RSAT Tools on an App Volume?

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

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4 comments on “RSAT Tools on an App Volume?
  1. Chris Bilbro says:

    Loving all this App Volume testing and postings. Great to see how people are leveraging it, working through it and validating it. Would love to see reference architecture from VMware on it and multi-site configuration settings now that Cloud-Pod is in the world. Very curious how writeable volumes will be approached and embraced with persona management for user data, and writeable volumes for that app data (app local). That way we could leverage DFS/DFS-R for desktop, documents and bulkier data on CIFS storage and App specific data/user installed applications on Faster disk to provide that instant gratification for end users.

  2. gpeck29 says:

    In our installation, we utilize the gold image for the pool for the capture machines. If the gold image gets updated, then the capture machines do too. For RSAT, we mounted the AppStack (an IT department appstack) installed the RSAT tools (Windows patch) and then enabled the tools with the dism commands.

    dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:RemoteServerAdministrationTools
    dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:RemoteServerAdministrationTools-Roles
    dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:RemoteServerAdministrationTools-Roles-AD
    dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:RemoteServerAdministrationTools-Roles-AD-DS
    dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:RemoteServerAdministrationTools-Roles-AD-DS-SnapIns

    two ways to skin a cat, both get the job done!

  3. gpeck29 says:

    Just installed this yesterday, but in a bit different fashion. We utilize the base or Golden Image for the pool as the capture machine. If the base gets changed, the capture machine does too. For RSAT, we updated out IT department AppStack, and provisioned it to our capture machines. We then installed the RSAT Windows Update mentioned, and enabled the toos using the dism commands on the command line.

    dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:RemoteServerAdministrationTools
    dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:RemoteServerAdministrationTools-Roles
    dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:RemoteServerAdministrationTools-Roles-AD
    dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:RemoteServerAdministrationTools-Roles-AD-DS
    dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:RemoteServerAdministrationTools-Roles-AD-DS-SnapIns

    Two ways to skin a cat, both get the same thing done!

  4. gpeck says:

    It appears that in AppVolumes v2.11 installing RSAT into an appstack only works partially. AD features seemed to work fine, but the MMC failed to show settings for GPOs in the settings tab. As a solution, we implemented the OP suggested and installed RSAT in the base and enabled the features in the IT Dept AppStack.

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