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Everything You Need to Know about Golden Images

MyCloudIT

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For those who are familiar with golden images, you know the benefits of using them. For those who aren’t familiar, we are going to cover what they are, benefits of using them, and some best practices.

What is a Golden Image?   
A golden image is a pre-configured template for your users. A golden image may also be referred to as a clone image, master image, or base image. If you have ever built a standard image for your user-base, you understand the need for consistency and ease of deployment. A golden image provides just that for your deployments. Whether you want to give your users a full desktop experience, or just a Remote App experience, the golden image streamlines the creation and management process of your RDS deployment. 

Benefits of Using a Golden Image
Below are three of the main benefits of using a golden image.

  1. Saves Time  
    Golden images allow you to deploy several remote desktops, remote applications, and virtual machines based on a single base image. As a result, whether you deploy 5, 10 or 1,000 session hosts, they are all consistent. In addition to consistency, it also saves you time. As your user-base grows and you need to add additional session hosts, the new session hosts will be created from the same base image. So, you can quickly deploy a new remote desktop without having to spend hours setting it up.
  1. Reduce Errors 
    When you try to manually configure 2 or more session hosts with the identical applications and patches, you are introducing the opportunity for operator error. It is really easy to overlook one small detail that can cause future errors on a few or all session hosts. By using a golden image, you can reduce your chance of errors.
  1. Consistency
    In addition to saving time, golden images can also ensure consistency by eliminating the need for repetitive configuration changes and performance tweaks. Furthermore, golden images can be configured to adhere to corporate security and compliance requirements, hence ensuring all other RDS deployments generated by the images adhered to those policies too.

Golden Image Best Practices
By having a golden image, you can build an update and software upgrade cycle to promote all 3 benefits mentioned above here. We have found that a common best practice is to build a new golden image with the current updates every few months, then deploy one VM to your existing collection. To reduce errors, first deploy your new image to a QA collection so that a few users can test the new image before deploying to your user community. Once QA has signed off on the new image, you can then deploy the image to the existing collection. 

In a RDS environment, we advocate using multiple session hosts for your users, as opposed to one or two large session hosts because we also offer auto-scaling. Auto-scaling will start additional VMs as needed and can take your VMs offline after hours as people log out. This helps reduce costs by as much as 50% of your overall session host costs.  Since we advocate creating multiple smaller session hosts, the tradeoff is that there are multiple session hosts to create and manage. Using a Golden image ensures you only configure the session host image once, then use our platform to deploy that image to create as many session hosts as necessary.   

What if I don’t use a Golden Image?
If you don’t currently use a golden image, our platform can help you get started. Our User Guide is a great resource for all things MyCloudIT. We have a detailed guide on creating a golden image for virtual machines. We also offer steps to clone your server and make a golden image. If you need additional assistance along the way, you can email support@mycloudit.com.

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