VMware AppVolumes–Writable Volumes

CloudVolumes-SquareWelcome to the fifth and long over due post in my VMware AppVolumes series. In this post I am going to cover my favorite feature in AppVolumes, Writable Volumes. Writable Volumes can be used to capture either user profile date, user installed applications, or both. Each of these options is provided by three Writable Volume “Templates” that provided via AppVolumes by default. The three templates are a follows:

  • Template_uia_only – Allows for the use of “User Installed Applications” when mounted. Note that users still the appropriate OS permissions to install applications
  • Template_profile_only – Leveraging a filter driver in the AppVolumes agent, user profile settings will be be redirected and saved to the Writable Volume
  • Template_uia_plus_proflie – The best of both worlds listed above. User installed applications and user profile changes are saved and persisted to the writable volume.

With the option to leverage Writable Volumes in a Horizon View environment (bundled with the Enterprise Suite or purchased standalone) it will definitely help ease the burden of delivering the appearance of a dedicated desktop in a floating, non-persistent environment. The below example walks through the process of creating Writable Volumes for a group of users and then seeing it in action in my Horizon View environment. [Read more…]

New Stop on the Journey

keep-calm-and-good-luck-on-your-new-jobWhile it seems these types of blog posts come out closer to the beginning of a new year, I appear to be a little fashionably late. And what type of post am I referencing, it is the “Hey, I got a new gig” blog post. Like those others before me in the last couple of months, I am happy to announce that I have moved onto a new opportunity as well. Starting this week I will be working as a Solutions Architect at Denali Advanced Integrations here in Washington. This role is going to allow for a deeper focus on VMware’s suite of products in both a pre and post-sales role. While the decision to make an employment change is never an easy one (and this was no exception as I am leaving a great family at GCSIT),  the move to Denali is going to provide additional growth, challenges, and opportunities that I could not turn away from.

Wish me luck!


Holy Switch! 10GbE Switching in the Home Lab

XS708EOver the last five to six months I set out to revamp/rebuild both the compute nodes and networking layer in my home lab. These lab upgrades seem to pop up post VMworld (posts here and here) as the idea of running the latest and greatest software from either VMware or its partner eco-system gets my mind racing and the PayPal account to open up.

With this latest round of host upgrades, I was able to introduce 10GbE networking functionality into the lab as the new host servers have dual integrated Intel X540 10GbE adapters. That put me into the market for 10GbE switch as my current switch (Cisco 2960) only supports 1GbE links. Jumping over to NewEgg.com I took a quick look at the available options for 10GbE switching and as you can imagine there are not a lot of “affordable” options out there. The main two models that jumped out where both made by Netgear, the Pro-Safe XS712T (12 ports) and the Pro-Safe XS708E (8 ports).

In comparing the two models I end up selecting the XS708E 8 port model for both a cost reason (the price per port was cheaper) and that I would either need to add two more hosts or a 10GbE Synology array in the future to really tap into the extra ports provided(I keep telling myself this was good reasoning Smile ). As it stands now, with my three hosts I can dedicate one 10GbE interface for VSAN traffic and the other for vMotion traffic, and have two ports free on the switch for future expansion.

[Read more…]

VMware AppVolumes and Storage Groups

CloudVolumes-SquareWhile in the previous posts I have put together around using VMware AppVolumes has been focused around AppStacks, I am switching gears a bit and have been spending time in the lab with the Writable Volumes feature. Writable volumes in a nutshell (and will be covered in another post) allow for a persistent, ie writable, VMDK  to be mounted to a virtual machine when an assigned a user logs in. This VMDK file is based on the AppVolumes Templates and leverages the AppVolumes agent in the guest OS to redirect the following types of information:

  • User Installed Applications only (UIA)
  • User Profile Data only
  • User Installed Applications and User Profile Data

This is all well and good, but compared to AppStacks and their read only workload requirements, Writable volumes brings a different set of challenges. Obviously the first thing to point out is, yes there will be write operations that need to be accounted for on the backend storage and second how many Writable Volumes should be stored/accessed per backend Datastore. In speaking with EUC folks last week at VMware’s Partner Exchange event, the rumor had started that reference architectures are soon to be released and provide direction around configuration minimums and maximums. In the meantime while playing in the lab environment I stumbled across the Storage Groups settings for distributing Writable Volumes across multiple Datastores.

[Read more…]