Persistent Desktops

Overview

In a typical Xi 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 Xi Frame platform also offers an alternative option called “Persistent Desktops.” Persistent Desktops are stateful, desktop-only instances which are permanently assigned to an individual user. 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.

The Persistent Desktops feature can be used with the following:
  • Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud Platform on Xi Frame infrastructure
  • Xi Frame on AHV
  • Any BYO Cloud Account
  • Domain Joined Instances

Applicability

Persistent Desktops were designed for organizations who prefer to give their users more control over their own environments. Xi 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. Persistent Desktops can be domain joined as well, end users are provided local admin privileges after they log in for the second time.

Requirements

  • Users must be able to authenticate to the platform using Domain Joined Instances, a SAML2 integration or Xi Frame’s built-in identity provider.

Setup

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 typical Xi Frame account.

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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.

Capacity Administration

Account capacity settings work a little differently than a typical, non-persistent Xi 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.

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  • 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.

Warning

Depending on the account setup, enabling the “Keep running instances for new users” toggle could cause account holders to incur additional costs since a VM will be on standby, consuming resources.

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.

Warning

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.

Backups

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.”

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Once enabled, end users can manage their backups from their “My Profile” page. Persistent Desktop backups are managed the same as Enterprise Profile and Personal Drive backups. More information regarding end user-managed backups can be found in our end user documentation.