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.

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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.

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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

http://blogs.vmware.com/consulting/2016/07/configuring-vmware-identity-manager.html

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKCqRgqLAuo

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

http://www.careexchange.in/installingconfiguring-sql-2014-always-on-cluster-on-windows-2012-r2-recommended-way/

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
CREATE DATABASE saas

COLLATE Latin1_General_CS_AS;

ALTER DATABASE saas SET READ_COMMITTED_SNAPSHOT ON;

GO

BEGIN

CREATE LOGIN horizon WITH PASSWORD = N'H0rizon!';

END

GO

USE saas;

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

DROP USER [horizon]

GO

CREATE USER horizon FOR LOGIN horizon

with default_schema = saas;

GO

CREATE SCHEMA saas AUTHORIZATION horizon

GRANT ALL ON DATABASE::saas TO horizon;

GO
  1. Click Execute

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  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

Jdbc:sqlserver://SQLAGListener;DatabaseName=saas

  • 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

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VMware Identity Manager and F5 New Step in Configuration

This week I deployed VMware Identity Manager in my lab to do some testing with SQL Always-On and F5.

When I configured VMware Identity Manager to work with F5, something I have done many times in the past, I came across and issue. After I logged out I couldn’t log in to VMware Identity Manager with a domain account but could login with a local account. The issue is below

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After testing a few things and trying to figure out the issue I found that when changing the FQDN of VMware Identity Manager there is a new step that need to be done.

Basically after changing the FQDN go back to the Admin UI.

Click Catalog and then settings.

From there select New End User Portal UI and click Enable New Portal UI

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After this log out and you should now be able to log back in with a domain account.

 

VMware User Environment Manager 9.0 – What’s New

Earlier this month VMware released a new version of User Environment Manager that brings some new and exciting features, not only to User Environment Manager, but also to the Horizon Suite. To learn about the new features in Horizon 7 you can see my blog here.

Here I would like to highlight the new main features of VMware User Environment Manager 9.0

Smart Policies

The new Smart Policies offer more granular control of what users can do when they connect to their virtual desktop or applications. With the first release of Smart Policies you will be able to manage these capabilities based on the following conditions:

  • Horizon Conditions
    • View Client Info (IP and name)
    • Endpoint location (Internal/External)
    • Tags
    • Desktop Pool name
  • Horizon Capabilities
    • Clipboard
    • Client drive
    • USB
    • Printing
    • PCoIP bandwidth profiles

 

For more information on these capabilities, see my more detailed blog Here.

It should be noted that to use Smart Policies you will need Horizon 7 View and User Environment Manager 9. You will also need the latest View Agent and Clients installed to take advantage of these new features. Also note that these policies only work with the PCoIP and BLAST Extreme protocols, and not RDP.

Application Authorization (Application Blocking)

This feature gives administrators the ability to white- or black-list applications or folders. In the example below you can see that some applications are allowed and some will be blocked.

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Using this feature with User Environment Managers Conditions will not only give administrators great control over what applications users can use, but also how they can be used. An example would be if a user is on the internal network they have access to company-specific applications; however, if they accessed their desktops from an external network then these applications would not be available.

With a simple check of a box, administrators have a very simple model for enforcing applications that the users are authorized to use, and using conditions in this way could be result in a different set of applications depending on where the user connects from.

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ThinApp Support

When clicking on the DirectFlex tab of an application you will now see the new check box to Enable ThinApp Support for that application.

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When this is selected you will be able to manage what happens within the ThinApp “bubble” from within User Environment Manager, rather than doing this by setting specific values during the ThinApp capture process, or afterward via a script. This integration generalizes the approach that packagers can take when choosing isolation or encapsulation. It allows them to not have to force the knowledge of each and every configuration during the capture process by setting isolation modes or creating separate packages for different application configurations.

You should also note that you do not need to configure a separate application within User Environment Manager to take advantage of this. If the box is checked the flex agent will notice if the application is natively installed or accessible via ThinApp, and automatically apply the correct settings.

Manage Personal Data

User Environment Manager now has the ability to easily manage personal data. This would include things like My Documents, My Music, My Pictures, etc.

The example below shows how easy this is to configure.

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Office 2016 Support

User Environment Manager 9.0 now supports Office 2016. As you can see from the example below this also includes Skype for Business and OneDrive. Just like with earlier versions these can all be added with the Easy Start button.

Picture5

New User Environment Manager Conditions

As part of the new deep integration with Horizon 7, User Environment Manager has added a number of new conditions that can be pulled from Horizon 7. These include Pool-Name, Tags, and client location – such as internal or external.

Picture6

 

I have also posted this blog on VMware.com here

VMware Horizon Smart Policies

With the release of VMware Horizon 7 and User Environment Manager 9 VMware has introduced Smart Policy’s to help administrators manage their Virtual environments better and improve what users can get access to and from where.

Smart Policys can be set on the following conditions

  • View Client Info (IP & Name)
  • Endpoint location (Internal/External)
  • Horizon Tags
  • Desktop Pool name

Below is a list of the smart policy that can be set and how they can be used by the Horizon administrators.

Clipboard

  • Enable
  • Disable
  • Allow Copy from Client to Agent
  • Allow Copy from Agent to Client

Client Drive

  • Disable
  • Allow All
  • Read Only

USB

  • Enable
  • Disable

Printing

  • Enable
  • Disable

PCoIP bandwidth profiles

  • High-Speed (20 Mbps)
  • LAN (10Mbps or Higher)
  • Dedicated WAN (5Mbps default)
  • Broadband WAN (2Mbps)
  • Low-Speed (1Mbps)
  • Extremely low-speed connections (up to 500Kbps)

The following table shows when to use the best bandwidth profile and for what use cases

Description BW(Mbps) typical network typical user
1 Best User Experience(workstation) 20 LAN M&E CAD/CAM
2 Best User Experience(VDI) 10 LAN – MAN Knowledge worker, video
3 Default Setting 5 WAN Task worker, light video
4 Optimal User Experience 2 WAN Office Apps
5 Prioritize Bandwidth 1 WAN Basic Apps only
6 Minimum Bandwidth 0.5 WAN Low Data Entry

The following table shows how the PCoIP profile is tuned based on the profile selected

GPO 1 2 3 4 5 6
Max Session BW (kbps) 9000 9000 9000 5000 2000 1000
Min Session BW (kbps) 100 100 100 100 100 100
Enable BTL 1 2 0 0 0 0
Max Initial Image Quality 100 90 80 70 70 70
Minimum Image Quality 50 50 40 40 30 30
Max FPS 60 30 30 20 15 5
Max Audio Bandwidth (kbps) 1600 1600 500 500 200 90
Image Quality performance. 50 50 50 50 25 0

 

To take advantage of these new Smart Policy you will need to use Horizon 7 and User Environment Manager 9 and have the latest Horizon Agents and Clients installed. It should also be noted that these policy only work with the PCoIP and BLAST Extreme protocols and not RDP.

For information on more new feature released with Horizon 7 see the following blog

VMware Horizon 7 New Features