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Preparation of Golden Image

No matter what platform you will use for your virtual desktops, the preparation of a desktop OS image which is the basis of all VDI sessions is a critical one. This image might be referred to as a "Shared Master", or "Golden Image", but the purpose is the same.

In many cases, this image will be cloned (copied) each time a VDI session is spawned. Changes made when the user is logged in will be discarded (with appropriate changes saved off and applied the next time this user spawns another session. The platform technology may refer to this as shared-image or linked-clones, but the principles are the same.

In other cases, this image will be cloned only the first time a user creates a session. These private images will be saved when the user logs out, and when that user returns this private image will brought back up.

We will leave the basics of developing a good Golden Image to others. This often involves tuning the OS to consume fewer resources, especially when the bennefit will be lost as soon as the user logs out (for example disk indexing when shared images are used).

The ability to have a single (or reduced number) Golden Image is made possible by creating the image with a minimal set of applications added to the image. This is enhanced by layering on virtual applications as needed by the users.

In this section, we define a way to achieve this result. We start with a clean OS image, then add the Microsoft App-V Client, configured in a special way. We also add our free AppV_DeployNpublish tools.

We add every virtual application that is needed into this image, making them potentially available to users.

We then extract the App-V cache (where these virtual applications are stored), removing it from the Golden Image. This significantly reduces the size of this image. The extracted cache is then placed in the SAN storage where each VDI session will read from as a read-only cache file.

As VDI sessions spawn off, only the minimal Golden Image is copied. When the user logs on, a publishing action is triggered that injects virtual application shortcuts and file type associations based upon authorizations stored in Active Directory.

The sub-sections of this section will walk you through the process of setting up this Golden Image.