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.

VMware Access Point Deployment Utility

accesspointGreat news guys, one of my colleagues here at VMware, Chris Halstead has written another awesome tool to assist you in deploying the newly announced Horizon Access Point.

What is Access Point?
Access Point is a virtual appliance primarily designed to allow secure remote access to VMware end-user-computing resources from authorized users connecting from the Internet. Initially, Access Point provides this secure connectivity to desktops and applications that are either cloud-hosted through Horizon Air or on-premises in a customer data center through View in Horizon 6. Access Point is also an integral part of the forthcoming Project Enzo.

Head over to Chris Halstead’s blog to download the utility and for a great in depth user guide.

Thanks Chris, this is extremely helpful.

Free Desktop Assessment Service

Desktop Assessment ServiceFor those of you who have listened to me talk at VMworld or have worked with me as Consultant or as an Architect, you’ll all know how much I bang on about the importance of a good, complete desktop assessment. Without good assessment data it very difficult to accurately identify your requirements. This can result in, and so often does, a desktop deployment that performs poorly or is vastly over sized.

On the flip side, I also understand that assessments can take a lot of time and effort if done correctly.

So VMware has teamed up with Lakeside Software to offer you a FREE, yes free, Cloud-Hosted, Self-Service SysTrack Desktop Assessment Service. This service uses the same tool that I used as a consultant within VMware Professional Services. It’s tried and tested.

Some of the highlights of the service include; Simple registration and configuration to begin data collection and Deployment Recommendations, which will help you size your Horizon environment based on the data gathered.

Give it a try, head over to: SysTrack Desktop Assessment  and sign up for a free account.

VCDX Mentors – We Need You!

VCDX MentorsQuite regularly I get emails/DM’s from future VCDX candidates asking if  I could be their VCDX Mentor. Unfortunately, because I am an active panelist this isn’t something I am permitted to do as per the VCDX Mentor Guidelines.

Out of the 216 certified VCDX’s worldwide, there are currently 48 VCDX’s that have indicated that would be happy to mentor future VCDX candidates via the website. But we need more, especially for the DTM, CMA and NV tracks.

Currently we have the following amount of mentors for each track:

  • DTM –
  • CMA – 5
  • NV – 6
  • DCV – 41

We really need more Mentors for DTM, CMA and NV.

As a Mentor what do you need to do? In a nutshell, provide 3-4 months of mentoring assistance for a future VCDX candidate. Here is a short list taken from the VCDX Mentor Guildlines.

  • Validate they have completed the pre-requisites, this is mentoring on VCDX Defense, not necessarily for VCAP mentoring.  Ultimately it’s up to you, but the intent is for VCDX Defenses.
  • Help them with the overall VCDX Process
  • Coach them on communication skills
  • Help them develop a structured thought process
  • Treat every Mentee equally
  • Give honest and open feedback
  • Concentrate on the mentees person and skillset
  • Ask for help from the VMware Certified Design Expert Program Management if in doubt
  • Help them with any presentation skills (Soft Skills)

Interested and want to become a VCDX Mentor?

  • Log into the website
  • Edit your Profile and look for the Mentor setting (I cannot check the Mentor box, but you should be able to)


  • Click Save

You are an Expert. Give back if you can. 🙂

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.

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: