Opportunities for Automating Tasks in a Virtual Desktop Environment

Virtualization technologies came in at the right time to fill a demand most companies were facing: pressure to manage and mine data while faced with IT budgets that were remaining flat. And for this, virtualization enabled organizations to increase availability while holding down costs.  Below, Alyssa Wood of Search Virtual Desktop tackles some of the biggest head-scratchers facing virtual desktop infrastructure admins to help you get things straight.

One thing most administrators have some experience with is automation. Automation tools and scripting languages can help perform bulk tasks or set tasks to happen on a regular basis. But did you know there are lots of opportunities for automation in a virtual desktop environment? With the answers to these frequently asked questions, discover other ways to automate actions such as virtual desktop provisioning, monitoring and image management.

How can I get started with VDI automation?

Having a base, or "golden," image for virtual desktops is the first step toward automation. Automation tools and features in desktop virtualization platforms can help you automate the creation and management of those virtual desktop images. They offer the ability to deploy an image to multiple VDI servers, synchronize user data, and patch and update images.

What tasks can I automate in a virtual desktop environment?

One simple task that you can automate is desktop updates. Using the base virtual desktop image, you can set an update or patch to occur across multiple desktops in a group or pool. You can also automate hypervisor tasks such as finding a virtualization host, or create virtual machines for your infrastructure -- whether it's with VMware vSphere or Microsoft Remote Desktop Services. Monitoring your virtual desktop environment is another great place for automation; you can run scripts for reporting and checking event logs. 

Can I use automation to create virtual desktop pools?

Yes, creating virtual desktop pools with similarly configured individual desktops is a perfect task for automation. In VMware View, virtual machine templates help you create a base desktop, and a provisioning wizard lets you set naming and configurations for the desktops in the pool. You can choose to deploy nonpersistent or persistent desktops with this method. 

While PowerShell is a great way to begin automating virtual desktops, Network Automation’s latest version of AutoMate, AutoMate 10 (you can download the beta version here) harnesses your pre-existing scripts for more complex jobs. You can combine your PowerShell scripts with AutoMate’s pre-built Actions—that do not require code—for faster, more efficient VDI automation.  

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