Wednesday, December 17, 2014

VMware User Group Singapore Conference - The First!

Yes the very first VMware User Group (VMUG) Singapore Conference is happening on 23rd Jan 2015!

It came a long way, from the first VMUG meeting held from few members to a large group of members now.  From a meetup every couple of months to almost every month.  As it matures today, it has more and more sponsors/vendors sharing their technology and road map as well as special speakers.

Coming the first month of next year (not too long to wait), the very first VMUG SG Conference will be held at Marina Bay Sands.  This is the first time a full day conference been held in Singapore.  There are already many in the States and Australia however this is the very first milestone for Singapore.

For those not aware, VMUG are run by users in the VMware community so VMware does not come into any organizing this such event like vForum equivalent.  This is focus for the VMware users by the users.

The agenda is finally out and the speakers are all ready.  You will be looking forward to meet up with reowned bloggers, book writers, etc. e.g. Scott Lowe, Simon Seagrave, Alastair Cooke.

What are you waiting for?  Get your horses ready, block your calendar and head over to here to register for the event NOW!

I hope to see all of you there.  In case you are not a member yet, just register an account to keep yourself updated of future events and register for this event too!


Update 13th Jan 2015
The mobile app for VMUG Conference is now up and running.  Download it on your Android or iOS now and use it on the day itself to keep track of the sessions and speakers.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

IT Paradigm Changed, Have you?

Last month of the year and today have a some talk over lunch with a colleague and decide to pen this down which I see lacking on the market.

I have spoken to customers and also spoken to some colleagues and realize the IT paradigm as changed quite substantial.  However many are still operating the wrong way which end up even with virtualization, cloud or Software Defined Data Center, etc. it is still not helping them achieve in a big scale.

Recently I did a session on BC/DR: Implementing a Holistic Strategy with VMware Solutions session at APJ vForum in Singapore.  I mentioned a few things that was abstracted from VCDX Design Defense Blueprint page 11.  This diagram has helped me in a lot of discussion and I see many are still not aware.  The five things: Availability, Recovery, Security, Manageability, Performance.

Taking an example today, when a Application owner request a machine with certain specification in terms of CPU, Memory and space from an Infra personnel, the answer was: "Just provision as requested".  In this scenario, it doesn't matter if this is physical or virtual, if the machine was to have issues or went down, who is always held responsible?  Infra guys.  Have you ever thought that both are at fault?  First did the Application owner knows what he really wants?  Did the infra personnel asked him the details?  Could think be different?  Would things like availability requirements, RTO, RPO, security, etc come into play?

In bigger organization, many would think that they have the budget, they could implement lots of solutions, automate them but in a smaller enterprise or businesses we cannot do that.  Is that really true?  Even in this big organization, do you think the infra personnel asked those questions?  They might not but why they ain't they facing the same in the smaller enterprise?

Let's go back to my session on BC/DR.  When application owner request a machine, questions like what is your RPO, RTO and availability could be asked?  So if an organization has a daily backup (assuming they do daily backup for everything unless stated otherwise) they will place that machine into the usual job schedule.  This will end up your RPO to be 24 hours (once a day equate 24 hours).  If this is a database, would this be sufficient?  Or do you need a RPO of 1 hour?  In terms of availability, do you have a SLA?  Any clustering requirements or application redundancy solution?  vSphere has App HA, physical world can leverage on Veritas cluster or MSCS.  Was this mentioned and questions?  Say the application owner has $20,000 to spend on this machine, but requested a five 9's SLA, can this be even achieved?  If not, what is possible or alternative?  Today, the IT Infra personnel is no longer just someone who administrate the environment.  He act as a consultant to the company and he has to questions and provide advice.  His responsibility has just grown bigger.  By missing this out, the expectation from both parties will be different.  Technology has advanced, human thinking need to be enhanced.

Now let's goes back to the normal environment on request.  Same thing would have applied.  If an application owner request for a machine, would you check what is their requirements?  In bigger organization, why do they do so well in term of the process?  Is it not the technology?  That is partially correct.  The consulting creating this process was either correct or the process all along in the organization was set correctly.  So in a big organization today, when someone requested for a machine, all this questions would be ask and chosen by the requester when they submit the request.  E.g. A Dev machine could be auto assign to a Tier 3 storage where functional test is expected not a performance test.  Production machine is automatic place on a Tier 1 since they would need that performance.  They could also be asked, if Availability is checked, MSCS will be implemented else the standard vSphere HA is used instead.

As people start to use these systems, the consultant role mentioned previously from the infra personnel start to goes away.  In such, big organization might still have the the usual IT personnel who didn't have the knowledge cause the system has already done the work.  What has changed, a proper workflow was implemented to automate the process.  What is different here was the process.  Can this process be used in other places?  Answer is Yes!

Back to organization that cannot automate or pay for big consultation fee to do that, can they provide a better service up front?  Can they enable the process to be more efficient?  Can application owner be realistic and co-own responsibility?  The answer is Yes!  So would automation tool be useful in an Data Center?  Yes if you got the right process implemented.  No, if you don't if that automation tool is just a tool without a proper process first in place.

How many times you hear people introducing different automation tools or solutions and tell you process need to be in place?  How can you help you if that?

People makes the different and I see many professionals are still holding on to old IT paradigm and this has to change when technology evolved, the mindset has to shift.  Do something different today, questioned what is required?  What is the alternative?  No one knows the environment better than the infra personnel.  Not only do you value add to the company, you also create a niche for yourself.  You also get both parties have the same expectations and during an issue the responsibility of the machine is not just you alone.

Sit down. Have a thought.  By asking shifting your thinking can create a whole different, will you?

This is strictly a personal point of view.  There can be many others reason and debates.  In summary, the IT Paradigm is no longer the same and the way we think and do should also reflect the changes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

VMware CPU Compatibility for EVC

Quite sometime back, I did wrote about how to use the compatibility site on VMware HCL page here.  Recently I saw that there was and additional page there was added just for CPU.

It might be a little too much work to clicking through for one model and another just to check what are the Enhanced vMotion (EVC) modes supported.

So here VMware just release one for CPU just to have a ease of check here.  Of cause you can still check out the KB to understand more on CPU class.

Here is a video to illustrate how you can use the new section.



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

VMware vExpert 2015 Kicks Off!

Updating my first blog post this month by the new of the vExpert 2015 kick off while I am busy with vForum Singapore.

There are so many great news today.  First the news on VMware by ZDNet as the most important IT vendor.

Back to the main subject.  Hurry yourself now head to the blog post to sign up and be accredited vExpert yourself by proving your contribution to the communities.

I have previously shared my experience why I started all this sharing.  Do your part, so this community can be leverage on to help you and me and everyone else.

This year will two application date while the latter date is not yet announced, it best not to missed it.

Hope to see more vExpert in 2015!


Update 28th Feb 2015
The vExpert 2015 round two application is now live!  Head to the form now.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New and Re-brand with vRealize

With both the VMworld 2014 in San Francisco and Barcelona, there are many new bundles and re-branding starting with vRealize.

To many there are many questions and confusion on what is really in all these bundles?  Here I am just to clarify the confusion which I, myself got confused with and have cleared it up.

Re-branding
We know that VMware has vCenter Operations Management Suite (Standard/Advanced/Enterprise).  In this suite, there were 4 components namely: vC Ops Manager, vCenter Infrastructure Navigator, vCenter Chargeback (EOA), vCenter Configuration Manager.  With the new re-branding, this is now call vRealize Operations 6 (Standard/Advanced/Enterprise).

The powerful vCloud Automation Center (formerly DynamicOps), is now rename to vRealize Automation.

IT Business Management (ITBM) which provide a transparency of cost and services across your whole infrastructure is now known as vRealize Business.

VMware Log Insight a log analytics tool is also renamed to vRealize Log Insight.
Something which was not announced (maybe I missed out) but was renamed, vCenter Orchestrator that comes with vCenter is not call vRealize Orchestrator.

vRealize Hyperic is the new name for vCenter Hyperic (formerly vFabric Hyperic).

New Bundle/Product
VMware vRealize Operations Insight 6 is an add-on for vSphere with Operation Management (vSOM) customers who are interested in upgrading their vCenter Operations Management Suite Standard (part of vSOM) to the Advanced edition comes with vRealize Log Insight.

A new bundle for naked vSphere customers or Openstake customers known as vRealize Suite 6 Standard/Advanced/Enterprise which consists of vRealize Log Insight, vRealize Operations, vRealize Automation, vRealize Business with each similar edition as described.

vRealize Code Stream an application delivery framework to streamline and automate in software delivery process.  It can be integrated out of box with jFrog Artifactory.
 
For vCloud Air;
For customers who are on vCloud Air, you will be able to use VMware vRealize Operations Advanced/Enterprise and vRealize Automation Advanced/Enterprise Public Cloud Extension

In summary, you are seeing that VMware is trying to align the portfolio of the solutions more specifically.  From the previous on End User Computing (EUC) solutions to brand with "Horizon", and Management solutions with "vRealize", you will be seeing a clearer picture of what solution this all contains and about.



New Formly known Description
vRealize Suite NEW vRealize Automation + vRealize Business + vRealize Operations + vRealize Log Insight
- vRealize Automation vCloud Automation Center NA
- vRealize Business IT Business Management NA
- vRealize Operations vCenter Operations Management Suite NA
vRealize Operations vCenter Operations Management NA
- vReazlize Operations Manager vCenter Operations Manager NA
- vRealize Hyperic vCenter Hyperic (vFabric Hyperic) NA
- vRealize Infrastructure Navigator vCenter Infrastructure Vanvigator NA
- vRealize Configuration Manager vCenter Configuration Manager NA
vRealize Operations Insight NEW vRealize Operations Advanced + vRealize Log Insight for vSOM customers
vRealize Orchestrator vCenter Orchestrator Free with vCenter
vRealize Application Services vFabric Application Director Part of vRealize Automation Enterprise Edition
vRealize Log Insight vCenter Log Insight NA


Update 17th Oct 2014
Added vRealize Orchestrator, vRealize Hyperic, vRealize Code Stream.

Update 21st Oct 2014
Added a table for easy viewing.  More can be read from another blog http://vmwaretips.com/wp/2014/08/25/do-you-vrealize-whats-in-a-vname/.

Updated 28th Oct 2014
Finally something from VMware.  Refer to this vRealize FAQ to understand all the confusion.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

VMware vSphere Desktop Licensing and Usage

I have encounter not once but several times by many including partners and customers who got confused with the vSphere Desktop licensing.

Well what is vSphere Desktop?  What edition of the normal vSphere is is different or similar?  When do we used it and what can we used it for?

VMware has vSphere Desktop licensing to be used by VMware own virtual desktop solutions it is and by third parties virtual desktop solutions.  The only different is the licensing model is different.

First and foremost, vSphere for Desktop has the same features and functions of vSphere Enterprise Plus.  Yes every single functionality is available.

Before we touch on the different licensing type, you can refer to also VMware Product Guide,  on page 16, you will see what is allowed to be hosted on vSphere Desktop in summary: 1) virtual desktop infrastructure, 2) terminal servers 3)  associated desktop management and monitoring tools.

If you are purchasing vSphere Desktop for third parties virtual desktop solutions and wants to run with vSphere, you would purchase vSphere Desktop instead of the normal vSphere.  In vSphere Desktop licensing, you are allow to have as many hosts as you need however the licensing is by per powered on virtual machine.  This is explained here.

To run a vSphere environment, you need a management server, in this case vCenter.  However for third party solutions, the only options would be vCenter Server Foundation or Standard to manage this environment.  I have explained the different vCenter previously here.

The next place where you will find vSphere Desktop and also vCenter Desktop (not available for purchase but bundled in VMware Horizon bundles)  is in VMware Horizon bundling.  In all VMware Horizon bundling it is always bundled with vSphere Desktop and vCenter Desktop.  In this type of bundling, the licensing will be based on either Named User or Concurrent User.  I wrote an article on Horizon Suite which now replaced by a new bundle Horizon 6 which detailed the named and concurrent user licensing with example which still applies.

With most customers I came across who runs third party solutions are on vSphere been the fact that vSphere is much easier to use and reliable.

So now with the confusion cleared, why cost seems cheaper to run with VMware Virtual Desktop solution instead?  Reason is simple.  When comparing with third party solutions running on VMware vSphere Desktop and VMware virtual desktop solution, the cost is automatically lowered.

Let's take the popular Citrix XenDesktop for example:

Taking the cost from here.  Citrix has three editions namely: VDI Edition, Enterprise and Platinum for named user $80, $190, 300 and concurrently $165, $430, $600 respectively.  This has not include VMware vSphere Desktop and vCenter Server Standard which will cost $6,500 per 100 VMs and $4,995 respectively.

If we take VMware Horizon 6 Standard, Advanced  and Enterprise and the cost named user at list price (no named user for Horizon 6 Standard), $250, $250, $350 and concurrent user at $250, $400, $500 $575 respectively, you see the different.

From this example, doing some math, you will discover other than Citrix XenDesktop VDI Edition with vSphere Desktop might cost slightly cheaper comparing to Horizon 6 Standard edition which comes only in concurrent user licensing only, where XenDesktop Enterprise editions and above with VMware vSphere Desktop will cost much more than VMware Horizon 6.  Not to mention you now have to manage two separate technology with hiring someone with two different skillset.

Of course the cost might only be lower (in some editions it still costs more) unless you run the free hypervisor instead of VMware vSphere Desktop for third party solutions.

Hope this give you a clearer picture how vSphere Desktop is been used and licensed as well as the cost involved whether to use VMware or third parties solution.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

VMware Horizon 6 Application Remoting Direct Connect

The Scenario
ABC company has a remote office and connection back to HQ is not very possible due to bandwidth.  Applications used by the users at the remote office must not have any access to the server directly for security reason and manageability.  The second requirement is the server that serves the applications is not joined to Active Directory.

With the release of Horizon View 5.2, we were able to use View Direct Connection without a Connection server or a broker with or without Active Directory.  With this we are able to meet some of the requirements above.  This is currently only possible on VMware Horizon View, Citrix XenDesktop does not have this feature.

With the release of VMware Horizon 6, it comes with Application Remoting, this not only allow a RDSH Desktop but now you can provide Application Remoting (Application Presentation similar to Citrix Xenapp).  With this add on feature and the Direct-Connection, this makes Application Remoting without any dependency on a broker requirement which Citrix XenApp requires.

To test this out I this up on my Mac using VMware Fusion Pro.

The setup was pretty easy mentioned at various post and also at VMware blog post for Horizon View 5.3.  Also a post that show how Application remoting would look like when used with a connection server but this case we are not using.

You can download the binary here.  Get the VMware Horizon client here.

The setup is as follows:
  1. Setup a virtual machine with at least 128MB video memory
  2. Install Windows Server
  3. Install VMware Tools
  4. Setup Remote Desktop Host Services
  5. Install View Agent
  6. Install View Agent Direct-Connection Plugin
  7. Install and Add applications for access
  8. Add/Create and Grant the users
However during my installation of the View Agent I was stumble over the requirement of connection server registration.  In this case, we are not using any.

This is actually documented.  After going referring to the View Agent Direct-Connection Adminsitration Guide, page 17, the below command is required to skip the broker registration.  The setup wizard will skip the connection server step.

VMware-viewagent-y.y.y-xxxxxx.exe /v VDM_SKIP_BROKER_REGISTRATION=1

After which everything just simply carry on as per normal.  After the View Agent Direct-Connection plugin, a user group  "View Agent Direct-Connection Users" is created and by default, all authenticated users are added to this group.  You can change otherwise.


Add the applications to be used using the RemoteApp Manager (in my case for Windows 2008 R2 SP1).  Below you will see I have added some of the default applications. You do not have to add any application using the RemoteApp Manager as we are not using MS Remote App.


Now using my Horizon Client to connect to the server I was presented with the applications entitled (not sure why the icon for notepad is wrong).

Clicking any of them launches the application instantly.

There you go!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Security Alert: bash Code Injection Vulnerability

This morning got brought to attention by my colleague, Iwan regarding this bash Code breached.  I am no linux or unix guy but when comes to security this is not to be play with especially in industry where security and compliance is highly evaluated.

A security vulnerability was detected known as "Shell Shock" which is a bash shell commonly found in unix and linux platform.  You can refer to CVE-2014-6271, CVE-2014-7169.

VMware was fast to publish this discover as well and you can read the post here and also to follow up with this KB on what products will be impacted.  So check back the KB to see which product from VMware is impacted and how to mitigate.

Note: that ESXi are not impacted with this "Shell shock" vulnerability.

As for other platforms, you would have to look back to your respective principle to find out if it is affected and the solution to resolve.


Update 29th Sept 2014
As extracted from CSOOnline, CentOS versions 5-7, Ubuntu 10.04, 12.04, and 14.04 (all LTS versions), Debian, Mac OS X, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4-7, are all vulnerable.

Update 30th Sept 2014
VMware Products that are affected are mentioned in the KB above listed.  VMware customer portals  are NOT affected is documented in this KB.  Great news for those still running out of support vSphere 4.x, VMware will also provide update for ESX 4.x as an exception though it has been out of VMware lifecycle policies.

Also companies that utilizes linux for the intelligence/function in their products just to list a few e.g. Nutanix has also publish their support note with and advisory note, TrendMicro tech note for a list of their vulnerabilities, Symantec here, Palo Alto Network note, Cisco Systems Advisory, Oracle Security Alert, etc.

Update 1st Oct 2014
From the list of product in the VMware Security Advisory VMSA-2014-0010, VMware Log Insight is the first product to get patched.

Update 2nd Oct 2014
Shellshock Security Update:
  • vCenter Operations Manager 5.8.3
  • vCloud Automation Center 6.1
  • vCloud Automation Center 6.0.1.2
  • vCloud Automation Application Services Center 6.1
  • vCloud Application Director 6.0.1
  • vFabric Application Director 5.2
  • IT Business Management Standard 1.1.0 and 1.0.1
  • vCenter Support Assistant 5.5.1.1
  • vCenter Orchestrator 4.2.3
  • vCenter Orchestrator 5.1.2
Update 3rd Oct 2014
Shellshock Security Update:
  • vCenter Orchestrator 5.5.2.1
  • vFabric Hyperic 5.0.3
  • vFabric Hyperic 5.7.2
  • vCenter Hyperic 5.8.3
  • vCenter Infrastructure Navigator 2.0.1
  • vCenter Infrastructure Navigator 5.7.1
  • vCenter Infrastructure Navigator 5.8.3
  • vSphere App HA 1.1.1
Xen Project seems to have a larger vulnerability due to ShellShock.  Companies that user Xen as their hypervisor include Citrix, Oracle and Huawei from what I remember.  Read up this article.

Update 4th Oct 2014
Shellshock Security Update:

  • vCloud Networking and Security 5.1.4.3 & 5.5.3.1
  • NSX for vSphere 6.0.7 & 6.1.1
  • NSX for Multi-Hypervisor 4.1.4 & 4.2.1
Update 7th Oct 2014
Check back VMSA-2014-0010 for all the products as at time of writing almost all products are been patched.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

VMWare vForum 2014 Singapore Registration is now Live!

In Asia Pacific, this is what we have been waiting for the biggest event of all time at in Singapore; VMware vForum 2014!

Every year there are more than 3000 participants from customers to partners within the Asia Pacific region with our various sponsors gather at this major event bringing with the announcements from VMworld both held in San Francisco to Barcelona.

This year without fail VMware Singapore is hosting it annual biggest event in Singapore at its usual same venue Raffles City Convention Center.

If you are new to VMware or just getting started or you are already in the matured level of building your cloud, this is an event not to be missed.  Not only will you get to meet up with all the professionals on the field and get to know all the solutions available to meet your needs, you will also get to understand what on the market just for you at one single day and place!

What's different this year from other years, is it is a 2 days event.  First day with all the announcement and keynotes in an overview of all the solutions from VMware and her partners.  With the new additional of second day which cater for all the technical professional with all the technical workshops.  On both days, there will also be Hands-on Labs going on!  Check out the agenda here.  Remember to look through both the agendas for both days.  Yes clicking on Day 1 and Day 2 does show the respective day's agenda if you did not notice it!

If you can only attend one event a year, you must not miss this!  So what are you waiting for start, register for your attendance here!


Update 17th Sept 2014
Look out for special privileges for VMUG members.  If you are not yet a VMUG member, sign up here now!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

VMware World 2014 SFO Day 2 What's New!

If you have not read about what was on Day 1 check out here.  There ain't much announcement on solutions here on the second day.  There are quite a lot of announcements on EUC space and that you can read it here.  There are also mentions of CloudVolumes which was recently acquired by VMware just last week, a few partnership with Google and nVidia on Chromebooks and Horizon DaaS which lightly further expansion from the acquisition done on Desktone.

Also VMware has joined as a Gold Partner in the Open Compute Project as reported by AMAX.

With VMware been the first partner of SAP with AirWatch and SAP Mobile Secure into the mobility space on security and experience stated here.

On vCloud Air, there is on demand which was previously mentioned and as well as vCloud Air  Object Storage offering.  Check out all the new announcement by Bill Fathers.

To sum it all, the second focus much on the EUC and mostly partnership betwee day 1 and 2.  If you are expecting some new launches e.g. vSphere, you will be disappointed as if you are part of or heard of the vSphere Beta program, you will know it is still in beta and lightly would only be ready next year.

Let's now wait for the VMworld 2014 Barcelona and see what's new to of it will be announced.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

VMware World 2014 SFO Day 1 What's New!

With VMware World 2014 at San Francisco there are so many great news and one of them is VMware EVO:RAIL.  A hardware appliance that comes in 2U and have up to 4 nodes and expandable to 4 appliance.  Read this article.  Also in a tech preview is EVO:RACK which you can read more about it here.

You might have thought, is VMware selling hardware?  Nope you will purchase from VMware partners and not from VMware.  This is build from bottom up tuned to fit vSphere with vCenter LogInsight and Virtual SAN.

You can take a look at the interface of how VMware EVO:RAIL interface looks like here.

Next the vRealize Suite which was announced which comprises of vCloud Automation Center, vCenter Operations Management Suite and IT Business Management which available for outside the vCloud Suite customers or non VMware customers who need a comprehensive Cloud Management Platform (CMP).

This also add to vRealize Air with beta sign up.  This enables customer on to experience vRealize as a SaaS with automation and management through vRealize with service catalog, policies and governance assignments and lifecycle management.

A container adoption with Docker, Pivotal and Google for the public and private cloud and even hybrid cloud environment.  Where applications on a common platform can be scale easily.  This will run on vCloud Air as well can be deploy via vCloud Automation Center.  Read more here.

Also the announcement of Openstack open source cloud framework support.  This comprises the use of vSphere for compute, NSX for network and vSphere Storage (for now is Virtual SAN) for storage and vCloud Automation Center with vCenter Operations Management Suite for the automation and management piece together with Open IAAS APIs to build a VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO).

With a rebranding of vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) to vCloud Air.  With beta offering for Virtual Private Cloud OnDemand where you can sign up here.

The new bundling of VMware Workspace Suite which includes Workspace Portal, Horizon 6 Enterprise, AirWatch Secure Content Locker Collaboration (SCL) and AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Management.  The VMware Workspace Suite contains AirWatch Yellow Enterprise Mobility Management which you can find out what is the different between the colours edition here.  Licensing for Workspace Management Suite will be by per named user licensing with up to 3 devices applicable for the AirWatch Management Suite.

With more partners with NSX integrations and more Hybrid Cloud partnering with Application services from Dockers and Pivotal, there are just more to come on Day 2...


Update 27th Aug 2014
- VMware EVO:RACK
- Container Adoption with Docker, Pivotal and Google

Update 30th Aug 2014
- Added Workspace Suite detail on AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Management
- Licensing on Workspace Suite

Friday, August 22, 2014

Virtual SAN Sizing Tool Available!

With the days getting nearer to VMworld 2014, there are so much news from VMware.  First the acquisition of CloudVolume announced on 20th August 2014, now the release of the Virtual SAN (VSAN) Sizing Tool which everyone is having a great effort trying to find one or build one.

Check out the release article on this and read about its limitation or requirement at the moment supported.

You will be able to access the tool here.

Just to note this is an initial release, so there might be one or two bugs you might encounter.  Do help by providing feedback by clicking on the feedback icon so we can have better tool by refine it further.


Bugs found on 22nd Aug
Initial test, the host count always stay at 14 irregardless of the parameters given.
Issue has been resolved on 22nd Aug.

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

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Lync]
"ConfigurationMode"=dword:00000001
"ServerAddressInternal"=LyncServer.Local
"ServerAddressExternal"=LyncExt.Local


EndOfFile==================================

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.


Troubleshooting

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.


Update 27th Oct 2015
If you are using Horizon View on physical desktop meaning using View agent and setting up a manual pool, you might hit some issue with Lync Plugin.  refer to this KB to rectify this.

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)
    https://HorizonMirage/
    • 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.

Resources
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. 

ThinApp
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.
Reference:
All videos are from VMware TV.

Resources:
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 now support from 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:

Services
Version
Operation System
Apache Tomcat
6.0, 7.0
Windows, Linux
IIS
6., 7., 8.
Windows
Microsoft SQL
2005, 2008, 2008R2, 2012
Windows
Apache HTTP Server
2.2
Windows, Linux
Sharepoint
2007, 2010
Windows
SpringSource tc Runtime
6.0, 7.0
Windows, Linux
PostgresSQL
8.x, 9.x
Windows, Linux
Oracle
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.  Refer to the Hyperic guide to setup a new service.  Make sure you create the "Server" for the service you want to monitor with the exact SAME name as in the vSphere App HA console below later.

To add a custom service, you will first discover the "Server" in vCenter Hyperic.  Note down the name of the service as above.  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 in vSphere App HA vApp Console 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/custom_service.sh 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.


Update 15 Dec 2014
  • Correction on the console command to vSphere App HA vApp and wording to improve the descriptions.
  • Add link to Hyperic Server guide to add a service.

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 being a Presales consultant for a while now.  I have to understand licensing and able to explain when asked and one of the most talked and confused topics 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 driven 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 an 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 regardless of the situation while the user to that device can be transferred to anyone with the license always tagged along with 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 (the link is date and updated with my copy) 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 for 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 be 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, the customer would also need to involve the OEM vendor B support.

This is something very interesting I find.  Often, OEM license is 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 purchased from OEM, the support will come from OEM vendor.  How the OEM support works are 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, the 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 respond back to the 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 contain 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 a 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 CAN ONLY log case or perform escalation ONLY directly with the OEM support channel.  The cost of OEM license is attractive as the cost of support is direct OEM support.  With OEM license, the 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 SLA 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.


FAQ

Can I switch from OEM to Open license?
Ye, there is a conversion fee.

Can I switch from Open license to OEM?
Yes, you can.

Can I purchase OEM license but purchase direct VMware support?
No this is not possible.  Support is tagged with the actual type of license.

With "A" OEM license, can I buy support from "B" OEM vendor?
This cannot be done.  Specific OEM vendor license is tagged to their respective support.

How do VMware OEM Support work?
Refer to this post.


Update 2nd Sept 2015
Update FAQ question.

Update 2nd April 2015
Added FAQ section.

Updated 3rd Mar 2015
Replaced the link to VMware Licensing Benefits document which the referring site is no longer valid.

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