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:

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Monitor Your DHCP Scopes With vRealise Log Insight

I’ve been spending some time lately figuring out ways to improve the monitoring and alerting within VMware’s Internal Horizon environments. A condition I wanted to alert on was DHCP scope exhaustion. We have many DHCP scopes globally for our virtual desktop environments and I want our support team to be alerted when we start to run low on DHCP IP addresses and in a worst case scenario, exhausted all IPs in the scope. Virtual desktops without IP addresses don’t tend to work very well.

In theory, we should never exhaust our DHCP scopes if we size and place our desktop Pools correctly. However, in practice that doesn’t always happen. Often a Pools get created with the wrong amount of desktops or the wrong network was selected on the Golden Master image, causing the new Pool to use the wrong DHCP scope. I want to know when these mistakes have been made, so we can correct them before our end users are affected.

Within our Horizon environments, we utilize vRealise Log Insight for log collect and analysis. My knowledge of Log Insight is still pretty primitive, so I engaged one of my OneCloud colleagues, Caleb Stephenson, who manages our Global Log Insight instance that processes 35 Billion events per week to figure out how we can achieve this.  Read the rest of this entry »

My VMworld 2016 Sessions

Hey, another VMworld is almost upon us, and public voting has just opened. This is your chance to make VMworld 2016 what you want it to be.

I just want to shamelessly plug two 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 proposed.

#8909 Common Mistakes VCDX Candidates Make – The Panelists View

VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) candidates all invest a lot of time researching what they need to do to pass the VCDX certification, from preparing their submission to actually defending in front of the panel. There are great VCDX mentors in the community that can give you tips on how they passed, but rarely will you hear about mistakes candidates have made. This is your opportunity! Join two experienced VCDX panelists who have sat through countless panels, seen the mistakes that are repeated from candidate to candidate and whose insights will improve your VCDX journey.

#8648 Architecting VSAN for Horizon – the VCDX way!

Mware Horizon is a proven desktop virtualization solution that has been deployed around the world. Balancing the performance and cost of a storage solution for Horizon can be difficult and affects the overall return on investment. VMware’s Virtual Storage Area Network (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 ultimate 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 Horizon on a VSAN 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.

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: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203037)

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.

medical_id

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

  • Swipe to unlock.
  • Tap Emergency.

emergency_call

  • Tap Medical ID, on the emergency dial screen.

medical_emergency_call

 

 

Android

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.

vBeers Tweetup – VMworld San Francisco 2014 (Saturday, 23th August 2014)

USA vBeersVMworld San Francisco is almost here again folks and it’s time for another vBeers Tweetup!  The last vBeers Tweetup from VMworld SF 2013 was a great time with a great turnout so I couldn’t let this opportunity go by without arranging another one.  The official vBeers tweetup goes from strength to strength and increases in popularity every year that passes, though still has the same great earthy community feel that it did during it’s first one back in 2009.

vBeers VMworld 2014 San Francisco

The VMworld San Francisco vBeers Tweetup will be held on Saturday 23rd August, kicking off from 6:00pm.

The vBeers Tweetup is intended as a way to relax, chill-out and catch up with friends, new and old.  If you don’t know anyone attending then that doesn’t matter as your fellow vGeeks are a friendly welcoming bunch who also like to network, talk tech and share vStories.

In true Tweetup tradition this vBeers Tweetup is not sponsored, it is a case of turning up, enjoying yourself and covering the cost of your own drinks and any food.  Vendor sponsored parties start the following day (Sunday).

Where is this VMworld San Francisco 2014 vBeers Tweetup going to be held?

vBeers VMworld 2013The venue for this VMworld vBeers Tweetup is back for a third time at “The Chieftain” Irish pub and restaurant, which has a great relaxed informal atmosphere with good food and drink.  Good news as they have free Wi-Fi, which will save all of you from overseas from clocking-up massive data bills on your Smart Phones.

RSVP

As for registering, no need – all you need to do is turn up, though if you’d like to RSVP to give me an idea of numbers and to let others know you are attending then please click here.  First come, first served with seating

Hope to see you there!

The Details

Venue: The Chieftain

Address: 198 5th Street @ Howard, San Francisco, CA 94103

Date: Saturday 23rd August 2014

Time: 6:00PM

Twitter Hashtag:  #vBeers

Map:  Click the map below for more map details

vBeers VMworld 2013 Map

Telling Lies Could Actually Protect You Online

Internet SecurityWhen it comes to online security, I can safely say this is something I have been quite lax with. I’m sure many of you are in the same boat. But after reading a few different articles lately about what information is actually out there on the internet, I decided to change my stance somewhat. I’m starting to look a little closer at what I can do to try and protect myself as much as possible.

The Problem With Online Information

The problem we have is that once something is put onto the internet, it’s VERY difficult to remove it. Although the website that originally had the information my not exist anymore, there is a good chance that services such as Google Cached Pages have archived this information so it will continue to be available for years to come. For some data, page caching is great! For your personal data, not so great.

“My Password Is Strong, I’m Happy”

Lets assume we have a lot of personal information available on the internet. “So what?” you may ask. I used to ask the same question. No one knows my passwords, my Pin numbers or have access to my email account so what can they do?

We use passwords to access pretty much our online accounts, ranging from Facebook to online shopping to online banking. I can probably guarantee you that most of you re-use the same password across many of these websites. It’s got to the point where you have so many accounts it would be almost impossible not to. Whilst this is by no means ideal and very insecure, especially if one of the sites you frequent is compromised by hackers, it might just be secure enough for most of us as a good password isn’t easy to hack. However, regardless of the strength of your password, a major the security weakness is the processes that are put in place to check that you are who you say you are when you have ‘forgotten’ your password.

There are many good, secure password managers available that you can use to avoid using the same password over and over. LastPass and KeePass are a couple of good examples.

You’ll Never Forget Your First Pet

The type of checks I am referring to are the ‘Secret answers’ to generic security questions that we often have to fill in when we are signing up for online accounts. For example:

  • What is the name of your first pet?
  • What was your first car?
  • What was the name of your first school?
  • What year were you born in?

I’m sure you all recognise these questions. It’s the continued reliance by many websites on these types of questions that is the weakest link to our online security. Knowing the answers to these ‘simple’ questions will usually get you access to your online account. Someone else knowing the answers to these questions will get them access to your online account.

Social Engineering

Two-Factor AuthenticationOnline security has come on leaps and bounds in the last 5 years. There have been a lot of new technologies introduced to help keep our personal information secure and for the most part they seem to be doing a good job of it. One of the most popular ways to add another layer of security when online is the use of Two-Factor Authentication. If you use a small device that generates numbers to access your online bank accounts, you are already using two-factor authentication. You don’t always need to have a physical device for Two-Factor Authentication, your smartphone can also work in a similar way. Checkout Google 2-step Verification as a good example.

Regardless of technology advances the biggest problem we have around online security,  is You. And the main issue both we and our employers face is Social Engineering.

Social engineering, in the context of information security, refers to psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information.

Putting It All Together

Armed with your personal data found publicly on the internet an attacker can often easily answer many of those simple ‘Security’ questions without even speaking to you. Many answers can be found via peoples Facebook profiles. I recently posted a simple article with tips on Increasing your Facebook Privacy that will help reduce the amount of personal data members of the pubic can view from your Facebook profile.

If there isn’t specific information available online that an attacker might need, it can be quite easy for them to Social Engineer a conversation with you to find out the extra information. Quite often these conversation will not take place in person as we are taught from a young age ‘not to talk to strangers’. However, do we follow this advice online? How many of us have had conversations on a Facebook group page with a complete stranger? I would imagine, most of us. This is when it becomes easy for someone who we don’t even know to engage us in a conversation about something as mundane as their dog. As the conversation progesses at some point they may ask if you’ve had pets – before you know it they know the name of your first pet. It’s that easy. Such an innocent conversation about dogs can give them enough information to access one of your online accounts. And many of use wouldn’t even notice what we’d even told them.

So How Can We Protect Ourselves?

Brittany SpearsTo project ourselves, we should lie on our security questions, DO NOT USE REAL ANSWERS. It’s as simple as that and it’s a system I have been using for some time now. Make up a pet’s name that you will only use for online accounts. Websites do not know the name of your first pet. They will not know if you’re lying. Brittany Spears could have been the name of your first pet, the website is not to know that and quite frankly doesn’t care. It’s just a simple word match process.

Do this for every question, even your date of birth. Personally I use something like 01/01/91 as it’s easy to remember, but feel free to chose your own date. Your first car, put in your favourite car that you’ll never be able to afford. That way if someone was to have access to your Facebook photos and find out what your first car was from some old photos, they would always get that security question.

NOTE: For some online account such as bank accounts, the security questions such as ‘date of birth’ will need to actually be your official DOB as it’s legally part of the Banks process.

It’s a simple concept, but one that could help you be just that little bit more secure as more and more of ours life goes online.

vSphere and Hyper-V Visio stencils

Veeam LogoFor those of you who like to make pretty architecture diagrams, this might be for you. Veeam provides a FREE collection of VMware and Hyper-V virtualization Visio stencils that can be used by ESX administrators, system integrators and datacenter managers to create their own diagrams in Microsoft Visio 2003, 2007, 2010 or 2013 as part of your Hyper-V or VMware deployment planning.

You can download those stencils here: http://www.veeam.com/vmware-esx-stencils.html

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