VMware View in an SMB? Absolutely!

“The year of VDI”.  Have you heard this before or somewhere else?

VMware View is a great solution. A proven and tested solution that fits many different businesses of different sizes but most interesting in different ways.

Check out the podcast Mike Laverick recorded with me for some information.

http://www.rtfm-ed.co.uk/2012/08/02/smbwag-with-stuart-mchugh-episode-81/

Stu

VMware View 5.1 announced

VMware View 5.1 announced

Some of the features which stood out for me are the following:

New features and improvements in View 5.1

  • View Storage Accelerator
  • Improved management for large scale
  • Better end-user experience with PCoIP improvements
  • Better USB support for more devices
  • More clients available
  • PcoIP improvements
  • Local mode enhancements

View Storage accelerator details:

Utilities local RAM (between 100mb – 2048mb) for common disk reads.  This increases disk performance at peak times which has shown in test the following results:

  • 80% reduction in peak OPS
  • 45% reduction in average OPS
  • 65% reduction in peak throughput
  • 25% reduction in average throughput

Management

A faster admin console for large scale environments

The ability to report to a syslog server

Additional language support

Improvements to persona Management

New tools to enable the transition from physical to virtual desktop.  It is designed to collect the user information in preparation to switching to a virtual desktop environment.

The ability to pre-populate Active Directory with View machines before creation (composer).

Improvements to 2-factor authentication.

User Experience

USB improvements in the View agent.

The ability to connect:

  • iPhone,
  • blackberry’s,
  • SanDisk cruizer,
  • SpeechMike

More improvements for PCoIP

New clients, Mac client, Linux, iOS and Android.

Custom client download page.

See the full report over at:

http://www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/vmw-euc-portfolio-05-02-12.html

Vmware View 5.1 Rumours

A interesting article has popped up on CRN (see link below) with information that VMware View 5.1 will be released on May 9th, along with Horizon Application Manager, Zimbra 7.2.

Not in this article but other rumours are that Vmware View 5.1 will include View Storage Accelerator ,View Composer Array Integration (VCAI), enhanced VMware’s View Persona Management features.

I will be very interested to see and test View’s Storage Accelerator.  This could pave the way to more cost effective VDI solutions.  Will this annoy storage vendors?

http://www.crn.in/Software-017Apr012-VMware-Memo-Outlines-View-5-1-Project-Octopus-Launch-Plans.aspx

VMware View 4.6 is out today!

VMware View 4.6 has now been released.  I’m excited about this as it has some new cool features!  My particular favourites are:

Security server now supports PCoIP.  This is great as having to have two pools of desktops (one for external and one for internal) is not great.  When specifying to use PCoIP from an external source the desktop does not fail back to RDP thus needing a RDP pool and a PCoIP pool.  However now the security server supports PCoIP there’s no need for the old RDP pool!

Enhanced USB device compatibility.  I’m hoping this is going to support uni-directional devices but with the many many different types of USB devices out there so I’m just going have to give things a test.  I have dictation devices to test at the top of my list.

Other enhancements are:

  • Keyboard mapping improvements
  • New timeout setting for SSO users
  • 160 Bug fixes
  • Experimental support for Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 RC operating systems

The release notes can be found here:

http://www.vmware.com/support/view46/doc/view-46-release-notes.html

The download for VMware View 4.6 can be found here:

http://downloads.vmware.com/d/info/desktop_downloads/vmware_view/4_6

Windows 7 and VMware View 4.5 client hanging – UPDATE!

After patching my laptop yesterday and then firing up this morning I noticed that my VMware View 4.5 Client fails to load.  It just hangs on connecting!

It seams as though 2 Microsoft patches have killed View.

If you are just after the quick fix then uninstall Microsoft patches:

KB 2482017
KB 2467023

otherwise….

There is a big discusion about it on:

http://communities.vmware.com/thread/302164

UPDATE…..

There is now a new version of the View client which VMware have released.  This new version of the client works with the Microsoft patches installed.  Link below…

Windows 7 View Client issue with Microsoft patch

http://blogs.vmware.com/kb/2011/02/windows-7-view-client-issue-with-microsoft-patch.html

Not just another tablet!? – Cisco Cius and VXI

Cisco

Cisco now have a new acronym to learn now!  A play of the already popular VDI, Cisco had created VXI which stands for Virtualisation eXperience Infrastructure.  Also to add some new hardware to the pot they have created what every other company in the far east have made at CES this year.  That’s right, a tablet.  It’s called the Cisco Cius.  This does look like a very interesting and useful business tool.  It is essentially a tablet running Android and has 3g connectivity so I can imagine you can make voice phones calls with it.  The cleaver part is that you can dock it to do many other things.  Once docked in your office phone docking station it will be you office VOIP land line number with video conferencing ability as it has a forward facing camera.  Also you can plug a screen keyboard and mouse into the dock and will serve you a VDI desktop.  This is the most business focused tablet I’ve seen so far!

Chinwag with Mike – Stu McHugh [Episode 27]

I have been very privileged and been a guest in the infamous Mike Lavericks Chinwag podcast.  I have spoken about my experiences with installing VMware View with the company I work at.

It still early in the discovery of the product for me but these are my first impressions….

http://www.rtfm-ed.co.uk/2010/09/15/chinwag-with-mike-stu-mchugh-episode-27/

VMware View. My View Part 2

I’m new to VMware View but not to vSphere so thought I would explain my finding for other newbies!

I’ve been through the documentation for View and found it helpful when installing the product but after that I struggled to build a real life scenario.

Installing and setting up View in an existing vSphere environment was very straight forward.  I simply installed  Orchestrator on my vSphere Server and then created a new guest VM and install View server.  During the install it asked whether you would like to initialise a new SQL database or use the existing vCenter database.  As this was just a proof of concept I opted for the latter.

The next step was to build a ‘Gold’ image workstation which I already had as a colleague had created a corporate Windows XP image using MDT.  Once that had completed I installed the VMware Tools, the View Agent and once the machine had shut down do the all important snapshot.

Now I logged into VMware View web console, entered my serial number, authorised my vSphere server and set about creating an automated desktop pool using my freshly built workstation.  Once on the ‘Desktop and Pools’ tab I went about adding a new pool.  I chose to use a ‘Automated Desktop Pool’ and a ‘non-persistant’ setting also.  Non-persistant seamed the best option to me as users profiles were backed up upon logging off.  The only other tweak to my configuration was to change the ‘automatic log off time’ when users are disconnected to 120 minutes.  This can  obviously change depending on your environment.  The rest of the wizard is very straight forward with, Virtual machine folder, Resource Pools, Datastores, Quickprep, AD container, Etc.  Once I click the ‘Finish’ button, navigate to the vSphere client and you will see in the events all the activities from the View server such as creating new guest VM’s.

The next piece to this how users connect.  There seem to be two scenarios.

1.  Install a security server, poke holes in the firewall and allow users to connect from home using the web method to serve the XP desktop.  This has it’s problems as it does not support the PCoIP protocol.

2. Connect to the network using a VPN or local users already on the LAN and then use the full View client to serve the XP desktop utilising the full PCoIP protocol and experience.

Having users on the local network is a no brainer.  Just install the View client and away you go.  (Not a great idea to use the web client in this situation).  Use a GPO to control the settings for the client.  I am hope to test the new Samsung NC190 Zero client.  These seem hard to get hold of at the moment but I may just order one and wait for it to arrive.

The second connection method is for remote users.  At the moment there doesn’t seem to be a good method here.  Once the user has connected to the network using a VPN then expecting a user to install the full View client isn’t really feasible.  It would be good if the web client could support the PCoIP protocol in the future so make this remote connection scenario a decent option.

I can’t wait to test the Samsung NC190 or even the bigger screened Samsung NC240!

Any comments or suggestions greatly received!

My View. VMware View 4.0

After listening to Mike Laverick Chinwag podcast http://www.rtfm-ed.co.uk/2010/05/03/chinwag-with-mike-mike-laverick-episode-13/ it inspired me to give it a go.

So there I was reading an e-mail from our Service Delivery Manager asking if anyone had any idea’s for making a ‘Working from home’  project more of a viable option.  With my VMware hat on I immediately thought that VMware View could be a good choice for both working from home and also getting the best out of ageing desktop hardware.

At the moment we already have an environment of 8 ESX host managed by vSphere and it seemed a good idea to leverage what we already have and test View on this kit.  Fortunately I also had a dev server with plenty of local disk storage available.  I steamed ahead and build a test vm and then installed View.  Within less than an hour I had a View server all setup and ready to go.  After creating a fresh desktop vm guest with our standard Windows XP build and then adding the VMware tools and View client I was ready for action!

A colleague of mine has spent about 9 months building a new corporate desktop image with all the application required installed.  This has been a very lengthy project with many many builds and a lot of testing but he has finally produced this ‘gold’ image.  Now exhausted he has been asked to do the same but with Windows Server 2003 as a Citrix presentation server.  (oh no! Not another nine months and users already used to the new system and demanding that they can be able to use the same new image remotely).  Well…. after this story I thought that we already have a perfect desktop image to use and with a little bit of help from VMware View we can utilise this image now saving many man hours.

Yes… It’s defiantly worth a go of the 60 day trial.  It’s a simple and easy to use system (so far!)  And after the evaluation my even fit your business needs!  I’ll keep you posted on how I get on!