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 220.127.116.11 database support
In addition to the supported databases listed in the installation documentation, VMware Horizon View 5.3 supports Oracle 18.104.22.168 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!
How to: Install VMware NSX
Hany Michael from Hypervizor.com, has made series of videos showing the installation ease of VMware NSX. Unfortunately NSX is not GA yet, but in the videos you can see how the installation goes. Check these out:
Deploying the NSX vAppliance
Deploying the NSX Controllers
Preparing ESXi hosts
Configuring a Logical vSwitch
VMware NSX Distributed Services
This article is number two of a series about the upcoming network virtualization spree, specifically the one coming from VMware. Check out the first article in this series, ‘Introduction to VMware NSX‘.
Traditional network services have evolved over the last years. Introducing more advanced firewalling, loadbalancing and remote access services. Typically, datacenter networks architecture these days look somewhat look this:
The routers can be virtualized inside a physical box, using either VRFs or vendor proprietary router virtual routers, such as Cisco VDC. However, the external and internal firewalls are usually separate monolithic hardware firewalls, which puts a large dent into the network budget.
As we move to a virtual-everything world, desktops and applications are hosted inside the datacenter more and more. The data traffic going east-west inside the datacenter is continuing to grow and is causing scalability issues on the central network services devices. Firewalls and load balancers need to be upgraded (in-place) to keep up and are bleeding the network budget.
With VMware NSX, the physical load balancers and internal firewalls will turn virtual. This will increase the scalability of your internal services enormously; every VM will have it’s own firewall instance (embedded in the ESXi kernel) and you’ll have a load balancer service per application. Here’s how the next step in virtualization will look like:
The possibilities are limitless. There will be a world where you can build a datacenter network with a single pair of proper core switches, standard switches and the rest will be purely x86 servers. Here’s how I think the datacenter network will look in a few years when virtualization has really kicked in:
Check out these great vendors making some awesome announcements about NSX integration:
There’s still a lot of ground to cover on NSX and you will find a lot of information here as I love this technology and love the possibilities it gives when designing datacenter architectures.
One thing that has set me off a little bit, is the fact that VMware is keeping NSX closely to their chest. Evaluations are currently not on the table and integration partners are excluded from implementation tracks and there is no way to get a hold of NSX but through VMware’s Professional Services. Maybe it’s the difficulty implementing NSX, maybe it’s VMware not being ready with NSX but feeling compelled to put it out at an early stage, who knows. All I know it’s very disappoint for those of us who want to turn NSX inside and out.
They say partners will start getting in the loop around Q3 2014, but I wish they’d move that timetable up a few quarters.
This article was written by Martijn Smit, Datacenter engineer at Imtech ICT. This article was republished from his blog with his permission
Also check out Martijn’s website Lostdomain.org.
Introduction to VMware NSX
This article is number one of a series about the upcoming network virtualization spree, specifically the one coming from VMware.
I spent 14 to 17 October at VMworld 2013 in Barcelona, basically getting my mind blown by the futuristic possibilities of network flexibility. Things are changing for the network, flattening the entire stack, distributing network services throughout the virtual network (instead of the monolithic central hardware), lowering network costs and making it more flexible and simple to manage.
In this post, I will go over the basics of the components that are used to form the VMware NSX virtual network.
- NSX Manager (management-plane);
- NSX Controller (control-plane);
- NSX Hypervisor Switches (data-plane);
- NSX Gateways;
- Distributed Network Services.
Configuring the NSX virtual network mostly goes through APIs. The idea is that cloud automation platforms (i.e. vCenter Automation Center) or self-developed platforms will leverage NSX to automate deployment of virtual networks.
The NSX Manager produces a web-based GUI for user-friendly management of the NSX virtual network. This GUI can be used next to your cloud automation platform for manual configuration and troubleshooting. You can view the status of the entire virtual network, take snapshots of the virtual network for backup, restores and archival.
Everything the NSX Manager does to manage the virtual network, goes through API calls towards the NSX Controllers.
The NSX Controller is a very scalable control layer that takes on the functionality of the network control-plane. It is responsible for programming the Hypervisor vSwitches and Gateways with the configurations and real-time forwarding state. Whenever there’s a change in the virtual network (a VM boots, change of portgroup), the controller programs the virtual network to understand these changes.
The NSX Controller cluster typically consists of three NSX Controllers, but when those three are not enough (and can’t keep up with the workloads), up scaling is as easy as deploying a new NSX Controller virtual appliance and adding it to the NSX Cluster.
The Hypervisor vSwitches are divided between the NSX Controllers. The responsibility for a vSwitch is done through an election process, where 1 NSX Controller wins the master role and another NSX Controller wins the slave role. The other NSX Controllers within the cluster can be called upon the master for assistance in the workloads. The slave monitors the master and takes over if the master fails.
Virtualization today already has had vSwitches from the beginning. How else would virtual machines connect (in a scalable fashion) to the network to provide services?
Each hypervisor has a built-in, high performance and programmable virtual switch inside. In the NSX virtual network, the NSX Controllers programs these vSwitches with the current state of the network (configuration and forwarding state). If a NSX network is distributed (VMs in the same network spanned over different hosts), the controllers program the vSwitches to set up IP encapsulation tunnels (STT or VXLAN) between these hosts to extend the virtual network.
NSX Gateways / Edge devices
An NSX Gateway is basically the border or edge of the virtual network. It is where the virtual network communicates with the physical network that we see today. A NSX Gateway can be a virtual appliance linking traffic to VLANs, but it can also be a physical device by some vendors.
Here’s a small list of the top vendors:
- Arista (7150S);
- Brocade (VCS Fabric: VDX 6740 and 6740T);
- Juniper (EX9200 & MX-series);
- Dell (S6000-series);
- HP (announced something, no details).
To my (and many others with me) disappointment, Cisco is absent from this list. They have a ‘different view’ and going for their own thing (Cisco ONE), which is discussed here. I hope they come to their senses and allow certain types of network switches to be part of a NSX network. (Perhaps the Nexus 5ks!?)
Distributed Network Services
The best part about the distributed network services functionality is the services registry. This service registry makes plugins possible. So far, I’ve heard great stories from Palo Alto and TrendMicro. Those of you not familiar with any of these products (be it that Palo Alto mostly does insanely great physical firewalls), should gather some info. More on distributed network services at a later date!
Check out this awesome introductory video on NSX.
Next article in this series, VMware NSX Distributed Services.
This article was written by Martijn Smit, Datacenter engineer at Imtech ICT. This article was republished from his blog with his permission
Also check out Martijn’s website Lostdomain.org.
VMware vCloud Suite 5.5, vSAN and NSX walk-through
VMware has launched three new websites which will help you to get up to speed with VMware vCloud Suite 5.5, vSAN and NSX.
An extensive website gives you a detailed overview of the entire vCloud Suite with all the new features VMware released at VMworld. VMware vSphere DataProtection, VMware App HA, vSphere Flash Read Cache and all the other ingredients of the vCloud Suite.
The total walk-through includes:
- vSphere DataProtection
- vSphere App HA
- vCloud Director
- vSphere Replication
- vSphere Flash Read Cache
The NSX website provides a step-by-step overview of VMware NSX, the Security and compliance issues and NSX partner integration.
Here’s the table of content for the NSX walk-through:
- Introduction to VMware NSX
- VMware NSX
- NSX for vSphere
- Security and Compliance
- NSX Partner Integration
Besides NSX there’s also a website on VMware vSAN. This website provides a step-by-step overview of VMware vSAN, configuring, storage policies and high availability.
Here’s the table of content for the vSAN walk-through:
- Configuring vSAN
- Deploying VMs using VM Storage policies
- Changing VM Storage policies
- Failure Resilience & Availability
- Interoperability – vSAN and vSphere HA
You can check out the walk-throughs here:
- VMware vCloud Suite 5.5
- VMware vSAN
- VMware NSX
VMware vSAN & vCOPS included in Horizon Suite
Today at VMworld Europe 2013 VMware announced that VMware Virtual SAN (vSAN) and VMware vCenter Operations Manager for View will be included in the Horizon Suite.
VMware Virtual SAN for Horizon View beta will deliver significantly lower CAPEX and TCO for VDI environments. The bundling of VMware vCenter Operations Manager for View in Horizon Suite, available at no additional cost, offers advanced VDI performance and operations management for large-scale virtual desktop production monitoring, advanced problem warning, faster time to resolution and complete infrastructure coverage.
This is a great step forward and the next step in combining VMware’s server- and desktop virtualization techniques. Important to mention is that vSAN is still beta.
Site update – Build numbers
Along with the new look of the website it was also time to update the build number database. In the last few weeks we have been working on updating the database, resulting in a increase with 387 entries making a total of 592 build numbers.
But we didn’t stop there. On popular demand we changed the way the build numbers are presented, since there are devices that don’t support Flash. Therefore we abandoned Flash and created the site with HTML5.
Now that we are using HTML5 every device should be able to read the site and build number database, there is however a downside. Not every browser seems to fully support HTML5 including some of the html tags we are using. This may result in your browser showing the entire database as one big list instead of using bullets that can be extended.
If you are missing a build number or find a technical error on the site then please let us know.
How to upgrade to vSphere 5.5
A few weeks ago during VMworld 2013 VMware announced vSphere 5.5. We already did a ‘What’s new in vSphere 5.5‘ post but now it is actually available, so it’s time to find out how to upgrade to vSphere 5.5.
But before we start, there are a few caveats:
- ESXi 5.0 and 5.1 included drivers for network adapters that are not officially supported by VMware, but were very useful for installing ESXi on whitebox hardware. Some of these drivers have been removed, e.g. net-r8168 and net-r8169 for certain Realtek adapters and net-sky2 for Marvell adapters;
- Once you upgrade a virtual machine’s hardware to VM hardware version 10, it is no longer possible to edit the virtual machine using the traditional vSphere client. Modification to this virtual machine must be executed using the vSphere Web Client. This can be a problem when you are using a free version of ESXi or if you’re unable to manage it through a vCenter server for whatever reason.
Because I run a VMware vSphere 5.1 environment, this is a upgrade from vSphere 5.1 to 5.5.
The upgrade is a straight forward four step process.
Page 1 – vCenter Server Appliance upgrade
Page 2 – vSphere client upgrade
Page 3 – ESXi host upgrade
Page 4 – Virtual Machine upgrade
VMworld TV: A wrap up of VMworld 2013
VMworld TV gives you a wrap up of all of VMworld 2013 in San Francisco.
If you want to know what happened in San Francisco and on the VMworld Party, check out the video below.
VMworld TV: The highlights of VMworld 2013 day 3
VMworld TV gives you a wrap up of day three of VMworld 2013 in San Francisco.
If you want to know what happened today and see Eric & Jeremy battle it out on the Solution Exchange floor, check out the video below.
VMworld TV: The highlights of VMworld 2013 day 2
VMworld TV gives you a wrap up of day two of VMworld 2013 in San Francisco.
If you want to know what happened today and how a SDDC in Lego looks like check out the video below.
VMworld 2013 Technical keynote
Traditionally, the day 2 keynote is the technical presentation and demo of the new products.
Until last year the day 2 keynote was Steve Herrod’s playground. Steve’s technical keynote speeches were epic, but unfortunately he left VMware.
This year Carl Essenbach – VMware President and Chief Operating Officer – did the day 2 keynote in front of 22.500 attendees who made it to VMworld 2013. Did you miss the Tuesday keynote? Check out the video below.
Also check out Alex’s transcript.
VMworld TV: The highlights of VMworld 2013 day 1
VMworld TV gives you a wrap up of day one of VMworld 2013 in San Francisco.
They also introduced the Sloof-CAM, if you want to know what that is check out the video below.
VMworld 2013 USA – Keynote day 2
Day 2 kicks off with a keynote by Carl Eschenbach, who is the EVP of VMware.
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.
VMware Labs does it again, ProactiveDRS
Just when you think it cannot get any better VMware comes up with an interesting new fling, Proactive DRS.
Proactive DRS was the winning entry in last year’s 2012 Open Innovation Contest. VMware promised to create a Fling of the winning entry, and here it is!
What is ProactiveDRS? It is a way for DRS to react to changes in the virtual cluster, and to act on predicted changes in resource demands before hosts become stressed. For example, if you have a VM that historically uses 100% CPU at 8am every morning, ProactiveDRS makes sure that the CPU resources will be available for that VM before 8am. These actions ensure that your cluster runs smoother and reduces the amount of reactive VM rebalances that occur.
Review: Synology Diskstation DS1513+ with VMware – Part 1
So the holiday is over back to other fun things like reviewing a shiny new Synology Diskstation DS1513+. Our friends at Synology where so kind to ship us a brand new unit. Which is now sitting next to my desk ready to be tested. I wonder how this Synology DiskStation works and integrates with my VMware vSphere 5.1 environment. In this article we will unbox, hardware and software install the unit.
Unboxing the Synology DS1513+
The package content consists of the following items:
1 – Synology Diskstation DS1513+ unit;
1 – Welcome Note;
1 – AC Power Cord with a Schuko CEE 7/7 plug on one side and a C13 plug on the NAS side;
1 – Small bag with very very small screws;
2 – Keys to lock the harddrive brackets;
2 – Black RJ-45 LAN Cables 1 meter.
When I unpacked the DS1513+ I noticed it is small, well finished and feels solid.
The Synology Diskstation DS1513+ is a NAS targeted at the Small and Medium business providing a centralized destination for storage, backup and sharing. With the iSCSI support in the Synology DS1513+ and on the VMware hardware compatibility list (vSphere 5.x) it is Ready to be used for VMware virtualization servers. I am curious how it will integrate and perform against my VMware vSphere 5.1 environment. Lets take a quick look at the specifications of the Synology Diskstation DS1513+ before we start the hardware installation and setup the software.
Cost analysis: VMware Horizon View vs Citrix XenDesktop
When I’m advising customers on desktop solutions it’s an obvious battle between VMware, Citrix and Microsoft.
Customers are becoming more and more cost aware due to the economic circumstances but the demand for audio/video and real time communication is growing. When Server Based Computing (SBC) is a viable option customers tend to compare Citrix XenApp to Microsoft Terminal Services.
When applications or customer demands require a VDI solution, it’s a battle between VMware Horizon View and Citrix XenDesktop.
Because companies are extremely cost aware nowadays, it’s not only a feature-based comparison but they must also look carefully at cost. Principled Technologies, compared Microsoft Windows 7 virtual desktops hosted on VMware Horizon View 5.2 and Citrix XenDesktop 5.6.
Hosted on the same physical hardware resources and using similar image rendering settings, they conducted scale testing with the Login VSI medium workload. They found that VMware Horizon View 5.2 supported 174 Microsoft Windows 7 virtual desktop sessions at a cost per user of $483 Citrix XenDesktop 5.6 supported 175 sessions at a cost of $820 per user.
VMware OS Optimization Tool
In May 2013 Sander wrote two great articles (post 1, post 2) on optimization of desktop operating systems for use in a VDI environment. Today I ran into a new VMware fling, a VMware OS optimization tool.
The VMware OS Optimization Tool allows you to optimize a Windows 7 operating system for use in a VDI environment.
The VMware OS Optimization Tool helps optimize Windows 7 desktops for use with VMware Horizon View. The optimization tool includes customizable templates to enable or disable Windows system services and features, per VMware recommendations and best practices, across multiple systems.
Since most Windows system services are enabled by default, the optimization tool can be used to easily disable unnecessary services and features to improve performance.