The latest technology news – January 2024

Welcome to our monthly roundup of the hottest tech updates in the worlds of Azure, VMware, GitHub, HashiCorp, and other partners. In this series, we’ll have a collection of must-read articles, each offering a deep dive into the latest technological advancements, news, and trends within these cutting-edge platforms.

We understand that in today’s fast-paced tech landscape, staying informed is key. That’s why we’re here to make it easy for you. Each month, we’ll handpick the most insightful and informative articles that cover everything from Cloud, virtualization, Infrastructure As Code (IaC), and DevOps to DAAS – End User Computing – Endpoint management breakthroughs.

So let’s dive into this month’s top tech insights:

DAAS / EUC / ENDPOINT

Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) 

  • AVD Community NewsLetters. Learn more
  • Automatic Image Creation using Azure VM Image Builder is now generally available! Learn more
  • AVD Deployment using Bicep 2024. Learn more
  • How to Review and Search AVD Insights Data. Learn more
  • Microsoft updates: Entra ID FIDO2 security key support and Azure Virtual Desktop passwordless sign-in. Learn more
  • Moving VDI Deployments to Azure Stack HCI. Learn more
  • App Volumes Apps on Demand with Azure Virtual Desktop – Feature Walk-Through. Learn more
  • Azure Virtual Desktop vs Windows 365. Learn more
  • AVD Security best practices. Learn more
  • Azure Well-Architected Azure Virtual Desktop workload. Learn more
  • Windows 365 x Azure Virtual Desktop x Advanced Device Redirection. Learn more
  • Announcing Public Preview of Confidential VMs with Intel TDX in Azure Virtual Desktop. Learn more
  • Monitoring AVD with Azure Monitor. Learn more

Windows 365 (W365) / CloudPC

  • The latest weekly W365 newsletter. Learn more
  • What’s new in Windows 365 Enterprise? Learn more
  • New Windows 365 Boot and Switch features in public preview. Learn more
  • Compare Windows App features across platforms and devices for AVD, Windows 365 and Microsoft Dev Box. Learn more
  • Windows 365 Conditional Access. Learn more
  • New book: Securing Cloud PCs and Azure Virtual Desktop: Your expert guide to implementing and optimizing security for Windows 365 and AVD infrastructure. Learn more
  • Windows 365 hands-on episode 3: Track Changes in your environment. Learn more
  • Windows 365: considerations for Privileged Access Workstation (PAW). Learn more

VMware by Broadcom – Horizon

  • EUC Blog newsletters. Learn more
  • VMware Horizon 8 2312 (ESB) released. Learn more
  • VMware ThinApp 2312 released. Learn more
  • VMware App Volumes 4, version 2312 released. Learn more
  • VMware Dynamic Environment Manager 2312 released. Learn more
  • Horizon View Agent html5server.exe will crash intermittently with New Teams 2.1 with Horizon View Agent versions below 8.11/2309 (95810). Learn more
  • Teams Optimization: Teams 2.1 optimized video call in a maximized window shows a thin black bar at the bottom with Horizon Agent 2309 or lower (95811). Learn more
  • How To Optimize a Horizon Golden Image with the New Microsoft Teams Client. Learn more
  • Security Enhancements in Unified Access Gateway (UAG) version 2312 and beyond (96373). Learn more
  • Containerized Diagnostics For Unified Access Gateway With UAG Local Troubleshooter. Learn more
  • VMware Horizon Cloud Service – next-gen Release Notes. Learn more
  • Deploy Horizon Cloud on Azure in 5mins. Learn more
  • GPU issues with the VMware Horizon Indirect Display Driver. Learn more

Intune

  • Andrew Taylor weekly Intune newsletter. Learn more
  • Daniel Engberg weekly newsletter. Learn more
  • What’s new in Microsoft Intune January 2024? Learn more
  • New book – Mastering Microsoft Intune: Deploy Windows 11, Windows 365 via Microsoft Intune, Copilot and Advance Management via Intune Suite by Christiaan Brinkhoff and Per Larsen. Learn more
  • Winget Deployment With PSAppDeployToolkit. Learn more
  • IntuneMaps v2. Learn more
  • Optimizing Your Intune Endpoint Lab – Choosing the Ideal Hardware. Learn more
  • Create Desktop Shortcuts for Windows Apps. Learn more
  • Intune Migration Guide. Learn more

MSIX App Attach

Ivanti

  •  Ivanti Workspace Control. End Of Life  31-12-2026. Learn more

Azure

Microsoft 365 / AD

  • Weekly MS Entra latest news newsletter. Learn more
  • Entra – Internet Access for Windows (A first look). Learn more
  • How to configure Entra Private Access to avoid VPN clients. Learn more
  • Microsoft Entra’s Top 50 Features of 2023. Learn more
  • Microsoft Cloud Group Analyzer. Learn more

Microsoft Azure

  • John Savill’s weekly Azure Infrastructure Updates. Learn more
  • Is it beneficial for you to upgrade your Azure VM SKU to the next version? Learn more
  • AzCopy support for Entra ID authentication. Learn more
  • Generally Available: VMware Cloud Director Availability for Azure VMware solution with Run commands. Learn more
  • Migrating from the Azure MMA to AMA Agent. Learn more
  • Getting Started With AVD Insights and the Azure Monitor Agent. Learn more
  • Your Hub VNet Should Have No Compute. Learn more
  • Azure IPAM management solution. Learn more
  • Naming Azure resources using display names – Jev Suchoi. Learn more
  • Azure Virtual Machines baseline architecture. Learn more
  • Microsoft 365 Backup is finally in public preview! Learn more
  • How to handle the 2025 change to Azure VM internet access, including Aviatrix, in Azure Marketplace. Learn more
  • Azure VM Comparison. Learn more

Free Microsoft self-directed learning courses

  • Designing and Implementing Microsoft DevOps solutions. Learn more
  • Practice Assessments for Microsoft Certifications. Learn more

Windows

  • Windows Server Insider Preview 26040 is out – and so is the new name Windows Server 2025. Learn more
  • WMI command line (WMIC) utility deprecation: Next steps. Learn more

VMware by Broadcom

  • VMware End Of Availability of Perpetual Licensing and SaaS Services. Learn more
  • Automated Lab Deployment Script updated to support VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF). Learn more
  • VMware vCenter Server Vulnerability Exploited in Wild. Learn more
  • Automating counting cores & TiBs for new VMware vSphere Foundation (VVF) and VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) SKUs. Learn more
  • Deploy nested ESXi VMs using a Kickstart (KS) script and Ansible Automation. Learn more

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) / DevOps

  • Mastering data types in Terraform and Bicep. Learn more
  • Azure Landing Zones Accelerators for Bicep and Terraform. Announcing General Availability! Learn more

GitHub

  • GitHub Certifications. Learn more
  • NEW GitHub Certifications | What are they. Learn more
  • GitHub Foundations Practice Test Walkthrough. Learn more
  • GitHub Foundations Certification Course – Pass the exam in 10 hours! Learn more
  • Code To Cloud Live Stream (GitHub Certifications 2024). Learn more
  • Exam Pro GitHub Foundations video course. Learn more
  • How I passed the GitHub Foundations Certification Exam. Learn more
  • Unofficial Study Guides for GitHub Certifications. Learn more
  • Udemy – GitHub Foundations Certification – Practice Exam 2024. Learn more
  • What’s new in the GitHub Community? – 2024.01.26. Learn more
  • GitHub-hosted runners: Double the power for open source. Learn more

Terraform

  • Terraform 1.7 adds test mocking and config-driven remove. Learn more
  • A Guide to Publishing Terraform Providers to Terraform Cloud Private Registry. Learn more
  • Azure Storage for Terraform State best practices. Learn more
  • Stop using shared secrets! CI/CD authentication the proper way, Use OpenID Connect (OIDC). Learn more
  • Ops ‘n’ Hops: Terraform, Licensing, and Platform Engineering with Matt Gowie. Learn more

Powershell

  • PowerShell Conference EU 2023 sessions are available on YouTube. Learn more

Vembu

  • Join BDRSuite’s exclusive webinar, “Unveiling BDRSuite v7.0.0.U1: Elevate Your Data Protection Strategy” on January 10, 2024. Explore new features, witness live demo, and engage in an interactive Q&A to enhance your data protection and disaster recovery goals. Save your spot here! Learn more
  • BDRSuite announces it participation in MSP EXPO 2024 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from February 13-15, 2024. BDRSuite offers Free EXPO Pass granting exclusive access to MSP Expo breakout sessions, meals, keynotes, workshops, networking receptions, and unlimited Expo Hall exploration. Don’t miss out—secure your free pass here. Learn more
  • In the latest G2 Winter 2024 Report, BDRSuite emerges as a Leader & High Performer in multiple categories, including Server Backup, Database Backup, Small Business Backup Solutions, and Mid-Market. BDRSuite is globally recognized and particularly acclaimed in America, Asia Pacific, and EMEA regions. Read BDRSuite reviews on G2 here.  Learn more

The mobile SDDC and EUC lab environment

With my  company I work for (Ictivity), we decided to develop a mobile Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) and End User Computing (EUC) lab environment. This mobile lab environment will be used to demo the VMware SDDC and End User Computing (EUC) stack with integration of third party solutions.  One of the reasons to use a physical lab environment instead of cloud services was flexibility and  having no dependencies.

The past moths I’ve got asked what components we used to build this lab environment. So here is an quick overview. The environment logically looks like the picture below:

Demo Environment

This environment contains three physical hosts with VMware ESXi installed and one switch. One ESXi host function as management host. On this management host the following software bits are installed:

  • vSphere 6
  • VSAN Witness
  • NSX Manager
  • Fortigate VMX
  • vRealize components
  • The End User Computing stack such as Horizon View, App Volumes, User Environment Manager and Identity Manager
  • Veeam

The other 2 ESXi hosts function as demo cluster. On this 2-node cluster the following software bits are installed:

  • vSphere 6
  • Virtual SAN (VSAN) All Flash (AF) configuration
  • NSX integration
  • Windows 10l
  • Windows Server 2012 R2

A laptop is used to connect to the lab environment.

What component are used? 

Some highlights of this lab are:

  • 4U rackmount flightcase
  • Mini-ITX motherboard
  • Intel Xeon D-1541 single socket System-on-Chip 8 core processor
  • 2 x 10 GbE Ethernet adapters
  • Only SSD is used
  • IPMI port

Case

The case is a robust custom made 19″ 4U rackmount flightcase with a removable front and back. It has two wheels so you can carry it easily around. This case contains 3 servers and one switch.Here is a picture of the case including alle the hosts and the switch.

IMG_0622Indeling Flightcase

Hosts

The flightcase contains three SuperMicro SYS-5018D-FN4T 1U Rackmount hosts with the following hardware specifications:

  • Chassis: SuperMicro 19″ 1U with a 200W Gold level power supply. Optimized for Mini-ITX (SuperChassis SC505-203B)
  • Motherboard: Super X10SDV-8C-TLN4F Mini-ITX board
  • Processor: 1 x Intel Xeon D-1541 single socket System-on-Chip. This processor contains 8 cores with 16 threads (hypertreading)
  • Memory: 4x DDR4 DIMM sockets (maximum 128 GB, 4 x 32GB DDR4 ECC  memory)
  • LAN: 2 x 10GbE and 2 x 1 GbE and 1 x IPMI LAN port
  • Expansion slots: 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot and a M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4
  • Video: Aspeed AST2400
  • USB: 2x USB 3.0 and 4x USB 2.0

Management host

  • Memory: 4 x 32GB = 128 GB
  • SSD: 2 x Samsung PM863 MZ-7LM1T9E – SSD Enterprise – 1.92 TB – intern – 2.5″ – SATA 6Gb
  • Disk: Seagate Enterprise 6 TB disk (for backup)
  • USB Stick: Sandisk Ultra Fit USB3 16 GB (for booting ESXi)

Demo hosts 

Each host contains the following hardware:

  • Memory: 2 x 16GB = 32 GB per server
  • SSD: 1 x Intel P3500 SSD 1.2 TB PCIe 3.0 x4 (NVMe) and Samsung 950 Pro V-Nand M.2 PCI-e SSD 512GB
  • USB Stick: Sandisk Ultra Fit USB3 16 GB (for booting ESXi)

Switch

  • Switch: Netgear ProSafe Plus XS708E 8 x 10 Gbps +SFP slot

Cables

  • 6 x UTP CAT6 0.50 cm cables
  • 1 x UTP CAT6 5m
  • 1 x UTP CAT6 10m

 

Processor host

The two Intel X552/X557-AT NICs are not recognized by ESXi 6.5 and lower versions by default. To enable the Intel X552/x557 2 x 10GbE NICs download the Intel driver on the VMware website (link). Extract the ZIP file and install the offline bundle by using the following command:

esxcli software vib install -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore/driver/ixgbe-4.4.1-2159203-offline_bundle-3848596.zip

With this mobile SSDC lab environment we archived the following benefits:

  • Mobile and easy to carry around
  • Flexibility to install the latest VMware SDDC and 3e party software
  • No dependency
  • Enough horsepower
  • Low noise and power consumption
  • Remote accessible from our datacenter
  • IPMI and KVM support

 

Configure VSAN on HP Servers

For a new End User Computing (EUC) project I installed a Hybrid Virtual SAN (VSAN) configuration on HP Proliant server hardware. VSAN will be used as storage layer for VDIs. Each HP Proliant DL360 Gen9 server has the following components:

  • HP Workload Accelerator as caching device
  • HP Smart Array P440 controller with several 10k SAS disks as capacity tier

To enable VSAN the the first thing to do is to check the VSAN HCL(link)

HCL1

HCL2

The VSAN HCL gives important information about:

  • What hardware is supported?
  • What configuration does the  HP Smart Array controller support?
  • VSAN supported version(s)
  • Device driver and firmware versions including the download location of the driver.

All the hardware is supported and the firmware levels are listed in the HCL. So the next step is to do is to configure the HP Smart Array P440 controller in Pass-Through mode. HP calls this “HBA mode”. In HBA mode, all physical drives are presented directly to the operating system and the hardware RAID engine is disabled. This can be done in the Smart Storage Administrator.

HBAmode

After enabling the HBA mode the hosts needs a reboot.

The next step it to install the server with the HP Custom ESXi image . After the installation the ESXi, the HP Smart Array Controller is not recognized because the driver is not included. This same is for the HP Workload Accelerator that will serve for the caching tier. Download both drivers and add them to vSphere Update Manager. After both drivers are installed check the HP Smart Array Controller by using the following command (included in the HP Customed ESXi image):

esxcli hpssacli cmd -q "controller "slot=1" show config detail"

esxi command

The “slot=” option depends on the slot number the HP Smart Array P440 controller is installed.

To list the drives attached to the controller with the following command:

esxcli hpssacli cmd -q "controller slot=1 physicaldrive all show"

The Workload Acccelerator status can be displayed with the following command:

fio-status

The last step is to  open the vSphere Web Client, start enabling VSAN and claiming the disks.