Archive for the ‘VDI’ Category

VMworld EU 2015 Buzz: Day 2 General Session Thoughts

October 28th, 2015 No comments

Adding some more colour to the highlights from my VMworld Europe 2015 coverage:

Day 2 kicked off after breakfast with again sort of a repeat of the VMworld US keynote kicked off by the engaging Sanjay Poonam, the EUC boss.

Sanjay has really lit a fire under VMware’s EUC, started talking about the amazing effect of smartphones, AirWatch is the tech company VMware bought which now manages mobile devices (and future IoT) but Windows 10 support is the big news as announced at VMworld US. This will bring together mobile and PC management which could be very attractive for enterprises.

Announced Boxer acquisition which is simple, secure access to email, content and apps.

The Boxer team, which will join the AirWatch team, has developed a mature personal information management (PIM) solution for enterprises that offers a container approach to mobile application management and security. Boxer has partnered with industry leaders and supports market leading productivity, enterprise and social networking solutions including Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Gmail, iCloud, Salesforce, Twitter, Outlook and Yahoo, just to name a few.

Rory Clements, Solutions Engineering Director for EUC then went through the same demo that Microsoft came on stage for in the US version and demoed AirWatch managing Windows 10 as well as using App Volumes on physical as part of Project A2

Single sign-on across multiple devices and applications (over 40) with AirWatch.

Sanjay and Rory then showed a windows application remoted on a Tesla and then the mixing of AirWatch and NSX network security.

Sanjay then tried to get the crowd chanting “EUC will Rock You” with the backing of some drummers!

2015-10-14 09.33.12 2015-10-14 09.32.59

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Categories: Cloud, EUC, VDI, VMware, VMworld Tags: , ,

UKVMUG: The unofficial lowdown on everything announced at VMworld

November 18th, 2014 No comments

vmug-logoI have had the pleasure today of presenting at the 4th annual UK VMware User Group conference at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull near Birmingham.

I did a whirlwind tour of everything that was announced at VMworld and believe me, there was a huge amount. OK, so no major release which is the norm (but plenty of teasers) but enough other things going on in the VMware space to fill more than a UKVMUG! I know, I’ve done the research! Even though I was at VMworld US, so much was going on that I didn’t appreciate all the new shiny things being announced and once you start getting down to the nitty gritty of everything, you will be amazed at how much is going on.

I really didn’t have time to go through everything in detail so the presentation acts as an independently curated jumping off point for you to find out more information about the announcements that matter to you. You may not care particularly about hyper-converged or OpenStack so you can flick through the slides and then head off to continue your explorations.

Thanks for having me UKVMUG!

Here’s the presentation:

VMworld US 2014: The Day 2 Buzz

August 27th, 2014 No comments


Another Run VMworld with an ever bigger group and plenty to talk about.


American style breakfast, hey there was fruit though!

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General Session

IMG_4806 The second general session which is usually the more technical show-and-tell of the mass presentations was led by VMware’s CTO Ben Fathi making his first VMworld keynote appearance. Wearing jeans and talking to the engineers in the audience, his job is to show some of the technology announced. He went through the story of businesses stuck in silos battling the change from traditional apps to cloud-native apps. VMware wants to make things much easier to deploy all kinds of workloads from your private data center using vCloud Suite to Public cloud with vCloud Air but with a common management framework and toolset covering both. Quite a bit of time spent talking about the power of “and”, saying you can use multiple things (hybrid cloud) over having to make a decision and being stuck with “or”.

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Categories: Cloud, EUC, Storage, VDI, VMware, VMworld Tags:

EVO: Rail – Integrated Hardware and Software

August 25th, 2014 No comments


VMware has announced it is entering the hyper-converged appliance market in conjunction with hardware partners for them to ship pre-built hardware appliances running VMware software. See my introduction, VMware Marvin comes alive as EVO:Rail, a Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Appliance.

image Each of the four compute nodes within the 2U appliance has a very specific minimum set of specifications. Some hardware vendors may go above and beyond this by adding say GPU cards for VDI or more RAM per host but VMware wants a standard approach. These kinds of servers don’t exist on the market currently other than what other hyper-converged companies whitebox from say SuperMicro so we’re talking about new hardware from partners.

Each of the four EVO: RAIL nodes within a single appliance will have at a minimum the following:

  • Two Intel E5-2620v2 six-core CPUs
  • 192GB of memory
  • One SLC SATADOM or SAS HDD for the ESXi boot device
  • Three SAS 10K RPM 1.2TB HDD for the VSAN datastore
  • One 400GB MLC enterprise-grade SSD for read/write cache
  • One VSAN certified pass-through disk controller
  • Two 10GbE NIC ports (either 10GBase-T or SFP+ connections)
  • One 1GbE IPMI port for out-of-band management

Each appliance is fully redundant with dual power supplies. As there are four ESXi hosts per appliance, you are covered for hardware failures or maintenance. The ESXi boot device and all HDDs and SSDs are all enterprise-grade. VSAN itself is resilient. EVO: RAIL Version 1.0 can scale out to four appliances giving you a total of 16 ESXi hosts, backed by a single vCenter and a single VSAN datastore.There is some new intelligence added which automatically scans the local network for new EVO:RAIL appliances when they have been connected and easily adds them to the EVO: RAIL cluster.

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EVO: Rail – Management Re-imagined

August 25th, 2014 2 comments


VMware has announced it is entering the hyper-converged appliance market in conjunction with hardware partners for them to ship pre-built hardware appliances running VMware software. See my introduction, VMware Marvin comes alive as EVO:Rail, a Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Appliance.

image The EVO: RAIL management software has been built to dramatically simplify the deployment of the appliances as well as provisioning VMs. The user guide is only 29 pages so you can get an idea of how VMware is driving simplicity. Marvin actually exists as a character icon within the management interface with an embedded “V” and “M”.

VMware recognises that vCenter has had a rather large feature bloat problem over the years. They have introduced new components like SSO which do provide needed functionality but add to the complexity of deploying vSphere. VMware has also tried to bring all these components together in the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA).

This is great but has some functionality missing compared to the Windows version like Linked-Mode and some customers worry about managing the embedded database for large deployments. As EVO:RAIL is aimed at smaller deployments and isn’t concerned with linking vCenters together, the VCSA is a good option and the EVO:RAIL software is in fact a package which runs as part of the VCSA. There is no additional database required, it is all built into the appliance and uses the same public APIs to communicate with vCenter but acts as a layer to provide a simpler user experience, hiding some of the complexity of vCenter. vCenter  is still there so you can always connect directly with the Web Client and manage VMs as you do normally and any changes made in either environment are common so no conflicts.

EVO:RAIL is also also written purely in HTML5 even for the VM console, no yucky Flash like the vSphere Web Client and it works on any browser, even an iPad. Interestingly is has a look which is a little similar to Microsoft Azure Pack. Who would ever have thought VMware would have written a VM management interface built for simplicity that is similar to an existing Microsoft one!

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VMware Marvin comes alive as EVO:Rail, a Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Appliance

August 25th, 2014 1 comment

image image VMware will announce shortly today at VMworld US that it is entering the hyper-converged appliance market with a solution called EVO:Rail. This has been rumoured for a while since an eagle eyed visitor to the VMware campus spotted a sign for Marvin in their briefing center. Marvin was the engineering name and has still stuck around in parts of the product but its grown up name is EVO:Rail.

EVO(lution) is eventually going to be a suite of products/solutions, Rail is the first announcement named for the smallest part of a data center rack, the rail, so you can infer that VMware intends to build this portfolio out to an EVO:RACK and beyond.

EVO:Rail combines compute, storage and networking resources into a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance with the intention to dramatically simplify infrastructure deployment. Hardware wise this is pretty much what Nutanix and Simplivity as two examples do today. Spot the acronym, HCIA, to hunt for newly added VMworld sessions.

VMware is not however entering the hardware business itself, that would kill billions of marketing budget spent on the Software Defined Data Center message of software ruling the world. Partner hardware vendors will be building the appliance to strict specifications with VMware’s EVO:RAIL software bundle pre-installed and the appliance delivered as a single SKU. Some may see this as a technicality. VMware has always said if you need specific  hardware you are not software defined. Does EVO:RAIL count as specific hardware?

Support will be with the hardware vendor for both hardware and software with VMware providing software support to the hardware vendor at the back-end.


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What VMware’s EOL of vCenter Server Heartbeat means for availability?

June 6th, 2014 2 comments

image VMware has very surprisingly and suddenly stopped selling vCenter Server Heartbeat from 2nd June 2014. If you have already purchased vCenter Server Heartbeat you will still get support until 2018 so no panic that the whole carpet has been pulled from under your feet but it does beg the question, what to do going forward to make your vCenter installation more highlight available if you need it?

In the EOL announcement, VMware suggests first of all making your vCenter a VM to be able to take advantage of HA to provide high availability. If you cannot for some reason (and you really need to ask yourself why) run vCenter as a VM and it is/needs to be physical then the only solution is to use a backup solution to be able to restore vCenter if it fails.

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The VMworld Fringe Tech Talks by #vBrownbag

August 22nd, 2013 No comments

vbrownbag VMworld starts next week and up to 22,000 people are descending on San Francisco.

VMware as expected has a massive schedule of talks, discussion groups and labs for you to attend all carefully orchestrated to ensure VMware and their partners get their message out.

But VMware does have a wild side that isn’t just the parties.

The fabulous #vBrownbag crew have put together a schedule of lightning 10 minute talks which are not part of the official program. This means VMware or even the #vBrownbag crew don’t get to decide what is said, the only rule is there isn’t any blatant company marketing.

So, you can get independent community content from your peers who feel they have something to contribute to VMworld that could be unsupported, unconventional, uncensored and unbelievable!

There are some serious industry titans presenting so make time in your official schedule to see them.

The list of talks is in this post which is being refreshed as presenters confirm their times.

I’ve been very lucky to be accepted for 2 talks:

  • Help, my VDI project is hell! on Monday at 17:15
  • HP Virtual Connect Quick Deep Dive on Tuesday at 15:00

A few generous sponsors are contributing to make this possible so have a look at their products which help to keep independent community content alive.

BTW the reference to the fringe is from the city of Edinburgh which hosts is a huge official Edinburgh International Festival in August. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is not part of the official program and is now the largest arts festival in the world. The Society that runs the fringe festival is not allowed to vet the festival’s program so anyone with a story to tell and a venue willing to host them can take part resulting in the weird and the wonderful having their say.

Categories: Flex-10, HP, VDI, VMware, VMworld Tags: , , , ,

Optimise your VDI image with a new OS optimisation tool

July 31st, 2013 No comments

VMware has released a new Fling called the VMware OS Optimization Tool for Windows 7.

One of my bugbears with the whole VDI industry is the I in “VDI”, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. Many people often focus too much time and effort designing the infrastructure part of delivering virtual desktops: hypervisors, clusters, brokers, security, storage, networks, streaming, provisioning etc. and don’t pay enough attention to the actual OS build.

The OS build is absolutely critical for the success of any VDI project. If you don’t optimise your OS image you will use more CPU, memory and critically storage IOPS than you actually need which can ramp up your costs or cause your whole project to fail.


VMware has released the VMware OS Optimization Tool to assist with just this for Windows 7 desktops and VMware Horizon View. There are customisable templates to enable or Windows services and features to ensure you have optimum performance.

There is also a Remote OS Optimization Tool which allows you to connect to a remote Horizon View broker to optimise images.

Although this tool is specifically written for VMware View and uses VMware’s recommendations and best practices, the OS settings are as applicable when using Citrix XenDesktop or other brokers or in fact when running any Windows 7 workstation even without a broker when your users connect using just RDC.

If you are wanting to get more information on your current Windows desktop (not only limited to VDI) performance, I would also suggest looking at Helge Klein’s fantastic UberAgent for Splunk which gives you all sorts of information to help find out what’s taking too long.

To really ensure you cover all bases I would suggest using this new VMware tool in conjunction with other scripts and tools:

VDI Optimizer

VMware Horizon View Optimization Guide for Windows 7 and Windows 8

IT Blood Pressure’s EUC Tips

Quest vWorkspace Desktop Optimizer

Citrix Windows 7 Optimization Guide for Desktop Virtualization

Project VRC White Papers (free registration required)

How to Optimize XenDesktop Machines

Best Practice: Group Policy for Virtual Desktops Infrastructure (VDI)

VDI Group Policy Optimisation Template and Script

London VMUG, Independence Day Edition – Thursday 4th July 2013 – Register Now!

June 18th, 2013 1 comment

The London VMware User Group (VMUG) is meeting in an independence day extravaganza  on the 4th July 2013 at:

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
33 Queen Street

It doesn’t cost anything to attend and is a full day event stuffed to the gills with interesting content and people. Lunch is included so you won’t even go hungry and its well worth arranging time away from your desk for access to so much more information than you can possibly find by trawling the web. You can register at

I’ll be hosting a VDI roundtable so if you have anything you’d like to share or something you need answered, come along and join in the discussion.

Community Speakers: 
• Fernando Frediani – Build Your Own Shared Storage
• Steve Bruck and Stuart McHugh – SSO SOS
• Sam McGeown – PowerCLI Tips and Scripts
• Seb Hakiel – 4000-seat VDI Lessons
• Julian Wood – VDI roundtable Discussion
• Simon Gallagher – Hybrid vCloud Reaction

Sponsor Speakers: 
• Hans de Leenheer – Veeam
• David Cumberworth – Atlantis Computing
• Dell Wyse

Special Guest: 
• Frank Denneman – Pernix Data

You can see the full agenda here.

After filling your head with superb technical content, it’s time to fill your tummy with a tasty beverage so we’ll all be heading on to the pub to catch up and solve the worlds EUC and cloud issues!

See you there.

Categories: VDI, VMUG, VMware Tags: , ,