VMware View – Overview Architecture

So it’s time to get involved with VMware View as per my last blog post.

Now it’s time to start learning this product, to do this, I use the following template which ‘touch wood’ has always worked for me in the past:

1. Carry the Building End-User Computing Solutions with VMware View book with me during my work week and read it at least once per day.

2. Watch VMware View 5 Essentials Training by Brian Knudtson and Lane Leverett

3. Lab time what I have learnt and then destroy and rebuild the lab until I have the content nailed.

4. Document my learning on this blog, this generally contains information I have learned but placed into my own words.

What is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

I thought that I knew what VDI was as I have worked with Remote Desktop Services (Terminal Services) and Citrix XenApp in the past, however I was wrong!

The key differences between ‘old school’ VDI AKA RDS and XenApp is that the users log into a ‘server desktop’ which is locked down by GPO.  Whereas, with VMware View each user has there own ‘virtual machine’ as a desktop, meaning that what they do doesn’t effect the other thirty users logged in.

VMware View Architecture

This is my understanding of each component in View.

Client – application locally installed to gain access to desktop, much the same as using RDP or Citrix Receiver

Agent – appears to be the same as VMware tools, it’s installed into the guest OS and provides ‘enhancements’.

Composer – allows the ability to create linked clone desktops from a master image, saving on storage space.

View Manager – this comes as four seperate components which are

  • Connection Server which handles all authentication requests via Active Directory to access a desktop.  This is the first server in the View Infrastructure.
  • Replica Server which is an exact copy of the Connection Server used for load balancing and redundancy
  • Security Server which sits in your DMZ and enables remote access to users Desktops.
  • Transfer Server enables the use of ‘Local Mode Desktop’ allowing users to take the ‘desktop’ offline and any block changes are transferred back to the Desktop on the ESXi Host

Something which stands out is that you can have multiple connection servers, however View doesn’t have any inbuilt load balancing so either a service aware load balancing device would need to be purchased such as a Kemp/Barracuda/F5 or you can use Windows Network Load Balancing.


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