VMGuru at Geek Whisperers

Way back in time, when we started VMGuru, we actually had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Full of ideas and energy we went to all the events (VMworld Cannes, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Dutch VMUG, Belgian VMUG, etcetera), packed with laptops, photo- and videocameras and went to work like a bunch of crazy nerds. Most of you who have seen us, know the picture. Four guys, packed with gear, typing like mad in the community lounge, asking questions in sessions, attending demo’s at the Solutions Exchange. Since then we’ve learned a lot along the way. We dropped video from the program (it took too much time to process and edit versus the views it got), we tuned our website, we have a lot more eye for social media, like our recently opened Facebook page.

Last VMworld in Barcelona, the boys got together with on invitation of John Troyer(@jtroyer), our trusted VMware community dad, for a podcast with him, Amy Lewis (better known by us as @Commsninja) and Matthew Brender (@mjbrender), for Geek Whisperers. Of course, we were flattered to be invited. The result is about 45 minutes of fun, interview and info on how we got our blog together the way we did. Check Erik, AJ and Edwin out on this entertaining interview at Geek-whisperers.com.

VMworld 2013 USA – Day 3 – Pictures and slides

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The last day of VMworld. Check out the slides of the Best Practices for 3D in Horizon View. We’ll be following up on that here on VMguru.nl with our own tests.

VMworld 2013 USA – Day 2 – Pictures and Slides

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These are the impressions of day 2 of VMworld 2013 in San Francisco

VMworld 2013 USA – Keynote day 2

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Day 2 kicks off with a keynote by Carl Eschenbach, who is the EVP of VMware._MG_2001.jpg

Traditionally, the keynote of day 2 is the technical presentation and demo of the new products. This is my fourth VMworld and I only know the very dynamic presentations and demos done by Steve Herrod. Steve’s technical keynote speeches were epic, let’s see how Carl replaces him.

The great hall is packed, even the press and blogger seats are all occupied. This year 22.500 attendees made VMworld 2013 the largest IT event of 2013. Carl takes us back to the first VMworld in San Diego with 1.400 attendees. A big difference with today.

Carl runs through yesterday’s announcements, vSphere 5.5, vCloud Suite 5.5, NSX network virtualization and vSAN and hybrid cloud computing by VMware. This is the power of the Software Defined Datacenter (SDDC). Focus now on business vs IT. Business relies on IT through software. Through software VMware customers can accelerate their innovation up to 70%. The whole package will bring IT as a Service (ITaaS) to market.

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VMworld 2013 USA – Day 1 – Pictures and slides

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Yesterday the show really kicked off! A lot of sessions, some small news is still pretty big, like the coming support voor XenApp published apps in Horizon. Check out the slides at the end of the slideshow.

VMworld 2013 USA – Day 0 – An impression

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Yesterday VMworld kicked off with the partner day. Not all facilities are open yet and not all attendees are there yet, but it’s nice and busy. Check out the pictures:

VMguru.nl at VMworld US 2013

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The biggest event of the year for us virtualization enthusiasts is just around the corner. VMworld celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. From 25 up to the 29 of August San Francisco’s famous Moscone Center will host VMworld 2013 and it’s huge audience. It’s going to be another great show, I’m sure.

What’s hot and what’s not? We’ll see in a day or two. The EMC boys took an early shot, check it out (the video’s are epic) :) Expect to see a lot more from the software defined datacenter, with focus on storage and security.

I’ll be attending VMworld for VMGuru this year. I will do my best to find and write about the newest stuff and amazing trends there are to spot.

If you have any special requests, like  things you think we should definitely take a look at, send us a message on Twitter @vmguru_nl and I’ll go and check it out!

See ya in the US!

Horizon View in a stretched cluster environment: Can I have that? No!

vmware_horizon_suite logoEver since VMware started selling View as a desktop solution, we’ve had these discussions with colleagues and customers. You probably are familiar with the topic:

Many companies have more than one location, but they all want to manage their IT infrastructure as if it was one. So, if we can throw in a big data-line between those locations with low latency, highly resilient, including rapid fail-over and so on.. can we create one big View desktop pool for all our users spanning all our locations?

The answer is: No you cannot!

“But the bandwidth is 10 Gbps and the latency is very low!”

It doesn’t matter, you still cannot.

“Why??”

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Look at the Horizon! VMware’s Horizon Suite is finally here

vmware_horizon_suite logoFor years VMware has been busy creating a range of Horizon-like products. At VMworld 2009 there was already a preview of what the folks in Palo Alto were working on.
Since then a lot has changed, AppBlast was shown, Octopus came (and went again).

30 minutes ago VMware finally launched their new range of end user computing products called the VMware Horizon Suite.

So, what does Horizon consist of? Well, actually Horizon is the new name for the collection of ALL End User Computing (EUC) products VMware has to offer, some of which you already know and love, like VMware View and ThinApp. But now the new cool products are finally here!

So, what is VMware Horizon Suite? It consists of these products:

Horizon Suite

VMware Horizon View

View box

VMware View is now as part of the new Horizon Suite and it got a new name VMware Horizon View 5.2. It is just a minor .2 release but VMware put a lot of effort in this new View version and added

significant number of features to improve View performance, scalability and user experience.

  • Improved storage efficiency with SEsparse Disks
    Horizon View 5.2 uses a new vSphere capability that implements a new disk format for virtual machines on VMFS that allows for reduction in size and utilization allocated blocks more efficiently by filling it with real data. Unused space is reclaimed and View Composer desktops stay small.
  • Unified Client with View Desktops in Horizon
    When co-installed with Horizon Suite the View Desktop pools are connected into Horizon Suite after they are provisioned. The Horizon Suite provides a single point of access for end users to their desktops, data and applications. Horizon Suite supports SSO brokering user to the available desktops based on entitlement policy.
  • Clientless HTML5 Access to View Desktops & Apps
    Access to View desktops and applications via Horizon is possible from any modern device using a remote protocol delivered through any HTML5 capable web-browser.This is the technology previously code-named AppBlast. It will direct users to existing View desktops leveraging Horizon View Security Server for network routing when available. This is a true install-free access to virtual Desktops.
  • Hardware Accelerated 3D Graphics
    Horizon View 5.2 uses a new vSphere capability that enables shared access to physical GPU hardware for 3D and high performance graphical workloads. Virtual desktops still see abstracted VMware SVGA device for maximum compatibility & portability, but use Accelerated 3D Graphics , enabling truly high performance graphics in a cot effective manner with multiple VMs sharing a single GPU resource. The solution is fully compatible with hosts lacking physical GPUs (for vMotion, DRS, etc).
  • Improved Video Chat with MSFT Lync Support
    Horizon View 5.2 provides Microsoft Lync 2013 client support, including full support for UC VoIP and Video on both RDP and PCoIP. This new feature enable a tighter integration between Microsoft Lync and Office applications with full collaboration capabilities. Some of the features are compresses USB webcam traffic upstream for reduced bandwidth usage,leverages UDP based channel for improved WAN performance, enabling improved performance of USB media devices.
  • Windows 8 Desktop Support
    Horizon View 5.2 now fully supports Windows 8 virtual desktops as guest OS. It also comes aligned with the Windows 8 Client Support.
  • PCoIP New Features
    • Support for MITM (Man-In-The-Middle) network devices
    • PCoIP GPO settings take effect immediately when changed (host side only).
    • Relative Mouse enablement (supported by latest Windows View client)
    • Multi Touch enablement (supported by latest Windows View client)
  •  PCoIP Security Improvements.
    • Port scanners that scan PCoIP Security Gateway now pass successfully.
    • OpenSLL upgraded to a more secure version.
    • Weak SSL ciphers removed.
  •  PCoIP Performance Improvements
    • Image caching supported on Teradici APEX card and Tera2 Zero Clients
    • Improved image cache management and compression
    • Bandwidth reductions in both the LAN and WAN environment
    • Support for vertical offset caching
    • Improved responsiveness and fluidity during scrolling
  • Horizon Based ThinApp Entitlement for View
    Horizon View 5.2 provides a tight linkage of View ThinApp Entitlement to the Horizon Workspace and includes a migration tool to help admins to import the current pool-based entitlements to the Horizon Workspace user/group entitlements. This approach unifies application entitlement across all end user devices & virtual desktops.
  • Large Pools with more than 8 hosts
    The 8 host cluster limit for Linked Clone pools using VMFS has been removed. The new limit is 32 hosts per cluster across the board for all pool types, Linked Clone or not. The added feature may completely change how VMware View deployments are designed and deployed for many customer.
  • Support for 10,000 virtual desktops per vCenter Server
    Horizon View now supports 10,000 virtual desktops per View pod with a single vCenter Server instance. In previous versions VMware had only validated 2,000 virtual desktops per vCenter Server.
  • Multi-VLAN support
    Multiple Network Label Assignment is being introduced with Horizon View 5.2. This is a powerful feature that allow administrators to utilize a single base image and assign it to multiple different VLANS or PortGroups. This first release comes only with PowerShell support; no Admin UI integration.
  • Provisioning, Rebalance, Recompose performance increase
    • More than 2X improvement on end to end provisioning time
    • Significant improvement on pool re-balance time
    • Availability of Rolling Refit Maintain allowing for a configurable minimum number of READY desktops during refit operations that support both automatic and semi-automatic linked clone pools

VMware Horizon Mirage

Mirage is VMware’s way to manage the physical world. These are the features that come with Mirage:

Simplified Desktop Management

Layered PC Image Management

Manage your PC image as a set of logical layers owned by either IT or the end-user. Update IT managed layers while maintaining end-user files and personalization. Then, if a PC is simply malfunctioning, IT can restore the system layers on an end point to fix an issue without overwriting user layers. Or, quickly migrate a user from an old PC to a new PC without losing any of their user data, profile, or user-installed applications during a hardware refresh cycle.

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Desktop Recovery

Full PC snapshots and synchronizations of any IT or end-user initiated changes to the datacenter ensure quick desktop recovery. Minimize end-user downtime when an end user’s PC has been lost, stolen or damaged and quickly restore the end-user system to a new device.

Application Layering *NEW in 4.0*

Easily deploy applications or VMware ThinApp packages to any collection of end users by leveraging Horizon Mirage’s app layering technology.

Scalability with Low Infrastructure Footprint

Designed to support up to 1,500 end users per Mirage Server and can easily scale up to 20,000 end-users per server cluster.

Branch Office Optimization

Enable any Mirage Client endpoint into a Branch Reflector to optimize branch office management. Mirage Branch Reflector allows you to download any updates once from the Mirage Server and allow peer to peer updates to other Mirage Clients in the branch office. Advanced algorithms ensure that only required data is ever sent between the Mirage Server and Mirage Clients in a remote location or office.

Empowering End User Productivity Across Boundaries

Optimized and Adaptive Experience

The VMware Horizon Mirage client monitors the resources being used on an end user’s PC to make sure that the backup and synchronization processes never interferes with their productivity. Horizon Mirage will automatically throttle CPU, RAM and network usage up and down as needed to guarantee a seamless end user experience.

Personalized Performance

Allow end-users to leverage the local computing resources of their desktops and laptops and maintain offline productivity. VMware Horizon Mirage managed images can install natively onto the Windows PCs, or as virtual desktops on Mac or Linux desktops and laptops with Fusion Pro. Image layering gives end-users the flexibility to personalize and customize their systems.

Self-Service File Access & Recovery

The Mirage File Portal allows end users to access any file on their endpoint from any web browser. An end user can also restore any file or any directory on their own with just a few clicks on their PC.

VMware Horizon Workspace

Horizon Workspace is designed to bring everyone and everything together. It is designed to accomodate people with iPhones, Android phones, Windows laptops, Mac laptops and even Linux users, to sync data, access applications and desktopsand In itself, Workspace consists of three main modules:

  • Data Synchronization (formaly known as Project Octopus)
  • Web applications and Thinapp Packages (formaly known as Project AppBlast)
  • View desktop access from mobile devices

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Combined with a single sign-on engine, Workspace offers a single webbased portal. From here your users can shared files, web based applications like Google Docs, SalesForce or Gmail, access your thinapped programs and connect to their View based desktop. The portal supports users with Windows, IOS, Android, Mac OS X and Linux. The next paragraphs describe the features of Workspace.

Simplified Workspace Management

Combine applications and data into a single aggregated workspace

  • Manage files, devices, applications and data through a single management console
  • Add, update and delete users via active directory. Manage internal and external users
  • Entitle and provision web applications through single sign on (SSO). Entitle and manage ThinApps
  • Quickly deploy new applications with data-as-a-service to stay competitive and build future growth opportunities
  • Offer user self-service application provisioning through an application catalogue

Complete Security and Control

Enterprise-grade security to meet industry compliance and security requirements

  • Fully on-premise solution gives total control to IT (security, SLAs, backups, upgrades, etc.)
  • Individual and group-based management to set policies and govern usage over files and data accessed and shared by and between end users — Prevents a security breach or compliance violation
  • Policies for data quota, allowed file types, max size, domains, expiration, external, version, hierarchical storage management
  • Ensure compliance with privacy regulatory and governmental policies
  • Inspect and audit file access, sharing and all other aspects of the service

Empower Employees with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Seamless access to enterprise applications and data, anywhere, anytime

  • Everywhere data access – in the office, at home or on the road
  • Full collaboration (folder/file sharing with anyone, external user access, versions, comments)
  • Improve end user productivity by providing end users with secure access to applications and files on any device from anywhere: iOS, Windows, Android, Mac, and all major browsers (including high-fidelity preview capability)
  • Reduce end-user downtime and service interruptions
  • Access to files each time users login (stateless desktop)

VMware Horizon – Suite

So, how does this fold into a suite? Take a look at this table:

Horizon Suite Products Overview

Now, there’s a point to pay attention to. VMware Horizon View is still licensed on a concurrend user basis. Mirage, Workspace and the whole suite, however, are per NAMED user.

More info can be found at VMware’s website.

VMware View 5.2 specs courtesy of Andre Leibovici of MyVirtualCloud.net

Upgrading your vCenter Server Appliance from version 5.0 to 5.1 – A Howto

VMGuru used to run on an “ESXi only” install with no extra management. It’s a single server in a data center in Amsterdam, so there never was a need for a vCenter Server. When the VMware Octopus Beta started in which we participated, the deployment of the Octopus appliance required a vCenter server. So, instead of installing a full blown SQL server, a Windows server  etc., we decided to use the vCenter appliance.

With the introduction of ESX 5.1, a new vCenter also was introduced. The functions in the new vCenter Server Appliance have improved much so an upgrade is the way to go. Now when I tried this in my home lab, it went south big time and I ended up throwing everything away and starting over with a brand new vCenter install. For our server in Amsterdam I decided to do the upgrade again to show that it can be done properly. Now, VMware has a how to procedure in their knowledge base, but it’s very compressed and skips a few small steps, so we decided to write it out including screenshots to make it more accessible to all the folks out there who like to upgrade their vCenter Appliance but don’t know how.

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VMguru.nl at new hosting

Last Friday we moved to a new co-locating party. We experienced too much drop out in performance, connectivity or even power in the datacenter of our previous hoster. Therefore we decided to move to a first class hosting party, TransIP.

As far as we can tell, our web server is loading faster all over the world. But as you might imagine, we can’t check that everywhere for real. So let us know how you experience our website’s performance. Has it improved for you? Drop us a tweet via @vmguru_nl!

Impressions of VMworld 2012 Europe in Barcelona Day 3

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QNAP announces firmware update with full VMware VAAI support.

VMworld 2012 San Francisco / Barcelona

 

 

Yesterday at the VMworld 2012 Europe event in Barcelona I spoke with an engineer from QNAP at their booth. He told us that QNAP will be introducing a new firmware release for their Pro line. The version number will probably be 3.8 (current version is 3.7.3) and it will contain full VMware VAAI support for vSphere 4 and 5. Also, QNAP will introduce a plugin for the vSphere Client software so users can manage the QNAP from within the client.

For those of you who don’t quite remember what VAAI is, VAAI stands for VStorage API for Array Integration. It is a hardware acceleration functionality that can dramatically improve the storage performance with VMware vSphere. More info on VAAI can be found here. This makes a QNAP Pro NAS even more suitable for SMB and Lab environments.

The exact release date is not known yet, but it is expected to be in Q4 2012. So, if you own a QNAP Pro NAS, keep your eye on the QNAP Website.

VMworld Europe 2012 – General Session Wednesday 2012

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Transcript of this mornings General Session with Steve Herrod.

 

There are all kinds of discussions about access, applications and infrastructrures and how that looks. In the past the pc was the device of access. IT could dictate the rules. Now the user or consumer dictates IT with tablets and smartphones. From IT perspective this has a load of challenges.

Safety is a big issue. IT is struggling with BYOD and secure access approach. It usually ends up in point solutions or IT to ask users not to bring specific devices in. The problem is pretty clear, how to handle secure access with freedom without point solutions.

This can be broken down into three steps:

  1. Take the apps and transform them into services (legacy into service);
  2. Broker access to the services;
  3. Deliver the multi device workspace.

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Impressions of VMworld 2012 Europa at Barcelona Day 2

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Impressions of VMworld Europe 2012 – Day 0 (registrations) and Day 1 (partner day)

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VMware releases version 5.1 of vSphere and vCloud Director

 

 

Today VMware announced a whole list of new major releases of their product portfolio. A few big features up front? How about these:

  • No more vRAM limits, vRAM = GONE
  • vMotion without shared storage
  • the MonsterVM got even stronger, going for 64 vCPU’s, 1 TB of RAM and more than 1.000.000 IOPS per VM

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Yet another VMware View book.. But wait, this one is different!

As a vExpert, we have a special place with VMware. Not just socially, but really, in the community pages. Usually this place is filled with news about new stuff coming out, reviews about software, technical questions, opinions and so on. A few months ago Mike Laverick, one of the valued members and a vExpert, posted a request to help him with the review of a book he and Barry Coombs were writing. There were no financial benefits, just a helping hand for charity.

So, I jumped on the bandwagon and a few weeks later I received my chapter to review in the mail. It was a very fine piece of work. And now the good news is, you can read it too! Not just one chapter, mind you. The whole book is finished and ready to download!

It’s all about building a desktop on VDI with VMware View. It’s all new and up to date and gets you up and running quickly as it is written by people who do this for a living all day, not just another theoretical dude. It’s a must-read if you plan to go the VDI way.

Now, why is this different, you say? Well, the digital version of the book is for sale for only 12,72 Euros at LuLu but that isn’t the best part. The best part is, you’ll be supporting Unicef when you buy it! The printed version will follow soon after, but as this is hot from the (virtual) press today, we didn’t want you to miss out on this brand new book.