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VMware View 4.5: Three easy installation tips

Installing VMware View 4.5 is a major undertaking. But you can learn from others' mistakes and get pointers in this tip on a successful VMware View 4.5 installation.

Committing to VMware View 4.5, VMware's desktop virtualization technology, is just the beginning. A smooth and successful View installation has several prerequisites.

A strong, high-performance network is the backbone of any View 4.5 deployment. VMware's PC-over-IP protocol requires consistent bandwidth to stream virtual desktops to end users. Network reliability is also important because dropped data packets degrade users' experience.

But a robust network is just one requirement for a successful VMware View 4.5 rollout. In this tip, I outline three additional factors that can determine the success or failure of a View 4.5 implementation: licensing, clustering and the use of subnets and Active Directory.

Choosing proper licenses for VMware View 4.5
There are two editions of VMware View 4.5: Enterprise and Premier. The Enterprise edition includes only the basic functionality of View Manager and Security Servers. But Premier adds View Composer, Local Mode, vShield Endpoint, ThinApp and other features.

There are two ways to license VMware View 4.5:

  • Bundles. This option comes with an altered version of vSphere and vCenter that's specifically designed to run desktop workloads. The limited versions run only VMs with desktop OSes and VMs that support the virtual desktop environment (i.e., View Manager, vCenter Server).
  • Add-ons. This pack is for customers who already have a licensed vSphere infrastructure and want to add virtual desktops.

Should you create a separate desktop cluster?
Many users create a desktop cluster that's separate from an existing server cluster. There are benefits to this approach:

  • Segregation of roles. For security reasons, you can easily separate desktop administrators from server administrators at the cluster level.
  • Cluster size limitation with View Composer. VMware does not support linked cloning (the core feature of View Composer) in clusters with more than eight hosts.
  • Different host hardware configuration. Virtual desktops have different workloads than virtual servers, which can lead to different host configurations. To ease management hurdles, most users opt for two clusters, one for each host configuration.
  • Different High Availability (HA) and Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) rules. In a highly dynamic and stateless View environment, you don't need aggressive settings for vSphere's HA and DRS.

But there are drawbacks to operating separate clusters:

  • Segregation of roles. In your organization, one team may manage both servers and desktops. Also, folders and resource pools can manage granular permissions.
  • Better utilization of host resources. Best practices dictate that you need at least an N+1 configuration for redundancy. For a two cluster arrangement, two additional servers are needed for redundancy instead of one.

Subnet and Active Directory considerations for VMware View 4.5
Users should create a new subnet for virtual desktops. This extra network layer allows for a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol scope dedicated to the virtual desktops that can be configured to expire leases in a much shorter timeframe.

It's also important that Active Directory is smooth functioning and well integrated. View requires Active Directory, and it quickly spotlights any fallacies. It's particularly crucial that the Domain Name Servers are properly integrated with Active Directory and that you have a good Organizational Unit and Group Policy structure.

Hopefully these pointers will help with your VMware View 4.5 installation. In my next article, I provide tips on how to manage an operational View environment.

About the expert
Brian Knudtson is a system engineer for a large Midwestern enterprise technology provider with more than a decade of IT experience. He is a VMware Certified Professional, vExpert and co-founder and former leader of the Omaha-area VMware User Group, and he maintains a VMware-related blog called knudt blog. Follow him on Twitter @bknudtson.


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