Persistent Desktops Administration
In a typical Frame account, sessions are “stateless.” This means that all changes made to an instance are wiped from the instance after the session is closed. The instance is then returned to a pool where it waits to be served to the next user. The Frame platform also offers an alternative option called “Persistent Desktops.”
Persistent Desktops are stateful, desktop-only instances which are individually assigned to users. Users are given administrative control over their own desktop – they can install and manage their own unique application sets and settings in their own persistent environment. Account administrators can still monitor usage and basic session activity through the account Dashboard.
Persistent Desktop accounts can be created and configured with the following:
- AHV, AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform
- Domain Joined Instances
Persistent Desktops were designed for organizations who prefer to give their users more control over their own environments. Frame Account administrators still configure the Sandbox image to be used as a base for all instances in the pool, but end users manage their own instance once assigned. If required, Persistent Desktops can be domain joined, in order for enterprises to manage these persistent desktops through a Windows domain.
Users must be able to authenticate to the platform using either:
If the persistent desktop Frame account is configured to join the persistent desktop VMs to a Windows domain, the users can be required to authenticate to their Windows domain before accessing their assigned Windows desktop.
The Persistent Desktops feature is enabled upon account creation. It cannot be enabled on accounts that have already been created, since provisioning and infrastructure management of a Persistent Desktop account is handled differently than on a non-persistent Frame account.
Account capacity settings work a little differently than a non-persistent Frame account. There is no buffer or active capacity settings since instances are served to users as they authenticate and then persistently tied to that user.
Max possible number of users: Enter the max number of expected users (instances) for the account in this field. Any additional users will be given an “out of capacity” error when attempting to connect to a Persistent Desktop session.
Keep running instances for new users: Enabling this toggle keeps an instance running at all times to be immediately available for a new user.note
Enabling this toggle means that the account will have an active, unassigned instance running at all times to be immediately available for new users. When using AWS, GCP, or Azure, this does incur infrastructure costs for the time that the instance is running, even though it is not being actively used. Keeping this toggle off prevents those infrastructure costs, but means that new users that do not yet have a an instance assigned to them must wait for the instance to be provisioned, booted, and assigned to them on their first connection. This can take upwards of 10-15 minutes, depending on image size and file copy speed in the datacenter where it is provisioned.
Keep instances running: Specifies when and for how long will the persistent desktop VMs stay powered on.
- Basic: The persistent desktop is powered on when the user requests access to their persistent desktop. It is powered off?
- Always: The persistent desktop powers on and will remain powered on unless the persistent desktops are rebooted or powered off by the end user or administrator.
- Wake up instances: Instances can be powered on at a specific time of the day. Those persistent desktop VMs that are not in use will remain powered on for 1 hour and then powered off.
Sandbox Image Management
Managing your Sandbox image on a Persistent Desktop account is essentially the same as a non-persistent, regular Frame account. The difference lies in how your changes are propagated to the workload instances. Since an instance is permanently assigned to each user as they log in, any Sandbox updates that are published after will only be made to unassigned instances in the pool.
This is intended behavior with Persistent Desktops. In the event that an end user with an assigned instance requires changes from the Sandbox, an account administrator must terminate the user's current instance. To terminate the instance, the account administrator can navigate to the Status page in the Dashboard and then select Terminate in the instance action menu for the instance connected to that user. When the user next attempts to connect to their desktop, a new instance with the latest published changes will be assigned to them.
Terminating an instance will permanently delete all data on that instance. Any data that a user needs from their instance, such as work files or software licenses, should be retrieved from their persistent desktop before the account administrator terminates their instance.
Persistent Desktops Backups
Administrators can manage the persistent desktop backups for individual users by navigating to the Volumes page in the account Dashboard. The first tab is the “Volumes tab which provides a list of named user volumes, the volume size and status, and the available free space for each volume.
If you are looking for a specific volume, you can use the search bar at the top of the page to search by volume name.
If you anticipate that your users will need to regularly increase the storage capacity for their Persistent Desktop, you can set parameters to automatically scale up as needed. You can do this by clicking on the kebab menu in the upper right corner of the Volumes page and selecting Autogrow settings. A new dialog box will appear with the option to enable autogrow settings. Enable the toggle to see the following options:
Here, you can specify the threshold at which the disk size will automatically increase for established users. In the example above, you can see that the disk will automatically go up by 1 GB when it detects there is less than 1 GB of space remaining. You can adjust these values as you see fit for your users. Be sure to click Confirm once you have adjusted the settings as desired.
The Backups tab provides the account administrator with a detailed view of available backups for the volume specified under the Volume drop-down menu at the top of the window. Details include the name, time/date of creation, type of backup, and the number of backups for the volume (shown in the lower right corner of the window).
To create a backup, simply click the blue Create backup link in the upper right corner of the window. A new window will appear prompting you to select the volume you wish to backup from the drop-down menu. Be sure to provide a name for this backup as well. From there, click Create in the bottom right corner of the window.
In order to create a persistent desktop volume backup, you must ensure the instance is in a stopped state.
The status of your backup will appear in your Notification Center:
Once completed, the new backup will appear in your list. You can restore a backup at any time by clicking on the kebab menu to the right of the desired backup and clicking Restore.
Restoring from a previous backup will replace the volume with the backup image you select. Any changes made since the selected backup was created will be erased.
To schedule daily backups, simply click the kebab menu in the upper right corner of the backups section and click on Settings. A new window will appear with a toggle to enable daily scheduled backups. Enable the toggle and schedule the time you would like your daily backups to start. Click Confirm to proceed.
Lastly, you can delete a backup by clicking on the kebab menu mentioned above and selecting Delete.
Administrators can decide whether or not they would like their users to manage their own system backups. User-managed backups can be enabled by navigating to the Settings page in the Dashboard and enabling the Are persistent desktops backups allowed toggle listed under General settings.
Once enabled, end users can manage their backups from their profile page. More information about this feature can be found in the Navigating your Frame Account Guide.
Reassign Persistent Desktops
Administrators can reassign an existing Persistent Desktop to a different user (or let an existing user be reassigned to their Persistent Desktop via a different Identity Provider) by going to the Status page within the Account Dashboard. Before proceeding to the instructions, please carefully read the considerations below:
The desired user must have already logged in to the Frame Account using the identity provider and email address specified by the administrator. If the user is not visible in the drop-down menu, then they have not logged in to Frame using that specific Identity Provider. Ensure the user first logs in to the Frame Account before reassigning the Persistent Desktop to the user.
Any existing applications, configurations, files, application data, local user profiles, etc. will still remain on the VM when you reassign a Persistent Desktop. If desired, administrators can reassign the VM to themselves first if they need to perform any maintenance before reassigning to a new user.
The VM cannot be in use by a Persistent Desktop user.
If a user already has a Persistent Desktop assigned to them within the same Frame account, they cannot be assigned to another Persistent Desktop. Administrators attempting to do so will see an error message that reads “Bad Request: Invalid request. Selected user already has assigned instance with same account.”
The first Servers tab under the Status page displays a list of all VMs, their statuses, workload IDs, instance type, and more.
To reassign a Persistent Desktop, simply click on the kebab menu to the right of the desired Persistent Desktop and click Reassign.
When you select Reassign, the following window will appear:
Use the drop-down menus to select the Identity Provider the user will be accessing the platform with and the new user's email address. Click Save when you're ready. Once the desktop has been reassigned, you can hover over the machine name of the Persistent Desktop VM to verify the change has been made.
Change Instance Type
Some administrators may wish to change their Persistent Desktop user's instance type to accommodate the user's needs. For instance, the end user may need a higher-performing instance type after taking on a project which requires video editing and graphic design. Since Persistent Desktop accounts are structured differently than a standard Frame account, this process is also slightly different (but still simple!).
- Start by navigating to the Status page within the desired account's Dashboard. Under the Servers tab, find the Persistent Desktop you wish to change.
You can hover over the machine name on this list to see more details (including the user name assigned to the Persistent Desktop VM).
- Next, click the kebab menu to the right of the Persistent Desktop VM name and select Change instance type.
- Select the desired instance from the drop-down menu. Click Save.
- You will receive status updates for the operation through the Notification Center.
The instance type update will be reflected in the listed details under the Servers tab.
For public cloud infrastructure, changing the instance type requires the new VM to power on after the existing persistent desktop disk is attached to the new VM and the old VM is terminated.