Pushing forward with VDI – Pano & VMware View

Our journey to VDI continues.  This week, we had several more milestones on our road to delivering this solution into the far reaching corners of our area.   Among those accomplishments were implementing the DHCP options successfully, setting up several pools of linked-clone virtual desktops and a wider testing of the Pano devices and their capabilites. (This is only an incremental update – see my prior post.)

Mike, one of our senior sysadmins, has successfully implemented the Pano DHCP options on Cisco Network Registrar (CNR) which we use for DHCP.  We initially had trouble getting the scope options working with CNR.  We failed back and used a more standard Linux DHCP server for our proof of concept.  But rolling this out to our company, we knew we’d either have to abandon CNR or make it work.  And, with a little persistence, he was able to get the options included usign CNR.  If anywhere in Pano Logic’s documentation is lacking, its with configuring the DHCP part of their solution.  Granted, they offer other ways, but DHCP is pretty much the standard way.  The documentation I saw was strickly for Windows DHCP, though we got it working quickly on Linux DHCP.  The scope options are now deployed across the entire enterprise, so we can fire up a Pano anywhere in our corporate infrastructure now and it should work.

I’ve had some more hand-on time with the Pano devices this week.  I’ve begun testing the solution at my desk and I’m very impressed at the performance I’m getting using the new Console Direct technology from Pano Logic.  The improvements in performance are noticable and I’m extremely happy with the overall experience.  

Jason is continuing to work out kinks in our VDI templates.  Right now, we have two – one for our group to use and one for the central offices – and we’re continuing to customize and redeploy these templates.  We’re utilizing VMware View, and there are a few things we’ve learned about View with Pano.

Unlike using Pano Manager against an ESX farm directly, when using VMware View you have an option for adding VDM pool(s) to your Pano Manager.  Using Pano Manager against ESX directly means you use Pano to spin up new VM’s as needed and set all permissions and entitlements in that console.  But with View, you may simply create a VMware VDM collection (one for all) and assign all your AD users to it.  From this point on, all administration for the VDI can be accomplished in View Manager.  This is the route we have chosen to go to gain some of the features included with View.   

We are using View to leverage the thin-provisioning technology and hopefully save us some very expensive space on our disk arrays.  Keep in mind, you don’t need View when running Panos, however we felt that the VMware View was more adventageous to use now from a licensing cost perspective.  

As best we can tell, the Pano Manager will only be needed to make changes against the Pano devices in our environment – changes like making login screen preference changes or assigning a second Pano to serve as a dual monitor pair.  It turns out that using View as our backend, we won’t be using Pano Manager to spin up VM’s, create pools, etc. 

Jason and I are doing some additional testing with View’s capabilities to seemlessly separate user data (profiles) from the linked-clone OS image.  We are testing some of the caveots of using the profile change disks and what survives after a re-compose process.  I’ll be posting more on this once we’ve run it through the ringers a little more thoroughly.

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Philip is a IT solutions engineer working for AmWINS Group, Inc., an insurance brokerage firm in Charlotte, NC. With a focus on data center technologies, he has built a career helping his customers and his employers deploy better IT solutions to solve their problems. Philip holds certifications in VMware and Microsoft technologies and he is a technical jack of all trades that is passionate about IT infrastructure and all things Apple. He's a part-time blogger and author here at Techazine.com.

2 Responses to “Pushing forward with VDI – Pano & VMware View”

  1. Hi Philip. I am hoping to do the same with the VM View. I have been working with the view composer piece and am having an issue with the linked clones and the PANO das connecting to the pano manager so I can assign the devices. It appears that the view composer agent attaches itself to the netlogon service and therefore does not allow the pano gina to connect to the pano management server? I just started messing with it so thought I would drop you a note in case you guys figured out how to use composer and also allow for your machines to join the AD domain and add to the proper OU.

    April 30, 2009 at 12:06 pm Reply
    • Philip #

      Hi Rod. I asked Jason, my co-worker and our primary Pano administrator, to help me with this. I’m assuming you’re using View Composer to allow you to do thin provisioning, one of the key features in View. We have our environment setup to do this and we’re not seeing any problems with the Pano VM’s connecting to the Pano Management Server, so I’m certain that you can get it to work. Also, Jason passed along these tips:

      First he needs to make sure that he installs the Pano DAS software before installing the VMware View Agent on the VMs. (I believe that Jason has told me that the View Agent has to be reinstalled after every DAS software upgrade also — so its the last piece of software installed.)

      Needs to make sure he has a VMware VDM collection created in the Pano Manager.

      When using VMware View the VMs will not show up in the Pano Manager until someone tries to connect.

      All cloning and adding the VMs to the domain will be done through the View Manager not the Pano Manager. We are using a non-persistant pool and at the end it will have you enter the AD OU. We have granted an account the right to create VMs in this particular OU only. This account is not a domain admin.

      I don’t think you can assign a linked clone to a specific Pano device. I believe this can only be done with VMs that are used directly with the Pano Manager.

      I hope these help!

      April 30, 2009 at 1:36 pm Reply

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