Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Implementing VDI or Getting started with VDI

Go to Citrix.com, Products & solutions and search for vdi in a box, Select try It, fill out a form and get the download.

There are 3 versions, one for each of the hypervisors they support, Microsoft Hyper-V, Vmware Vsphere, or Citrix  Xenserver, So, after we download the appropriate zip file for vmware vsphere,  which is where we are going to test. 
After download, we extract the file, you will get a OVF file, Open Virtualization Format, open virtual appliance, which you can import into Vmware Vsphere, So we go to the vsphere client, and then from here we go to File, deploy OVF template, browse for the template, There is the OVF file. Click Open

Next It finds the VDI manager for  ESX, click next, it finds the VDI manager for ESX, 

We will name  it – VDI in a box, we will put it in one particular data centre, I will put it on host no. 1, We won’t put it in a resource pool at this time, we are going to put it on the local storage, because we are testing this in our lab, there is plenty of space free,  Lets go ahead and do a thinly provisioned virtual disk, because this is a test, and you wouldn’t want to do this in production, lets click next here, connect it to the default network, and at this point we are ready to complete, we will go ahead and power it on after deployment. Click finish,

Now its creating the new virtual machine , and deploying the OVF template VDI-in-box. Because this is about a Gig, it will take some time. With our deployment successfully complete, we will just click close.

Notice that we have a new virtual appliance here, called VDI-in a box, so we are going to click on that, we can see here that it has an IP address

Lets go ahead and open the console, though it is not technically required. This is it, we get a basic login prompt here. To access the console go to  ,

Lets go to the web browser, so here in my web browser, we go to
It tells me, its untrusted, we understand the risk. Click technical details, confirm security exception, 

Here we go, we get the Citrix VDI-in-a-box login, we enter the login credentials, username – vdiadmin, password, kavazi

Once you login, you get the below screen.

Here we go, it tells us, thank you for choosing VDI in a Box, We want this to be fast and pleasant experience, the basic setup process here is to setup your hypervisor, VDI-in-a-box grid, generate a base desktop image, generate a template from the base image, and then assign users to the desktop.  Lets go ahead and get started here

To setup our hypervisor, first we need hypervisor credentials, credentials for using active directory if we are using active directory, and then a reserve IP address, for VDI- in a box, click continue

 Next up, we are being asked for the IP address of Vmware Vsphere server. VDI-in- a-box has deducted that we are using Vsphere, this will be the actual IP address and root username credentials for the ESXi host, the VDI in a box virtual machine is running on. In our case, enter the IP address as, Root is username, and enter the password, Click next.

We have successfully connected to the ESXi host, lets go ahead and select the datastore, We are going to choose the local datastore now. Lets pretend, that we don’t have a SAN now. The network label is going to be the default, VM network. Click Next here

 At this point it says that, we have successfully configured VDI in a box server, just 2 screens and we are done, Now it says, if you want to create a new VDI-in –a-Box grid , you can just click next here, since this is a brand new server, brand new install, which is what we are going to do. Lets say if we want to provide a scale, and provide additional virtual desktop capacity, with VDI in a box, you would  go ahead and join an existing VDI in a box server, or if you were looking to provide high availability by adding another host, you would join an existing vdi-in-a-box grid.  In our case this is a brand new install, So we select to create a new VDI in a box grid, and click next

Lets give this grid a name, we will call it WireBrainCoffee-VDI-Grid1, here we need to select a user database, its either going to be VDI-in-a-Box workgroup or if you have a Microsoft AD infrastructure, you can use that. In our case, we do, we enter here, enter domain name, wiredbraincoffee.com, username, administrator and password credentials, we can also choose to enter the vcenter credentials, In our case we do have that, hence we can go ahead and add that. Lets give it a try and click Next,

At this point, We are almost done, it will ask you, if you have reserved, dedicated IP address for the VDI-in- a Box manager, basically it wants to know if you are using dynamic or static IP, we are going to say yes here, this is our lab infrastructure we are using HTTP, but its not going to change, I will just say done here,

Its popping up to say that, we have to generate a base desktop image, the base desktop image is going to be the virtual machine that we create, brand new from scratch, we install operating system, applications and so forth, and all the other virtual machines, all the other virtual desktops that connect, their virtual machines will be cloned from that base desktop image, basically a template will be created,  from that, and every time a new user connects, they will get their own virtual machine, based on that template, so to do this, make sure DHCP is setup, that you should have a running Windows XP, or Windows 7 already on the hypervisor to copy, as the base desktop image, and the credentials for the domain controller, if you are using active directory, so we click continue here,

We have a Windows 7 32-bit virtual machine already installed on my ESXi host. We aregoing to select it here, the name is Windows 7 32-bit. Enter a new image name, we will call it once we create a template from this, it will be VDIBOX-WIN7-1 , enter description as Golden Win 7 32-bit image for VDI in Box. I will click import here, 

We are creating our new VDI-in a box virtual machine, it will take a few minutes here,

Our virtual machine is successfully been cloned. Now we are at the point where we need to install the desktop agent on the virtual machine, this is just  a little application that runs, on every virtual machine, in the desktop virtual infrastructure, which allows the virtual machines to communicate the status back to the connection broker, so it wants us to connect via the RDP, and then copy this link into the  browser URL, so we could install the desktop agent, lets go ahead and click connect here,

Here on the virtual machine desktop, we will go ahead and open my web browser, and from here we can paste that URL, we will accept the security certificate here, and then we need to install the desktop agent. Make sure the VM is member of the correct domain, or workgroup. Also make sure that the  windows firewall, is either not running, or if these ports have been specifically open, and then finally make sure the remote desktop access is enabled for the users who will be accessing this virtual machine, We will go ahead and click the install button, to install the desktop agent 32-bit, version, We will click to run the application,

Here we go, here it says, Welcome to Citrix vdi-in-a-Box Desktop agent, setup wizard. We will click next here. 


Click Install.

It says, VDI-in-a-box desktop agent installed successfully. Click ok and Click Finish. It will automatically launch the agent. 

 When we did that, it kicked us off, and it logged us out of the remote desktop connection and now we are back here at our administrative console, you can now see that its waiting for the protocol, connecting to the new virtual desktop, now lets give it just a second,

With our agent successfully installed, we need to download the citrix receiver here, to be able to test the desktop that we created, click here to download the citrix receiver from citrix.com,

My platform is Microsoft Windows 7, We will click here to download, web access, with the citrix receiver installation completed, Now lets go back, 

We have completed the 1st step, the receiver is installed.

 Now lets test the HDX port, which is TCP 1494, on this image, we will click test port, you can see below that test succeeded, you may move to the next step.

 The next step is to edit the image, we have a working virtual machine, which is the golden image for all the end users, to connect to, in other words, their desktop will be cloned, off to the image, not only do we want the Operating system ready to go, we also want applications to be installed, on the image, of course it is optional, to test desktop virtualization, but in production, you would install MS office, you would install maybe Quick-books, and other applications your end users use to do their job, would be installed at this point. So connecting to the virtual machine and installing applications, is optional, but we do have to view and verify the following information is accurate. So, we are going to click View here,

Do you have a valid MS volume license key, Yes we do.

Are remote connections enabled for remote users? Yes.

Are group policies, configured to allow remote desktop connections, and HDX, Yes.  Are all services, that might interfere with the desktop generation process disabled, such automatic windows update, screensavers, end point services, and other anti-virus services.  Click Yes to all and choose done.

Click “Next”

 At this point we need to prepare our image, we need to enter the domain name, in this case, it’s the wiredbrain coffee company, we need to enter the administrator username & password here, as well as the domain password, the organizational unit is optional, we will select the EST time zone, let me scroll down here, we will keep the default computer name prefix, we will use the local administrators profile as the default profile, we will use a MAC key instead of KMS key for windows, license activation, and then we can just click prepare here,

 We will click confirm,

 And this will just take a few minutes to prepare the desktop image.
 Now that we have prepared the desktop image, now its time to test it out, and verify our end user experience, we want make sure, that the end users will get the desktop, that we want them to have, that their applications will be installed, and working, their profile personalization will work, and they can access their desktop, via their desired remote protocols, such as Citrix HDX, or Microsoft RDP, so now we are going to click connect,

We will take the default here to connect, via citrix HDX, using the citrix receiver that we installed,

We are going to login as a AD test user, that I created, named Bob@wiredbraincoffee.com, and type in as password, click login, 

And there we go, we have successfully logged in, as Bob

If we go to the computers properties, here, we can tell that it’s a Intel Xeon, 520 CPU, actually that’s the CPU type where the physical server is running the vmware, we have 4 Gigs of RAM installed, that’s 4 Gigs of virtual RAM, as you can see down here by the computer name, the virtual desktop was automatically created, we prepared our image, automatically created computer prefix VDI 900 C, now if we were testing this out for production, we want to go in here, to see all the end users program are installed, make sure they can customize, their desktop, personalize it, whatever it is, that they need to be able to do. We proved that we can successfully connect, a desktop, in the VDI in a box, running on top of Vmware vsphere, using Citrix HDX, with Citrix receiver, so with that, lets go back to the administrative console, for VDI in a box, and see what else we need to do.

No w that we have imported the image, installed the agent, tested the connection, added the image, prepared the image, and tested the image, lets click save on the image

Now it says, this will save the image, and distribute the saved image to the other servers in the grid
However, since we only one server in the grid so far, It shouldn’t be propagating that saved image at any other server at this point, of course if you want high availability, or need more scalability, you would be adding more than one server, in your grid, so click confirm here

 And it is going to go through the process of shutting down the virtual machine, and getting it ready for end users to connect

 Ok went from no. 1 to no. 2, and now we are at no. 3, which is just create desktop templates, base image, to do this, enter the names and descriptions, specify how many user desktops we want to create, as well as refresh policy for the desktop users, we will click continue here,

 And we are going to give this template a name, we are calling it VDI Box, Win 7 template1, we will be using the image we have been working with so far, we will need to give this a description, for this template, WIN 7 test lab, VDI in a box, we will take the default memory of 1 Gig, and click next

 The maximum no. of desktops, we are going to have is 4, and we would like to have  2 pre-started desktops, we will click save here

The template has been saved successfully, now we will close,

 And now we have to assign some users  to our desktops, so I will click continue here,

Now we need to find user group, users, IP addresses that can access our virtual desktop infrastructure, and specifically, certain templates, like the templates we just created, so we are going to find a user group, and for the purposes of the demo here, we will call it all AD users, and then for the template, we will select the VDI in a box, WIN 7 template one, say close there, and lets say save, we need to find user groups, users  or IP addresses, now I could find active directory user groups here, or specific active directory users, go ahead and give that a try, We are going to say that the user ID is Bob, that’s the test user we used, and we are going to define that, he can access the template we have been working with, so we will say save here, and now Bob should be able to access, the new virtual desktop that we created, maybe we want to setup a group of active directory users, all users who need access to virtual desktops,  as a group here, and authorize them for specific templates, with our user configured,

Lets go to the desktops tab here, and see if we are ready to test this out, with our real end user using our new cloned templates, that are up and running, in our Vmware Virtual infrastructure, so take a look at the desktops tab, first you got the capacity, to running the additional capacity of the desktop that haven’t been started, maximum no. of users, and then the total capacity, based on just the single server, that I have currently in my lab infrastructure. Here you see that template that we created, if you look here at the right, we see maximum no. of 4 desktops, that we want, our  end user is able to connect to, then we want 2 that we want to get automatically started, ready to be connected to any point and on the right here, moving on, we got one desktop, that is new, new means, that is ready to go, and then one that is still in the process of starting, so at this point, we should be able to test this out, lets say that I am an end user and I want to connect to my VDI in a box virtual desktop, there is actually multiple ways to do it

One way is to just point your, web browser, to the IP address here, of the VDI in a box, server, and then you login as the end user, so login as Bob

Since we have only 1 desktop, we are automatically connected to that desktop, since I am using firefox here, it popsup with a little message,

And then, there we go, that’s my desktop, it comes up super fast, and then it automatically logs on, using Bobs, active directory, username and password,

And there we go, there is my desktop, We can go to the start menu, and we should have all our applications for end user, and things look good to go, and if we go to the vsphere client, check out the virtual machines that were created. Thanks to VDI-in-a-box.

Here at the Vsphere client, of course we have the original Vdi-in- a-box, virtual machine, that we deployed, to make this host as part of the Vdi-in-a-box grid, and then we have 3 Vdi-in-a- box virtual machines, these are managed by the VDI-in- a- box, virtual machine

So that concludes the initial setup and installation of VDI in a box, we went through the process of creating images, templates, we assigned users, we installed the desktop agent, we installed the citrix receiver, and then we assigned a user and tested it, with an active directory user, that concludes the getting started with VDI document.

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