Friday, December 27, 2013

VMware Support and Severity

Seeing several occasions where many are not sure what to do when logging a support call.  Depending on your support that you have purchase which comes in the follow: Basic Support, Production Support, Business Critical Support (BCS) & Mission Critical Support (MCS).  You can compare the support types at here.

You can log a call via two ways 1) online via myVMware, 2) phone providing your Customer Number.

Now first you need to know the support landing page here.  Here you see three options and all of them will bring you to login your myVMware account.  That would be simple assuming you have the rights to the licenses and you will see your customer number in the portal.  You will then be able to log a support case easily.  You can follow this guide here to learn how to log a online support ticket.

What if you do not have the rights to view the licenses but you manage to get the customer number from a co-worker who has it but he is off duty.  Simple you can log a case via phone with VMware.  You can click on "phone" under Technical Support here.  You will then be brought to a page with list of countries and what number to call by clicking on the country of choice.  In this page, it also have provided how you can retrieve your Customer Number and what is a Customer Number.

Example: If I click on Singapore, the contact details will be shown on the right.
English Language Support
1800 823 2238
6823 2239 - See more at:

English Language Support
1800 823 2238
6823 2239

Next I like to address what is the Severity to choose and not selecting the wrong one.  I have seen people logging a Severity 1 but only wanting to do it the next day.  Or a Severity 2 ticket but wanting immediate attention.  There are some confusion and this to be address to allow you to get the right support.

Here is the description of the Severity.  Mainly I want to focus just on two common support Severity that is 1 and 2 which are often used in a Production environment.

Severity 1
Let's talk about Severity 1 which I will share my past experience.  Severity 1 response time is 30 minutes.  I was working on a project in the past in a production environment and we did not want to work round the clock.  However we wanted immediate attention once the log provided are analyzed so we selected Severity 1.  Support got back to us in the night however none of us was in the data center.  End up this ticket was demoted to Severity 2.

What I did wrongly here is I selected Severity 1 for a quick response.  Indeed, VMware Support will be working round the clock to resolve the issue for Severity 1.  However by selecting Severity 1, you must be committed as well to work round the clock.  Meaning to say, if a call need to be done or a log required to be upload you need to be available to do that immediate.  Severity 1 is a very serious case, meaning you have something broken and require immediate attention and fix and no waiting time.  If there is a waiting time possible or alternative workaround, this would not be a Severity 1 case.

Severity 2
Severity 2 cases are mostly commonly encountered and this is often a fix or a troubleshooting that needs to be done by no critical impact in the production environment.  Simple to say this allows no disruption while the fix or troubleshooting is going on.  You have alternative at the moment while this support is waiting to be resolve.  You do not expect yourself to return a request e.g. uploading a log or setting up a call with the support anytime any day even in wee hours as you like to do this normally during your work hours.  Response time is 4 hours for Severity 2.

I hope you are now more clear on how to log a support call.  If you do not have a rights for the licenses in your myVMware account, I will advise you to keep the number in your phone somewhere and note down your Customer ID.

Do consider to upgrade your support to Business Critical Support (BCS) or Mission Critical Support (MCS) if you require dedicated support engineer who will know your environment well or with faster response time 24/7.  Having someone who knows your environment also means you do not have to go through multiple times to explain your environment when logging a support call.  Another good reason is to find out the Root Cause Analaysis (RCA) which many customer is not aware.  RCA is only provided in BCS and MCS customers.  In Basic and Production support, only resolutions are provided and not RCA.  Of course all this will come with extra cost but it will be worth for a Business Critical production environment where every minute counts.

You can compare the different support options here.

Update 31st Jul 2014
Compare support option.

Update 3rd Feb 2014
Added BCS and MCS support information and links.
English Language Support
1800 823 2238
6823 2239 - See more at:
English Language Support
1800 823 2238
6823 2239 - See more at:

Friday, November 29, 2013

What's New in Horizon Mirage 4.3

Having to release a newer version of Horizon Mirage from 4.2 to 4.3, there are some new features and with some limitations as well.

Here is the release note for Horizon Mirage 4.3.

You can see that in the What's New section, Horizon Mirage can now manage Persistent desktop from Horizon View.  This was not support for any virtual desktop previously as the dedup functions uses up all the CPU cycle and resulted a over demand on the ESX server.  In this release it is now only supporting full clone desktops.  You will see new upload policy setting as show below:

You can see that you can also disable client end throttling and choose that end point for this policy is optimize for LAN environment.

The next big feature is apply app layer during Windows 7 migration from Windows XP.  Previously only a base layer can be applied for migration and subsequently any new app layer/s need to be applied separately and this result some disruption to the user.  With this after migration, the app layer will also be applied when selected.

From Horizon Mirage 4.2, we were first introduced with the Web Management component just on the Web Help Manager role.  In 4.3 release, we now have a new Web Protection Manager role.  This role allows the administrator who is assigned to be able to monitor all CVD activities and finding any errors were present during synchronization.  You can refer to my previous post on the Web Help Manager.  Here I have provided how the Web Protection Manager screen would look like.

On clicking on the CVD Centralized you get to see events in the of all the CVD in this case I only have one.

Under polices, you get to see all the created policies. You can edit, delete, upgrade or even add new policy of your own.

For Volumes, you can actually block it from use.

Under Reports, it contains any report of issue here.

Clicking on it will show you the details of the report.

You can also search for a device and see all the event activities.

Limitations or not?
We know that there is a File Portal feature for the user in case their endpoint is not available and they would like to access their files.

Upon logging into the File Portal with the user credential, you will see only the standard folders in the user profile typically found e.g. Documents, Music, Pictures, etc.  You will not be able to see any other data from other drives or folder unless you have create a link in these fixed folders.

Here you will understand what I mean.  I have a E: drive which contain data but it cannot be found in the fixed folders in the File Portal.

The reason for this is simple.  If an endpoint is usable by more than one person, ACL is applied only to their respective user's folders however all users will be able to access the E: drive.  So only ACL folders can be found in the File Portal.

Hope this explains.  For those who is interested to try out Horizon Mirage you may download the trial here.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

VCDX Attempts and Fallen

For some of you, you might know I have attempted VCDX defences couple of times and none was a success and after my last attempt recently I have decided to stop doing it.  The reason was not I given up hope, perhaps I have lost more touch toward post sales consulting where I used to do it and feel different from to what I am doing as a Presales.  As all my attempts were submitted with vSphere 4 design which has retired since the last defense, I have no confident in doing a brand new frictional design based on vSphere 5.  Also I can feel the way I perform during defense versus how I face customer were completely difference.  I just cannot bring myself to be the same in a defense environment and felt the different when I did it with real customers perhaps the environment was just different.

The purpose of this article would to share all my 3 attempts and the experience I have gained and each time I always feel I could do better and, Yes I can really do better but it's already over if you know what I meant.  I have improved my design with many iterations each time comments were given what I was weak in.

This is purely my own personal experience and it will differ for different individual.

I submitted 4 times of defenses as early as 2011.  Back then I just moved from IBM to British Telcom and I just tried my luck with one of my design document for defense in Germany with a payment of USD300.  Well of course I was rejected with comments provided on my proposal content.  Indeed these comments were good.  I went through my document bit by bit and improved on it.

The first time I submitted and got through the technical document assessment was for the defense in Canada in 2012.  I was excited at least my document got accepted this time.  Meaning it has some quality else I won't be invited to the defense panel.  15 hours different from where I come from was not in advantage to me.  I arrived few days earlier to adapt to the hours different.  This was my first time in a defense and was not really sure what to expect.  Was grill deep into Networking and mind went blank.  First section after, I can physically feel my brain in my head.  I did a post of this.  Of course I didn't went through.  I was caught off guard on questions outside vSphere.

Second attempt was during VMworld 2012, same as usual after receiving the comments on why I didn't do well in my panel, I improved further on my presentation and as well as my document.  This time it was 13 hours different.  To be frank, the time was affecting me this time round.  I really couldn't perform as well.  And this time I was deeply questioned on Storage which was my weakest spot.  And attempt was also a failure.

I decided to attempt my last when it appears in Singapore this time round where the last time it was here was in 2009.  This time, I am already losing lots of touch with post sales and mind went blank and I also couldn't remember some of my content of my proposal.  This was all my own fault been bad at memorizing and having to do my daily update of the latest version of vSphere to my customers really messed up my brain.

The overall experience in every attempt got me to think deeper.  Honestly I learn more every time it helps in my work during my presales engagement technically but perhaps not as applicable as a post sale consultant.

The forums and the blueprint that are sent to all the candidates when you register for the defense are a must to read.  The videos from certification here is also very good reference.  It helps me to redo my presentation style.

Be very prepared!  Know your document inside out.  You must be able to iterate what you have submitted.  Ask if you do not understand any questions been asked.  Think clearly before answering.  I did twice the mistake in my 2 attempts giving a wrong answer after giving it to realize my mistake.  Rather take sometime to think in your head to answer correctly then to give a wrong one and be penalized.  Lastly, know everything you have put into the design not just vSphere.  You need to know well all aspects that you have place in be it servers, storage and network.  You can be tested by everything here.  Even to the deepest technical questions on why this settings and not the other.  You need to know the details.

You will get deep dive questions if there ain't any more questions the panel have on your design.  That was what I felt I encountered even though I attended the bootcamp hearing that there won't be deep dive questions but more on design.

I personally feel that having no deep dive questions would not be possible.  A cynical cycle might appear just like the army for all Singaporean have to go through as as a trainee.  Your instructor plays hard on you, when you become an instructor you might inherit that and play hard on your trainee.

How your panelist behave is subjective.  The facilitator is just to watch the rules.  He/she is not technical and will not be be aware if the panelist is been "nasty" to you.

In summary, I felt I didn't do well in any of my attempts and I lack the technical knowledge in many aspect like storage and networking.  Also my design could be graded as too simple but comments would never tell you that and I have still submitted the same for all attempts.

Nevertheless, I encourage those who are familiar with vSphere to give an attempt.  Especially post sales consultant who experience it day in day out.  Do not be discourage by it. Even if you have no intention to achieve the certification, an experience of this sort is hard to come by.  If you are doing other roles you might just need more preparation work definitely.

Wishing all future participants all the best.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

VMware Horizon View Persona Management Gotcha!

Remember back in the release of VMware View 5.0 (yes the name Horizon wasn't there then), I wrote an article on Deploy Persona Management Overview.  I also helped to answer one question in details here on Persona Management in the communities which now when I read it, I seems to know a lot I have forgotten already (am I aging).

While doing a POC I gotten some difficulty in getting Persona Management to work even though policy was applied via Active Directory as well as even tried on the "master" VM used for creating the desktop pool.  Here is a KB on it.

This is a screenshot on my customer environment apparently they have a global police in place to use only Local User Profiles so your persona will not work even settings it at domain policy or at local image policy.  I log into one of the View Desktop and run rsop.msc (you would need administrator rights), to see what policy is applied in the domain.  Some domain might take a bit of time up to 10mins to see the policy applied due to the number of policies they have in the domain.

Now before start any VDI solution, do note that not all policy are applicable to VDI desktop.  Yes some might be helpful still e.g. Folder redirection instead of using from Persona Management, others like the one above would hinder you to have a floating profile setup.

Keep in mind to have it excluded on the VDI desktops and the easiest we would place these VDI desktop in a separate OU.

One of our consultant, Jason Yeo  told me about Volume Shadow Service (VSS) requirement for Persona Management.  Persona Management uses VSS to capture the changes of your profile and update the repository every x period (default 10mins).  So make sure VSS service is not disable via policy in the domain or locally.  It has to be in Manual status.

I did not find any KB stating this however I found this on the Windows 7 optimization guide so if you refer to page 21, Persona management require VSS as stated.

It always good to learn something new.  Seems to find out more of Horizon View than before every time I touches it.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

vSphere Network Health Check Saves The Day!

Was doing a Proof of Concept for Horizon View at one customer with a partner.  The infrastructure was setup and network trunked on the uplinks.

We started out deploying all the components leveraging on customer's Active Directory, DHCP server and as well as Database.

All was well and setup but two things was encountered:
Every Desktop pools will always have some desktops not getting IP address.
Horizon View client receive connection error after choosing a desktop or while using a desktop.

Spend a bit of time troubleshooting by the partner.  Things like using a Windows DHCP instead of Linux (customer's was linux DHCP) and putting Horizon View Connection Server in the same subnet as the Desktops.

I took over to see what have gone wrong since my partner has already done so many work.  Did some tests with my colleague, Wei Chiang who is strong in networking.  We managed to isolate the issue and even set static IP on those Desktops that does not have IP however they still have intermittent problems.  Wei Chiang then suggest to use the vSphere Network Health Check and we did.

By default the Network Health Check is not enabled.  So you have to enable it from here.

Next we did a check on the vmnics connecting to each ESX servers.

I have to masked out the VLANs set and the IPs as these are not to be revealed.

Did you see what we see?  Yes the network was either configured wrongly or the wrong vmnics was used.

A quick check with the customer's team and one of the vmnic was not correct.  So after amending the correct vmnics to be used, there are still one server vmnic trunked wrongly.

A feature we hardly use but become very useful when you really need it saves you all the time and headache.  I am starting to appreciate and love vSphere Network Health Check now.  Do note this can only be done in vSphere 5.1 and only on Virtual Distributed switch and accessible only via the vSphere Web Client.  So you are using Horizon View, you would have vSphere for Desktop that carries Enterprise Plus features.  If you are on vSphere, then you would need Enterprise Plus.

Yet another issue resolved.  This will be very useful for VMware guys where they maintain en environment and doing any changes to network or scaling out their infrastructure.  It is also very useful for implementation or consultants to make sure the network is properly configured before starting any work as not to waste unnecessary time.

Hope this is useful for those having such problem.

Monday, October 7, 2013

VMware Certifications Promotion 2013

After the big event, VMworld 2013 at San Francisco and the coming Bacelona, there will be various events to carry on the information that was announced at the APAC regional vForum or VMware Solutions Symposium at individual APAC countries.

Other than the announcements and launches of new version and products, there is also promotion for certifications announced here.

I am going to take Singapore for example here where vForum 2013 will be held on 24th Oct where information of all the events are shown here.

For Singapore, you will be able to take the certification exams like the new associates exams with 50% off the price and as well as VCP and VCAP exams at 75% off the price as shown here.  One thing as a reminder, if you are taking exams that need authorization, you will still need to go through this process which I posted here.

The information on this page is rather confusing so here I am going to make a summary for easy understanding.

Exams can be taken from 11th Nov 2013 to 15th Nov 2013 at any test centers in Singapore and the discount code will NOT work if it is outside these dates.  You can also take the exam at VMware Singapore office on the vForum date if you choose the location as Suntec Tower 4 location and this ONLY possible on 24th Oct 2013 and not any dates outside with this location selected.

Here are the screenshots:

Choosing VMware Singapore office, it can only be done on 24th Oct 2013.

Using discount code outside 11th-15th Nov 2013 time frame received the below error.

Select dates within 11th-15th Nov 2013 with any exam center in Singapore will be successful applied with 50% discount.

Hope we will have more VCPs and VCAPs.  You will have a month to prepare so start the engine!

Update 7th Nov 2013
Apparently I have feedback on the booking system and now you can really take in VMware office now on those dates.
I didn't check back on the system so just to update if you choose VMware Singapore office as your test center, you will be offered 11th Nov to 15th Nov as the available dates. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

What's New vSphere 5.5 in a Summary

With the announcement from VMWorld 2013, vSphere 5.5 was launched.  In case you have forgotten or need to review a summary what vSphere 4.1 and 5.0 and 5.1 has, you can refer to my previous post here and here.

VMware has also release a whitepaper on the platform here.  There is also a blog post from VMware as well with a quick reference guide and a summary post here.

I will not mention again what is already mentioned above in post referred to.  But I will just briefly goes through some of the things I find it worth mentioning.

SSO installation and setup is now a breeze of the past.  It has been greatly improved.  I will do my best to do a video on upgrading and as well as installing for new field once I gather some time and you can see my current video on installing SSO in vSphere 5.1 to do that comparison.

Web Client now support MAC OS X for virtual machine console viewing.  I needed this as I am always on a Mac.

For environment that want hassle free setup of vCenter and saving from Microsoft Server license, now you can with the new VCSA.  It can now support up to 500 hosts and 5000 VMs with embedded database.

The biggest look forward was the VDMK file size which I am looking for.  This removed the requirement of multiple 2TB-512MB limitation since VMs are now getting bigger and this seems to be a show stopper.

The support for FCoE and iSCSI for MSCS really took a big leap.  With this supported, now even SME with IP storage can leverage on MSCS instead of relying just on FC.

Also High Availability (HA) is now DRS Anti-Affinity aware!  For those doing Metro-Cluster will love this since no longer you need to wait for the next DRS invocation.

There is a new feature adding on to the existing High Availability, that is Application HA (AppHA).  However this is still a 1.0 release so the number of supported applications do have a limitation and believe there will be extending this list either via the future release or via future updates.  Whichever the case here is the list of supported applications which AppHA support in this release which can also be found in the user guide.
  • Apache Tomcat 6.0
  • Apache Tomcat 7.0
  • Apache Web Server (httpd)
  • IIS 6.x
  • IIS 7.x
  • IIS 8.x
  • SQL Server 2005
  • SQL Server 2008
  • SQL server 2008 R2
  • SQL Server 2012
  • SharePoint 2007
  • SharePoint 2010
  • vFabric tc Server 6.0
  • vFabric tc Server 7.0
Here is a summary of for vCPU between vSphere 5.0 and 5.1.  Also the Free ESXi Hypervisor has no more hard limit of 32GB physical memory as stated here.

Number of vCPU per VM
vSphere 5.5 and Prior Edition
vCPU Entitlement
vRAM Entitlement
Free ESXi
(8 for vSphere 5.1)
Essential Plus
(8 for vSphere 5.1)
(8 for vSphere 5.1)
Standard with Operation
Management Suite Advanced
(8 for vSphere 5.1)
(32 for vSphere 5.1)
(8 for vSphere 5.0)
Enterprise Plus
(64 for vSphere 5.1)
(32 for vSphere 5.0)
Note:  For the table stating "Unlimited", please check the configuration maximum guide for the exact maximum.

There is not physical cores per processor limit.

I will update this post when more information is release.  Do check this back.

Update 14th Jul 2014
Refer to this KB on how to license your vSphere 5.x.

Update 28th Jan 2014
Added Configuration Maximum guide with a note on the table regarding "Unlimited".

Monday, September 2, 2013

VMware Solutions Walkthrough

So its after the VMworld 2013 in US.  Many of us might be curious of some of the new features and solutions that was announced.

Hearing them why not seeing it and know how each feature or function can or configured for technical guys like myself.

So here is a gimpse of it and this have not been possible from the technical guys in VMware.  Lots of effort been put through to get this simple to understand.

vSOM (vSphere with Operations Management)
From setting up ESXi servers all the way to doing some advanced setting as well as the vC Ops Standard vApp.  Not forgeting vSphere replication as well.

vCloud Suite 5.5
Here you will see VMware Data Protection 5.5, the new AppHA, the flash cache feature and of course not forgetting vCloud Director itself. 

The Virtual SAN product.  This is what many are looking into especially for the storage guys.  This is release a Public Beta Release which means its not available for purchase or download.  However interested parties can register for the public beta here.  Do note that, once the public beta expires, you would need to update with a proper license else your VSAN will fail.

Hope this will help many partners and end users the simplicity of setting up some of the components.  Do note that a proper implementation should be considered getting professional services from your vendors or from VMware is still advisable to build your infrastructure foundation proper.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New VMware Associate Level Certification

During VMworld 2013, other than the announcement of solutions, there was also a new certification announcement.  That is a new entry certification also known as Associate which was mentioned here.

For Data Center virtualization, we will have VCA_DV, for Cloud, VCA-Cloud and lastly for EUC, VCA-WM (a new term Workforce Mobility, which I think might replace the current name DT).

For a start, VMware has a promotion code for a 50% discount stated here.  The advantage of having an Associate certification, allows professional to have a easy head start without any prerequisites to take their first step towards VMware certification.  The cost of the exam is roughly about USD130 (SGD160 for me).  From now to end of the year 2013, when you book the associate exam, you will automatically receive 50% discount.

Some may not require to attend a course due to their scope of work but a recognition of their understanding of the technology.  With this, not only one does not have to spend on a course like VCP-DV requirement, but able to decide later if they really want to pursue the particular track of specialty later on (though VCP-DV is a foundation which need to be completed).

I have not taken this of yet so I cannot share any experience for this.  Believe those who are at VMworld perhaps they are able to do that.  Though I have completed all of the associate exams, I must say even with experience on all three tracks, the Cloud track is still a tough nut to crack.  I even failed on my first attempt and end up having to go through the blueprint and fundalmental video course in order to pass the it on my 2nd time (trying to act smart and not going through the blueprint was the main reason of failing).  By the way for those who are not aware, this is done at any computer of choice at any place of your choice (even at the comfort of your home), there is no need to go to an exam center.

You can view the respective blueprints from the certification site choosing the respective certification.

Hope to see more VMware certified professional practitioners down the road irregardless associate, professional or advanced professional.

 Here is some of the screenshot you will see:

After approval of the associate exam, you will them available in your Pearsonvue account.

The associate exams are online via your browser so you will see the typical exam page running off your computer.

On passing you will see this familiar screen. (Forgot to take the failed screen)

Update 29th Aug
Apparently some have take the associate exams and shared that this is a web based exam and no visit to the test center is required.

Update 7th Sept
Added in the experience and screenshots.

26th Sept 2013
Someone asked in the comments whether the questions are the same on retaking.  Even retaking the exam, you will still get brand new questions.  You might have some repeats but those are real minimal.  Anyhow you are still doing on your own computer so there is no way you cannot browse the training while doing at the same time.

1st Dec 2013
I have received comments and email on the VCA for dumbs and answer.  This is a exam to test your fundamental knowledge of VMware virtualization, mobility and cloud.  If you cannot pass, watch the video carefully.  There will be no dumbs or even answer that someone would make such an effort since your effort is to watch the video!

Friday, August 16, 2013

VMware Certification can be verified, Now you cannot lie!

With the recent revamped of VMware Certification site which I mentioned in my prior post, you may also see there are other enhancements in individual certification transcript.

Thanks to Choon Kok who brought this up in the VMware User Group - ASEAN.

By logging into the certification site, and choosing myTranscript to view all your certificates.

You will then see all your certifications that you hold to date.

For each certification, you will also see View and Share.

View - Let's you download a PDF of your certification.  The link is the same link as the provided in the Share popup window (Weird.  Either one of this link become redundant.  I do not see the need to provide a certificate to other if they can verify you from Share).

Share - Provide a link to others who need to make sure you are claimed who you are whether you hold a valid certification.  In here there are two options, one which is as above like View but the link has been copied down for you.  Secondary, is to provide a Authentication page, where you can provide to a anyone who need to verified your real certification status.  You can either provide the authentication site and provide the authentication code separately or you can place everything in one link.

The popup window when clicking on Share

Authentication Form site

Authenticate user will see your certification validity.

This is a nicely done piece at least now we can keep a soft copy of our certification.

Finally a system to verified a professional who claimed who he is can be verified from VMware directly by requesting from the individual to share the authentication site with customer, employer or even recruiters!

Since everything is new there are more refinement that can be done.  At least we are seeing a big improvement since this site has make many changes!

Update 31st Jul 2015
I came across to validate some professional claiming to be VCDX.  In fact, if you are to find out if someone is a VCDX, you can head over to the VCDX Directory, and look for the person using the search too.

VMware Certification Exam System Revamped

If you have been doing your booking for VMware exams, you would know you can do it over at Pearson Vue website.  However if you have now try to do the same you might find yourself seeing the below page after login and unable to make any registration.

VMware Education has recently revamped the way you make your exam booking.  Instead of viewing the information at VMware website and decide to schedule an exam and head to Pearsonvue, what VMware Education has done is let you do everything via VMware Certification site.

Head on to VMware Certification site to choose a certification you are preparing for.  Here I am going to use VCP5-DV for example.
You will find all the information for VCP5-DV including the course listing that is eligible to be certified.  At time of writing, only vSphere 5.1: Install Configure and Manager and vSphere5.1: Optimize and Scale are the only two courses (I am not here to explain how to be certified but to address the change).

To register just click on Register For The Exam.

You will see the below screen to fill in your details.

Once confirmed, an email will be sent to you just like the one below and you can head to Pearson Vue to schedule the exam.

Once you login to Pearson Vue, you will see the exam you have requested as show here.  Do note you will have to switch between normal certificate and Advanced view.  To carry on schedule the exam, just click the exam item and proceed as per normal instructions.  There is an improvement in the speed in changing exam location and time.

If you want to switch between VMware normal certification (VMware, Inc) and VMware Advanced certification, you have to click on testing program as above screenshot and check VMware Advanced and click Next on the next screen as show below:

If it is a certification that require prerequisites, you will need to request for authorization as show below.  You will receive an email once it is approved and will find it available schedule.

Next, if you have request for a registration and yet to receive a confirmation email for it and try to register another exam, you will see this error.  Apparently it seems that only one request can be done at any one time.

What if I have passed an exam before and try to register it again perhaps by mistake? You will not be able to proceed as show below.

In summary, I find there are some good improvements as well as some which can be further improve on.

The Good
  • From just one page, we can now schedule an exam without having to go to multiple site.
  • Prevent you from booking an exam that already passed.
  • After receiving the confirmation email, the booking interface is now much faster than before.

The Bad
  • Unable to remove passed exams after been added to the exam page view.
  • Only can make one exam request at one any one time.
  • Booking process though streamline but time to start booking is only possible after receiving the confirmation email.

Hope this post help this having trouble making an attempt to book an exam easier.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

VMware Horizon Mirage Performance Catcha

It has been some time since my last post.  Have been really busy however I always make a point to at least do a meaningful post a month.  Since VMworld is also round the corner, there will be many updates from all other bloggers around the world.

Recently was doing a Proof of Concept (POC) for Horizon Mirage and was questioned on the time to centralize an end device was too long.

Here's what happen:
A simple centralize of endpoint took as long as 140mins in one setup and 52mins in another which could not have been shorter since the endpoint is plain OS image about 40GB in size.

Setup 1
First setup that took 140mins where the Horizon Mirage Server is a VM on a standalone ESXi server with local disk with two 500GB 7.2RPM SATA disks extended into one datastore.

Setup 2
The Horizon Mirage server was installed on a physical server with 500GB 7.2RPM SATA Disks on Raid 1.  This took 52mins.

Separately, my colleague did a test as well in our office network which is connected via switches and the time taken was never more than 52mins.  This got us into question.
We did a meet up with the customer this time round and find out how the was Mirage Server and the end device connect to the network.  Here is what happen.  The customer has the end device connected on a switch which is daisy chained from a core switch which Horizon Mirage Server is connected on in both setup physical and virtual Horizon Mirage server.

This was applied to both setup.  The results difference was140mins and 52mins between virtual and physical Horizon Mirage server respectively.  Do note in a virtual environment local disk was used.  I have not test if this may be faster in a SAN environment.

From setup 1 and 2, we can see that physical Mirage server seems to be performing much better than a virtual machine.

From the above diagram, you can see that the 1GE core switch bandwidth is shared among 4 x 48 ports switches.  This limit the bandwidth even though Horizon Mirage does duplication and compression, the transfer speed would be greatly affected.  The total time in this setup took 52mins to centralize one device on a physical Mirage server.

Taking Setup 2, we connect the end device directly to the core switch where Horizon Mirage server is connected to and the time to centralize was brought down from 52mins to 44mins.

From the above two setup, duplication in Horizon Mirage is performed making use of CPU cycle and writing to disk may also be affected if the Horizon Mirage server is a VM as there is a hypervisor layer.  This could have added to the longer time from 52mins to 140mins.

There is another portion which was overlooked by many.

Remember during the installation of the Horizon Mirage Server as show below from my previous post on Horizon Mirage Installation:

The path of the network cache folder, which by default points to your Horizon Mirage installation path.  However if this is located on a separate disk e.g. SSD, the performance can greatly improved.  As common data heavily read from this cache.

This works just like a front-end cache on a storage before data is destage to the disk.  For network cache to work, it would be good to centralize a couple of end devices with the same image so that most common blocks will be located in the Network cache drive.

At a later stage when centralizing a end device with similar OS type you would see greater performance improvement since uncommon blocks will only be send and the response of the disk will also be much faster comparing to a shared disk.

Hope this give you a better in sight on the things to look out for when planning for Horizon Mirage setup.

Monday, July 1, 2013

VMware Network Diagram for vSphere 5.x (2054806)

Have you ever wonder or encounter when asked about network ports requirements for each and individual solutions from VMware?  Whether as a presales, an architect or even a VMware support engineer.

No fear!  VMware has just release a very informative network diagram show casing all the network ports and communications in between vSphere and vCloud Director components in a diagram format which makes it easier to understand than just text based.

The only catch?  This is based on the current release at the time of writing and likely it would not be updated as frequent so you might have to do your own updating whenever a new release is out.

At least it's better than none and going through all the installation guides or KBs would be a killer.
Now you can spend more time doing other things.

Here is the KB to the network diagram.  This is based on four other KBs as listed:

Monday, June 10, 2013

What's New VMware Horizon Mirage 4.2

Finally got hold of sometimes after work to do this.  Downloaded the VMware Horizon Mirage 4.2 binary.

On referring to the guide, there are additional component this time round which is the Web Management dashboard which will eventually replace the need for the Windows Management Console MMC which Horizon Mirage uses.

I did an upgrade from version 4.0 to 4.2 and the upgrade process is still the same which is located in Page 266, Mirage Administrator's Guide.

Uninstall the Horizon Mirage in the following order:
  1. Web Access (If you install this components)
  2. Mirage Server
  3. Mirage Management Console
  4. Mirage Management Server
Install Horizon Mirage 4.2:
  1. Mirage Management Server
  2. Mirage Management Console
  3. Mirage Server
  4. Web Access (if you wants to allow user to access their files via file portal)
  5. Web Management
Do note that Web Management requires Dot Net 4.0 which you can download the standalone here.  Also note that browsers supported are Chrome, Firefox, IE 9 and 10.

After setting up I was unable to locate the information on how to access the web management dashboard.  Luckily I was able to find this out from one of the VMware engineer.  It is actually stated on page 3 of the Web Manager Guide which may not be that clear.

Horizon Mirage Web URLs
  • Web Access
    http://<hostname>/Explorer (URL can be changed in the Horizon Mirage Server
  • Admin Web Access
    http://<hostname>/AdminExplorer (this is something new where administrator can search for any specific user/desktop)
  • Web Manager(Dashboard used by Web Help Desk & Web Protection Manager role)

There is a Admin Web Access added.  This is useful for any administrator who needs to search for a specific user or desktop and access the backup files.

Below is a video to have a look on the new features on Mirage 4.2.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

VMware Horizon Mirage 4.2 release

With much great work to further improve VMware Horizon Mirage, VMware has release version 4.2 which is mentioned here.

Some of the great improvement here include Vista support for Disaster Recovery, hardware migration and Windows 7 migration from Windows Vista.

Added other than bitdefender encryption, now Sophos 5.5 endpoint encryption is also supported.

To add further, a web console for help desk to do troubleshooting is now found instead of relying on MMC.

Though this release did not have any support for Windows 8 which means support for USMT version 5 is yet to be included.   I hope to see more improvements such as these above soon.

I will do an article on Mirage 4.2 soon.

See the release note here.
Documentation can be located here.
Download the binary here.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

VMware vExpert 2013 announced!

The results of the vExpert 2013 accreditation is released!  A list of the people are listed here.  I am glad to be part of this accreditation again for the 2nd time.

For those who have achieved vExpert 2013, Tintri is offering a free T-shirt to congrats all of you here. (This has ended.)

I have shared my first experience in my previous post, those who are motivated to be one do start doing some contribution to the community.  You can be a technology evangelist or even a blogger or just a forum participants who contribute back to the communities.

Sharing is caring and we live by these communities to have our life in any roles in the virtualization space and be awarded with this accreditation.

I also like to thank all those who have supported my blog and YouTube channel and hope to continue to produce useful articles to the community.

Once again congratulation to all the vExperts!

More freebies for vExpert.  For all vExpert please refer to the community discussions.

Update 4th Jun 2013
I got know another benefit for vExpert 2013 from TrainSignal for a year.  Register here.

Update 12th Jun 2013
Nutanix is giving out a pint glass posted in their Facebook post also documented here.  I think the registration will end before VMworld 2013 on 26th Aug 2013.
Proximaldata is giving out 1 year free trial for their AutoCache.

Update 7th Aug 2013
Another reward for vExpert a Raspberry Pi!  Quick register before 12th Aug 2013 to get yours.
Another vExpert Dawood is giving out a vExpert sticker out of his own for all vExperts.  A very good gesture from him.
There is a vExpert clothing store here.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

VMware Site Recovery Manager 5.1 FAQ Explanation

Was asked by few customers confused on Site Recovery Manager (SRM) compatibility with vSphere Essential Plus.  And I thought I do make a explanation to clear this confusion which I was able to find the documents stating it.  Also refer to my previous post on vCenter Editions to understand the different editions of vCenter.

First and foremost,  the current release of SRM at the time of writing is 5.1.1.  SRM must work with same version of vCenter.  So if your vCenter is 5.0, you can only run SRM 5.0.  In order to run SRM 5.1, you need to upgrade only your vCenter to 5.1 while vSphere can remain any version that is supported by vCenter 5.1.  In this case, vSphere 4.x and above.  You can check out the interoperability using the site here.  Here is an example:

Next, we know that SRM 5.1 support vSphere Essential Plus.  That is true however if you are using a lower version of SRM, vSphere Essential Plus is not supported.  ONLY SRM 5.1 supports vSphere Essential Plus.  Read the SRM FAQ guide on page 3 and page 5.

To find out the vSphere edition supported, you can refer to this site.  Below is an example:

With the vSphere supported, there is the question that goes to vCenter edition.  As we know there are 3 favours of vCenter, Essential (from Essential or Essential Plus kit), Foundation (limited to 3 hosts) and Standard (no limitation).  SRM 5.1 will support all 3 editions of vCenter but any version of SRM prior to 5.1, will only support vCenter Foundation and Standard Edition ONLY.  This is due to the support form SRM 5.1 on vSphere Essential Plus for that vCenter Essential is supported.

If you are run Essential Plus at both Protected and Recovery site, this is supported on SRM 5.1 with vCenter 5.1.

Monday, April 29, 2013

VMware Horizon View 5.2 Transfer Server Repository Setup

It has been sometimes that I last setup my Horizon View Transfer server back when it was in version 5.0.

Today as I need to setup in a Horizon View 5.2, I have to start creating.  So my setup was pretty simple, I have a share drive on the Transfer Server (this can be anywhere), and the binary installation was smooth.

I couldn't find any much details of the restriction from the installation guide, but I did remember version 5.2 support Hardware version 9 which was previously not supported.  Also PVSCI was also supported for the virtual SCSI controller for the disk.

After logging into Horizon View Administrator portal, I added the Transfer Server.  It was then rebooted with configuration to add in 4 virtual SCSI controllers.

Now come the exciting part.  I could not add in the respository and keey getting error:
"Error: 59 - Problem verifying information for an image repository"

I was stuck!  Doing a Google returns me the closest KB but with a different error code.  Decide to give it a go and Wala!

It still applies for Horizon View 5.2 even though the KB states till 5.0.x.   We should add the repository first before adding the Transfer server into the Administrator portal.

Another catcha which is if the repository is on the Transfer Server itself, do not use the Network Share location setting use the Local filesystem.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

VMware Converter Standalone 5.1 with support for GPT and UEFI

With the release of vSphere 5.1 Update 1, all components that has a dependency with vCenter would be updated.  That would include vCenter Heartbeat, Site Recovery Manager, vCenter Orchestrator, vSphere Storage Appliance, vCloud Director, vSphere Data Protection and not forgeting VMware Converter Standalone.

As we all know that VMware Converter Standalone is free comparing with other Converter products which are chargeable by per system/VM.  But the reason that most of us would go to other solutions because we have systems with GPT disks or UEFI firmware interface.

With the release of VMware Converter Standalone 5.1, it now has new features with the support of UEFI source machines as well as GPT support and many other which you can refer to the Release Notes.  Of course with the new release it will also support the latest OS like Windows 8 and Windows 2012 and file format EXT4.

Though this support came a little bit late, but at least now we are able to save a little bit of cost.

Vmware Converter Standalone Documentation is located here.
Download VMware Converter Standalone 5.1 binary from here.

Friday, April 26, 2013

VMware Horizon Workspace Folder and File Sharing Detailed Walkthrough

I have many people asking me how to share or what can I share to a user on Horizon Workspace.  So Here I am going to share with you some screenshot and understand what can or cannot be done.

We will be able to have a preview of normal office documents, pictures as well as PDF files in Horizon Workspace.  However if its a unknown format or files that cannot be display per se e.g. zip files, it will not be display.

Now let's talk about sharing of files and folder.

First of all, you are able to share file or folder to outside external parties from your domain.  This enable users to share file with third parties outside the domain.  External party will not be able to install the Horizon Workspace client as his account are not connected to the internal Horizon Workspace server.

Below is a screenshot on the context menu you will see when you click to share a Folder or a File.

Sharing a Folder

Sharing a File

When you share a File you will be provided with a URL Link which you can send to your user.  Anyone if that link will be able to access the file.  If you decide to stop sharing, you can do so too by clicking on Stop Sharing as shown below.

For Folder Sharing, you will have more options as show below.  Also you can see that if you try to Invite to edit to external party, this will not be possible.  Simple to understand as this type of user are not part of your domain so its not possible for them to use your internal SMTP server to send the invite.  That would be security flaw!

If you click on the expansion, you will be able to change any sharing rights or Stop Sharing completely.

If you decide to change a invited user rights from e.g.view to view and edit, you will see the confirmation on clicking Share.

When you share a Folder, the user will receive an email just like below.
If you remove the user the rights, he will also receive an email on his rights been revoked.
Interestingly, the picture of the user if he did set it up in his Horizonworkspace account will be displayed when emails are triggered to the sharing users.

Once the user click on the link for the first time, he will be bought to the site to setup the password for future access.  A virtual user will be created and the Administrator will be able to see the user been created once he has created his password.

The look and feel for the invited users looks exactly the same other than he cannot do invite any users.  He will be able to edit if he has the rights for it.  Of course if he is an internal user, his Horizon Workspace will be just adding the folder into own Workspace.

What if the invited user forgot his password?  Here he can Reset his password by clicking on "Forgot password?".  You would need to enter the username which is his email else he will see the error message "You must enter a username".  Once the email is sent, you will see the message "An email has been sent to your email address with information regarding resetting your password".

This is the email the invited user will received.  This reset do have a expiry as well just in case the user forgot to use it.

On clicking the link you will be bought to the site again to key in a new password.

For the invited users, once he is log into Horizon Workspace, with a View rights, he will see as below.

If the invited user has Edit rights, he will have additional options namely delete, move and rename.

To remove any virtual users, the Horizon Workspace Administrator will need to log into the Admin portal to remove the users.  The administrator will not be able to reset the password from the portal.  Though there is a way to do that via command but I find that the rational is there, since the invited users can do the reset of password themselves and sending password over email isn't secure in the first place.

Here you have it.  A detail walkthrough on how Folder and File sharing look like in Horizon Workspace.

Update 31st Oct 2013
Out of curiosity what if I shared a folder or a file and I move its location?  Well don't worry, your links that was sent out to your users will still be able to download.  This means that Horizon Workspace has the intelligence to know to update the the location with the link you have previously sent it out.

I tried this with dropbox, sadly it failed.  Meaning you would need to resent a new URL to whom you shared with.

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