Friday, June 27, 2014

Horizon Mirage 5.0 What to Look Out For!

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

Key features in my opinions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

USMT 4.0
 USMT 5.0
 USMT 6.3

Friday, June 20, 2014

VMware Horizon 6 Available Now!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reviewer's Guide for View in Horizon 6

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

VMware vSphere App HA 1.1 What's New

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

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

In 1.0, it only support vSphere web client 5.5 and using vCenter Hyperic 5.7.  With the release of 1.1, it will 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:

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

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

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