Sep 212010
 

I found an interesting issue in the lab today and I think it’s very important that users who have View deployed recognize it.  In researching the issue, I came across this note in the View 4.5 documentation: “View Manager can manage persistent disks from linked-clone pools that were created in View Manager 4.5.  Persistent disks that were created in earlier versions of View Manager cannot be managed and do not appear on the Persistent Disks page in View Administrator.”

Before today, I did not know that.  What this means is that if you have an existing View 4.0 pool of desktops that use user data disks, 4.5 will not recognize them as persistent disks when you upgrade. Continue reading »

Sep 172010
 

We utilize VMware View for all of our demos at RoundTower.  We’ve also given desktops to a few of our sales reps if they need to do some work in the lab.  One of them came to me recently and asked, “How can I send files to and from my desktop?”  A simple question. My immediate thought was to connect a thumb drive to the endpoint and USB map the device to the VM and it should so up as a virtual disk, right?  Well yes it does, trying to explain this procedure to a sales rep was met with some resistance.  There were multiple steps involved.  I thought about it for a minute and suggested Dropbox.

The engineers at RoundTower have used Dropbox for a while.  Those with a iPhone or iPad typically know about it.  It allows you to run a small piece of software on your PC or Mac and sync a directory and everything in it between any and all machines that you have the agent installed on.  Let me explain, theres a directory on your harddrive and everything you put in it gets copied to a storage cloud over https.  If you have it installed and another PC (or Mac) the files will immediately copy down to the directory on that computer.  If you delete the file from either side, it automatically removes it from the other.  It could be a slew of devices and they all automatically sync the directory.  Great stuff if you want to move files to multiple locations.  You get 2GB for free to try it and can sign up here.

Back to my problem.  I sent the rep the link to sign up and then explained briefly how to install the agent on his laptop.  I took the liberty of installing it on the base image of our desktop pool and recomposed the pool.  I can report that Dropbox works great with user data disks by default.  All of the settings are stored in the user hive of the registry and the default replicated directory is underneath My Documents.  Perfect setup.  The rep called me back a little later to report that it had worked great and he could move his files back and forth easily to work on them.

A couple of caveats to look out for if you do decide to try this combination:

  1. Make sure your storage has enough room.  We use 2GB user data disks.  Dropbox starts at 2GB so a user could easily fill the data disk if they store too much in their remote dropbox.  It will not fill the disk completely and will warn you if it gets close but the user may not pay attention.
  2. Make sure your company allows their information to be shared with the cloud in this manner.  Some companies are very sensitive to their documentation and will not permit it.  Never expect your users to police themselves.
  3. Make sure that your users understand that you do not support docs in the cloud.  If they delete something that’s in it by accident, they will be responsible to restore it.  They can restore deleted files for a short time by logging in at dropbox.com.

For smaller lab environments like ours, it’s a great solution to move files back and forth easily and quickly.  I highly recommend it.

Sep 092010
 

Been waiting for this one a while.  Fresh off the announcement at VMworld 2010, here’s View 4.5 and can be downloaded here.  Some very nice new enhancements for desktops can be found in the What’s New Section of the release notes:

VMware View 4.5 includes the following new features:

  • View Client with Local Mode – Provides the industry’s first integrated offline and server-hosted solution for desktop virtualization, addressing BYOPC use cases.
  • Full Windows 7 support – Provides full support for Windows 7. With View 4.5 and ThinApp 4.6, organizations can migrate to Windows 7 at half the cost and time.
  • View Client for Mac OS X – Enables Mac users to access hosted Windows virtual desktops, extending the BYOPC use cases to Mac users.
  • Integrated Application Assignment – Simplifies the delivery of ThinApp applications to end-users using the View Administrator console.
  • Rich Graphical Dashboards – Simplifies management and monitoring through improved reporting and diagnostics.
  • Role Based Administration – Distributes IT tasks to the right administrator.
  • Integration with Microsoft SCOM and PowerShell – Enables integration into existing management infrastructure to further simplify the management of View virtual desktops, as described in the new VMware View Integration Guide.
  • Support for vSphere 4.1 and vCenter 4.1 – Delivers integration with the most widely-deployed desktop virtualization platform in the industry. Takes advantage of optimizations for View virtual desktops.
  • Increased scalability – Allows you to deploy 10,000 virtual desktops per pod and use this modular architecture to scale out across your organization. For more information, see the VMware View Architecture Planning Guide.
  • Tiered storage support – Reduces the cost and increases the performance of storage by enabling you to take advantage of multiple storage tiers, including high performance and locally attached storage.
  • Lowest Cost Reference Architectures – VMware has worked with partners such as Dell, HP, Cisco, NetApp, and EMC to provide prescriptive reference architectures to enable you to deploy a scalable and cost-effective desktop virtualization solution.