VDI Solutions for Mac OSX

osx

I’ve talked a bit about Horizon View the possibilities around Linux. However being a Mac user I felt that I shouldn’t neglect OSX in these theoretical talks. How about an OSX RDSH server and hosted desktop scenario, how would we do that?

Well theres a few ways this can actually be done right now, but it in the end it comes down to licensing and third party software.

If you want a simple RDS host on OSX so you can connect with thinclients, then AquaConnect is your friend. It will turn your OSX installation into an RDS host.

http://www.aquaconnect.net/

If you want a bit of a better experience and bandwidth savings, they have developed their own OSX specific remote display protocol named AAP, to replace RDP. Read more about it here.

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If you want to run OSX in a virtual machine, then Apple will officially allow you to do it on Apple hardware. So here is a guide on how to do that with ESXi 5.5U2 patch 3 on a Mac Pro:

http://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2014/10/how-to-install-esxi-5-5-patch03-on-the-new-mac-pro-61.html

I don’t advocate licensing contravention, but for the sake of argument if you wanted to run OSX in a VM on ESXi 5 on non-Apple hardware, you need to do some additional steps. I suggest googling “ESXi 5 Mac OS X Unlocker” for more info.

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=ESXi+5+Mac+OS+X+Unlocker

Now getting back to other methods for providing OSX desktops. You can also perform netboots and run OSX from central locations. Here is some history on OSX netboot.

http://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT5599

One thing you may have noticed from the link was the need for OSX Server. Officially that is true, but unofficially, it can be done using an OSX client OS. See the link below for more info:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-Your-Regular-Mac-a-NetBoot-Server!/?ALLSTEPS

Here is a more succinct, but less graphical description on how to do it:

https://wiki.uiowa.edu/download/attachments/19467521/NetBoot+on+Mac+OS+X+Leopard+Client.pdf

So all of these brings you to very similar solutions to what you can achieve with other desktop operating systems for VDI.

You get session based computing with the ability to use multiple protocols.

You get thinclient boot functionality with local processing capability, or to connect to a server session.

There are load balancers for it as well.

The glue of it is orchestration. How to create the best workflow for automatically spawning instances and adding to the load balancers, then publishing that to a catalog.

I think this can all be done from Horizon View with very little modification to existing solutions and simple adding in the workflow. It will be a few years before we see this (if ever) as a packaged offering, specifically because of licensing not technological concerns.

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