Getting Started with Horizon View Instant Clones

ViewWith the release of Horizon View 7 a few months back, I have been wanting to get some hands on time with the new version and some of its cool features. And for cool features, nothing (in this release) gets better then the Instant Clone technology. If you are unfamiliar with Instant Clones, Horizon View 7 is first product to leverage VMware’s VMFork technology (details HERE) and in very short terms allows for the creation of new desktops in SECONDS! This is a beautiful thing, especially if you have any long term stick time with View Composer and the pro/cons that come along with it.

But while all this is good news, it might not be good news for many. The Instant Clone feature is only available to customers/users who sit at the highest level of Horizon View licensing, Enterprise. The Enterprise bundle is needed to really round out some of the rough edges that Instant Clones introduces. Currently Instant Clones doesn’t support VMware Persona Management, so you will need to leverage VMware UEM or VMware AppVolumes Writable Volumes to redirect/capture user data.Or if going for the “Just in Time” desktop, AppVolumes will be need for application delivery.

With that said, for those who have the licensing or just access to it in a lab environment, lets see how to setup it up and get some desktops created!

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VMware VSAN 6.2–Document Collection

tier-whatWith the announcement last month of VMware Virtual SAN 6.2 and the product finally being GA’ed early this week (kinda hard to not to notice if you paid any attention to the Twitters) there are a few documents every VMware/VSAN administrator needs to have a look at. With new features announced around de-duplication, erasure coding, sparse swap files, etc there are new design elements to pay attention to, new licensing levels, and just a better overall understanding of how the new features function and operate in your environment. Each of the documents below well help address those items along with many more. Happy reading!

VMware Virtual SAN 6.2 – What’s New

VMware Virtual SAN 6.2 – Design and Sizing Guide

VMware Virtual SAN 6.2 – Licensing Guide

VMware Virtual SAN 6.2 – Space Efficiency Technologies

Notes from the Field–Deploying ThinApp’s with VMware App Volumes

CloudVolumes-SquareDuring my experience working with VDI/EUC deployments with customers one thing becomes pretty clear during engagements, it’s not necessarily about the actual desktop as much as it is about getting access to the applications that your users need and require to be productive. Over the last few years getting these applications to the end users required a couple of tricks and deployment models to present them. From a VMware View perspective initially you had two “native” options, install the needed application into your golden image or images (which lead to both image and View pool sprawl) or leverage VMware’s ThinApp product to create and isolate the applications from the underlying operating system. With ThinApp came the challenge of the application delivery; a not so robust integration  with the Horizon View Administrator console, leveraging Microsoft Group Policy setting to deploy a MSI, and finally logon scripts and file shares.

In August of 2014 VMware added an additional application strategy with its purchase of Cloud Volumes which has since been re-branded to VMware App Volumes. App Volumes leverages an application “layering” approach (similar products are available from UniDesk and LiquidWare Labs), where as the application or applications are installed into a capture virtual machine and saved as a VMDK disk (this is the lite explanation). This VMDK or “layer” can then be mounted and accessed by multiple virtual desktops for a “just in time delivery” mechanism for your application sets.

Seems like the holy grail right? Well for the most part it is, with one exception. Many organizations still have legacy applications that require a specific version of Java, or require an outdated browser such as IE6. This is the beauty of VMware ThinApp, with its ability to virtualize and isolate  applications and their dependencies from the operating system you could run multiple versions of Java on the same virtual machine. So, what do you do if you still have legacy applications that are best served being virtualized via ThinApp but you want to use the power of App Volumes to distribute them? Well, you put your ThinApp’s into App Volumes of course!

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VMware AF VSAN & Horizon View Linked Clones

tier-whatIn a blog post I put out this week I worked through the process for configuring SSD devices in my ESXi hosts to be used for an all flash (AF) VSAN configuration. After getting the AF VSAN up and running in my lab I started moving over a few of my VMware Horizon View 6.2 infrastructure VM’s (Composer, Connection Servers, etc) just to test the waters. After verifying that all was good with the VSAN Datastore, next step was to create a new desktop pool. That is when things went a bit sideways.

After walking through the new pool creation wizard via the View Administrator console I would switch over to my vSphere client to observe the status of the virtual machine cloning operation. After a few seconds I noticed that the clone operation would error out stating “Insufficient disk space on datastore” . The screenshot below display the message:

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