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Customize your AppStacks in VMware App Volumes

VMware App Volumes is a great solution and been receiving a lot of traction in the Desktop Virtualization space. Provisioning Just-In-Time applications is the key to a leaner desktop management. I’ve mentioned it before but if you think about doing JiT for applications, UEM (User-Environment management) and you add project Fargo, you have any Desktop Admin’s dream. Think about provisioning a desktop to a user as he asks for it, he comes to see you and says “I need a Windows 8.1 desktop with Office 2013 and a bunch of apps). By the time he finishes his request and gives you a bribe in the form of coffee or chocolate chip cookies, well, you’re done :-)  Pretty sweet right… Now, it’s day 2, you’ve setup App Volumes (you can find help here), you’ve deployed a few applications and life is good. What’s the next step? Of course, it’s been properly architect and in a future post, I’ll do a deep dive on my view of what a proper AV Architecture should be. In this post, I want to go in the customization of the AppStacks. One last parenthesis. You have to keep in mind that once you’ve setup the AppStacks, they are Read-Only, that’s very important. By default, the size of an AppStacks is 20GB Thin-Provisioned (10GB for Writable Volumes Template). If you create an AppStacks that will require a lot of updates and maintenance, like Office 2013, then I suggest you keep the default AppStacks. But what if you need to build an AppStacks for an application that takes only a few megs, like VLC player or even smaller like a few admin tools together like WinSCP, Putty and such. Well, an AppStacks of 20GB (again –> Thin Provisioned) might not make a lot sense. vCenter Datastore Picture above showing AppStacks only, keep in mind that Writable Volumes are 10GB by default.   So, here’s how to customize the default AppStacks template and create your own. AppStacks Customization VMware App Volumes comes with 4 default templates: – Regular Application template – Writable Volumes template for User-Installed Apps (UIA) – Writable Volumes template for Profiles Only – Writable Volume for Profiles + UIA   My recommendation, use a clean Windows 7 Pro SP1 x64 Virtual Desktop that has no App Volumes Agent installed. I won’t go in big details on requirements, I suggest you do this with Admin permissions on vCenter and on the Virtual Desktops, will avoid a lot of headaches. Add a new disk to your Virtual Desktop, pick the size of the template you’ll want to use. DiskMgmt Login to the Virtual Desktop, open Disk Management, initialize the disk and format it. Once it’s formatted, locate your template and also attach it to that Virtual Desktop. DiskMgmt2 Copy all the files from that template in the new disk you previously created. In my example, I copied all the files from the G: Drive to the F: drive. Make sure that you can see all your files in the Windows Explorer, expose hidden or system files. Files copy You are now ready to unmount both disk from your Virtual Desktop. You should now move the VMDK file to the App Volumes Templates folder (by default <datastorename>CloudVolumes/App_Templates). You don’t absolutely need to do this but I recommend it, helps keep a cleaner environment if all your templates are the same place. To complete the process, import the new customized AppStacks through the App Volumes Manager UI by choosing Import AppStacks from the AppStacks tab. AppStacksImport   After the import is complete, you are now ready to use that new template to build your new AppStacks. Go on and build away! Hope this post was useful, let me know what you think!  @VirtualStef

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2 Comments

  1. Joe CalhounFebruary 20, 2015 at 13:40Reply

    Stephane are you saying not to customize the Writable Volume template? We were only thinking about giving each user 5 gb of Writable Volume space.

  2. Upgrading App Volumes Templates | vDelboy'sViewMarch 17, 2015 at 12:03Reply

    […] If you have created any custom templates then you should also update these at this time. You can read more about creating custom templates here […]

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