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Saturday, August 16, 2014

VMUG Singapore 27th August 2014

If you are like me grounded in Singapore and have no opportunity to attend the VMworld in San Francisco or Barcelona, no worries!  VMUG Singapore with sponsorship from PureStorage, is going to bring all the announcements made in San Francisco back to Singapore right after the second day key notes.

The details of the event can be view here.  If you are able to attend, please register so we can estimate the crowd.  Whether you can arrive on time or after its fine, just come join us!  Register yourself so you can be updated of future VMUG Singapore events too!

Also join our Facebook Group VMUG ASEAN.

Details of the event is as follows:

Date: Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Location: RedWorks 71 Robinson Road #07-01 Singapore 068895

See you guys there!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Microsoft Lync 2013 with Horizon View 6

There are all the articles available and most of them are on Horizon View 5.2 with Lync 2013.  However these are still valid there is nothing changes.  One great article which I refer to when doing my Proof of Concept (POC) with my customer is here.  The document that the article refers to is a must read and its pretty clear.  But some confusion that came to my mind when doing so here are some of questions you might have.

On the endpoint, it has to be a physical machine running Windows which can be 32 bit or 64 bit.  The LyncVDI plugin needs to be the same bit level as the Office (where Lync is usually installed with) or the Standalone Lync that is installed in the virtual desktop.

Note: Do not install Lync Client on the end points where Lync VDI plugin is installed.  And no USB redirection should be done for the camera or audio device which will be used by Lync for video and audio.

On the end point, you will need three things:
  1. Horizon View Client
  2. MS Lync VDI 2013 Plugin
  3. Registry entry
I have provided all those for easy download as below:
Microsoft Lync VDI 2013 Plugin (32 bit)
Microsoft Lync VDI 2013 Plugin (64 bit)
Horizon View Clients

Save the below file with a .reg extension and run on all your Windows Machine that will access the virtual desktops to create the entries.  Change the Internal and External server name (Microsoft does not reocmmend using IP address) of the Lync Server that you are connecting to.

Registry file=================================
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00



On the Virtual Desktop, install Lync Client and make sure Horizon View Agent is also installed.  Login to the Lync client making sure it does connect in the first place as a test.  If you have not configured the email setting, lightly you will need to manually enter your internal and external server name.  Note: You can have no External Server that is fine.

Next is to test out the plugin.  Once you are connected using View Client to the virtual desktop, you will login to your Lync Client.  You will encounter a second prompt to login below:
Here you will need to provide your Active Directory (AD) credential.

Note: In my customer environment, their email domain and AD domain are not the same so when entering credential make sure you enter the right credential.

Once that is login successfully you will see the bottom status bar of Lync client.
The left icon indicate the audio device connected successfully.  The right icon indicate the connection with the Lync VDI plugin.


I enter the below status although my Lync VDI plugin was connected successfully.
You can see the left icon indicate an alert.  Clicking on it will indicate any alerts e.g. audio device not available/disabled.

If you try to connect a video call with this alert still on, the Lync Client will crash immediately.  If you view a person profile picture it does the same thing.

In my scenario, the audio device was disabled on my end point, enabling the icon immediately refreshes to normal while my View session is still connected.

In summary, the Lync VDI plugin is not that difficult to setup.  The good thing is any changes related to Lync on the end point device while connected to the View session, gets updated on the Lync Client.  The bad side of this, if any issues, the Lync only response is by crashing completely leaving you no option to figure out what is wrong.

Hope this helps for those trying to setup Lync 2013 on Horizon View.

Friday, July 4, 2014

VMware vSphere Beta Program Sign Up Now!

If you are not aware, the vSphere Beta Program is not available to the public.  This is beta 2 where beta 1 was via invite or to VMware employees only.

This is the first product from VMware where beta is free for sign up.  Do not miss this if you are a interested with the next release of vSphere.

To sign up, head on here.

By participating in the beta program, as always you need to be able to install this in some environment.  This can be your home lab or an isolated environment at your work place.  It can also be nested however if any issues resulted from nested will limit the support you reeive.

So help sign up in this beta program and provide all your feedback and issues you encounter so that vSphere can remains as resilient, reliable and stable.  VMware will need any inputs possible to better this release so do not hesitate to provide.

You will find all the documents and guides from the landing page upon signing up completion.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Horizon Mirage 5.0 What to Look Out For!

On 25th Jun 2014, VMware has announced the availability of Horizon Mirage 5.0.  This marks another milestone to complete the full Horizon 6 release (shorting vC Ops 6 for View).

Key features in my opinions:

1) The interesting features other than the support of Windows 8.1, is the cross migration between 32 bits and 64 bits OS.  A summary below:
  • Windows XP 32 bits to Windows 7 32 bits & 64 bits
  • Windows Vista 32 bits to Windows 7 32 bits & 64 bits
  • Windows Vista 64 bits to Windows 7 64 bits
  • Windows 7 32 bits to Windows 8.1 32 bits & 64 bits
  • Windows 7 64 bits to Windows 8.1 64 bits
2) The next is one of the chore I find is the in place upgrade.  You no longer have to follow the old upgrade process by uninstalling the previous version followed by installing again as stated in the KB.  Just by clicking the Horizon 5.0 setup files, it will detect and upgrade accordingly and shutting down any services if required (prompts are provided to go ahead).

3) The removal of installing a Horizon Mirage Edge server using a Windows OS.  Instead a vApp is provided this time round.  No more cumbersome setup.

4) Horizon Mirage alarms - Now you can identify the problems and not having to go through a list of nodes in your inventory to filter out which are having what issues.

Web URLs
There are some changes to the web URLs for the Web Portal and the File portal.  If you refer to my previous post on Horizon Mirage 4.4 it was the first time IIS was used.  Below are the changes:
  • Web Access
    https://Explorer (URL can be changed in the Horizon Mirage Server)
    • https://localhost:6443/Explorer (for http use port:6080)
  • Admin Web Access
    https://AdminExplorer (this is something new where administrator can search for any specific user/desktop)
    • https://localhost:6443/AdminExplorer (for http use port:6080)
  • Web Manager (Dashboard used by Web Help Desk & Web Protection Manager role)
    • New> https://localhost:7443/VMwareMirage (for http use port:7080)
If you look at the Web Manager where it was first release in Mirage 4.3 in my previous post, it looks pretty neat.  In Horizon Mirage 5.0, you will find even more stuff been added.

You can see that more buttons are now available.  You will notice also the alarm icon been added in the Web manager as well as the Mirage Management Console.

If you double click a managed device, you will be able to see the details.  You can also click on the minimize to keep it open in your tab.

Here you can see we are viewing the details of the CVD over from the backup section.

Here I have consolidated Horizon Mirage 5.0 information and resources as well as the USMT download instruction (which is pretty difficult to extract in my opinion).

Horizon Mirage Product web site.
You can see the release notes here.
You can find the documents here.
Download the evaluation here.
Download the binary here for customers.
To make life simple for everyone I have compile USMT 4.0, 5.0 and 6.3 into one file here.

Where to find USMT?
For USMT 5.0 which can be downloaded here for the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit for 80 (ADK8.0 Tools at 3.4GB).  Run the downloader, to download the setup files.  Install and select only the USMT in order to extract it.

How to get USMT 6.3 for Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 migration?  You have to download the downloader from Microsoft here (4.1GB but you only need USMT in this package).  Run it to start download of the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit for 8.1 (ADK8.1) Tools which you can specify a location as show.  Run the setup and choose only USMT.  Remember to uninstall after you copy out the USMT.
For any reason you need USMT 4.0, ADK for Windows 7 is available here.  This is a release as an ISO format.  Mount it, install the ADK and extract USMT from "C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\USMT\".

Note:  Microsoft has been inconsistent on the way USMT tools is distributed.  Since first release in 4.0, it is in ISO format.  For USMT 5.0 & 6.3, you will need to install to extract the USMT.  Also the uninstall names for all three version of USMT are totally inconsistent.  See below:

USMT 4.0
 USMT 5.0
 USMT 6.3

Friday, June 20, 2014

VMware Horizon 6 Available Now!

With the announcement of Horizon 6 on 9th April 2014, and the release of the availability of download marks another milestone from VMware in the End User Computing (EUC).  You will find the landing page for Horizon 6 (with View).  At the same time, the VMWare Hands-on-Lab (HOL) have release a new lab on Horizon 6 too!

Let's first look at the available solutions that are in Horizon 6.

Horizon View (VDI)
The version is as similar to the launch Horizon View 6.0.  This is still the same Horizon View that using PCoIP to access a virtual desktop solution.  Typically used case are mostly found in office users, factory floors, retail or any place that is able to utilize a virtual desktop without the need of a powerful end point of offline access.  In this release, all the management servers can be support with the latest Windows 2012 R2 operating system.  The different in this release includes the End of Life (EOL) of Local Mode as a feature which was only available from VMware View comparing with other VDI solution running as a type two desktop on your thick end point.  Also a new Cloud Pod allowing a global entitlement via a pod federation between two View Pod is supported which I do not find this with many used cases. 

Horizon Hosted Desktop
In Horizon View 5.3, RDS desktop was possible and in this release you will be able to use both Windows 2008 R2 and Windows 2012 as your hosted Desktop.  Whatever the purpose is for, now you can use a server operating system as a desktop. If you have user who do not need stored profiles, you can simply use this desktop and skinned it as a workstation operating system and allows your user to use them and this will save you on licenses cost like example, Virtual Desktop Access (VDA).

Horizon Hosted App
This is similar to Citrix XenApp perform a App presentation to the end point without the need to install applications on the end point and allow multiple user access to the Hosted Apps either via any device that can be installed with Horizon View client.  Similarly this is hosted on a RDS server via Terminal service.  However the different here is the presentation back to the user is via the familiar PCoIP protocol which also means, you will be using the same Horizon View client to connect to your desktop to your Hosted Apps as well.  The best part of this is you can even access your virtual desktop to access the Hosted App which is PCoIP over PCoIP.  If you read this correctly, everything will be managed through your familiar Horizon View Admin Portal which give the administrators not to have to manage multiple management interface unnecessarily.  How's that?  VMware has learn the flaw of their competitors and have design this the correct way not introducing a solution to compete yet ending up in the same issues.  This also means you can use the same Horizon View Connection Server as the broker.  That really simplify the complexity!  That is a very thoughtful process for this solution. 

Virtual SAN (VSAN)
Leveraging the newly Software Defined Storage solution, VSAN used in server infrastructure, in Horizon 6, the Advanced and Enterprise Editions are bundled in.  This not only greatly lower the total cost of ownership for customer exploring the possibility of VDI solution, but increase the adoption much possible.  The cost of storage to meet performance requirements in VDI is always the result of a high cost in the capital cost for any VDI.  Way to go for this!

VMware Workspace
With this release at verison 2.0, VMware renamed Horizon Workspace to VMware Workspace and have removed the File Sharing function that was once found in Horizon Workspace 1.8 and below.  Other than consolidating all SaaS applications in one common place, what encompasses in this release includes the ability to change the logo to suit your company branding.  Together it is able to act as a single common interface from desktop to mobile devices with the same look and feel with just one login.  It also support no authentication app to be added example adding a corporate intranet link.  It adds support for Office365 as well as Google Apps and Citrix XenApp.  Yes, you heard it right.  Citrix XenApp is support as well.  With this support, many companies that are reliance on XenApps finally have a place to place all their apps into one common portal.  You will be able to access Horizon Hosted Apps as well as Hosted Desktop and Horizon View desktop from here.  Do note that only Hosted Desktop and Horizon View desktop is able to utilize Blast to access via a HTML5 browser.

vC Ops for View (V4V)
In vC Ops for View 6.0 now in short known as V4V, it allows same metrics as per the same in version 5.x, however with the new interface as release in vC Ops 6.0.  In V4V, there is also additional capacity measurement found in the original vC Ops, and this allows the use of "What-If" functionality.  It will support RDSH session as well as in guess process metrics which I find this very useful!  Now you will be able to identify the processes in a guest VM without the need to log into the desktop and identify a problematic process if any.

Horizon Mirage
Horizon Mirage was acquired from Wanova and rebrand as Horizon Mirage.  This version is known as Horizon Mirage 5.0.  It was a physical desktop management solutions.  As VDI is never a 100% solution especially in an environment where mobility required to be offline or user who require a thick window device, the image management is typically a challenge for many organization till Horizon Mirage comes along.  With Horizon Mirage, you will be able to centralize image management for thick Windows machine and full clone virtual desktops on Horizon View.  Horizon Mirage was not "enterprise" class due to exposing Horizon Mirage server to public facing if required for out of office access.  With release of Horizon 6, Horizon Mirage will encompasses Horizon Mirage Edge server to place at the DMZ zone.  This remove the requirement to place the management server and resolve the "security flaw".  Support for migrating to Windows 8.1 is supported as well. 

As usual the same old ThinApp has not changed but in 5.0, it support the ability to package 64-bit application.

vCenter Orchestrator + Desktop Plugin and Design & automate workflows
What is provided here is not the vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) but the workflow which will allows the integration of vCAC to work with Horizon 6.  Also the inclusion of vCO workflows for use in provisioning of desktops and entitlements of users.

Below is the editions and the list price.
All videos are from VMware TV.

Reviewer's Guide for View in Horizon 6

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

VMware vSphere App HA 1.1 What's New

I have been presenting during VMware Partner Exchange in Singapore as well in certain workshops for customer and many times we brought up vSphere App HA as part of application availability solution which is part of vSphere Enterprise Plus.

Previously with the 1.0 release, I did a post on the setup but it slip from my mind that there was an minor update to 1.1 on 8th April 2014 which I forgotten to update here which I find it pretty useful.  Do check out my previous post to have a better understanding.  The setup does not change much.

In 1.0, it only support vSphere web client 5.5 and using vCenter Hyperic 5.7.  With the release of 1.1, it will not support vSphere 5.1 U2 and creation of custom service where it is non default applications in vSphere App HA.  Lastly the pain in 1.0 of not able to edit a policy after it is created it now possible.  Finally this is fixed else you would need to delete and re-create a policy due to minor changes and reapply to all the VM involved!

Instead of remember the compatibility, you can check out the compatibility matrix site.  Refer to the vCenter Hyperic 5.8.1 Documentation Center to see the other supported services under the section: vCenter Hyperic Resource Configuration and Metrics.

The only draw back on this release is there is no direct in place upgrade from 1.0 to 1.1, you would need to redeploy your App HA appliance.  For vCenter Hyperic, it is now supporting 5.8.1, so you might want to either upgrade it or redeploy it.

You can download the documentation here.  There a few new default applications that are added with all the default applications list as below:

Operation System
Apache Tomcat
6.0, 7.0
Windows, Linux
6., 7., 8.
Microsoft SQL
2005, 2008, 2008R2, 2012
Apache HTTP Server
Windows, Linux
2007, 2010
SpringSource tc Runtime
6.0, 7.0
Windows, Linux
8.x, 9.x
Windows, Linux
10 g2, 11 g2
Windows, Linux

In order to add any custom service, vCenter Hyperic Server must be able to restart the service.  The only article that I was able to find was in Japanese here.  I have listed out some of the confusion between vSphere App HA and vCenter Hyperic as stated in the post above.
  • the term "virtual machine" used in the vSphere App HA is referred to as a platform in vCenter Hyperic.
  • the term "service" used in the vSphere App HA is referred to as a server in vCenter Hyperic.
Do note that you need to setup your vCenter Hyperic before setting the service in vSphere App HA will make things easier for you.

To add a custom service, you will first discover the "Server" in vCenter Hyperic.  Note down the name of the service.  Next you would need to SSH to vSphere App HA appliance.  To do that, you would need to enable SSH Permit root access if you are accessing via a SSH client otherwise you can just proceed from the vSphere web client remote console.

Next you need to enter the following command with the service name you have noted down from vCenter Hyperic portal with the example below the service name is JBoss7.1:

# /opt/vadm-engine/bin/ add
Enter service name: JBoss7.1

Once completed, you will see your service name available when creating a policy. You will also see the status as AppHA-Custom.  You can refer to the vSphere App HA user guide page 20.

Hope this is useful for those using vSphere App HA.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A fix to Windows 2008 R2 and Solaris 10 BSOD and Kernel Panic on Intel E5 v2 Series

Few months back there were reports of Windows 2008 R2 and Solaris 10 running 64-bit experiencing BSOD or kernel panic running vSphere 5.x.  Some of my customers were also impacted by this issues.  With VMware Support, they identified that there are experiencing servers that are on Intel E5 v2 series processors.

VMware was fast and release a temporary fix to use Software MMU however this is not beneficial as this increase the CPU and memory requirements on certain applications.

So the server vendors with VMware and Intel must have gone through lots of testing and have release the updated KB2073791.  The temporary fix will still applies if your server vendors does not have an updated BIOS upgrade to make some changes to resolve this issues.

If you refer to page 50 in the document stated in the KB2703791, CA135 is the known issue as a release document from Intel.  Since a processor cannot be altered, a fixed is provided via the server vendors BIOS.

Interesting with virtualization, although we may plan and design for lots of redundancy, there is still one single point of failure we cannot avoid the main core of the hardware which is the CPU which holds the heart to all the workload.  The most important thing that we are unable to plan for a redundancy.  Good thing on x86, we are still able to use other type of CPU.  Imagine you are not on a x86 platform, such incident can still happens especially if you are in a situation where you do not even have a choice of CPU to choose from.

Glad that now all is now resolved.

Friday, May 23, 2014

What is OEM and Open License?

Before I started Presales role, I do not know the difference between OEM and Open (some call it volume license) License means.  It was something I never bother as I was doing professional service I just implement and license was not something I need to understand as long my customer bought them and hand me the serial keys to setup.  Doesn't matter is it Microsoft, VMware, Symantec or whatsoever software.

After been a Presales consultant for awhile now.  I have to understand licensing and able to explain when asked and one of the most talked and confused topic is always on OEM and Open licenses.  Been able to understand them more easily helps me to advise my customer not just in solution but also in terms of compliance not to violate any licensing agreements they have.

Here I must state the disclaimer, purpose of this post is to clarify all the doubts on what have you got confused with and as well as the references from the various vendors so none of this is NOT drived from assumptions.  This post will purely refer to all articles stated from official statement and references.  This post does not provide any recommendation or advice on what is to choose but provide you a understanding and clarification to choose the correct type of licensing yourself.  You should consult your respective consultant on the right type of license to use.

I did some search and here is a document from Microsoft on OEM licenses terms.  I would like only highlight two statements which I thought worth taking note of. 

OEM Software may NOT be transferred to another machine. Even if the original laptop, PC or Server is no longer in use, or if the software is removed from the original hardware, OEM licenses are tied to the device on which the software is first installed.  

Transferring Licenses

OEM Software may NOT be transferred to another machine.
  • Even if the original laptop, PC or server is no longer in use, or if the software is removed from the original hardware, the OEM licenses are tied to the device on which the software is first installed.
  • As long as the license and device remain together, there is no limit to the number of times they may be transferred from one user to another.  
  • When transferring a PC to a new end user, the software media, manuals (if applicable), and Certificate of Authenticity label should be included. It is also advisable to include the original purchase invoice or receipt. The original end user cannot keep any copies of the software.
When OEM licenses have Software Assurance (SA) coverage:
  • If an OEM license has SA coverage, although the SA coverage may be transferred the underlying OEM license may not. 
  • If any upgrades have been applied as part of the SA coverage, those upgrades must be removed before reassignment of SA to a new device.
Those I have underlined are very specific while the rest of the document just mainly describe the meaning.  In short, device and license must always stay together irrregardless of situation while the user to that device can be transferred to anyone with the license always tagged along the device.

Next I try to look for VMware licensing document like the one from Microsoft. Instead I found it uploaded by someone else here and could not find any directly from VMware. Reading this document which was dated back at 2009, I have highlighted the below:

VMware customers buying through OEMs will find that VMware licenses come without the restrictions they may be familiar with in other OEM‐sourced applications or operating system...

3) Can VMware's OEM partners support a VMware license they sold if the license is moved to a server from a different vendor?
Yes, should a customer purchase VMware with a server from one OEM and later decide to move the license to another server from a different hardware vendor, the customer may continue to receive its VMware support from the original OEM.  The hardware vendor is able to provide support for VMware on other hardware, as the support purchased is for the VMware license and not the hardware.

The above, illustrated the difference in OEM licensing from Microsoft or other software licensing from other vendors.  If a VMware license is purchased with a server from one OEM, the customer can eventually apply the license on any make and model which may not be the server from the same OEM where they got the license from and still getting the VMware support from the OEM.  E.g. Customer buy VMware license from OEM vendor A and later use that license on OEM vendor B server is still able to log a VMware support call to OEM vendor A which they bought the VMware OEM license support from.  One thing to note here, only VMware support.  If this is due to hardware issues related, customer would also need to involve the OEM vendor B support.

This is something very interesting I find.  Often, OEM license are normally tagged to the physical OEM hardware and not transferable unless the hardware that is transferring to is from the same OEM vendor.

OEM licenses normally are a lot cheaper than the Open (or Volume License) License in general across all types of software.  For VMware, if the license is purchase from OEM, the support will comes from OEM vendor.  How the OEM support works is documented here.  Some may ask what if the OEM vendor require Level 3 support from VMware, the OEM vendor would go through TSANET where all major software vendors are connected to provide support for each other.

As referring to the OEM document page 8, Level 1 and Level 2 support will be handled by OEM support and only Level 3 is handled by VMware Support.  In short, customer will log a case with OEM vendor support to support Level 1 and 2 issues and OEM Support will log a case with VMware support for Level 3 issue via TSANET and they will revert back to OEM vendor who will response back to customer.  The OEM vendor will be fronting the customer and VMware support will revert only to OEM vendor support.  Whereas Open (Volume License) License would contains support directly from Original Vendor e.g. customer will log a support case with VMware Support directly however Open (Volume License) are normally higher in cost due to the direct support connection.

I have seen customer on OEM license try to log a support case directly or request for escalation with VMware or Original license vendors' support.  As the support is provided by OEM support, customer MUST log case or perform escalation ONLY directly with the OEM support channel.  The cost of OEM license is attractive due to the cost and the support is directly with OEM support.  With OEM license, customer can bring down the Total Cost of Ownership using OEM licenses and often environment in Test and Dev, Testing, Development, Disaster Recovery site are very good used cases.

Open (Volume License) license on the other hand are more costly and are sold with direct support.  This is very useful where support resolution time need to be fast.  Often Open license are used for more important workloadx or production environment whereby direct of support from VMware where a shorter RTO is required.

With all this clarified, I hope you have a clearer picture now on what is the advantage of OEM licenses in cost as well as for Open license for direct support without any in between delay interaction.

Any comments are welcome.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Upgrading vSphere Distributed Switch (vDS)

Someone who is attending the vSphere Install, Configure and Manage course asked me this question.  Will upgrading a virtual distributed switch cause a downtime or require a downtime?

After performing an upgrade to vSphere to a later version, there is a upgrade button on the Distributed Switch both on the web client as well as the C# client.  You can view some of the screenshots below:

Pictures reference from

There is no downtime required when upgrading the virtual distributed switch (vDS), the upgrade process only enables additional functionality of the switch which was release in the later version of vSphere.  E.g. Network I/O control on vSphere 5.0 on port level, Network I/O control on VM Level in vSphere 5.1, etc.  You can read this from the documentation center here which mention this bit that it is a "non-disruptive operation".  The vSphere 5.5 Networking guide also mention on this in page 26.

In all operations process, it is always important to make sure before doing anything in a production environment make sure proper backup procedures are performed.  In this case, you might just want to ensure you have backup your vDS setting before doing anything live.

With so much solution now, you tends to forget the most basic part.  So this keep a record in check and remind myself once again.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Heartbleed Security Patches Fully Released

With the recent Heartbleed security issue on software which utilized the OpenSSL version 1.0.1.  As of 20th April 2014, VMware has release all Security Advisory of all affected producted as listed here.  Products that are utilizing OpenSSL below 1.0.1 are not affected as listed.

VMware has put in great effort to release all these security patches since the discovery announced on 14th April 2014 and release of the first patch on the day after.

The advice is to at least apply all security advisory as recommended at soonest to avoid any security breach.