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Tag Archives: virtual desktops

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…

 

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.

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CloudVolumes at VMworld Europe

vmworld blog banner

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

It’s been a month since VMworld 2014 US. Over 23,000 attendees came to San Francisco and witnessed the exciting new announcements VMware made during that week (you can read more on these here). Announcements on the End-User Computing front included EVO: RAIL, Project Meteor and Workspace Suite. We even announced an exciting addition to our portfolio with CloudVolumes, for just-in-time application delivery to virtual desktops.

In fact, CloudVolumes was the talk of the show. And even if you missed the live demo at VMworld, you can see my colleague Ashutosh Joshi demonstrate CloudVolumes here. You can also see John Dodge walk through a whiteboard video and Rory Clements demo CloudVolumes application provisioning to Horizon desktops.

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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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ThinApp 5.1: Introducing Package-Management Functions and Greater Efficiency

By Aaron Black, Senior Product Manager, End-User Computing, VMware

I am happy to announce that we are releasing ThinApp 5.1 today, which provides new package management functions and greater efficiency for IT. As always, we have included a number of fixes to address particular applications and functions, which can be reviewed in the ThinApp 5.1 Release Notes. We introduce a number of new features in the following paragraphs, and we will be doing some focused blog updates in the coming weeks to get into the technical details and provide specific guidance. In the meantime, you are welcome to review the What’s New section in the ThinApp 5.1 Release Notes or the ThinApp 5.1 User’s Guide. We are excited to provide this release to our customers and partners—please enjoy!

Let us start with a brief description of a completely new function—utilizing group policy for dynamic management of application linking and updating—for packages that have already been deployed.

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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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What Is the Best Server Virtualization Platform for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure?

By Cyndie Zikmund, EUC Product Line Marketing Manager, VMware

Have you ever asked yourself: What is the best server virtualization platform for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)? VMware vSphere is the answer.

More and more organizations are moving towards virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) as the solution to reducing administrative overhead, increasing productivity, and improving security. VDI is becoming an even more preferred solution as storage costs go down and virtual storage is more widely supported.

But the performance of a VDI deployment depends on the virtualization platform it is hosted on. Which one is best for you? Here are a few key considerations in your decision-making process:

  • Does the platform provide a secure foundation for all the virtual desktops that your organization needs?
  • Can your chosen platform be standardized on the same platform as your existing server virtualization?
  • How will the choice of a virtualization platform impact future migration to a cloud environment?
  • Do the platform’s features, reliability, and high availability meet your business requirements?
  • Is the platform optimized to run VDI workloads?

For more information about using VMware vSphere for desktop virtualization, download the white paper Why Choose VMware vSphere for Desktop Virtualization? This white paper will help you understand why vSphere is the best choice of a hypervisor for a VDI environment.  See VMware vSphere for more information about the VMware server virtualization platform.

VMware vSphere supports the VMware VDI solution, Horizon with View.  See Horizon with View for more information.

3D-Graphics Acceleration in View Virtual Desktops

By Alexander West, Technical Writer for End-User Computing Technical Marketing, VMware

With significant contributions from Stephane Asselin, EUC Architect, VMware

VMware Horizon with View offers excellent 3D-graphics capabilities to View users everywhere.

To ensure top-flight performance for 3D graphics in View, administrators have three different graphics-acceleration options to choose from: Soft 3D, vSGA, and vDGA. Read on for a look at the differences between the three, and which one in particular leads to the highest availability for 3D-graphics acceleration in View.

(Check out the newly revised Graphics Acceleration in View Virtual Desktops for everything you need to know about 3D-graphics acceleration in View.)

Definitions of Soft 3D, vSGA, and vDGA

Soft 3D, vSGA, and vDGA all sound similar. So here is a look at what distinguishes these three solutions from one another. Continue reading

Migrating to Windows 8.x Using VMware Mirage 5.0

By John Domenichini, Technical Writer, VMware

With significant contributions from Stephane Asselin, EUC Architect, Technical Enablement, End-User Computing, VMware

VMware Mirage supports Windows 7 migration and, with release 5.0, Mirage adds Windows 8.1 and 8.1 Update 1 migration support. Okay, but what does that mean to you? It might mean a lot.

While Windows 8 offers some advantages over previous Windows versions, especially in the areas of security and performance, the market did not initially respond positively to the strikingly different interface.

However, the updates to Windows 8.1 address some of the major concerns the market had with the operating system. All the same, the migration process itself raises some concerns. This is where Mirage 5.0 can help. Mirage 5.0 addresses the most common migration concerns, making the migration to Windows 8.1 or 8.1 U1 a compelling proposition.

First, let us look at what Mirage 5.0 migration support includes. Continue reading

Optimize Storage Fast with VMware Virtual SAN!

By Jessica Flohr, Technical Writer and Editor, End-User Computing, VMware; Donal Geary, Reference Architecture Engineer, Desktop Virtualization, VMware; and Wade Holmes, Senior Technical Marketing Architect, Software-Defined Storage, VMware

VMware vSphere5.5 Update 1 introduced VMware Virtual SAN. This new software-defined storage tier is the industry’s only vSphere-based hypervisor-converged storage solution. Virtual SAN allows compute and storage resources to be served by server platforms, combining local flash and magnetic disk to create a resilient, high-performance shared storage solution.

VMware Horizon with View can now leverage the power of VMware Virtual SAN to allow VDI deployments to scale linearly while maintaining great performance and user experience.

In the recently published technical white paper, VMware Horizon with View and Virtual SAN Reference Architecture, Virtual SAN is put to the test. Under medium-workload and heavy-workload testing, View desktop performance was exceptional, with low latency response times from Virtual SAN and minimal impact on ESX.

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