vCommunity Twitter List

vCommunity Twitter ListIn an attempt to try and clean up my Twitter feed to make Twitter conversations and tweets a little easier to notice and follow, I followed the recommendation given to me by my followers and decided to split the Twitter accounts I follow into Lists, so they are easier to sort and categorize. One of the lists I started to put together was a vCommunity Twitter List. This list contains many of the people who make up the vCommunity. One of the cool things about Twitter Lists, is you can see people who have been added to the lists and you can Follow them on your own account. It’s a great way to find people with the same interests. As you can imagine, the vCommunity Twitter List is designed to include people who mostly tweet about Virtualization topics.

Tweet Criteria

Although this is a very informal list, as I mentioned earlier, the whole aim of this list is to remove unnecessary noise from my Twitter feed. So I need to try and put some restrictions in place.

What to Tweet

You can tweet about whatever you are interested in, I’m not going to become the Twitter Police. But ideally;

  • Virtualization topics
  • Technology topics – We are all geeks at heart

 

What not to Tweet

I understand that from time to time we all tweet about a wide variety of topics, try and limit the following, if possible.

  • Politics …zzzZZZ
  • Cat pictures
  • Endless Retweets – We want your thoughts, not just the thoughts of others.

Getting added to the list

The vCommunity Twitter List is still a work in progress and always will be. My intention is to keep this Twitter List dynamic. As new people join Twitter and start to tweet about relevant Virtualization topics, they’ll be added. And on the flip side, as people’s interests change and maybe their tweets are no longer focused on the topic of Virtualization, they will be removed.

If you want to be added to the List, please message Follow Me and message me on Twitter.

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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Living The American Dream

CaliforniaI’ve always wanted to try living somewhere else in the world, to get some more life experience. However up until now I’ve not been in the position to be able to do this.

But as one chapter in my life closes another chapter begins. Today I am please to announce that I have accepted a new job at VMware that will see me relocating to California (USA not Norfolk). I will be joining the OneCloud team as a Senior Cloud Architect, an exciting role which will really test me and push me to improve.

I will based in the Bay Area (AKA. Silicon Valley) At VMware’s HQ in Palo Alto. It’s an amazing opportunity and with an average of around 300 days of sunshine a year, I’d be stupid not to take it.

So at the start of May I will be taking to the sky to start living the American dream. For those of you who live in and around that area, if you have any tips that will help me settle into the US lifestyle just that little bit easier, please reach out to me or comment below.

Exciting and challenging times ahead I think you’d agree.

And I thought “The Cloud” was just a fad…..

Mobile Cloud AppsIt’s true, I actually wrote that in a blog post back in March 2010 called Is It A Bird? Is It A Plane? No, It’s….The Cloud! Until now I’ve not really given it to much thought. Obviously, working at VMware I needed to understand vCloud Director, but that was only really from a functionality/design perspective. However since starting my new role at Canopy I’ve begun to take more notice of “The Cloud” and what it has to offer to both consumers and also to businesses. Whilst working for a Canopy I’ve found it very easy to get immersed into a bubble and end up only paying attention to what the company offers as products/solutions. So much so, I began to lose the bigger picture and stopped thinking about what other cloud products/solutions there were out there, not just for businesses but also to us, as consumers.

It wasn’t until a few days ago when I was sipping cocktails on Sentosa Island when I realised, without really noticing it, I was already a heavy consumer of “The Cloud”. However my consumption wasn’t of solutions like SaaS,PaaS, IaaS etc which I used to class as “typical” cloud offerings. My consumption was, in my eyes more subtle. This maybe because there wasn’t a large initial cost on purchase which I personally associate with the “typical” cloud services. There also wasn’t a massive operational change, which is another invisible cost that I also associate with “Moving to the cloud”.

“New Phone, DM me your numbers!”No Contacts

Let’s look at my mobile (cell) phone (Android). If I want to make a call on my phone, I can search my contacts for the person I want to call. All of the contacts on my phone are automatically sync’ed to my Google account. If I loose my phone, I still have all of my contacts. How many times do you see Facebook posts which read something like “New Phone, DM me your numbers!” ? This is no longer an issue for me. All of my contacts are sync’ed to “The Cloud”.

Another good example; My friend accidentally drops his phone in his beer (it happens!). The phone is now dead. He turns to me and says, “I’ve just lost all the photo’s of my son’s birthday”. – This something that happens far to often. It doesn’t have to. I have setup a FREE Dropbox account and installed the Dropbox app onto my phone and configured every photo to be sent to my Dropbox account after it is taken. If I lose my phone, my photo’s are still available to me via the Dropbox website.

I’m not going to keep throwing examples at you as I am sure you get the point. But I will give you a quick list of some of the “Cloud” services that I use as a consumer on a regular basis (I have purposely not included Cloud services I use for my job at Canopy).

  • Google Apps (Chrome, Calendar, Contacts, GMail) – Used hourly
  • Spotify (Pro) – Used maybe 12 hours a day
  • Evernote (Pro) – Used this on a hourly basis
  • Dropbox – Used daily
  • Flickr (Pro) – Used daily
  • Netflix – Used daily
  • Feedly – Used daily
  • Sticher – Used weekly
  • Tripit – Used weekly

I am very surprised at the amount of “Cloud” based services I already use without really noticing. I was also surprised that I actually pay for some of these services. In the past I’ve always been reluctant to pay for these services, I’d always make do with the free offerings. However it’s got to the point where I use them so much day-to-day, it is actually beneficial for me to pay for these premium services.

I think my use of Cloud services has stemmed from my use of mobile devices. I have a phone, a couple of tablets, laptops etc. I want my data to be accessible to me regardless of where I am or what device I am on, so I look for services that can allow me to do that. In an ideal world I would like to be able to do my day-to-day work tasks from any device – anywhere, however I don’t really want to use a VDI to allow me to do this.

I think I am nearly there!

Step Back

I invite you all to take  a step back, flick through the app’s you have on your mobile devices, TV’s, computers and take a look at how many Cloud services you are actually using. Did it surprise you as much as it did me?

Cloud computing is clearly not a fad, I actually think it is the future. We will continue to see more and more of our data move off of our devices and be stored in cloud services allowing us to access it whenever and where ever we are in the world. This future excites me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Onwards and Upwards!

Onwards and UpwardsToday I am both delighted and sad to announce that I am leaving VMware. Sad in the respect that over the past 3 years I have made some really great friends and had some amazing experiences and opportunities whilst at VMware.

However I am delighted because I am moving to a company that has a bright future and is looking to be a big player in the Cloud market. I will be taking a Senior Architect role at Canopy Cloud within their Engineering team working closely with the guys in the CTO office.

Here is a little more information on Canopy taken from their website www.canopy-cloud.com

Canopy Cloud

Canopy, an Atos company powered by EMC and VMware technology, is a one-stop-shop that offers cloud services focussed exclusively on bringing the benefits of cloud delivery to large public and multinational private sector organizations.

The Canopy offerings are based on open standards so customers can choose their preferred technology and decide whether to run solutions off- or on-premise to best meet their business needs.

I’m really excited as for the last three years my main focus has been on End User Computing architectures based on products from VMware. Moving forward my primary focus will be Cloud architecture, vCloud Director, vCAC, vCO etc. Not only am I excited to learn new technologies, I also relish the challenge in helping Canopy grow from a small business into a key player in the Cloud services market. Once again it’s going to be a steep learning curve – Bring.It.On!!!

I will continue to blog and tweet. The focus of my posts are likely to change based on the projects I am working on at Canopy.

Simon Long in AmsterdamI’d just like to publicly thank all of my friends/colleagues that have made my past three years so much fun at VMware. I have many fond memories of my time in both PSO and CoE/PSE. Whilst going through my old emails I found this old photo of me which was taken during a 4 month project over in Amsterdam. This was probably the most political / stressful / rewarding project I got to work on during my time at PSO. It’s one of those projects that will stay with me throughout my career. As painful as it was at the time, I am thankful that I had the opportunity to be a part of it. It certainly improved me as a consultant.

As my final day at VMware approaches I am beginning to realize how much I will miss it here. However I’ve learnt, emotions and sentiment shouldn’t be used as a reason to stay in a role.

As one chapter ends, another begins.

Netapp’s VMware Horizon View 5 Solutions Guide

Netapp

I just heard that this document was released and just wanted to bring it to your attention. VMware Horizon View 5 Solutions Guide

 

This solution guide outlines VMware View 5 on NetApp storage. The guide covers pool design, cloning choices, and guest optimization, as well as end-user data layout. New technologies that are available in View 5.1, such as View Storage Accelerator, are also covered. This solution guide explains the different design choices and why each choice affects the outcome of the virtual desktop deployment.

So if you're are working on a Horizon View project using Netapp storage, I'd highly recommend you read this first to make sure you are following all of the recommended guidelines

The document is available for download here: http://www.netapp.com/us/media/tr-4181.pdf

VMware Horizon View: New Technical White Papers

Technical White PapersOver the past few week or so VMware has release some really useful technical white papers focused around VMware Horizon View. I just wanted to bring these to your attention in case you messed the announcements.

If you have an Horizon View environment, I would highly recommend you give these papers a read to ensure you are following all of the VMware's latest "Best Practices" that are appropriate for your environment.

My First Published Technical White Paper

Virtual Machine Graphics Acceleration Deployment GuideToday my first official technical white paper got released on VMware.com – titled, Virtual Machine Graphics Acceleration Deployment Guide. It's been a long time coming. It was one of those papers where I could keep adding and adding to it.

The paper talks about the following topics:

  • Why 3D Matters for VMware Horizon View
  • Understanding the Differences Between Soft 3D/SVGA, vDGA and vSGA
  • Prerequisites
  • Application Requirements and Use Cases
  • vSGA Installation
  • vDGA Installation (Tech Preview)
  • VMware Horizon View Pool Configuration for vSGA
  • Performance Tuning Tips
  • Resource Monitoring
  • Troubleshooting

Hopefully it should cover everything you need to enable your Horizon View desktops for 3D rendering.

There are a number of other VMware Horizon View: New Technical White Papers that have been released recently that are well worth a read. Check.Them.Out

vOpenData – Get Involved!!

vOpenData LogoA few weeks ago my RSS feeds were inundated with posts about vOpenData. I had decided to wait until the hype had died down a bit until I created a little reminder post to help keep the momentum going.

What is vOpenData?

vOpenData is an open community project that grew from the question "What is the average VMDK size for deployed virtual machines?" We wanted to create an open community database that is purely driven by users submitting their virtual infrastructure configurations. Leveraging the powerful virtualization community and applying simple analytics we are able to provide various trending statistics and data for virtualized environments. This is 100% community driven and the results will be available for everyone to view and hopefully you will contribute to the overall dataset!

Personally I think this is a great idea. The more people that anonymously share their stats, the better and more granular results will become available to us. 

Below you can see some of the data that is available via the vOpenData website.

     

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VMware Horizon View 5.2: Network Ports (External Design)

Following on from yesterdays VMware Horizon View 5.2: Network Ports (Internal Design) post, I present to you my second Horizon View 5.2 Networking Port diagram. This diagram is of an External Horizon View 5.2 design and includes Security Servers and all of the ports required for both the internal and external firewalls. I hope you find these digrams useful. Read the rest of this entry »