This article provides a comprehensive overview of what can be accomplished with virtualized resources and how to set up Parallels Remote Application Server to work with said virtualized resources.
By adding the VDI host to the Parallels Remote Application Server, you can manage the virtual machines on the VDI host, create guest clones, and publish virtual desktops and applications from virtual guests.
The VDI Agent requires the following ports open to operate correctly:
- TCP: 30006 and 30007
- UDP: 30006
Different hypervisors will require different configuration and setup processes. This is because every platform works differently.
Within this document, the necessary setup and configuration for the following hypervisors will be covered:
Microsoft Hyper-V VDI Host VMWare VDI Host with Vcenter vESXi VDI Host
Microsoft Hyper-V VDI Host
Adding a Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor is, in most cases, the simplest of all deployments. In essence, the only prerequisites for successful operation are the following:
A machine running Microsoft Hyper-V (instructions here: technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc732470%28v=ws.10%29.aspx )
- Deployment of the VDI Agent role
- Configuring a Hyper-V VDI Host
To configure a VDI host running Microsoft Hyper-V, follow these steps:
- Highlight the VDI Hosts node from the navigation tree in the Farm category, and from the Tasks drop-down menu click Add
- In the first step of the wizard, select MS Hyper-V from the VDI Type drop-down menu and enter the name of the VDI host.
- Click Next when ready and proceed with the wizard to install the VDI agent on the host.
VMWare VDI Host with Vcenter
To configure a VDI host running VMware vCenter, follow these steps:
- Select the VDI Hosts node from the navigation tree in the Farm category and from the Tasks drop-down menu, click Add.
- In the first step of the VDI Hosts wizard, select VMware vCenter from the VDI Type drop-down menu and specify VC as VDI Host. Click Next to proceed.
- As with other servers, proceed with the wizard to install the VDI Agent on the host machine where VMware vCenter is installed.
- Once the VDI Agent is installed, specify the credentials of the VMWare vCenter server so the product can connect to it
- Click OK to add the new VDI Host to the Remote Application Server farm.
vESXi VDI Host
To configure a VDI host running vESXi, follow these steps:
Note: If the VMware ESX server is managed by VCenter, which has a VDI agent installed, there is no need to install the appliance on the ESX server.
Install VDI Agent Appliance
The procedure below shows the first pre-requisite in order to manage a vESXi host. The VDI Agent Appliance on the ESXi server will act as the VDI agent on the ESXi server.
This can be done as follows:
- Download the necessary appliance.
- Extract the VDI_Agent_Appliance_vSphere.
- Login to the VMWare vEXSi server using vSphere client.
- Select Deploy OVF Template from the File drop down menu to launch the wizard.
- Click Browse, browse to the OVF template VDI Agent Appliance.ovf and click Open.
- Proceed through the wizard and import the virtual machine.
- Run the new VDI Agent Appliance and open the console.
- If prompted, specify a new password for the root account.
- Select the option to configure network manually once prompted, and use the following details:
- IP Address: 192.168.131.25
- Network Mask 255.255.255.0
- Gateway: 192.168.131.2
- Name Server: 192.168.131.111
- Click Apply once ready
Adding ESXi as a VDI Host
Once the appliance has been set up, the next step is to configure the server as a VDI host.
This can be done as follows:
- From the Farm category, navigate to the VDI Hosts node and click Add from the Tasks drop-down menu.
- In the first step of the wizard, select VMware ESX from the VDI Type drop-down menu and specify the VDI Host IP and the VDI Agent appliance IP in the VDI Agent input field.
- In the Installing VDI Agent dialog box specify the credentials of the VDI agent machine (using root as username).
- Proceed with the wizard to add the server to the Remote Application Server farm.
With these steps, an administrator should have the desired VDI host configured and available within the console.
Guests are the virtual machines running on the VDI hosts. To manage guests and publish resources from them, the VDI guest agent has to be installed on the guest machines.
To list and manage guests on a VDI host, highlight the host in the console and click Virtual Guest Settings.
Default Guest Settings
To configure the default connection timeout and other settings related to the communication between the Remote Application Server and the guest, select Default Settings from the Tasks drop-down menu.
Note: Default settings can be overridden when configured specifically on the guest.
Installing the VDI Guest Agent
For the VDI agent to communicate with the Remote Application Server farm, the following ports should be open:
- TCP: 30004
- UDP: 30004
To install the VDI Guest Agent:
- Power on the guest from the Virtual Guests List dialog box.
- Highlight the guest and select Check Agent from the Tasks drop down menu.
- Proceed with a normal agent installation.
Managing Guest Pools
Pools are used to manage an extensive number of guests from VDI hosts. Pools can be managed from the Pool Management tab in the VDI Hosts node.
Creating a New Pool
To create a new pool, select Add from the Tasks drop-down menu in the Pools section and specify a pool name.
Adding Members to a Pool
To add members to a pool, highlight the pool name from the Pools section and select the specific action from the Add in the Members section of the Tasks drop-down menu.
Note: Parallels Remote Application Server also supports native pools of certain virtualization solutions. Therefore, if should you have a pool already set up on one of your VDI hosts, you can add that native pool to a Parallels pool.
Publishing Resources from VDI Guests
You can publish both virtual desktops and applications (features unique to the Remote Application Server) from VDI guests or pools of VDI guests. By following the procedure below, you will be able to publish the Notepad application from the bereavement vDesktopE1 guest:
- Click Add from the Publishing category to launch the publishing wizard.
- In the first step of the wizard, select Application.
- In the second step of the wizard, select Virtual Guest.
- Proceed with the wizard and in the fourth step of the wizard, specify the application details (click the browse (…) button to specify an application path).
- In the Virtual Guest Settings, select Specific Guest and use the drop-down arrow to select the guest vDesktopE1.
Click Finish to publish the application.
Note: The same procedure applies when publishing a desktop from a VDI guest.
Templates allow you to create and deploy virtual guest clones automatically when needed.
Creating a Template
In this exercise, you will create a template from the vDesktopE1 guest machine:
- Navigate to the Templates tab in the VDI Hosts node.
- Select Add from the Tasks drop-down menu.
- Select vDesktopE1 from the Virtual Guests Lists and click OK.
- Once you install the Guest Agent, click Make Template.
- Note: During the template generation process, the guest machine will be powered off.
- Once the template is ready, use the wizard to configure the guest templates by specifying:
- Template name
- Maximum number of guests
- Pre-created guests
- Guests names
- In the second step of the wizard, you have to specify the following:
- The folder where the guest virtual templates will be created
- Pool Name
- In the third step of the wizard, you have to specify SysPrep details, mainly:
- Owner Name
- Administrator password
- Specify if virtual guests should be part of a workgroup or a domain
- In the last step of the wizard, specify the operating system licenses used by the virtual guests. At this stage, you can proceed and publish desktops from the virtual guests.
Managing and Updating Templates
Before updating a template (for example, to apply several security patches so new virtual guests are created with the patch installed), switch the template to maintenance mode by highlighting the template name and selecting Maintenance from the Tasks drop-down menu.
Once this is done, an administrator can choose to publish desktops or applications from virtual machines, automatically create clones of a VM based on a template based upon user requests, and extensively manage resources published through the console.