Virtual Desktop Pool Types in Horizon View

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, May 7th 2014 — Categories: Desktop-as-a-Service, Cloud Hosting, Virtual Desktop, VMware

There are several options for virtual desktop pools in Horizon View that will change how administrators manage desktops and how users interact with them. There are three main pool types and two assignment types to choose from.

Virtual Desktop Pool Types in Horizon ViewDesktop Pool Types

Unless you’re working with Microsoft Terminal Services machines (in which case you’ll choose Terminal Services pools to allow terminal servers to be treated as Horizon desktops), either migrating or using them alongside Horizon desktops, you’ll select from automatic or manual desktop pools.

Automatic pools can be complete virtual machines clones or linked-clone desktops. The former is copied from vCenter while the latter is a Horizon View feature found in Composer. Full clones require more storage space and don’t have many of the advantages of linked clones as far as ease of management (i.e. they can’t be redeployed easily with settings intact). They behave more like a physical desktop, as they are independent from the “parent” virtual machine after they have been cloned.

A linked clone is a snapshot of the parent machine. They are easy to troubleshoot because they can just be refreshed/recomposed. Linked clones also require less storage, but without the parent virtual machine they won’t work. Apps are provisioned per-VM for full clones and can be added post-cloning, while with linked clones apps are based on the parent template and therefore multiple template types must be set up for users with different needs.

Manual pools are created from existing desktops. Each desktop in a manual pool is generated from a separate source, whether a VM in vCenter or a physical computer. This pool type enables Horizon management of existing desktops that have the Desktop Agent installed.

Horizon Desktop pool management settings

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Assignment Types

Once you’ve selected a desktop pool type, you’ll have to pick between dedicated (persistent) and floating (non-persistent) assignment. This will largely depend on the end users for each desktop pool.

Users with a dedicated assignment desktop will always see the same desktop when they log in. It can be assigned automatically from the pool or selected by an administrator. One example of this type of assignment would be a doctor making the rounds in a hospital—as they log in to the computers in each room, their work will follow them.

Floating assignment desktops might be different each time a user logs in. The applications and settings are dependent on the desktop pool configuration, and the user receives one of whichever virtual desktops are not currently in use. With Persona Management users can receive some custom settings despite the fact that they are essentially getting a “vanilla” desktop on each login. With linked clones, semi-persistent desktops are also possible, where desktops are assigned but then reset to a default state upon logout.

What type of pool and assignment you choose will depend on the user need and infrastructure already in place. You may end up with a combination of several. However, automated pools are necessary to take advantage of most of the Horizon Suite features, including using master images, suspension and deletion of unused desktops, maximum/minimum number of desktops in a pool, and redirection of temporary files to a disposable disk.

Posted By: Joe Kozlowicz