Update to How CPA Home Sites Work with Horizon 7

Several months ago I wrote a blog on how Home Sites work with VMware Horizon 6 Cloud Pod Architecture (CPA), you can find the blog here.

With the release of VMware Horizon 7 the way CPA handles Home Sites has been updated so the users with a Home Site will always receive a Desktop or App even if their Home Site is down.

Lets first review what would happen if a users Home Site was down. As you can see in the diagram below the Connection Brokers would return an issue that their Home Site was not available and the user would not be connected to a desktop.

Picture5

Just as with Horizon 6 with Horizon 7 when the users Home Site is available then the user will always receive the desktop from the Home Site as the diagram below shows.

 

Here is where we see a change. Now with Horizon 7 if a users Home Site is off-line then the user will still receive a desktop this time from one of the other sites within the Global Pool. As shown below.

Picture4

Once the Home Site comes back on-line the next time the user logs back in they will automatically be given a desktop from the Home Site once again.

 

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Veeam NFC Storage Connection is Unavailable

I am currently doing some testing in my lab around backing up App Volumes, more to come on this in the new year, and I needed a backup solution to do my testing. I decided to use Veeam Backup and Replicate 8 as being a vExpert I get a free 1 year NFR license to use the product. Thanks Veeam for this benefit.

The product was easy to setup but when I came to make my first back I kept getting the following error.

NFC Storage Connection is Unavailable

After a couple of google searches I found the following KB article here. Having read through the article I started to look at the log files. The log files can be found on the Veeam server is this location.

%ProgramData%\Veeam\Backup\Backup_Job_Name

After looking at the logs I didn’t have any of the issues mentioned in the KB article but I did notice the following errors.

ERR |Failed to initiate NFC session. Target host: [10.0.1.200]. VI connection ID: [vcenter.delboyshome.com]. Storage MOID: [200-Local].

[22.12.2015 20:04:44] <  1592>      ERR |SSL error, code: [336151568].error:14094410:SSL routines:SSL3_READ_BYTES:sslv3 alert handshake failure

[22.12.2015 20:04:44] <  1592>      >>  |SSL_connect() function call has failed.

[22.12.2015 20:04:44] <  1592>      >>  |Failed to establish connection with the SSL server.

[22.12.2015 20:04:44] <  1592>      >>  |Cannot initialize new SSL connection.

[22.12.2015 20:04:44] <  1592>      >>  |Authd handshake has failed.

[22.12.2015 20:04:44] <  1592>      >>  |NFC session with the specified ticket [52 fc d5 d8 27 e2 4a 73-57 79 e2 13 85 b7 60 e8] is unavailable. Target host: [10.0.1.200].

[22.12.2015 20:04:44] <  1592>      >>  |Cannot connect to NFC session. Target host: [10.0.1.200]. Storage: [200-Local]. VI SOAP connection ID: [vcenter].

After some more goggling around I found that in ESXi 6.0U1 SSLv3 is now disabled by default and would need to be re-enabled, on all of my hosts, or at least on the host doing the backup specifically, SSLv3 would need re-enabling for post 902.

Thankfully the issue and easily be fixed. To fix the issue you can follow the simple steps in this KB from VMware found here.

 

 

 

VMware EUC a Year in Review

Well what a year it has been for VMware End User Computing. We have seen any number of new releases with great gains in moving the technology forward yet again. Here I will try and recap some of the great things we have seen from the VMware EUC team in 2015.

VMware Horizon 6

What a year its been for VMware Horizon 6 with 3 fantastic released 6.1, 6.1.1 and 6.2. These 3 releases brought with them so many new features its hard to cover them all, so lets tray and cover some of the big new features that were added in 2015.

Horizon 6.1

Horizon 6.1 was released in March and was the first of the big releases this year. With the release of 6.1 we got the following new features:

  • NVIDIA GRID vGPU (shared GPU hardware acceleration)
  • Smart Card for RDS desktops and Hosted Apps
  • Support for IPv6 networks
  • Support for Virtual SAN 6.0
  • Support for Virtual Volumes
  • View Administrator (UI) support for configuring Cloud Pod Architecture
  • USB Redirection of mass storage on RDS desktops and Hosted Apps
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system support for VDI desktops

Could they fit any more in to this release well yes there was much more added for the full list of new features you can see the release notes here.

Horizon 6.1.1

In June VMware release Horizon 6.1.1 with the long awaited feature, support for Linux Desktops, this was a game changer for a number of user opening up a whole new set of use cases. Here are some of the other features released in 6.1.1

  • Client Drive Redirection
  • Serial Port Redirection
  • Support for Windows Media Multimedia Redirection (MMR) for RDS Desktops
  • HTML Access Support for Hosted Apps

For more information on this release you can fine the release notes here.

Horizon 6.2

That brings us to the Horizon 6.2 release that was released in November and this was yet another fantastic release with the following new features.

  • Windows 10 Support
  • View Composer and linked clones for RDS Server
  • Enhanced Load Balancing for RDS Farms
  • Hosted App Support for Cloud Pod Architecture
  • HTML Access (Blast) Support for Cloud Pod Architecture
  • Virtual SAN 6.1
  • Access Point Integration (New solution for external access)

Again this is only a subset of all of the new features added in 6.2 and you can find all the new features in the release notes here. You can also see my blog on the new feature working with VMware User Environment Manager here.

VMware App Volumes

Now let’s look at what’s happened with with App Volumes over the course of 2015. App Volumes had a number of great release over 2015 from 2.5.2 in January to 2.10 in November. Here are just a few of the new features that were added across the number of release in 2015.

  • Horizon View integration for better performance
  • AppStack Grouping
  • Automatic AppStack Import
  • Storage Group Distribution Strategy
  • Editing a Storage Group
  • Direct-To-Host Mounting
  • Agent access to VHD
  • Multi vCenter Configurations
  • Windows 10 Support
  • Enabling vMotion
  • Storage Group management
  • Expand existing writable volumes

This is just a small number of the of the great new features that were added to App Volumes this year. You can find all of the new features in all of the release note at these links. 2.5.2, 2.6, 2.7, 2.9 and 2.10.

I have also release a number of blogs on App Volumes over the year. Here are just a couple that I think you might find useful.

VMware App Volumes Storage Group Improvements with 2.10

Storage Considerations with App Volumes

VMware User Environment Manager

VMware User Environment Manager was added to the VMware EUC portfolio this year when VMware bought Immidio, with the release of UEM 8.6 and then 8.7 update. I believe that User Environment Manager was a great addition to the VMware EUC Family and I even wrote the following white paper around the deployment of UEM VMware User Environment Manager Deployed in 60 Minutes or Less. I also did a Demo of UEM at VMworld this year in San Francisco, you can see the demo here.

Some of the new features added over 2015 include.

  • Extended Conditions
  • Improved Horizon View Support
  • Windows 10 support.
  • Improved Application Onboarding
  • Advanced Physical Support

For more information on the two releases you can see the release note here, 8.6 and 8.7.

You can also find a number of blogs around User Environment Manager on this blog site.

VMware Identity Manager

VMware renamed their Workspace product to Identity Manager with the 2.4 release in September showing a real intent on focusing on user Identity, I think this will be a big move and a great decision as this product continues to improve.

Here are the new features added in Identity Manager 2.4

  • HTML Access support for Horizon View applications
  • New integrated authentication methods
    • RSA Adaptive Authentication
    • Certificate/Smart Card Authentication
    • RADIUS Authentication
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2014 as an external database
  • Simplified Admin UI for setting up directories, identity providers, and policies
  • External access to XenApp with NetScaler

You can see the release notes for Identity Manager 2.4 here.

VMware Mirage

VMware Mirage has also seen a number of updates through 2015 starting with 5.3 in March with the 5.6 release in December.

Here are some of the new features added to Mirage over the year.

  • Mirage supports managing multiple platforms, including Windows Embedded for Point of Service (WEPOS), POSReady 2009, and POSReady 7 operating systems.
  • Mirage supports automated backup and full disaster recovery for devices running Windows Embedded POSReady operating systems.
  • Administrators can perform OS migration operations using Mirage PowerCLI.
  • Administrators can automate endpoint provisioning and perform various CVD operations using Mirage API or Mirage PowerCLI.
  • Mirage requires lower IOPs, enabling faster centralization and upload operations.
  • Mirage PowerCLI supports vSphere 6.0 SDK
  • Branch PC technicians and administrators can provision new laptops and desktops directly from the device using the self-service provisioning interface
  • Administrators can specify base layer and app layer download only operations and manually initiate layer updates for a future time, for example, off-peak hours
  • Bare-metal provisioning supports POSReady 2009
  • You can now run Mirage database on Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Express, Standard, and Enterprise editions also
  • Administrator can now change the Management Server’s MongoDB data path using the Mirage Web Console

For a full list of all the new features added you can see the release notes here, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5 and 5.6.

VMware ThinApp

As I mentioned in my Blog here ThinApp is certainly not dead and this year in November VMware release ThinApp 5.2 that brought with it support for Windows 10, a great achievement from the ThinApp team. For more information on ThinApp 5.2 you can see the release notes here.

 

There was also updates to AirWatch, vRealize Operations Manager for Horizon, Horizon FLEX, VMware Workstation and VMware Fusion.

Well what a great year, can VMware beat that in 2016 well we will have to wait and see what’s to come but I have a feeling 2016 is going to be an even bigger year for the VMware EUC Team.

Congratulations to everyone at VMware working on the EUC products from the Engineers to the guys out in the field meeting with customers every day.

VMware App Volumes Storage Group Improvements with 2.10

Several months ago I wrote a blog post on how VMware App Volumes can be deployed in a multi-site deployment. You can find the blog here.

With the release of App Volumes 2.10, for more information on the release see the information here, there has been a great improvement of the way App Volumes handles Storage replication. In this Blog I will explain how the new storage replication works and how to configure your storage groups to take advantage of this improved feature.

The main change that has happened when when looking at configuring storage groups and datastore’s is the ability to make datastore’s non-attaching. What does this mean, well basically a non-attaching datastore would be a place to create AppStacks but those AppStacks would never be attached to a desktop from this datastore.

The non-attached datastore would then be a member of a storage group or a number of storage groups. These storage groups would then replicate the AppStacks from the non-attached storage to all the other datastore’s with in the storage group.

Picture8

Now how will this look when deploying App Volumes to multiple sites here is a high level architecture of how this could be deployed. As you can see from this diagram at least 1 vCenter from each site will need access to the non-attached datastore.

Picture9

How to create the New Storage Group

First create the non attachable storage

With in the App Volumes Manager click on Infrastructure, Storage then select the storage to be non-attachable then click Make As Non Attachable.

Picture3

Now create a Storage group

With in the App Volumes Manager click on Infrastructure, Storage Groups then click Create Storage Group

Picture4

Give the storage Group a Name. Then select the required options. When choosing the datastore’s make sure to include the datastore’s that will be used to attach the AppStacks from as well as the non-attachable datastore. Click Create.

Picture5

 

As you can see from the image below I have created 2 Storage Groups one for each site and the Non-Attached storage, NFS2, is included in each Storage Group.

Picture10

 

Now all you need to do is create AppStacks on the non-attachable storage and they will automatically be copied to all the other datastores in the storage groups.

User Environment Manager 8.7 Working with Horizon 6.2

With the release of VMware User Environment Manager 8.7 VMware added a number of new feature, all of which you will find in the VMware User Environment Manager Release Notes.

However, in this blog, I would like to call out two new features that help when deploying User Environment Manager alongside VMware Horizon 6.2. VMware’s EUC teams did a great job in my opinion getting these two great features added or enhanced to work with Horizon 6.2 in the latest releases.

You can read the rest of my post and find out what I will be doing on VMware.com. Click Here

VMware User Environment Manager Demo

At VMworld this week I co-presented on the “Managing Users: A Deep Dive Into VMware User Environment Manager – EUC4630” session. As part of the session I showed a quick 7 min demo of User Environment Manager.

This Demo included showing the User Environment Manager configurations and a couple of cool things you can do with User Environment Manager. After the session a couple of people asked me to share the video for further reference. Below you will find the Video Demo, I hope you find it useful.

Also make sure you check on my White Paper of configuring User Environment Manager in 60 minutes or Less Here.

VMware Horizon 6.2 Top New Features for Hosted Applications

This week at VMworld VMware announced the latest version of Horizon, 6.2, with this release comes a number of new features. Here are 3 new features that were added I feel will make a big difference when deploying hosted applications.

View Composer for RDSH Servers

The View Composer has been around for a number of years now with great effect when deploying linked clone desktops. Well now this technology is  available for RDS hosts. Using the composer to deploy your RDS host will give you the following benefits

  • Automated built out of RDS server farms
  • Faster deployment of RDS Hosts using the View Composer technology
  • Storage savings due to the sharing of the base OS disk by the RDSH clones in a farm

Load Balancing RDSH Pools based on Usage

New load balancing enhancements have been added to make sure the users are being assigned to the best available RDS Hosts in the application farm. The load balancing can be configured to utilize either CPU utilization or Memory utilization. Horizon View administrators will able to configure the Application Farms to utilize either the CPU or Memory option depending on the applications in the Farm.

Cloud Pod Architecture support for RDS Applications

Hosted applications are now supported using Cloud Pod Architecture (CPA), this will greatly help when deploying large scale Horizon deployments and across multiple sites.

CPA hosted applications will also support HTML Blast access giving users the options to access there application through there web browser.

These are just a few of the new features of Horizon 6.2, other new features include. One way AD Trusts, FIPS/CC support, 4K Monitor Support and Streamline Pool Creation to name a few.

For more information go and check out the Horizon page on VMware.com Here