Catch Me At Both The Boston And New York City EUC VMUGs

vumglogo

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be speaking at not one, but two VMUGs in June. You can catch me at the EUC-focused VMUG events, called EUC Explore. I am very excited as these will technically be my first (and second) time speaking a VMUG. I’ve run a VCDX Workshop before at the UK VMUG, but never had my own speaking session. There will be lots of EUC Expert speakers at both of these events which you really don’t want to miss out on.

As soon as the agenda is released, I’ll share it with you. So make sure you register to guarantee your space and also keep an eye out for a couple of vBeers which we are planning on arranging in and around these events.

  • Boston Summer VMUG and EUC Explore 2017 (Thursday, June 1st, 2017) – Register here
  • VMUG EUC Explore – New York City (Friday, June 16th, 2017) – Register here

If you are attending either of events please be sure to come and say hi!

My VMworld 2017 Session Proposals

VMworld 2017

Hey, another VMworld is almost upon us, and public voting has just opened. This is your chance to make VMworld 2017 what you want it to be.

I just want to shamelessly plug four cool sessions that I am involved in this year, so you can all go and vote for them! Don’t forget to vote for all of the other great session that have been submitted.

The secret sauce behind VMware’s internal Horizon desktop deployments [1255]

Ever asked yourself “How does VMware architect their own global Horizon desktop environment?”, “Have they encountered the same obstacles we are facing?” Over the past two years VMware has been re-architecting and re-deploying their virtual desktop infrastructure with Horizon, App Volumes and User Environment Manager (UEM) running on top of the full VMware SDDC stack (vSphere, VSAN, NSX) and integrating with vRealize Operations Manager and Log Insight. In this session the lead architects will reveal all.

VOTE HERE: https://my.vmworld.com/scripts/catalog/uscatalog.jsp?search=1255

Architecting vSAN for Horizon, the VCDX Way! [2177]

Balancing the performance and cost of a storage solution for Horizon can be difficult and affects the overall return on investment. VMware’s vSAN has provided architects with a new weapon in the battle for desktop virtualization. vSAN allows architects to design a low-cost high performance hybrid solution of solid state and spinning disks or all-flash for the high desktop performance. vSAN now includes features such as dedupe, compression, and metro clustering which provides greater options to fit your use cases. Learn from two Double VCDX’s on how to architect vSAN to support a Horizon solution to provide the levels of performance your user’s need, with management simplicity that will keep your administrators happy and at a cost that will ensure your project will be a success.

VOTE HERE: https://my.vmworld.com/scripts/catalog/uscatalog.jsp?search=2177

Automating Virtual Desktop Deployments with VMware Cloud Foundation [1254]

Building a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) requires Horizon software integrated with the backend virtual infrastructure with computer, network, and storage. A focus for VMware Cloud Foundation is the automation of the deployment and maintenance of the backend for VDI. This session covers the built-in automation of the deployment of vSphere, VMware NSX, VMware VSAN, vRealize and Horizon components that Cloud Foundation offers. It also describes the integration of App Volumes in this infrastructure, and the ability to dynamically grow this infrastructure with the growth of your desktops, resulting in turnkey VDI deployment. All you need to bring are the desktop images.

VOTE HERE: https://my.vmworld.com/scripts/catalog/uscatalog.jsp?search=1254

Turn the tables, this time you ask the questions! VCDX Panelist Panel [2650]

Its your turn to ask the questions this time! Turn the tables on VCDX Panelists who will answer your questions, anything from the VCDX program to general architecture at no extra cost to you!

VOTE HERE: https://my.vmworld.com/scripts/catalog/uscatalog.jsp?search=2650

Thanks To All My 8000 Twitter Followers

I’ve just been reading a recent article titled: The Top 50 Overall VMware Influencers, I have to say, it’s such an honor to be included amongst some many massive names within the Virtualization industry.

After checking my Twitter account stats I had noticed that I managed to break the 8000 Twitter followers barrier!! And I just wanted to say thank you to all of you, hopefully, most of which are also readers of my blog.  I endeavor to continue tweeting/Blogging useful content and information for you all.

 

8000 twitter users

 

My Top 3 Features In The Horizon 7.1 Release

vmware_horizon_viewThis week VMware released a major update to Horizon (View).

I’ve been using Horizon 7.1 for a few weeks and I wanted to share my Top 3 features with you. They are in no particular order.

1. VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business (Beta)

This is something I’ve been waiting for, for a long time. With the Horizon Desktop I use internally in VMware, this is the only thing that has been stopping me from going ‘all in’ 100% VDI. Until now, I’ve been making my Skype for Business calls via the client which is installed on my laptop. Now I can finally move everything inside the virtual desktop, including my voice and video calls.

Making Audio/Video calls in a virtual desktop has a long history of pain which goes back to my early days here at VMware. If you were to install the Skype For Business client into a virtual desktop environment and use it as if it was installed on your local PC/Laptop, you encounter an issue which we term ‘Media hairpinning’. What happens here is, all of your Audio/Video traffic gets streamed via the virtual desktop infrastructure, rather than going point-to-point or ‘end user’ to ‘end user’. For example, we might have two users on the West coast of the US. Their Horizon environment is located on the East coast. When they Skype called each other, User A’s  Audio/Video would travel from their end point on the West coast, to their virtual desktop on the East coast, to User B’s virtual desktop on the East coast and then to User B’s end point on the West coast. (See below)

media hairpinning

The distance that the traffic has to travel can cause Audio/Video performance to be really poor. What we ideally want is for the Audio/Voice traffic to got direct, from User A to User B, point-to-point.

No media hairpinning

And this is essentially what the VMware Horizon Virtualization Pack for Skype for Business does for us.

As mentioned above, this feature is currently in Beta. Do not let that deter you, I’ve been using it for a little while and it seems to be functioning really well. When testing it with my colleagues, they are unable to tell if I am calling from my laptop or within my Horizon desktop. From the end user perspective, there are a few things that I’ve noticed which have slightly different behavior from the native client. For example, my mute button on my headphone lead no longer mutes me in the client and when someone is talking in a group chat the little window which usually shows the profile photo of who is talking doesn’t seem to update. Honestly, this isn’t a problem for me.

If you use Skype For Business within your company, I highly recommend that you test it out even whilst it is in Beta. The requirements are very basic and configuration is very straight forward unlike the old LyncVDI Plugin.

You can read more about it here: https://blogs.vmware.com/euc/2017/03/vmware-horizon-virtualization-pack-skype-for-business-beta.html and download the software and documentation here: https://communities.vmware.com/community/vmtn/beta/horizon-skype4business-beta/overview

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Horizon View API – Query Service

Whilst working on my Horizon View API page, trying to figure out which API calls return the data that you can see in the Horizon Administrator Console, it soon became clear that the API Query Service is used to collect a lot of the data seen within the UI. The way I managed to figure this was by analyzing a Horizon View Example Desktop Script created by Alan Renouf. So I’m going to try and document how to use the Query Service here so that other can use begin to use this really powerful tool.

Hopefully, this will be useful to you. If you have any questions, please either comment below or contact me directly. I will update this page as I learn more.

  • There are few commands that we need to execute to enable the query service, I believe that these three commands will remain the same regardless of what query you are trying to run.
C:\> $ViewAPI = $global:DefaultHVServers[0].ExtensionData
C:\> $query_service = New-Object "Vmware.Hv.QueryServiceService"
C:\> $query = New-Object "Vmware.Hv.QueryDefinition"

  • The next command needs to be modified depending on the data you are trying to capture. You can define the ‘queryEntityType‘ with any of the Queryable Data Objects.
C:\> $query.queryEntityType = 'DesktopSummaryView'

  • Once the Data Object has been defined we can now run the following command. The variable name $Pool can be changed to reflect the data you are collecting.
C:\> $Pools = $query_service.QueryService_Query($ViewAPI,$query)

  • Now we have the Variable defined we can start to find the data we need. In this example, I am looking to get a list Pools. Do get this information I can run the following:

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Using The Windows Photon Controller CLI For The First Time

vmware-photon-controllerWhen managing VMware’s Photon Controller, you can either manage it via the new management UI or via the CLI. Personally, I am a ‘mouse’ type of guy so I often prefer to use the UI’s were possible. However, occasionally we have to use CLI’s from time to time. When I tried to download and install the Windows Photon Controller CLI (A.K.A. Photon Command-Line Utility) for the first time, it wasn’t as obvious as it probably should have been. Doing a quick Google, didn’t return anything useful. So I thought I’d create a quick post detailing how to use the Windows Photon Controller CLI to connect to your Photon Controllers.

  • Download the Windows Photon Controller CLI 
    • Make sure you download the correct version based on the version of Photon Controller you installed. So if you installed Photon Controller 1.0.0, download the CLI from that section.
    • Once you’ve downloaded the file, do not attempt to install it. It’s not designed to be installed.
  • Place the .exe file somewhere that you will easily remember. For me it was just simply C:\photon. It might also be worth renaming the .exe to photon.exe if it isn’t already, just for simplicity.
  • Open up your favorite Windows Command-Line utility. This could be CMD. I use Powershell as I find it a little more user-friendly than the native Windows CMD (although Window10 version is a lot nicer).
  • Navigate to the location where you placed the photon.exe.

 

C:\Users\Simon> cd c:\photon
C:\photon> dir

       Directory C:\photon

Mode           LastWriteTime     Length  Name
-----          -------------     ------  ----
-a---     11/30/2016 4:06 PM   11618304  photon.exe

C:\photon>
  • Next you’ll need to run the following command to connect to your Photon Controller

 

C:\photon> .\photon.exe target set http://[PhotonControllerURL] -c
API target set to 'http://[PhotonControllerURL]
C:\photon>
  • Now enter the username and password used to authenticate to your Photon Controller

 

C:\photon> .\photon.exe target login -u admin@MYDOMAIN -p MYPASSWORD 
Token stored in config file
C:\photon>

You are now connected to your Photon Controller! You can run all of the Photon CLI commands that are available. Try the following to show more information about your Photon deployment

C:\photon> .\photon.exe deployment list

I hope this helps someone 🙂

Checkout VMware’s Latest EUC Product Releases

vmware_horizon_viewThis week VMware released some EUC focused product updates that I think you will be interested in. I’ve gone through and picked my top 3 features for each release. All three product updates should now be available via the VMware Downloads portal.

Horizon 7.0.3

My top 3 release highlights:

  1. Horizon PowerCLI – Now you can use PowerCLI to pretty much do anything you can via Horizon Administrator. (Getting started with PowerCLI 6.5 and Horizon View)
  2. Support for Horizon and vCenter 6.5 HA
  3. Additional Windows 10 support

Release Notes: http://pubs.vmware.com/Release_Notes/en/horizon-7-view/horizon-703-view-release-notes.html
Release Blog Post: http://blogs.vmware.com/euc/2016/12/horizon-7-0-3-horizon-client-4-3-windows-10-management.html

Horizon Client 4.3

My top 3 release highlights:

  1. 30% Blast Extreme bandwidth reductions ‘out of the box’ – Similar to the optimizations VMware made to the default PCoIP configuration a few years ago, we have optimized the Blast Extreme protocol for the masses. However, you are still free to change the GPO settings should you so wish.
  2. Blast Extreme (H.264 decoding) with Multi-Monitor support
  3. The ability to select which monitor on which to display your virtual desktop session

Release Notes: http://pubs.vmware.com/Release_Notes/en/horizon-client/horizon-client-windows-43-release-notes.html

App Volumes 2.12

My top 3 release highlights:

  1. Improved Active Directory Integration – You can now add multiple AD domain controllers into App Volumes Manager. This is something I’ve been pushing for internally. If you don’t use load-balancers in your environment, you were only able to add in a single Domain controller which became a SPOF.
  2. Improved login & application launch performance – 30% to 50% decrease in login times.
  3. Office 365 (Office 2016) support through AppStacks

Release Notes: http://pubs.vmware.com/Release_Notes/en/appvolumes/2.12/app-volumes-212-release-notes.html
Release Blog Post: http://blogs.vmware.com/euc/2016/12/introducing-app-volumes-2-12.html

Service Level Agreements – Introduction

service_level_agreementSince joining VMware’s internal private cloud provider team and also in my role as a VCDX panelist, I’ve been involved in many conversations around Service Level Agreements (SLA). It soon became apparent that SLA’s are regularly misunderstood, miscalculated and often extremely complicated to define and monitor successfully. So I’ve set myself a challenge to find out more and articulate that back to my readers to share the knowledge.

I’ll be splitting out series of posts on this subject into serval parts. right now, I’m not sure how many parts there will be as I have a feeling the more I dig into the details, the more I’ll uncover more things to talk about. Here are some of the topics that I already know will be covered.

  • Defining a Service Level Agreement
  • Typical Service Level Agreements
    • Availability
    • Performance
    • Recoverability etc
  • How Service Level Agreements are calculated
    • Uptime
    • Login times, Access to CPU/MEM resources
    • RTO/RPO
  • How Service Level Agreements are Monitored/Reported
  • Multiple Service Level Agreements per Environment?
    • Data plane
    • Controle Plane
  • Failing to meet the Service Level Agreement

Can you think of anything else? If so, please add them to the comments below or email me and I’ll make sure they are included

Common VCDX Mistakes: Don’t Believe Everything You Read

Continuing on with my Common VCDX Mistakes posts I have another one for you. However, This is more an overall piece of advice.

Don’t Believe Everything You Read

Over the years I’ve seen many VCDX Defense related blog posts and tweets recommending/stating things that maybe aren’t completely accurate. Then in the coming months, we start to see these inaccurate recommendations appear in the VCDX Defenses. This can be anything from low-level configurations in the design to including a specific bullet point in the slide deck.

Just like this blog post, they are just someone’s opinions. Everything you read should be thought about before you actually act on it. If you get a recommendation to do XYZ, ask yourself, “why should I be doing this? Does it make sense?”. Don’t just blindly add it into your defence.

This also goes back to my previous post: Common VCDX Mistakes: A M P R S

Everyone is different and has their own individual ways of working with customers. Do what works for you as an architect, not what you think the panel wants to see.

As usual, these are my own thoughts, and may not be shared by other VCDX panelists. If you are interested in my thoughts, you can either subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter to keep an eye out for new posts.

Feel free to discuss in the comment section below.

Common VCDX Mistakes: A M P R S

Continuing on with my Common VCDX Mistakes posts I have another one for you.

I need you to ask yourself a question. When you are working with customers, how many times do you write the following on a whiteboard?

vcdxrcar

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