Virtual Desktop Starter Kit Simplifies VDI Testing, Deployments
New tool in preview mode simplifies the process of testing and deploying virtual desktops via RDS.
Microsoft has made available a preview version of a new tool for testing virtual desktop infrastructure deployments running through Microsoft's Remote Desktop Services protocol.
The company said that it eventually plans to release the Virtual Desktop Starter Kit in the second quarter of this year. In the meantime, the preview can be downloaded at this page.
Microsoft is billing version 1.0 of its Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Starter Kit as something that should not be used for production environments. It's just for testing purposes. The kit "complements" the management console and wizards used with the RDS server role of Windows Server 2012 R2, according to Microsoft's announcement. It comes with a couple of applications, Calculator and WordPad, for testing virtual desktop access scenarios.
The kit consists of PowerShell scripts that automate VDI deployments using Microsoft's RDS protocol. It deploys the Windows Server 2012 R2 RDS server-role components needed, including the connection broker, session host, virtualization host and Web access components. It can be used with various virtual desktop "collections," including personal, pooled or session-based ones.
Microsoft defines "a collection" as a group of servers that are managed together as part of a virtual machine (VM) deployment, according to this TechNet Magazine article. The session-based collections are used for "desktop sessions and RemoteApps housed on RD Session Host servers." The pooled and personal collections are used for "VM-based desktop sessions and RemoteApps housed on VMs running Windows 7 or Windows 8."
Microsoft's RemoteApps technology is a bit different in that the applications are accessed from a window on the end user's local machine, according to this TechNet library overview description.
The kit includes configuration settings for VDI deployments, which are contained in an XML file. Testers can modify the file to suit their needs. For instance, it's possible to alter the settings to expand from the default number of collections that are preconfigured with the kit.
The lab environment needed to use the kit requires Windows Server 2012 R2 plus Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 clients, along with two physical servers. There are some required initial setup steps, too, according Microsoft's "Part 2" description of the kit. The kit comes with a "readme" file that provides details about the architecture needed, as well as a deployment guide.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.