Friday, November 16, 2012

VMware Mirage FAQ

Recently did a presentation on VMware Mirage to one of my customer who have attended the vForum 2012 and like to explore.  Some questions were posted and like to share some of the ways you can compliment or work with your existing patch management which you might currently have in your environment.

You can find out more on VMware Mirage here.
Download a free trial here.

Question 1:
SCCM in place for patching endpoints.  Mirage can help in two use cases:
  1. Use Mirage to build the reference machine for base layer and deploy to all end points.  SCCM to push all other apps and patches.
  2. Use Mirage to build reference machine for base layer and deploy to all end points as standard.  Use SCCM to only patch the reference machine.  Use Mirage to create different layers for different layers required.
Now which to choose?  I would recommend option 2.  Here is why.  Using SCCM to patch the reference image and using Mirage to capture helps manage the different stage and you are able to revert this later without impact even if a patch fails and cause an endpoint malfunction.
Secondly, using Mirage to push out the change in the layer can save you on bandwidth as Mirage will do a check on the deltas and only send the deduplication data over.  So your network can stay screaming fast.

Option 1, is still viable however do note SCCM do not perform deduplication and once transmitted you are not able to revert if your endpoint were to fail due to any incompatibility which is resulted.

Question 2:
During a XP to Windows 7 migration, will my XP applications be port over?
Answer is No.

If you have downloaded the VMware Mirage binaries, there is a Use Cases document which states the below:
"Make sure that any applications that exist on your Windows XP end points (that you wish to migrate) have been installed on this Windows 7 machine. User-installed applications on the Windows XP machine will not be migrated over to Windows 7. All user data, however, will be."

Question 3:
Mirage uses USMT to perform the migration and in such, you will see the windows.old folder after the migration.  Will Mirage remove the folder?  The answer is no.  However you can use scripts to remove it.  This is not a functionality of Mirage but rather how USMT did the migration.  Deleting the folder also mean there is no way to perform a revert back.

"Mirage will never delete the windows.old folder. This is the responsibility of the user or IT Administrator (but can be scripted using the post-migration or post-Base Image update scripts)."

Question 4:
USMT be default does not save the wallpaper of the user when migration take place.  However you can still do that by adding in the below code to the MigUser.xml file in the x86 and amd64 folder in the USMT.

<!-- This component migrates wallpaper files -->
  <component type="Documents" context="System">
    <displayName>Move JPG and BMP</displayName>
    <role role="Data">
            <pattern type="File"> %windir% [*.bmp]</pattern>
            <pattern type="File"> %windir%\web\wallpaper [*.jpg]</pattern>
            <pattern type="File"> %windir%\web\wallpaper [*.bmp]</pattern>

Question 5:
How can Mirage save on bandwidth?
There are two ways Mirage do in the background before transmission of the changed block.
1. Local deduplication on file and block level is done at the endpoint.  During this period you may observer CPU and Memory utilization,
2. Data is then compressed before sending out.

With this two in place, the amount of data which actually get transmitted is very small.

I will update this post as more questions arises.

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