VMware announces VMware Horizon 6

VMware to the power of 6” That’s how, a few minutes ago, VMware announced VMware Horizon 6, the next step in VMware VDI solutions. It is an integrated solution that delivers published applications and desktops on a single platform. Horizon 6 is a complete desktop solution with centralized management of any type of enterprise application and desktop, including physical desktops and laptops, virtual desktops and applications and employee-owned PCs.

A complete solution with capabilities in application delivery, datacenter-to-device management, storage optimization and flexible hybrid delivery in VMware Horizon 6 make enterprise desktops and applications easier and more cost-effective to deliver, protect and manage. Multiple access points such as laptops, tablets, smartphones and an array of other employee-owned devices are putting pressure on IT departments to deliver a high level of service and access without compromise.

VMware Horizon 6 introduces new capabilities that are integrated into a single solution that empower IT with a streamlined approach for managing Windows applications and desktops. With Horizon 6, enterprise applications and Windows operating systems are centrally managed so updates can be made in an agile and predictable manner. In addition, Horizon 6 enables entire desktops or just applications to be delivered in a flexible manner to end-users.horizon6a.pngNew capabilities in VMware Horizon 6 include:

  • Published applications and virtual desktops delivered through a single platform
    VMware Horizon 6 offers streamlined management, end-user entitlement, and quick delivery of published Windows applications, RDS-based desktops and virtual desktops across devices and locations. The new capabilities are built on a single platform that is an extension of VMware Horizon View.
  • A unified workspace for simplified access
    With VMware Horizon 6, end-users can access all applications and desktops from a single unified workspace. The unified workspace supports the delivery of virtualized applications hosted in the datacenter or local on the device, web and SaaS applications, RDS hosted applications, and published applications from third party platforms, such as Citrix XenApp, with a single sign-on experience.
  • Storage Optimization with VMware Virtual SAN and delivery from the Software-Defined Data Center
    VMware Horizon 6 is optimized for the Software-Defined Data Center. The solution provides integrated management of VMware Virtual SAN that can significantly reduce the cost of storage for virtual desktops by using local storage. With this innovation, the capital cost of virtual desktops with Horizon 6 can be similar to physical desktops.

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  • Closed-Loop Management and Automation
    VMware Horizon 6 offers new capabilities for end-to-end visibility and automation from datacenter-to-device. The new VMware vCenter Operations for View provides health and risk monitoring, proactive end-user experience monitoring and deep diagnostics from datacenter-to-device all within a single console. Horizon 6 also supports automation and self-service, allowing IT to provide line-of-business users with the ability to request desktops and applications by using built-in workflows and automated infrastructure provisioning. This closed-loop management and automation is integrated with the vCloud Automation Center management console, making it easier for customers with vCloud Suite to get started with Horizon 6.
  • Central image management of virtual, physical and employee-owned PCs
    VMware offers centralized image management for virtual, physical and employee-owned PCs from a single, integrated solution. Using the updated VMware Mirage, IT administrators can design a single desktop with the required operating system and applications, and deliver it to end-users in a department or entire organization based on end-user needs.
  • Hybrid Cloud Delivery
    VMware Horizon 6 introduces a new client that seamlessly connects to virtual desktops and applications running in an on-premise cloud, a service provider partner cloud, or through VMware vCloud Hybrid Service with the same, high performance end-user experience. This flexibility gives customers the ability to deploy Horizon 6 via the hybrid cloud — balancing between business-owned and public cloud-based infrastructure to best satisfy their needs.

Three new editions of VMware Horizon will be available to customers:

  • Horizon Standard Edition: Delivers simple, high-performance, VDI-based virtual desktops with a great user experience.
  • Horizon Advanced Edition: Offers the lowest cost solution for published and virtual applications and desktops using optimized storage from VMware Virtual SAN, central image management and a unified workspace for managing and delivering all applications and desktops.
  • Horizon Enterprise Edition: Delivers a cloud-ready solution for desktops and applications with advanced cloud-like automation and management capabilities for hybrid cloud flexibility.

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VMware Horizon 6 is expected to be available in Q2 2014 and is licensed per named user or per concurrent user with prices starting at $250. For more information, visit the VMware Horizon product page.

VMware vExpert 2014 !

VMGuru is very proud to announce that for the sixth year in a row, we can proudly put the VMware vExpert logo on our site.

Alex, Edwin and myself have been awarded the vExpert award 2014 for our contributions to the VMware virtualization community. This is an acknowledgement of our work and we will continue to share our knowledge and expertise with others.

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The vExpert program is a way for VMware to acknowledge and help those who ‘go the extra mile’ and give back to the VMware user community by sharing their expertise and time. vExperts are bloggers, book authors, VMUG leaders, event organizers, speakers, tool builders, forum leaders, and others who share their virtualization expertise.

This year there are 754 vExperts worldwide. I’m proud, humbled and honored to be included and I’m looking forward to another great year!

Congratulations to all fellow vExperts!

Special thanks go out to John Troyer, who had to endure our abuse but in spite of that spent very much time in the vExpert program. Thanks John!

Updated: Supported Business Applications on the VMware Platform

More and more applications are supported on the VMware Platform, with the release of VMware vSphere 5.5 the boundaries of virtual machines have been expanded even more. Often we get questions about which applications are supported on the VMware virtual platform. There is a website page where you can search for specific applications and if they are supported by the software publisher and a link to the support statement. In January 2012 there where 3490 applications support, nowadays the counter shows 5058 applications and counting.

You can search for an application by entering its title or the name of the software publisher.  Search results will display all supported software as well as applications that have already been submitted by other users.  If the application is not currently supported, you may Register/Login to vote and help VMware get the application officially supported sooner by the software publisher.

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VMware Horizon View graphics – vSGA vs vDGA

VDI_Nvidia.pngAs VDI solutions become more and more mainstream for standard office environments, a new challenge appears. We can swap the bulky desktop and replace it with a small thin client, delivering Windows desktops from the datacenter. Enabling a more flexible way of working with free seating, working at home. But how about those ‘special’ users who always get a ‘special’ workstation with high end graphic cards, dual monitor setup working with AutoCAD, Bentley MicroStation, etc? Can we deliver the high end graphics needed for these applications to a VDI desktop also enabling the VDI benefits for these users?

I’ve been researching the possibilities for these users because one of our larger customers would like to do just that. In this post I would like to share some of the results.

Most VDI solutions on the market today, like VMware Horizon View and Citrix XenDesktop, all offer advanced 3D capabilities. VMware was the first company to virtualize 3D graphics with VMware Workstation and Fusion and with VMware vSphere 5.1 introduced this 3D technology in vSphere to be used in VDI use cases. As of 2011 VMware has been working closely with Nvidia to deliver high-end virtual workstations with 3D graphics support in VMware Horizon View by using their Quadro graphics adapters.

When VMware released View 5.0 they introduced SVGA and software 3D rendering which was a huge improvement for VDI graphics and a boost for VDI utilization. With the release of VMware Horizon View 5.2 VMware announced two new graphics features, vSGA and vDGA.

CPU Rendering

VMware introduced software 3D rendering in View 5.0 primarily to enable Windows Aero desktops and applications requiring 3D without requiring a physical GPU. The main advantage of software 3D rendering is that it can run on any server hardware, no special graphics cards or server hardware is required. Because software 3D rendering is in essence CPU rendering [duh] this graphics mode impacts the VDI density on a server. There are no specific benchmarks on the software 3D rendering but because rendering is done on a (shared) CPU and not on a dedicated GPU is not suitable for real high-end graphical applications.

vSGAvSGA.jpg

Virtual Shared Graphics Acceleration (vSGA) uses the physical GPU’s installed locally in each vSphere host to provide hardware accelerated 3D graphics to virtual desktops. vSGA was introduced in VMware Horizon View 5.2 and it offers truly high performance graphics with maximum compatibility and portability. With this feature we can now offer VDI for some of those users with a ‘special’ workstation with high end graphic cards, dual monitor setup working with AutoCAD, Bentley MicroStation, etc.

vSGA allows you the ability to provision multiple VDI desktops to a single or multiple GPU’s. Graphics cards are presented to the VDI virtual machine as a VMware SVGA 3D graphics driver and the graphics processes are handled by an ESXi driver. The VMware SVGA 3D graphics driver is supported on Windows 7 and 8 virtual desktops for 2D and 3D and is used for both software 3D rendering and vSGA and provides support for DirectX v9 and OpenGL 2.1 applications. Graphics resources are reserved on a first come first serve basis so sizing and capacity is important to consider. vSGA is a great solution for users that require higher than normal graphics needs, rendering 1080p video, OpenGL, DirectX, etc.

Because the VMware SVGA 3D driver is used for both software 2D/3D rendering and vSGA a VDI virtual machine can dynamically switch between software or hardware acceleration without the need to reconfigure the virtual machine allowing vMotion even when providing hardware-accelerated graphics using vSGA.

vSGA supported graphics adapters (03-2014):

  • Nvidia GRID K1
  • NvidiaGRID K2
  • Nvidia Quadro 4000
  • Nvidia Quadro 5000
  • Nvidia Quadro 6000
  • Nvidia Tesla M2070Q

(notice the ‘missing K’ with the Quadro adapters, Nvidia K4000, K5000, K6000 are not supported)

vDGAvDGA.jpg

Virtual Direct Graphics Acceleration (vDGA) was introduced with VMware Horizon View 5.2 as a Tech Preview and is fully supported with VMware Horizon View 5.3. vDGA delivers real high-end Workstation Class 3D graphics for use cases where a dedicated GPU is needed and offers a true graphical workstation replacement for high performance GPU computing. Assigning a dedicated Nvidia GPU to the VDI virtual machine reserves the entire GPU to that desktop and enables for CUDA and OpenCL compute. vDGA supported graphics adapters are physically installed in the vSphere host and are assigned to virtual machines using VMware DirectPath I/O.

The number of VDI virtual machines per host is limited to the number of Nvidia graphics adapters in a vSphere host.

Because VMware DirectPath I/O is used vMotion, DRS, and HA are not supported with vDGA. Besides that, vDGA uses the Nvidia graphics drivers instead of the VMware SVGA 3D driver, so a VDI virtual machine cannot dynamically switch between software or hardware acceleration so NO vMotion. And last but not least, because of the nature of the configuration vDGA and Direct I/O assignment it is not a candidate for automated deployment using Horizon View Composer.

vDGA supported graphics adapters (03-2014):

  • Nvidia GRID K1
  • Nvidia GRID K2
  • Nvidia Quadro K2000
  • Nvidia Quadro K4000
  • Nvidia Quadro K5000
  • Nvidia Quadro K6000
  • Nvidia Quadro 1000M
  • Nvidia Quadro 2000
  • Nvidia Quadro 3000M
  • Nvidia Quadro 4000
  • Nvidia Quadro 5000
  • Nvidia Quadro 6000
  • Nvidia Tesla M2070Q

Conclusion

vSGA and vDGA are great new features which offer the 3D graphics and video in VMware Horizon View. It further expands the use cases and users that IT can service with a VDI virtual desktops. In addition to expanding the target use cases, offering 3D capabilities will give users a more graphically rich experience in a VDI user desktop. But there are some caveats to consider.

Using vDGA will give you a true graphical workstation replacement for high performance GPU computing but a a cost. Because of the dedicated pinning of VDI virtual machines to a GPU the desktop density will be low and vSphere and Horizon View features like HA, DRS, vMotion and linked clones cannot be used. I’ve seen and played with this vDGA setup at VMworld 2013 and I was really impressed, 3D gaming, AutoCAD, NO problem!

vSGA will give you a better desktop density and you can still use VMware HA, DRS, vMotion and Horizon View Composer linked clones but at another cost. ‘Limited’ DirectX and OpenGL support, no CUDA support but far better graphics performance than software 3D rendering. vSGA is a great mix/trade of between software 3D rendering and vDGA.

So every solution has it pro’s and con’s but the real question is will you notice? I would advice you to do a Proof of Concept (PoC) to find out which solution fits your needs.

For more information on hardware accelerated 3D graphics please refer to the Graphics Acceleration in VMware Horizon View Virtual Desktops white paper.

View Graphics.JPG

Software 3D rendering vSGA vDGA
Use case Task worker Knowledge worker/ Power user Workstation user
Mode Software shared Hardware shared Hardware dedicated
Dedicated hardware No Yes Yes
Desktop density Very high High Low
DirectX No Yes (9 only) Yes (9, 10, 11)
OpenGL No Yes (2.1 only) Yes (2.1, 3.x, 4.1x)
CUDA No No Yes
Video encode No No Yes
Driver VMware SVGA 3D graphics driver VMware SVGA 3D graphics driver Specific Nvidia client driver
vMotion Yes Yes No
HA Yes Yes No
DRS Yes Yes No
Linked clones Yes Yes No

VMware Virtual SAN (vSAN) is available now!

Today VMware announced the general availability of VMware Virtual SAN, a new and radically simple storage solution optimized for virtual environments. This was done during a VMware Virtual SAN online event  of which you can view the replay here. It includes a demonstration of the product, experiences of  beta customers, and highlighted performance and scalability details.

For those of you who don’t know Virtual SAN, Virtual SAN is an object based storage system and a platform for VM Storage Policies that aims to simplify virtual machine storage placement decisions for vSphere administrators. It leverages the local storage from a number of ESXi hosts which are part of a cluster and creates a

distributed vsanDatastore. Virtual SAN is fully integrated with vSphere so it can be used for VM placement, and of course supports all the core vSphere technologies like vMotion, DRS and vSphere HA.

vSAN scale.png

Scalability

VMware Virtual SAN scales up to 32 nodes in a cluster allowing for linear scalability of performance to 2 million IOPS on read-only workloads and 640,000 IOPS on mixed workloads. 

You will need at least 3 ESXi hosts to deploy Virtual SAN and you will also need at least one hard disk per host and at least one SSD per host. There are a couple of best practices I found online:

  1. VMware recommends at least a 1:10 ratio of SSD vs HDD.
    When your performance demands increase, you may need to up this ratio 2:10 or 3:10.
  2. VMware recommends as a best practice that all hosts in the VSAN cluster be configured similarly if not identically from a storage and compute perspective.

The choice of SSD is essential to Virtual SAN performance. VMware is providing a HCL which will grade SSDs on performance.

Because you can vary the SSD vs HDD ratio you can simply scale a vSphere cluster with Virtual SAN for capacity or performance.

Flexibly-Configure-for-Performance-and-Capacity.png

Versions & licensing

Staying true to the value proposition of simplicity, VMware uses a per socket based pricing model with no limits on scalability, performance or capacity that make forecasting and budgeting significantly easier without impacting hardware components selection and node configurations.

VMware Virtual SAN is available in three editions/bundles.

Virtual-SAN-5.5-Pricing-Packaging.png

All editions feature the complete set of Virtual SAN capabilities – data persistency, read/write caching, storage policy based management, etc. – and include the vSphere Distributed Switch. This means that customers can take advantage of simplified network management of vSphere Distributed Switch for their Virtual SAN storage regardless of the underlying vSphere edition they use. Data services such as snapshots, clones, linked-clones and replication are available directly through vSphere, and are already available with every vSphere edition (Essentials Plus and above).

For customers seeking to complete their storage solution with backup and recovery capabilities, VMware is offering Virtual SAN with Data Protection. A promotional bundle available for a limited time, it brings together Virtual SAN with vSphere Data Protection Advanced, VMware’s simple, efficient, and robust backup product for vSphere environments.

Virtual-SAN-Launch-Promotions.png

The VMware Virtual SAN Design and Sizing Guide can be downloaded here.

If you want a testdrive with VMware Virtual SAN, you can visit the free Hands-on Lab (HOL) which enables you to play and explore all you want.

vSphere 5.5 Update 1 which includes Virtual SAN can be downloaded here.

How to delete an orphaned desktop pool

please_recycle_by_fast_eddie.jpgTime for a new problem in the VMware Horizon View series. After running into problems which forced me to ‘Manually delete protected Horizon View replicas‘ and ‘Link a VMware View desktop to its replica‘, now I encountered an orphaned desktop pool which could not be deleted.

First, What got me into this mess. As I told you last week I was testing a Nvidia Quadro K5000 graphics card when my ESXi whitebox died on me. This also corrupted the one hard drive which contained all my Horizon View desktops. Fortunately the golden images resided on my NFS storage so no harm done, just delete the pools, recreate them and we’re up and running again. Wrong! Because the VDI virtual machines were no longer present, I ended up with an orphaned desktop pool. Similar like you would get when deleting View virtual machines directly from the vCenter client.

When I tried to delete the desktop pools in the Horizon View Administrator I got an error stating internal problems with the Composer server or service.

Composer error.JPG

It’s not much to go on but I checked the View Composer service, Composer logs, Windows domain membership and I even reconfigured Composer in the Horizon View Administrator Server settings. No success. Then I remembered manually deleting the protected Horizon View replicas and I searched for orphaned desktops pools.

I found this VMware KB article: Manually deleting linked clones or stale virtual desktop entries from VMware View Manager and Horizon View (1008658)

This confirmed my suspicion that this had nothing to do with the Composer service but that it was caused by the disappearance of the View virtual machines due to the hard disk corruption. Much like you would get when deleting View virtual machines directly from the vCenter client instead of the proper way, in the Horizon View Administrator console.

To solve this problem and remove the bad entries to be able to delete the desktop pool I had to do the following:

  1. Open up vSphere and connect to vCenter.
  2. Open up the console for the Horizon View Connection Server.
  3. Connect to the Horizon View ADAM database:
    1. Click [Start > Administrative Tools > ADSI Edit].
    2. In the console window, right-click ADSI Edit and click [Connect to].
    3. In the Name field type: [View ADAM Database].
    4. Select [Select or type a Distinguished Name or Naming Context].
    5. In the field below, type [dc=vdi,dc=vmware,dc=int].
      (do not try to be smart and change these to match your own AD domain like I did. This is the distinguished name of the Horizon View ADAM database)
    6. Select [Select or type a domain or server].
    7. In the field below, type [localhost].
    8. Click [OK].
    9. Click [View ADAM Database] to expand.
    10. Click [DC=vdi,dc=vmware,dc=int] to expand.
  4. Locate the GUID of the virtual machine. To locate the GUID of the virtual machine:
    1. Right-click the Connection [View ADAM Database], and click [New > Query].
    2. Under Root of Search, click [Browse] and select the [Servers] organizational unit.
    3. Click [OK].
    4. In the Query String, paste this search string: (&(objectClass=pae-VM)(pae-displayname=VirtualMachineName))
      Where VirtualMachineName is the name of the virtual machine for which you are trying to locate the GUID. You may use * or ? as wildcards to match multiple desktops.
    5. Click [OK] to create the query.
    6. Click the query in the left pane. The virtual machines that match the search are displayed in the right pane.
    7. Record the [GUID] in cn=<GUID>.
  5. Delete the [pae-VM object] from the ADAM database:
    1. Locate the [OU=SERVERS] container.
    2. Locate the corresponding virtual machine’s GUID (from above) in the list which can be sorted in ascending or descending order, choose [Properties] and check the pae-DisplayName attribute to verify the corresponding linked clone virtual machine object.
    3. Delete the pae-VM object.
  6. Check if there are entries under OU=Desktops and OU=Applications in the ADAM database.
  7. Check for entries in both the [OU=Server Groups] and [OU=Applications] and remove both. Removing one entry and not the other from the ADAM database results in the java.lang.nullpointerexception error when attempting to view the pools or desktops inventory in View Manager.

ViewADAM.png

This did the trick. After deleting all references to the old VDI virtual machines and desktop pools, I’ve got a fresh and clean Horizon View Connection Server.

No internet connection results in slow vSphere client consoles

vSphere clientIn the last few weeks a customer that I am working for has been making a lot of changes within their infrastructure. Some big and some (on the surface) small. Somewhere during those weeks a change was made and the consequence of that change has gone by unnoticed at first. Then reports started to come in from colleague administrators that console sessions for virtual machines, when using the vSphere client, where really slooooowwwww. Opening a console took more than 10 seconds and trying to open more simultaneous would freeze the users screen entirely.

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Building a new ESXi whitebox

Whitebox1.jpeg

Unfortunately the whitebox ESXi server I build in June 2011 died on me when testing a Nvidia Quadro K5000 graphics card. So I needed a new ESXi server for my home lab.

I looked at some HP and Dell mini servers but  I decided to build a new VMware ESXi whitebox. Power supply, hard disks and SSD were still fine so I only needed a new motherboard, processor and memory.

In the past I’ve used websites like, ‘Ultimate VMware ESX Whitebox‘ and ‘VM-help.com‘ to find compatible parts but because one no longer exists and the other is pretty outdated I picked the components myself.

Because the Intel i5 processor does not support hyper-threading and comes with less cache I chose a 4 core, 8 threaded, 3,4GHz Intel i7-4770 processor with a LGA1150 socket. It’s not the cheapest processor but this one was available right away, the other Intel i7 processors were out of stock and this could take up to two weeks.

As the basis I needed a LGA1150 socket motherboard and my selection criteria where very simple, 32GB memory, onboard video and as much expansion slots as possible with a mix of PCI and PCIe (x16, x4, x1). As an ASUS fan I chose the ASUS H87-PLUS. It has four DDR3 DIMM-slots which can support up to  32GB of memory, it has onboard video VGA or HMDI and one PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, one PCIe 2.0 x16 slot (x4 mode), two PCIe 2.0 x1 slots and three PCI slots.

I topped it of with 32GB DDR3 1600MHz Corsair VengeanceLP memory in four 8GB modules (CML32GX3M4A1600C10).

whitebox2.jpeg

The total kit list is as follows:

  • Intel i7-4770 processor (8 x 3.4GHz with HT);
  • ASUS H87-PLUS motherboard;
  • Corsair 32GB DDR3-1600 memory (4 x 32GB);
  • Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB, SATA-600 hard disk;
  • 256 GB SanDisk Ultra Plus SSD;
  • Intel 82572EI Gigabit Ethernet adapter;
  • Broadcom NetXtreme BCM5705 Gigabit Ethernet adapter;
  • Nvidia Quadro K5000 graphics card;
  • HP midi tower with 750W power supply.

After bolting, screwing and plugging everything together, it was time to install ESXi 5.5, this finished with no issues, so within 1 hour my VMware ESXi whitebox was up and running and I could import my existing lab infrastructure.

But the most important of all, is it any good? It’s great to build an ESXi whitebox but when the performance of all those ‘desktop components’ suck, it’s maybe better to spend a bit more $$. In short, it’s great, performance is comparable to that of enterprise servers with the exception of disk related tasks. The disk performance is good but it’s not great. You just cant compare disk I/O of simple desktop despite the fact it’s a fast, 6Gbps SATA disk.

At the moment I’m running VMware ESXi 5.5 with:

  • vCenter Server Appliance 5.5;
  • vCenter Update Manager 5.5;
  • vCenter Mobile Access appliance;
  • VMware vCenter Operations Manager 5.7
  • Horizon View 5.3 Connection Server;
  • Horizon View 5.3 Composer;
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Domain Controller;
  • SQL Server;
  • Veeam Backup & Replication Server 7;
  • Windows 7 desktop.

CPU load is as expected very low, 4968MHz on average. The total memory load when running all those virtual machine is 23.8GB.

All things considered I’m very pleased with my ESXi whitebox, performance is good, 32GB of memory gives me enough space to deploy lab VM’s and the money I spend on it is well within my budget (€650,-).

Hint and tips for those of you who want to build their own ESXi whitebox:

  • Research, research, research.
    I still hear people buy incompatible hardware despite the available online resources. Check if your desired configuration has already been build. If not Google is your friend;
  • Do not save on your harddisk.
    If you save on your harddisk you will be sorry very soon so find a fast disk or even add a SSD if your budget allows it.
    If your budget is a problem, save on the processor. As you can see, the load on my processor for instance is very low. Buy a cheaper processor and spend that on a good harddisk.
  • Go for a motherboard which can hold 32GB of memory or more.
    Even if you do not need 32GB right now, shortage of memory probably the first bottleneck you will encounter.

BLAST Windows Apps to your Chromebook

In September 2011 VMware gave us a sneak peek at Project AppBlast and with VMware Horizon View we can use AppBlast technology to access desktops using a HTML5 compatible browse. But as of today we can experience the true power of AppBlast.

Today VMware and Google announced a new service to deliver Windows applications to Google Chromebooks.

Google and VMware today announced that they are working together to make it easier for Chromebook users in the enterprise to access Windows applications and the Windows desktops on their Google ChromeBooks by using VMware’s Horizon desktop as a service (DaaS), which uses VMware‘s HTML5 Blast protocol, it will now be easier for Chromebook users to connect to a traditional Windows experience.

It is possible to remotely access a Windows machine on ChromeOS by using Google’s ownRemote Desktop application or other 3rd party applications but they do not offer the kind of security features that enterprises look for. Another important shortcoming of Chromebooks preventing business use is the ability to run Windows or Windows-based apps. Microsoft Office is still, by far, the leader in office productivity applications, and of course, there are many critical business applications that will only run on Windows systems. So, for Chromebooks to have any hope of becoming a true business device, they must somehow support running these applications that businesses need. Chromebooks were intended to work with web-enabled applications, making Chromebook-type devices more viable, but that day is still far away.

Users will be able to use the new service to access their Windows applications, data and desktops from a web-based application catalog on their Chromebooks. Soon, Chromebook users will also be able to install the service from the Chrome Web Store.

VMworld 2014 – Save The Date!

The VMware Partner Exchange is due in one week, but we are already looking forward towards VMworld 2014! This year the conference will also be held in San Francisco in August and six week later the Europe edition in Barcelona.

  • Aug. 24-28 VMworld 2014 U.S. San Francisco Moscone Center
  • Oct. 13 VMworld 2014 Europe Barcelona Fira Barcelona Gran Via – Partner day
  • Oct. 14-16 VMworld 2014 Europe Barcelona Fira Barcelona Gran Via

With a lot of new and exciting news around Software Defined Data Centers (SDDC) combined with NSX, the Hybrid Cloud with vCAC 6.x and the Workforce Mobility expansion through the newly added and bought Airwatch will make lots of wrinkles on the IT water for the upcoming years. Workforce Effectiveness combined with the User Experience (USX) will go beyond the frontiers, so do not miss it and come join the fun!

Manually deleting protected Horizon View replicas

computer-trash.jpgTwo weeks ago Sander wrote an article on ‘How to link VMware View desktop to its replica‘.

Unfortunately in my case my server died and because I had to reinstall my Horizon View environment. Because the View desktops were provisioned on another server and on shared storage the  the replicas became orphaned.

During normal operation the View Connection Server creates, manages, and deletes linked clones during View Composer operations. If the Connection Server functions are interrupted, the linked clones create orphaned folders, protected folders and virtual machine objects remaining in the vCenter Server.

The problem now is to remove the replicas because they are protected.

To resolve this issue, run the unprotectentity command to remove the protection from linked clone objects.Run these commands from a command prompt on the vCenter Server from the View Composer directory:
  • 32-bit servers: C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware View Composer
  • 64-bit servers: C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware View Composer

For View Composer 2.7 and earlier (View 5 and earlier), run the command:

sviconfig -operation=UnprotectEntity -VcUrl=https://<VirtualCenter address>/sdk -Username=<VirtualCenter account name> -Password=<VirtualCenter account password> -InventoryPath=/<Datacenter name>/vm/VMwareViewComposerReplicaFolder/<Replica Name> -Recursive=true

For View Composer 3.0 (View 5.1), run the command:

sviconfig -operation=UnprotectEntity -DsnName=<name of the DSN> -DbUsername=<Composer DSN User Name> -DbPassword=<Composer DSN Password> -VcUrl=https://<vCenter Server address>/sdk -VcUsername=<Domain\User of vCenter Server account name> -VcPassword=<vCenter Server account password> -InventoryPath=/<Datacenter name>/vm/VMwareViewComposerReplicaFolder/<Replica Name> -Recursive=true

Notes: The sviconfig command parameters are case sensitive.

Caution: In View Composer 2.0, if a replica folder is unprotected, it cannot be protected again. Use the UnprotectEntity command as a last-resort troubleshooting procedure and exercise caution when running this command.

Running this second command on my vSphere 5.5/Horizon View 5.2 environment successfully unprotected the 4 replicas> Next I could delete the replicas from disk in vCenter.

Unprotect Replica.jpg
For more information visit:

VMware acquires AirWatch

Airwatch.jpgVMware and AirWatch just announced that they have signed a definitive agreement under which VMware will acquire AirWatch. Airwatch is a leading provider of enterprise mobile management and security solutions.

VMware will acquire AirWatch for approximately $1.175B in cash and approximately $365M of installment payments and assumed unvested equity.

AirWatch is a leading provider of enterprise solutions for Mobile Device Management, Mobile Application Management and Mobile Content Management with 1.600 employees,currently has more than 10,000 customers globally. AirWatch products offer enterprises a platform to securely manage a rapidly growing set of mobile devices and an increasingly mobile workforce. The vision of AirWatch is to provide a secure virtual workspace that allows end users to work at the speed of life.

This acquisition will expand VMware’s End-User Computing group, in which AirWatch’s offerings will form an expanded portfolio of mobile solutions that are complementary to VMware’s portfolio. VMware will probably integrate the AirWatch portfolio into its End User Computing (EUC) platform, VMware Horizon Suite, to further enable mobile users without compromising security.

Check out AirWatch and their wide range of solutions here.

Review: Synology Diskstation DS1513+ with VMware – Part 3

In part 1 we finished the hardware installation of the Synology and setup of the DSM software.

In part 2 we finished setting up the ESXi environment with iSCSI and the networking part which includes multipathing.

In this final part 3 we will setup the VMware environment and the Synology to use NFS and some datastores on iSCSI and NFS.

NFS Setup on the Synology DS1513+

For a correct use you have to setup NFS on the Synology by opening Control Panel in the DSM software and select under File Sharing and Privileges the Win/Mac/NFS icon. On the tab NFS Service you can Enable NFS, set the correct packet sizes for read and write.

SN_NFS_P1.png

If you press the link for Shared Folder the menu for Shared Folder will be opened where you can alter the NFS Privileges. For now we just create a new rule so we can connect to NFS from the VMware environment.

SN_NFS_P2.png

On the privileges tab you can edit the different rules so you make sure that ESX can connect from several servers towards the NFS share.

SN_NFS_P3.png

Now that we enabled NFS on the Synology we are ready to activate Volumes to hold VMware datastores and VMs. First we open Storage Manager and select Create on the Volume Tab. A wizard will start, choose Custom and press Next. Choose multiple volumes on RAID, then select the correct Diskgroup if you made more then 1. For the test we made a 2000 GB volume, so we have room for other things on the Disk RAID. Check the summary if everything is correct and Apply it.

SN_NFS_VOL_P1.png

SN_NFS_VOL_P2.png

SN_NFS_VOL_P3.png

SN_NFS_VOL_P4.png

SN_NFS_VOL_P5.png

SN_NFS_VOL_P6.png

SN_NFS_VOL_P7.png

SN_NFS_VOL_P8.png

 

Through file station in DSM you can check the mount paths and upload files if needed.

NFS Setup on VMware vSphere 5.1

Now that we have setup the NFS part on the Synology Diskstation, we can setup and connect it in the VMware environment. Add Storage and choose Network File System. Enter the server by FQDN (for the test we used an IP-adres) and the share to connect with. Also give the datastore a name you understand and can find between several datastores. Now finish it to activate the datastore in VMware vCenter.

 

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Conclusion

The Synology DS1513+ is a great device with extremely powerful software and tons of options. Very easy to setup and useful not only for home but also for small and medium businesses. The NAS combined with some ESXi servers and VMware vSphere essentials bundle you can build your virtual environment very easy. I would recommend to expand the unit if you are going to use it in a virtual production environment with an DX513 so you have a maximum of 10 disks in the RAID and with them the performance you will probably need. The network interface are extremely fast (95-105MBps through iSCSI and about 45Mbps Upload and 69MBps Download through Windows per NIC) and you can combine the 4 NICs to 4x1Gbps aggregate.

IBM Cognos licensing in a VMware environment

IBM makes it possible with their licensing to run IBM Cognos on a virtualisation hypervisor like VMware ESXi and make full use of vMotion, HA and DRS. Many IBM products can be licensed as User-Based or Capacity-based. If the product has a server component, it will commonly be licensed as Capacity-based. Within a virtual environment like VMware you may use sub-capacity licensing for certain IBM products like Cognos.

Common used abbreviations are: PVU – Processor Value Unit / ILMT – IBM License Metric Tool / VM – Virtual Machine, a VM represents a complete system with processors, memory, disk and network resources.

Summary

  1. Yes you can and may use IBM Cognos, licensed through PVU, in a VMware environment.
  2. Yes you may use vMotion, HA, DRS to move the VMs through the whole cluster.
  3. No you do not have to pay for the whole cluster. You may license for the cheapest, or virtual or the physical underlying infra. Counting all physical cores in a VMware server/cluster where the VM with IBM software resides versus the total amount of vCPUs for the specific IBM software in multiple VMs. Follow the Virtualization Capacity license counting rules to determine, by program, the number of processor cores required to license. Determine the PVU factor by checking the correct table.
  4. Yes you need to install the ILMT tool within 90 days of signing the contract (a few exceptions apply, but I recommend you use the tool to make your life easier).
  5. You are not required to report to IBM the PVU usage on a regular basis, but you are required to generate quarterly ILMT reports and keep them for a period of two years. These reports must be provided if IBM conducts an audit.

PVU licensing is based on the processing capacity (expressed in PVUs) available to the IBM middleware. In the case of VMware, IBM license based on the number of  virtual cores (vCPUs) available to a partition. Each vCPU is equal to one processor core for PVU licensing. IBM license to the lower of the sum of vCPUs or full (physical) capacity of the server or cluster. Copies of the revised IBM International Passport Advantage Agreement – effective 18 July 2011 are available for download here.

Difference between Sub-capacity licensing and full capacity licensing

  • Sub-capacity licensing lets you license a PVU-based software program for less than the full processor core capacity of the server, when the software program is deployed in an eligible virtualization environment.
  • With full capacity licensing, you are required to obtain PVU license entitlements for all activated processor cores in the server, regardless of how the software was deployed.

Full capacity licensing is based on every physical, activated processor core in the physical server. Back when servers were one processor core sitting on top of one chip plugged into one socket, software was licensed on full capacity basis by default. The concept of full capacity licensing has not changed, even with the proliferation of multi-core and multi-socket servers. Licensing was basically simple. But with partitioning and more sophisticated server virtualization technologies that create virtual CPUs, virtual servers/partitions (aka virtual machines, LPARs, etc.) that can be moved and/or resized on the fly, came the demand for more flexible licensing terms. Thus IBM announced its sub-capacity licensing offering back in 2005.

Why use sub-capacity licensing

IBM’s Passport Advantage Sub-Capacity Licensing offering enables you:

  • to leverage server virtualization to more effectively consolidate their infrastructure and reduce their overall total cost of ownership (TCO)
  • allows flexible software licensing using advanced virtualization capabilities such as shared processor pools, micro-partitioning, virtual machines and dynamic reallocation of resources
  • gives growing customers the flexibility to choose how to add workload environments without making trade-offs between hardware design and software licensing
  • enables you to license software for only the processor core capacity available to the partition hosting the IBM software
  • provides a tool (ILMT) which allows you to track and manage the processor core capacity available to IBM PVU-based middleware

How to count the correct PVU units

First you must understand your virtual environment and how it is setup. So how does the physical server look like, which processor brand and technology is used, than which virtualisation technology and version is running. Furthermore how the IBM software is deployed into Virtual Machines and how do those VMs look like with virtual hardware and specific virtual cores applied to it.

Scenario1.pngScenario2.png

If you know the environment than you can use the formula below to calculate the total amount you need to pay or have payed. In the scenarios we use a Physical server with 2 pCPU with each 4 cores. Scenario 1 has 4 pServers with a total of 32 Cores and Scenario 2 has 2 pServers with a total of 16 Cores.

  1. Get the correct PVU value for the used Processor Type, Brand and Model in this PVU table. How does the physical server look like? We use Intel E5- 2600 series CPU in both scenario’s, so we have to get the PVU value for the used Processor Type, Brand and Model in this PVU table. After checking the table we find that the PVU value is 70 for each core.
  2. Count the vCPU used in all VMs for the specific IBM product and call that total # of Cores where each virtual core is equal to one core for PVU licensing. For scenario 1 that will be 7 Cores and for scenario 2 it will be 18 Cores.
  3. Check your contract, offer or invoice for the cost per PVU.

# of Cores x # of PVUs  x Cost per PVU = Total Price to Pay

For scenario 1 the physical layer will be 32 cores x 70 PVU = 2240 PVU and the virtual cores will be 7 vCPU x 70 PVU = 490 PVU

For scenario 2 the physical layer will be 16 cores x 70 PVU = 1120 PVU and the virtual cores will be 18 vCPU x 70 PVU = 1260 PVU

Generally, for any Eligible Product installed in an Eligible Virtualization Environment, you may license to the lower of:

  • PVUs for the maximum number of virtual cores in the virtual machines (VMs) available to the Eligible Product at any given time or
  • PVUs for the maximum number of physical cores in the server/cluster available to the Eligible Product at any given time

So in scenario 1 we will pay for the virtual CPUs and with scenario 2 it is smarter to pay for the underlying infrastructure. But reality is that servers are getting bigger and CPU’s are getting more and more cores. So I think most organizations will use the virtual core count to lower their cost but still make full advantage of virtualisation with HA and DRS. IBM sees vMotion as a Mobility event, where a running VM is moved from one physical server to another, and you may do that without restrictions if correctly licensed ofcourse.

To determine the correct number of Processor Value Unit (PVU) licenses required for the Eligible Virtualization Environment (for VMware vSphere):

Compliance and Entitlements

Q: Do I need to use the ILMT tool?

A: Yes you do, the IBM License Metric Tool is required when you are using Sub-capacity licensing or in other words running the software in VMware. There are some exceptions tho, but I would advise you to always use the free ILMT tool to make your life easier. The ILMT helps you maintain an inventory of the PVU based software deployed for your Full Capacity or Virtualization (Sub-) Capacity environment, and measures the PVU licenses required by software Product. It is intended to help you manage your IBM software licensing requirements, and help you maintain an audit ready posture. Customers are responsible for supplying hardware and installation services required for installing the tool. The tool generates audit reports. These reports provide the Processor Value Unit (“PVU”) license requirements based on the Virtualization Capacity available to the Eligible Sub-Capacity Product.

Exceptions to this requirement are:

1. when ILMT does not yet provide support for the Eligible Virtualization Environment

(In order to be notified when ILMT support for eligible virtualization technologies become available, customers need to subscribe to “My Notifications”.

2. if your Enterprise has fewer than 1,000 employees and contractors worldwide, you are not a Service Provider, and you have not contracted with a Service Provider to manage your Eligible Virtualization Environment

3. if total physical capacity of your servers with an Eligible Virtualization Environment, measured on a Full Capacity basis, but licensed using sub-capacity terms is less than 1,000 PVUs.

For the above exceptions, customers must manually manage, track, and prepare a Manual Calculation of Virtual Capacity worksheet for each server. For more details about the requirements for this worksheet, you can go to Virtualization Capacity License Counting Rules or use the Manual Calculation of Virtual Capacity worksheet.

 

Q: Do I have to pay for the ILMT tool?

A: No. The IBM License Metric Tool is a free product that IBM makes available to IBM Passport Advantage clients to help them determine the consumption of processor value units (PVU) for the IBM full and sub-capacity software they acquired. The tool helps clients assess if they are compliant with licensing requirements and it provides reports that are required for IBM compliance audits.

 

Q: How can you obtain the IBM License Metric Tool?

A: Even though ILMT is a no-charge product offering, an order must still be placed to establish an IBM entitlement record for the license as well as software subscription and technical support (S&S) coverage. That’s because ILMT receives the same level of technical support offered for the rest of the Passport Advantage product portfolio, as opposed to other free tools and utilities that are offered “as-is” with limited to no technical support. For additional guidance and instructions on ordering ILMT, see IBM License Metric Tool PA Online Ordering.(PDF, 926KB)   The initial order for ILMT should use P/N D561HLL. In order to maintain an entitlement record, S&S should renewed annually using P/N E027NLL.

 

Q: Increase available capacity or buy licenses first?

A: Buy licenses first, because you would be out of compliance. The licensing terms require that customers must obtain license entitlements before increasing the processor core capacity to be in compliance. IBM will request payment for the licenses required for the additional processor core effective the date the additional processor core capacity was added (includes back coverage for Software Subscription and Support)

 

Q: Is VMware vSphere an eligible virtualisation platform?

A: Yes. It sure is check for sub-capacity.

EligibleVirtualisationTechnologyVMware

Q: Do I need to report the PVU usage per eligible product to IBM on a regular basis?

A: You are not required to report to IBM the PVU usage on a regular basis, but you are required to generate quarterly ILMT reports and keep them for a period of two years. These reports must be provided if IBM conducts an audit.

ILMT_Tool_EDIC

Q: Can I install the tool or must I hire someone?

A: You can Install it yourself or hire an IBM partner to help you.

For installing instructions you can educate yourself, download the tool, install the tool and configure it.

 

 

 

 

How to link VMware View desktop to its replica

ChainA while back I was looking at a VMware View environment that had Storage DRS enabled and set to automatic. If I recall correctly, one of the first things the installation document from VMware mentions is not to use Storage DRS in a View enviroment. If you need to rebalance the desktops and replica data on your datastores you can do so with the “Rebalance” option within the View administrator console.

In this enviroment storage DRS had been running like that for some time resulting in desktops and replica’s beeing moved across the datastores and View losing control over the desktops. Creating new pools and migrate the users to newly created pools was done fairly quick and from the View admin console perspective the problem was solved. However the datastores still containedmore desktop and replica folders present than there should have been. So how do you determine if a folder is still in use or not?

The way we checked the folders was through the use of the tables within the vCenter and View Composer database. In this article I want to describe how you can match a desktop name to a replica within vCenter.

desktop to replica

1. First thing you should do is open up the table called “SVI_SIM_CLONE” in the View Composer database and look up the desktop name in the column “VM_NAME”.

2. In the same row as the “VM_NAME” find the column “REPLICA_ID” and remember that value.

3. Open up the table “SVI_REPLICA” also present in the View Composer database and look for the value in “ID” that matches the value you found in step 2.

4. On the same row of “ID” find the value in the column named “REPLICA_MOID”.

5. In the vCenter database open the table “VPX_ENTITY” and use the value of “REPLICA_MOID” minus the “vm-” part to find a match in the “ID” column.

6. Write down the value in the column “NAME” and you have the name that is shown in the vCenter client.

In case that you cannot find the “ID” / “REPLICA_MOID” in the “VPX_ENTITY” table it means that vCenter isn’t aware of that replica. It is likely that there are still some desktops running and are using this replica. Best thing to do is to shutdown those desktops manually and remove them from vCenter / View composer and then remove the replica manually.

Knowing how the tables and columns link to each other can also provide other uses. For example knowing the vCenter name of a replica can help you find all the desktops that are linked to it. The “REPLICA_ID” value in the “SVI_SIM_CLONE” table isn’t unique, if you order the table on the replica_id you can group up all the “VM_NAME” values and thus the desktops related to that replica.

Manually checking the relation between a desktop and it’s replica can be very time consuming, so it might be worth scripting something that can provide a good overview. With powershell you can open up connections to your database and use SQL queries to retreive the data you like and proces it to the information that you need.

Example of a SQL connection script with Powershell:

$connectionString = “Server=$Server;uid=$user;pwd=$pwd;Database=$databaseVcenter;Integrated Security=True;”

$connection = New-Object System.Data.SqlClient.SqlConnection
$connection.ConnectionString = $connectionString

$connection.Open()

$query = “Select ID,NAME From VPX_ENTITY WHERE NAME LIKE ‘replica%’”

$command = $connection.CreateCommand()
$command.CommandText = $query

$result = $command.ExecuteReader()

$table = new-object “System.Data.DataTable”
$table.Load($result)

$connection.Close()

This script connects to a vCenter database and will select all the ID’s and Names from the “VPX_ENTITY” table where the name starts with “replica”. The values found are then put into a table for Powershell that can be used for the rest of the script.

Hopefully the information in this article can help in future endeavours. If you know any other relations between the tables / databases then please let us know, we might be able to describe those to.

Top 10 articles of 2013

Top10.jpgFor VMGuru 2013 was a great year in which we wrote 104 blog posts and introduced our new, more responsive and bandwidth-friendly website-layout.

Due to this served 2.2M pages to 426.338 visitors, using 346,5GB bandwidth last year.

But which are the most popular blog posts from 2013? We created a 2013 Top 10!

  • No 1. – How to improve VMware View video performance.
    In 2013 we did two articles on how to improve video performance with VMware Horizon View. Probably due to the increased use of VDI and VMware Horizon View this is the best read article-series of 2013. Part 1 explains how to influence video performance by manipulating VMware View Group Policy Objects (GPO). In part 2 Edwin added a section to improve Internet Explorer performance in VMware Horizon View environments.

    How to improve VMware View video performance.
    How to improve VMware View video performance – Part 2

  • No 2. – Bye bye Citrix XenServer.
    The second best blog post is one on Citrix XenServer. In October of 2013 when I was updating our Enterprise Hypervisor Comparison, I noticed that Citrix had removed a ton of features in the new Citrix XenServer 6.2. This looked like the end of Citrix XenServer, of course looking at the comments Citrix-enthousiasts don’t agree but check out the list of withdrawn features and do your own math.

    Bye bye Citrix XenServer
    .
  • No 3. – How does VMware vSphere 5.5 compare to the competition?
    With the release of VMware vSphere 5.5 I updated our ever popular Enterprise Hypervisor Comparison to include the new features and enhancements. VMware again raised the bar on enterprise grade hypervisors, but how does it compare to Microsoft Server 2012 Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer 6.2 or RedHat RHEV 3.2? Check out the blog post from August 2013.

    How does VMware vSphere 5.5 compare to the competition?

  • No 4. – vSphere 5 memory management explained.
    During my everyday work I was amazed how VMware memory management is still a topic which a lot of VMware administrators don’t understand. Administrator of big VMware environments who don’t have a clue what Transparent Page Sharing (TPS), memory compression, host swapping or ballooning is or what it does and when it is used. Also a lot of VMware administrators have trouble explaining the virtual machine memory allocation graphs. So I wrote a blog post in which I explain the different memory management techniques in VMware vSphere 5 which ended up number 4 on the 2013 top 10 list.

    vSphere 5 memory management explained (part 1)
    .
    vSphere 5 memory management explained (part 2).
  • No 5. – How to: Shutdown ESXi host in case of a power failure.
    This number 5 blog post was also inspired by my every day work as a Solution Architect. I got this question from a colleague, “A customer of ours is running a virtual infrastructure based on VMware vSphere using multiple techniques to create a high available environment. Clustering, VMware HA and FT but when the power fails this all doesn’t help. The customer has an UPS in place, just enough to start a standby generator or just wait until the power returns. But what if this takes too long? Can when automatically power down the entire virtual infrastructure?” I know it can be done but it annoyed me that I couldn’t give him a standard working solution so in the evening I started Googling and testing in my lab and wrote this blog post.

    How to: Shutdown ESXi host in case of a power failure.

  • No 6. – Look at the Horizon! VMware’s Horizon Suite is finally here.
    This is a blog post by Alex written at the exact moment VMware released their Horizon Suite. It explains what the Horizon Suite consists of, which version there are, how it all works together and which improvements have been added.

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

  • No 7. – HP finally killed the EVA.
    This has proven to be a controversial article as people totally missed the point I was trying to make. So I expected this to be much higher on the 2013 top 10 list. The point I was trying to make was that everyone suspected HP to replace the EVA with 3PAR but nobody within HP ever wanted to confirm that. I was disappointed that HP did not inform its partners by not being open on the EVA/3PAR-replacement. So I celebrated the moment when HP was finally clear on the EOL of the EVA. Besides that I wanted to point out that HP was once a leader in the storage market but due to their drifting storage portfolio, like with the EVA/3PAR, many customers left. They could have profited from their huge install base but they dropped the ball. HP is not the storage solution provider it once was and now they’re also taking a beating a the server market, mainly by Cisco UCS. They still hold a huge market share on the server market but I’m wondering how HP will do business in 5 years time.
    Check out the blog post and comments below.

    HP finally killed the EVA.

  • No 9. – How to license Windows 8 in a VMware Horizon View deployment.Licensing has always been one of Edwin’s specialties. He already wrote several blog posts on licensing Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and Windows 7  and with the support for Windows 8 in VMware Horizon View he added a blog post explaining the do’s and don’t s of licensing Windows 8 as a VDI operating system in VMware Horizon View.

    Wondering which version of Windows 8 to use? Get VDA through SA or VDA subscription? How about roaming use rights? Windows 8 downgrade rights? Check out Edwin’s blog post on how to license Windows 8 in a VMware Horizon View environment.

    How to license Windows 8 in a VMware Horizon View deployment.

  • No 10. – What’s new in VMware Horizon View 5.3.
    With the release of VMware Horizon View 5.3 at VMworld Europe 2013 in Barcelona, we were one of the first to present a detailed list of new features and improvements. As VDI seems very popular in 2013, this number 10 on the list does not surprise me. Check out the impressive list of new features and enhancements below.

    What’s new in VMware Horizon View 5.3.

VMware Fling – Real-time audio/video test

VMware Labs has released a great new fling, an application with which you can verify and test the real-time audio/video performance. The application includes a player that displays the ‘virtual webcam’ feed, and also loops back the audio if required.

This allows for testing without a third party app (which often requires user accounts such as Skype, WebEx, etc.). The application can also perform load testing by forcing the video and audio stream to continuously run again, without a third party app dropping the call after a period of time.

Features:

  • Displays webcam images at 1:1 resolution
  • Automatically starts streaming images when launched (and audio will be looped back if selected)
  • Ability to loop the audio-in back to audio-out
  • No need to create user accounts to see RTAV
  • Supports the VMware Virtual Webcam and Physical Webcams

Here you can download the real-time audio/video test application.

VMware Horizon View 5.3 is available

At VMworld 2013 in Barcelona VMware announced the new version of their EUC product Horizon View 5.3.

Now it is finally available for download!

VMware Horizon View 5.3 includes a significant number of new or improved features.

  • Direct Pass-through Graphics
    Virtual Dedicated Graphics Acceleration (vDGA) is a graphics acceleration capability that is offered by VMware with NVIDIA GPUs and this is now supported by Horizon View 5.3. This enables customers to deliver high-end 3D-grade graphics for use cases where a discrete GPU is needed. vDGA graphics adapters can be installed in the underlying vSphere host and are then assigned to virtual desktops. Assigning a discrete NVIDIA GPU to the virtual Machine dedicates the entire GPU to that desktop and includes support for CUDA and OpenGL.
  • Windows 8.1 Support
    My experience with Windows 8.1 is not that positive but VMware already included full support in Horizon View 5.3. This comes aligned with the Windows 8.1 client support in vSphere 5.5. Important: Local Mode and View Persona Management features are not supported with Windows 8.1 desktops yet.
  • Multi Media Redirection (MMR) for H264 encoded media files to Windows 7 clients
    VMware added support for multimedia redirection of H264 encoded Windows Media files to Windows 7 client end-points. H.264/MPEG-4 is currently one of the most commonly used formats for the recording, compression, and distribution of high-definition video. When using this Windows 7 endpoints will receive the original compressed multimedia stream from the server and decode it locally for display. This can decrease bandwidth usage since the data over the wire will be compressed video instead of a uncompressed screen information and it also decreases used server resources, because the server no longer use server CPU resources decoding the video content.
  • HTML5 access improvements
    With Horizon View 5.2 it was possible to use a VDI desktop without installing client software by using delivered through HTML5 capable web-browsers. With Horizon View 5.3 VMware has further improved this feature so users can now enjoy sound, clipboard access and a improved graphics performance.
  • Real-time audio-video (webcam/audio redirection) for Linux clients
    With Horizon View 5.3 VMware introduces real-time audio and video support for Linux clients (support for Windows client was already in 5.2). Real-time audio and video does not forward audio and webcam devices using USB. Instead the devices are controlled by the local client, and audio- and video-streams are transferred from the local devices and encoded, delivered back to the guest virtual machine, and decoded.
    Audio delivery is performed from the standard View agent audio-out functionality, which provides better audio quality than with USB redirection.
  • iOS 7 look & feel for iPhone/iPad client
    The iOS client now matches the look and feel of iOS 7, released at the beginning of October.
  • USB 3.0 port support
    Horizon View 5.3 offers USB port redirection support for USB 3.0 client ports.
  • Support for Windows Server 2008 VM based desktops
    Strange but true, Windows Server 2008 R2 is now supported as desktop operating system. Why? Well Microsoft does not offer SPLA licensing for Windows desktop operating systems to allow service providers to create Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) offerings using VMware Horizon View.
    Microsoft does offer SPLA licensing for Windows Server 2008, so this allows service providers to be fully compatible with the Microsoft licensing terms.
    Important to know is that some features are currently not supported with Windows Server 2008 R2, check the release notes.
  • Support for VMware Horizon Mirage
    This is the first step in creating a single desktop image delivery system. Administrators can now utilize VMware Horizon Mirage 4.3 to manage Horizon View virtual desktops. Mirage keeps a centralized and de-duplicated copy of virtual desktops, including user’s applications and data, and is able to re-instantiate them should you have a host or site failure. Mirage can also distribute individual and departmental application layers. With Horizon Mirage IT is effectively able to eliminate the need for complex namespace or application virtualization solutions.
  • VCAI production ready
    View Composer Array Integration is now a fully supported feature. VCAI allows administrators to take advantage of native storage snapshot features. VCAI integrate with NAS storage partner’s native cloning capabilities using vSphere vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI). VCAI speeds up provisioning of virtual desktops while offloads CPU consumption and network bandwidth.
  • Linked-Clone Desktop Pool Storage Overcommit enhancements
    The linked-clone desktop pool storage overcommit feature includes a new storage overcommit level called Unbounded. When selected, View Manager does not limit the number of linked-clone desktops that it creates based on the physical capacity of the datastore.
    Important: note that the unbound policy should only be selected if you are certain that the datastore in use has enough storage capacity to accommodate future growth.
  • Supportability improvements for View Persona Management
    With Horizon View 5.3 View Persona Management feature includes several supportability improvements, including additional log messages, profile size and file and folder count tracking, and a new group policy setting called Add the Administrators group to redirected folders. View Manager uses the file and folder counts to suggest folders for folder redirection.
  • Oracle 11.2.0.3 database support
    In addition to the supported databases listed in the installation documentation, VMware Horizon View 5.3 supports Oracle 11.2.0.3 databases.
  • vSAN for VMware Horizon View
    As of version 5.3 VMware includes vSAN for Horizon View desktops in the Horizon Suite. vSAN reduces storage cost for VDI deployments by using inexpensive server disks for shared storage. It also can improve performance because vSAN uses SSD caching for read and write  and provides intelligent data placement within a vSphere cluster. vSAN is a scale-out converged platform and a hybrid storage solution combining SSD and traditional disks. Because it fully integrates with the vSphere kernel it has very low latency.
    Because VSAN is in beta release, this feature is being released as a Tech Preview, which means that it is available for you to try, but it is not recommended for production use and no technical support is provided.

 

You can download VMware Horizon view 5.3 here!