Deploying Virtual Desktops using VDI and VMware ESX Server
Once you decide how many VMs you want, whether you want them to be persistent or not and how you intend to deliver applications (inside the VM or through app virtualisation) then the actual process of deploying your first virtual desktop is relatively painless.
Each VDI vendor has their own approach to installation and tools differ. Here’s how to get started with the VMware VDI solution which can be downloaded as a 60-day trial from the VMware Web site.
Start by installing VMware ESX Server 3.5 and then VMware vCenter on the server that will host the virtual desktops. Ideally, you should set up two servers for this to allow for load balancing. The next step is to install VMware View Manager.
VMware View Manager consists of several components including the View Connection Server (the Broker),
the View Client (installed on user devices), the View Administrator (Web-based GUI for managing View Manager) and View Composer (allowing you to deploy multiple linked clone desktops).
Install VMware View Connection Server on any Windows Server 2003 32-bit machine (physical or virtual) which does not have Terminal Services installed (this will cause severe problems with View Manager). It needs to be a server that can be dedicated to View Connection Server so a VM is an ideal solution. When you install View Connection Server it will install View LDAP as the data repository for all View Manager configurations using AD Application Mode as its data store.
A big gotcha here is the need for View Manager to open and close its own TCP ports. In a small installation this is no problem. As the size of the installation increases (servers and clients) you will need to increase the number of TCP ports. VMware does not have a utility for this; instead you need to manually patch the Windows Registry as described in the installation guide.
The rest of the physical installation is relatively simple and you can safely follow the steps in the View Manager Installation Guide.
Once you have installed View Manager you need to create desktops and pools. This is done through the Administrator interface. From here you can see all the desktops and pools that exist and their current state. You can also create, edit and tune any desktops or
pools from here.
If you want to use View Composer to support linked clones, this must be installed on either Windows Server 2003 SP1 or Windows XP Pro SP2. There is no Vista support for View Composer. You will also need to install a SQL database that both Virtual Center and View Composer can access in order to store linked clone information. SQL Server 2005 Express SP2 is sufficient.
Once you have created your desktops, the final stage is to install the View Client onto user devices. When the user logs onto the network they will step through three screens, the last of which allows them to choose which virtual desktop they want to use.
Step-by-step - Configuring and using VDI with VMware