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Tag Archives: desktop virtualization

Share Your Opinion on Desktop and Application Virtualization

Remember the days when you had to run virtual Windows 2000/XP VMs and users had to connect via RDP? Or when you used web portals to connect to physical desktops remotely with RDP? Or maybe you can recall when the first VDI brokers were brought into the market in 2007…

If you have followed these trends and these memories are near and dear to you, then you will also know that a lot has changed when it comes to desktop and application virtualization over the years. And many of these changes have come about thanks to your input and requests.

Here is your chance to influence the future of desktop and application virtualization offerings. If you have used Citrix or VMware desktop and application virtualization solutions or are thinking about using them, we’d love your input on some important research we are doing. We want to understand where your company is and where you are going on your desktop and application virtualization journey. This study will help build our understanding of your needs, interests, and influence our future offerings.

And in return for your time, if you qualify to take and complete the survey you will be entered into a drawing to win 1 of 15 iPads! Click here to view the terms and conditions.

So please take a few minutes and share your opinion. Don’t delay! Submit by January 9th at 11:59pm PST in order to qualify for the drawing.

Thanks again,
The VMware EUC Team

F5′s Username Persistence and Cloud Pod Architecture in VMware Horizon (with View) 6 – What’s the Story?

Guest Blog by Justin Venezia, Sr. Solutions Architect- VMware Alliances at F5 Networks

There’s been a lot that has changed with the release of VMware® Horizon® (with View) in June 2014. Aside from the support for RDS hosted desktops and published applications using PCoIP, there is also a new feature called Cloud Pod Architecture (CPA). CPA enables entitlements to desktops between multiple View pods within or across multiple data centers.

F5’s Local Traffic Manager (LTM), Access Policy Manager (APM), and Global Traffic Manager (GTM) solution has been able to address this challenge for some time. From a 30,000-foot view, here is how today’s integrated VMware/F5 solution works when detecting an existing session without Cloud Pod Architecture:

View-UserNamePersist

  • GTM gets you to a data center based on source IP, geo, least connections, etc.
  • You then land in one of two typical configurations:
    • LTM load-balances you between Horizon Security Servers (external connections)
    • LTM load balances you between Horizon Connection Servers (internal connections)
  • You authenticate…
  • APM can detect an existing user’s session across multiple Horizon pods, and send you to that data center to reconnect to an existing desktop
  • You are reconnected to your session!

With the introduction of Cloud Pod Architecture, how does this impact the F5 solution? What’s different? What value-add does F5 provide in this updated environment?

The beauty of the VMware/F5 relationship is that the solutions COMPLEMENT each other very well. But, a word to the wise – what you need (versus want) should be driven by an organization’s business and technical requirements in concert with the VMware/F5 solution capabilities.

Cloud Pod 101

So, let’s take a quick look at what Cloud Pod Architecture is and how it works. I’m not going to reinvent the wheel explaining this, as Narasimha Krishnakumar (Director of Product Management – EUC @ VMware) does a spot-on job of explaining it – check out this link for more info.

Basically, you can federate multiple “independent” Horizon pods and bring together pools from each Horizon Pod to appear as a “single” global pool (the official term is called Global Entitlement). If a user connects into one Horizon Pod, and their desktop resides in another, the Horizon Pod they connect to authenticates and brokers the connection on behalf of the other – and BAM! you are connected to your desktop.

This graphic – courtesy of VMware’s EUC Technical Enablement team – is the picture that’s worth a thousand words:

CPA-View6

Let’s walk through the flow of a connection to a Cloud Pod-enabled desktop pool:

  1. The user connects with a single namespace URL managed by a load balancer or directly to a Horizon Connection Server.  The user logs into Horizon using the appropriate credentials
  2. Horizon Connection Servers will search the Global AD LDS (where the CPA pool information is stored) and local Horizon Pod’s AD LDS
  3. Horizon Connection Server then checks the state of the desktop using the VIPA protocol and enumerates the desktops in the client.
  4. The user chooses the desktop.
  5. If they chose the desktop pool that is CPA enabled and their desktop is in the other Horizon Pod (in this case, the other data center), the connection is made from the client to the desktop in the remote location.

Even though the desktop is in NYC (in this example), the user connected to the London Connection Servers – these brokers authenticated the user on behalf of NYC, so the user never passes through the brokers in NYC. This same traffic flow would also apply if there were Security Servers – the connection to the NYC data center would be proxied through the Security Servers in London.

So, does this remove the need for the F5 Username Persistence solution or the need for load balancing in general?

Well, the honest answer is “it depends”. You still need to load balance between security servers and connection servers for system resiliency and scalability. Around whether CPA will adequately replace F5’s username persistence solution, you need to do some homework to determine the best approach. Here are some key points on how to determine what you’ll need to address load balancing/connection management and session persistence features when using F5’s APM and/or Horizon’s Cloud Pod Architecture (CPA):

  • You STILL need to route the initial connection to the appropriate data center (in a multiple data center model). CPA doesn’t get the connection to the data center. F5’s Global Traffic Manager (GTM) module is the method used to make this happen.
  • You STILL need to load balance connections between a Horizon Pod’s Connection Servers and Security Servers. CPA doesn’t do this either. F5 Local Traffic Manager (LTM) is the best choice for intelligent load management and monitoring of Connection/Security Server resources..
  • Cloud Pod Architecture supports RDS hosted desktops and traditional hosted desktops – HTML desktops and RDS hosted applications (App Remoting) are not currently supported.
  • Although Cloud Pod Architecture can broker access and proxy the connection to a desktop in another pod, the network connection to the final communication between the client and the desktop (or security server, if external) may not be an optimal path. The connection path may cross an internal network connection that’s constrained for bandwidth or high latency.

If we use the picture above as example, the user is accessing their desktop in the NYC Pod through the London Pod.  Therefore, the path of data flow is over the internal link – which needs to be able to handle PCoIP traffic in addition to handling other inter data center traffic when hauling PCoIP over latency-sensitive connections.

How does F5′s Username Persistence solution complement View’s Cloud Pod Architecture?

F5’s username and session persistence solution can address many of the previously mentioned challenges through the use of GTM, LTM, and/or APM. Here’s some guidance that will help you choose the right path:

  • Leverage F5’s Username/Session Persistence to address these requirements:
    • Ability to detect and reconnect to existing RDS hosted application sessions – F5’s APM can detect existing sessions and route users to that existing data center or Horizon Pod.
    • Requirement to reconnect to HTML-based desktops across multiple Horizon Pods or data centers. Username and session persistence works with HTML Desktops.
    • Provide an option to route the user’s Horizon desktop/application connection across the most optimal connection, rather than traversing an internal or constrained/latent network connection.
  • Use APM’s-integrated PCoIP Proxy feature to keep access simple and secure.
    • It’s a secure and scalable alternative in the DMZ to removing the need for Security Servers in the DMZ.
    • Works OUT OF THE BOX with Horizon’s Cloud Pod Architecture.
    • If you already have an F5 Big-IP device in the DMZ and wish to enhance its functionality and leverage your existing investment.
    • Ability to provide multiple, unique instances of PCoIP Proxy Servers for different access scenarios, all running on a single appliance.

Well, that wraps up this blog post. Our next blog post will focus on understanding and implementing F5’s PCoIP Proxy feature – we’ll cover how it works, when to use it, and how to integrate it with Horizon.

You can also send any topics or ideas to vmwarepartnership@f5.com.

Until next time…

 

VMware Mirage 5.2 Now Generally Available!

By Sachin Sharma, Product Marketing, End-User Computing, VMware

Following on to our desktop innovation blog yesterday, I’m pleased to expand on the details of VMware Mirage 5.2 which is now generally available! A big part of what we have been working on is actually now available as a part of VMware Horizon FLEX. Horizon FLEX provides the flexibility IT needs to serve end users, while maintaining security and compliance with centrally managed, containerized desktops. With Horizon FLEX, you can deliver a reliable Windows experience to BYO users, Mac users, contractors and road warriors – whether offline or online. Mirage plays the role of centrally managing, patching, and backing up the local Windows virtual desktops that is delivered with Horizon FLEX.

Continue reading

VMware Mirage Bootcamp Videos

By Sachin Sharma, Product Marketing, End-User Computing, VMware

One of the easiest ways to learn about VMware technologies is through videos. The videos we record are easy to consume and available on-demand. In fact, we have many VMware Mirage videos available on our YouTube playlist. Today I’d like to introduce the VMware Mirage Bootcamp series. This series covers everything from a general overview of Mirage to architecture guides to best practices including:

  • Mirage Overview – key capabilities and core technology of VMware Mirage including a live demo of the Mirage management console
  • Image Management Architecture Guide with Mirage – core architecture principles to design a centralized image management. We also review design methodology, sizing and scalability, and integration with Horizon.
  • CVDs, Layers, Policies, and Rules in Mirage – a deep-dive look at managing CVDs in VMware Mirage. We also cover layer management, CVD policies, layer rules, and scripting in Mirage.
  • Windows Migration – how Windows migrations are performed with VMware Mirage, and the benefits IT and end users receive as a result. We cover how Mirage handles USMT, post-scripts, layers, and drivers as part of the migration process with Mirage.
  • Best Practices with Remote and Branch Offices – deep-dive look at best practices with managing endpoints across remote and branch offices using VMware Mirage.
  • Best Practices in Automation – the automation capabilities offered in VMware Mirage. We also explain how to use the Mirage Server Tools and give examples of automation tasks.

Continue reading

When Every Second Counts, Count on VMware

by Geoffrey Murase, Solutions Marketing, End-User Computing

I recently visited Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue (TVFR) near Portland, Oregon to film a video case study documenting the innovative ways they’re using VMware desktop virtualization technology.  They had initially used desktop virtualization to simplify management of desktops in their office but they quickly found other use cases, as well.

The IT team at TVFR found that the device of choice for their fire chiefs are iPads which were being used primarily for email and web browsing. However, when it came to accessing the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system which delivers information about emergency incidents, it was a Windows application which had to be run on a Windows computer. Fire Chief Michael Kinkade would often have to go to a fire truck or other apparatus to access the Windows laptop that was mounted on the dashboard in order to lookup the status of incidents. This was not only inconvenient, but also added precious time to his response to emergency situations.

Continue reading

VMware Horizon 6 + Dell XC: Delivering New Economics and Simplicity for Desktop and Application Virtualization

By Tony Paikeday, Product Marketing, End-User Computing, VMware

As organizations seek to deliver greater agility in support of an increasingly mobile workforce and escalating business demands, the transformation of traditional desktop environments into mobile workspaces becomes a strategic, competitive differentiator.

Traditional approaches to desktop virtualization, often built on rigid, inflexible solution stacks, have made it difficult for organizations to quickly and efficiently size their storage, networking and compute.  For many organizations, the end-result has been the over-provisioning of infrastructure to ensure available capacity and performance, making the TCO/ROI equation for desktop virtualization almost untenable for IT.  These limitations typically negate the business advantage that organizations seek when embarking on a desktop transformation initiative.  Well, for these customers things have just gotten a whole lot better.  VMware and Dell have partnered to deliver a hyper-converged infrastructure solution that offers predictable performance with scale, faster time-to-value, and simplified management, built on VMware Horizon, with the Dell XC Web Scale Appliance architecture.

So what makes this solution better than the alternatives?  VMware and Dell enjoy an extensive track record of collaborating and innovating in desktop virtualization.  Dell XC hyper-converged solutions that are built on VMware uniquely benefit from:

  • The world’s most widely deployed, feature-rich, software-defined platform for server, network and storage virtualization
  • A unified, single platform for virtual desktops and apps of every type: VDI desktops, RDS hosted apps, RDS shared desktop sessions, ThinApp packaged apps
  • Dramatically simplified provisioning with unified management leveraging VMware’s closed loop management and automation capabilities, including image management, policy management, analytics and operations management, and orchestration
  • A unified workspace for end users, that brings together virtualized desktops and apps (including Citrix XenApps), along with web and SaaS based apps, all accessible with single login, and an exceptional user experience from any device

The end result for organizations and their users is a more rapid, cost-effective, high-performance platform for transforming desktops into mobile workspaces that offer:

  • Predictable performance with scale, as deployments grow from small to very large, with right-sized units of infrastructure that don’t create a CAPEX hurdle each time the business needs to grow
  • Faster time to value, with a streamlined process, from design, to ordering, to install/provision
  • Simplified, unified manageability across every layer in the solution, spanning data center to end-point

Learn more in this solutions architecture white paper.

Calling All Citrix XenApp Customers! Make the Move to VMware Horizon 6

By Mark Ewert, End-User Computing Solutions Architect, VMware

This summer we released VMware Horizon 6, the latest version of our leading end-user computing platform. Perhaps the most exciting feature of Horizon 6 is its expanded support for Microsoft Remote Desktop Services, including hosted applications. Whether users need virtual desktops, hosted apps, or shared desktop sessions, VMware Horizon is the only platform you need. This means it is now possible to migrate off your Citrix XenApp infrastructure! Summer 2015 marks both the termination of support for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and the end of life for XenApp 5.0. If you are still running XenApp 5 on Windows 2003, the timing is perfect for a migration to VMware Horizon. And we are working feverishly to release tools, guidance, and services to provide what you need to make your migration a success. Continue reading

Introducing VMware Horizon FLEX

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

Do your employees want to use Macs in the workplace? Do you want to say ‘Yes’ to a BYO program? Perhaps you are hiring more temporary and contract staff? However, you struggle with balancing corporate access and corporate compliance…

VMware Horizon FLEX is an exciting new product that addresses these use cases and more! Horizon FLEX was announced at VMworld Europe 2014 and will be generally available soon. The VMware Horizon FLEX Solution Brief discusses the enterprise use cases solved by Horizon FLEX, as well as how it works and a sample of some of the functionality. Continue reading

VMware Horizon Client for Mac Is Ready for OS X 10.10

By Kristina De Nike, Product Line Manager, End-User Computing, VMware

No need to be alarmed. Apple has announced that Mac OS X 10.10 is available. But if you are running the latest Horizon Client for Mac, version 3.1, you do not need to change anything. The current client works beautifully with Yosemite and looks beautiful doing it.

Horizon_Client_for_Mac

Figure 1: Horizon Client for Mac in Front of Seamless Horizon Hosted Application (Windows Chrome)

For weeks, we have been testing the Horizon Client 3.1 with the OS X Yosemite beta. Now that OS X 10.10 has shipped, we can confirm that the Horizon Client for Mac that we shipped in September is fully compatible.

If you are not running the latest Horizon Client, download the Mac client from the Horizon Client download page.

For more information about the Horizon Client and View virtual desktops, see Horizon with View.

USB 3 Device Redirection Now Available with VMware Horizon with View Virtual Desktops

By Alexander West, Technical Writer, End-User-Computing Technical Marketing, VMware, and Peter Brown, Senior R&D Manager, VMware

We are all familiar with using USB devices on our laptops and desktops. With the USB device redirection capabilities of VMware Horizon with View, end users can use those same USB devices with their View virtual desktops.

But that is old news. Here is the exciting part: In addition to USB 1 and 2 devices, USB 3 devices are now supported with a combination of View Agent 6.0.1 and Horizon Client 3.1.

But before we get to USB 3 device redirection, let us take a look at USB device redirection in View. Continue reading