VMware Horizon View Client Drive Redirection

On of the new features of VMware Horizon 6 version 6.1.1 is Client Drive Redirection (CDR). Microsoft RDS and Citrix already have CDR for many years in there product. Now this handy feature is available in Horizon View. CDR is supported on VDI desktops (single-user) and RDS desktops and applications on Windows and as Tech Preview on Mac OS X clients.

Here’s a quick overview how-to enable Client Drive Redirection (CDR):

Requirements

  • Horizon View 6.1.1 environment (Connection Server, composer etc.)
  • View Agent 6.1.1 or later
  • VMware Horizon Client 3.4.0 build-2769709

Install the Horizon View Agent. During the installation of the VMware Horizon Agent enable the Client Drive Redirection feature.

agent

After installing the new Horizon View Agent is deployed on the Horizon View environment,  connect with  new 3.4.0 Horizon Client. When connecting for the first time to the there’s  a pop-up asking to access your local files. Make sure to allow this and select “Do not show this dialog again”.

View Deskstop

In the Horizon View Client there is a option called “Share Folders”. In the sharing box add local drives and folders to share in the VDI desktop session.

0_sharing Sharing

In the Windows Explorer the drives and folders that are mapped are visible.

files

 

Note: With Client Drive Redirection (CDR), the folders and files that are sent across the network are NOT encrypted!

Tested: VMware snapshot management with Snapwatcher

To monitor and manage VMware Virtual Machine Snapshots Opvizor has released a tool called Snapwatcher.  As consultant I see often that admins don’t have an overview of all the snapshots that exists in their environment. The main concerns with Virtual Machine snapshots are:

  • Snapshots are created and forgot to remove
  • Snapshots can very quickly grow in size
  • Snapshots filling datastore space
  • Delta files may cause decreased Virtual Machine and host performance

In this review Opvizor Snapwatcher is tested. With the Snapwatcher tool it is possible to centrally monitoring and managing snapshots one on more more vCenter server environments.

Installation

The installation of Snapwatcher is simple. Before installing make sure the requirements are met:

  • Windows Installer 4.5
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4 (x86 and x64)
  • VMware vCenter 4.1 or higher

Download and  installation the Snapwatcher application.  The installation downloads the latest bits from opvizor.com and installs Snapwatcher.

1_InstallNew Update

Every time Snapwatcher is started it checks for the latest updates. So Snapwather is always up-t0-date.

Configuration

The first configuration step is adding one or more vCenter Servers:

add vcenter

After adding the vCenter Server(s), thresholds on warning and error levels can be set, for example:

  • Size and age of the snapshot
  • Size and percentage of the datastore
  • Amount of snapshots for a Virtual Machine

thresholds

Monitor

The dashboard is divided in seperate windows. The screenshot below lists the dabboard with all the 5 windows:

dashboard

Each window can be resized and re-ordered. The 5 windows displays the following information:

1. Overview of the 5 largest snapshots. The amount of snapshots displayed is configurable.

2. Snapshot Disk Waste History (GB). Displays how much disk space is wasted over a period of time.

3. Overview of all the snapshot. All the snapshots are listed with there status.  Snapshots can be sorted on VM or snapshot name, description, status, Size (GB) and created Date. Actions can performed against snapshots such as delete, fix it and exclude.

4. General overview information. Display information about the number of vCenters, ESXi servers, VMs, VMs with snapshots added, the total snapshots and snapshot size.

general info

5. Work History. Displays information about the deleted snapshots and sizes.

Manage

From the dashboard the following actions can be performed against snapshots:

Buttons

Refresh: Refreshes the dashboard and perform an updated inventory of the snapshots.

Delete: Remove the snapshot from the VM.

delete

Exclude: Snapshots can be excluded in the dashboard from displaying. This can be handy for template VM with snapshots or VMware Horizon View Linked Clones.

Fix It: Fix It repairs broken snapshots are snapshots that are not managed by the vCenter Server but are still getting used by the Virtual Machine. In the vSphere Web/Client this status is showed as “Virtual Machine disks consoldition is needed”. In Snapwatcher the status is invalid.

lx250 01 Snapshot

Licensing

When the trail period (7 days) is expired it is still possible to use Snapwatcher. The following Enterprise Edition features will not work when the trail period is over:

  • Fix broken and inconsistent snapshots with our patent pending technology
  • Ignore certain VM snapshots
  • Track your VMware snapshot history

Conclusion

Opvizor Snapwatcher is a great tool for a VMware admin to centrally monitor and manage all the snapshots that exists in there VMware environment. Want to try Snapwatcher? Use this link.

The end of Tera1 zero client support in VMware Horizon View 6

The Tera1 zero clients has reached their limits on new features that can be added and the ability to support new features of Horizon View such as RDSH.  Teradici supports the following combinations:

Processor Firmware Horizon View Version support VMware Certified
Tera2 4.8.0 6.1 Yes
Tera2 4.7.1 6.0 Yes
Tera1 4.7.1 6.0.1 No (*2)

(*2) Tera1 zero clients are certified on VMware Horizon View 5.3 and earlier. Horizon View 6.x is not supported by VMware. If you require VMware support use VMware Horizon View 5.3 and earlier or upgrade to Tera2 zero clients.

Teradici provides technical support on PCoIP Firmware (FW 4.7.1 and earlier) for Tera1 zero clients with VMware Horizon View 6.0.1 and earlier. Here is an overview of the Teradici End-of-Life (EOL) notifications:

Definition Date
End-of-Life (EOL) Notification Notification of EOL provided through Teradici’s Technical Support portal.Tera1 firmware releases will not include development for new platform version support or features.Firmware updates will only be provided to address issues deemed critical by Teradici for Tera1 against supported platform. April 21, 2015
End-of-Support No additional firmware updates or maintenance releases for Tera1 products after this date. April 30, 2016
End-of-Technical Guidance The last day in which Teradici Technical Support can answer questions, assist in finding workarounds or provide development guidance. December 31, 2016

The latest release of VMware Horizon View when written is version 6.1. Both VMware and Teradici don’t have support for the Tera1 zero clients in this release.

So what options do you have?

The following options can be used when having Tera1 zero clients:

  • Use VMware Horizon View 5.3 or earlier. This options is fully supported by Teradici and VMware.
  • Upgrade to View Horizon 6.0.1. This option is only supported by Teradici.
  • Use Tera1 zero clients with Horizon View version 6.1. Don’t use any new features that are introduced in VMware Horizon View 6 and later. Be sure to test test and test this option, because this isn’t supported by VMware and Teradici!
  • Buy new Tera2 zero clients. 10ZiG for example offers a buy-back program for any Tera1 Zero Client when upgrading to Tera2 hardware. It does not matter which brand the Tera1 zero client is. This can reduced the hardware upgrade costs! Tera2 zero clients adds support for the latest version of Horizon View and improves performance. To learn more about the 10ZiG Tera1 buy-back offer, use the following this link.

I created a Horizon 6 matrix with the new and  features that aren’t supported anymore. The matrix can be found here, link.

VMware tools update fails on ESXi 6 hosts with Dutch Operating System VMs

After upgrading all the hosts in the lab environment to VMware ESXi 6, I tried to upgrade the VMware tools version of a Dutch Windows 7 golden VM used by VMware Horizon View. The VMware tools upgrade fails with the following message:

VMware Tools Setup Wizard ended prematurely

vmware tools

This is a known bug in VMware ESXi 6.0 with Dutch Operating System VMs (see KB, link).

The following work around can be used:

  • Create a local group named “everyone”
  • Add the user used for installing VMware tools to the “everyone” group
  • Run the VMware tools upgrade
  • Remove the “everyone” group

 

VMware Horizon Q2 2015 announcements

VMware announced  last week what’s new with Horizon 6 (Q2 2015) as well as some brand new offerings that will help you to deliver and manage apps and end users across physical, virtual and cloud-hosted environments. Here are the announcements:

  • User Experience improvements
  • Linux Desktops support (GA in Q2)
  • User Environment Manager (UEM) (GA in Q2)
  • VMware Workspace Environment Management (WEM)
  • Free SysTrack Desktop Assessment tool

User Experience Improvements

Some new improvements for the upcomming Horizon 6 version are:

  • USB Mass storage support for RDS and Hosted Apps
  • Client drive redirection support. For example make an c-drive available in a RDS desktop.
  • VMware Horizon Client for Chrome Access (Chromebook) with support for Horizon Hosted Apps. Apply for the early access program here, link.

1

Linux Desktop Support

Linux support for VDI desktops will be available in Q2 2015. Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS VDI desktops are supported for 3D and Linux office applications. A nice thing about Linux VDI desktop support is the Microsoft desktop licensing is eliminated.

User Environment Manager (UEM)

VMware has acquired Immidio in February 2015. Immidio is now called User Environment Manager (UEM). UEM offers personalization and dynamic policy configuration across any virtual, physical and cloud-based environment. UEM has no new features, only VMware branding is included in this release. UEM will be sold separately as standalone product, included in the Horizon View Enterprise license and available in the VMware Horizon Application Management Bundle.

VMware has released a VMware User Environment Manager Deployed in 60 Minutes or Less whitepaper. UEM is a simple and straightforward to deploy and get up-and-running, as there is no extra infrastructure needed to configure. The whitepaper can be found here, link.

VMware Workspace Environment Management (WEM)

VMware Workspace Environment Management (WEM) is a bundle of products. This bundle is called the VMware Horizon Application Management Bundle. The following products are  includes in the bundle:

  • VMware User Environment Manager (UEM)
  • VMware vRealize for Published Applications (End-to-End Monitoring). In Q2 XenApp support will be added.
  • VMware App Volumes (Real-Time application delivery)
  • VMware ThinApp (Application Virtualization)
  • VMware Workspace Portal (central portal for your applications)

WEM

The VMware Horizon Application Management Bundle is sold as standalone product and is available to Citrix Customer for example.

SysTrack Desktop Assessment

SysTrack Desktop Assessment (Lakeside software)  is a free assessment tool. For customers considering the purchase of VMware Horizon 6 or VMware Horizon Air, Systrack Desktop Assessment provides quick and easy insight into end-user computing infrastructure, applications and desktops. This FREE service provides you with everything you need to gain visibility into your end user environment, understand the best deployment options for Horizon and assess your costs.  More information can be found here, link.