How To Guides: Server and Grid Management

Contains help topics on how to manage the servers and a Kaviza grid.

Changing Hypervisor, Active Directory or Domain Controller Credentials

When you configure a Kaviza server and connect it to a hypervisor and active directory and when you sysprep an image you specify account credentials. If these credentials change (e.g. the password changes), you must ensure that that you IMMEDIATELY update the Kaviza server's configuration parameters. For environments where account credentials are changed regularly, we recommend that you use accounts that remain fixed.

Component How to change Impact
Hypervisor credentials Navigate to Server tab -> <specific server> -> Configure … Kaviza will be unable to communicate with the hypervisor.
Active directory credentials Navigate to Admin tab -> Configure user database Cannot authenticate users
Domain Controller credentials Re-sysprep all images that used the prior credential Newly generated desktops will not be able to join the domain and will appear as broken.

How to take a Server down for Maintenance

Taking a server down for maintenance requires some planning to ensure that users are not affected. Below are suggested steps to follow.

Planning and informing users

  1. Identify the users that are currently logged into virtual desktops that are running on that server.
  2. You can do this by navigating to the Desktops -> User Sessions sub-tab and doing a search by ‘Server’.
  3. Co-ordinate the downtime with your users before bringing the server down for maintenance.
  4. Make sure there are no image transfer activities happening at this time.
  5. Please note that when you deactivate a server, this server’s desktop load will be picked up by the rest of the servers in the grid and will be load balanced across all the other active servers in the grid. Say for example this server has 10 desktops running on it. Now when the server goes into the ‘Deactivated’ state, KMGR will automatically start 10 desktops across the rest of the servers in the grid. So, make sure the rest of the servers in the grid can handle the extra load. If not alter the Max/Prestart numbers of all the templates to take into account the loss of capacity that will result from taking the server offline.

Deactivating the Server

You can now opt to deactivate (immediate shutdown of all desktops) or quiesce (gradual shutdown once all users log out) the server.

Shutdown the Server

You can now opt to shutdown the server to turn the kMGR services off on that server before bringing it down for maintenence.

Adding a Server to the Grid

Kaviza has made adding servers to the grid very simple. The steps are:

  • Prepare a server. Install a hypervisor on a bare metal server and import and power on the Kaviza VDI-in-a-box appliance (which contains the Kaviza Manager (kMGR)) software. Note the IP address of the Kaviza appliance.
  • Use a browser to login to the server and follow directions. First, configure the hypervisor. Second select the "join a grid" option and specify the IP address and credentials of any kMGR already in the grid that is being joined.

Once this is complete, the server will be automatically configured and provisioned by the existing servers in the grid. You can go to the 'Server' tab and click on the folder icon of the newly joined server to see the status of all the images being sent to it. You can click on the folder icon of the existing servers to determine which server are sending it images.

Note that desktops from other servers will not be migrated to the new server. As users logout and new desktops are generated, they will be created on the new server.

Deactivating a Server

Deactivating a server will cause it to delete all desktops including those in use. Neither templates nor images are deleted or changed. A deactivated server is still attached to the grid but it does not run any desktops. Deactivate a server when you want to bring it down for maintenance.

To deactivate a server, navigate to the server tab, click on the specific server and select "Deactivate".

Quiescing a Server

The Quiesce option provides a graceful shutdown and avoids forced logout of users on the server. Quiescing a server will cause it to delete all unused desktops and eliminate in-use desktops once their users logout. Once all the users have logged out the server reverts to the "Deactive" state. Neither templates or images are deleted.

To quiesce a server, navigate to the server tab, click on the specific server and select "Quiesce".

Shutdown a Server

The Shutdown option provides a way to shutdown the kMGR services on this server prior to any maintenance activities on that server. Please note: Once the server is in a SHUTDOWN state, desktops will not be provisioned on this server and images will not be distributed to this server. Review the section maintServer How to take a server down for maintenance before performing this operation. This operation will only turn off the kMGR services inside the VM. In order to completely power off the kMGR VM itself, you need to carry this operation via the hypervisor management console. In a similar manner, restarting or powering on the kMGR VM from the hypervisor management console will turn on the kMGR services and will bring the server status back to an ACTIVATED state.

To quiesce a server, navigate to the server tab, click on the specific server and select "Quiesce".

Upgrading the kMGR Software

Kaviza VDI-in-a-box's kMGR software can be upgraded by navigating to the 'Admin' tab and clicking on 'Grid Upgrade' and following the directions to upload the upgrade software file. Once it is upgraded, the kMGR in all the servers in the grid will be upgraded. Note that the grid must be placed in "Maintenance mode" before upgrading the kMGR software.

Upgrading the kMGR License

Upgrade the license to go from the trial version to a fully paid license or to increase the number of concurrent users. To upgrade the license, navigate to the 'Admin' tab and click on the 'Grid Upgrade' link and browse to and select the license file. The license of the server from which the upgrade is initiated will be changed immediately. The license on the other servers in the grid will be "pulled" by these servers within an hour. At that point, all the servers in the grid will have the latest license. Please wait for the entire grid to be updated before generating new desktops.

Restarting the kMGR Services

The Kaviza kMGR service can be restarted by navigating to the Server tab, selecting the server and clicking the 'Restart' button. This does not restart the Kaviza Manager appliance VM, nor does it restart the hypervisor. Desktops running on the server are not affected and will continue to operate.

Assigning Static address to kMGR

This can be carried out from:

Navigate to Servers tab -> <specific link> -> Change Network Settings

Before you assign static address to kMGR, make sure you are observing the following pre-requisites:

- The server should not be running any desktops. DEACTIVATE the server before performing this operation.
- Shutdown any draft or test desktop on this server.
- Make sure you are assigning a static IP address that is not been assigned before.

Removing a Server from the grid

When you remove a server from the grid, it leaves the old grid to become a singleton server in its own new grid. All the environment information from the old grid will be carried with it. Namely, the image details, the template details, the user/group and template assignment details, the MAC Address pool details, the old AD configuration details, and the vCenter details (ESX grid only). This grid is fully capable of performing all the operations of any typical grid setup — desktops can be provisioned from it, images can be modified, additional servers can be joined and so on. It will continue to operate using its old IP address.

Best practice: Before removing a server from the grid, DEACTIVATE the server to get rid off all the desktops running on it. Please refer to the topic "Deactivate a Server" for additional details.

To remove a server from the grid,
Navigate to Servers tab -> <specific link> -> Leave Grid

Resetting a Server to factory settings

This operation ** will not ** be allowed on a server that is part of an existing grid. In order to reset a server, you need to first remove it from an existing grid. You can do this by following the instructions to 'Remove a Server from the grid". This operation is irreversible. Resetting a server will delete all the desktops including those that are being used by the users, templates, images, environment information from the grid and will bring the server to its factory settings. Please note that the base image files physically stored on the datastore of the hypervisor will be also deleted as part of this reset process.

Best practice: Before resetting a server from the grid, go to the Servers tab and ensure that you are seeing only one server and you are seeing the one that you are planning to reset in the first place. Also, you need to be using the corresponding kMGR's management console to view the server that you are resetting.

To reset a server from the grid,
Navigate to Admins tab -> Reset Server

Please note: If you do not see the above link, it implies that you have not removed the server from the grid yet or you are not using the correct kMGR's management console to view it.

Removing the kMGR appliance from the host

To properly remove the kMGR appliance from the host and to ensure proper removal of all the image folders that was created on this host by the grid, you need to carry out the following steps.

1. If this kMGR is part of an existing grid, first remove it from the existing grid. Follow the instructions to 'Leave a Server' from the grid to carry out this operation.

2. Then, reset the server to factory settings by following the instructions 'Resetting a Server to factory settings' to remove all the desktops and image folders.

3. Shutdown the kMGR VM from the hypervisor VM console.

4. Now, you are ready to remove the kMGR VM from the host.

Tip! Did you know?

Kaviza VDI-in-a-box 4.1 has these cool new features:

  • Guided wizards for even easier setup
  • Enhanced diagnostics
  • Monitoring from 3rd party systems
  • Support for Android-based devices

Tip! The Kaviza Grid Explained

You manage the Kaviza grid as one entity even though it has no single control point. This design eliminates bottlenecks of conventional VDI while centralizing management: