while the virtual desktop is replicated back to the server.

    The amount of memory allocated to your virtual desktop will be limited to the amount of physical memory in your physical desktop. Generally you will need enough memory to account for both the host operating system, the virtual operating system and the applications that will run on both. It is recommended to have 2GB for a Windows XP virtual desktop and 3GB for a Windows 7 virtual desktop. If your virtual desktop is running a 64-bit operating system, the maximum amount of RAM that can be assigned is 32GB; and 8GB is the maximum for a 32-bit operating system.

    The VMware recommendation for a typical virtual desktop, is 768MB+ RAM and a single CPU for a Windows XP system. For Windows 7, dual CPU and 1GB+ of RAM.

    VMware View 5 Connection Server Basic Configuration

    You have your connections servers installed, now comes the fun of making the configuration. To log into the View Administrator from a web browser go to the following address:

    https://<servername>/admin

    By default, anyone in the local administrators group can logon as a View Administrator. This should be addresses before the system becomes production.

    You should be logging into the View Administrator from a supported web browser with Adobe Flash 10 or greater. The following is a list of supported web browsers:

    • IE 7
    • IE 8
    • IE 9
    • Firefox 3
    • Firefox 3.5

    Now that you are logged into the View Administrator. Before configuring View, we need to do some work in the Virtual Center instance that will be attached to.

    First, if you are using Composer, you should have it installed on the Virtual Center. Second, we need to have an account in Virtual Center to be created and assigned permissions to be used by both View Manager and Composer. You could also create two accounts with separated roles.

    The following privileges are needed by the View Manager:

    • Folder->Create Folder
    • Folder->Delete Folder
    • Virtual Machine->Configuration->Add or Remove Device
    • Virtual Machine->Configuration->Advanced
    • Virtual Machine->Configuration->Modify Device Settings
    • Virtual Machine->Interaction->Power Off
    • Virtual Machine->Interaction->Power On
    • Virtual Machine->Interaction->Reset
    • Virtual Machine->Interaction->Suspend
    • Virtual Machine->Inventory->Create New
    • Virtual Machine->Inventory->Remove
    • Virtual Machine->Provisioning->Customize
    • Virtual Machine->Provisioning->Deploy Template
    • Virtual Machine->Provisioning->Read Customization Specifications
    • Resource->Assign virtual machine to Resource Pool

    The following privileges are needed by the View Composer:

    • Datastore->Allocate Space
    • Datastore->Browse Datastore
    • Datastore->Low Level File Operations
    • Virtual Machine->Inventory->(All Privileges)
    • Virtual Machine->Configuration->(All Privileges)
    • Virtual Machine->State->(All Privileges)
    • Virtual Machine->Provisioning->Clone Virtual Machine
    • Virtual Machine->Provisioning->Allow Disk Access
    • Network->(All Privileges)

    If you are going to use Local Mode the account will need the following privileges:

    • Global->Set Custom Attribute
    • Host->Configuration->System Management

    Next we need a service account in either the same domain or a trusted domain as the View Connection Server. This account should have the following permissions to the organization units (OUs) that you will be deploying the virtual desktops to:

    • List Contents
    • Read All Properties
    • Write All Properties
    • Read Permisisions
    • Create Computer Objects
    • Delete Computer Objects

    Now it is time to configure the Connection Server. First we have to do the license, which we navigate to that section by clicking on Product Licensing and Usage on the left-hand menu. Edit the license and verify.

    Now we must add the Virtual Center server. To do this under the View Configuration section click on Servers. Under the vCenter Servers section click Add. Fill in the FQDN of the Virtual Center server, the username and password of the Virtual Center account with the appropriate permissions outlined above. If you are using View Composer, then enable it; Click on the Add button. Type the FQDN of the domain, the username including domain and the account password. This is the Active Directory account you configured with the necessary permissions on those particular OUs to deploy the virtual desktops. Click Ok when completed.

    This is a very basic configuration to begin with. There is still Client connections, pools and more to cover before this would be production ready. I will cover that in another post.

    VMware View 5 Components and Requirements

    VMware View 5 has four types of servers:

    • Connection Server
    • Transfer Server
    • Security Server
    • Composer Server

    Connection Server
    The Connection Server, also known as the broker, authenticates users against Active Directory and then directs them to the correct virtual workstation. This server can be installed either on Windows 2003 R2 Service Pack 2 for a 32-bit operating system or if you want a 64-bit operating system you would go with Windows 2008 R2.

    For production implementations your connection servers should have at least four (v)CPU and 10+ GB of RAM.

    In order for the connection server to work, you must have one of the following versions of vSphere:

    • vSphere 4.0 Update 3
    • vSphere 4.1 Update 1
    • vSphere 5.0

    When you install the second connection server, you will install it as a Replica Server. Replica’s should be installed in the same network location over a local area network. You should not install them in separate network location separated by a wide are network. Doing this could cause issues with the LDAP (ADAM) database becoming inconsistent and causing users to not be able to connect to their virtual desktops.

    Transfer Server
    This optional component can be installed to allow for the check-in, check-out and replication of virtual desktops that will be used in local mode. Local mode allows the virtual desktop to be run on a physical Windows desktop without being directly connected to the connection server.

    The Transfer Server must be managed by the same virtual center server that manages the virtual desktops.

    Note: Must be installed with an LSI Logic Parallel SCSI controller.

    This server can be installed either on Windows 2003 R2 Service Pack 2 for a 32-bit operating system or if you want a 64-bit operating system you would go with Windows 2008 R2.

    Security Server
    This optional component can be installed to provide more security between the clients connecting from the Internet to the connection server.

    Composer Server
    Composer allows you to deploy many virtual workstation from a base image and only record changes to those individual workstations, using a process of linked clones. While using composer will change your storage requirements and increase your View licensing costs, it is usually made up with the overall saving in the storage required for a large VDI deployment.

    Composer server you must have one of the following versions of vSphere:

    • vSphere 4.0 Update 3
    • vSphere 4.1 Update 1
    • vSphere 5.0

    A database running on SQL 2005 service pack 3, SQL Server 2008 R2 Express, SQL Server 2008 service Pack 1, Oracle 10g Release 2 or Oracle 11g Release 2 with Oracle 11.2.0.1 Patch 5 is required to install Composer. You can use the same instance of SQL server as your Virtual Center server.