Unprotect/Remove a Replica in VMware View

Although you can find information on the Internet about unprotecting a Replica, I do get questions about how to unprotect one once in a while. Below you will find a step by step on how to Unprotect and Remove a replica VM.

First a little bit of background information. When you provision a Pool of VM’s based on Linked Clones, a Replica VM/entity will be created in vCenter. This Replica is based on your Parent VM+Snapshot you point to when you use the “Add Pool” wizard in View Manager. This Replica is the Read-only part for your Linked Clones and in vCenter it looks like; “replica-7e710c51-4844-441a-925d-3f8df484f138” (of course the part after “replica” will be different). This Replica is crucial for your Linked Clone pool and therefor protected in vCenter so an Admin can’t delete it by accident.  Right-click on a Replica and you will see that “delete from disk” is grayed out. When you delete a Linked Clone pool, the replica(s) will be deleted as well. So first of all, the right way of deleting a replica is to delete the pool in View Manager. Personally, I always “Disable Pool” and “Disable Provisioning” for the pool in View Manager before I delete that pool. Sometimes it is necessary to manually unprotect the Replica and delete is. Below you will find the steps I take;

  • Open the vCenter Client and connect to the vCenter Server. Decide which Replica you need to unprotect.
  • In vCenter Client, go to “Home” and “Search”. Search for your Replica. What you will see is the Inventory Path of your Replica. You will need the Data Center name and Folder name later on.

 

  • Logon to your vCenter/Composer Server -> Start -> Run -> CMD
  • Navigate to the installation path of Composer. Default is;

32-bit; C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware View Composer

64-bit; C:\Program Files (X86)\VMware\VMware View Composer

  • Type; “SviConfig –operation=UnprotectEntity”. This command will show you all options/examples you have around unprotecting VM’s and Replica’s. Before this I copied/pasted a command I used before and which I saved in Notepad. That didn’t work. Apparently the command changed a bit after I upgraded to a newer version. So, for the latest command for your version, follow this step #5.

  • Follow “Example 2”, unprotecting a Replica. Just a couple of comments;

-DsnName=SVI; = the ODBC DSN name of  the Composer data base

-InventoryPath; = “/Your Data Center Name you looked up in #2/vm/The Folder you looked up in #2/replica name

  • Now your Replica is unprotected and you will be able to right click it and delete is from disk.

VMware View4-Composer Part 1; Basics

In the past, when using View, you had to create full clones for every user. When your template was a 10GB XP VM and you had 10 users, you would have needed 10x10GB=100GB of storage capacity.

This mechanism could lead to a massive demand for storage capacity.

With VMware View Composer, you will be able to be more efficient on storage usage.

Instead of giving every user a full clone VM, with View Composer you are working with a so-called “Master”, “Parent VM” or ‘Golden Image”. This parent VM is a read-only VM multiple user are using and reading from. All users will get a “delta file” or “Linked Clone” in which they write their changes to. The Parent is untouched by users. When users install applications or change settings, this will be written to the delta file/ Linked Clone file.

Basically, the Parent is a prepared virtual desktop with all required software and patches installed. This parent has been added to the domain and then turned off. A snapshot has been taken of the VM. vCenter then clones the original Parent and Linked Clones will be rolled out. I will talk about this in more detail in the near future. I will stick to the basics for now.

You can’t let an unlimited amount of users run on 1 Parent. Performance wise this is impossible and the mechanism allows you to go up till 512 Linked Clones per Parent. At this moment VMware recommends to start with 64 Clones on 1 Parent; Ref.Architecture Guide. Maybe you can stretch this to 80 or 100. This depends on storage performance and the usage of the Parent. I will talk about storage and performance in the near future.

Not only do you save on storage capacity when using View Composer but you also have to manage less images. For example, you only have to patch/maintain the Parent VM’s. After you have patched the Parent VM, you can “connect” (officially it is called a recompose) the Linked Clones to the updated Parent and ALL virtual desktops are “patched”.

I have to mention that in View4, you have a choice; you can use Full Clone AND Linked Clone pools. It’s not 1 or the other. For a customer it’s important to decide which mechanism suits you. Maybe you will use both, each for a specific group of users.