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Horizon FLEX 1.5 now shipping

 

Horizon FLEX 1.5

Horizon FLEX 1.5

Andy here again.  I'm delighted to announce that Horizon FLEX 1.5 is now shipping. This update is huge. We've got server side improvements, client side improvements, probably even improvements in the bit that connects the two!

Sorry, I'll try and be serious, this is after all a very big deal. It's been just 6 months since we shipped Horizon FLEX 1.0, and less than 3 months since we shipped 1.1. This release adds many of the features you requested.

  • The ability to remotely wipe a VM from a host machine
  • Granular control over USB devices
  • Policy control over a common file system between the host and client
  • More lenient user controls over RAM and CPU allocation
  • Greater integration with Active Directory for encryption / decryption
  • Limit to single instance of virtual image

We've even improved the way you distribute the Horizon FLEX Clients, and added the ability to make a desktop shortcut for your virtual image. Your users are going to love this.

Watch the introductory video below to learn more.

To access the software, just sign in to your account and download it from either support or from the store.

Thank you.

Horizon FLEX: giving users the desktop they need

It’s finally here, the day you’ve been waiting for, how to define a Horizon FLEX entitlement!

Hello, it’s Andy again. Today’s short video once again features a shiny me, but it’s thankfully very short: just over 90 seconds after you skip all the fancy bumpers we put at the front and back of it.

To recap, in part one I showed you how to build a Horizon FLEX compatible image. In part two, I showed you how to define acceptable use policy for groups of people. In today’s lesson, we’re going to take everything we’ve learned so far, sprinkle it with AD groups and build entitlements.

Entitlements are just the fancy way of saying that the people in accounting get access to a different image than the one you give the sales people, and those differing images can operate under different acceptable use polices.

The next section on the Horizon FLEX administrator’s console shows all the VM’s that are in use, what policies are being enforced, and even gives you the ability to tweak the settings for a specific user.

Machines in use

Machines in use

Bonus point! If you’re using VMware Mirage to manage your virtual images (and you really should) that information appears in the console too. Fantastic.

Next time, I think I might show you sometime I call my Russian Doll demo. It showcases why more people use VMware hypervisors than any other. It’s truly mind blowing.

Thanks and if you’d like to know more, or to download a free trial of Horizon FLEX, please click here.

VMware Workstation 11 and Player 7 Update Now Available

A new update is now available for VMware Workstation 11 and Player 7 Pro. The new update includes bug fixes for Workstation 11 and Player 7.

VMware Workstation 11.1.2

  • VMware Workstation 11.1.2 is a maintenance release that is a free update for all VMware Workstation 11.x customers. Read the Release Notes for more details.

VMware Player Pro 7.1.2

  • VMware Player 7.1.2 is a maintenance release that is a free update for all VMware Player 7.x customers. Read the Release Notes for more details.

How to get the updates

VMware Workstation 11 will prompt you to download the update the next time you run it. You can manually check for the update from the “Help” -> “Software Updates” menu item. Alternatively, you can download it from here.

VMware Player 7 will prompt you to download the update the next time you run it. You can manually check for the update from the “Player” -> “Help” -> “Software Updates” menu item. Alternatively, you can download it from here.

PLEASE NOTE: VMware Workstation 11 includes a copy of VMware Player 7 for commercial use.  If you have VMware Workstation 11 you do not need to download VMware Player 7 separately since it is included in the VMware Workstation 11 download.

Many thanks to the Workstation 11 and Player 7 customers reporting these issues to Workstation Customer Support team and discussing them on the VMware Workstation Community.

Horizon FLEX: powerful policy controls

Hello again, Andy here.

Last time I showed you how to build a Horizon FLEX image for mass sharing. This time, I’m going to show you the simple steps needed to ensure that image is securely used.

You’ll be happy to note that there’s significantly less of my shiny red face in this video.

The video concentrates on server controlled dynamic policies. At the time of writing there’s over half a dozen of them, but a customer was quick to correct me when I shared the video, saying  ‘we enforce over 50 policies with FLEX ‘. He is right of course, there are lots of policy decisions you burn into the image at creation time.

The full list of FLEX polices is huge and varies depending upon the client hypervisor (in other words, your mileage may vary). Using a combination of fixed image and dynamic server policy an administrator can specify over 70 distinct control points.

Processor

  • Specify VM memory allocation
  • Specify number of processors assigned to VM
  • Specify number of cores per processor assigned to VM
  • Specify the type of virtualization engine used
    • Automatic, binary, VT-x, AMD-V, VT-x/EPT, AMD-V/RVI
  • Enable / disable acceleration for binary translation
  • Virtualize CPU performance counters
  • Specify process priorities
  • Disable memory page trimming

Storage

  • Map virtual disk to local volume
  • Add virtual hard disk
    • IDE, SCSI, SATA (independent, persistent, non-persistent)
    • New, existing, physical
  • Add virtual CD/DVD
    • ISO, physical (SATA, SCSI, IDE, legacy emulation)
  • Add floppy drive
    • Image, physical
  • Connect CD/DVD at power-on
  • Share local folders with VM
  • Map local folders as network drive
  • Share local folders as read only

Network 

  • Connect network at power-on
  • Create bridge directly to physical network
    • Initially set by admin, user can edit
  • Share host IP address
  • Create private network to host
  • Create custom virtual network
  • Attach to specific LAN segment
  • Custom throttle incoming network traffic
  • Emulate incoming pipe size
    • Modem (28.8Kbps, 56Kbps)
    • ISDN (64Kbps, 128Kbps)
    • Leased line (192Kbps, 1.544Mbps, 45Mbps)
    • Cable (4Mbps, 10Mbps, 100Mbps)
  • Enable VNC access

Hardware

  • Turn USB support on or off
    • Except for keyboard and mouse
  • Specify USB supported level
    • 1.0, 2.0, 3.0
  • Automatically connect new USB devices
  • Add specific USB controller
  • Share Bluetooth devices with VM
  • Connect soundcard on power-on
  • Specify host sound card to use
  • Connect printer at power on
  • Auto-map host printers to VM
  • Add specific printer
  • Hardware accelerate 3D graphics
  • Use host settings for monitor
    • Initially set by admin, user can edit
  • Specify number of monitors to use
    • To a maximum of 10
  • Specify screen resolution
  • Use Retina Mode (mac only)
  • Specify graphics card memory allocated to VM
  • Use enhanced virtual keyboard
  • Share battery info with VM
  • Synchronize guest time with host
  • Specify hardware compatibility level
  • Add parallel port
    • Physical, file
  • Add serial port
    • Physical, file, pipe
  • Add generic SCSI device

User Experience           

  • Go full screen on power on
    • Initially set by admin, user can edit
  • Close application after powering off VM
  • Enable drag & drop between host and VM
  • Enable shared clipboard (cut & paste)
  • Show borders in Unity mode
  • Show badges in Unity mode
  • Add custom colored borders in Unity mode
  • Enable direct access to applications
  • Auto-update embedded VMware Tools
    • Manual, auto, global

Recovery & Protection

  • Revert to snapshot on power-off
  • Auto-create snapshot on power-off
  • Auto-create snapshots
    • Daily, hourly, every 30 mins
  • Specify number of snapshot generations to keep
  • Force local encryption password reset
  • Specify VM expiration date
  • Display custom message for expired VM’s
  • Display custom message for soon expiring VM’s
  • Specify policy server contact frequency
  • Specify policy server contact grace period
  • Remote kill of local VM

Next time, I’ll show you how to easily combine AD, images and policy to give your users the desktop you want them to have.

Thanks and if you’d like to know more, or to download a free trial of Horizon FLEX, please click here.

Horizon FLEX: remote image management and policy enforcement

Hi, I’m Andy from VMware.

Today I’d like to show you something exciting from VMware that may not have made it on to your radar – remotely managed policies for Player Pro users!

Back in December we launched a new product called Horizon FLEX. The concept behind FLEX is simple, Player Pro  & Workstation are fantastic for you on your PC or Linux box, but can be a little bothersome for the person responsible for rolling out 500 copies of them to everyone in sales, or worse, to your senior exec team.

Horizon FLEX matches AD credentials against your library of managed virtual images, makes them available to valid users, and then enforces best practice use policies. It’s incredibly simple for your users to use, and gives you peace of mind that your containerized desktops are secure, licensed, and being used by only the right people.

Here’s a 2 minute video of me sweating under the studio lights that should give you a flavor for what Horizon FLEX can do for you.

Great - that’s the marketing fluff out of the way, but I know as seasoned Player Pro / Workstation users you’re more interested in how different this is from the process you already have in place. So here’s another 2 min video that demonstrates the various steps.

One of things I don’t make clear in the video is ‘why are there two passwords?’ This is our cunning plan to give you extra flexibility. The first password is used to encrypt the virtual machine image and needs to be given to the user in order for them to access the image. The second password is an IT-only security switch. Using this, you can remote into your users’ computer and change the VM settings that are normally out of their reach. It gives you the ability to fine tune the performance of a VM without having to open all the dangerous controls to users who probably won’t know the right way to use them.

Next time I’ll show you how to define that policy I mentioned.

Thanks for reading and if you’d like to know more, or to download a free trial of Horizon FLEX, please click here.

Save 30% on VMware Workstation 11

VMW-ProductPage-MaySale-Workstation-Banner-779x261-US

Save 30% on VMware Workstation 11 during our May Sale!

VMware Workstation:

BUY Workstation 11 and get 30% off

UPGRADE to Workstation 11 from Workstation 9 or 10 and get 30% off

 

VMware Player Pro:

BUY Player 7 Pro and get 30% off

UPGRADE to Player 7 Pro from Player 6 Plus and get 30% off

 

This offer starts on Monday, May 18th and ends Friday May 22nd at 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

 

Installing Project Photon in VMware Workstation

The VMware Cloud native team introduced two exciting new open source projects last week called Project Photon and Project Lightwave that will help customers securely build, run, and manage their cloud native applications. For more information on the project launch see the following Press Release.

Project Photon is a lightweight Linux operating system for cloud-native apps. Photon is optimized for vSphere and vCloud Air, providing an easy way for our customers to extend their current platform with VMware and run modern, distributed applications using containers. Project Lightwave is an extensible directory server that supports authorization and authentication for containers, users, and any other resource. When paired with Project Photon, Project Lightwave ensures that only authorized objects can run in the infrastructure.

The exciting project to talk about in this blog post is VMware Photon which makes it really easy for teams to build containerized applications – from developer desktop to production – and blend them seamlessly into existing VMware environments.  The team in the Cloud Native group created a great website talking about Project Photon, Getting the Photon ISO, and How to Get Started/Installed.  The Photon Website is located at http://vmware.github.io/photon/

While there is a step by step Photon Getting Started Guide for VMware Fusion, the steps and installation screenshot are from VMware Fusion running on a Mac (Default Development Computer at VMware). Luckily the majority of the steps can be transposed to VMware Workstation which I have highlighted below for the purpose of testing and education of Project Photon.

Note: Not all steps are listed below since the Photon Getting started guide for Fusion does a great job of walking you through the Photon installation after the VM is created since the steps are identical in Fusion and Workstation.

Installing VMware Photon in Workstation

1:  Download Photo ISO

Download the latest Photon ISO from here or clone the GitHub Photon repository and make the ISO using the instructions found on the GitHub repo

2:  Install Photon from an ISO Image.

On the Workstation Home Tab click “Create New Virtual Machine” or go to Menu - File and select “New Virtual Machine”.

The New Virtual Machine Wizard will pop up and select “Typical” configuration and click Next

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Choose “Install from” method and Select “Installer disc image file (iso)” then browse to the Photon ISO location and select the ISO. At this point Workstation will not recognize the new guest operating system but click Next to continue to manually select the operating system.

Select “Linux” Guest Operating System and from the pull down menu select “Other Linux 3.x kernel 64-Bit” and click Next to continue.

2015-04-23_14-53-38

Provide Name and location for the Photon virtual machine and click Next.

For the next step accept the default disk size shown for this example and select store the “Store virtual disk as a single file”.  Depending on your application running in the container you would adjust the virtual hard disk size as appropriate. Click Next to continue.

2015-04-23_15-01-03

The “Ready to Create Virtual Machine” Summary Box will displayed.  Before finishing the Photon Virtual Machine Creation, we strongly recommend that you customize the Virtual Machine and remove any unwanted devices that are not needed for a container runtime environment by clicking the “Customize Hardware…” Button

2015-04-23_15-01-03

Once you click on “Customize Hardware…” Button a new dialog box will be displayed. We recommend that you remove or uncheck the following components if they show up: Printer, Sound Card, Camera, Bluetooth, 3D acceleration. To remove or modify the device settings click the default installed device and either uncheck the feature or remove the device. Also at this point you would adjust the memory and processor settings based on your application running in the container but for this example we will accept the default size. Click the Close button to return back

2015-04-23_15-02-42

At this stage we have made all the necessary customizations and we are ready to begin the installation process. Click Finish and you will be taken back to the newly created Photon Virtual machine that is ready to be powered on.

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3: Running the Photon Virtual Machine

Now select the Photon Virtual Machine and press the “Play” button to power on the host and start the Photon Installation process.

Within a few seconds the Project Photon Installer Boot Menu will appear.

4: Photon Installation in the Virtual Machine

For the sake of not creating a even longer blog post you can continue to follow the step by step Photon installation instructions on Page 8 of the Getting Started Guide for VMware Fusion or follow along in the “Use VMware Fusion to get started with Project Photon container runtime” video on YouTube at about 2:35 into the video.

After you have successfully completed the Photon Installation you are ready to use your container runtime environment. Upon the next reboot/restart you will be come to a login prompt and you are ready to go.

5: Installing Application in Container 

At this point you can install a Containerized Application from the Docker Hub or your own containerized application since a command prompt is not that exciting.  If you return to the Photon installation instructions on Page 15 of the Getting Started Guide for VMware Fusion there is a example of Installing a Containerized Web Server (Nginx) Application to Help Demonstrate Capability of Project Photon. Below is the final screenshot of a Web browser connecting up to the Nginx web server running in the Photon container.