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When it absolutely, positively has to be there – VMware AlwaysOn Desktop Solution

By Tisa Murdock, Director of Industry Solutions, VMware and Farid Agahi, Business Strategist Industry Solutions, VMware

The term ‘mission critical’ in IT has been synonymous with major business applications that perform core functions within an enterprise. However, we are starting to see that term also being applied to the underlying end-user computing platform – in the context of an always available service. The idea being that a mission-critical application requires an equally mission-critical platform capable of delivering that application to its end-users 7x24x365 – wherever they are.

This has been very evident over the past several years in the healthcare sector where the global movement toward a paperless electronic medical records (EMR) environment has hugely impacted the availability SLA’s for desktop services. It’s easy to make the connection between desktop availability and patient care delivery through the EMR application’s availability.

Similar reliance on desktop services is also being identified in other sectors such as financial services, manufacturing, retail and others. This is driven by the fact that cost of downtime is getting progressively higher due to loss in business productivity, customer impact, missed business service levels, impact on deadline commitments etc.

In fact, many organizations are going away from allowing for routine planned downtimes in their desktop SLA frameworks. This clearly challenges status-quo in areas such as patch management and application updates/upgrade where each update cycle is likely to require at least one reboot which constitutes a planned downtime event. Multiplied by number of end-points and duration of each reboot, the total planned outage puts a large dent in the total availability SLA – situation gets worse if we add unplanned outages to the equation. These factors are ushering in the beginning of the always-on desktop service model.

So, how do you get to an always-on service within a distributed physical desktop environment? Answer is you can’t! The architecture supporting the desktop service has to be fundamentally different. And that’s where VMware’s AlwaysOn Desktop offering provides this much-needed solution.

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By Chris Dong, Business Analyst & End User Experience Intern, VMware

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We’re excited to launch a new blog series entitled Fearlessly Innovating with Socialcast showcasing the successes of Socialcast as part of the broader VMware community. Socialcast by VMware, a leading enterprise social networking platform, is used by thousands of VMware employees each and every day. Each month, we will highlight how the Socialcast platform is transforming communication and collaboration across the company, leading to increased productivity, efficiency, and transparency. Socialcast is enabling VMware to succeed in an increasingly competitive IT landscape – and with even more robust features around the corner, this is just the beginning.

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Socialcast unveils Chat for secure instant messaging and collaboration

This past August 3rd, Socialcast released its latest feature, Socialcast Chat, providing users with a reliable and secure instant messaging tool. The new Socialcast Chat is updated to deliver a more lightweight and responsive chat tool that customers can use daily for business communication. Socialcast Chat is derived from the trusted previous Private Message feature, and now provides a seamless flow between web and mobile devices.

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VMware Releases Socialcast Integration Store

By Jens Koerner, Director of Product Management, Socialcast

Today, VMware released the Socialcast Integration Store. For years, the tried and trusted Socialcast Reach integration capability has allowed customers to embed Socialcast collaboration into various different applications – such as Microsoft SharePoint and Salesforce.com.

Figure 1: Socialcast embedded in Salesforce.com

Figure 1: Socialcast embedded in Salesforce.com

Today’s announcement of the integration store completes the circle for users and applications by allowing application administrators to post events and notifications into Socialcast – allowing users to collaborate around those events from their mobile device or the web.

Figure 2: vCenter Server alerts surfaced in Socialcast mobile application

Figure 2: vCenter Server alerts surfaced in Socialcast mobile application

 

Figure 3: DevOps team collaborating around vCenter Server events in Socialcast on the web

Figure 3: DevOps team collaborating around vCenter Server events in Socialcast on the web

The first use case we focused on was the collaboration among DevOps teams and VMware vSphere administrators. With the Socialcast Integration Store, DevOps and VMware vSphere administrators can integrate the applications they use on a daily basis into one event stream in Socialcast. Through this collaboration, the teams can exchange information about these events – starting with the vCenter Server web client alongside the following third-party applications. These third-party applications include:

  • Airbrake
  • Github
  • Jenkins
  • JIRA
  • New Relic
  • PagerDuty
Figure 4: Socialcast Integration Store

Figure 4: Socialcast Integration Store

This idea was first introduced by Ravi Soundararajan in his VMworld presentation (see also this TechCrunch article) where he notes that solving complex problems requires collaboration, particularly when multiple players, skill sets and regions are involved.

The combination of the Socialcast network and these tools empower VMware vSphere® administrators, DevOps teams and developers to tackle a variety of DevOps issues. The primary features and use cases include the ability to:

  • Collaborate on issues and alerts in a central location across many of the leading cloud management and DevOps tools
  • Reference previous conversation threads to determine best practices and resources when solving an issue
  • Monitor and take action on incoming alerts and messages from “human or machine”
  • View an intuitive user interface available across device types
  • Determine which alerts, virtual machines and admins to follow and which to mute to avoid information overload and keep only pertinent information in the Socialcast feed
  • Search for relevant information across the company
  • Aggregate data traditionally siloed inside different applications to one central repository

Today’s announcement of the availability is the first step in making this vision a reality. And there is much more to come

To get started, sign up for a free Socialcast instance, create a group and integrate the various applications. The instructions of how to integrate the applications are in the integration store. For example, here is a screenshot of how to integrate VMware vSphere alerts into a Socialcast group:

Figure 5:  When a group admin clicks on the integrations tab and selects VMware vSphere, the step-by-step instructions are shown to complete the integration

Figure 5: When a group admin clicks on the integrations tab and selects VMware vSphere, the step-by-step instructions are shown to complete the integration

For more information, check out the Socialcast website and our press release announcing the Socialcast Integration Store.

 

Case Study: Socialcast gives students, professors, and professionals the right tools for solving real-world design challenges

Washington State University (WSU) is a nationally recognized research university providing world-class education to more than 26,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students enrolled in ten different colleges.

As part of their Senior Design Curriculum, students from WSU’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science needed a simple and intuitive platform to support collaboration between students, faculty, mentors, and sponsors. The tool also needed to be safe enough to ensure the privacy of sensitive intellectual property provided by the sponsoring companies.

After selecting Socialcast by VMware, participation grew rapidly as students discovered it was a very efficient platform and replaced meetings with a real-time activity stream of sharing documents, posting comments, adding suggestions, and sharing ideas. It also gave professors the ability to bring teams together and visibility in observing all facets of student performance.

Today, Socialcast enables WSU engineering students to do the following:

  1. Collaborate outside of traditional meetings
  2. Keep project-related information and conversations in one easily accessible common workspace
  3. Spend more time focusing on real solutions to real problems, and less on busy work

With Socialcast, WSU student engineering teams are able to collaborate at deeper levels and produce more thoughtful solutions for companies and institutions through the Northwest.

Continue reading the full case study on Washington State University and their deployment of Socialcast to dramatically improve team productivity. Learn more about Socialcast here.

Getting To Know the Mirage Tools

By Stephane Asselin, Senior End-User-Computing Architect, VMware

With significant contributions from Yaniv Weinberg, Research and Development Manager, Mirage Product Engineering, VMware

We know that the VMware Mirage product handles image management and application deployment to physical endpoints very well. But in the last few months, the Mirage team released some tools to make the Mirage administrator’s life a bit easier. This blog provides information about how to use these tools and how they can benefit your Mirage deployment. These tools are free and available to all Mirage users from the VMware download site (as shown in Figure 1).

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Figure 1: VMware Mirage Tools, Download Product Window

Mirage Centralization Phase Estimator

The first tool to discuss is the Mirage Centralization Phase Estimator tool. In any Mirage project that includes a centralization phase, it is critical to properly plan the different phases of the project to ensure successful deployment of the complete solution. Several scenarios require centralization: backing up endpoints, migrating operating systems, and migrating hardware. Here we discuss backing up the endpoints. Continue reading

Windows 10 Receives Positive Outlook From IT Professionals

By Mark Margevicius, director of enterprise solutions, End-User Computing, VMware

Previews for blockbuster movies are always exciting but they all come to an end as the lead-up culminates with the eventual opening weekend that draws hundreds of thousands of excited fans. Similarly, months of anticipation have culminated this week with the launch of Windows 10, the much-anticipated release of the latest Windows operating system that will introduce a new endpoint management paradigm to the industry.

As part of this industry moment, we commissioned a survey with TechValidate to examine the opinions and sentiments of IT professionals towards the Windows update.  The survey findings represent feedback from roughly 250 VMware customers and were completed earlier this month.

Through this survey, we discovered some real nuggets of insight from customers , which I’d like to share with you in this post. So without further adieu, below are 5 key takeaways from our recent survey.

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VMware End-User-Computing Hands-On Labs and the Heroes Behind Them

By Alex West, Former Technical Editor and Writer, End-User-Computing Technical Marketing, VMware

Based on interviews with Dean Flaming, End-User-Computing Architect and End-User-Computing Hands-On Labs Content Lead, VMware

VMware Hands-On Labs (HOLs) are an excellent, sometimes overlooked resource for test-driving VMware solutions on an array of terrains. Planned and executed by a talented team of VMware staff volunteers, End-User-Computing (EUC) HOLs are a completely free, fully interactive look at day-in-the-life scenarios for a huge number of EUC solutions. The only requirements are an HTLM5 Web browser and access to the Internet.

So whether you want to try out a new EUC solution, become an expert in a particular EUC deployment, or conduct a proof-of-concept (PoC) for a prospective customer, HOLs have everything you need and more.

 

HOL Usage Is Amazing!

Since December 2012, VMware has deployed more than 300,000 HOLs to more than 95,000 users.

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How to Troubleshoot an App Volumes Environment, Part 2

By Gina Daly, Technical Writer for Technical Marketing, End-User Computing, VMware

With significant contributions from:

Stephane Asselin, Senior End-User-Computing Architect, Technical Enablement, End-User Computing, VMware

Jason Marshall, Manager, Product Engineering, End-User Computing, VMware

Andrew Johnson, Senior Manager and Staff Architect, EUC Technical Marketing and Enablement, VMware

Welcome to part 2 of How to Troubleshoot an App Volumes Environment. We are discussing steps to take when diagnosing an issue in your environment. Let us run through a quick recap. In part 1 of How to Troubleshoot an App Volumes Environment, we covered checking deployment requirements, how to find clues on the App Volumes Manager console, using log analysis tools, and knowing what to search for in the logs.

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App Volumes Troubleshooting Steps

This blog covers using the Ruby on Rails console and the SQL database to verify configuration details and environment settings, and lists the relevant Knowledge Base articles to use. Continue reading

How to Troubleshoot an App Volumes Environment, Part 1

By Gina Daly, Technical Writer for Technical Marketing, End-User Computing, VMware

With significant contributions from:

Stephane Asselin, Senior End-User-Computing Architect, Technical Enablement, End-User Computing, VMware

Jason Marshall, Manager, Product Engineering, End-User Computing, VMware

Andrew Johnson, Senior Manager and Staff Architect, End-User-Computing Technical Marketing and Enablement, VMware

My father was a naval officer and taught me many things about the sea. Did you know, in comparison to the size of a ship, only a very small helm or wheel is needed to steer this ship? In an App Volumes environment with various components, it can sometimes be difficult to know where to start troubleshooting. We have recently published a number of Knowledge Base (KB) articles to steer you in the right direction, just like that helm. Our aim is to simplify App Volumes troubleshooting and help pinpoint the issue, should you encounter stormy waters!

General App Volumes Troubleshooting Overview

The following diagram provides a list of general troubleshooting steps. In this blog, we discuss the first four steps. Within each step description, links to the corresponding KB articles are included. Using the Ruby on Rails console and SQL database will be covered in the next blog post, How to Troubleshoot an App Volumes Environment, Part 2.

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App Volumes Troubleshooting Steps Continue reading