Thursday, December 22, 2016

VMware App Volumes - The Next Evolution in VDI - Step 2 Writable Volumes

Hi Friends,

Ready for the next step in VDI evolution?  A little while back I showed you how cool AppStacks were in VMware App Volumes - The Next Evolution in VDI - Step 1 AppStacks.  Today I'm going to show you how to setup and use Writable Volumes.  AppStacks are really cool because you can assign applications to users that need them, Writable Volumes allow users to install their own applications on non-persistent desktops!

Wait, wait, wait just one second there Neil, you just contradicted yourself.  Install applications on non-persistent desktops?  Isn't that the whole point of non-persistence?  You're right friends, and that's what makes Writable Volumes so cool!  Writable Volumes give users the persistence and freedom they demand coupled with non-persistent desktops that allow administrators to roll out patches and changes to a single image.

Don't believe me huh?  Yeah, I was a bit skeptical too, but wait till you see how cool this is!

Let's head over to our App Volumes GUI, click on the Volumes tab and then Writables.  Click on the Create Writable button to create our first writable volume.

This next step looks like there's a lot going on, but it's pretty easy and I'll break it down step by step.

First, we need to find who or what we're going to assign this Writable Volume to.  In the case below I'm assigning it to a user named avtest1.

After you click on the search button, App Volumes will go take a look through your active directory and find the user or machine you want to assign to.

Check the box of the user or machine you want.  Now we select what storage the Writable Volume will reside on, the path to it and the source template.  Here I'm using a Tintri T5080.

Once you're happy with your configurations, click on Create.

The Writable Volume has been created!

Wait, don't celebrate too much yet, we're not there just yet.  Notice the status is Enabled, but Detached.  We've created our Writable Volume, but our avtest1 user hasn't done anything with it yet.

I've just logged into a virtual machine called appvolumes2 with user avtest1 and everything looks normal on the Windows side, but unknown to our avtest1 user, they now have a 10gigs of storage to install applications of their own!  Notice the state is now Attached?

The plot thickens!!!

One thing I forgot to mention is that the desktop(s) that will use App Volumes need to have the agent installed.  That can easily be rolled out by changing the golden image and doing a recompose.  Here's a screen shot of appvolumes2, the agent is installed and my test application, Notepad++ is not there.

Here I am installing Notepad++ on appvolumes2 as user avtest1.

And here's appvolumes2 after the install.  If you take a look the Notepad++ shortcut is on the desktop and it's now listed as an installed program.

Now, for the test, if I log into appvolumes2 as a different user, will Notepad++ still be there?

Woo Hoo!  I'm logged into appvolumes2, but as avtest2 and there's no Notepad++.

Now, what if I log into another desktop as avtest1?

Okay.... NOW it's time to celebrate!

How cool is that?!?!

Until Next Time!


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