VCDX-Desktop #138

I achieved the VMware Certified Design Expert certification today!

I seriously can’t start to thank my wife, study group, peers and management enough.

What a rush. Well, now that I may actually have time to do blogging again, I have several blog series that I want to kick off:

  • Preparing for the VCDX-Desktop
  • Navigating the Upgrade to Horizon 6
  • Mirage and View: So Happy Together

Pumped!!!

Horizon 6 GA Release Notes for the TL;DR Crowd

Yes, everyone and their dog has a post on this. Here is a post which cuts straight to the chase for those TL;DR people.

  • RDS will deliver individual applications installed on Windows servers to users over PCoIP sans thinprint and persona
  • Connect to hosted applications or desktops with the same client
  • All View server  components now support Windows Server 2012 R2
  • View supports AD functional levels of 2012 and 2012 R2 for you bleeding edge and greenfield people
  • Integration with Virtual SAN (technically was in 5.3.1)
  • Pool entitlements get easier for those already doing GSLB multi-pod deployments
  • Video conferencing in View gets better with a new kernel mode webcam driver
  • Feature Pack from 5.2 and 5.3 are rolled into the install EXEs
  • Security/Connection servers can now service 800 HTML connections up from 256
  • Local mode that maybe .001% of customers used is gone and is officially replaced by Mirage
  • Buy Mirage? Get Fusion for free! Yay for Mac people
  • Heartbleed Fix

For the full shabang, check the release notes. Happy Friday!

https://www.vmware.com/support/horizon-view/doc/horizon-view-60-release-notes.html

How to delete the vsanDatastore for VMware Virtual SAN

There are a lot of blog posts on how to set up the cool new Virtual SAN, but not a lot on how to destroy the Virtual SAN object. Probably because it’s really simple. Never fear! In a shameless effort to drive hits from google, here is your step by step on how to delete the vsanDatastore.

Deleting the vsanDatastore means that all the data on the underlying disk groups will be nuked. Gone. Vamoosed. This means you must either migrate the VMs to separate available local storate or to another storage solution. You can delete a disk group from one of the nodes, then reformat the disks into VMFS volumes, but you will obviously lose fault tolerance when you move to that. But hey, you’re the one deleting the virtual SAN object, not me. You should know why you’re doing it and what you’re moving to. I had to do this because I needed to nuke and refresh my cluster on 5.5. U1 from the beta refresh.

1. Migrate all the VMs and templates elsewhere. Where that is, well that is your problem. You can verify if there are any objects remaining by examining the related datastore object here.
Step12. Turn off HA on the Virtual SAN enabled cluster. You’ll need this to be off to turn off the Virtual SAN feature.
Step2
3. Delete all the disk groups individually. We will get warned that we should put it in maintenance mode first if we’re performing maintenance, but since we’re nuking the sucker we don’t want to do that.
Step3
3. We can see the local disks become available in the add storage wizard for each host as we delete the disk groups.

step4

4. Repeat the process until all the disk groups have been deleted.
step5
5. We are now ready to turn off the VSAN Feature on the cluster object.

step6

6. Click OK on the warning.

step7

7. Re-enable HA on the cluster. All done!

step8

 

Optimizing Audio Traffic and Quality for PCoIP

Hey guys, just wanted to give a shout out to a single GPO parameter that can be configured to reduce a TON of audio network traffic in your Horizon View deployment. All of the GPO parameters to tune the PCoIP session statistics are located here:

GPO_Location

The following image shows the PCoIP session audio bandwidth limit:

GPO_AudioBandwidth

In the below video we demonstrate the impact of changing the default behavior to 400Kbps and the impact on traffic. The audio quality changed from using around 40Kbps of audio TX to about 2Mbps, which is definitely a sizable difference just for audio quality. In the video you can hear the difference in quality. For my own use case, since I actually use the VM as my primary workstation and I use spotify, I had to tune this to 2400 because I didn’t want to listen to shoddy quality audio at my desk. Your  mileage may vary, but 400 is a great starting point for all non-audio intensive use cases. Disabling the default sound schemes is also a good idea to prevent spikes of audio.

AwesomeDifferenceBetween400Kbpsand1600

Also of note, I experienced some weird audio stuttering of the sound and some bizarre sounding weirdness. CPU was fine, so was the network. I followed this KB titled Audio issues with the VMware Virtual Audio (DevTap) driver running on a Horizon View desktop (2045764) and installed the Teradici Audio driver in the VM. No issues for me since that time and no other configuration changes were made. See below for version and build information.

The configuration utilized for this demonstration:

View VM: Windows 8 Enterprise, 2 vCPU 3GB Memory, View Agent 5.3.0.1427931, Teradici Audio Drivers Installed in guest

View: VMware Horizon View 5.3.0, Servers and Agent with Experience Feature Pack 1

Endpoint: Wyse P25 Zero Client with HD Audio Enabled, Klipsch THX Speakers

PCoIP Audio Traffic Optimization and Audio Quality Demonstrated from Joe Clarke on Vimeo.

Disaster Recovery Is Like Your Sump Pump

Oh snap.

Oh snap.

It seems to me that nobody cares about their sump pump until it stops working. I use this analogy all the time with customers and given yesterday’s torrential downpour and flood warnings here in North East Ohio, I thought it fitting to jot down a quick post about it. I’ll start with a story from a few years ago. I was traveling and out of town, when I got a phone call from my wife that the basement had completely flooded with 2′ of water. It turned out that the water main had broken away from the foundation of the house and was pouring water into the ground surrounding the foundation at a ridiculous rate. It didn’t take long for the primary sump pump to burn out and then all of a sudden boom; my finished basement was a swimming pool. The damage ended up being right around the $18,000 after repairs and replacements.
Often times the folks I’m dealing with are the sysadmins and network admins, one of the frequent rumblings I hear is the fact that management refuses to spend money on disaster recovery. When I hear this, I simply look at them and ask them a very simple series of questions that usually looks like this:

Do you have a basement?  “Yes.” Do you have a sump pump in your basement?  “Yes.” Do you have two sump pumps in your basement with a battery backup?  “No.” Why?   “Because my basement has never flooded.”

And at this point the light bulb actually goes on and the sysadmin/network admin realize that they themselves are managing their own homes, something which they usually have complete autonomy over, in the same fashion as management sometimes sees IT. In the same way that the admins have not invested in a sump pump disaster recovery solution in their own home, this is often parallel to the philosophy that management undertakes with IT systems.. Sadly enough, we saw that with my own behavior in the above story, that I really only gave a thought to actively doing something to mitigate the risk of a disaster only once it actually happened to me. This is the same exact management quandary that senior IT management must battle; risk management. All of a sudden in my case, $330 dollars to purchase a backup sump and battery with trickle charger seems a lot more reasonable.

Sometimes a flooded basement is just what management needs to wake up and smell the coffee. I don’t think anybody wants you to have a flooded basement or wants your IT infrastructure to have a critical fault or suffer a disaster, but our job as good IT consultants is to help prepare folks for when it does and help them realize the risks to their business if they don’t.