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This is the 9th part of my VCAP7-DTM Design exam series. In part 8 I covered the creation of an application architecture design for Horizon 7. Let’s have a look at the last part of the exam blueprint, which is about session management and client devices:

Section 8 – Incorporate Endpoints into a Horizon Design
Objective 8.1 – Incorporate Session Connectivity Requirements in a Horizon End Point Design
Objective 8.2 – Incorporate Management Requirements in a Horizon End Point Client Design
Objective 8.3 – Incorporate Security Requirements in a Horizon End Point Design

User Personalization

In a Windows environment several types of user profiles are available:

  • Local Profile
  • Roaming Profile
  • Mandatory Profile

The user profile include user-specific data and application settings which allows the users to have a persistent appearance regardless which desktops a user logs in to.

As a general leading practice, it is recommended to redirect as much user data as possible to a network share. But in a Windows environment, administrators have often experienced issues with roaming profiles. From my experience, a smaller profile causes less trouble and it’s worth to spend time to have a proper profile management strategy configuration.

VMware User Environment Manager

VMware’s solution for profile management is called User Environment Manager (UEM) which is part of the Just-in-Time Management (JMP) platform. JMP is composed of the Instant Clone technology for fast desktop provisioning, App Volumes for real-time application delivery and User Environment Manager for the profile and session management.

vmware uem architecture

When I worked with Citrix products, the recommendation was to use Citrix UPM (roaming profile) and configure folder redirections via GPO.

One of the things I have learned when I joined VMware, is the different approach when it comes to profile management. VMware recommends mandatory profiles and the dynamic configuration capability of UEM:

User Environment Manager manages user and Windows settings and dynamically configures the desktop. For example, it can create drive and printer mappings, file type associations, and shortcuts. User Environment Manager can also manage and provide shortcuts to applications such as ThinApp to users.

This is Microsoft’s definition of a mandatory user profile:

A mandatory user profile is a special type of pre-configured roaming user profile that administrators can use to specify settings for users. With mandatory user profiles, a user can modify his or her desktop, but the changes are not saved when the user logs off. The next time the user logs on, the mandatory user profile created by the administrator is downloaded.

If you need to know how you create a mandatory user profile, check Microsoft’s article for Windows 10.

Very important to know when using UEM with mandatory profiles: Only the settings you have defined in UEM are kept for your sessions. Settings that you didn’t configure with UEM are not preserved and are discarded after a logout. This is called personalization.

Once you have configured your mandatory profile, the configuration in UEM is waiting:

  • Personalization (e.g. configuration files for Windows settings)
  • Application Configuration Management (initial settings for applications)
  • User Environment Settings (printer/drive mappings, environment variables, shortcuts etc.)
  • Dynamic configuration based on conditions (user, location, client device etc.)

If you need to know more about UEM, read the blog VMware User Environment Manager, Part 1: Easier, Faster Windows Logins with Mandatory Profiles, where you find information about installing and configuring VMware User Environment Manager.

Client Devices

Identify the customer’s client device characteristics and compare it with the requirements. Depending on the requirements you have the following client device options:

  • Chromebook
  • Tablets and Smartphone
  • Fat Clients (the traditional PCs or laptops including Mac)
  • Thin Clients
  • Zero Clients

For each device a different Horizon Client (depending on the OS) is available for download.

As already mentioned earlier in this series, Blast should be the primary protocol for your Horizon sessions. If you have endpoints where a Horizon Client cannot be used or installed, you still have the HTML access option.

Smart Policies

Configuration for Smart Policies are done in the UEM console. Some of the settings you have configured via Group Policies before can now be done in UEM. I’m talking about configuration based on conditions like client location, launch tag or pool name. But it’s also possible to fill in your own personal View client properties:

With Smart Policies, administrators have granular control of a user’s desktop experience. A number of key Horizon 7 features can be dynamically enabled, disabled, or controlled based not only on who the user is, but on the many different variables available through Horizon 7: client device, IP address, pool name, and so on.

horizon smart policies

Example: Based on the client device used you can set different settings for USB redirection, clipboard and bandwidth profile.

Smart Policies can be enforced and evaluated at login/logout and reconnect/disconnect and at defined refresh intervals. This allows IT to maintain endpoint and session security even the user changes the network, the endpoint or both.

These are the basics about session management and client devices. We have now covered all sections of the exam blueprint:

Section 1 – Create a Horizon Conceptual Design
Section 2 – Create a Horizon Logical Design
Section 3 – Create a Physical Design for vSphere and Horizon Components
Section 4 – Create a Physical Design for Horizon Storage
Section 5 – Create a Physical Design for Horizon Networking
Section 6 – Create a Physical Design for Horizon Desktops and Pools
Section 7 – Incorporate Application Services into a Horizon Physical Design
Section 8 – Incorporate Endpoints into a Horizon Design

What’s Next?

I know the basics about a Horizon 7 implementation but I need to gain more technical knowledge about each product. As a Solution Architect I have a customer-facing pre-sales role and in general have no hands-on experience. As a consultant, who works with the Horizon suite on a daily basis, I’m sure that the VCAP-DTM Design exam would a piece of cake. 🙂

The next weeks I will  read a lot of the PDFs (reference architecture and admin guides) mentioned in the exam blueprint and they are about:

  • Horizon 7.2 (including Mirage, ThinApp, UAG)
  • App Volumes 2.12
  • IDM 2.9
  • UEM 9.2
  • vROps 6.4
  • vSAN 6.2
  • vSphere 6.5

Because I have a quite big home office and love whiteboards, I decided to order whiteboard papers which hold to the walls by static charge. This should help me to note important stuff down. 😀

whiteboard paper

I have left six weeks to prepare! Let’s do this! 🙂 Jump to part 10