App Volumes is probably one of the coolest technologies out right now. When VMware bought them, the first thing I thought is that we now finally have the means to control the virtual desktop, soup to nuts. We can make minute changes, have versioning, and quickly react to new challenges presented to us in various use cases.
Administrators for a long time have wanted the granularity of complete control of applications on a desktop, but that control leads to issues when managing at scale with traditional architecture. App Volumes gives us the ability to get down and dirty. To try various setups and ultimately allow for the flexibility of layering applications. But what happens if what we want to put in an App Volume isn’t an application at all? What if you want to enable operating system features like Microsoft Remote Server Administration Tools?
Recommended practice for your provisioning machine is to keep it as clean as possible, only putting the bare essentials in the OS so that the app layer you are trying to capture only contains the application information. Unfortunately with RSAT Tools, there is no application to install, but rather features that you can enable with a Windows Update that can be found here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=7887
To enable RSAT Tools in an App Stack, install the above Windows Update on both the provisioning PC and the Gold Image that is used as the parent machine for your vdi pool. Create a new App Stack or update an existing Stack and attach it to the provisioning machine. Head over to the Control Panel, open Programs and Features, and click on Turn Windows features on or off. Under Windows Features, choose Remote Server Administration Tools, and then enable the features you want users that will subscribe to the App Stack to have. At this point, you can finish the provisioning, and reboot the provisioning machine. The only thing left to do is attach the App Stack to a user desktop and test the functionality.
~ DJ Gillit, VCP5-DCV, VCP5-DT, VCP-NV
Follow me on Twitter: @djgillit