Aug 202013

Customers have been really loving the convenience of HTML access in Horizon View.  This provides a full desktop experience to a web browser with just HTML5 and no plugins, java, flash, etc required.  Very handy for users in many scenarios.  As of the time of this writing, there are some important features in the GUI client that are not available to HTML access.

Here is the functionality you get when using HTML access:

  • RSA SecurID and RADIUS authentication
  • Single SignOn to the desktop
  • Blast display protocol

Here is the functionality you do not get when using HTML access:

  • Printing from the virtual desktop
  • Audio
  • Clipboard support (copying from the endpoint to/from the clipboard in the VM)
  • USB device mapping
  • RDP protocol
  • PCoIP Protocol (HTML uses the Blast Protocol)
  • Smart Cards
  • Multiple monitors
  • Local Mode

For more information you can refer to the HTML Access User’s Guide.  VMware is constantly adding features to View and I expect this list to change.  I will try to revise this article as things change.  If I am outdated in my information, please comment and I’ll get it updated.

Aug 192013

Working with a customer today, they wanted to make some modifications to the Horizon View HTML access page.  Unfortunately, as of this writing, you cannot change the logo to be your company’s logo (hopefully changed soon!).  However, you can change the download link and add/remove the icons for HTML access and the client download.  Here’s how:

On the connection server with HTML access installed, open explorer and navigate to:

CommonAppDataFolder\VMware\VDM\portal\  on W2k8 this directory is C:\ProgramData (you will have to set explorer to show hidden files and folders to see it)

As of the time of this writing, there are 3 settings currently available:

enable.webclient = true/false  -This enables or disables the appearance of the icon for HTML access. = true/false  -This enables or disables the appearance of the download icon to download the GUI client from the web page. = https://url-of-web-server  -This allows you to customize the location of where the client download comes from.  Note here: this does not do any checking of client OS to automatically direct to the right OS version of the client.

Please restart the VMware View Web Component Service after making any changes.

For additional information, please refer to this article with more details on HTML access.

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.




Apr 022013

I’ve been diving deep in the lab with Horizon Workspace (review coming!).  Workspace can be used (with limited functionality) from just the web page portal but it is best used when you install the GUI apps for Windows, OSX, IOS, and Android.  One thing to note is that when the Workspace app for windows is installed, it will automatically deploy ThinApp packages to the clients that have it loaded (if the app is entitled to them of course).  So if you have the Workspace client installed in your View desktops, you can deploy ThinApp packages to them.  If I have the client loaded in my Windows home PC, I can get my ThinApp Apps there as well.  For my View desktops, I may want to stream my ThinApp packages.  If I have a logon storm of 100 users at 8am, I don’t want 100 network copies of Adobe Reader coming off my ThinApp share at the same time, crushing it.  For the home users, I want those pushed down locally.  Let’s remember: Adobe Reader XI comes in about 312MB when ThinApped.  Not exactly a download I want my remote users to start when they click on the Reader icon on their home PC and wait for the download to complete before seeing reader.  So for the home users, I want to have the full app downloaded to their endpoint operating system before the icon appears.  For my View Desktops, I want to present the icon immediately but only download the app when the user clicks the icon (after all, my View desktops are on a high speed network link to the ThinApp Network Share).  How do I accomplish this one way for the View desktops and another for the home users?

First, I’ll mention that there is no way to differentiate this by application in Workspace today (v1.0 remember?).  This is differentiated by the OS instance that the Workspace App runs on.  By default, when you install the workspace client, all ThinApp packages are set to download fully to the Windows Operating System.  If you would like to stream the apps you need to install the Workspace Apps silently using the command line options to change the default as explained in this page from the documentation from v1.0.

Here’s the example from the docs on how to run the installer:

VMware-Horizon-Workspace-1.0.0-12345.exe /s /z HORIZONSERVER= SSLBYPASS=1 /v DOWNLOAD=0 POLLINGINTERVAL=60

Where /v lets you specify the ThinApp Specific variables.  The one in question is DOWNLOAD=0.  0 means use streaming for your apps, 1 means download the full app to the OS where the workspace app is installed.  1 is the default.

If you have already installed your Workspace apps on your endpoints or in your View desktops, all is not lost.  You can just edit the registry (with a GPO if you like).

Here’s the key:

HKLM/Software/Wow6432Node/VMware, Inc./VMware Horizon Apps/DownloadPackages  REG_DWORD 0 or 1.  (0 is stream ThinApps, 1 is Download (the default)).

One thing to note:  The ThinApp sandbox for that package will not roam to the users endpoint on a home PC (or anywhere without some form of profile management).  The users profile is not in the Horizon Data folder so this information does not get shared with the other Horizon Data.  A little bit of a limiting factor, but something we can hope for in the next version.

Oct 312012

I was doing a little research for a customer yesterday and they asked a great question: “Now that View 5.1 supports vSphere 5.1, can we use 32-node clusters with View 5.1?”

First a little background.  Today you can only create 8-Node Clusters in vSphere if you are using iSCSI or Fiber Channel storage.  The reason is because the number of hosts that can share a file on VMFS in vSphere 5.0 and prior is limited to 8.  If you are using NFS with View 5.1 and vSphere 5.0 or higher, you can have 32-node clusters for your View desktops.  vSphere 5.1 changed this limitation by changing the file locking mechanism and now allows for 32-node clusters to share a read-only file.  Secondly, vSPhere 5.1 introduced Sparse Virtual Disks.  These Sparse Disks are virtual disks presented to the desktops that can shrink as easily as they expand.  This is a real benefit and may rival linked clones one day to most efficently deliver a pool of desktops on storage.  You can read more about these two technologies from Cormac Hogan, Sr. Technical Marketing Architect at VMware.

As I’m sure you know by now, as of last week, View 5.1 and 5.1.1 are now supported with vSphere 5.1.0a.  So the question was asked: now that they are supported together, do we get those cool new features that Cormac was referring to?  Unfortunately, the answer is no, not yet.  I searched for a long time trying to find an answer.  When I came up empty, I just emailed Cormac directly.  He responded this morning, “…both features are waiting on a future release of View.”

Bummer.  Hopefully we’ll get the chance to get these two great features very soon.

Have a great and safe Halloween.