Another super niche blog post. No one is ever going to find this…. So I had to dig into System Centre Configuration Manager today, probably Microsoft’s most complex product. I’ve been using this massively scalable and capable scheduling system since SMS1.2. But it still a bit scary to support… Machines cloned by VDI service VMware View were coming up with the same unique ID. The SMS client had been captured in the reference image that was cloned to create desktop pools.
TL;DR Make RDP better on Win7. Enable UDP support with this update. Add support for RDP 8.1 to Windows 7. Both an updated RDP client (useful when connecting to Windows Server 2012) and updates for the terminal server service. http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/2013/11/12/remote-desktop-protocol-8-1-update-for-windows-7-sp1-released-to-web.aspx There are quite a few hotfix prerequisites that took a while to install. I found it quicker to extract the cab files from within the MSU hotfix files (used 7zip) and install using dism.
You can repurpose Windows PCs as thin clients in a VMware View VDI environment. Swap the Windows explorer shell (start menu and desktop) with View Client. This also works for Windows Embedded thin clients. This works best with VMware View Client v5.4.0. Newer versions (View Client 2.0 and above, don’t ask me why the version numbers are out of order) VMware changed the View Client behaviour. When you disconnect from your VDI session, the View Client doesn’t close (so Windows doesn’t logoff).
This seminar describes a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) using only open source software (and a Windows desktop OS). This is of course a crazy thing to attempt. You’re more likely to pick an off-the-shelf products like VMware Horizon View or Citrix. The most interesting aspect of this seminar is that it explains the components of a VDI infrastructure and the challenges in making an OS designed for local disk work well in a VDI environment and shared storage.
My first trader VDI setup. A remoted desktop environment with two machines per trader, one keyboard and mouse, and up to 8 screens. Historically traders had two machines: One (trading machine) ring-fenced for Bloomberg and trading, and a second (non-trading machine) for MS Office, surfing the web, some 3rd party apps etc.. They would swap between the machines using KVM switch boxes. We switched to a VDI style solution where the trader’s machines are moved to the datacentre and accessed via a ‘thin client’ terminal.
The traders with 6 screens and two machines each needed a more elaborate VDI system (see my rgs post). But for the back office, with a mere two screens each, I deployed VMware Horizon View. I’ve upgraded though View 3, 4 and 5 and expect to upgrade to View 6 soon. We have mixture of HP thin clients and repurposed PCs (Vmware view client as shell). With a little VDI optimisation Windows 7 will work great in a VDI environment.