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Category Archives: VMware View

Tolly Report : Virtual Desktop Implimentaion VMware View 3 Premier vs. Citrix XenDesktop Enterprise 2.1

From VMware's own Warren Ponder (one of the authors of the recent View Reference Architecture):  Virtual Desktop Blog: Tolly Report : Virtual Desktop Implimentaion VMware View 3 Premier vs. Citrix XenDesktop Enterprise 2.1.

Complexity is one the most important factors and considerations as
people move more of their physical desktops toward virtual desktops.
Complexity inherently introduces risk and increases the chance for
failure and additional cost. One thing I have always said, is we are
building and designing a solution from the ground up to enable a new
way do doing things in a virtual world. We are not trying to retro fit
legacy products to work in a virtual world.

One of the things that impresses me the most about the engineering
talent at VMware is the level of effort and willingness to listen to
customer needs and requirements and wring out the complexity ultimately
simplifying things for the customer. This comes at price to us, it
takes time, effort, willingness to listen, and a desire to provide
customer focused service. All well worth the price.

Recently we worked with an "independent performance consultancy The Tolly Group
to compare the differences of what it takes to get a mission critical
solution such as a Virtual Desktop solution up and running using VMware
View or Citrix XenDesktop in a timely, efficient, cost effective
manner.

The pdf can be downloaded here. I couldn't cut text from the pdf (pet peeve), but Jason Boche quotes the findings:

VMware View 3:

  1. Installed more rapidly and with considerably fewer steps and less manual intervention
  2. Provides simpler image management that makes more efficient use of disk
  3. Requires no manual configuration of Microsoft Active Directory or DHCP
  4. Allows management of all VDI functions through a single web-based GUI
  5. Provides equivalent end-user experience on LAN as Citrix for Microsoft Office applications

VMware releases open source desktop client

From VMTN Correspondent Mike DiPetrillo. VMware Announces Open Source Desktop Client.

Just this morning, VMware announced that it will be opening the
source code for the VMware View Client to anyone that wants it. The
move is targeted to allow partners to more easily share advances in
hosted desktop clients based on the most pervasive hosted desktop
system out there – VMware View. The client is licensed under LGPL v
2.1. Some details from the press release:

VMware View Open Client is available under the GNU
Lesser General Public License version 2.1 (LGPL v 2.1) and is
accessible from  http://code.google.com/p/vmware-view-open-client/.
Some of the features included in this release support secure tunneling
using SSL, two factor authentication with RSA SecurID, Novell SLETC
Add-On RPM package and a full command line interface. Support for the
source code distribution is available through the VMware View Open
Client community at: http://code.google.com/p/vmware-view-open-client/.

This is an incredible leadership move by VMware to give a kickstart
to the true universal client. Just judging by the numerous joint quotes
from partners in the press release everyone is really excited about
this. Now partners can freely develop on and embed the client into all
sorts of devices from cell phones to set top boxes to PCs and laptops.
It will be interesting to see how much development takes off in this
exciting space. But enough about my excitement. What do you think?

From the always insight industry watcher Larry Dignan. » VMware launches open source virtual desktop software; Assessing the fallout | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com.

From open source pundit Dana Blankenhorn: "it could really be a game changer" » VMWare delivers open source client | Open Source | ZDNet.com.

From VMware's Aaron Sweemer  VMware View Open Client | virtual insanity.

The new View Open Client includes all the major
components needed for someone to take the software, adapt it to their
needs and package up a rich, customized solution. This should really assist all the players in the eco-system to reduce their time to market on solutions. I’m hoping this results in some new and innovative ways to deliver virtual desktops!

Another great use case that I hope we soon see
more of are commercially supported (by the vendor and VMware), turn-key
solution for turning your fat PC into a dumb, highly managed “thin
client’. There are some solutions out there today, but I
would think that this new View Open Client would allow someone to put
together a package to do this easily with out-of-the-box View
integration. The great part is, that a solution someone in
the eco-system puts together using the View Open Client can be
submitted to VMware for formal certification and support!

From Sean Michael Kerner VMware goes open source with Open Client – InternetNews:The Blog – Sean Michael Kerner.

The way I see it, View is essentially a remote desktop virtualization
technology and with the open client any OS user can take the code to
create, modify and/or customize the end desktop experience. …

As opposed to just saying the project is open source, VMware is also going a step further and hosting the project over at Google Code , which shows a high degree of transparency. VMware isn't hiding much with this release. It build on the fact that the VMware View Manager itself is available under an open source license as well. [Note that while View Manager uses a number of open source technologies, it isn't an open source product itself. --john]

There
was a time when I personally thought of VMware as a proprietary vendor
and XenSource (now Citrix) as the open source one. That's no longer
entirely accurate though is it?

View Composer – disk savings and more

View Composer is one of the really exciting new parts of the VMware View solution. I’ll let Rick Westrate give us the overview. A New “View” of Virtual Desktop Computing | Virtual Insanity.

View
Composer is what I consider to be one of the most exciting new features
of this release (even though it’s really a separate product). The storage cost associated with deploying virtual desktops has been up to now, one of the largest barriers of adoption. Many
organizations I deal with loved VDI and what it represented in terms of
data security and lowered management costs, but they just couldn’t get
over putting all their desktop storage on expensive, SAN-based storage….  View Composer solves
this problem for the rest of the world as it allows you to
significantly reduce the amount of storage used by employing linked
clones. Composer allows you to identify a “gold image” from which you desktop pool will be created. You then tell Composer what LUN’s to store the VM’s on and then the fun begins. Composer creates a replica on each of the LUN’s you provided and then there, the small linked clones are built. The provisioning is extremely fast and as you can imagine, highly space efficient.  … 

Composer isn’t just a storage savings tool. It’s also a game changer for desktop management. Now
that you have all these linked clones for your desktop pool, you have
the option to now manage the lifecycle of these desktops from the image. That’s
in contrast to how thing normally work where once a desktop is created
you have to continually patch it and upgrade it to maintain it
(applications, windows updates, virus updates, and security updates). With
the linked clones, we can now simply update the image at the top of the
tree and re-home all the downstream desktops to the new version of the
image. This is called a “Re-Compose” operation Think about the ramifications of that! You
could roll out a new application to 1000’s of users with a few clicks,
with a high degree of certainty by simply Re-Composing your users to a
new version of the master image. Good stuff!! With
the addition of the User Data Drive option which employs Windows
Profile Folder Redirection technology, you can ensure that your user’s
personal settings persist even after refreshing their desktop or even
moving them to a completely new version of their desktop. Heck,
you can even schedule a refresh of your user’s desktops every x days to
ensure that your user’s never experience “Windows Rot” through the
“Refresh” function.

Rod Haywood gives us a deep dive into the storage savings. Musings of Rodos: Storage Analysis of VMware View Composer.

Can I turn 16TB of storage for 1000 VDI users into 619GB, let me show
you how it’s actually done. The release today of VMware View Manager 3
brings to market the long anticipated thin provisioning of storage for
virtual desktops. Previewed in 2007 as SVI (Scalable Virtual Images)
what does this now released View Composer linked clone technology look
like under the hood? How much storage will it actually use? …

He goes through the files and directories created when you use View Composer, e.g.

Using the Add Desktop wizard in the View Administrator you can
create a pool of desktops based on a snapshot from a ParentVM. As part
of the process you have to choose a VM and one of its snapshots. When
this is done a unique replica is created. This process is marked as (1)
on the diagram. Here a copy of the machine is performed, into a new
directory however the disk is thin provisioned. If our original disk
was 15G yet only 2G was consumed, the disk in the replica will only by
2G. This process can take a short period of time as the data copies,
but it is a once off process. This thin provisioned disk is the master
disk that all of the clone VMs will use as their base. You can make
changes to the parent VM, and the replica can not be harmed.

Necessary to understand what is going on — a nice walkthrough before you sit down and try it yourself.

First views of VMware View 3

VMware View 3 was just released. (press release, product page).

VMware’s Rick Westrate starts us off with a good tour. Link: A New “View” of Virtual Desktop Computing | Virtual Insanity.

Rather
than just reprint the marketing press releases, I thought I would
highlight some of the key new features of View3, give a short
explanation, and add some initial thoughts. As the (borrowed) graphic below shows, “View3” really is the umbrella name that covers all the components of the total solution. View
Manager 3 is the desktop broker that sets up and manages connections
between end users and back-end desktop virtual machines. Let’s dig into some of these features.

Dave Stiles likes what he’s seen so far. Link: Virtually Dave » Welcome to the View from VMware’s perspective.

Many of our customers who have been thinking about desktop
virtualization or who are current VMware VDM 2.X users are going to
find the new feature set substantially enhances their experience. … VMware View when coupled with VMware ThinApp truly enables the
compute on demand desktop experience many of us have heard about for so
long. …

Secondly and more importantly, the ability to build and reference
off a single master image with linked clones is going to save a lot of
time in deployment, management, and disk space costs.  …

Third, View is really a multi-purpose front-end load balancer.  No
longer is View just the connection broker for virtual machines, it can
be the front end for Terminal Servers and PCs.  This is a big
enhancement, many of our customers are going to like.  The ability to
use the SSL tunneling provided for under VDM and continued in view is
really going to be a full on security solution for remote office
workers.

And last but not least, the feature I have been longing for the most, offline desktop. …

Brian Madden also gives us his "60 second overview". Link: VMware releases their new VDI product, View 3. Here’s a 60-second overview – Brian Madden – BrianMadden.com. He notes these advantages over Citrix, although he rightly points out that VMware hasn’t yet delivered on all that we previewed at VMworld 2008.

  • A lot (a mean a whole lot, like 75%) of customers who use Citrix
    XenDesktop run it on VMware’s infrastructure. If that’s the case, then
    VMware is a much cheaper solution, at only $150 for the edition of View
    3 that includes everything.
  • VMware’s extensions to RDP, plus the ThinPrint stuff they’ve
    licensed, means that Citrix does not have as much as an advantage with
    ICA anymore.

Get to know the new VDM 2.1 – Doug Brown’s Reviewers Guide

We recently released version 2.1 of the VMware Virtual Desktop Manager (VDM), a way to manage connections between remote users and centralized virtual desktops. See the VDM 2.1 release notes.

Doug Brown has now produced with VMware a VDM 2.1 Reviewers Guide. It’s a great resource, not just for journalists or other reviewers, but for people doing either a technology evaluation of VDI solutions or even if you’re just getting started figuring out how desktop virtualization works. Doug writes about the genesis of the project. Link: VMware Release "Virtual Desktop Manager (VDM) 2.1 Reviewer’s Guide" – Written By: Douglas Brown.

I’ve actually been evaluating and testing VMware’s VDM 2.x solutions since the early beta’s were available. I must admit, I very much liked what I saw in the early beta releases.  I feel the beauty of VDM is that it is easy it is to deploy, administer, and use. That being said, while I was evaluating VDM, I thought it might be fun to document how to install, configure, and use it.  You know, I wanted to document the exact steps I used to install my VDM 2.1 lab environment. I wanted to create a VDM in a Box!

Once I was about 100 pages in to the document I
decided to email a friend of mine who works for VMware to tell him
about what I was working on while "messing around" with VDM and he
ended up asking me if I would be interested in writing it for VMware to
use as a "Reviewer’s Guide". Hence this white paper. VMware’s
goal for this white paper is to give you everything you need to get you
up and running with VDM, as quick as possible, even if you have never
used VDM before. That being said, VMware just posted their version of my VDM white paper for all to download!

Download the VDM 2.1 Reviewers Guide. But Doug’s not done! Back in the day, Doug created the Methodology in a Box, a 900+ page guide for installing and deploying a successful Citrix environment. It was a big boon to the Citrix community, and it’ll be great to get one for the community deploying today’s VDI-style environments. Doug is looking to make this an open collaborative project.

BUT… I’m not done.. I’m still working on my version of the VDM white paper and will soon release it as VDM in a Box 1.0! I
will write more about VDM in a Box 1.0 in the coming weeks so stay
tuned.  I will say I’m looking to turn this document in to a sort of
"Open Source" project where the "VDM community" can collaborate on
making it better!!!  (If you are interested in collaborating on VDM in a Box please email me at dbrown@dabcc.com)

VMware Project Northstar (Thinstall) enters Beta 2

VMware Project Northstar (formerly Thinstall) Beta 2 release is now available. If you’re a little fuzzy on application virtualization, here is our description:

VMware application virtualization (powered by Thinstall) technology
lets you deploy applications without conflicts quicker then ever
before. Application virtualization extends the reach of desktop
virtualization from the operating system to the application layer and
simplifies the delivery of applications. See how application
virtualization is enabling organizations to ease their Vista migrations
while reducing application conflicts, deployment costs, and empowering
a mobile workforce.

Go to the Project Northstar Beta Portal for more information. New features in Beta 2 include:

Edwin Friesen over at thinstallguru.com is looking at this release. In this post Preview VMware Project NorthStar Beta 2 | Edwin Friesen – Application Delivery Blog he gives great step-by-step screen shots of the user interface.

Edwin just posted a little test drive of the new Application Link. Link: Project NorthStar Beta 2; Application Link | Edwin Friesen – Application Delivery Blog.

I did a lot of testing with Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5
(before SoftGrid) and figured out that linkíng virtual applications
works very well for Microsoft Office plugins but when you want to use
it for middleware applications such as Oracle, DotNet Framework or Java
it is not so terrific. In the mean time VMware-Thinstall (Project
NorthStar) is also building a powerfull solution to create an
‘Application Link’ between two virtual applications. I did some
research and tried to package a Thinstalled application which is build
on DotNet Framework 2.0. … The result is great!!

You can download the beta today. The beta portal has a beta license key, release notes, community discussion, and more.

Learn about application virtualization and VDI: new blog, podcast

Interested in learning more about application virtualization, VMware’s recent acquisition Thinstall, aka Project Northstar, and how it interacts with desktop virtualization in general? Our desktop team has just launched two new information sources that you may want to check out.

Product manager Ed Albanese has kicked off the new VMware Application Virtualization Blog with his first article: Are you wondering what lies ahead for Thinstall? This is a set of frequently asked questions about  the Thinstall product, where you can get more information, and this:

*How will Thinstall and VDI work together? *
In a nutshell, Thinstall makes VDI better. We love that this is the
case and that customers can make their VDI environments better
immediately – without any additional requirements. Customers who
combine VDI and Thinstall will be able to:

  • Create fewer desktop images by separating applications and desktops. This is a huge time-savings for administrators!
  • Reduce storage costs. One of the very coolest features of
    Thinstall technology is its ability to stream applications directly
    into memory – without requiring a local cache – so that VDI images can
    be kept clean and small, yet easily configurable.
  • Improve application compatibility. One of VDI ‘s trademark
    strengths is that it allows administrators to take the current image,
    as it is now, and place it onto a server for access anywhere. Many of
    our customers struggle with application deployment into their current
    image – and Thinstall helps tremendously in reducing that complexity.
    By avoiding application compatibility challenges, administrators get
    the applications they need our to the end-users, on demand, without an
    expensive compatibility testing matrix.
  • Deliver desktops and applications independently. VMware’s
    vision is to enable our customers to deliver desktops as a service for
    their end-users. It’s a compelling vision, and Thinstall technology
    helps accelerate this vision. Customers who combine VDI and Thinstall
    will be able to acheive a significantly more agile deployment model for
    both OS and applications.

 

We’ve also started a new weekly podcast series* here at VMware on our podcast page. The initial set of programs will be about topics in desktop virtualization, and this first one is a great introduction to application virtualization (aka Project Northstar) and how it relates to VDI.

I’ve listened to lots of podcasts that are too long, too short, too scripted, or too noisy, and this one is none of the above. Tune in to hear three smart guys from VMware — Tyler Rohrer, Henrik Rosendahl, and
Ed Albanese — chat about application virtualization, why you might want to use it, and how it relates to desktop virtualization.


Download MP3 * (12 MB)


* I know, there’s no feed, so it isn’t officially a podcast, but we’re working on that. In the meantime, check back every Tuesday-ish for new episodes.

Chuck Hollis on VDI — “I’ve never seen anything like this in the industry”

EMC’s Chuck Hollis on VDI. Link: Chuck’s Blog: VDI — The Red Hot Discussion.

I’ve never seen anything like this in the industry. … Just when you thought the server-oriented ESX party was raging, over
the last 6-12 months the VDI discussion has become extremely
interesting, especially to larger organizations who are seeing the
potential to save money, deliver better user experiences, improve
security and so on.

If you’ve been around the industry for any length of time,
periodically the thin client discussion comes around.   Please, set
aside your cynicism for just a moment — this time it’s different.

Previously, it’s been an IT-driven thing.  All the benefits accrued
to IT, and few (if any) to the knowledge workers who had to use the
stuff.  There were some nasty compromises that limited thin-client
effectiveness.

With VDI, users get clear benefits. 

It’s a full experience with no compromises – an XP Pro desktop is an
XP Pro desktop — it’s very hard to detect any meaningul differences.
They get the ability to potentially work on any device (home, office,
etc.) and get a full and consistent desktop experience — no schlepping
files around, etc. …

Don’t over-optimize the environment for cost savings.  I’ve talked
to more than a few IT organizations that were trying to get the very
last pennies out of cost savings, at the expense of an improved user
experience. …

 

And, surprisingly, many of the policies around desktop usage might
be re-thought at the same time.  Like access from outside the firewall,
for example.  Or supporting consultants and other business partners
using internal applications.  A lot can potentially change here — and
for the good.

Quite humbly, I’ve never seen anything like this before …

He also talks about some of the case studies on our site from a storage guy’s perspective. A good read, as is his whole blog. Also check out the VMware Communities VDI Community for more discussion.

Bring on the VDI video

VMware Virtual Desktop Manager 2.0 Demo [via VMblog]

VMware VDI on NetApp, 100 clients; 13 mins; 10 GB used [via RTFM]

More VDI videos on YouTube.

Bonus link: Sinbad, Fusion fan. "That’s what I like about it — quickness, so I can get back to my Mac."

Virtual Desktop Manager 2.0 reactions

VMware Desktop Manager 2.0 has been released, and the reaction is good. (There is also an updated section on Virtual Desktop Infrastructure that may be useful to you. For questions and comments, see the new VDM Community at VMware Communities.)

From VMware’s Warren Ponder at the Virtual Desktop Blog. Link: VMware VDI – Virtual Desktop Manager 2 Released

VDM 2 was not a rebranding exercise of slapping a VMware VDM 2 logo on
some legacy product. It was a completely new product built from the
Propero technology acquired in 2005 with the vision of virtual desktop
management in mind. Rather than taking the high road and fastest time
to market a conscious decision was made to build a solid foundation
from which the future of virtual desktop management could safely rest.

Doug Brown over at dabcc.com was a beta tester and gives his verdict — thumbs up — along with a detailed description of what’s inside the virtual box. Link: VMware Releases Desktop Virtualization (VDI) Solution – VDM 2.0 – Overview and Much More!

First and foremost this release is not vaporware, it is not full
of a bunch of features that do not work as described, it is real and
from my testing all the features work and work very well, of course
that does not mean it is everything to everybody …

[Doug gives a rundown of the components and concepts, not just a cut-and-paste job.]

In the coming days I will release a more detailed analysis about
my experiences throughout the beta and the RTM but for now please feel
free to download it and give it a try yourself.  BUT, I will say that I’ve been very impressed with VDM.  The
only problem is the VDM client does NOT support 64-bit workstations but
of course there are ways to workaround that issue, which I will
document in the coming days too. ;)

Brian Madden also likes the fact that it’s actually shipping, but also points out that the major weakness of VDI is that it’s not Presentation Server, er, XenApp (and I’d argue that isn’t a bad thing).  Link: VMware releases VDM2, the new version of their VDI product. What will the impact be?

And of course there’s strength in the fact that VDM2 is an actual released product. (Download a 60-day eval) Citrix’s XenDesktop, which is shaping up to be another dominating force in the VDI space is still months away best case.

Eric Sloof was also in on the VDM beta. Link: The launch of the Virtual Desktop Manager 2

When Capgemini Outsourcing had obtained an outsourcing contract from office Furniture group Ahrend
last September, it has taken over management of the office ICT
environment and the service desk. As the senior system administrator at
Ahrend I created a VDI pool with desktops. During the transition of all
the hardware from the Ahrend Datacenter in Nieuwegein to the Capgemini
datacenter in Amsterdam,  the Ahrend ICT colleagues could easily move
to the Capgemini office without losing their old desktop. There are two
things I really like about VDM2; the first one is the automatic
provisioning and the second one is USB support. VDM2 really made the
transition to Capgemini run a lot smoother.