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EUC Design Series: Horizon 7 Strategy for Desktop Evolution to IoT Revolution

TJBy TJ Vatsa

Introduction

Mobility and end-user computing (EUC) are evolving at a very rapid pace. With the recent announcements made by VMware around Horizon 7 it becomes all the more important to recalibrate and remap the emerging innovation trends to your existing enterprise EUC and application rationalization strategies. For business and IT leaders, burning questions emerge:

  • “What are these EUC innovations leading to, and why should it matter to my organization?”
  • “What is the end-user desktop in the EUC realm evolving into, and are these innovations a precursor to an IoT (Internet of Things) revolution?”
  • “What outcomes might we expect if we were to adopt these innovations in our organizations?”
  • “How do we need to restructure our existing EUC/mobility team to fully leverage the mobility evolution?”

Now there are enough questions to get your creative juices flowing! Let’s dive right in.

The What

Desktop virtualization revolutionized how end-user desktops with their applications and data were securely managed within the guard rails of a secure data center. These were essentially Generation1 (Gen1) desktops that were persistent (AKA full clone) desktops within a virtual machine (VM) container. While the benefit was mainly secure encapsulation within a data center, the downside was cumbersome provisioning with a bloated storage footprint. For instance, if you had one persistent desktop with a 50 GB base image and 100 users, you would be looking at 5,000 GB—or 5 TB—of storage. In an enterprise where we have thousands of users with unique operating system and application requirements, the infrastructure capital expenditures (CAPEX) and the associated operational expenditures (OPEX) would be through the roof.

The preceding scenario was solved by the Generation2 (Gen2) virtual desktops, which were classified as non-persistent (AKA linked clone) desktops. Gen2 desktops relied on a parent base-image (AKA a replica), and the resulting linked clones referenced this replica for all read operations, and had delta disks to store any individual writes. These desktops benefited from faster process automation using a Composer server (AKA desktop provisioning) that generated linked clones referencing a base replica image. This resulted in a significant reduction in the storage footprint and faster desktop provisioning times. This also aided in reducing the CAPEX and OPEX levels incurred in Gen1 desktops. However, the downside of desktop boot-up times was still not fully resolved because they are dependent on the storage media being used. Boot-up times were faster with flash storage and comparatively slower with spinning media storage. The OPEX associated with application management was still not fully resolved despite application virtualization technologies offered by various vendors. It still required management of multiple patches for desktop images and applications.

The panacea offered by the new Horizon 7 has accelerated the virtual desktop evolution to Generation3 (Gen3) desktops. Evolution to Gen3 results in just-in-time desktops and application stack delivery. This means you only have to patch the desktop once, clone it with its running state, and dynamically attach the application stack using VMware’s App Volumes. Gen3 virtual desktops from VMware have the benefits of Gen2 desktops, but without the operational overhead, resulting in reduced CAPEX and OPEX. Here is an infographic detailing the evolution:

TVatsa_Clone Desktop VM

Gen3 desktops pave the way for a Generation4+ (Gen4+) mobility platform that leverages VMware’s Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) platform and the EUC platform into Workspace ONE, capable of tapping into all of the possibilities of mobility-enabled IoT solutions. The potential generated by these solutions is capable of being tapped across various vertical industries—healthcare, financial, retail, education, manufacturing, government and consumer packaged goods—creating an IoT revolution in days to come.

The Why

The innovations listed in the preceding section have the potential of transforming an enterprise’s business, IT and financial outcomes. The metrics to quantify these outcomes are best measured in the resulting CAPEX and OPEX reductions. The reduction in these expenditures not only fosters business agility as in accelerated M&A, but also enhances an organization’s workforce efficiency. The proof is in the pudding. Here is a sample snapshot of the outcomes from a healthcare customer:

TVatsa_Healthcare Customer Diagram

The How

While the mobility evolution and its leap to an IoT revolution is imminent with the promise of anticipated outcomes as mentioned earlier, the question still lingers: How do you align the roles within your organization to ride the wave of mobility transformation?

Here is a sample representation of the recommended roles for an enterprise mobility center of excellence (COE):

TVatsa_COE

Here is the description of field recommendations in terms of mandatory and recommended roles for an enterprise EUC/mobility transformation:

TVatsa_Proposed Org Roles

Conclusion

Given the rate at which enterprise mobility is evolving towards IoT, it is only a matter of time when every facet of our lives, from our work to home environments, will be fully transformed by this tectonic mobility driven IoT transformation. VMware’s mobility product portfolio, in combination with VMware’s experienced Professional Services Organization (PSO), can help you transform your enterprise onward in this revolutionary journey. VMware is ever-ready to be your trusted partner in this “DARE” endeavor. Until next time, go VMware!


TJ Vatsa is a principal architect and member of CTO Ambassadors at VMware representing the Professional Services organization. He has worked at VMware for more than five years and has more than 20 years of experience in the IT industry. During this time he has focused on enterprise architecture and applied his extensive experience in professional services and R&D to cloud computing, VDI infrastructure, SOA architecture planning and implementation, functional/solution architecture, enterprise data services and technical project management.

EUC Professional Services Engineering (PSE) and VMworld

By Dale Carter

VMworld in San Francisco is approaching very quickly. It’s a must-attend event for VMware customers, but there is a lot to take in, so I thought I would take a few minutes to highlight some key activities led by my team of End User Computing (EUC) consultants and architects that you won’t want to miss.

Our organization is called Professional Services Engineering (PSE) and is part of the Global Technical and Professional Services Organization. As VMware’s EUC subject matter experts, our team works with some of our largest EUC customers worldwide. From our experiences with these large organizations, our team is responsible for creating VMware’s EUC methodologies, which are then leveraged by our global EUC professional services organization.

VMworld Sessions Delivered by the PSE Team:

EUC4630 – Managing Users: A Deep Dive into VMware User Environment Manager

Managing end-user profiles can be challenging, and often the bane of a desktop administrator’s existence. To the rescue comes VMware’s User Environment Manager. In this session, attendees will be provided with a deep dive into UEM, including an architectural overview, available settings and configurations, and user environment management options. The session will also outline UEM deployment considerations and best practices, as well as discuss how to integrate UEM into a Horizon 6 environment. Attendees will even learn how UEM can be used to manage physical desktops.

EUC5516 – Delivering the Next Generation of Hosted Applications

VMware continues to innovate and evolve our EUC products with the introduction of Hosted Applications with Horizon 6, VMware UEM, App Volumes and Workspace. Join our experienced experts for a panel discussion on how VMware technologies can be used to support your existing Server Based Computing (SBC) infrastructure or move away from it all together onto a platform that addresses what people want, not just what a published application needs.

EUC4437 – Horizon View Troubleshooting – Looking Under the Hood

Attend one of the most popular EUC sessions from previous VMworlds! Learn from VMware’s best field troubleshooters on how to identify common issues and key problem domains within VMware Horizon View.

EUC4509 – Architecting Horizon for VSAN, the VCDX Way – VMware on VMware

VMware Horizon is a proven desktop virtualization solution that has been deployed around the world. Balancing the performance and cost of a storage solution for Horizon can be difficult and affects the overall return on investment. VMware Virtual SAN has provided architects with a new weapon in the battle for desktop virtualization. VSAN allows architects to design a low-cost, high-performance hybrid solution of solid-state and spinning disks, or go all-flash for ultimate desktop performance. Learn from two Double VCDXs on how to go about architecting your Horizon on VSAN solution to ensure it will provide the levels of performance your users need, with management simplicity that will keep your administrators happy and a cost that will ensure your project will be a success.

EUC5126 – Citrix Migration to VMware Horizon: How to Do It and What You Need to Know

Are you planning a migration from Citrix XenApp or XenDesktop to VMware Horizon? Or simply interested in learning how to do it? This is the session for you! Come hear from the architects of VMware’s Citrix migration strategies and services as they break down different approaches to migration using real-world case studies. We will dive deep into how to evaluate the state of the Citrix environment, assess system requirements, design the Horizon infrastructure, and then plan and perform the migration. By the end of the session you will know all the best practices, tips, tricks and tools available to make sure your migration from Citrix to VMware Horizon is a complete success!

VMworld Booth in the Solutions Exchange

We can also be found at the Professional Services demo station in the VMware booth Wednesday from 12–4 PM. Come by with your EUC questions or just discuss any EUC solutions you are looking to implement in your organization. I will be there along with my colleague Nick Jeffries.

VMworld Hands On Labs

Finally, my colleague Jack McMichaels and I will both be working in the VMworld Hands On Labs this year. The Hands On Labs are a great way to come and try all of the VMware technologies. If you have never attended a Hands On Lab at VMworld then I would highly encourage you to come and give them a go. They are a great way to learn if you have an hour or two to spare in your agenda.

See you in San Francisco!


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

End User Computing 101 and Tips for Successful Deployments

By TJ Vatsa, Principal Architect, VMware Professional Services

TJ VatsaThe topic of End User Computing (EUC) is heating up. This is not only because our industry considers this to be a dynamic domain for tremendous innovation today, but also because the industry views great potential for the future and is heavily investing in the space.

In this three-part blog series, I’ll assimilate the vast EUC landscape into digestible tidbits that focus on the infrastructure, mobility and BYOD, applications and image management, and discuss a typical EUC project scenarios and methodology.

My goal is to provide insight into the things you should consider for your own EUC deployment.

EUC Landscape

First Things First: Infrastructure

As soon as someone mentions EUC, the first thing that comes to mind is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). The very fact that VDI is deployed in the datacenter, away from individual desktops, means that you must plan the underlying infrastructure in a systematic and thorough way.

At a minimum, this means allocating key infrastructure resources: compute, storage, network, and security.
It is also imperative that some sort of infrastructure resource assessment tools be deployed to establish a baseline for each of these infrastructure components.

Desktop and Server Power

Assuming that a baseline has been established for the compute resources in terms of CPU, clock speed, and memory requirements per desktop, it is important to choose a server configuration with the right processor, clock speed, and physical memory. In turn, this drives the correct consolidation ratio of virtual desktops per core and, ultimately, for the entire server.

Give careful attention to different use cases where specific workloads require different combinations of CPU, clock speed, and memory. You must ensure that you also plan for growth and seasonal/occasional bursts seen in those workloads historically.

For a typical Horizon View deployment, there are two categories of VMs (virtual machines) recommended for deployment inside the data center: one for management purposes and another for desktop purposes. Management VMs are mainly servers (connection brokers, databases, etc.) whereas the desktop VMs are the actual virtual desktops.

For a production deployment, VMware recommends creating two separate cluster types–Management Cluster(s) and Desktop Cluster(s)–to avoid any race conditions that might arise as a result of, say, competing workloads or operational maintenance.

Storage: Key to VDI Success

Having worked with many customers across many different industry verticals (healthcare, financial, entertainment services, and manufacturing) I’ve noticed that there’s one critical success factor in common: storage.

For more information about VDI storage and detailed insight into what is important for a successful VDI deployment, read these two blog posts:

Part I: Storage Boon or Bane – VMware View Storage Design Strategy & Methodology
Part II: Storage Boon or Bane – VMware View Storage Design Strategy & Methodology

In my next post, I’ll cover the remaining considerations around a successful VDI deployment, including network and security, converged appliances, and desktop as a service. Stay tuned!


TJ has worked at VMware for the past four years, with over 20 years of experience in the IT industry. At VMware TJ has focused on enterprise architecture and applied his extensive experience to Cloud Computing, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, SOA planning and implementation, functional/solution architecture, enterprise data services and technical project management.

TJ holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electronics and Communications from Delhi University and has attained multiple industry and professional certifications in enterprise architecture and technology platforms. TJ is a speaker and a panelist at industry conferences such as VMworld, VMware’s PEX (Partner Exchange) and BEAworld. His passion is the real-life application of technology to drive successful user experiences and business outcomes.

Horizon Workspace Tips: Increased Performance for the Internal Database

By Dale Carter, Consulting Architect, End User Computing

During my time deploying VMware Horizon Workspace 1.5 to a very large corporation with a very large Active Directory (AD) infrastructure, I noticed that the internal Horizon database would have performance issues when syncing the database with AD.

After discussing the issues with VMware Engineering we found a number of ways to improve performance of the database during these times. Below I’ve outlined the changes I made to Horizon Workspace to increase performance for the internal database.

I should note that the VMware best practice for production environments is to use an external database. However in some deployments customers still prefer to use the internal database; for instance, for a Pilot deployment.

Service-va sizing

It is very important to size this VM correctly; this is where the database sits and the VM that will be doing most of the work. It is very important that this VM not be undersized. The following is a recommended size for the service-va, but you should monitor this VM and change as needed.

  • 6 x CPUs
  • 16GBs x RAM

Database Audit Queue

If you have a very large users population, then you will need to increase the audit queue size to handle the huge deluge of messages generated by entitling a large volume of users to an application at once. VMware recommends that the queue be at least three times the number of users. Make this change to the database with the following SQL:

  1. Log in to the console on the service-va as root
  2. Stop the Horizon Frontend service

service horizon-frontend stop

  1. Start PSQL as horizon user.  You will be prompted for a password.

psql -d “saas” -U horizon

  1. Increase Audit queue size

INSERT INTO “GlobalConfigParameters” (“strKey”, “idEncryptionMethod”, “strData”)

VALUES (‘maxAuditsInQueueBeforeDropping’, ‘3’, ‘125000’);

  1. Exit

\q

  1. Start the Horizon Frontend service

service horizon-frontend start.

  1. Start the Horizon Frontend service

service horizon-frontend start.

Adding Indexes to the Database

A number of indexes can be added to the internal database to improve performance when dealing with a large number of users.

The following commands can be run on the service-va to add these indexes

  1. Log in to the console on the service-va as root
  2. Stop the Horizon Frontend service

service horizon-frontend stop

  1. Start PSQL as horizon user.  You will be prompted for a password.

psql -d “saas” -U horizon

  1. Create an index on the UserEntitlement table

CREATE INDEX userentitlement_resourceuuid

ON “UserEntitlement”

USING btree

(“resourceUuid” COLLATE pg_catalog.”default”);

  1. Create 2nd index

CREATE INDEX userentitlement_userid

ON “UserEntitlement”

USING btree

(“userId”);

  1. Exit

\q

  1. Start the Horizon Frontend service

service horizon-frontend start.

I would also like to point out that these performance issues have been fixed in the up and coming Horizon 1.8 release.  For now, though, I hope this helps. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments of this post.


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