My Last Year = Desktop, Desktop, Desktop

desktop madness

I'm pretty sure all of you know I work for VMware's PSO. But did you know that for about the past year I've been specializing in VDI, specifically View? Probably not. Not a lot of people know that! I didn't know that people didn't know that, until recently at a few vBeers events I've been telling people what I've been getting up to and everyone was quite surprised. So I thought I'd share some of my experiences with you.

The two main types of engagements I've been working on are View Plan and Design and VDI Troubleshooting/Healthchecks. All of the engagements mentioned are 1000+ seat environments, all large scale and some global.

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VMware View 5 – Released!!!

ViewDesignToday see's the public release of VMware View 5. I've been fortunate enough to have been using this in Beta for a while, and I must say, I am impressed (again). Key features of this release are:

Optimized and Adaptive Experience

VMware View with PCoIP display protocol delivers high-performance desktop experience across the LAN or WAN. Built for desktop delivery, VMware View with PCoIP dynamically adjusts to network conditions to enable the most productive environment. Optimization controls enable IT administrators to customize protocol settings to adjust bandwidth use and session density by user, use case or available network conditions.

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VMware View 5 & PCoIP – Performance & Best Practices

If you are planning on implementing a View 5 environment or running PoC, I would highly recommend you have a look through the following slides. This presentation was delivered at VMWorld 2011.

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ESXi5: Call fails for “HostDatastoreSystem.QueryVmfsDatastore- CreateOptions” for object “ha-datastoresystem”

VMwareAddStorage2 When trying to format my local disk on my new ESXi5 host I recieved the error captured in the screenshot. The error give is: Call fails for “HostDatastoreSystem.QueryVmfsDatastore- CreateOptions” for object “ha-datastoresystem” 

I did a quick bit of Googling and I found this article which talks you through the steps required to fix this issue with ESX4.1. Part of the process uses fdisk. Fdisk is not available with ESXi5, you are forced to use partedUtil


I tried various commands to try and fix the problem, but most of the commands returned me the following error:

/dev # partedUtil fix /vmfs/devices/disks/t10.ATA_____VB0250EAVER_____________________________9VMTB7GC____________
Error: The primary GPT table states that the backup GPT is located beyond the end of disk. This may happen if the disk has shrunk or partition table is corrupted. Fix, by writing backup table at the end? diskPath (/dev/disks/t10.ATA_____VB0250EAVER_____________________________9VMTB7GC____________) disk->dev->length (488397168) gpt->AlternateLBA (1465191167)
Error: Can't have a partition outside the disk!
Error: Can't have a partition outside the disk!

The command you need to use to fix this problem is mklabel, for example:

/dev # partedUtil mklabel /vmfs/devices/disks/t10.ATA_____VB0250EAVER_____________________________9VMTB7GC____________ gpt

After you have run this command, head back into the vSphere client and try and format the disk again. Hopefully you should now be successful.

VCDX Defense Workshop at UK VMUG (Interested?)

Simon Gallagher over at has come up with the idea for a side-workshop/session at the upcoming UK VMUG in November for people that are actively following the VCDX4/5 track.

The format would be that participants get a 15-20min slot to present their design defence to a “panel” comprising of other VMUG members. including some of whom have taken (and failed) the actual defense process with a view to providing feedback and some questioning. The goal is to allow you to dry-run your presentation in-front of a friendly audience of like-minded community members before you brave it for real.

You would need to commit to come prepared with a Powerpoint version of your defence presentation, the panel won’t have seen your full design documents, and won’t be reviewing them.

To register your interest, please visit: and register your interest on the Poll at the bottom of the page.

VCP4 Practice Exam Android App

VCP4 Practice Exam Android AppThe SLOG is pretty much known because of the VCP4 practice exams that I have put together for people studying for the VCP4 exam. Well, now I am adding to the resources by introducing an VCP4 Practice Exam app for Android phones. It's based on the same questions found on my website, but now offers you portability to practice on the bus/train/plane or where ever you maybe.

The application is still in Beta which is why I am going to limit how many users I will send the application to. It currently has 40 questions, this will be increasing as I make updates to the application. The application is designed for Android phones, I have also been informed it works fine on Android tablets, albeit a little small on the screen. (Work will be done at some point to optimize it for both phone and tablet.)

If you are interested in receiving the Beta Exam app, please drop me an email via my Contact Me page with the Subject "VCP4 APP". Please make sure you input your correct email address, as I will be adding you to my Beta users list and this is the email address I will email the application to. In return, i'd appreciate your feedback on ways I can improve the application.

Version 4 of the app can be downloaded from the following location:

For some screenshots of the app in action  Read the rest of this entry »

Free VMware View training!!

I don't normally post things like this on my blog, but I feel that these courses could offer real value to people who are currently looking into VDI or have just installed it and looking to optimize it for their environment. I will be one of the experts on the on the bootcamp community pages, so I look forward to your questions.

Starting July 19 through July 29th, join the VMware VDI experts for a FREE 9-part bootcamp training series. In these online sessions-VMware will show you how to get started and successfully roll out and deploy your virtual desktops and applications. You’ll learn about key design considerations, storage and networking best practices, PCoIP tuning and how to optimize your base image. They will also touch on VMware's security server for PcoIP, how you can take advantage of powershell to write your own scripts and much more.

Every day VMware will publish a new 45 minute video for you to view. The VDI experts will be on the View bootcamp community pages throughout the course of the July bootcamp to answer any questions and jump in any discussions that come up. VMware will lock the discussions each night and move on to the next video.

At the end of this bootcamp, you will have a good understanding of the VMware View solution, how to roll it out and how to optimize View in your environment. Customers and partners can also register to receive a FREE e-book which is a collation of all of the presentations used during the bootcamp.

And don’t worry if you can’t make it to the session on July 19th-29th-because we will be making these trainings available on-demand and locking all the threads so you can come back and view these at any time in the future.

Become a Bootcamp Survivor by tuning in each day

In order to qualify to become a “bootcamp survivor” you will need to log in and post a discussion thread in any of the bootcamp discussion forums. Qualified community IDs will be posted on the “Bootcamp Hall of Fame” page at the end of the bootcamp.

Bootcamp participants can also qualify for extra community points by blogging about the bootcamp over the course of the program. Post a link to your View Bootcamp related blog post in the bootcamp discussion forum to qualify for an extra 10 points per post, which will be awarded at the end of the program.

Find out more today!

vSoup – Visio is for Girls #12


Last week I have the pleasure of being part of the latest vSoup Podcast. It was ace! I had a great laugh recording it with the guys. I spent most the time muting my microphone so you couldn't hear me laughing in the background.  

The vSoup podcast is the mind child of 3 virtualisation professionals all based in Europe. We did borrow one from the US, and we have no plans on returning him any time soon.

If you haven't heard of the podcast before, I suggest you get yourself over to the vSoup website and download their back catalogue. I especially recommend Episode #10 with special guest Stu Radnidge (@vinternals), it's a laugh a minute, literally! 

The vSoup guys are always looking for guests to appear on the podcast, so if you think this is something you'd like to do, then drop them an email or message them on Twitter, I'm sure they'd be glad to have you on…. Unless you are a Fool.

Thin Client vs Zero Client

Thin vs Zero ClientsI was reading a discussion on an internal mailing list today about the differences between Thin and Zero desktop clients for VDI. I thought I would summaries the discussion and share it with you as it certainly helped to get it clear in my mind.

Zero Client

  • A Zero client is a special purpose / built client that uses a SoC or FPGA.
  • It is upgraded using a  firmware image. (Think of it like your  WiFi router.)
  • They all have software and they all run an OS.
  • The Teradici zero client for example runs a RTOS ( Real Time OS ) called Thread-X

Thin Client

  • A Thin Client is a device that has a stripped down custom OS, customized Linux OS or OEMed Windows Embedded OS. 
  • The image is typically larger than a firmware payload and in some cases a little more difficult to distribute depending on the management tools.
  • Some will argue they need to be managed / patched more and in some way that is true.

An example of a Thin Client would be like VDI Blaster where you have a tiny OS installed on a PC which has only one function and that's to get you to your virtual desktop.

In Summary

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vcap4-dcaThis morning I work up to an email from the VMware certifications team, informing me of my VCAP4-DCA result. I am happy to say, I passed! I was a little shocked, as when I left the exam room I felt sure I had failed. I had spent to long on some tasks and didn't give myself enough time on others. 

It was a lot tougher than I expected, mostly due to the time constraints. You really need to know your way around vSphere with the client and putty.

Some recommendations for people taking the VCAP4-DCA

  • Attend the VMware vSphere troubleshooting course (A must!)
  • If you don't have a lab, get the training DVD's from TrainSignal. They are brilliant at showing you have to complete specific tasks within vSphere, which is much needed for the exam. (Thanks to Trainsignal, for the instant access via their WebPortal)
  • Make use of the brilliant blogger resource available out there. Websites like,, Checkout Gregg Robertson's great VCAP-DCA & DCD resources page for loads more.


  • Don't take too long on each task, if you don't know it, move on. You can always go back to it. (Be aware, some tasks might require actions from earlier tasks).
  • Learn commands that will help you. e.g get-help (PowerCLI), esxcli -h etc . It's difficult to remember all syntax's, so just remember where to find them.
  • Don't drink too much energy drink before entering the room. You won't want to waste time going to the toilet. Although you might find that the last 10 mins are very uncomfortable if you decide to skip that toilet visit!!! (Talking from experience)

Next step for me is the VCAP4-DCD. I think I might find this one more difficult. I have not done as much design work as I'd like as I've always been more of a (vSphere) client monkey. 

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