Horizon 6.0.1 – PRINT ALL THE THINGS

Horizon 6.0.1! And everyone together said:

PATT

Big picture this minor build update includes:

  • Systray notifications in Hosted Apps for both Mac and Windows Users
  • USB 3.0 Support with the Horizon Client 3.1
  • Virtual printing support for Hosted apps, hosted apps within remote desktops, RDS desktops, and 2008 R2 Desktops
  • Expanded location based printing support with hosted apps, hosted apps within remote desktops, RDS desktops and 2008 R2 desktops
  • Location Based Printing files are now included in the ZIP file (not a huge deal)
  • HTML Access is now fully supported on Windows 8 and 8.1 remote desktops

Full notes here:

https://www.vmware.com/support/horizon-view/doc/horizon-view-601-release-notes.html

 

Upgrading to Horizon View 6 – Part 2 – View Composer

Upgrading to Horizon View 6 – Part 1 – Prepwork

Upgrading to Horizon View 6 – Part 2 – View Composer

Upgrading to Horizon View 6 – Part 3 – Connection Servers

Upgrading to Horizon View 6 – Part 4 – Security Servers

Upgrading to Horizon View 6 – Part 5 – Desktops

Let’s remember from Part one that we first need to do these steps.

Prepare for View Composer Upgrade (As in you’re about to perform the upgrade)

  • Verify physical requirements are met on the vCenter or standalone machine (Standalone, 2 vCPU 8GB RAM, 60GB Disk, usually recommended, 4 vCPU 16GB memory for vCenter co-located composer)
  • Disable provisioning on all the linked clone pools
  • If any pools are set to refresh on logoff, change them to Never.
  • Grab a copy of all the SSL certs ( at %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter)
  • Stop the View Composer service and backup the View Composer Database
  • Stop the vCenter service and backup the vCenter Databases
  • Snapshot the vCenter and/or standalone Composer VM(s)
  • Start the vCenter service
  • Start the View Composer service

Once we have a full backup plan, let’s upgrade View composer.

Remember to budget about 30 minutes of downtime and make sure that all your provisioning and automatic refresh actions are turned off.

I recommend the automatic upgrade of the View Composer database if possible. If you need to migrate View Composer to a different virtual, or change from a co-located Composer to a standalone, make sure to follow the upgrade guide to the letter. That’s outside the scope of this post, since I don’t have to do that in my lab.

MeltWizards

Start the View Composer Upgrade by running the EXE we downloaded already (make sure to run as administrator if you have UAC on). And now, WIZARRRD PICTURES!

 

ViewComposer01 ViewComposer02 ViewComposer03 ViewComposer04

If you use integrated (AD) authentication instead of SQL auth, you will need to make sure you are logged in as the user who has access to the database.
ViewComposer05

I re-used the existing certificate. ViewComposer06 ViewComposer07 ViewComposer08 ViewComposer09 ViewComposer10 ViewComposer11 ViewComposer12 ViewComposer13

 

And completed! Next up connection servers.

ViewComposer14

Upgrading to Horizon View 6 – Part 1 – Prepwork

The goal of this blog post is to show you how to navigate through a Horizon 6 upgrade procedure. This upgrade procedure takes you through the upgrade I will have performed in my lab, from Horizon View 5.2 to Horizon View 6.0.

Upgrading to Horizon View 6 – Part 1 – Prepwork

Upgrading to Horizon View 6 – Part 2 – View Composer

Upgrading to Horizon View 6 – Part 3 – Connection Servers

Upgrading to Horizon View 6 – Part 4 – Security Servers

Upgrading to Horizon View 6 – Part 5 – Desktops

The first part of any upgrade is the prepwork.

First, go read this VMware provided upgrade guide. It is the long version of what I’m going to write below.

  1. Healthcheck and remedy your environment.
    1. Look for and clean up any problem desktops
    2. Visit the dashboard and check for any red marks, investigate and remediate
    3. Look for any desktops stuck deleting or orphaned replica VMs and clean them up
    4. Ensure that all pools are currently provisioning OK
    5. Ensure certificates are installed properly and that connections function as intended
  2. Take note of your vCenter and ESXi version levels. Make sure they’re supported with 6.0 on the interop matrix. Here is a screen shot from present day (click opens in new tab)
  3. Interop
  4. If you require a vCenter or ESXi update make sure to visit this KB page, which lays out the update sequence, which is pretty critical during the upgrade phase. Here’s what you should expect if you’re doing a View only upgrade versus a View and vCenter upgrade. I think the next post I do will be a vCenter and View upgrade together.
  5. UpgradeSequence
  6. Check your databases for compatibility with View, Events and Composer. Make sure they’re still supported on the interop (Note, 2012 SQL is now supported with Horizon View 6.0, previously 2008 R2 was the highest you could go).
  7. Make sure your servers are sized correctly and meet the hardware reqs. 10GB memory for connection servers and I usually recommend 4 vCPU 16GB of memory for the vCenter is composer is co-located and the environment has a chance of going bigger than 500 computers.
  8. Download the binaries and make sure they’re downloaded with the MD5 hashes checking out AOK. The one’s we’ll actually use in this post series are highlighted below.

downloaded

Prepare for View Composer Upgrade (As in you’re about to perform the upgrade)

  • Verify physical requirements are met on the vCenter or standalone machine (Standalone, 2 vCPU 8GB RAM, 60GB Disk, usually recommended, 4 vCPU 16GB memory for vCenter co-located composer)
  • Disable provisioning on all the linked clone pools
  • If any pools are set to refresh on logoff, change them to Never.
  • Grab a copy of all the SSL certs ( at %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter)
  • Stop the View Composer service and backup the View Composer Database
  • Stop the vCenter service and backup the vCenter Databases
  • Snapshot the vCenter and/or standalone Composer VM(s)
  • Start the vCenter service
  • Start the View Composer service

Prepare for View Connection Servers (As in you’re about to perform the upgrade)

  •  Verify your connection servers have at least 2 vCPU (4 is recommended but I’ve seen 2 work just fine) and 10GB of RAM. You can have less, but only plan on servicing <50 desktops
  • If virtual, take a snapshot of the first connection broker (we’ll revert using this guy if we absolutely have to, then uninstall and re-install the other connection brokers to re-sync back up)
  • Ensure that the pools still have provisioning disabled, and navigate to C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware View\Server\tools\bin\vdmexport.exe. Create a backup of the AD-LDS Datastore by issuing the command: vdmexport > myvdmbackup.ldf

Prepare for View Security Servers (As in you’re about to perform the upgrade)

  • Make sure you understand whether or not you’re using IPsec tunneling between your connection broker and and security server. Understand the implications that the Windows firewall must be running.
  • In the View Administrator, select the security servers and click More Commands > Prepare for Upgrade or Reinstallation. This will disable the aforementioned IPsec rules if they are enabled.

We now have a solid failback plan for the critical components and databases and are ready to perform the composer upgrade.

As a part of this blog post series, I will actually take you through the upgrade procedure in my lab environment. Here’s a quick look at the environment.

LabLayout

Next up, let’s do this!

How the path to VCDX will change you

The VCDX path has changed how I see technology design. I just wanted  to share my experience, specifically for those who are considering the going after the VCDX.

It’s About The Journey

First let me say this, it’s not my saying. It’s about the journey, not the destination. What does that mean?

  • It means you must be committed to bettering yourself at all costs
  • It means that this will likely take you hundreds of hours, most of which personal
  • It means it will cost you financially for lab gear, travel, application and defense fees
  • It means there is a high probability that you will need to defend the VCDX more than once
  • It means your family MUST buy into this, or VCDX will become Voldemort (that which must not be named) in your household
  • Getting the certification does not make you more qualified, smarter, etc. It means you already are qualified and others agree.

I was successful on the first attempt, but I was fully prepared to have bad news after even several attempts. Don’t let it get you down. Listen to the feedback.

Design Methodology

It will change the way you see everything. I was (am) a pretty good delivery consultant at virtualization. Delivery consultant actually means I get my hands dirty and go on virtualization engagements to do the upgrades, maintenance, greenfield installs, rack and stack, fight and identify firmware and driver bugs, do P2V projects, performance troubleshooting, etc. Before the VCDX, I had a good idea of the process for building clusters that would function for the target workloads with enough servers for redundancy. But before the VCDX, I looked at it much differently, all I saw was vSphere.  The beauty of abstraction is that it’s not really about servers, your hardware vendor, networks and storage. Sure, these are critical components, but in the end it’s really all about business requirements in terms of availability, manageability, performance, recoverability  and security. Much like Neo when he was enlightened, so was I as a part of the VCDX preparation process. You must see it all.

VCDX_Process

What do you get out of the process?

  • If you do things right and form a study group, you will definitely make some new acquaintances, maybe even friends. I know I did. : )
  • YOU WILL LEARN MORE THAN YOU EVER IMAGINED. 
    • As a VCDX, you are responsible for all decisions in your design, and you have to document them. You will learn about them for sure.
    • You understand why you chose particular components and configurations, and how they met the business requirements.
    • Mock defenses will show you your weaknesses from a technology and verbal defense standpoint.
      • Embrace these weaknesses, your peers are HELPING you by pointing out flaws and weaknesses.
  • Industry Recognition on a peer vetted certification
  • A unique number
  • Listed in the VCDX Catalog

What are my recommendations?

  • Get buy-in from your family, especially if you have kids. Explain the costs and time involved. The VCDX is a team sport on the home front.
  • Understand up front that an expert will have dealt with a variety of hardware, storage and network products. It’s just the way it is.
  • Don’t do a fictitious design; it will be much much harder. This is about business requirements.
  • Read the blueprint. Then read it again. Re-read it later. Then again later. Print it out and put it under your pillow. Only half serious.
  • Form a study group and start meeting before and after you submit. Plan on meeting together the week before the defense.
    • In person mock defenses are WAY more valuable than over Webex.
    • If you do a Webex, make sure to use a whiteboard and video camera. Will definitely help add simulated pressure.
  • Get someone that doesn’t know technology to proof read your submission. They will find all sorts of goofs you’ve completely overlooked.
  • Write some kick butt documentation. Let’s be honest, this is kind of like a thesis, it should be the best thing you’ve ever written.
  • Your design doesn’t have to be 100% sweet-ness factor awesome with latest greatest state of the art gear. It needs to meet the requirements.
  • As it gets closer to defense time, think about all the different ways you could have done your design, know why you didn’t go the alternative routes.
  • Greybox test/Fuzz your design. Look at it objectively and find the holes. Ask reasonable questions, then make quizlet flashcards about each question.
  • Go read Rene Van Den Bedem’s series on the VCDX. Awesome blog series that needs no duplication.
  • When preparing for the Design and Troubleshooting scenarios, you absolutely MUST understand the big picture.

To sum it all up in two words: DO IT.

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!!!