Add host pools (Azure Virtual Desktop)

A host pool is a collection of one or more identical virtual machines (VMs) within an Azure Virtual Desktop environment. Each host pool contains an application group that users can access.

To add a host pool:

  1. In the RAS console, navigate to Farm > <Site> > AVD > Host pools.

  2. Click the Tasks drop-down list above the Pools list and then click Add (or click the plus-sign icon). This opens the Add AVD host pool wizard.

  3. Select whether you want to create new or select an existing host pool:

    • To select an existing workspace, click the [...] button next to the Name field.

    • To create a new host pool, select Create new host pool and select the provider, workspace, name, description, resource group, and location.

    In the Friendly name field, specify the friendly name that will be used for the host pool in Azure Virtual Desktop and Parallels RAS.

  4. Click Next.

  5. On the Configuration page, specify the following:

    • Host pool type: Select from Pooled (multi-session hosts) or Personal (single-session hosts).

    • Publishing type: Select from Application or Desktop depending on what you want to use the pool for.

    • Load balancer: Select a load balancer type. Breadth-first load balancing allows you to evenly distribute user sessions across the session hosts in a host pool. Depth-first load balancing allows you to saturate a session host with user sessions in a host pool. Once the first session host reaches its session limit threshold, the load balancer directs any new user connections to the next session host in the host pool until it reaches its limit, and so on.

    • Limit number of sessions on host: For a pooled (multi-session) pool type, specify the maximum allowed number of sessions on a host.

    • Power on host on-demand: Specify whether a powered down host should be powered on when a user tries to connect to it. Note that this applies only if all session hosts in the host pool are powered off.

    • Default license type: Select the Azure license type.

    • Service updates validation: Select the Validation environment option if you want to make this host pool a validation environment for Microsoft service updates.

  6. Click Next.

  7. On the Provisioning page, select whether this host pool will contain template-based or standalone hosts:

    • Template: Hosts will be created dynamically from a template. You will need to create or select an existing template in the next step or later. Choosing Template as the provisioning type ensures a homogeneous host pool, which is recommended to provide consistent user experience across the host pool. For information on how to create a template, see Create a template.

    • Standalone: Select one or more hosts that already exist. You'll be able to do it in the next step or you can do it later. Prior to adding hosts to host pools, ensure that hosts are domain joined and have network access to the domain environment. Note that the Standalone provisioning is considered "unmanaged" as it lacks some of the functionality, such as Autoscaling.

  8. Click Next.

  9. Depending on the selection made on the Provisioning page (above), do one of the following

    • Standalone: Select one or more hosts from the list to be included in the host pool (you can also add hosts to the pool later).

    • Template: Select a template from the list or click Create new to create a new template and specify the template settings. Versions: If you selected an existing template, select one of its versions. Enable autoscale: (Multi-session hosts) Enable and configure autoscale. Overwrite the size specified in template properties: Overwrite the virtual machine size, which is normally set on the template level. The size that you specify here will be used by this host pool only. Other host pools using the same template will be unaffected. Note that if a VM is later taken out of such a host pool due to autoscale settings, the VM will retain the last known size and may join another host pool with the new size specified. Also note that available sizes may depend on the location, size, and power state of the host pool members and the template.

  10. Click Next.

  11. (Templates only) On the Properties page, specify the following options:

    • Template name: Choose and type a template name.

    • Maximum hosts: Specify the maximum number of hosts that can be created from this template.

    • Number of hosts deployed on wizard completion: The number of hosts to deploy once the template is created. Please keep in mind that this will take some time because the hosts will be created one at a time.

    • Host prefix: A pattern to use when naming new hosts.

  12. Click Next.

  13. (Templates only) On the Settings page, specify the following options:

    • Keep available buffer: The minimum number of hosts to always keep unassigned and session free for the template. As soon as the number of free and unassigned desktops drops below the setting value, it forces the template to create another host. The template uses its own settings for host creation including initial power state.

    • Host state after the preparation: Select the power state that should be applied to a host after it is prepared. Choose from Powered on, Powered off, or Suspended. Note that when the power state is set to Power off or Suspended, the number of running (fully ready and waiting for incoming connections) hosts is controlled by the Keep available buffer setting (see above). For example, let's say the Maximum hosts value is set at 200, the number of guest hosts deployed on wizard completion is 100, and the power state after preparation is Powered off. The result of such a configuration will be 100 clones deployed and powered off.

    • Delete unused hosts after: Select what to do with unused hosts to save resources. Choose whether to never delete them or specify the time period after which they should be deleted.

  14. Click Next.

  15. On the Assignment page, specify users or groups to be assigned to the application group in the host pool. This is necessary for users to have access to published applications or desktops. Click Tasks > Add and specify a user or group. An application group of type Desktop or RemoteApp (whichever is appropriate) will be created and associated with the host pool automatically on wizard completion.

  16. On the User profile page, you can select from Do not manage by RAS (user profiles will not be managed) or FSlogix. Microsoft FSLogix Profile Container allows to maintain user context in non-persistent environments, minimize sign-in times and provides native profile experience eliminating compatibility issues.

  17. Follow the onscreen instructions and complete the wizard.

  18. On the Summary page, review the template summary information. You can click the Back button to correct some of the information if needed.

  19. Finally, click Finish to create the host pool and close the wizard.

Note: In the case of using the Advanced Client Feature Set, RemoteApp groups are not required for publishing applications since the Desktop App Group with Parallels seamless technology will be used to provide application publishing from configured desktop app groups.

Next step

Verify the Azure Virtual Desktop deployment

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