On September 25th QA was a senior sponsor at the Windows Server 2012 launch as part of that event Microsoft asked me to produce some videos. The video used on the big stage was a whirlwind tour of the new Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) provisioning engine within Windows Server 2012. By popular demand you can now view the video on my YouTube channel but I thought I should put some context around the video.
With Windows Server 2008 Microsoft introduced the concept of Roles and Features. With Windows Server 2008R2 Remote Desktop Services (RDS) got a lot more complex with the introduction of VDI support. This leads us to Windows Server 2012 where Microsoft have added a number of features:
1. Server Manager supports scenario deployment configurations for RDS solutions
2. Auto provisioning of Pooled and Personal virtual machines from a gold VHD VM
3. Remote app publication from VM's
4. User Profile disk
5. Rolling updates of Pooled VM's when the based disk needs to be replaced because of being updated
6. Ability to increase VMs deployed easily
The video demonstrates the deployment and provisioning features. I will address the remote app, user profile disk, updating and scale in another blog & video later.
With Server Manager instead of just deploying individual roles in Windows Server 2012 the whole RDS solution can be deployed for a single wizard across a number of servers. When the wizard is launched the wizard allows selection of the computers that will perform all the different functions within and RDS deployment and for VDI this would possibly include:
• RDS Virtualization Hosts
• RDS Connection Broker
• RDS Session Host
• RDS Licensing
• RDS Web Access
• RDS Gateway
The RDS Gateway & RDS Web Access are optional components. Having selected the host(s) that will run each piece the scenario wizard will deploy all the required features onto each of the targeted hosts. Once the deployment has been completed a collection of VM's can be created within the RDS section of server manager. The main requirement here before you start is to have a prepared gold image VM. This will need a VM to exist on a Hyper-V host which has all the configuration settings set as required, removed from your active directory domain and be sysprepped. This VM can be either Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8. When the deployment wizard has been completed this gold VM will be exported, duplicated, copied as a base file to each Hyper-V hosts (if there is not any shared storage) and then differencing disks will be built referencing the copied base file.