Documenting a virtualization project

Experiences in Virtualization

Posts Tagged ‘view3’

VMware View errors while destroying VM’s

Posted by martijnl on March 5, 2009

Today I ran into two specific errors while destroying virtual machines from a pool (the pool was being downsized). Both were at the “Initiating OS Shutdown phase”.

  1. VMware Tools is not running in this Virtual Machine
  2. Cannot execute scripts

Both errors occurred while resuming the virtual machine from suspend (the desktops have the setting “Suspend when not in use”). It seems like the OS Shutdown commands are executed while the VM is still resuming from suspend and the necessary services are not up and running yet. It is not a big problem because vCenter Server just keeps trying to shutdown and power off and because I am destroying the VM’s anyway I am not really interested in having a clean shutdown.


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View3: Deployment Notes

Posted by martijnl on February 9, 2009

After a particularly difficult View3 implementation I have some notes / lessons learned / best practices:

  • Triple check Firewall / Port / vLAN ACL’s when your virtual desktops are in another network segment / vLAN than the Connection Broker is. This can be either for a security server deployment or just the use of vLAN’s with ACL’s
    • Connection problems are usually linked to an error in configuring the above or
  • Make sure the VMware hosts and related servers are correctly configured in DNS (with an FQDN)
  • Make sure you know which general domain policies are applicable because general domain policies will be in effect on the virtual desktops as well
  • Make sure that you put the virtual desktops in a different OU in the Active Directory to be able to put specific policies on those machines and prevent policies that are applicable on your physical desktops to be executed on the virtual desktops
  • Check the applications and the requirements for deployment. If you are planning to use non-persistent pools with an application that requires user specific configuration to be done on login check to see if you can script around that. Especially if you want to use non-persistent desktops that are destroyed after first use
  • Size your environment carefully. There are statistics for # of desktops per Core and # of desktops per LUN etc. If you run Outlook in combination with one or more plugins (archiving solution, Outlook integrated functionality such as Dynamics CRM etc.) plan for a significant amount of memory in the virtual desktop (>1GB arrives quickly and for some applications the recommended memory is 2GB+). There is some gain because of the VMware ESX transparent page sharing but test this before settling on your final server spec and a target # of desktops per host
  • Make sure you relocate user folders and swapfiles to keep the virtual machine (especially necessary when using linked clones) as small as possible
  • Apply the recommendations in the .pdf from this VMworld session to the template machine: VDI hints and tips
  • Check if you need additional tools for multimedia applications above and beyond the standard MMR functionality (if you are using thin clients check with the manufacturer what kind of tools they have. Examples: Wyse / Panologic)
  • Check if application deployment is done on a per user basis or on a per machine basis. This can influence the type of desktop pools that you can use for different use cases

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Computer account disabled when adding machine to domain

Posted by martijnl on January 21, 2009

During a VMware View deployment I ran into this one because we chose to create a number of computer accounts beforehand. The answer from jwalsh in the VMware forums described the issue and the solution perfectly:

I’ve seen something very similar. The workaround was to use “username@domain” as the user in the customization specification.
The first time the join is done, it is done just with the username, if this fails then username@domain is used. It may be that the first failed attempt is locking the account in AD.

See the entire topic here:

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About Guest Customization and OU’s

Posted by martijnl on January 16, 2009

Found these two posts while searching for easy ways to get a virtual desktop into the right OU:

If you need to generate lots of virtual machines, for example with a non-persistent pool in VMware View it is very nice to have the option to integrate this neatly into the standard VirtualCenter guest customization.

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Preparing a VDI desktop: custom default user profile

Posted by martijnl on January 12, 2009

Ever notice that some settings (like performance and visual effects) are not valid for other users logging into a virtual desktop? That’s because some of these settings are configured into the user profile.

This is a step-by-step guide on how to create a custom default user profile so you can set all once and then all users logging into the machine get these settings automatically from the default profile:

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Deployment follow up

Posted by martijnl on December 17, 2008

I would have liked to have a lot to write about today but the reality was that a lot of configuration still needed to be done on the part of the ICT outsourcing partner. The connection server installation was the proverbial next-next-finish job and adding the license and connecting to the VC server all went without a hitch. Composor can be installed after the VC and VI are upgraded to Update 3 but that has to be planned by the outsourcing partner.

Now it is waiting until there is access to the right VLAN so I can start working on the templates and desktop configurations in View. Time was not entirely waisted because I could check some things like the state of the multipathing, network configurations etc. and performed a mini-audit for the client which resulted in a couple of good HA and configuration recommendations.

I like the new pool features in View as they give some extra flexibility on the way desktops are provisioned. For this installation though we will mostly be working with the automatic non-persistent desktops that already existed in VDM2. They will be configured to be destroyed after first use so the student always has a nice clean training desktop.

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VMware View customer case

Posted by martijnl on December 14, 2008

Tomorrow I’ll start with the actual installation of VMware View3 at a client. The case for this project is that the client in question needs to be able to quickly provision a sizable amount (30-50 concurrent) of workspaces for training its workforce in two new applications. There was also a need to provide a solution for the workstations of the functional and technical application managers and software testers because one of the new applications (Microsoft Dynamics CRM) is integrated into Outlook on the client side which makes it difficult to switch from the production environment to the testing environment.

After we implement the VMware View infrastructure we will also start working on virtualizing a client/server application that is used for personnel assessments (the ability to destroy a VM after every assessment is important with this one) and there is also a desire to virtualize the desktops of the office bound employees (about 25% of the workforce). Hopefully the ability to take a virtual desktop offline will be production certified soon as the other 75% of the workforce use laptops.

The environment in question consists of Dell PowerEdge 2950 servers that already run VI3. Because these servers have enough available capacity the decision was made to host the virtual desktops on these servers as well. The virtual desktops will be running basic XP SP3, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Dynamics CRM and a .Net 2.0 application. We will start with 384MB and expect to have to size up to 512MB per desktop. The images will be based on an XP image made with nlite (

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More useful VMware View documentation

Posted by martijnl on December 14, 2008

Went to the VMware User Group meeting last Friday and saw a very interesting presentation regarding View3, storage performance and CPU performance. Will add the presentation when it is available as it was based on a VMworld 2008 presentation which is not public at the moment (VMworld 2008 attendees will be able to see it here:

Additionally I found this VMworld 2007 LAB for some key tips about how you can prepare your desktop image for VDI use: Follow the link for the Lab .pdf file. VMETC has a summary with the “checklist” to follow here:

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VMware View 3 deployment

Posted by martijnl on December 4, 2008

I am preparing a VMware View 3 deployment where we also want to start using the View Composer component. Will start testing the install in my own demo environment today, very interested in what it will turn up.

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