VMware ThinApp Factory Tech Preview available now

Yesterday VMware released a Technical Preview of the VMware ThinApp Factory (v 0.3.0).

The ThinApp Factory is a virtual appliance that brings centralized administration and automation to the process of creating virtualized Windows applications with VMware ThinApp technology.

ThinApp Factory utilizes vSphere API’s to spawn workloads which automatically convert file shares of application installers into ThinApp application containers. These workloads can be run in parellel to maximize throughput and increase ROI for virtualization projects.

Packagers and administrators can now utilize ‘Recipes’ during this packaging process. Recipes are simply small json files which contain a redistributable blueprint of the customizations and optimizations necessary for packaging complex applications. These recipes can be created and now exchanged freely with other customers via the ThinApp community site.

Key Features
  • Automates packaging of application installers into virtualized Windows applications;
  • Leverages vSphere, vCenter for automation of workloads to efficiently package 1000’s of applications;
  • Provides and utilizes ‘Recipes’ as redistributable blueprints for application packaging;
  • Provides a lightweight web UI with a dashboard for administrators to use for the entire workflow of packaging to distribution;
  • Enables administrators to import and edit existing ThinApp projects and modify package.ini, registry, and file settings through the web UI;
  • Integration with Horizon Application Manager application catalog for automated population of application metadata and deployment with the Horizon ThinApp Agent.


StarWind Offers Free NFR Licenses for Lab Testing, Demonstration, and Training Purposes

Starwind is an innovative company and one of the first to offer an iSCSI initiator on the Microsoft Windows platform without a lot of hassle. The company offers Not For Resale (NFR) licenses to some specific groups of IT professionals.

If you hold or are one of the following:

  • VMware vExpert
  • VMware Certified Instructor (VCI)
  • Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP)
  • Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT)
  • Citrix Technology Professional (CTP)
  • Citrix Certified Instructor (CCI).

you can get a free NFR license for its best-of-breed High Availability SAN solutions software to fuel your Lab. What do you need to do?


Review: VCP5 Study Guide by Brian Atkinson

A few months ago Erik and I passed our VCP-510 Exam, we used several different resources to get the job done. Several people asked us how to prepare for the VCP-510 exam. Fortunately Brian Atkinson a fellow vExpert, wrote a “small” book (almost 800 pages!!) as a study guide for everyone who wants to prepare for the exam and to get their VMware Certified Professional on vSphere 5 title. The book helps you prepare for this tough exam, it points out things you normally don’t touch in your daily work with vSphere.

While reading the book it felt like I was taken on a journey, from What is New in vSphere 5 to How to Plan, Install, Configure and Upgrade vCenter Server and VMware ESXi with this new version. But you aren’t finished after installing vSphere. Eye for details, like The way you secure vCenter Server and ESXi and how to Plan and Configuring vSphere Networking and Storage to get the most out of your installation, are unfolded. So you now have the basis and want to Create, Deploy and Manage VMs and vApps.


RES HyperDrive released

RES HyperdriveIn January of this year RES announced that they where working on a secure way to deliver ‘follow me data‘ and file-sharing with a product they call RES HyperDrive. As of Yesterday (June 5th 2012) RES HyperDrive is available.

As was made clear in the announcement RES wanted to make it possible for end users to access their data at anytime, anywhere on any device. Yet they still want the IT department to be able and keep control over the data. What RES HyperDrive offers is:

  • Anywhere access – You will be able to access your data from any device (Android, iOS, Windows and Blackberry phones). Data will be available either trough a browser or a HyperDrive agent;
  • Secure data – The data can be secured with Active Directory integration, local data encryption and has remote theft protection;
  • Seamless integration – By using a virtual appliance you can offer the existing storage infrastructure of your company to the end user. And with Outlook it is possible to add larger documents as a link. With which the receiver can open the document from the HyperDrive storage.


Available now: VMware vSphere 5.0 Hardening Guide

Last Friday, VMware released their vSphere 5.0 Security Hardening Guide v1.0. It’s a great and extensive guide to completely secure your VMware vSphere 5 Infrastructure from ESXi host to vCenter server and from the vNetwork to virtual machine. The coincidence is that yesterday I had a discussion with a colleague on enabling root access on a customers ESXi hosts. Following this hardening guide will prevent people from adding vulnerabilities to a great product.

With this new release the format of this guide has changed from previous versions. The guide is being released as a Excel spreadsheet only. The guideline metadata from earlier guides has been greatly expanded and standardized.  CLI commands for assessment and remediation of the guidelines is included for the vCLI, ESXi Shell, and PowerCLI.  For additional information, please see the Intro tab of the spreadsheet.

You can find the VMware vSphere 5.0 Security Hardening Guide, v1.0 here.

Great VMUG Belgium event

Last Friday Alex and I were invited to speak at the Belgium VMUG. Erik Schils, the Belgian VMUG leader, had setup a VMUG conference at Cisco in Diegem. After a 3 hour drive to Belgium, the conference turned out to be pretty busy, Erik  managed to get 150 -160 VMware enthusiasts to this meeting.

The event was named: VMUG.be “the Blogger Edition” and there were a lot of interesting sessions from community speakers like:

  • RAID types and  alignment impact on VMware workloads‘ by Eric Zandboer;
  • Designing a cloud infrastructure‘ by Duncan Epping & Lieven D’Hoore;
  • Beer and PowerCLI: you can’t live without them‘ by Luc Dekens;
  • Troubleshooting VDI‘ by Sven Huisman;
  • VMware Health Check‘ by Gabrie van Zanten;
  • Busting a few myths‘ by Eric Sloof;
  • ‘Storage DRS’ by Frank Denneman;
  • Unleash the IAAS Cloud: About VMware vCloud Director and more…‘ by Viktor van den Berg;
  • And of course ‘HyperV v3.0 vs VMware vSphere 5‘ by Alex & myself.