VMware App Volumes series : Installation of the manager


VMware App Volumes series : Installation of the manager

VMware acquired Cloud Volumes last year August to turn it into App volumes not too much later. App Volumes allows you to dynamically provision applications to your users without having to install them in the golden image. 
This drastically lower the storage needed for a golden image and gives you flexibility to assign layers of applications to different departments without having to create multiple images of the VDI desktop.
The next series of my blog will be about App volumes, the manager, the broker, the client and management. 

Architectural overview

There are a couple of components to take into account, here’s a listing of them;
  • AD user account, this is the account that needs to be at least a read-only administrator in the Domain;
  • App Volumes Manager, a web based console running on a Windows server to manage the environment and manage the AppStacks;
  • App Volumes database, a SQL or SQL Express (non-production) database that stores the configuration for the environment;
  • App Volumes Agent, the agent running on all Windows machines to be able for user to receive AppStacks and write-able volumes;
  • AppStack volume, a read-only volume to provision application to users. An AppStack can be assigned to multiple users ;
  • Write-able volume, a volume that users can install applications in. A user can be assigned to write-able volume at once;
  • Provisioning desktop, the desktop that has the agent installed but not much else and is used to install applications that will be provisioned through an AppStack;
  • vCenter server, used to control which volume is connected to which desktop;
  • Broker service, installed with the Connection server to make sure the volumes are connect Just-In-Time when a user logs on to a desktop.

Requirements

To make proper use of App Volumes there are some requirements, I will walk you through them.
  • AD
    • An AD administrator user account to setup the manager and connect to vCenter
    • A Domain group designated for the administrators managing App Volumes
    • A vCenter administrator account to manage the AppStack connectivity
    • End user require administrative rights to install applications in write-able volumes
    • 2003 level or higher
  • Management server
    • Windows 2008R2 (2012R2 also works)
    • Appcation server role
    • 4 vCPU’s
    • 4B RAM
  • Hypervisor
    • VMware ESXi 5.x with vCenter 5.x
  • Agent
    • Windows 7
    • 1GB RAM
  • Database
    • SQL Express 2008R2
    • SQL 2008R2 or SQL2012
    • DB_owner
  • Networking
    • Webconsole 80/443
    • Database 1433
    • Agent/server 80/443
    • vCenter/ESXi 443
    • AD 389

Installation

So let’s take a look at the installation and configuration of the manager. I will not talk about the license agreement and that kind of stuff, we all know how to click on “YES….” I assume.

The first interesting question comes when you are asked to choose what component you want to install. We are installing the manager here, so please select the manager from the screen.

Next up is the installation of the database. If you have a SQL server you can use you can select “Connect…” here, for testing purposes I picked the local SQL express option here. It’s a PoC I’m doing so we are just testing possibilities.

Installation of the local SQL installation will take a few minutes.

App Volumes will fill in all the blanks here but you have a choice to change the database name if you please. If you are happy with the choices App Volumes made you can continue and finish the installation.

As written in the beginning the network ports 80 or 443 are used to communicate with the console. If you want the console to be reachable over another port you can change it here.

Not much choice here, you’re installing the manager.

The installation is finished now, not much to it I think.

Configuration

Once you finished the installation the manager web console is started and you can configure it. 

Click on “Get Started” to start configuration.
First step is the licensing, with the “Edit” button you can add a license file. I added a trial license which gave me 10 licenses to be used.

App volumes needs Active Directory to assign AppStacks to user. The second step in the configuration is connecting the manager to the Active Directory.

I had a top domain and a few sub-domains, fill in the top domain and a username and password to connect. Before App volumes continues it will validate if the connection as successful.

If you have trusted domains that you use, you need to add a username and password for that one here.

Next up is to select a group that can manage App volumes, if you have sub-domains like me you have to make sure the check box is selected. Pick the correct group and not like I did a group from a sub-domain where my users wasn’t a member from 🙁

Once that’s all done, let’s setup the vCenter connection. Fill in the vCenter host name, a username and password to connect to vCenter. This account needs to be able to add AppStacks to desktops.

Once you are connected to vCenter all storage locations will be available. Choose the location that is available to the VDI hosts. You choose both the AppStacks and write-able volumes location. 

The next question is whether you want to import the volumes in the background or immediately. I thought I skip this but I can assure you, this is where the show ends if you do.

The manager is installed and configured you can now go on and use it. Next up is installation of the agent and creating your first AppStack.

That I will show you in the next blog. In the mean time please look at my sponsors they have amazing solutions to show you.


3 Responses

  1. James says:

    My question is I am using App Volumes version 3. I do not have this trusted section. Is this removed in 3? I am also using the appliance and not the installation on top of a windows server. Could this be the difference?

    • Rob Beekmans says:

      Hi,

      I have to check if that is so… haven’t been playing with App volumes for a while due to different assignment.

      • James says:

        Ah gotcha. I am installing 2.11 now on a Windows Server 2012R2 to see if I get this option. Currently I have trusted domains, but cannot assign apps to any of those users in the trusted domains with v3.

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