Unlike the ESXi install, VMware View installation was straight forward. I spend most of the time updating windows during the installation process. Plan for at least 3 hours for windows update (server and Windows 7). Rest of the VMware View component installation may take another 2 to 3 hours.
These are key pre-requisites for installing VMware View.
- ISO for Windows 2008 R2 server and Windows 7 OS
- Windows Volume License key for Windows 2008 R2 server and Windows 7
- VMware Virtual Center SW
- VMware View SW with license key
I’m going to use the internal 500G SATA drives for server VM, user data storage, and ISO files, and use the SSD storage for VMware View replica and linked clones.
- Configure ESXi server
- Change the swap file location to the 500G Sata datastore. By placing the swapfile to the SATA drive, expensive SSD storage space consumption can be reduced. By default, esx will place swap file with VM.
- Load windows ISOs to SATA datastore.
- Creating base Windows 2008 server image
- Even though VM provisioning can be simplified with templates, it requires Virtual Center. Before VC can be installed, mechanism for VM provisioning should be setup to deploy of server VMs such as AD and the VC server itself. Easy way to achieve the VM provisioning without VC is OVF packaging. A Windows 2008 R2 server with the latest patches and application can be exported out to OVF package for future deployment.
- Create Windows 2008 R2 VM (use VM version 7) with 1G RAM (we don’t have lots of RAM here), 50G HD (thin provisioned) and VMXNET3 vNIC. Install Windows 2008 R2 server OS, install VMware Tools, and apply all the patches including SP1. Also install nice to have SW such as Adobe reader, Adobe Flash, putty, Chrome etc.
- After the server VM is ready, set the IP property to DHCP and run sysprep. In Windows 2008 R2, the sysprep is pre-loaded with the OS. Navigate to C:\Windows\System32\sysprep directory and run sysprep.exe
- Select “System Out of Box Experience (OOBE)” for System Cleanup Action and check “Generalize” box, and select “Shutdown” for Shutdown options.
- Disconnect CDROM drives mapped to ISO datastore by mapping the CDROM device for VM to “Client Device” in VM settings.
- Highlight the Windows 2008 R2 VM, and choose File->Export-Export OVF Template
- Select directory and choose “Folder of File (OVF)” format
- It will take 20 to 30 minutes to export the VM to OVF format. The export process will create subdirectory in the output directory and will place compressed VMDK file.
- To deploy new VM, choose File-Deploy OVF Template form vSPhere client.
- Installing AD, DNS, and DHCP server
- Before VMware virtual center can be installed, Active Directory need to be available. Existing AD server can be used or new AD can be deployed.
- Setup new AD by deploying pre-created Windows 2008 R2 OVF template (File->Deploy OVF Template). The deployment of new VM will take about 10 minutes.
- Set static IP to the AD VM. Install DNS (without configuring), and install AD and DHCP server role.
- If folder redirection is desired, create OU for VDI users and apply folder redirection GPO for My Documents and Desktop.
- Add ESXi, VC, and VMware View Connection server address in the DNS. Configure ESXi server with proper DNS, Gateway, and NTP server. 0.pool.ntp.org can be used for external NTP server.
- Installing Virtual Center and VMware View Composer
VMware View Composer enables single image management for VMware View VDI environment by utilizing VMware linked clone and persistent disk technology. Linked clone is a hypervisor based writable snapshot technology that can rapidly create many VMs based on a single master image. With persistent disk, all the user profile information is redirected to a separate VMDK file (which typically shows up as a D: drive) that persists during VM refresh or recreation process. With persistent user data disk, the user desktop can be easily recreated even after system failure. VMware View composer changes the default user profile path to the D: drive in the Microsoft Windows registry during image customization steps.
Note of caution: Since the profile redirection only applies to users whose accounts do not exist on the master image, any user account which was used to prepare the image will not be redirected to the persistent disk. Either use separate admin account for master image setup or delete the user profile before image deployment.
- Deploy Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 server and install the Virtual Center software. Use built in SQL Express DB.
- Download and install “Microsoft SQL Server Management Express Studio.” Open the command prompt as the administrator and execute the installation package from the command prompt. (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?familyid=c243a5ae-4bd1-4e3d-94b8-5a0f62bf7796&displaylang=en”)
- VMware View Composer, which handles the linked clone creation, installs on the Virtual Center server. VMware View Composer will require its own database. To create the VMware View Composer database, launch the SQLExpress Management studio with the “run as administrator” option.
i. In SQLExpress Management Studio, create new a new database name for VMware View Composer (ex. VMware ViewCMP)
ii. Go to Administrative Tools->Data Source (ODBC) and create System a DSN for the VMware View database with “SQL Native Client” driver. Choose integrated Windows authentication and change the default database to VMware View Composer database (ex. VMware ViewCMP).
iii. Test the ODBC connection Install VMware View Composer. Make sure to install the Composer with the “run as administrator” option
Finally, install VMware View Composer. Make sure to install the Composer with the “run as administrator” option
Next up, creating the master desktop VM