VMware Instant Clone-Tech Preview for XenDesktop

So some while back, VMware announced Instant Clone Tech Preview for Citrix XenDesktop and I’ve been lucky enough to be part of the tech preview! So for those who are not aware of the Instant Clone technology i, they are similar to MCS machines in that all desktops read from a master disk and write to their own disk, but Instant Clone takes it one step further by doing the same thing with memory. Instant Clones utilize a new feature of vSphere 6 where desktop VMs are forked (that is, Instant Clones are created) off a running VM—instead of cloning a powered-off VM—which provides savings for provisioning, updates, and memory utilization.

This preview has some requirements in order to use it. First of you need to have the latest AppVolumes 2.12 version, XenDesktop 7.8, and of course the Instant Clone bits.  (Note the picture shows Xendesktop 7.9 which I’ve used in the lab enviroment.

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So before we start with the Instant clone configuration we need to have a XenDesktop controller setup, where we will install the instant clone client which integrates into Citrix Studio where we will do the configuration. We also need to have AppVolumes fininshed setup and configured (Which you can do by following the configuration here –> http://msandbu.org/getting-started-with-vmware-appvolumes/ )

We also need to have a Windows 10 VDI VM setup and configured installed with the Citrix VDA agent, AppVolumes Agent and the Instant Clone agent which needs to be configured after the XenDesktop site and the AppVolumes manager have been configured.

After all the pieces are configured we can continue the setup from the Instant Clone Client on the Citrix Delivery Controller.

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First we need to go into the configuration pane and setup the necessary integrations (Active Directory, vCenter, AppVolumes Manager) 1 configure Active Directory

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Next we need to configure the Instant Clone Server setup, which points to the AppVolumes Manager server, by default AppVolumes is configured with a self-signed certificate, so if so you will get this warning which is shown in the screenshot below.

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And lastly configure the vCenter configuration, same goes there if there is a self-signed certificate you will get the same warning message. So just click accept and you will be good to go. Now next we need to create a master image, remember that before creating the image you need to take a snapshot of the VDI VM.

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So here just enter a name of the IMAGE we want to create, specify the IP address of the VDI VM where we have the snapshot we took, and also we need to specify a container path for the instant clones.

Then we specify, the NFS datastore where we want the instant clones to be placed and specify which snapshot we want to use for the image.

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And then we need to publish the image

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This might take some time (10 – 30 minutes) and if you encounter any issues I have a bad configured Active Directory integration setup here so if you get Publishing errors go back and look at the Active Directory integration or look at the event logs stored under C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Instant Clone\logs

Next we need to create an instant clone pool
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Note by creating a pool, it will take some time to create a folder on vCenter and a Machine Catalog on Citrix Studio before the pool is created. So this was part one of setting up Instant Clone for XenDesktop leveraging AppVolumes and XenDesktop. In part two ill show more in-depth on how it works and a video showing how fast it manages to spin up virtual machines

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About the Author: Marius Sandbu

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