Starting to lay the groundwork for Win10 VMs (VMware)

Discussion in 'Virtualized Computing' started by t_ski, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. t_ski

    t_ski [H]ardness Supreme

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    The organization that I work for is currently using Windows 7 everywhere except a few unique cases. VMs are still all Win7 though, and we're starting to work on a plan to implement Win10 everywhere, including my VMware ESXi 6.0 virtual environment. Do any of you have any good and bad experiences to share, or perhaps some great guides or tweaks you've found on setting up the Win10 template?

    EDIT: I know Win10 will run in a VM. Been there and done that. I am looking for tweaks to streamline the template, or things that might be new or changed from Win7. I will probably be running the VMware OS Optimization tool, but any other suggestions would be appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
  2. MrGuvernment

    MrGuvernment Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    First, why not get vmware up to 6.5 ?
     
  3. dbwillis

    dbwillis [H]ardness Supreme

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    I have (4) Win10 x64 Pro VM's at 2 different customers (2 VM each) but they are on HyperV
    No major issues, although the major updates seem to take alot longer on them
     
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  4. t_ski

    t_ski [H]ardness Supreme

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    Is it truly necessary?

    I am working my way toward that eventually, but I need to replace some hardware that is older and does not have 6.5 drivers available.

    Thanks. We have one X64 ENT spun up based on LTSB. Probably still needs some tweaking, but LTSB turns off a lot of the stuff we don't want anyway.

    Any special tweaks you apply?
     
  5. koolaidkitten

    koolaidkitten Gawd

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    6.0 at home. 6.5 at work. Both running win10 no problems.
     
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  6. t_ski

    t_ski [H]ardness Supreme

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    Thanks. I know it will blend, but what I'm asking is what kind of tweaks have you guys applied. I have nearly 550 desktop VMs that will eventually need to be replaced, so a little bit of over/under-allocation or problems with the template would be magnified greatly. One extra process or service can have a huge effect when we're talking that many VMs.
     
  7. Outlaw85

    Outlaw85 Gawd

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    Any updates on findings? We are in the same boat, primarily 7, but upgrading here and there. I don't directly work with the template management but oversee the infra supporting them for BAU of xxxx and total vdi count of xxxxxx. I can agree with your concerns of one wrong tweak wrecking havoc. Latest is obviously with Spectre and Meltdown and what the actual hit to performance/usage is.
     
  8. Vengance_01

    Vengance_01 [H]ardness Supreme

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    how has that been? My company is looking to do a vdi pilot with some nutanics boxes.
     
  9. Outlaw85

    Outlaw85 Gawd

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    Actually pretty painless. We have been using Nutanix for the last 2.5-3yrs. I may be biased due to our support level but working with them is awesome. We have someone that lives local so if something onsite is needed, it's maybe a couple days. Setting up meetings to discuss growth, they will even help forecast. I am also working on decommissioning some rental nodes from them now. Depending on your environment goals, it may be worth asking them about the rental option (nutanix go) vs leased.
     
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  10. bigdogchris

    bigdogchris Wii was a Novelty

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    Horizon View?

    If so, VMWare has best practices for what settings to change on the workstations.

    https://www.vmware.com/content/dam/...iew-virtual-desktops-windows-optimization.pdf
     
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  11. Nakulz

    Nakulz n00bie

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    With that many vms wouldn’t it be better to go to the vdi route than setting up individual vm?
     
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  12. bman212121

    bman212121 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Only if you want to lose the ability to use the thick client and have to suffer with the flash based web client while they bring the HTML5 client up to snuff. I definitely don't see any benefits to going to 6.5 until the HTML5 client is ironed out, and you'll lose a bunch of hardware support going from 6.0 to 6.5.
     
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  13. lopoetve

    lopoetve Imhotep

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    Ok.

    1709 is a non-starter pre 6.5U1. 1703 is the latest version with full support, and it's annoying as ~fuck~ to manage at times. The new "cloud-like" OS model means a lot of things are expecting to update whenever the hell they feel like it (calculator, for fuck's sake) and if not allowed to, weird things happening. Release previous to 1703 was a bit better.

    You running Horizon?
     
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  14. lopoetve

    lopoetve Imhotep

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    It'll... sorta blend.

    Heavier hitter all around. Disabling a lot of the GUI features makes it run nicer. PCoIP works better than Blast (assuming Horizon here, not RDP) if you're using Soft3d. Give them at least 128M of VRAM in my experience if you want any real desktop experience stuff. If you want video/real audio, expect to need GPU power behind it, or a lot more CPU to feed it (the faster the better for Soft3d). Disabling Soft3d and going with just basics works too, but when you finally run it over, it falls hard. Windows 7 is easy to tune compared to 10; lots more options on 10 to keep track of and plan around. Especially since unlike 7, the reset/quickprep re-enables a lot of things you may disable normally (OneDrive, Defender, Firewalls, etc). AppX tries to deploy things whenever it wants too. I believe that there are GPOs for them - about to dig into that side for our 1709 testing, as it got bad with 1703.

    I've worked on some HUGE VDI deployments. 10 is ... fun. Great OS, but not as easy to get running as XP/7 in VDI. Even 8.1 was pretty easy compared to it.
     
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  15. t_ski

    t_ski [H]ardness Supreme

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    First of all, thanks for the input on this while I went MIA for a while. Work and life, work and life... :(

    Thanks for the link, but I am familiar with the guide. Yes, we have View, but for only about 130 of those VMs. Unfortunately the rest are 1-to-1. :spam:

    Too many instances of weird, one-off applications here and there. Even with View about half of those 130 VMs are dedicated manual assignments. The other half are floating, clone-linked pools - those will be expanding a little soon, but not much.

    Thanks. First: yes, Horizon View 6.2.5 for the 130 VMs mentioned above. Second, see my recommendations below.

    I appreciate these tips, too. Usually we have dual 1080p monitors running, and the Win7 VMs typically had 96 MB video ram to start with. Stuff in the dedicated VIew pools were set up with four monitors and highest resolution in order to fake the video ram settings to the max (still only using dual 1080p monitors). I know that cuts down on some of the video issues, and many sites around the web advise maxing out video ram to fix black-screen drop-outs.

    Ok, so we are still working toward the Win 10 VMs, and it looks like we may start rolling a few out in a couple of weeks. First and foremost, I recommend that anyone doing so run the LTSB version (long term service branch) of Windows 10, as it cuts out a lot of crap you don't want (Edge, OneDrive, etc.) and completely eliminates the twice a year refresh from the updates that are in Windows 10 SAC (semi-annual channel - aka what everyone has at home). I believe that the current version is Windows 10 LTSB 2016 (1607), and it will only receive security and stability patching. No feature updates like in SAC. The next version I believe is expected 2019.

    Second, if you have the ability, allow the PC roll-out to start first, and have your deployment "team" (I know, many of us wear that hats of multiple "teams", and sometimes all of them) work through the bugs of getting a method worked out. We rolled out Windows 10 to our IT department first (11 technical staff and about 30 application support staff) so they could do application compatibility testing and that we could work through some of the deployment bugs. This also allowed our SCCM admin to come up with a lot of application installation tweaks, like MST files or customized batch scripts to remove old versions and extra services (like Adobe or Java trying to check for updates all the time). I thing he's already created three or four images so far, so letting him break some of that down is nice, and PCs tend to be a little more forgiving.

    Third, when using VMware, especially in a domain with group policy locking things down, you need to make sure you install VMware Tools with "run as administrator" or else it will often show the VM with Tools that are "not running/not installed." And on this same subject, you'll want to turn off power management inside the VM, as this will shut things down and VMware Tools will show as installed, but not running. Windows 10 power management is cranked to 11 to make the experience quick, but sometimes that plays bad with stability. Topic #4 might help with that also.

    Fourth, use the VMware OS Optimization Tool. There are templates in there for many different operating systems, including Windows 10. Make sure you have a good idea of what it's turning off before you start deploying to the masses, and some things in there might be suggested by the tool but turned back on by Group Policy, etc.

    One of my biggest issues in the past with Win 7 was managing disk space. I think that I've given the VM sufficient storage to run with, but down the line and 500 Windows Updates later it runs short. I clean up what I can, expand the disk on the template a little more and try again, but end up doing this over and over. XP VMs had 10 GB disks to start with for us, and Win 7 went to 30 GB. Many of these Win 7 VMs are now 40-50 GB and require occasional poking to stay back down. I wish there was a way for me to come up with a disk that is usable but at the same time isn't going to eat up all my flash storage. I wish I could do all VDI with UEV and thinapps, but I don't have the bandwidth for it or the training I'd need to do it right.

    If I come up with more I'll do my best to share, and I still welcome anyone with valid info to post up.
     
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  16. Space_Ranger

    Space_Ranger Gawd

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    Thank you for this thread. I'm entertaining the thought of playing with FlexVDI, and information like this is always good to know!
     
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  17. Grimlaking

    Grimlaking [H]ard|Gawd

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    I understand your concern for I/O. Because good fast I/O CAN be cheaper than faster and faster processors and in a VM environment I/O is KING for performance. (on almost all systems really.) So I'm curious as to why you're not running on an AFA at this point considering the number of Guest Client OS's you're running as opposed to server OS's.

    Just a curiosity. I feel your pain on speed. But I find on my VNX with 1 TB of flash cache I don't have your issue but I'm not running nearly the VM load you are.
     
  18. t_ski

    t_ski [H]ardness Supreme

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    This is on flash (EMC Unity). Just completed host updates a few months back and now these are on E5-2640v4 procs, too. We have a decent back-end, but obviously want to keep it running clean and don't want things running out of control.

    Up to about 35 Win 10 VMs so far. Keeping a close eye on everything...
     
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  19. CombatChrisNC

    CombatChrisNC Gawd

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    This has been a good read, and I'm going to come back to it. I never could get a quick and easy Win10 deploy within my VMWare 6.0 sandbox. After a sysprep, shutdown, and clone to template, a new VM would turn on but sit at a black screen for... ev... er. I didn't have a pressing need for it since we use TS licences and connect to 2008R2 boxes as our hosted shared desktop.

    We also use Citrix, so I guess I don't NEED to worry as much about spinning up VM's en-mass because Citrix's PVS will do that for me - and do it well.
     
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  20. t_ski

    t_ski [H]ardness Supreme

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    I think I remember hearing my SCCM admin make comments about how Microsoft broke sysprep. But for VMs, I just create what I need, customize it how I want, then power it down and convert it to a template. Deploy other VMs from said template and use a customization at the end to have it join the domain, give it the same DNS name as the name of the VM you created, etc.
     
  21. Grimlaking

    Grimlaking [H]ard|Gawd

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    Actually sysprep for Server OS's from MS works fine for me still. My issue is sysprep and custom RH images. Too many are custom so the vSphere equivalent of sysprep for Linux fails.
     
  22. Eickst

    Eickst [H]ard|Gawd

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    I'd suggest the LTSB for a vdi environment, easier to manage updates, if you want to upgrade the OS I assume you're using a golden image anyway you can just update that.
     
  23. ironforge

    ironforge [H]ard|Gawd

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    Run several windows 10 enterprise VM's at work.. no issues..

    They are mostly configured from system center PXE boot WINPE installation. Which is the same process we use for physical desktops, for consistency.
    The SCCM process automatically joins machine to domain, installs basic software/patches.
     
  24. t_ski

    t_ski [H]ardness Supreme

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    No offense, but you might actually read what's in the thread before you post. Just sayin'...

     
  25. Eickst

    Eickst [H]ard|Gawd

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    I missed that post of yours, sorry I have a habit of not reading that much text. I skip over those replies and just read the one liners :p
     
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  26. lopoetve

    lopoetve Imhotep

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    There are some limits on the LTSB though as well - IIRC, some limits on running MSOffice. Could be wrong - gotta double check on that. It's possible to use the normal release, just a PITA.

    Also, instant clones - zero space, almost no IO. :D
     
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  27. t_ski

    t_ski [H]ardness Supreme

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    I haven't seen anything yet with LTSB and Office. Let me know if you figure out what you were thinking.

    Going to be a bit before we go Horizon 7, so no instant clones for me.
     
  28. TeleFragger

    TeleFragger Gawd

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    Microsoft is nixing office on ltsb (they renamed it ltsc on forums but install os and says ltsb...)

    anyway.. source..
    https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com...1/say-no-to-long-term-servicing-channel-ltsc/

    10. From January 2020, Microsoft Office 365 will not be supported on LTSC

    so at work I have a 6.0 and 6.7 environment (6.5 was crappy but I'm in love with 6.7 LOL).... and I have a few vms.. O/S from Win 2000 (DONT ASK PLEASE) to Server 2016 and every iteration inbetween including Windows 10...
    No issues at all running Win10 in VM
    Even got MAC Sierra and mint linux running...

    esxi6_7.png esxi6.png