Thursday, March 21, 2013

VMware vExpert 2013 Application is now open

And yes the VMware vExpert 2013 application is now open!  Last year I did a post on what you can do and how I achieve without having the intention to receive any accreditation.

You can also get yourself accredited if you do contribute back to the communities related to virtualization and cloud computing.

To apply for it go here and remember the closing date is April 15, 2013 Midnight PDT.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

VMware Horizon Suite License - All You Need to Know

As of 1st June 2013, VMware Horizon Suite adds a new licensing type for Concurrent user.

With the launch of VMware Horizon Suite, arises many questions on licensing.  Here I have summarize some of the scenarios of licensing which will help you understand better.

First we need to understand what is in the Suite.  VMware Horizon Suite comprises of Horizon Workspace, Horizon View and Horizon Mirage.  Each has its own licensing if purchase ala cart.

Horizon Workspace - Named User
Horizon View - Concurrent User
Horizon Mirage - Named User

From VMware Product Guide:
Named User - Means your employee or Third Party Agent who has been authorized by You to use the Software in accordance with the terms of this Agreement.

Named User - Specified user that is licensed to used the software.  No sharing licenses among users. License can be transfer to a new user if previous leave the company.

From VMware Product Guide:
Concurrent User -  Means the total number of users accessing or using the Software at any given time to maintain an Active Connection to their workspace or desktop through an endpoint device.

Concurrent User - Irregardless who is the user, the total active connections at any time to a powered on virtual desktop from an endpoint does not exceed the number of licenses purchased.

To better understand here is an example:
If you have 300 users in your environment, but only 150 users are log on anyone time.  You will need:
Named User = 300 users.
Concurrent User = 150 users.

Current customer who are using Horizon App Manager, VMware Mirage, VMware View and VMware Thinapp, has an option to upgrade which can be found in this whitepaper.  The only different here is VMware View customer can trade up from one concurrent user to two named users licenses when upgrading to Horizon Suite.

Do note that Thinapp is no longer available as an ala cart option.  It is now bundle with Horizon Suite or any of the three modules as ala cart purchase.  VMware workstation in Horizon Suite/Workspace/View is licensed to just do Thinapp packaging.  While VMware Fusion Pro in Horizon Mirage is used as end point management for Mac end point running a copy of Windows that is managed by Horizon Mirage.

You can refer to this site.
Bundle or Suite
Type of License
  Horizon View
  • Horizon View
  • ThinApp
  • Workstation *
  • vSphere for Desktop
  • vCenter for Desktop
  Concurrent User
  Horizon Mirage
  • Horizon Mirage
  • ThinApp
  • Workstation *
  • Fusion Pro
  Named User
  Horizon Workspace
  • Horizon Workspace
  • ThinApp
  • Workstation *
  • Horizon Mobile for Android
  Named User
  Horizon Suite All three smaller bundles:
  • Horizon View
  • Horizon Mirage
  • Horizon Workspace
  Named User or Concurrent User
* In all Horizon bundles and the suite, VMware Workstation is licensed for the creation of virtual machines for the ThinApp capture-and-build process. Workstation is not licensed for creating virtual machines for users. VMware Fusion Pro in the Horizon Mirage bundle is intended for the creation of virtual machines for users, and Horizon Mirage can manage those Fusion virtual machines.

A KB relating to Horizon Suite licensing can also be found here.

Scenario 1
10 users who need Horizon Workspace or Horizon Mirage or Horizon View only.

You can purchase 10 named users of Horizon Workspace/Mirage/View or Horizon Suite.

Scenario 2
10 users who need Horizon Workspace and also using Horizon View.

You need 10 named users of Horizon Suite OR you can purchase 10 named users for Horizon Workspace and 10 concurrent users of Horizon View.  Definitely going Horizon Suite will be cheaper only caveat is Horizon View will be different in a Named User instead of Concurrent User in a Horizon Suite Named User licensing type.

Scenario 3
10 users who need Horizon Workspace and 5 users using Horizon View and 5 users using Horizon Mirage.

If all the same 10 users use Horizon Workspace then you can use 10 Named Users for Horizon Suite.

If user who are using Horizon Workspace but are not the same users using Horizon Mirage/View, then you would need to purchase ala cart for that matter as the Horizon Suite license cannot be split up.

Scenario 4
10 users using Horizon Workspace.  The same 10 users will be using Horizon View where 5 of them are using dedicated persistent desktop and will be manage by Horizon Mirage and rest are using Floating Pool desktops.

You would only need 10 Named Users for Horizon Suite.  The 10 users are allowed to use either or all of the 3 components of Horizon Suite.

Scenario 4 (New)
10 user using Horizon Workspace and View/Mirage however only 5 users at anytime will be using.

With the new Horizon Suite concurrent user licensing, you can purchase Horizon Suite with concurrent users.

In summary,  you can choose to purchase ala cart or suite and you can mixed and match the different license type in the new Horizon Suite named user and concurrent user to meet your environment requirements.

For Horizon Suite, each Named User consist of 1 license for Horizon Workspace, Horizon View, Horizon Mirage and Thinapp for that particular Named User.  It cannot be separated for different user.  This applies the same for concurrent user type.

Lastly where should I run all the management workload?  If you are only implementing everything other than Horizon View, you would need to host this in vSphere for server.  However if you have purchase the suite or you have vSphere for Desktop, you are allow to host any portion of the Horizon solutions in vSphere for Desktop.  This can be read from the document here in page 14.

Update 19th Apr 2013
Added and example to explain Named and Concurrent user.

Update 3rd May 2013
Added vSphere for Desktop licensing.

Update 5th Jun 2013
Added the new licensing announcement for Horizon Suite concurrent user and a scenario to illustrate it.

Update 3rd Mar 2014
Added in VMware Product Guide which contains VMware definition.

VMware Horizon View 5.2 Feature Pack 1: Web Access & Utility Touch

With the release of VMware Horizon View 5.2, comes the Feature Pack 1 which allows Web Access through browsers and as well as Touch Utility found on Horizon View mobile client on Android and Apple.  You can view all these nice features from my previous post on Horizon Suite.

Today I will summarize some of the requirements to get the Feature Pack 1 installed.  I would not go into much details as the documentation provided on Horizon View are sufficient to do any simple installation and as my previous post there reviewer's guide provide a very detailed step by step which you can refer to.

Please note that HTML Access is only enabled for all PC and Mac specific browsers supporting HTML5.  iPad running iOS6 or higher with Safari is also possible however if your iPad is installed with mobile Horizon View Client, the default action is to use the Horizon View Client instead unless it is not available

Also HTML Access has only image projection, there is no audio.  Functions and features e.g. USB redirection and audio requires the use of Horizon View Client.

To know the end points supported with which browsers, please refer to this  document.
To get Feature Pack 1 working, you would need the below:
  1. Horizon View 5.2 (You need to be at this version)
  2. Install Feature Pack 1 HTML Access on Horizon View Connection Servers
  3. Feature Pack 1 agent to be installed on all master VM/Desktop used in desktop pools
  4. Enable HTML Access in Desktop Pools settings
  5. Enable Inbound Windows Firewall rules 8443 on Security Server (which is precreated when you install Security Server 5.2)
  6. Edit Blast Secure Gateway on both Connection and Security Server if it differs from what is entered by default during installation
After completion of installation, you can see the better improved web interface of Horizon View 5.2 with improved performance.

As mentioned on Step 4 above, you will see the option as show below:

If you did not enable this checkbox, you will only be able to access the Desktop via the client but not via HTML.

Step 5, three inbound Windows firewall rules greyed out showing its disabled.  You would just need to enable it on the Security Server.  It is recommended to check that the Connection Server has the inbound rules enabled as well.  You will realize the description is "Blast-in".

Step 6, You find a new Blast External URL gateway for both on Connection and Security Server.

A view of Utility touch on my Samsung Note II mobile phone allows the ease of using Windows and access the Start Menu more efficiently.  Do note that Utility Touch is only supported on mobile Horizon View Client for Apple and Android.

Utility Touch on Windows XP

Utility Touch on Windows 7

There is also included policy which can use to configure some parameters for Blast.  You can see from the screenshot below.  Import just like View policy for persona and PCoIP.

At the time of writing, I have tested the HTML Access using Windows 7 to work successfully.  Windows XP seems to have some issues and encounter this error message when using HTML Access
An error has occurred: {"code":"ECONNRESET"}

On a side note learned from my Home Lab
I set this up in my Home Lab and have used all the internal IP and FQDN for the Connection Server External URL and IP and for the Security Server, I have used the public IP and DNS.

I was able to perform all client access however I encounter HTML access from WAN failed with timeout after selecting a desktop via the Security Server.  I know the connection to Connection Server was successful because I was provided with the front facing page of HTML Access since that package is installed only on Connection Server.

I have directed 443, 4172 and 8443 to my Security Server which is facing my router which is internet facing.  After analyzing again, your internal network which is your Connection Server must be able to recognize the external URL/IP of the Security Server.  This is something which my internal network gateway is unable to resolve.  I added another gateway which is public DNS aware and this resolve.

What was learned from this is that 8443 need to be dual directional.  Meaning that Security Server will pass the traffic to Connection Server who will redirect this back to Security Server.  Connection Server must be able to resolve the External URL of the Security Server.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Horizon View 5.2 Desktops Plug-in to vSphere Web Client Tech Preview

With the release of vSphere 5.1 Web Client and Horizon View 5.2 there came about some integration which was not really mentioned and talked about.

However for those techies who are eager to try or test out new functionality there is something "hidden" in the installation folders of Horizon View Connection Server and the folder is named TechPreview.

So what is this about?  Typically you do not get Tech Preview codes in the public.  This is actually a Horizon View Desktops Plug-in integration with vSphere Web Client.

So let us go through the installation guide how this can be done and its documented here.  You can also refer to the Horizon View 5.2 Installation document page 113.

As you follow the steps, there are some catchas you need to watch out and I have listed the below for you.

In Section: Configure View to Recognize the vCenter Lookup Service

Step 2:
On setting the JAVA Home the document state:
set JAVA_HOME=c:\Program Files\VMware\VMware View\Server\jre

You will encounter the following error "The system cannot find the path specified... "
 Reason you see this is the path cannot contain spaces for the folders.  So either you use a 8 characters workaround like I did here, or you can include a \/ syntax for space.

The corrected syntax should be:
>set JAVA_HOME=c:\Progra~1\VMware\VMwar~2\Server\jre
~1 refer to the first list of any folders starting with "Progra"
~2 refer to the 2nd list of any folders starting with "VMware"

You will then request to key in the adminstrator password used in the Step 3 syntax.
>regtool.cmd configureLookupService -u domain -ld https://lookup-server:7444/lookupservice/sdk

Note: The command syntax are case sensitive. 

You will need to go through to get the security thumbprint in order to perform Step 4.

In Section: Register the View Desktops Plug-in

On Step 2,
>regtool.cmd register -u view-admin@domain -lu sso-admin@domain

Note that the SSO Admin id is case sensitive if you are using the default is should be Admin@Domain-System

After everything is setup correctly, you will see the below and be able to search for users and relate to the desktop they are using.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

VMware Data Protection and Data Protection Advanced

With the release of vSphere 5.1, VMware have announce a new backup appliance based on EMC Avamar.  However there are also some limitations to the free vApp have.

Recently Data Protection has release an Advanced version which was announced on the blog.

To help everyone have a better understanding of the two I have done a summary as below.

Here is some of the FAQ which you can read from here for more information.

Below is a summary of the two editions.

VDP Advanced
Per CPU licensed
Included with vSphere Essential Plus and above
Included in
vSphere Enterprise with Operation Management and above
Max deduplicated storage per appliance
3 favours of 0.5TB, 1TB, 2TB
Dynamically provisioned up to 8TB
Max supported VMs per appliance
Max appliances per vCenter
Full VM and file level recovery
SQL & Exchange server agents
Migration from VMware Data Recovery
Yes, Data only backup jobs require recreation

As you can see from above, the main difference of the two other than scalability is the agents provided for Exchange and SQL servers for application consistency as well as the dynamic provision possible to increase the disk which in the basic version you will have to choose out of the 3 favours and you are basically stuck.

Also to note, you would need to use the Migration Utility tool to migrate from VDR to VDP before using it to VDP Advanced.  This is also stated here.  As stated on the Administration guide, on page 88, you would need to use VDP to do the migration before upgrading to VDP Advanced as migration tool is only available in VDP.

Many have asked can VDP or VDP Advanced replace any your existing backup solution or how does it differentiate from normal backup solution?  The answer to this it does not.  It compliment them.  VDP is more suited for small environment or even remote offices where there are not many VMs and setting up an enterprise backup solution would be too costly.

Where VDP Advanced will be able to meet SMB requirements where there are more workloads, however both editions does not do tape out so you would definitely work with your existing enterprise backup to do that.

Have a thought about this you would have your in cycle backup already in your environment, however at time you might want some short term backup stored some place where you can easily retrieve them, and perform a restore fast rather via a archived tape.  Also to create new backup jobs out of backup cycle might not be appropriate.

Hope this helps better understand how VDP helped and better fit your environment.

At the time of writing, VDP Advanced has all the features functions of the basic VDP and also have resolved some bugs which might have found in the basic VDP.  One of which was the issued with Windows 2008 R2 found in VDP which is documented here.  Currently resolution is to disable disk.EnableUUId, this disable VSS application quiescing as stated in another KB listed in the one above, an update will be release soon to address this for the basic VDP.

Do note this is also affecting not just VDP but also other backup solutions.  Do check with your backup vendor if you encounter the same.

Update 26th Mar 2013
According to this blog post, the issue with WIndows 2008 R2 issue which I mentioned above for VDP is resolved in VDPA and VDP will be address later soon.   The post also show how you can consider to backup Oracle Database with some manual intervention which I see can be automated with some scripts.

VDP Advanced is only included in vSphere Enterprise with Operation Management and above.

Update 28th Mar 2013
According to Preetam Zarey, he has tested that if you perform a reboot of the VM where your disk.EnabledUUId is already true, it could be cause by the OS not recognizing it.  This is based on this KB.  However if this does not solve your problem then you would need to set it to false.

Update 8th Apr 2013
Another workaround after editing the vmx file, do a vMotion to have the effect loaded.  Here is a article you can refer to.

Update 16th Apr 2013
Added VDP Administration guide stating migration utility tool available onlyin VDP not VDP Advanced.

Update 26th Apr 2013
VDP 5.1.10 has been released to resolve Windows 2008 R2 backup with some additional  enhancements.  Refer to my post here.

Friday, March 1, 2013

vSphere Best Practice: VM CPU performance due to BIOs CPU power setting

One of my customer brought sent this this to me and I thought I should share this.

After the installation of vSphere5.1 and the setup of vCenter, we started migrating machines onto this new ESX Cluster (we have a 12 node 4.1 Cluster)

What we noticed was that when vMotion the VMs from one host to another, we got inconsistent CPU values.  These VMs have clean windows install.

The spike in CPU is after it has migrated to ESX hosts 3,4,5 or 6 and when we moved it back to 1 and 2 it went back down.  We were thinking it was doing some work but after one hour, the CPU stays at a constant 20-30% with these processes.  Also the Hosts had only 1 machine running on it so it could not be a lack of resources.

Automatically we assumed that it was VMware Tools but the issue still persisted after we uninstalled VMware tools.

After much troubleshooting, we found out the cause and it is the power settings of the HP server which has to be set in BIOS.

If this was set to anything other than Maximum performance we saw this issue.
After the setting was changed and a reboot performed, CPU was back to normal. (Spike was due to vMotion)

Just wanted to inform you on this as I had not seen this issue before and just wanted to share this out as I could not find anything about this online.

Referring to Performance Best Practices for vSphere 5.1, in page 15 and page 23, typically we would set this is Balanced Profile.  However in this case, my customer has experienced was to set this to Maximum Performance.  Since this is the case, the recommendation is also to check with your Hardware vendor for the recommendation for VMware deployment to be sure of the results.  There is also a KB on power management settings.

We really need to find such great contribution from users regularly to learn and spread the news.  Isn't it great to receive such email from my customer.   Don't you?

We can't know it all but if the community contribution life would be much easier in making job done more efficiently.

vSphere Assessment Tool (vSAT)

If you are not aware, there is a new tool announced during VMworld US 2019. That is the vSphere Assessment Tool (vSAT). To access the sit...