VCDX – Why Assume Anything?

<rant>Within our VCDX design documentation, why do we all have the habit of making assumptions? Examples:

Design Assumptions

AS01: Network Bandwidth between Datacenters is adequate for storage replication
AS02: Load-Balancers will be used to load-balance Horizon Connection Servers
AS03: There are enough DHCP IP Addresses available
AS04: AD / DNS / NTP is configured through the environment

Why are we assuming things like these? If your design relies on these ‘Assumptions’ to meet SLA’s then would it not be a good idea to actually find out if these ‘Assumptions’ are actually correct? Documenting assumptions is not a waiver that implies ‘this is the customers problem’. As an Architect it is your responsibility to assist your customers to by identifying areas of their existing environment that may or may not be able to support your design.

assumption-isDon’t assume there are enough DHCP IP Address for your virtual desktops. Figure out how many you need, document it and talk to your customer about the requirement and understand if this is something that can support. If it’s not, you might actually have to change your design because of this constraint.

If your assumptions are incorrect, your design might not be worth the paper it is written on.</rant>

Some Quick VCDX Preparation and Advice Tips

Thinking about going for the VCDX certification? Checkout this quick video for some of my top tips.

Adding an ‘In Case of an Emergency’ (ICE) Contact on your Cell/Mobile Phones

This is a subject that has been posted regularly on my Facebook over the past few days. There is a post going around which shows how Apple iOS users can use the Health application (included in iOS8) to add personal information that in the event of an emergency can be shown on your Cell phone, without having to unlock the phone. To me this make so much sense. If for whatever reason you are found unconscious the only way for the emergency services to find out more about you would be from a driving license or maybe a credit card? Assuming you have these on you at that time. The majority of us don’t usually go too far without having your phone with you.

So I just wanted to document somewhere how an ICE contact can be setup and accessed on your mobile phones without someone having to know the unlock pin or pattern. Both Apple iOS and Android

Apple iOS

(This information is taken from:

With iPhone, you can personalize your Medical ID to keep your important health information in case of emergency. Tap Medical ID. Then tap Edit to add information such as birthday, height, weight, and blood type. You can also add emergency contacts.

Turn on Show When Locked to make your Medical ID available from the Lock screen. This lets people helping you in an emergency get important information about you. They’ll also be able to contact people you’ve entered as emergency contacts.


Here’s how to access Medical ID when your device is locked:

  • Swipe to unlock.
  • Tap Emergency.


  • Tap Medical ID, on the emergency dial screen.





I’ve not actually seen an official application that can offer the same functionality, but I’ve found another way that’ll serve the same purpose.

  • On your Android device navigate to Settings > Security > Owner Info.
  • Tick the Show owner info on lock screen box
  • Here you can type in something similar to this example: Emergency Contact – Jane Doe (555)-504-304

Owner Info

This will then add you Emergency Contact to your phones Lock Screen

ICE Android

Please comment if you know of a better way of doing this on Android devices.

New VMware Fling: Horizon View Auto-Connection Utility

I just wanted to bring your attention to a cool new tool that’s just been made available via VMware Flings. View Auto-Connect Utility

The View Auto-Connection Utility allows you to connect the VMware Horizon (View) Client automatically into a View desktop or an application pool when the system starts up. This can be very useful for thin clients or for turning existing Windows endpoints into thin client systems used to automatically connect into a Horizon (View) desktop.

View Auto-Connection Utility

The Horiozn View Auto-Connection Utility can be downloaded here: View Auto-Connect Utility

Using Log vRealize Insight to Collect App Volumes Logs

If you use VMware vRealize Log Insight for log management in your environment and want to capture App Volume logs, read on.

1. Install the Log Insight Agent onto each App Volumes Manager that you have in your environment
2. Edit the following file in Notepad (Or any other text editor): %ProgramData%\VMware\Log Insight Agent\liagent.ini
3. Add the following lines to the bottom of the liagent.ini

[filelog|AppVol]Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.35.21 PM
directory=C:\Program Files (x86)\CloudVolumes\Manager\log

4. Save and restart the server (not 100% sure if a restart is required)

Once the App Volume Manager has been restarted you should start to see logs appear in Log Insight, as shown in the example below.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.42.19 PM

For more information on custom log collection with Log Insight, check out the following page: Log Insight – Collect Events from a Log File

AppVolumes: Add Multiple App Volume Manager addresses to the App Volumes Agent

Lately I’ve been working on a Horizon (View) design which includes the use of Writeable App Volumes. If you are unsure of Writeable App Volumes are, you can read more here:

I wanted to share a really cool tip that my colleague Dale Carter shared with me, which can help increase the availability of App Volumes (AppVol Mgrs) within your environment when using multiple App Volume Managers (AppVol Mgrs).

In my design [as always] I have endeavored to increase the overall availability of the various components. To achieve this with App Volumes I’ve added an additional AppVol Mgr which shares the same SQL Database as the primary AppVol Mgr. In front of both AppVol Mgrs I have placed redundant F5 BIG-IP Load-Balancers which will be used to evenly distribute the load between theAppVol Mgrs and redirect connections should one AppVol Mgr become unavailable. (See Below)


Although the F5 BIG-IP’s greatly increase the availability of my AppVol Mgrs there is still the small chance that F5 Cluster may fail. This would result in the App Volume Agent’s inside the virtual desktops being unable to communicate with the App Vol Mgrs. This is where Dales little tip comes in.

Within the Golden Master images of the virtual desktops, we can edit the Registry to add additional AppVol Mgr addresses. Within the Registry browse to: HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\services\svservice\parameters 

App Volume Agent Registry Change

Manager1 is the default AppVol Mgr URL which was entered during the Agent installation process. The default URL in my example is the vIP on the F5 BIG-IP Load-Balancers. Manager2 and Manager3 are addresses I manually added. These are the URL’s of the App Volume Managers. So if for whatever reason we lost the F5’s, the Agent’s would then attempt to access the App Vol Mgrs directly. (See Below)


For other great App Volume information, visit Dale Carters website here:

WANTED: Virtual Infrastructure Architect – NOW CLOSED

Job Role Applications Now Closed!

Fancy a change or a new challenge to kick off the new year? Then maybe this is for you.

The OneCloud team within VMware, the team I work in, is looking for a Virtual Infrastructure Architect to join it’s strong architects team (5 VCDX’s).

Job Description

We are seeking a Virtual Infrastructure Architect with extensive experience working in a complex computing environment to join our internal cloud Design and Architecture team. You will work as part of a team that designs and architects VMware’s next generation internal cloud infrastructure. Your focus will be working with VMware’s rack scale hyper-converged infrastructure solution to evolve their virtual infrastructure design to efficiently and effectively provide Iaas, DaaS, PaaS and Big Data solutions to enterprise customers. You will work closely with the rest of the OneCloud team to integrate VMware’s rack scale hyper-converged infrastructure solution into our IaaS platform. A thorough understanding and working experience with VMware enterprise products is required. To be successful you will need a strong technical orientation; be a creative problem solver; be motivated to advance in the field; and work well in a team-oriented environment. The tasks this individual is responsible for are often unstructured and the issues addressed are less defined, requiring new perspectives and creative approaches, and applying attained experiences and knowledge in solving problems that are complex in scope.

More information on the role can be found here:

Think this is a role you could be interested in? Contact me and I’ll make sure your Resume/CV gets in front of the right people (assuming you have the right skills set for the role.)

Graphics Acceleration In Horizon View Virtual Desktops

Virtual Machine Graphics Acceleration Deployment Guide A quick heads-up about an update to a my My First Published Technical White Paper.

The paper talks about the following topics:

  • Why 3D Matters for VMware Horizon View
  • Understanding the Differences Between Soft 3D/SVGA, vDGA and vSGA
  • Prerequisites
  • Application Requirements and Use Cases
  • vSGA Installation
  • vDGA Installation (Tech Preview)
  • VMware Horizon View Pool Configuration for vSGA
  • Performance Tuning Tips
  • Resource Monitoring
  • Troubleshooting

Hopefully it should cover everything you need to enable your Horizon View desktops for 3D rendering.

The Paper can be downloaded here: Graphics Acceleration In View Virtual Desktops

Double VCDX

Double VCDXWell people, I am pleased to announce that today I got confirmation that I have just been awarded the VCDX-DT (Desktop) certification. This will go alongside my VCDX-DV (Datacenter) making me a Double VCDX (Double-X). I’m one of only five people in the world who has achieved this.

I’m pretty chuffed with that :-) Good times!

Living The American Dream

CaliforniaI’ve always wanted to try living somewhere else in the world, to get some more life experience. However up until now I’ve not been in the position to be able to do this.

But as one chapter in my life closes another chapter begins. Today I am please to announce that I have accepted a new job at VMware that will see me relocating to California (USA not Norfolk). I will be joining the OneCloud team as a Senior Cloud Architect, an exciting role which will really test me and push me to improve.

I will based in the Bay Area (AKA. Silicon Valley) At VMware’s HQ in Palo Alto. It’s an amazing opportunity and with an average of around 300 days of sunshine a year, I’d be stupid not to take it.

So at the start of May I will be taking to the sky to start living the American dream. For those of you who live in and around that area, if you have any tips that will help me settle into the US lifestyle just that little bit easier, please reach out to me or comment below.

Exciting and challenging times ahead I think you’d agree.

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