Gold Image Creation Process and Best Practices

Chris Serrano -

Overview

Golden images (golden master, master image) are the base OS configurations from which all virtual machines in a VDI environment are built. These images serve as the foundation for the overall user experience.

In the context of Workspot, a golden image is an image file on which the Workspot Agent has not yet been installed.

There are numerous reasons for using a gold image; some of which are outlined below:

Quoted from Microsoft TechNet - Create a Windows 10 Reference Image:

  1. You reduce development time and can use snapshots to test different configurations quickly.
  2. You rule out hardware issues. You simply get the best possible image, and if you have a problem, it's not likely to be hardware related. - Applies to physical workstations
  3. It ensures that you won't have unwanted applications that could be installed as part of a driver install but not removed by the Sysprep process.
  4. It's easy to move between lab, test, and production.

Expanding on the concepts listed above, a gold image allows for an easy-to-manage Windows VDI environment that can both deploy and update virtual desktops in a one-to-many methodology with rapid turnaround time.

Simply put, the initial configuration and any subsequent modifications to the user desktop only needs to be performed on the base image with associated cloned images updated either manually or in an automated fashion, depending on how they're managed by the administrator(s).

Process

  1. Keep a Golden Image without Agent. This is your base OS image.
  2. Patch the Golden Image (updates, software installations, settings, etc.). This is your new golden image.
  3. Clone the patched Golden Image.
  4. Install the Workspot Agent on the Cloned Golden Image.
  5. Upload This Image to Workspot Control as a Template.
  6. Go to Step 1 or 2 To Update the Workspot Template.

Golden Image Best Practices

There are dozens of OS settings that can be modified/configured to improve overall performance and responsiveness of Windows virtual desktops. See Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Recommendations and Optimizations.

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