Product Documentation

Choose the desktop environment

May 08, 2013

The machine catalog type defines the hosting infrastructure for desktops and applications, and the level of control that users have over their environment. When deciding which type to use, consider the tasks that users perform and the devices to which the desktops are delivered.

Use the Create Machine Catalog wizard to set up machine catalogs. The wizard prompts you about your environment as described in the following sections, and based on your responses, helps you select the machine catalog type that fits your requirements.

Workspace and hardware selection

Select a machine catalog that is provides desktops based on one of the following environments.

Server OS

Server OS machine catalogs provide a Windows Server environment and provides standard desktops and applications that are shared by a large number of users.

Note: Amazon Web Services (AWS) only supports Server OS and Server VDI machine catalogs.

These machine catalogs provide desktops and applications that are:

  • Allocated to users on a per-session, first-come first-served basis.
  • Deployed on standardized machines.

Your users:

  • Are task workers who require standardized virtual desktops and applications, such as call center operators and retail workers.
  • Do not need to or are not permitted to install applications on their desktops.

You want to:

  • Optimize hardware use by providing only the number of desktops that are required at any one time rather than assigning a specific desktop to each user.
  • Maintain control over desktops and increase security by preventing users from making permanent changes.
  • Minimize desktop management costs by providing a locked-down, standardized environment for your users.

Desktop OS

Desktop OS machine catalogs provide a Windows desktop environment and provide desktops and applications that are assigned to individual users.

Your users:

  • Are task or knowledge workers who require personalized desktops of which they can take ownership.
  • Are mobile workers who want to access the same desktop from a variety of devices over different networks.
  • Need to install their own applications on their desktops.

You want to:

  • Standardize certain aspects of users' desktops through the use of a common template.
  • Deliver users' desktops to any device regardless of hardware capability.
  • Reduce desktop management costs while still providing your users with a personalized desktop experience.

Remote PC Access

Remote PC Access machine catalogs provide users with remote access to their physical office desktops. You want to allow users to work at any time, anywhere, from any device.

Note: A notification displays if there are machines running the Microsoft XP operating system, or a Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) that is earlier than XenDesktop 7. Although these machines can be included in separate machine catalogs and Delivery Groups, they cannot use some new features introduced in this release.

Machine management

Select the machine catalog machine infrastructure. The following terminology reflects choices available in the Machine Catalogs wizard, not the typical definitions. In this context, physical does not refer to a hardware-based device, and virtual is not necessarily a software implementation of a computing environment.

Using Virtual Machines

Choose this type for machine catalogs that are based on machines power-managed through Studio or provisioned through a cloud environment.

Note: If no hypervisor connections are configured when you create the machine catalog, this option is not available.

Using Physical Hardware

Choose this type for machine catalogs that are based on machines that are not power-managed through Studio.

Desktop image management

How you manage and create machines affects the recommended machine catalog type. You manage a machine catalog's machine images through one of the following methods:

Machine Creation Services use a master virtual machine within your environment to manage virtual machines, enabling you to easily manage and update target devices through one master image.

Provisioning Services manage target devices as a device collection. The desktops and applications are delivered from a Provisioning Services vDisk imaged from a master target device that enables you to leverage the processing power of existing hardware or virtual machines.
Note: Provisioning Services are not supported with CloudPlatform and AWS.

Existing images (Another service or technology option) manage and deliver desktops and applications that you have already migrated to VMs in the data center. You must manage target devices on an individual basis or collectively using third-party electronic software distribution (ESD) tools.

Desktop experience

Select the type of desktop assigned to users when they log on.

Select one of the following options:

  • How many users can connect to the same machine? — Select one at a time or more than one at a time.
  • I want users to connect to a new (random) desktop each time they log on — No user changes are retained.
  • I want users to connect to the same (static) desktop each time they log on — Choose from the following options for retaining changes:
    • Store changes on a separate Personal vDisk
    • Retain changes, and create a dedicated virtual machine and save changes on a local disk. This selection prompts you for the following user data storage information:
      • Personal vDisk size
      • Drive letter
    • Discard changes and clear virtual desktops at logoff

Virtual Machines

Number and computing power

Select the number of virtual machines to create for the catalog.

Select specifications for the virtual machines. For virtual machines that reside in an on-premise data center, select RAM and CPU settings.

For cloud environments, the computing power of a virtual machine (such as RAM and CPU settings) are called:

  • Service Offering — CloudPlatform
  • Instance Type — AWS

Service Offerings and Instance Types are designated as a single value, often designated as Small, Medium and Large. The cloud provider, not Studio, sets up how these values map to virtual machine hardware profiles.

Machine templates

For AWS environments, select the template for the virtual machines that enables you to easily manage and update target devices.