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Jan 24 2012

How to Access Windows 2K8 Server via PCoIP with VMware View

Did you ever want to access Windows 2K8 Servers within VMware View using PCoIP? This configuration is not supported by VMware, only Terminal Services. Below you will find a step-by-step guide on how to connect Windows 2k8 R2 servers to VMware View using PCoIP.

The use cases for this type of configurations are many; ranging from creating manual pools to allow administrators to access jump boxes, to provision Windows 2K8 desktops to users (I do not recommend that from a MS licensing perspective).

I have also validated in my lab the use of Linked Clones and Persona Management with Windows 2K8 R2 servers but that will require some additional steps to make it work properly. In a next post I will explain how to make Linked Clones and Persona Management work in your VMWare View environment with Windows 2K8.

 

Hacking VMware View Agent

VMware View Agent uses Microsoft Installer to run a series of validations to understand what components should or should not be installed. For Windows 2K8 specifically, VMware View agent will only allow Terminal Services Access Pools with the connection protocol being RDP. So, first we need to open and hack VMware View Agent.

You will need to download Orca. Orca MSI Editor allows you to edit the properties of any MSI file. With this tool, you can change the title and text within the installer and look at how and where the files are delivered. Once installed you can right-click any MSI and select Open with Orca. This tool used to be a part of Microsoft Developer Tools but is now retired and no longer supported.

Download Orca from here.

 

  1. On a Windows 2K8 Server with VMware Tools installed execute the installation VMware View Agent package (VMware-viewagent-x86_64-5.0.0-481677). Do not click Install or Next.
  2. Go to %temp% folder, typing %temp% at the Run prompt.
  3. Find the folder containing the unpacked installation files and copy them to a temporary folder on your desktop.
  4. Using the Orca utility open ‘VMware View Agent64.msi’ file existing in the temp folder.
  5. Navigate to ‘Condition’ table
  6. Delete the conditions from PCoIP (0) and USB (0) features. Delete only the content of the condition, not dropping the entire row. Save the changes.
  7. Execute ‘VMware View Agent64.msi’ and go through the install normally. Enter the IP address of the Connection Server and the Authentication credentials when asked.
  8. Open the Windows Device Manager; go to ‘Display Adapters’ and select ‘Update Driver…’
  9. Select ‘Browse my computer for driver software’ and ‘Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer’
  10. On the following screen select ‘Have Disk…’ and select the wddm_video driver at “’c:\Program Files\Common Files\VMware\Drivers\wddm_video\vm3d.inf’. Without changing the video driver PCoIP will not work.
  11. Click ‘OK’ and Reboot the server.

Optionally, watch the video demonstration of how to do that.

 

 

 

Hacking VMware View Connection Server

VMware View classifies the Guest OS version and only allows certain operations based on the version property. Without hacking into the internal database VMware View will not allow you to add Windows 2K8 R2 servers to a manual pool. You want to use manual pools because they allow PCoIP and also allow you to add ad-hoc computers.

The Guest OS version information is kept in the internal ADAM database (Active Directory Application Mode). The steps below will explain how to change the Guest OS version.

 

1. Connect to one of your connection servers via RDP and execute the EDSI Edit tool or adsiedit.msc. If your connection server is Windows 2K3 you will need to install the EDSI Edit tool. Download it from here.

2. Use the connection settings below to connect to the internal ADAM LDAP (DC=vdi,DC=vmware,DC=int). Click OK.

clip_image001

 

3. Navigate to Servers OU and select and open the latest CN added to the list. At this point you should be able to see a property ‘Display Name’ containing the name of the server. If this is not the server you are adding you will need to find the correct CN.

4. Navigate to the ‘pae-OSVersion’ property and change it from 4 to 5. Click OK.

image

 

5. At this point the Windows 2K8 R2 Server is available under ‘Registered Desktop Sources’ in the VMware View dashboard. It will be displayed as Windows 7 instead of Windows 2K8.

image

 

6. Create a manual desktop pool and add the server to the pool. The pool can be configured as persistent or floating.

image

 

Now watch below the video of PCoIP access to a Windows 2K8 Virtual Server via VMWare View. (I’m sorry about the quality of the video. I will soon replace it)

 

 

 

Important Notes:

· If you get a black screen when connecting via PCoIP, shutdown the server and add more video RAM memory. I recommend adding the maximum: 128MB

· This is completely not supported by VMware and all the changes and modifications in this article are purely from an experiment perspective.

· Do not execute the instructions mentioned in this article in a production environment without knowing exactly what you are doing.

· I am not suggesting here that Windows 2K8 Server should be used as a replacement for Windows 7 as desktop from a licensing perspective. If you have any questions on licensing, please talk to your Microsoft rep.

 

This article was first published by Andre Leibovici (@andreleibovici) at myvirtualcloud.net. Visit myvirtualcloud.net for more articles about Virtualization, VDI and End User Computing.

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Permanent link to this article: http://myvirtualcloud.net/?p=2811

49 comments

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  1. O'Brien Merrill

    Hi Andre,

    Aboslutely enjoying and learning from your posts on VDI and VMware View. I am working hard on fiding a way to use View to provide multi-tenant VDI to our clients. We are workign with Vmware on this as well, but their timeline is too far out for some of our more immediate needs. And all of the problems remain as you have expounded (Windows licensing, security, hardware, financial viability for smaller environments, etc.)

    Above you mention you intend to “explain how to make Linked Clones and Persona Management work in your VMWare View environment with Windows 2K8″ in a future post. I am struggling with this at present and was hoping you might be close to posting what you did so I could at least try a solution from someone with more expertise than I have.

    Thanks, O’Brien

  2. Mitja B.

    Hi Andre, any tip to get the linked clones functionality with Win Server working? I have been trying to make this work for quite some time, but no luck yet.

  3. John N

    I havn’t found clear documentation anywhere on this. Does PCoIP work is suported with normal terminal service users beyond the admin users?

  4. Blake B

    This is fantastic! I was able to get everything set up and had no issue deploying machines, but they are not doing multi-monitor. Any ideas as to what could be causing the issue? I am having this problem on all of the machines I set up this way.

  5. Andre Leibovici

    @Blake B
    I have never tested two displayed and I am not sure if it’s going to work. However, give a try increasing the amount of vRAM (video RAM) to 128MB. That should give you plenty of memory for 2 simultaneous displays.

    Andre

  6. Andre Leibovici

    @John N
    PCoIP works only in console mode. Terminal services is not supported by VMware.

    Andre

  7. Andre Leibovici

    @Mitja B.
    Unfortunately I have not had the cycles to put a port together on that.
    I’ll try to get that out as soon as possible.

    Regards,
    Andre

  8. Mark McDonald

    Hi Andre,

    Any progress with the article on linked clones and persona management that you mentioned? I’m in the same boat as Merrill and would like to be able to deploy Win 2k8 desktops in this manner.

    Thanks,

    Mark

  9. Andre Leibovici

    @Mark McDonald
    I’m sorry to disappoint but I have not had the required spare cycles to work on this. However, for Windows 2K8 desktops you should be able to use the native Windows Roaming Profile.

    Andre

  10. mike

    Hello Andre,

    Did you had the spare cycles to work on the article about linked clones and Windows 2k8 desktops.

    I’m really looking forward to it.

    Greets.

    Mike

  11. Andre Leibovici

    @mike
    No, but you could enable CBRC (View Storage Accelerator) from VMware View 5.1 to get the block de-duplication and acceleration provided by the feature. CBRC will not reduce the amount of storage capacity required, but will improve performance without requirement for a dedicated SSD tier.

    Andre

  12. mike

    But how do you automate a pool with win2k8 desktops?

    greets,

    Mike

  13. Andre Leibovici

    @mike
    You may try using full-clones, but you will need some powershell automation to make the changes in the ADAM database for you. Unfortunately, I don’t have the cycles to create that at the moment.

    Andre

  14. Paulo José

    Hi Andre, does it work with Version 5.1?.
    I tried and every time i get an Internal error 2600, every time i install the agent.

    Regards

  15. Andre Leibovici

    @Paulo José
    I have not validated with VMware View 5.1. I think it should work but maybe few modifications are required. Unfortunately I won’t be able to look at it until after both VMworlds this year.

    Andre

  16. Quaine Day

    Cannot add the 2k8r2 server to the manual pool. After hacking the connection server and changing pae-OSVersion’ property and change it from 4 to 5 its still showing as a 2k8r2 incompatible server. I have not updated to View 5 and still running 4.6. Is this the problem? Any help would be appreciated.

  17. JKYU

    ADSI property can not be found, pae-OSVersion video for that part, please.

  18. Andre Leibovici

    @JKYU
    Are you saying that you don’t see the pae-OSVersion attribute in ADAM?

    Andre

  19. Andre Leibovici

    @Quaine Day
    Unfortunately I have not tested the solution with VMware View 4.6. If you get it to work with a different method please let us know.

    Andre

  20. Doug Youd

    G’day Andre,

    Just reporting I’m seeing the same issue as @Paulo Jose; Internal Error 2600 w/ 5.1.1

    Maybe VMware have closed this little loophole. I’ll continue to investigate though :)

    -Doug

  21. Doug Youd

    Got the “Error 26000.” Resolved for 5.1.1, MSI needs to be launched as administrator.

    Launch command prompt as admin, browse to directory, msiexec -i “VMware agent64.msi”.

    Job done :)

  22. Andre Leibovici

    @Doug Youd
    Thanks for sharing your findings with us.

    Andre

  23. Gates Ouimette

    Hello all,

    Any updates re:using WinServer skinned desktops with PCoIP? I realize its not supported but any sizable deployments out there (100+)?

  24. Barry

    Hi there. I have followed all the instructions to the letter and am using View 5.1. The Windows Server machine appears in the Registered Desktop Sources section as a Windows 7 machine but cannot be selected as a parent VM when creating a pool as it says VM with unsupported Guest OS. Any ideas? I have changed the pae-OSVersion to 5 and edited the Agent using Orca prior to install.

  25. Andre Leibovici

    Barry, it’s been a while since I implemented this solution. You should make sure you have followed the step 4 (Navigate to the ‘pae-OSVersion’ property and change it from 4 to 5.). If you have done that, please check that VMware View agent has not changed back to it’s original value.

    Andre

  26. Mitja B.

    It also helps if you change the guest OS on the VM to Windows 7 x64. That way View will think it’s a Windows 7 machine: in vSphere client edit VM settings, options tab, General Options->Guest operating system section.

    Andre, do you know if VMware has any plans to support linked cloned Windows servers? It can be done, but currently you have to do quite some hacking. I don’t see why they wouldn’t support it?

  27. Barry

    Hi guys, changing the machine type to Windows 64 bit in the VI client allowed me to add this to the pool. Thank you for your help. We are going to provide a DaaS service based on a Win2K8 Server desktop using Data Center licensing and CALS. I cannot currently see any licensing issues with this but if you hear of any I would be interested. Do you have any performance hints or tips or specific GPO tweaks for 2K8 desktops?

  28. Barry

    On the point of linked clones servers my understanding and I am pretty sure I have done it, is that it is supported when using vCloud Director. I appreciate this is not helpful if you don’t use vCloud director.

  29. Doug Youd

    I’ve tested dual monitors to work. But you need to add the following lines to the VMX of VDI machines manually (this is what view does behind the covers, I believe).

    svga.numDisplays = 2
    svga.vramSize = 67108864 (or greater)

  30. Doug Youd

    Hi Gates / Andre,

    A little late… but my company have implemented a solution based on this principle in production. Its one of our desktop offerings as a cloud provider. Its only just been released formally, but there are approx 50 VDI machines in use currently, with string interest and demand for it.

    The use case for us is as follows: We have a large number of tenants that are themselves small to mid-size MSP/Integrators, servicing SMB/SME. These clients do not generally have extensive high-level vmware skillsets or the scale to justify a traditional VDI deployment. So we offer an automatically deployed vmware view infrastructure, on a multi-tenant vcloud platform.

    With this product, smaller MSP’s can quickly deploy small to mid-size skinned 2k8 VDI fleets (around 45min automated deployment time).

    Effectively, we’ve tried to lower the bar of VDI entry from a couple of hundred down to 10 or so seats.

    Most of the view features remain intact using this deployment and the more savvy MSP’s / Integrators have full admin access to their CS and SS to customize any way they may chose. We have some things on the roadmap to further streamline / improve service levels, such as using vCloud Linked clones as part of this solution and experimenting with more extensive SSD usage etc.

    Details here:
    https://www.zettagrid.com/products/cloud-desktop/domaindesktop/

    If anyone’s interested in the gory details, I’ll spend some time writing up a blog post about it. It’s all done via Orchestrator workflows and a small application to “rope the desktops in” to the connection server…. which means no domain credentials need to be exposed to the cloud provider (us) at all during the process. All in all, pretty clean, if I do say so myself :)

  31. Andre Leibovici

    Barry,

    Yes, vCloud Director support what is called FAST Clones. FAST Clones is the vCD implementation of View Composer Linked Clones.

    Andre

  32. Mitja B.

    With a lot of time and hacking link cloned Win Servers on View can also run. We have linked clone Win Server 2k8R2 desktops running on View with PCoIP on our ICTaaS solution for quite some time now. It’s all integrated into a single frontend web portal which provides provisioning of user backend components like View, AD, Exchange, CUCM etc. This has been running in production on service provider and private setups since 2008.

    Let me say it’s quite challenging (and involves a lot of engineering work and complex design) to create a solution based on View to fit a service provider.

    The solution’s called Flip IT: http://bit.ly/11mlevu

  33. Jan

    Barry, were you able to automate cloning via full or link clones?

  34. Jan

    With quickprep, it should be possible to activate scripting and add the desktop to the database. However, how can you trick the agent to tell the manager it has done ‘customizing’?

  35. Mitja B.

    Hi Doug,

    nice to see we are not alone in the View DaaS business. Looks great. We have a product similar to yours (started in 2008) running on service providers and also enterprises that wish to offer ICTaaS or implement it internally (DaaS is a part of it). For quite some time now we have also been running linked clone Windows Server desktops on PCoIP in production environments. There was quite some patience and hacking needed in order to get it to work in View but it can be done. Besides the DaaS functionality the core part of the solution is a provisioning portal which enables provisioning of user backend services (View, AD, Apps, telephony etc.) from a single web portal. It literaly takes minutes to create a user with all the services.

    For anyone who’s interested the solution is called Flip IT:
    http://www.nil.com/solutions/flipit-it-as-a-service/

  36. Andre Leibovici

    Hi Mitja,

    I would love to see the solution your organization has put together. Do you think would be possible to get me a demo or temporary pass to the system and access the dashboard and the View W2K8 desktop?

    Great Job!

    Andre

  37. Mitja B.

    Sure, just drop me a mail.

  38. Doug Youd

    Very cool. Sounds like you’ve gone one step further than us on that front. We opted initially for fully deployed desktop disks for our initial offering. For the scale clients we work with currently, that’s sufficient.

    I think one of your colleagues contacted me on linked in, so we might have a chance to chat in depth a bit later.

    Thanks for sharing.

  39. Andre Leibovici

    What is the email address?

  40. Mitja B.

    mbezensek at nil.com

  41. Ben S

    Are you able to post the hacks you did to get linked clones to work? Those would be very helpful. I’m working on trying to get this to work for a DaaS startup. MS SPLA and VMWare together make it difficult for service providers.

  42. Ben Mitchell

    Waiting in Breathless anticipation for “being able to deploy from template” on this.

  43. Andre Leibovici

    Ben

    Here is your answer:

    How to: Win2K8 w/ PCoIP, Linked Clones, USB, Printing & much more on VMware View (DaaS)
    http://myvirtualcloud.net/?p=4776

  44. Ben S

    Awesome! Thanks for working this out! I did find out from VMWare that this is on their roadmap but have not received a date when a version will be released that supports this.

  45. Ben Mitchell

    Spoke with our VMWare Rep and it appears that it’s not even on the VMWare Roadmap.. Guess they plan to leave this to XenDesktop.

  46. Ben S

    Our Verizon rep didn’t know about this problem or that it was on the roadmap. I got confirmation from one of the guys that deals with SPLA.

  47. ITconnecter

    To use Windows 2K8 Server via PCoIP with VMware, use Desktone as the connection broker with View clients, VSPP SKU for View Enterprise, 4-7pts.

  48. Andre Leibovici

    An updated version of this article with more information about other features can be found at http://myvirtualcloud.net/?p=4776

  49. shishir

    The connection to the remote computer timed out.

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