In a View deployment, it is fairly common to have users that have different needs when they are working. Users might need a regular desktop for their day to day operations, a basic desktop where you have an Office suite, including email and other basic corporate applications.
The same user might have to do additional very focused work, like engineers who need a specific Desktop with a lot of power behind it, one of those Windows 7 Professional VM with 2 vCPU’s and 32GB of RAM and a high-performance Graphic card for running intensive application like Autodesk or CATIA like software.
So, stick with me here, I going in a parallel topic but it’s kind of important to understand before I go in deeper. The links here are for reference, if you click on these, make sure you come back to my article to see the light at the end of the tunnel
With the release of vSphere 6 and Horizon 6 with Version 6.1, VMware and NVidia now fully supports high-end graphics with vGPU. This new technology will be able to support most of the use cases where high-end graphics are required. In fact, some say that it will support all the use cases except for CUDA based applications. More info on CUDA here.
If you would like more information on vGPU, I strongly encourage you to go read Pat Lee, Senior Director at VMware, blog post on the subject, which can be found here.
Also, Matt Coppinger recorded a Bootcamp on the matter, which can be found here.
Now, let’s get back to the main topic of this blog post.
As a View administrator, you want to make sure the user has the right desktop for the right task. In the example above, it’s good for the user to have a very powerful desktop to run his CATIA application for example but you also want to make that desktop available to other users when he’s not running those very demanding application. If remote access is enabled and properly configured, you want to make sure that when the user is connecting remotely, he is not able to login to that resource intensive desktop, to make sure his session does not consume all the available bandwidth for remote access.
This is where Desktop Pool tagging comes into play. You want the user to be able to login to all the desktops he’s entitled to, when connected on the Local Area Network but when he’s doing remote work, you want to limit his access to the standard desktop only.
If you tag a desktop pool, you can achieve this goal.
Just a recap of our scenario. You have users that have a requirement for high-end graphics and you want to make sure that they can only login to those desktop pools when they are connected on the corporate LAN.
There are two part to configure Desktop pool tags. First, you will go in your View Configuration, under the Servers section and edit the connection server(s) you want to use with tagging. Once you have chosen that server, click on Edit and fill in the appropriate field, Tags in our case. For us, since we wanted to recognize External connectivity, the screenshot below shows you that I used a simple tag called External. Actually there are two tags because I also have another use-case that I deal with in my testing lab but for the purpose of this blog, let’s stay focused on the “External” tag.
Then, you go in the Catalog section, under Desktop Pools and you choose the pool you want to configure for tagging. You edit the pool and you go in the Desktop Pool tab. In the General section, you will see an option “Connection Server restrictions:”, by default there are none. Click on browse and choose the radio button “Restricted to these tags:”. The tags you have previously configured on the Connection servers will show up here, just choose the right tag for that desktop pool. That is it, you have configured access to desktop pools based on where the user will connect from.
You can now easily test this by connecting to your environment from the outside and validating that the desktop is not shown, then connect from LAN and see that it is showing up.
Here is the User connection screen when accessing the environment from the outside, after desktop tagging has been configured:
Here is what the same user would see, when connecting from the LAN:
You can clearly see that the same user now has acess to 2 more desktops, including the vGPU desktop.
I hope you found this useful, there are a lot of use-cases for desktop tagging and I think it is under-utilized. Let me know what you think…
For more information on desktop tags, you can read the View documentation, look for Restricting Desktop Access or View tags. You’ll find plenty of information in the Installation Guide and in the Architecture Planning Guide.