The good and the bad of Citrix XenDesktop

There is a entertaining discussion on Citrix XenDesktop versus VMware View. Having worked with both, I have my take on it. It is best to know both, both from a marketability and professional side. I like being agnostic when it comes to the hypervisor, compute, storage, or vdi solution. There is value, and let’s face it, it is fun!

http://virtualizedgeek.com/2013/03/13/the-good-and-the-bad-of-citrix-xendesktop/

 

VMware View Presentation from VMUG BE

I have not been very active, due to the nature of a recent job posting, but now that I am back in the public sector, it is time to start at it.

This attached presentation is from the VMUG Belgium meeting in May of 2013, where I was honored to give a bit of information and tidbits on a VMware View implementation use case.

VMware View Solutions and Lessons Learned

vmugBelgium_view_rodriguez

Content Based Read Cache (CBRC) and VMware View 5.1

Implementing our VMware View 5.1 solution and enabled CBRC with 2048 MB for each host. This feature is used to provide memory based read cache for the more used portions of the vmdk.

When deploying the linked clone pool, there is a process that builds the virtual disk digest. This take a few minutes, as the replicas are building as well. As soon as those are built the deployment process is very quick. We are also using NetApp FlashCache with the deployment and I am not sure yet how that will work in, but as soon as we have all in place, we can look at some performance metrics.

http://blogs.vmware.com/euc/2012/05/whats-new-in-view-51.html

Storage Optimization New in View 5.1, View Storage Accelerator is a technology that reduces storage loads generated by peak VDI storage reads caching the common blocks of desktop images into local host memory. The Accelerator leverages a VMware vSphere (version 5.0 or later) platform feature called Content Based Read Cache (CBRC) implemented inside the ESX/ESXi hypervisor. When enabled for specific VMs, the host hypervisor scans the storage disk blocks to generate digests of the block contents. When these blocks are read into the hypervisor, they are cached in the host based CBRC. Subsequent reads of blocks with the same digest will be served from the in-memory cache directly.  This significantly improves the desktop performance, especially during boot storms or anti-virus scanning storms when a large number of blocks with identical contents are read. “

Thanks to:

Dan Brinkmann’s blog

http://blog.danbrinkmann.com/2012/03/19/enabling-vsphere-content-based-read-cache-for-citrix-xendesktop/

And a very detailed explanation, as well as how to configure vSphere 5 from virtually Ghetto

http://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2011/08/new-hidden-cbrc-content-based-read.html

My Virtual Cloud

http://myvirtualcloud.net/?p=3513

The ThinApp process with 32 and 64 bit Office Applications

Another victorious day after finding out that 64 bit MS Office 2010 applications are not supported in the ThinApp process, As per the KB article, you have to capture the MS 2010 Office apps in a 32 bit OS. Fortunately, we did have access to the 32 bit apps, captured them on a 32 bit Win7 OS and packaged them to my 64 bit Win 7 linked clones. Specifically we are talking about MS Project and Visio porting to the linked clones with 64 bit MS Office. Seems to work well.

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1022287

You know, there is much more to designing a vDesktop solution that a server virtualization gig. I am not saying server virtualization is easy, but a vDesktop solution is a thinking man’s game. There are a lot of moving parts to it, and there are a mass of things to consider and plan for during the design.

During a conversation with my co-workers, the discussion was that we should not be responsible for the end to end solution. I have to disagree with that train of thought. As a consultant or engineer, I need to be concerned with the total solution, from end to end. That is what can develop you into a good consultant, engineer and trusted adviser, plus the experience is HUGE!!!!

More to follow on our experiences. This is great stuff!

Symantec and VMware View 5.1 Integration….It works!!!

We have been working on our roll out of View 5.1 using linked clones and were trying determine our AV solution. We are currently a Symantec shop, and were thinking of using the vShield Endpoint with the reported Symantec Plug-in, but at this moment that plug-in does not exist. After much research on the forms and different blogs, I did find referenced to Registry modifications from the “ThatsMyView” http://tinyurl.com/99ec2jc blog , but I found a reference to someone using Symantec 11.0.5 and View linked clones without issue on the VMware forums (http://communities.vmware.com/message/1489308).

The bottom line is that using linked clones and Symantec 11.0.6, and using VMware’s Quickprep does work in our enviroment. We checked out the Symantec console and each linked clone did have a unique and individual identifier.

Also explained in “ThatsMy View” http://preview.tinyurl.com/9jty34c is the difference between Microsoft Sysprep and VMware’s Quickprep. If you are using linked clones, use Quickprep, as it seems to work well in our environment.

I will be following up with using the Content Based Read Cache (CBRC) feature on VMware View, and some experiences with the ThinApp 4.7 Virtualization Packager soon.

VMware View is another animal and it takes a different approach on design and architecture. It does stretch you a bit:)

VMware View Must Reads!!!

If you need a quick primer on VMware View, you must read VMware View 5 Desktop Virtualization Solutions, by Written by VMware experts Jason Langone and Andre Leibovici, as well as Building End-User Computing Solutions with VMware View, by Mike Laverick and Barry Coombs. The two books, plus the VMware View pdfs have been an immense help in getting our project off the ground. As the Lead on the View implementation, I had to get smart on View quickly, and these two publications have saved the day. Must reads!!!
Also waiting on VMware View 5: Building a Successful Virtual Desktop.
http://www.amazon.com/VMware-View-Desktop-Virtualization-Solutions/dp/1849681120

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/032182234X/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

http://www.lulu.com/shop/mike-laverick-and-barry-coombs/building-end-user-computing-solutions-with-vmware-view/ebook/product-20309411.html

Emulex OneConnect OCe 10100 and VMware 4.1iU2

I have checked the HCL, forums, Emulex site and cannot find any information on thw Emulex OneConnect OCe 10100. My dilema is that the customer has many Dell 710 with this card. I cannot find it on the HCL, it causes VM and host lockup in the hardware iSCSI persona, but works with software iSCSI. The upgrade path to vSpere 5 may have issues, and if it is not on the HCL, VMware will not support.

I got a response from Mike Brown referencing http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1027206. Points go to Mike Brown for the first and quickest response.

I also got an explanation from Andreas about the OCe 10100 being a device family rather than a specific card and also referencing this link http://downloads.vmware.com/d/details/dt_esxi50_emulex_be2net_413340/dHRAYndld3diZHAlJQ==

I think I will have an answer to this in a few days and will post the results.

HCL Issues, VMware Update Manager, and Migrating a vDS switch when using etherchannel

Not much going on this week, chasing down a HCL issue with a CNA card in a Dell server. Gathering information to determine if the server was shipped that way, or if was a third party install. Basics and best practices have to be known to establish a baseline, else you do what you want and who knows what you get.

Also a great blog on VUM at http://www.anotherdayinit.com/2012/02/21/vmware-update-manager-patching-a-vsphere-host/

and Migrating to a VDS switch when using etherchannels from Duncan Epping at http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2012/02/21/migrating-to-a-vds-switch-when-using-etherchannels/

Passed VCP 5

I passed the VCP 5 on Monday evening. I started preparing in November 2011 and planned to take the test in December, but I was on R&R from Afghanistan and I got busy with family stuff. I started preparing again the middle of January 2012. My take on the exam, was that you had to know your performance and troubleshooting, as well as the new features. Most of it was vSphere 4 knowledge. If you know the 4 product well and how to work with it, plus learn the new features and how they work, you should be fine. I have not worked with the vSphere 5 product, but have a lot of experience with the,2,3,and 4 versions. Read the blueprint, read all of the vSphere 5 pdfs, brush up on the networking, performance and troubleshooting, new features, and be ready for the scenarios. Great exam.

vCenter Design Considerations with VUM, SQL, and SRM, Your thoughts?

So I was having a discussion with a few fellow VMware dudes, and we were discussing the vCenter installation methods. One train of thought is to install vCenter, VUM, SQL 2008,, and SRM on 1 VM with 2 vCPUs, 4 GB of memory an a 100 GB drive, Monitor for performance and adjust as required by analyzing the performance data. I have alwbeen doing installations this way lately without issue. I have also done installations on dedicated SQL boxes \ VMs. I have gotten good performance out of the environment with having all services on a single VM. In larger environments of 20 or more hosts and 300 + VMs, I have used a dedicated SQL server. The SRM documetation recommends a separate server for the SRM installation, but I have not seen any issues with it on the same box, and there was not any performance degradation in an environment of less than 200 VMs.

Also in many environments, there is not a DBA to manage the SQL box, and I have had to become the resident expert on-site. Some customers feel more comfortable with single instances. Another train of thought was to separate SQL, VUM and SRM on separate VMs, and while I am not opposed to that, I would like to know what you have been doing in real world scenarios throughout your experience in the industry.

I know what documentation states, but sometimes we have to think outside the box and push the envelope. I remember in the ESX 2 days, some thought that it was too much to put all your eggs in one basket, and the thought of virtualizing SQL and Exchange, much less vCenter was a crime.

So what do you say based on experience and time in the field?