Setting Up and Working with Amazon WorkSpaces, Part 3
Tom Fenton shows how to set up Active Directory services for his newly created WorkSpaces and deploy them.
This is my third article in a series on Amazon WorkSpaces, Amazon's Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution. In my previous two articles (located here and here), I gave an overview of WorkSpaces and described how I set up a WorkSpaces environment. In this article, I will show how I set up Active Directory (AD) services for my WorkSpaces and deployed them.
I will be continuing the setup process from where I had left off in the previous article; I had set up my Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure, including an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and its networking. As I had done previously, I will be referring to the Amazon WorkSpaces Proof-of-Concept (PCOC) document in this article and highlighting the specific aspects that were confusing to me.
Out of the three options for using directory services -- Simple AD, AWS Directory Services for Microsoft Active Directory and AD Connector -- I chose to use Simple AD, a standalone SAMBA 4 server in AWS.
Deploying a Simple AD Instance
All the work I have done so far has been in the Amazon VPC console; to set up the Simple AD instance, you use the Amazon WorkSpaces console. To set it up, I followed the instructions listed in the Launch a WorkSpaces with Simple AD section in the POC document.
First, I navigated to the Directories section in the Amazon WorkSpaces console and selected Simple AD.
I set up a small Simple AD with an organization name of tjfaws and a directory DNS name of tjfaws-WorkSpaces.local. It took about 5 minutes for AWS to create the Simple AD directory; during this time, its status went from Requested to Creating and then finally to Active.
Once the directory had been created, I selected Launch WorkSpaces and began to create the WorkSpaces.
Unfortunately, when asked to select the private subnets for the WorkSpaces, the drop-down menu only displayed the IP address and not the names of them, so I needed to use the diagram I created earlier to select the correct subnets (10.0.0.0 and 10.0.2.0).
I then registered three users (User01-User03), for three separate WorkSpaces. When setting up a new user account, an email address is required; the user will receive a confirmation email once their WorkSpace has been created.
I selected the Value with Windows 10 instance for all three WorkSpaces and customized them to autostop after 3 hours. When the WorkSpaces were being created, their status changed from Pending to Available.
Once they were available, I received an email with a link to the WorkSpaces. The link was to a web page that allowed the user to set a password for their WorkSpace, as well as to select the VDI client to connect to it.
When you use your VDI client, you will be asked to enter the registration code provided in the email.
I downloaded and installed the Windows App and then launched it. I was able to connect to my WorkSpace and resize the window of the VDI client without any issues.
I was also able browse the internet using a Firefox browser, which was preinstalled on the WorkSpace, without any issues. I also didn't run into any problems when I downloaded and installed Chrome from the internet, or when I tried playing a YouTube video.
Using and Monitoring WorkSpaces
I ran the following commands to discover more information about the WorkSpace I was using:
- Windows Server 2016 version 1607
- 1 vCPU Intel64 Family 6 Model 85 Stepping 4 GenuineIntel ~2500 Mhz
- 4 GB RAM
- System manufacturer: Amazon EC2
- Eth 4 on 198.19.x.x network
- Eth 5 on 10.2.112.x network
- PCoIP running
- Amazon-ssm-agent running
Apps on the WorkSpace
- Install Amazon WorkDocs
When I returned to the WorkSpaces console, I found that when I clicked on the Actions drop-down menu, I was able perform various WorkSpace-related actions, including stopping it and removing it.
In this article series so far, I have shown you how I deployed Simple AD to supply AD services, created new WorkSpaces and explored a particular WorkSpace. The POC document was invaluable when setting up my environment. In my next article, I will show you some available AWS tools to monitor WorkSpaces and then explain how I deployed a third-party monitoring tool, ControlUp, in the environment.
Update: Here is Part 4
About the Author
Tom Fenton has a wealth of hands-on IT experience gained over the past 25 years in a variety of technologies, with the past 15 years focusing on virtualization and storage. He currently works as a Technical Marketing Manager for ControlUp. He previously worked at VMware as a Senior Course Developer, Solutions Engineer, and in the Competitive Marketing group. He has also worked as a Senior Validation Engineer with The Taneja Group, where he headed the Validation Service Lab and was instrumental in starting up its vSphere Virtual Volumes practice. He's on Twitter @vDoppler.