VMware View 4.5 announced

Today, at VMworld 2010 in San Francisco, VMware announced the launch of VMware View 4.5.

VMware View 4.5 is packed with loads of new features which increases VMware View use cases and definitively narrows the gap with Citrix XenDesktop.

In fact, Chris Wolf from Gartner has declared View 4.5 as an enterprise ready desktop virtualization solution.

I’ve attended the View 4.5 beta program and I can honestly say that View 4.5 is a huge improvement. In the past, we had to deploy XenDesktop for VDI deployments with specific customer demands but with the release of View 4.5 these scenarios have decreased significantly.

General availability for VMware View 4.5 is set for early September.

Here are some of the improvements/features in View 4.5:

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First experiences with Zimbra Collaboration Suite Appliance

A ‘bit’ of history

Some of you might know me as a dedicated MS Exchange junkie. Ever since Microsoft launched version 5.0 of Exchange, I’ve been working with it and I must admit I never found a collaboration suite quite like it. I’ve had numerous discussions with Lotus Notes or Novell  Groupwise folks but they never conviced me (believe me, I tried all suites hands-on). And yes, I am aware of all the problems Exchange had in the past, including being a spamrelaying nuisance, a memory hog, a disk killer and so on (most errors were caused by faulty configurations, btw).

About 8 years ago some folks in, I think it was Germany, started a project with opensource software to create an Exchange equivalent with nothing but opensource software. Actually, it is pretty logical. If you strip down everything around Exchange, you are left with a (pretty ancient) database system (Jet), a webserver (IIS) and an SMTP engine. So, why can this not be done with MySQL, Apache and Sendmail or Postfix? It should be possible.

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VMware Visio Stencil for vSphere 4 manuals

While designing and writing administrator guides, I often use pictures instead of words. In my opinion: a picture says more then 1000 words. When VMware vSphere 4 went live I started collecting pictures from  Sphere and the Virtual Infrastructure client, I combined them in a Microsoft Visio 2007 shape so I could track off them and use them more often in pictures and designs accompanying virtual infrastructures.

Using them in memo style documents to tackle known issues or incorrect handling is quit effective. Also with the new menu driven style of the vSphere VI Client combined with VMware vCenter Server some administrators are looking for the right path to get to the correct content.

This Visio stencil is a combination of different icons, shape and such. You can design a Host and Clusters drill down with it or use components to use in manuals or troubleshooting documents.

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How to: License Microsoft Windows Server in a VMware environment – Part 2

[This is the 2nd part in the sequel. You can find part 1 here.]

We talked about licensing Windows Server on a VMware environment but that’s only one part of the licensing nightmare. You will also need client access licenses also called CALs.

Client Access Licensing

In addition of the Windows Server 2008 License you also need a Windows Server 2008 Client Access License also called CAL. This is required for each user or device (or combination of both) that accesses or uses the Windows 2008 software.

Requirements

Every user or device accessing the Windows Server 2008 needs a CAL. You don’t need a CAL when:

  • You access the instance of server software only through the internet without being authenticated or individually identified by the server software;
  • You access Windows Web Server 2008;
  • If external users are accessing the instances of server software and you have acquired a Windows Server 2008 External Connector License for each server being accessed;
  • You only administer the server software with two devices or users;
  • You use the Windows Server 2008 solely as a virtualization host.

The last point doesn’t impact us much because we use VMware ESXi solely as our virtualization platform.

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No VMGuru.nl in China

Hello folks,

Yesterday we noticed a huge increase in the amount of traffic. After some in-depth investigation, we discovered that some ‘friends’ in China found a loophole which quadrupled our traffic within a few hours.  Fortunately no real harm was done. Our systems were not compromised.

During this investigation, we also noticed several attempts that were made from within China to ‘probe’ our security. Although China is one of the biggest upcoming markets in the world (if not the biggest), this apparently comes at a price. So, we here at VMGuru.nl decided that we will be avoiding China for the moment. We therefore blocked all known IP ranges appointed to China from accessing our site.

We’re sorry for any genuine followers of VMGuru.nl in China, but the amount of attempts was too big to ignore.

Why not use Core Server when deploying Windows on a virtual infrastructure?

Since Microsoft introduced Windows 2008 back in 2007, there is the opportunity to install a Core Server. It was the first time Microsoft introduced a lean-and-mean server, where a lot of the Linux and Unix admins always complained that the GUI on a server eats so many resources where nobody ever really uses it.

Core server installations have a big advantage above the full installation of windows: it uses up less resources on your (virtual) infrastructure. (more…)

Exchange CCR cluster on VMware with iSCSI

A few weeks ago I got an assignment to review a colleague’s infrastructure design based on VMware.
The design was fine (because they used my design document as template :-) ) but one thing triggered me.

There was a special port group on one of the virtual switches names ‘MSCLUSTER’. No problem so far but I heard the client recently migrated to iSCSI storage.

The combination Microsoft Clustering Services (MSCS) combined with iSCSI triggered  my alarm bells. As I recalled Microsoft Clustering on iSCSI is not a problem but Microsoft Clustering on VMware with iSCSI is not supported (by VMware).

So, I rejected the design based on this support issue.

This message was not well received, as it turned out they had just migrated their clustered Exchange servers and had been running this way for a while now. Proposing to the client to migrate again was no option. So they tried to  question my findings. They had been running this setup without any problems and Exchange CCR clustering wasn’t real Microsoft Clustering because no disks were clustered, only the Exchange services.

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New Enterprise Hypervisor comparison

 

Last year we published an Enterprise Hypervisor comparison and we got very positive comments and feedback on it.

During the last few weeks I received many update requests so I decided to update the old hypervisor comparison but this time I changed the setup a bit.

Changes:

  • No beta or pre-release versions are used. In the last document we also compared Hyper-V R2 beta which wasn’t officially released.
    This time all software is available and no features are subject to change due to beta-test, etc.;
  • The versions used are the platinum/ultimate/fully-featured versions of the hypervisors. Product features can be limited by lower license versions;
  • No free versions have been used in this comparison.

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