PCoIP Log Viewer 2.0

This is a tool I've been using almost daily in my current project and for the past few months. Now It's finally been released to the public! The tool has been created by Chuck Hirtsius – one of the EUC Specialist's within VMware. 

The release you see here today is the first release of the tool that provides log file visualization as well as real-time monitoring of the PCoIP WMI counters.

PCoIP Log ViewerThe PCoIP Log Viewer and the Log Parser can be downloaded from the following website: http://mindfluxinc.net/?p=195 Instructions on how to parse the logs ready for the Viewer should also be available on that link. 

Now you have the tool, I guess you'd like to know how to make use of it? As I mentioned, I've been using it extensively to help me troubleshoot poor PCoIP performance. To help myself remember and to enable others to understand all of the PCoIP counters better I have put together a PCoIP Troubleshooting page. This should have all of the information you need to make the most out of this brilliant free tool.

PCoIP: Troubleshooting

teradici-pcoip-logoThis is the first part of the PCoIP Trilogy that I will be working on over the coming weeks. In this part I am looking at how to troubleshoot PCoIP issues using the new PCoIP Log Viewer. I'll take you step-by-step through the PCoIP log information, explaining what each counter means. I have also added a small case study which I'm hoping will help you inturprut the data a little better, allowing you to diagnose PCoIP issues on your own environment.

To read on please use the following link: PCoIP Troubleshooting. For those of you who many not be familiar with the Teradici PCoIP display protocol, you can find some good links here: http://www.simonlong.co.uk/blog/pcoip/

The two other parts to this series are:

  • PCoIP – Best Practice
  • PCoIP – Optimization

Keep an eye out for these pages which hopefully will be coming very soon.

VDI Paging Files – Big? Small? Or None At All?

VDI - Paging FilesFor the past few months I have been spending a lot of time looking at the performance of Large VDI environments, where the problems lay and where performance can be improved.

When designing VDI environments, a couple of things that you should consider are the .vswp file and the GuestOS paging file. In this article I am going to focus on the Paging file and hopefully in the not so distant future I will write a post about the .vswp file in a VDI environment.

What is point of the paging file (also known as the pagefile.sys)?

RAM is a limited resource. Virtual memory was introduced to help remove that limit.

Most modern operating system now use Virtual Memory. Virtual memory is a memory management technique. Applications running on a GuestOS reference memory using virtual memory addresses which are then automatically translated into RAM addresses by the hardware. These virtual memory address spaces are divided in pages or block, usually of 4KB. 

If RAM resource is exhusted, the operating system will move 4KB pages of the virtual memory onto the computers hard disk to free up the physical memory (RAM) for other processes. In Windows operating systems, these pages are stored in the pagefile.sys. 

A good way to think of this is;

Imagine a restaurant that has just open for the evening. When customers (Processes) arrive they get allocated a table (RAM) to sit and eat at. As the night goes on the restaurant get busier and free tables (RAM) begin to run out for the new customers (Processes) coming through the door. To free up spare tables (RAM) the waiter asks customers (Processes) who have finished eating if they wouldn't mind moving to the bar (Virtual Memory) where they can continue drink.

Without the paging file, if the physical memory becomes full, applications including the operating system will have to waiting until physical memory becomes available before it can be stored in RAM ready for the CPU to process. As you can imagine this causes massive performance problems.

In summary, you NEED to have a paging file.

Read the rest of this entry »

VOTE NOW – Top Virtualization Blogs 2012

Another year has flown by!! You may or may not have heard that the vSphere-Land.com Top Bloggers in VMware and Virtualization Award nominations have been released and voting has commenced.

Once again I'm both pleased and honoured to have my Blog on the shortlist amongst some of the worlds top Virtualization Bloggers.

So if you'rw a regular reader of the various Virtualization Blogs, it would be great if you could take some time and vote for your favourite blogs. These bloggers, including myself work very hard to make sure you have the information you need to do your jobs, please give them a minute of your time to vote. 

Much appreciated.

For more information visit www.vsphere-land.com

VMware View 5.0 Maximum Composer Pool Size

There has been a lot of talk around this but it seems that not a lot of people are aware, so I just wanted to clarify the point. As mentioned both at myvirtual.net and in the VMware View 5.0 Architecture Planning Guide

The maximum VMware View 5.0 composer pool size is now 1000 desktops.

This will make some customers very happy I am sure.

Thinapp: VirtualComputerName

I have been creating a new Thinapp in which I am trying to trick the application into thinking it is running on the same computer each time it is executed. Little did I know, this was soo easy to do. I had been using ProcMon to find out which registry the software called to get the ComputerName from and then tried to add in a custom registry entry into the Thinapp virtual registry.

As it turns out VMware have given us an entry in the package.ini that we can use instead: VirtualComputerName. So in the package.ini this is what the entry now looks like:

VirtualComputerName=VIEW-PC

Now every time this Thinapp is run it will think it's running on a computer named VIEW-PC.

Thinapp: Files Being Created In The BIN Directory

Whilst testing a Thinapp today I noticed that every time I ran the Thinapp a file related to that software package was being created in the Thinapp bin directory. This isn't something that I want to happen. The file created was named the same as the ComputerName of the vm it was being excecuted on. So as you can imagine, if you have desktop estate of 10,000 desks, it could get quite missy.

With the help of Peter Bjork one of the VMware Thinapp specialists we worked out that the Entry Point that we were using to excecute the Thinapp didn't have a WorkingDirectory defined in the package.ini. This is what the entry point in the package.ini looked like:

[Application.exe]
Source=%ProgramFilesDir%\ApplicationDir\Application.exe
Shortcuts=Application.dat

As you can see, there is no WorkingDirectory defined. If a WorkingDirectory is not specified on an Entry Point the location of the Entry Point will be the working directory, in my case the bin directory. I edited the package.ini to read the following:

[Application.exe]
Source=%ProgramFilesDir%\ApplicationDir\Application.exe 
WorkingDirectory=%ProgramFilesDir%\ApplicationDir\
Shortcuts=Application.dat

I rebuilt the Thinapp and now the application creates this application file in the application directory. Sweet.

Bureaucloud – Cloud Infrastructure on Demand *Free Trial*

Last week I was introduced to a new UK based PAAS provider Bureaucloud. They are currently offering free trails for prospective customers and as I was looking for some cloud hosting for a new personal project I've been working on, I thought this would be the ideal opportunity to try out this new provider.

I thought I would feedback my experience to you guys as I was really impressed!

The Bureaucloud Platform

Of course, when enquiring about the free trial I dug a little to find out a more about the platform and what the hosting platform was running on. I managed to speak to directly to the founder, Tim Boeckmann who give me a brief technical overview:

The solution is built on Cisco, HP and Netapp, with robust high-speed network connectivity, latest HP 64-bit servers and 15K FC disk. VMware where possible, Veeam for backups. The platform has been fully stable since May without any network downtime.

The platform is hosted in West London, at Telecity Powergate (a tier 3 DC with all the iso accreditations you might expect). This is the perfect compliment for anyone looking at hybrid cloud solution between East and West London due to the excellent connectivity into the datacenter.

Our experience is looking after all size enterprise environments from a service provider perspective including migrations, strategic planning and growth. We understand the needs of a small business by being one. We have worked with virtualisation for many years.

The Cloud solutions used on the platform is vCloud from VMware. As you can imagine I was delighted at this as I already know my way around this product and If the infrastructure is configured correctly it should be a solid, stable platform.

My Bureaucloud Experience

So after grilling the founder I was happy and signed up for a free trial. Within an hour I had my account details, I was logged in and firing up my vApp. ONE HOUR! Happy Days to that. During the configuration of a my vApp I had an issue with the networking, I contacted their support team which had it fixed very quickly. Maybe TalkTalk should take note? 🙂 (Personal grudge.)

My vApp has been running for about a week now with no problems, not that I would expect any as the platform is running on vSphere 5 and vCD1.5. If the service continues at this level until the end of the free trial, I will continue to use them to host my servers. Their prices are competitive I'm sure you'd agree and I was really impressed with their support team.

Bureaucloud Summary

These guys are offering a free trial….. If you are looking for Cloud provider what better way can you try out their service. Give them a go, I'm very happy so far. But I'll let you know if that changes. 😉

Keep an eye on their blog page  for a new post that will go up shortly, they are having a Christmas Competition. One lucky new client will win 4 days consultancy around "Cloud Strategy and Migration".

Thinapp: Log Monitor Trace Error

Just a quick post about an error I just got when I was trying to generate a text trace report using the Thinapp Log Monitor. The error I received was:

<UNC path to Thinapp Bin>\<trace unique identifier>.trace: Error
– – – – – – – – end of file – – – – – – – – –  

If I then looked at the trace text file it only had a small amount of information, most of the trace information you would expect to see was missing.

The reason for this error was because I was running Thinapp Log Monitor from a network share. 

To fix this problem I copied to a local drive;

  • log_monitor.exe
  • logging.dll
  • setup capture.exe

The trace text report generation now runs as expected.

V-INDEX.COM

My attention was drawn to this website today, I hadn't seen it before so I thought I'd share it with you in case you had missed it too.

V-index is an online virtualization industry study performed by Vanson Bourne, an independent market research company. It is based on a survey of at least 500 enterprises across the US, UK, France and Germany and is designed to measure 3 parameters – virtualization rate, consolidation ratio and primary hypervisor in use.

Some interesting info on there, check it out.

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