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Monthly Archives: June 2015

“Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) for Dummies” Blog Series – Part 1

What is it and what are the touch points between telecommunications and IT Enterprise computing?

Gary Hamilton

By Gary Hamilton

In his first of a multi-part blog, Gary Hamilton, Senior Cloud Solution Architect, with VMware Professional Services describes his experience with NFV and helping telecommunications customers transform their technology platform. In this first blog, he describes the difference between the telco IT platform and enterprise IT platforms and how the network functions virtualization approach is changing the  industry.

Read more on NFV here: http://blogs.vmware.com/telco/nfv-dummies-blog-series-1/


Gary Hamilton is a Senior Cloud Management Solutions Architect at VMware and has worked in various IT industry roles since 1985, including support, services and solution architecture; spanning hardware, networking and software. Additionally, Gary is ITIL Service Manager certified and a published author. Before joining VMware, he worked for IBM for over 15 years, spending most of his time in the service management arena, with the last five years being fully immersed in cloud technology. He has designed cloud solutions across Europe, the Middle East and the US, and has led the implementation of first of a kind (FOAK) solutions. Follow Gary on Twitter @hamilgar.

Complex Apps

Jeremy WheelerBy Jeremy Wheeler

From time to time we all come across that extremely complicated application that an organization needs packaged – and of course, it has a lot of moving parts. In this blog entry I will walk through a proven process that has worked successfully, unlike the typical packaging style where, if you make a mistake, you are back at square one. An important key to keep in mind in this blog is the “disposable virtual machine.” I consider a disposable virtual machine an App Volumes Provisioning that will eventually become contaminated, and you will not be able to revert to a clean-state using a snapshot.

Note: Not utilizing a ‘disposable’ provisioning machine will place your normal provisioning machine at risk. The very end of this process involves removing ALL snapshots from the virtual machine.

JWheeler Complex Apps Stage 1

 

1. Prepare a ‘disposable’ provisioning machine. This virtual machine will lose all its snapshots once you finish this process, so it’s best not to use your typical provisioning machine.

2. Point the App Volumes Manager to the Provisioning virtual machine to start the provisioning process.

JWheeler Complex App Stage 2

3. Install any prerequisite applications such as Java, etc.

4. Power down the Provisioning virtual machine and take a snapshot, using this as more of a bookmark in case you need to go back. The snapshot process will capture all the virtual machine elements including the attached App Volume VMDK file as long as you are still in provisioning mode when you powered down the virtual machine.

5. Power on the virtual machine and continue installing any core applications, or your target application. One step my application required was an installation of SQL Express with an imported database, so I installed SQL Express during this step.

6. Power down the Provisioning machine once SQL is cleanly installed and has created another snapshot.

JWheeler Complex Apps Stage 3

7. Power on the provisioning virtual machine, and create any custom databases, accounts, etc.

8. Power down the virtual machine once you have completed all your installs and are ready to complete the App Volumes capture process.

9. Edit the virtual machine’s snapshots (VM > Snapshot > Snapshot Manager) and then ‘Remove All Snapshots.

10. Once the virtual machine’s snapshots have all been removed, you need to consolidate the redo logs. (VM > Snapshot > Consolidate)

11. Once consolidation has completed, power on the virtual machine

12. Select ‘OK’ on the App Volumes dialog box to complete the provisioning process and let the virtual machine reboot.

13. Login to the virtual machine and you should have the message that provisioning has finished successfully. Select ‘OK’

14. Provisioning is now complete and the VMDK should successfully detach from the virtual machine.

Once you complete these steps I recommend a lot of testing to validate the application is performing as expected.


Jeremy Wheeler is an experienced senior consultant and architect for VMware’s Professional Services Organization, End-user Computing specializing in VMware Horizon Suite product-line and vRealize products such as vROps, and Log Insight Manager. Jeremy has over 18 years of experience in the IT industry. In addition to his past experience, Jeremy has a passion for technology and thrives on educating customers. Jeremy has 7 years of hands-¬‐on virtualization experience deploying full-life cycle solutions using VMware, CITRIX, and Hyper-V. Jeremy also has 16 years of experience in computer programming in various languages ranging from basic scripting to C, C++, PERL, .NET, SQL, and PowerShell.

Jeremy Wheeler has received acclaim from several clients for his in-¬‐depth and varied technical experience and exceptional hands-on customer satisfaction skills. In February 2013, Jeremy also received VMware’s Spotlight award for his outstanding persistence and dedication to customers and was nominated again in October of 2013

Microsoft Office Options with App Volumes

Jeremy WheelerBy Jeremy Wheeler

Working with various customers I’ve discovered challenges when it comes to placing Microsoft Office into AppStacks. VMware has a few models out there that are supported, and they do work well. But a few things to keep in mind when dealing with Office:

  1. Only Office 2010 and 2013 are supported.
  2. Office core bits can be presented once, to the endpoint.

JWheeler AppStacks 1

 

In the diagram above:

1: Office core bits installed into AppStack

2: Office + Microsoft Project, Office icons hidden (Optional: Hide core office icons from start menu)

3: Office + Visio, Office icons hidden (Optional: Hide core office icons from start menu)

4: Office + Project + Visio (Optional: Hide core office icons from start menu)

5: Office + Project + Visio

JWheeler AppStacks 2

6: Base Gold Image installed with Office core bits, and one of three AppStacks that contain:

A) Visio

B) Project

C) Visio + Project

Note: If you hide/delete core office icons from the start menu (such as for Word, Excel, etc.) and you only present Project and/or Visio, don’t simply delete the ‘Office Tools’ folder. You can clean up some of the icons in that folder, but if you delete it, nothing will show in the start menu.


Jeremy Wheeler is an experienced senior consultant and architect for VMware’s Professional Services Organization, End-user Computing specializing in VMware Horizon Suite product-line and vRealize products such as vROps, and Log Insight Manager. Jeremy has over 18 years of experience in the IT industry. In addition to his past experience, Jeremy has a passion for technology and thrives on educating customers. Jeremy has 7 years of hands-¬‐on virtualization experience deploying full-life cycle solutions using VMware, CITRIX, and Hyper-V. Jeremy also has 16 years of experience in computer programming in various languages ranging from basic scripting to C, C++, PERL, .NET, SQL, and PowerShell.

Jeremy Wheeler has received acclaim from several clients for his in-¬‐depth and varied technical experience and exceptional hands-on customer satisfaction skills. In February 2013, Jeremy also received VMware’s Spotlight award for his outstanding persistence and dedication to customers and was nominated again in October of 2013

VMware App Volumes Multi-vCenter and Multi-Site Deployments

By Dale Carter

With the release of VMware App Volumes 2.9 comes one of the most requested features so far: multi-vCenter support. With multi-vCenter support it is now possible to manage virtual desktops and AppStacks from multiple vCenter instances within the same App Volume Manager.

The following graphic shows how this works:

DCarter App Volumes

With this new feature App Volumes can now be used to support the Horizon Block and Pod architecture with just one App Volumes manager, or cluster of managers.

Now that we can support multi-vCenters, I started to wonder if this new capability could be leveraged across multiple sites to help support multiple site deployments.

After speaking with the App Volumes Product Manager, I am happy to confirm that, “Yes,” you can use this new feature to support multi-site deployments – as long as you are using the supported SQL database.

The architecture for this type of deployment would look like this:

DCarter App Volumes 2

 

I would recommend that App Volumes Managers at each site be clustered. Read the following blog to learn how to cluster App Volumes Managers: http://blogs.vmware.com/consulting/2015/02/vmware-appvolumes-f5.html

Although 2.9 is just a point release, this is one of the biggest features added so far for multi-vCenter support.

To add a second―or more―vCenter instance to App Volumes, follow these simple steps:

  1. Login to the App Volumes Manager
  2. Select Configuration, then Machine Manager, and then click Add Machine Manager
    DCarter App Volumes 3
  3. Enter the vCenter information and click Save.
    DCarter App Volumes 4
  4. Follow these steps for each vCenter instance you want to add.

Dale is a Senior Solutions Architect and member of the CTO Ambassadors. Dale focuses in the End User Compute space, where Dale has become a subject matter expert in a number of the VMware products. Dale has more than 20 years experience working in IT having started his career in Northern England before moving the Spain and finally the USA. Dale currently hold a number of certifications including VCP-DV, VCP-DT, VCAP-DTD and VCAP-DTA.

For updates you can follow Dale on twitter @vDelboy