Receive Emergency Calls When Phone Is On Silent

For those of you who follow me on twitter, you’ll have seen that very recently we had to evacuate our home due to a forest fire that was pretty close to our house. Luckily, when the evacuation order came through from the Sheriff’s department, I happened to be looking at my phone and I see the call come through. However, usually, I have my phone on Silent when I am asleep and would have missed it. Many of our neighbors missed the call to evacuate, as like me, they have their phones on silent when they are asleep. Luckily the Sherri’s department sent officers to our community to knock on door to make sure everyone was evacuated safely.

So I decided to try and figure out if it was possible to have my phone on silent, but still have Emergency calls ring the phone so I don’t miss them. It turns out, it is possible and it’s pretty straight forward. I’ve documented the steps for both Android (Oreo, v8) and Apple iOS (v11) below. (This post assumes you know your way around your phone. If you are not confident with your phones settings, please ask someone to help you).

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The Secret Sauce Behind VMware’s Internal Horizon Desktop Deployments

ADV1255BU – The Secret Sauce Behind VMware’s Internal VMware Horizon DesktopThis year at VMworld, myself and my colleague Aresh Sarkari had the opportunity to talk about a project we’ve been working on for the past few years. We’ve been re-redesigning and deploying VMware’s internal Horizon Desktop environments.

Session Summary

“How does VMware architect its own global VMware Horizon desktop environment?” “Has it encountered the same obstacles we are facing?” Over the past two years, VMware has been re-architecting and deploying its virtual desktop infrastructure with VMware Horizon, VMware App Volumes, and VMware User Environment Manager running on top of the full VMware software-defined data center stack (VMware vSphere, VMware vSAN, VMware NSX) and integrating with VMware vRealize Operations Manager and VMware vRealize Log Insight. In this session, the lead architects will reveal all.

Our session (ADV1255BU – The Secret Sauce Behind VMware’s Internal VMware Horizon Desktop) includes the following sections:

  • Where we we? – Why did we need to kick off this project (from the beginning)
  • What do we need? – Revisiting the business and technical requirements (from 3:05)
  • How do we do this better? – How do we design this new infrastructure making sure we don’t hit the same issues again (from 5:13)
  • Where we are today? – A look at what we architected and deployed  (from 9:12)
  • What did we learn? – What challenges did we face along the way (from 30:45)
  • Where do we go from here? – How can we improve upon what we have built (from 41:51)

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My VMworld 2017 Sessions

VMworld 2017Hey, another VMworld is almost upon us. I am fortunate enough to be talking again this year. Below you’ll find the information about my sessions. Be sure to register if you are interested in attending.

VMware Cloud Foundation and Horizon VDI with Todd Simmons and Simon Long [PBO3160GUR]

Get your questions answered on deploying Horizon 7.1 on VMware Cloud Foundation. Chat with Cloud Foundation expert Todd Simmons and Horizon expert Simon Long. Group discussions are a great way to join together with peers, guided by VMware experts, and discuss a VMware key topic. Come to this session prepared to dive in, engage, and share best practices.

The Secret Sauce Behind VMware’s Internal VMware Horizon Desktop Deployments [ADV1255BU]

“How does VMware architect its own global VMware Horizon desktop environment?” “Has it encountered the same obstacles we are facing?” Over the past two years, VMware has been re-architecting and re-deploying its virtual desktop infrastructure with VMware Horizon, VMware App Volumes, and VMware User Environment Manager running on top of the full VMware software-defined data center stack (VMware vSphere, VMware vSAN, VMware NSX) and integrating with VMware vRealize Operations Manager and VMware vRealize Log Insight. In this session, the lead architects will reveal all.

Hacking Public Speaking – Tips to Help you Rock It [VMTN6694U]

There are so many awesome people in our vCommunity who are afraid of public speaking and think they would not be good at it or would not have anything to share. This session showcases 4 different members of the vCommunity: Edward Haletky, veteran book author, podcaster, blogger and renowned vSphere security expert; Simon Long, double VCDX at VMware; Ariel Sanchez, vCommunity addict who works as TAM for VMware in Pittsburgh, and Thom Greene, ruler supreme. All of them will give you their best tips to help you be great at public speaking NOTE: Community TechTalk taking place in VMvillage.

Automating Horizon Deployments with VMware Cloud Foundation [PBO1254BU]

A major focus for VMware Cloud Foundation is the automation of the deployment and maintenance of the backend infrastructure for the VMware Horizon virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). This session covers the built-in automation of the deployment of VMware vSphere, VMware NSX, VMware vSAN, VMware vRealize, and VMware Horizon components that VMware Cloud Foundation offers. It will also describe the integration of VMware App Volumes in this infrastructure and the ability to dynamically build this infrastructure with the growth of your desktops, resulting in turnkey VDI deployment. All you need to bring are the desktop images.

VCP Practice Exams Are Back!

vcp6.5 dcv examsJust over 8 years ago, I was working hard to learn all I could about VMware’s vSphere technologies. A big part of this learning process included creating VCP Practice Exam that I could use to help me learn all of the different products and features that I needed to know to pass the VCP Exam. What was unexpected, was the popularity of the VCP Practice Exam that I had created and shared on this Blog. I even had official VMware trainers recommending my blog to their students looking to sit the VCP Exam. And still, to this day, I get customers & colleagues coming up to me and thanking me for the work I did on my blog as it really helped them improve their knowledge and eventually pass the VCP Exam.

After offering VCP Practice Exams for both vSphere 4 and vSphere 5, other priorities meant that I never got around to continuing on this trend with vSphere 5.5 and vSphere 6.

However, today, I am pleased to announce that my VCP6.5 DCV Practice Exams are now available to everyone. I’ve personally created 150+ mock exam questions based on the objectives documented in the VCP6.5 DCV Exam Guide.

As with all of my previous exams, all of the questions are created by me. Unfortunately, this might also mean that some of the answers maybe not be completely correct. Yes, I am human, I make mistakes. This exam is still in BETA, as such, some question/answers may be incorrect or misleading. Feel free to provide feedback via the Contact Me page.

These VCP6.5 practice exams are designed to engage the thought process. DO NOT waste your time trying to memorize these questions/answers as they will NOT appear in your VCP exam. Instead, if you are unsure of an answer, go and revise the feature/product. This will ensure you have a better overall understanding and should be able to cope better when being asked other questions around those products/features.

I’ve created two types of Exams:

  • Section Exams, which only have questions specific to each section of the exam guide.
  • A Full Mock Exam, which simulates the actual VCP Exam. You will be given a time limit of 105 minutes in which to answer 70 questions picked at random from all 10 sections.

Section Exams

Full Mock Exam

Exam will contain 70 random questions from all categories with a time limit of 105 mins

Start Mock Exam

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 🙂

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