Time to Upgrade your Horizon Environment

Is it time to upgrade your Horizon Environment? Is your infrastructure team getting ready to upgrade the vSphere servers? Both questions that you should probably be saying yes to.

If you have read any number of blogs that have been released recently, vSphere 5.5 will be going End of General Support in less that 6 months’ time. Read more here: https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/51491

Upgrade to Horizon 7

So why am I talking about vSphere upgrades in a blog about Horizon upgrades. Well now is the time you need to ask what version of Horizon you are currently running, because if you haven’t updated to Horizon 7 yet then now would be a great time to start planning your upgrade.

You can read the rest of my post on VMware.com. Click Here


Horizon Cloud Pod Architecture 7.1 Update

Last year with the release of Horizon 7 I wrote a blog on the new features of Cloud Pod Architecture (CPA) this included the new scale numbers. You can find that blog here.

This week VMware released Horizon 7.1 and with this release VMware has increased the scale numbers yet again for Cloud Pod Architecture.

Now with Horizon 7.1 Cloud Pod Architecture can support a maximum of 75k sessions across 5 sites.

The table below shows the new update compared with Horizon 7.0

Horizon 7 Horizon 7.1
Total Number of Sessions 50,000 75,000
Total Number of Sites 5 5
Total Number of Pods 25 25

This is yet another great update to VMware’s Horizon and Cloud Pod Architecture.

VMware Horizon Multi-VLAN Update

With the release of VMware Horizon 7.1 this week, VMware has made a significant update to the way Horizon supports Multi-VLAN for Instant Clones.

Multi-VLAN support, if you are not aware of this feature allows you to assign Multiple VLANs to a single Horizon View Pool. For example if you have a Horizon View Pool with 1000 desktops these desktops could be spread across 4 different VLANs rather than all sitting on one very large VLAN.

Multi-VLAN support has been around in Horizon View for some time now, however the catch was that it needed to be configured from the command line using a PowerShell script and this wasn’t always the easiest and was not that easy to go back and change.

With the release of Horizon 7.1 when you create an Instant Clone Pool you can now configure Multi-VLANs right from the GUI.

When you get to the vCenter settings page you will now see a new option for Networks.


Once you click on Browse you will see the new screen to choose what VLANs you want to use for your new Instant Clone pool.

You will first need to uncheck the box “Use network from current parent VM image”


Once this box is unchecked you can choose just what networks you would like to use for the newly created Instant Clone Pool.

NOTE: This feature is only available for Instant Clones Pools Desktops or RDSH servers. For Linked Clones you would need to use the old way using the PowerShell script.



Goodbye AT&T, Hello T-Mobile

After 13 years using AT&T as my cell service provider and with my oldest child getting to the age where I need to give him a cell phone I decided it was time to look at my options.

I was currently paying roughly $190 for 2 lines with AT&T this included unlimited calls and texts and 10Gb of shared data, both lines are iPhones but 10Gb’s was fine especially when I was working from home, but if I traveled more than 1 week in a month then we got very close to that 10Gb limit.

I then though how much extra data I would need if I add a third line for my eldest kid I know how much data he will get through. Time to look at options.

After looking at Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint I decided to choose T-Mobile as my new service. The first reason was easy T-Mobile would support my current iPhones so I didn’t need to get any new phones.

So what are the benefit I have received by moving to T-Mobile

  • Unlimited Data, Text and Calls
  • Unlimited calls includes landlines and mobiles in a number of different countries included the UK, very important for me 🙂
  • Unlimited Data when traveling abroad, yes this is at 256Kbs speeds but thats good enough when traveling
  • Unlimited Texts when traveling abroad
  • The ability to use our phones as Hotspots (10Gbs is the limit for hotspot data)
  • Free Go-Go internet when traveling on planes
  • Free WiFi calling

So what is the cost benefit, I am now paying just $165 for 3 lines thats a saving of $25 a month for all these extra benefits.

I have been using T-Mobile now for 2 months and the Service in the Chicago area where i live is excellent, I have also traveled to the North East and the West coast in the last 2 months and never had an issue with connectivity. BTW the LTE data in my area is smoking fast, I am currently getting 87Mbs Down and 29Mbs Up.

So for anyone looking at changing Cell Phone providers I can strongly recommend T-Mobile at this point.


VMware Horizon 7 Instant Clones Best Practices

Recently, I have been working with Instant Clones in my lab. Although I have found this easy to get up and running (for more information, see my blog here), it hasn’t been easy to find best practices around configuring Instant Clones, as they are so new.

I reached out to the engineering team, and they provided me with the following best practices for using Instant Clones in VMware Horizon 7.0.2.

Check OS Support for Instant Clones

The following table shows what desktop operating systems are supported when using Instant Clones.

Guest Operating System Version Edition Service Pack
Windows 10 64-Bit and 32-Bit Enterprise None
Windows 7 64-Bit and 32-Bit Enterprise and Professional SP1

For more information, see the architecture planning guide.

To read the rest of this blog please check it out on VMware.com here

Using a Mouse with my iPad Pro

Earlier this Month VMware released the latest update to the Horizon Client for the iPad. Version 4.2 can be downloaded here

This brought a number of great updates but my favorite is the ability to use a Mouse with my iPad, yes that’s right when connected to a Horizon desktop or application I can now use a Bluetooth connected mouse.

The mouse that is supported is the SwiftPoint GT mouse, this is a great mouse and fantastic from people that travel with an iPad Pro

This mouse is extremely small but works really well, I have been using the iPad for travel for a few months now and it has been working well but when connected to a virtual desktop there is definitely something missing and that’s the mouse. I have tried to use the Apple Pencil and that works OK but it’s not as good as a mouse. The SwiftPoint GT fixes that problem and now I feel that when traveling with my iPad I have everything I need to do my job as if I was at my desk.

If you would like more details on the SwiftPoint GT mouse you can find it here.

iPhone 7 Review

It’s been a just over a week now since I received my iPhone 7 plus, I received it on launch day so I have had lots of time to play with it and see how it works. Here is my review after the first week, the good and the bad.

The Good


Ok so the best thing for me is the new duel camera system that has been added to the iPhone 7 Plus, the zoom feature is amazing. Here are 4 photos all take in the same spot, the first with no zoom, the second with 2x optical zoom and the last 2 at 5x and 10x using the digital zoom.

As you can see the zoom is rather good for a phone. I have also noticed an improvement on photos taken in low light as well and a much improved flash, over all the camera is a great improvement over the iPhone 6s+ I am now looking forward to the new features in iOS 10.1 when it is released later this year.

Home Button

The new Home Button has taken me a little while to get used to but I now have to say I really like it, I did not the first few days. Now that I am used to it, it feels much better than the home button on earlier versions of the iPhone and feels like it will last much longer, definitely feels more solid. Unlocking the phone with your finger print is just as fast if not faster that the 6s.


The iPhone 7 is definitely snappier that the 6s with a noticeable improvement in speed when jumping between Apps, something that I do a lot during the day.

No Analog Connection

OK so the big talking point has been the removal of the audio jack from the iPhone, something that I didn’t think would bother me too much. First the audio when listening to my music seams much better the music just sounds better and more clear, now this could be because it’s now all digital it could also be because now that I have 128Gb’s instead of the 64Gb’s I no longer have to convert my music to 128 bit rate when syncing them to my phone. Overall I have been impressed with my music using the new headphones without the analog jack. Now the downside of removing the connection. I spend a lot of time on my iPhone during the day taking phone calls, this is my only phone for work and as such I talk for hours on end some times and all the time using the headphones, the problem happens when the phone starts to run low on charge. I am now unable to use my headphone for talking on the phone and charge the phone at the same time, this is a big issue for me. Now I know there are adaptors already on the market, and Bluetooth headphones are available but for me this is an issue Apple should have seen and given an adaptor away with the iPhone.

Now the Bad


Yet again Apple’s launch of a new iPhone was let down by their iCloud service. After my new phone arrived I tried to restore my new iPhone form iCloud to find that I was told my backup was unavailable and to try again later. I kept trying for a few hours with the same results. After a quick search on Twitter I found a lot of people having the exact same issue. I decided to give it up on the Friday and tried again on Saturday, I got the same issue again. I reached out to Apple support who first tried to blame my network connection. After proving it was not my network (I tried for 3 different locations) and also pointing out that lots of other people had the same issue, I was told to backup my iPhone to iTunes and restore my new iPhone from there.

As iTunes isn’t great it took 4 backups before I was able to restore my new iPhone with all the Apps and Data that were on my old iPhone 6s but I finally managed it. This however got me thinking about all the people who no longer have a iMac or PC what would they do, if Apple what to push this idea of just owning an iPhone or iPad then they really need to improve their iCloud service when new devices are released.


Although the battery is bigger and Apple says that on the iPhone 7+ you should see about an extra hour of usage (your mileage may vary) I have not seen any improvement in my usage and as with the iPhone 6s+ I have to change my iPhone around 7pm every night.


Overall I am very impressed with the new iPhone 7+ and look forward to using it more over the next few weeks and months and really look forward to using the camera more and more. I would still recommend getting the new iPhone but in the future I may wait a few weeks and not get one on release day and save myself the iCloud pain, oh who am I kidding by this time next year I will have forgot about the iCloud issues and I will go through it all over again!!

New Requirement for VMware Identity Manager when clustering

Recently VMware released Identity Manager 2.7 and with it there is a new requirement when clustering the Identity Manager behind a load balancer.

It is now required that you have a minimum of 3 Identity Manager Appliances with in the cluster.

The diagram below shows this minimum requirement.

This will also help when upgrading to future version. If there is a minimum of 3 appliances then it will be possible to upgrade these appliances one at a time with out any downtime.

To upgrade with a minimum of 3 in the cluster you and simply take a single appliance out of the load balanced pool upgrade the server and then add it back to the load balanced pool. Simply do this for each appliance in the load balanced pool and not down time will be required.

Configuring VMware Identity Manager and VMware Horizon 7 Cloud Pod Architecture

With the release of VMware Horizon® 7 and VMware Identity Manager™ 2.6, it is now possible to configure VMware Identity Manager to work with Horizon Cloud Pod Architecture when deploying your desktop and application pools over multiple data centers or locations.

Using VMware Identity Manager in front of your VMware Horizon deployments that are using Cloud Pod Architecture makes it much easier for users to get access to their desktops and applications. The user has just one place to connect to, and they will be able to see all of their available desktops and applications. Identity Manager will direct the user to the application hosted in the best datacenter for their location. This can also include SaaS applications as well as the applications that are available through VMware Horizon 7.

For the full blog please see my blog on VMware.com


Configuring VMware Identity Manager with SQL Always On

For the last few weeks I have been testing VMware Identity Manager with SQL Always On database for multi-site deployments. This has been an interesting learning curve as its been some time since I last did anything substantial with Microsoft SQL. Before I start with the VMware Identity Manager I think it is worth calling out these 2 resources that I found really useful for setting up SQL Always On in my Lab.

This is a quick intro in to SQL Always On and how to configure it


This was a useful step by step guide for deploying SQL Always On


Now before configuring VMware Identity Manager with an SQL Always On Database you should be aware that even though there is a database in each of the datacenter’s all Read and Writes operations will take place on the Primary database with in the Availability Group.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 8.41.02 AM

From my testing I found that setting the database to automatic failover worked as expected and the database was only unavailable for a very short time less than a couple of seconds. However, I did find that when I failed the database back after an outage this took a bit more time and I would recommend that any failback is done in a much more controlled manner. In my testing fail back took about 40 seconds so a noticeable difference.

Creating the VMware Identity Manager SQL Always On Database


  1. Open SQL Management Studio and log in with sysadmin privileges (This should be done on the primary server)
  2. Click File – New – Query with current connection
  3. In the editor window paste the following SQL Commands

COLLATE Latin1_General_CS_AS;







USE saas;

IF EXISTS (SELECT * FROM sys.database_principals WHERE name = N'horizon')

DROP USER [horizon]


CREATE USER horizon FOR LOGIN horizon

with default_schema = saas;




  1. Click Execute


  1. The saas Database will now be created
  2. Make a Full backup of the database (This must be done before adding the database to an Always On High Availability Group)
    • Right click the database – Tasks – Back Up
  3. Add the database to the Always On High Availability Group


NOTE: It is also recommended to make the following changes to SQL

  • Change ‘HostRecordTTL to a lower value than the default in multi-site deployments. 120 seconds is a good value
  • Change ‘RegisterAllProvidersIP’ to false in multi-site deployments

Connect VMware Identity Manager to the SQL Database

During the install of VMware Identity Manager connect to the SQL Database using the following settings


  • SQLAGListener = the SQL Availability Group Listener, in the example below that is SQLProdServer
  • If the secondary SQL server is on a different subnet add the following to the jdbc string
    • multiSubnetFailover=true
      • Jdbc:sqlserver://SQLAGListener;DatabaseName=saas; multiSubnetFailover=true