Configuration Manager 2012 and Pooled VDI’s


There is a lot of confusion about the use of Pooled VDI’s and the Configuration Manager 2012 client.

Why would we even install the client if the machine only lasts for a short time, what can we do with the inventory data, do we need (managed) antivirus software on the VDI, and do we get a lot of obsolete data in the ConfigMgr database once the machine is removed from the infrastructure?

While designing a Pooled VDI infrastructure, a lot of these questions can rise, and can make decisions hard to make.

In ConfigMgr 2012 the way Pooled VDI’s are handled is a huge difference compared to 2007. A few new inventory attributes are added to the ConfigMgr client to make sure that managing Pooled VDI’s

  • Reporting and Compliance. Gathers discovery information from Guest VMs for Broker Site Name, Desktop Type and Pool Name which become attributes of a system that can be used for compliance monitoring and inventory reports. The new CCMPropertyName values are “IsVirtual”, “IsMachineChangesPersisted”, “IsAssignedToUser”, and “HostIdentifier”. As an example, the “IsMachineChangesPersisted” property enables you to tell a Pooled vs. Personal desktop apart from one another in your management environment.
  • Application Deployment. Delivers new conditional rules for application deployment based on VDI specific attributes. For example, you can build requirement rules to evaluate Desktop Type and Pool Name that make tracking the exact origin or the desktop much easier.
  • User and Admin Experience. Persists uniqueness throughout multiple Pooled VM shutdowns and startups. This prevents an explosion of obsolete client records, keeping your environment clean and manageable across VDI sessions, and eliminates delays in user application delivery.

Using these inventory classes makes managing Pooled VDI’s the management of these machines identical to the management of normal machines in the network. The basic principle that was built in to ConfigMgr 2012 is persistence of Client ID with ConfigMgr.

This means that when a Pooled VDI is shutdown, and therefore deleted, and a new one spins up, the machine will not be identified as a new machine, but will get the client ID of the previous Pooled VDI applied, and retains the inventory data.

This makes managing the desktops, and maintaining the database much easier, and will keep your workload low as it should be.

Now specific on the subject of antivirus. Windows 8 has the default instance of Windows Defender built in. a discussion that may rise is the need of an alternate antivirus product like SCEP. In almost any scenario I would advise to use SCEP when using ConfigMgr to manage the desktops. Even if a Pooled VDI is online for an hour, the change still exists of spreading viruses in the environment and infecting other desktops. When deploying SCEP to your infrastructure, including Pooled VDI’s enables you to have management and reporting of the current health of your environment regarding antivirus. Patches of SCEP can be pre-deployed to the Pooled VDI’s creating a safe and secure environment for you end users, while enabling a consistent and up to date reporting experience for the management.

When we look at application deployment to Pooled VDI’s most of the applications will be pre-installed on the template VHD enabling a complete out of the box experience for the end user. With ConfigMgr 2012 and the integration with App-V 5 streaming directly from the distribution point is possible. This enables you to offer much more flexibility when building your master template. You will be able to keep the size of the master template low, and therefore be able to deploy it much faster than when it is pre built with all of the apps needed in the environment.

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