Sep 092013

In working with a customer on a demo yesterday and they asked this question:

So Mirage is licensed by named user, we just need to license it for our users and the number of devices does not matter, correct?

“Yes, that’s correct,” I said.

The reality is that it is correct, although it may not appear to be.  Let me explain:

The best description of this scenario can be found in this VMware KB article entitled VMware Horizon Suite 1.0 licensing.

In the Q&A section in the bottom of this article, you will find the following question (as of this writing):

“Q: When I purchase a particular number of Horizon Mirage licenses, how do I count the named-user licenses used?

A: Each named user who has access to a Mirage-managed endpoint consumes one license. One named user can have multiple Mirage-managed endpoints, and this named user still consumes only one license. The Workstation virtual machines that the administrator creates for ThinApp packaging are not counted as named-user licenses. Nor are the Fusion Pro base restricted virtual machines, which will be distributed to end users.”

That sounds correct, exactly as I understood it.  Each named user consumes 1 license and they can login to as many devices as necessary.

My customer then asked, “Can you show me where I can see the number of licenses in use currently?”

I proceded to go to the license screen which showed our demo license for 500 CVDs.  (CVDs are Centralized Virtual Desktops.  They are a enpoint that is protected by Mirage.)

The customer then asked, “Since a CVD represents an endpoint, how is your 500 user count accurate if the product draws off one license for each endpoint?”

“That’s a great question,” I said.

It would appear that the product is not actually managing the licenses as the software license policy dictates.  I have run into this quandary before in Mirage and I’ve not dug deep into the info to figure it out until now.

Surely I’m not looking at the right screen in the product so I grab my latest version (v4.2.3 as of this writing) of the Mirage Installation Guide and head to the section entitled “Managing Horizon Mirage Software Licenses”.

There I find this: “The Horizon Mirage Management server requires a license. The license file enforces the number of CVDs that you can run on your system and the duration of the license agreement.”  

Uh, wait what???  The admin guide says that the license is consumed by each CVD (or endpoint) and the KB Article says that the policy is per user.  Who’s right?

The answer is the policy.  The reason the product is drawing off licenses for CVDs is because Wanova (the company who VMware acquired who created Mirage) origionally licensed the product by endpoint.  It would appear that VMware changed the licensing policy so that it would work in a unified fashion with the rest of the Horizon Suite.  Unfortunately, it would seem, that the change in policy has not been updated in the current release of the product.

What is a customer to do?

My recommendation to my customers has been that if they find themselves approaching the CVD limit in Mirage but they have not exceeded their named user limit, to file a support request with VMware to request additional licenses for Mirage and reference the KB article above.  I am very confident that VMware will correct the code in Mirage to reflect the current policy in an upcoming release.  Unfortunately this has been confusing customers until the product code and the licensing policy become concurrent.  Hopefully this helps in the interim.

Apr 172013

Here’s what I want to do:  Login to my View desktop, create a word doc.  Save it to my Horizon folder and then open it on my mac as Horizon data sync’s it down to me.  This process works by design and works very well.

Here’s were we go astray:  Now I want my VDI desktop to be a floating pool with Persona Management.  I use Persona in the lab because I want a floating desktop but still want my profile (IE links bar, etc) saved between sessions.  Now let’s try this scenario:

Login to VDI desktop.  Save a document to my horizon folder.  Logout of VDI desktop (persona is saved to network share, horizon data copies file to all my devices).  Open horizon Workspace on my iPad and delete the document (the document disappears from all my devices). Login to my VDI desktop (persona pulls down my profile – including the Horizon directory from the CIFS share).  Unfortunately Horizon data now sees this document as a new version and it reappears on all my devices.

The solution to this dilemma is to exclude the Horizon directory from persona management (via GPO).  However, when you do this you get a warning message that your Horizon Folder has been deleted upon each logon.  When you click OK, your Horizon folder is recreated and all of your data comes down from the server.  However, if your Horizon data repository is large, this could be a huge chunk of data each time you login to your floating-pool VDI desktop.

Hopefully VMware will correct this in the future with Workspace, these two features are great to use together.  Persona for the quick login with user persistence and Workspace for sharing data between all your devices.

I’ll post any updates here if I find a workaround.