First, lets being by a look at all of the moving parts required if you are going to provision a View desktop with AppStacks. I put this together quickly to explain it. I have two clusters; the management cluster and the production cluster. The blue components are typically those you would have in a typical View desktop deployment. I have View Connection Server, View Composer, and vCenter server all running on the management site. On the production site, I have another vCenter Server and the golden image VM (and snapshot) for deploying desktops. This is cloned to a replica when we begin to create desktop pools (there is an old article on this process here if you want to read up on it).
On the production site, I needed to ensure that the VM that I was going to use for applications had the App Volumes Agent installed (note that this is referred to as a template above, but it is not a template. It is a running VM). This agents enables communication between it and the App Volumes Manager. Similarly the golden image VM that is to be used for the desktops also has the App Volumes Agent installed. Since I plan on deploying desktops based on linked clones. I also have the View Composer Agent installed on this golden image VM. The versions I deployed are as follows:
- vSphere 6.0U2 (vCenter and ESXi)
- VSAN 6.2
- Horizon View 7
- App Volumes 2.10
- Golden image VM and App template VM were both Windows 7
For AppStacks, if I can simplify the process somewhat, the administrator selects the template VM, marks it for “provisioning”, captures the applications that are installed in that VM, and then saves them in a VMDK on a datastore such as VSAN along with the appropriate metadata. Next, the administrator decides who is going to consume these applications. Here is an App Volumes Manager view showing the fact that I have captured one application, and that this AppStack has been assigned to Domain Admins (there are lots of ways to assign AppStack – this is only one way). Then when chogan , who is a Domain Admin in this environment, logged into a desktop, this AppStack was attached to that desktop (in the form of a VMDK).
If you are considering deploying App Volumes and AppStacks in your own environment, I found these guides from Jason Langer extremely useful.
My next step is to get hold of the App Volumes backup utility fling, and try to back up some of these App Stacks that are sitting on my VSAN datastore. I’ll follow up with a post on that once it is complete. [Update] It looks like there is already a good article on how to use the fling to back up AppStacks and writable volumes here.