Mirage definitions for the various working parts

Posted by on February 7, 2013 in Mirage, VMware | 2 comments

I thought that I would put together a detailed this of definitions for the various parts and acronyms used with VMware Mirage. This will help people understand the different parts and features of Mirage when starting to learn or work with the product. These are taken from VMware documentation and supplemented by myself.

Mirage Client on the desktop – The Mirage Client is installed on endpoint devices to enable them to run a Centralized Virtual Desktop (CVD) or convert an existing desktop into a CVD.

Mirage Management Server – The Mirage Management Server is the main component that controls and manages the Mirage Server cluster.

Mirage Management Console – The Mirage Management Console is the graphical user interface used to perform scalable maintenance, management, and monitoring of deployed endpoints. Through the Mirage Management Console, the administrator configures and manages Clients, Base Layers, and reference machines, performs operations such as update and restore, and monitors the system operation through the dashboard and event logs.

Mirage Server – The Mirage Server efficiently manages the storage and delivery of Base Layers and CVDs to clients, and consolidates monitoring and management communications. A Base Layer is used as a template for desktop content, cleared of specific identity information, and made suitable for central deployment to a large group of endpoints. Multiple Mirage Servers can be deployed as a server cluster to manage endpoint devices for large enterprise organizations.
Note: The server machine must be dedicated for use by the Mirage Server software; it should not be used for any other purposes. For hardware requirements and supported platforms, see 2.3 Hardware Prerequisites.

Reference Machine – A reference machine is used to create a standard desktop build for a set of CVDs. This usually includes operating system updates, service packs and patches, corporate applications to be used by all target end users, and corporate configuration and policies.
Mirage offers unique capabilities to maintain and update reference machines over time, either over the LAN or WAN, using a Mirage Reference CVD entity in the data center. The Reference CVD can be used at any time as a source for Base Layer capture.

Branch Reflector – The Branch Reflector is a peering service role that can be enabled on any endpoint device. When enabled, the Branch Reflector serves adjacent clients when downloading and updating Base Layers in the site, instead of having the clients download directly from the Mirage Server cluster. Using the Branch Reflector can significantly reduce bandwidth usage during mass Base Layer updates or other Base Layer download scenarios.

File Portal – The file portal (which leverages IIS 7.0 or higher) allows end users to view the files that exist in their CVD snapshots from any web browser by using the appropriate login credentials.

Centralized Virtual Desktop (CVD) – A CVD enables an Administrator to centrally manage, update, patch, back up, troubleshoot, restore, and audit the desktop in the data center – regardless of whether the endpoint is connected to the network.
A CVD comprises four components:

  • Base Layer defined by the administrator, which comprises the operating system image plus the core applications.
  • Driver Profile, defined by the IT Administrator, is a group of drivers that have been designated for use with specific hardware platforms. These drivers are applied to devices automatically when the hardware platforms match the criteria defined by the IT Administrator in the Driver Profile.
  • User-installed applications and machine state (unique identifier, hostname, any configuration changes to the machine registry, DLLs, and configuration files).
  • User settings and data.

Changes made by the end user to data, applications, or the machine state are efficiently propagated to the data center. Conversely, all changes made to the Base Layer by administrators in the data center are similarly propagated to the endpoints. Administrators can identify data that should not be protected, such as MP3s, or other files that are considered local-only to the endpoint.

Mirage Client – Installed on the endpoint, this software executes in the base operating system, making sure the image at the endpoint and the CVD are fully synchronized. The Mirage Client is hypervisor-free but hypervisor -friendly: no virtual machines or hypervisors are required, though execution on any Type 1 or Type 2 hypervisor is supported.

Distributed Desktop Optimization (DDO) – Optimizes transport of data between the Mirage Server and the Mirage Client – making it feasible to support remote endpoints regardless of network speed or bandwidth. DDO incorporates technologies that include read-write caching, file and block-level de-duplication, network optimization, and desktop streaming over the WAN.

Interested in other VMware Mirage topics refer to my Mirage Series.

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design


  1. Hi Brian,

    wonderful site on Mirage – and it was nice to see your VMUG June 2013 presentation as well

    I just had a query thats been at the back of my mind :

    Why would a customer opt for Mirage when he already has invested in a Backup Solution such as Symantec or Microsoft’s DPM ?

    How do we make a compelling case for going the Mirage route – inspite of those investments >

    • In the case that you mention I would look into the following items.

      1. Do those backup solutions really protect the OS or just the users files. For example if an endpoint needed to be recovered what would be the process and effort. For mirage today you would drop a base image on it and re-sync it with Mirage and be back at their last point. I think baremetal restores will come in future version.

      2. Besides backups Mirage would offer them single image management that they are likely not getting today. Unless they are using some other desktop deployment tool. Mirage will allow them to have a single or a few base images deployed to all desktops. These base images are patched and changes are pushed to all endpoints.

      These are a couple of the main items I would begin looking at.

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