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.

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 Horizon Instant Clones

I have been testing VMware Horizon Instant Clones for some time now and several people have asked me how I configured instant clones as when they tried to test them either the instant clone option was grayed out or when instant clones is selected the next button is grayed out. The other issue I see is some people have issues deploying instant clones and they fail to deploy.

Below are all of the things to check when configuring View Instant Clones. One of these issues has fixed all of the question I have been asked over the last few week during testing.

Licensing

Make sure you have the correct VMware Horizon license, there is a new license that include the Instant Clone feature. If you do not have the correct license then the option will be grayed out.

View Storage Accelerator

One of the requirements for Instant Clones is to enable the View Storage Accelerator. Before you try and deploy a new Desktop pool using Instant Clones make sure you have configured the View Storage Accelorator on you vCenter server.

1

Select the vCenter Server

If you have the View Storage Accelorator enabled and you select Instant Clones but the Next option is still grayed out make sure to select the vCenter itself.

2

Configure Instant Clone Domain Admin

Make sure you configure the Instant Clone Domain Admin, this account will need to be able to add new computers to your Active Directory.

3

Horizon View 7 Agent

Make sure you install the new Horizon View 7 Agent on to the gold image. There are a couple of things here you need to know

  1. First if you want to use the gold image for View Instant Clones, then during the install of the View 7 agent you need to select this option
  2. If you do select the View instant clone during the install then you can not install the view composer option, it is one or the other
  3. Unlike with view composer with View Instant Clones it is the Agent its self that adds the VM to active directory and not a separate composer server. This make View Instant Clones much more light weight, no extra server or database is needed for View Instant Clones.

If you make sure you have checked all of these things, then I am sure that View Instant Clones will work and you will see just how fast this new option is when deploying desktops.

Final Note

One last thing to Note, you will see a number of new VM’s in your vCenter that relate to your newly deployed instance clone desktops. I have listed these below.

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cp-template-XXXXXXXXX This is the template VM that will be used to create your Instant Clones, this will be created from your Gold Image. This will be created on the destination storage or your desktops, but under storage you will also see that it is on the same storage as your gold image. You will also notice you can not edit this VM.

cp-replica-XXXXXXXXX this is the replica that is created for your VM parents. This is created from the cp-template and is placed on the destination storage.

cp-parent-XXXXXXXXX you will see one of these for each of the servers in your cluster, so in my case you see 6 as there are 6 ESXi servers in my cluster. These are all created on the destination storage and will be powered on, each ESXi server will have 1 of these cp-parents powered on and in memory ready to create a new desktop.

Upgrading VMware Horizon Cloud Pod Architecture

Some time ago I wrote a Blog describing how to upgrade VMware Horizon with Zero downtime, you can fine the blog here.

Recently I have been asked a number of times if this is still the case if customers are using Cloud Pod Architecture for multi-site deployments.

I can confirm that Yes you can upgrade Horizon View with Zero downtime even if the View Pod is part of a Cloud Pod Architecture. There are however a couple of caveats.

First you must upgrade all the View connection brokers on a single site, don’t upgrade half on one site and then start on the second site, make sure all the view connection servers are at the same install version on site 1 before starting on site 2.

Second be aware that any new features that are part of the upgrade will not be available until all connection servers are upgraded across both sites.

To recap the order to upgrade Horizon Cloud Pod Architecture

  1. Upgrade all Connection servers on Site one, this can be done with Zero Downtime following the Blog above
  2. Upgrade all connection servers on site two, again this can be done with Zero Downtime following the Blog above

For more information you can refer to the product documentation here.

Upgrading App Volumes Templates

Following on from my ealier blog about upgrading the App Volumes managers, found here, another key task is upgrading the App Volumes templates. These templates are always used when you create a new AppStack or Writable Volume.

To upgrade your App Volumes Templates simply follow these simple steps.

  1. Log into the App volumes manager
  2. Click Configuration and then Storage

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  1. Verify the storage locations listed and then press the “Upload Prepackaged Volumes” button.

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  1. Select the correct storage location where the templates are located, select a Host to copy the files and enter the correct user credentials. Select the correct templates to upload and click Upload.

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If you have created any custom templates then you should also update these at this time. You can read more about creating custom templates here

I would like to thank my good friend and colleague Stephane Asselin for contributing to this blog. To read more about Stephane please see his blog here

Upgrading VMware App Volumes

A number of people have now asked me about the process for upgrading VMware App Volumes Managers.

In this blog I will document how to upgrade an App Volumes deployment from 2.5 to 2.6. It should also be noted that to avoid downtime you should have at least 2 App Volumes servers load-balanced in a pool. To find out how to load-balance App Volumes see my blog on the VMware web site Here.

This process will work if you do not have your App Volume servers load-balanced however during the process your desktops will not have access to the App Volumes server, meaning no AppStack or Writable will be attached at boot-up or login.

Before beginning the upgrade process make sure you back up the SQL database that App Volumes is using.

To upgrade the App Volumes servers follow the following process:

  1. Remove the first App Volumes server from the Load-balanced pool.
  2. Log in to the first App Volumes server
  3. Click Start -> Control Panel
  4. Click Uninstall Program
  5. Highlight App Volumes Manager and Click Uninstall

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  1. Click Next when the uninstaller starts
  2. Click Remove
  3. Click Finish
  4. Now run the Setup file for the new version of App Volumes, in this case 2.6
  5. Click Next

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  1. Accept the License agreement and click Next

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  1. Select the App Volumes Manager and click Install

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  1. Click Next
  2. It is very important at this stage to select Connect to an existing SQL Server Database and click Next

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  1. Select the correct SQL server. Configure the SQL log in information. Select the Database. DO NOT check the Overwite existing database check box then click Next

NOTE: If you do not add a Login ID then servers SYSTEM account will be used to connect to the database and App Volumes will probably fail to start.

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  1. Confirm the ports are correct and click Next

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  1. Confirm the install location and click Next

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  1. Click Install
  2. Click Finish
  3. Add the App Volumes server back in to the Load Balanced pool.
  4. Follow these steps for any additional App Volumes servers.

Once the serevrs are updated you should now update the App Volumes Templates. To do this check out my blog post here

Upgrading VMware Horizon View with Zero Downtime

Over the last few years working with VMware Horizon View and doing many upgrades, one of the biggest issues I would hear from customers when planning for an upgrade was, Why do we have to have so much downtime and why with 7 connection brokers do we have to take all 7 down at once.

These questions and issues came up when I was speaking to Engineering about the upgrade process and making it smoother for the customer.

I was told that this in fact was not the case and you did not have to take all connection brokers down during the upgrade process and you could simply upgrade 1 connection broker at a time while the other servers were happily running.

For the full blog please see my blog on VMware.com  http://blogs.vmware.com/consulting/2015/02/upgrading-vmware-horizon-view-zero-downtime.html