VMware administrators have a lot to consider when they implement View 5-based virtual desktops. In VMware View 5: Building a Successful Virtual Desktop, author Paul O'Doherty covers VMware View from install to management, with an overarching theme of getting the most value from virtual desktops.
O'Doherty's book, published by VMware Press in 2012, teaches you step-by-step how to install VMware View 5. A lot of publications can do that, however, so O'Doherty goes further with chapters on View 5's architecture, the role of ThinApp application virtualization, building and tuning a virtual desktop, vShield Endpoint antivirus protection and other aspects of a VMware virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).
By understanding VMware View 5 requirements and features, administrators will avoid performance issues and create a rich end-user experience, O'Doherty explains. He delves into ThinApp and vShield Endpoint because these features are underused in many VMware View 5 installations.
The book contains information for administrators doing their first VMware View install and for those migrating from previous versions of the desktop virtualization software. In Chapter 5, "Building Your Virtual Desktop" (excerpted below), O'Doherty discusses physical-to-virtual migration versus clean build, how to meet VDI users' requirements and opportunities for cost savings with View 5. He uses a shared-server desktop with Windows 2008 R2 RDS integration as an example in this chapter.
From Chapter 5, "Building Your Virtual Desktop":
You can create your original virtual desktop image in a number of ways, but essentially they break down into either performing a physical-to-virtual (P2V) migration on a target physical desktop or starting with a clean build. In most cases, a clean build is preferred, but there are always a few exceptions to this rule. For example, it may make sense to do a P2V migration to create a virtual desktop for a small proof of concept (PoC) environment. If you are considering this method, there are several issues to keep in mind, such as ensuring that after everything is converted, any services or configurations that are not applicable or detrimental to a virtual environment are updated. One of the common services is the power policy. On a physical desktop, it makes sense to have certain features power off if they are idle, such as dimming the display or putting the computer to sleep.
Often, cleaning an image that has been migrated from physical to virtual can be more problematic than building one from scratch. For any production implementation, using a clean imaging process is necessary. There are also a number of tweaks that you will want in place as part of the image. As mentioned in Chapter 3, "VMware View 5 Implementation," you may also want to customize the local computer policy to ensure any configurations are incorporated into the image.
One point to keep in mind when you are optimizing a virtual desktop is that there are lots of recommendations to drive the ultimate performance. There is a fine line between great performance and the end-user experience, because the more you optimize, the more you impact the end-user experience. You do not want to drive performance at the risk of disabling useful end-user features. This is again the point at which user profiling adds value, but also knowing what effect you are having is key. Even when the optimization seems benign, you have to be careful because it may lead to problems or issues down the road. My rule of thumb is to optimize and test and be wary of turning off useful features to drive every bit of performance out of the desktop.
Editor's note: The chapter excerpt from VMware View 5: Building a Successful Virtual Desktop, by Paul O'Doherty, is available courtesy of VMware Press, a publishing alliance between Pearson and VMware Inc.
Paul O'Doherty specializes in cloud-based services at Onx.com. His experience includes architecting and delivering end-user computing, cloud and virtualization environments with products from VMware and Citrix. He holds VCP, CCEA, MCITP and RCSP certifications and is recognized as a VMware vExpert. Read his blog.