vWorkspace 7.5 Feature Spotlight: Maintenance Mode for Desktop Clouds

In vWorkspace 7.5 you can deploy virtual desktops in vWorkspace Desktop Clouds. vWorkspace Desktop Clouds continuously guarantee the best performance for virtual desktops and the connected user by applying advanced, configurable load balancing. In addition, vWorkspace Desktop Clouds make ongoing administration a breeze. Adding capacity to a vWorkspace Desktop Cloud can be done in a matter of seconds.

Updating a vWorkspace Desktop Cloud to a new version of the corporate golden image for hundreds or even thousands of desktops can be done in a matter of minutes. This can be done as part of a maintenance schedule or on the fly. As users log off vWorkspace will update their virtual desktop to the latest version of the golden image, while their user preferences and settings will of course be retained using the new and improved user profile management in vWorkspace 7.5, so the change is seamless to the end user. For a quick demo of vWorkspace Desktop Clouds, check out the video below on QuestTV:

desktop cloud video.png

What I wanted to highlight in this post is the maintenance feature that is available for vWorkspace Desktop Clouds.  In a vWorkspace Desktop Cloud virtual desktops are continuously created and deleted as users log on and off,  this allows vWorkspace to dynamically shift virtual machines around to the most appropriate, least busy Hyper-v host. There may be times when you want to stop this process, Maintenance Mode does this and is designed to allow you to perform tasks such as:

  • Hyper-V Host management - You may need to perform maintenance on hyper-v hosts and therefore disable provisioning and drain the virtual machines.  There is another way to achieve this which I talk about in the blog post.
  • Desktop Image management - You may want to enable maintenance mode and then manually delete all of the virtual machines, once maintenance mode is reenabled virtual machines will be quickly recreated based on the auto size settings from an existing or updated template.
  • HyperCache and VHD template management - HyperCache is cleared by either rebooting the Hyper-V host or deletion of the VHD template.  If you want to delete the template rather than rebooting the host then you need to delete all virtual machines.  To do this you will need to enable maintenance mode.  You may want to do this if you are increasing or decreasing the HyperCache size. For more information on HyperCache read here
  • Disable the cloud group and drain virtual machines (Desktop Image Management) - You may want to manually update the desktop image in a cloud group and therefore enable maintenance mode and quickly delete all virtual machines. You can do this by enabling maintenance mode and selecting ‘delete existing computers’ which will automatically delete all of the virtual machines that are not in use or persistently assigned. Once maintenance mode is disabled virtual machines will be quickly recreated based on either existing or an updated template and based on the auto size settings.
  • Disable virtual machine creation - If you wanted to simply disable the creation of new virtual machines within the cloud group then you can do this by entering maintenance mode. It is important to note that this will also stop new user connections to the group. Existing connected users will not be effected, they will continue working. If you do want to remove the users you can send them a message and also log the user off. Of course you could also pick up the phone and ask them to log off. If you do this as part of a automated action you can use the vWorkspace PowerShell module to log off the users or use the vWorkspace Task Automation feature.
  • Disable the group and stop user connections - If you want to disable users from connecting to any virtual machine within the cloud group then you can enter maintenance mode. Unlike standard virtual machine desktop groups there is no enable or disable function so to disable a cloud group you have to enter maintenance mode.

You can enter maintenance mode in a couple ways;

1. Right click on the cloud group Locations > Location > Desktops in the navigation pane and select ‘Cloud maintenance’


2. Select the cloud group from Locations > Location > Desktops in the navigation pane, select the desktops tab in the information pane and click the Cloud maintenance button (shown below).  You can also click on the Actions button and select cloud maintenance too.


The updating of cloud virtual machines can of course be achieved in a few ways, perhaps the most common will be to let the cloud group dynamically update the virtual machines.  The update takes place when users log off once and where vWorkspace has been notified of a new template; the notification is triggered by the administrator. 

To inform vWorkspace of a template update navigate to Locations > Location > Desktops in the navigation pane of the vWorkspace console and select ‘select template’.  This will bring up a list of all imported templates and highlight the associated template with the cloud desktop group shown below. The template will be marked as updated whenever the template virtual machine has been started and shutdown from whichever host it is stored on.


The ‘update’ button will check to see if the template has been updated or modified and then confirm if you want to import the updated template.  You also have to option to delete all unused and non-persistent virtual machines (see screen shot below).  Now all newly deployed virtual machines in the cloud group will use the updated template.


If you need to perform maintenance on one or more hyper-v hosts then this can be achieved outside of the cloud maintenance mode.


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