Yes, One Gold Image in VDI is Possible

Posted by Tom Rose on Nov 17, 2014

This blog is an excerpt from the Unidesk eBook Ten Quick Tips for Scaling VMware Horizon View.


When VDI projects first start, there is typically one clean master of Microsoft Windows– the “golden image” – that is the foundation for all virtual desktops. As you rollout more desktops, however, you will find that they need different sets of applications. Building every application into a single Windows image will force you to license every app for every user, which most organizations cannot afford. Plus, you’ll have to update the master image every time you need to update one app.

At this point, most organizations start creating multiple Windows images with different combinations of apps for different departments and groups of users. Not a good idea. The extra time it takes to patch multiple Windows images will drain IT resources and negatively impact ROI. To efficiently scale VDI, maintain 1 Windows gold image.

How to Do It

Desktop layering technology enables all applications to be packaged as read‐only VMDKs that can be shared by many virtual desktops. The packaging process is quick and easy, and the use of file system and registry virtualization technology enables even Boot 0 applications like anti‐virus to be layered. As a result, the Windows OS image can be kept clean. You’ll only need 1 Windows layer for all of your desktops; and patches and updates will be quick and easy.

Customers with One Gold Image


Every one of Unidesk's 900+ customers has a single gold image across all virtual desktops. One customer that stands out is Port Authority of Allegheny County. They experienced this challenge as they started scaling VMware Horizon View to 600 desktops. They couldn’t virtualize their 80+ apps using traditional application virtualization (see Simplify Application Delivery in VDI). So, they started building apps into their Windows image. Patching a single Windows image once a month on Patch Tuesday took the county’s Windows Administrator the better part of a day. Patching 10 started to consume the entire week. That was a heavy price to pay for the lean IT team.

The Port Authority’s solution was Unidesk desktop layering software. By layering all 80+ apps separately, they are now delivering them to desktops in any combination using a single Windows 7 gold image.

Topics: VMware Horizon View

Posted by Tom Rose on Nov 17, 2014

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