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Guide: Horizon Folder Redirection Hosted on FA File

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In this KB, we'll cover how to set up an end-user's home directories on Horizon-based Windows VDI VMs using a FlashArray with FA File.

For FlashArray//C, FA File is supported starting with Purity 6.0.0. For FlashArray//X, FA File is supported starting with Purity 6.0.3.

Why would someone want to do this? If you have already deployed Horizon or plan to, having a file server that hosts user's directories on the FlashArray can save time in configuration, provisioning, deployment and expansion of user's home directory space. Additionally, it's less compute to manage.

Now that Pure has FlashArray//C and FlashArray//X capable of serving file workloads, how would someone decide where to put file-backed user home directories?

  • For low latency requirements of block and file, FlashArray//X can serve both block and file
  • If the file workload does not require sub-millisecond latency or extremely high bandwidth, put the file workload on FlashArray//C

Requirements

FlashArray

From a FlashArray perspective, there are three KBs that cover the requirements well. Please review them before continuing:

Lastly, for the FlashArray configuration, follow this KB to configure FA File on for FlashArray.

Environment

The high level requirements of Horizon and Active Directory are there needs to be functional and supported domain controllers and Horizon servers. The above FA File KBs go in to great detail on the requirements of FA File from the environment outside of the FlashArray.

When configuring FA File on a FlashArray, you might run into issues with the domain's lack of certificate authority signed certificates. By default, Pure's FA File implementation requires LDAPS with Active Directory environments. This Microsoft KB is a good starting point.

Depending on how your Active Directory's permissions are configured, you might need to adjust the permissions on each user's directory to ensure the appropriate access is present for your requirements.

This Microsoft KB was helpful for figuring out which folders to redirect.

Lastly, VMware discusses the various options available with Horizon deployments and why you might not want to use roaming profiles in this KB.

FA File Configuration on Horizon

After following the FA File quick start guide, a directory export called "user-directory" was configured to keep all of the user directories under a single share. You can see that by clicking Storage then File Systems and looking under Directory Exports.

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Next, you'll want to make sure you have the FQDN of the computer object that was created. To do this, naviate to Settings then Access and look for the Domain with Computer Name. In this example, combined these are purefile.sf.investigations.com.

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After that, verify that the computer object was created in Active Directory. To do this, open Active Directory Users and Computers, select the Computers Organizational Unit (OU) and validate that the computer name is what we expect; in this example, we expect purefile:

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If you already use a profile management tool for your VDI users, you'll want to refer to their documentation for how to configure Folder Redirection or whatever solution makes the most sense for your VDI deployment. We are going to cover how to configure Folder Redirection using Group Policy Management.

Folder Redirection With Group Policy Management

Now configure a new group policy to map these user directories automatically for our users. On an Active Directory account that has administrative access to the forest, after opening Group Policy Management, first Expand until we get to our OU where the VDI users are provisioned. Next, Create a GPO in this Domain and link it here by right clicking on our OU (VDI in our example). Then we'll give our Group Policy Object (GPO) a name- Horizon Folder Redirection in this example.

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After the Group Policy Object has been created and named, proceed with configuring it. Right click on the GPO and left click Edit.

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A new window will pop up. Here, expand User Configuration, Polices, Windows Settings, Folder Redirection. Right click on the folder you want to redirect, select Properties.

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A new window will reveal itself at this point. In this window, first select Basic - Redirect everyone's folder to the same location, ensure that Create a folder for each user under the root path is selected, type in the full path from before in to Root Path (\\purefile.sf.investigations.com\user-directory), then click Apply and OK.

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And now the VDI user will see their redirected folders show up when they log in to their VDI workspace.

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