Migrating from Linked Clones to Instant Clones

With Horizon 8 (2006), linked clones are deprecated, which means they will be removed in Horizon’s future version. Instant clones are also now available across all licensing editions of Horizon. This is a great time to migrate existing linked-clone pools to instant-clone pools.

  • Instant Clone Technology – VMware Horizon® instant clones and View Composer linked clones are provisioning technologies that are conceptually similar but differ significantly in implementation. Instant Clone Technology is built on VMware vSphere® VMFork and is built into the VMware ESXi™ hypervisor. This eliminates the need for a dedicated server and external database, reduces overhead on VMware vCenter®, and dramatically improves provisioning times and efficiency.

Horizon 8 (2006) also adds new functionality to instant clones known as Smart Provisioning

Instant clones no longer require the parent VM construct, saving on disk space and other previously resources needed for use with instant clones. Smaller Instant clone pools less than 12 clones per host in the cluster are provisioned from the replica VM without the need of creating a parent VM

Feature gaps between linked clones and instant clones that need to be considered

If you are using any of the following features in your linked-clone pools, the features are not yet available with instant clones, so you need to continue using View Composer.

  • Sysprep
  • Multi-NIC
  • Manually specified computer names (available with dedicated- or floating-assignment linked-clone pools)
  • Remote machine power policy (Always Powered On, Suspend, Power Off) for the pool
  • Persistent disk is attached

Consideration for User Profile and User Data

If you are using DEM, FsLogix, Folder Redirection, Roaming profile with Linked Clones, they will work without any changes with Instant Clones

Persistent disks are not supported with Instant Clones, An alternative is Dynamic Environment Manger DEM , Microsoft FSLogix, or VMware App Volumes Writable Volumes

VMware Dynamic Environment Manager is available in both Standard and Enterprise editions. DEM Enterprise Edition is the full-featured version of VMware Dynamic Environment Manager.

DEM Standard Edition assists VMware Horizon® Standard Edition and VMware Horizon® Advanced Edition customers with user profile management.

Steps to Migrate a Linked-Clone Pool to an Instant-Clone Pool

With this procedure, you will learn how to disable an existing linked-clone pool and create a replacement instant-clone pool with the same settings and an updated Horizon Agent.

  1. Make sure you have defined an account in Active Directory.


  • In Active Directory, create a user account in the same domain as the Connection Server or in a trusted domain.
  • Add the Create Computer Objects, Delete Computer Objects, and Write All Properties permissions to the account on the container for the instant-clone computer accounts.

The following list shows the required permissions for the user account, including permissions that are assigned by default:

    • List Contents
    • Read All Properties
    • Write All Properties
    • Read Permissions
    • Reset Password
    • Create Computer Objects
    • Delete Computer Objects

Make sure that the permissions apply to the correct container and to all child objects of the container.

  1. Open Horizon Console, in the Instant Clone Engine Domain Accounts under Settings > Instant Clone Domain Accounts. Add a domain administrator
  1. In the Horizon Console, review the pool and make sure it does not currently have any of the features enabled that were identified in Instant-Clone Feature Limitations in Comparison to Linked Clones for Horizon 8 (2006) and earlier.
  2. Make sure there are no users logged in to the pool, and disable the pool by selecting Status > Disable Desktop Pool.
  1. Edit the pool and take note of the settings on each tab (General, Desktop Pool Settings, Provisioning Settings, and so on).
  1. Take a note of all entitlements on the Entitlements tab.
  2. Download and Copy the Horizon 8 (2006) Agent onto the parent VM.
  3. Write down settings of the current Horizon Agent by opening regedit and browsing to:

HKLM\Software\VMware, Inc.\Installer\Features_HorizonAgent

  1. Uninstall the current Horizon Agent and reboot the VM.
  2. Install the Horizon 8 (2006) Agent with the same features that were previously installed.
  3. If you are using DEM and App Volumes, make sure to follow the supported installation order:

Uninstall App Volumes Agent, uninstall DEM Agent, Upgrade Horizon Agent, Install new DEM Agent, Re-install App Volumes Agent.

  1. Reboot the VM.
  2. Use vSphere Web Client to take a snapshot of the parent VM.
  3. In the Horizon Console, create a new instant-clone pool.
  1. Either use a new pool name or, if you need to use the same name, delete the existing linked-clone pool before creating the instant-clone pool.
  1. Configure the pool with the settings captured in step 4 above, and the parent and snapshot you used in step 12.
  2. Add the entitlements captured in step 5.
  3. Test the connection to the pool by using Horizon Client to log in to a desktop.


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