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Tag Archives: Horizon View

How to Get In-Guest Metrics in vRealize Operations for Horizon 6

By Jim Yanik, End-User Computing Architect, VMware

When I was a child, I used to go camping at the Delaware Water Gap (some of you are heading for Wikipedia right now), and there were many caves that were super-tempting for an 11-year-old boy to explore. My brother and I would go into the caves and wander around, but we always stopped short into the adventure because we were missing something.

We never had a flashlight with us.

Flashlight

For a long time, I kind of felt that way about vRealize Operations for Horizon. Continue reading

Retiring Old OSes: XP, Vista, Mac OS X 10.6 & 10.7

by Kristina De Nike, Product Management, VMware

Queen Maria Eleonora of Sweden kept her dead husband, King Gustav Adolf, in her bedroom for 18 months before he was finally interred. Microsoft retired XP April 8, 2014. Now, 8 months later, it’s time for VMware® Horizon® to accept that loss and plan a memorial.

We don’t do this lightly; we know that many customers are still using Microsoft XP. But with Microsoft dropping support, it is time for VMware to align with Microsoft’s decision. As Windows XP will not be support, there will be no drivers for new hardware, libraries that our products use will be incompatible and XP will not get the benefits of regular security fixes. For all these reasons, VMware is clearly outlining the support plan for Horizon to give our customers time to plan a transition.

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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…

 

Driving Your Investment in Citrix XenApp Toward a Future of VMware Horizon 6: If It’s Not Completely Broken, Should I Fix It?

By Debra Perrin Coltoff, Technical Writer, End-User Computing Technical Marketing, VMware

With significant contributions from Mark Ewert, End-User Computing Architect, VMware

My car hasn’t passed 150,000 miles yet and it works just fine. Why would I buy a new one? For many of us, investing in an updated technology for business, much like a new automobile for the road, is no small thing. It takes time and money to decide which tool to purchase in the first place. And at the office, that decision is often accompanied by an enormous investment of time and effort to convince those who hold the purse strings that your well-informed choice really does make the most sense. So why pay for something new when the old reliable set of wheels is working just fine? Why not stay on top of the belts and fluids, replace brake pads and tires as they wear out, and utilize the investment you have already made?

For many shops with an existing investment in Citrix XenApp, the question is the same. Why change what still works? Let us explore the three most common options for utilizing VMware Horizon to enhance the XenApp investment you made some time ago.

VMware_Horizon_XenApp

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Did You Know? Newly Updated VMware Workspace Portal 2.1 Reviewer’s Guide is Now Available!

By Cindy Heyer, Technical Writer, Technical Marketing, End-User Computing at VMware

Did you know that there is a newly published Reviewer’s Guide for Workspace Portal 2.1?  The Reviewer’s Guide is aimed at IT professionals who are juggling the management of a wide range of applications, and an equally wide range of devices for their end users. If you are new to Workspace Portal and want to test it out, the Reviewer’s Guide can help you set up a basic, proof-of-concept deployment. To do this, you need VMware vSphere, and to test the services covered in the Reviewer’s Guide, you need VMware ThinApp, VMware Horizon With View, and Citrix XenApp deployments. Through a series of easy-to-follow exercises, the guide takes you on an exploration of some of the key capabilities of Workspace Portal. The final result is that you have hands-on experience with Workspace Portal 2.1. Continue reading

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

New View Security Overview Now Available

By Gary Sloane, VMware End-User-Computing Consultant

Do you remember the guy from Los Alamos who lost a laptop full of weapon plans? How about that database of veterans’ names and social security numbers accidentally left in an airport? Losses like these could all have been prevented by VDI solutions, such as VMware Horizon with View. Enforcement of policies on taking sensitive material off-premises would have been useful, too, but the use of View desktops instead of physical PCs would have been sufficient.

Ah, the good old days!

Today, the breaches are more numerous, frequent, and complex, with more mobile devices at risk and more serious and sophisticated forms of attack. From Stuxnet to Heartbleed to Backoff to less dramatic incidents—like the theft of a billion usernames and passwords—new threats are emerging all the time.

So, if you are a system or network administrator, or a security officer, the good news is: There are ways to reduce your attack vectors. The bad news is that these suggestions are often ignored.

The new VMware Horizon with View Security Hardening Overview provides a broad discussion of the security issues facing VDI administrators. It includes both general advice about the evolving threat landscape and specific recommendations for hardening Horizon 6 with View and implementing a defense-in-depth strategy.

The advice is good. Do not ignore it.

Bank of Stockton Reference Implementation Case Study

By Teresa Wingfield, Solutions Marketing Consultant, VMware

Here are some highlights of a new VMware Reference Implementation Case Study for Bank of Stockton. This was an easy blog to write as I decided to just let the customer do most of the talking.

What is it worth to the Bank of Stockton to have blazing-fast virtual desktops? “How do you put a dollar figure on the ability to serve customers instantly rather than in minutes or even hours?” asked Vincent Lo, Vice President Network Application and Support at Bank of Stockton. “Customer service is at the heart of everything we do from a technology perspective, and now our technology is enabling us to deliver superior service at a lower cost.”

The Bank of Stockton selected VMware Horizon with View as the software foundation for its VDI solution based on a thorough evaluation of multiple competitive products.  It solved the performance challenges of VDI rollout with a hybrid storage solution from Tegile Systems.

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Options for Application Delivery in VMware Horizon 6

By Cindy Heyer, Technical Writer, Technical Marketing, End-User Computing at VMware

When it comes to application delivery, VMware Horizon 6.0 has something for everyone. VMware just published Application-Delivery Options in VMware Horizon 6.0, a white paper that describes the unique combination of application-delivery options supported in VMware Horizon 6.0.

DesktopSample

Today’s workforce is extremely fluid. Employees expect to be able to work when they want, where they want, using the devices they want. End users are bringing their own equipment to the job, contributing from remote corners of the world, and utilizing every kind of electronic device to get the job done. They expect IT to support this plethora of devices and to provide easy access to the resources they need. The challenge for system administrators is to provide the support end users expect while maintaining security and control over vital company assets. Continue reading

Deciding Between VMware Horizon 6 and Citrix XenDesktop?

By Cyndie Zikmund, End-User Computing Product Line Marketing Manager, VMware, and Scott Edstrom, End-User Computing Senior Consultant, VMware

You have heard about Horizon 6 by now, but are you curious about how it compares to Citrix XenDesktop?  The VMware Horizon 6 family of solutions offers a choice of new features and capabilities for desktop and application virtualization.

We describe the most prominent features of Horizon 6 in the white paper Why VMware Horizon is a Better Choice Than Citrix XenDesktop. By outlining six ways that Horizon 6 outperforms XenDesktop across the board, we show you that:

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