Mass Installing VMware Horizon Desktop Agents with Microsoft SCCM

I’m just going to cut to the chase here and give the answer to this problem with a Persistent/Full Clone desktop pool: What do you do when you can’t mass install VMware View 7 desktop agents successfully enough to confidentially upgrade the entire pool?

Answer: Automated installation will only work when there are no active sessions in the desktop. When building\testing an SCCM based silent install, it is good practice to be logged in as a user. This way you see what the user would experience (i.e. Pop-ups, Notifications, Reboots, etc). Apparently, The View Agent Installer will not run in automation if someone else is logged in. SCCM uses the System Account to install, so if anyone is logged in, the install fails, even a Console login. The View Agent install logs did not indicate the problem.

I’m not guaranteeing this specification isn’t in the VMware installation guidelines, but first level support didn’t know about it. VMware support has some understandable boundaries, like mass installation troubleshooting. They recommend SCCM in a Microsoft environment, but they don’t know SCCM enough to troubleshoot it. They will look through agent install logs and try to interpret how they apply to the scripting front-end.

Now some context:

When upgrading View to Horizon 7, the pool desktops can have a lesser version of management agent on them and still function. They won’t have the new features, but they’ll be accessible. VMware doesn’t like this scenario so don’t call for help if you have a 7.0 infrastructure with 6.2 management agents on the desktops. It isn’t a supported configuration, so they’ll advise an upgrade and acknowledge that it should work in most environments. I haven’t experienced any accessibility problems with 6.2 agents talking to 7.0 servers.

In this case there are 1000 desktops that need to be available, but not necessarily upgraded. Staggering mass installation groups will help with a de-duping flash array (like Pure Storage) and boot storms that affect IOPS and bandwidth.

This fix/strategy will most likely apply to any future View Agent-Infrastructure upgrades in the future because after we told VMware of the fix they didn’t acknowledge that it implies a code change on their side would make things easier. I get that, they can’t accommodate every mass installation script software. It’s the Microsoft/VMware boundary that they adhere to.





Categories: Microsoft, VMware

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