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Tag Archives: Horizon Workspace

Horizon View: RDS PCoIP Design Tips

By Dale Carter, Consulting Architect, End-User Computing

With the release of VMware Horizon View has come the ability to not only configure virtual desktops but also virtual applications hosted on Windows RDS servers.

In this post, I will cover a couple of things that you should take into consideration when configuring virtual applications and how they might affect the sizing of your View Cluster and the number of connection servers you will need.

There are many different papers and posts on how to configure RDS servers themselves, so I will not be touching on that in this post. I want to discuss the effects of how the PCoIP connections connect to RDS servers and what you should look out for.

Scenario 1
The following diagram shows my first configuration. This includes a virtual desktop cluster and a single RDS farm. RDS Farm A in this example is hosting five applications: Word, Excel, Power Point, Visio and Lync.

Virtual Desktop Scenario 1

In this scenario if a user launches a virtual desktop and then an application, the user would be using a maximum of two PCoIP connections through the Horizon View infrastructure. It’s important to know that when configuring RDS with just one farm, if a user then launches a second application or all five applications, then all these applications will launch using the same PCoIP connection. This means that all five applications for that user would be running on the same RDS host. In this scenario, you need to make sure that each of your RDS hosts can handle all users opening all applications on each of the hosts.

The Horizon View connection servers do load balance a user’s connection when the user first connects to an RDS host. Users will always be sent to the RDS host with the lowest number of connections; however, once they are connected they will always go to the same RDS host until they completely disconnect from all applications.

In this scenario, if you have 300 users and they all launch Word, each RDS server will have 100 connections all running Word. It is also possible in this scenario that Servers A and B will only be running 100 instances of Word; whereas Server C could be running 100 instances of all five of the different software applications. This is why it is critical that the RDS servers are configured correctly.

Scenario 2
In the second configuration, I split the application across RDS host farms. The following diagram shows two RDS farms. The first, Farm A, is hosting Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The second, Farm B, is hosting Visio and Lync.

Virtual Desktop Scenario 2

 

Now in this scenario, if a user launches a virtual desktop and then the applications Word and Visio, we have managed to lighten the load on the RDS servers. By separating the application into different RDS farms, we now know that each RDS server is not going to get as much load when a user opens these applications. However, instead of a user only using two PCoIP connections the user is now using three PCoIP connections.

Conclusion
Given this information, it becomes more important than ever to know your users’ environment and the applications the users are using. When deploying Horizon View into your environment and taking advantage of the new hosted application functionality you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How many applications will be installed on each RDS host?
  • What is the hardware configuration of the RDS host?
  • How many RDS farms will be required?
  • How many PCoIP sessions will each user require?

For larger environments, the question might be: Will one or more View deployments be required? As the environments get larger, it might be a better design to have one View deployment for desktop connections and a separate deployment for hosted applications. In this scenario, VMware Workspace can become that central location for users to access all of their desktops and applications. With VMware Workspace 2.0, it is now possible to configure more that one View environment, giving you the option of multiple View environments that are all accessible from the one Workspace front end.


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

Practical Tools from VMware Consultants: Mobility Policy, Horizon + Lync Architecture, and vCOps Dashboard

Our goal on the VMware Consulting blog is to share best practices that have delivered results for our customers, in hopes that they will help others be successful with VMware offerings.  Once in a while we like to highlight past posts that our readers have found particularly valuable. Last month, we published three such pieces — with great, practical advice to help you in your daily work. Just in case you missed them, we hope you find them useful. And if you’re already putting them to use, be sure to leave comments for our consulting authors. Feedback helps us bring you more of what you want to read!

How to Set Up a BYOD/Mobility Policy
By TJ Vatsa, Principal Architect, VMware Americas Professional Services Organization

Architecture Overview: Microsoft Lync with VMware Horizon View
By Ray Heffer, VCDX #122, VMware EUC Architect

Create a vCOps One-Click Cluster Capacity Dashboard, Part 2
By Sunny Dua, Senior Technology Consultant, VMware


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

What Did You Miss? Best Blog Posts for 2013

When you consider the constant flow of information we are submerged in on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that great insights occasionally escape our notice. As we reflect this week on the  last year, we thought we’d share a few of our most read and most shared posts from 2013—just in case you missed one. We hope they’ll help you step into 2014 with confidence, knowing you have these helpful tips in your back pocket (and that you can check back any time for new ones). Enjoy!


Four Commonly Missed and Easy to Implement Best Practices (Horizon View)
– By Nathan Smith, VMware EUC Consultant

It All Starts Here: Internal implementation of Horizon Workspace at VMware
– By Jim Zhang, VMWare Professional Services Consultant

4 Ways To Overcome Resistance to the Cloud
– By Brett Parlier, Solutions Architect, VMware Professional Services

Quickly Calculate Bandwidth Requirements with New vSphere ‘fling’
– By Sunny Dua, Senior Technology Consultant at VMware

It All Starts Here: Internal Implementation of Horizon Workspace at VMware

By Jim Zhang, VMWare Professional Services Consultant

VMware has had a dogfood tradition since previous CEO Paul Maritz’ instilled the practice of having VMware IT deploy VMware products for production use internally. As a VMware employee personally, I can understand some criticism to this practice, but I definitely believe it serves to build and deliver a solid and quality product to the market.

Prior to the release of VMware’s Horizon Suite, VMware IT provided Horizon Workspace to its employees in the production environment. It’s very exciting! Right now, I can use my iPhone and iPad to access my company files without being tied to my desk. Also, it is very easy to share a folder and files with other colleagues, expanding our ability to collaborate and also track various file versions. Additionally, with Workspace, I can access internal applications without further authentication after I login to the Horizon portal. Even my entitlement virtual desktops are still there!

While Mason and Ted discuss the IT challenges with mobility computing in this blog, we at VMware understand these challenges because ‘we eat our own dogfood’.  In this blog I’d like to share some of the key sizing concepts of each of the Horizon components and reference which sizes VMware IT utilized to deploy the Horizon Workspace for its 13,000+ employees.

Horizon Workspace is a vApp that generally has 5 Virtual Machines (VM) by default:

Lets go through each VM and see how to size it in each case:

1.  Configurator VA (virtual appliance): This is the first virtual appliance to be deployed. It is used to configure the vApp from a single point and deploy and configure the rest of the vApp. The Configurator VA is also used to add or remove other Horizon Workspace virtual appliances. There can only be one Configurator VA per vApp.

  • 1x Configurator VA is used. 2vCPU, 2G Memory

2.  Connector VA:  Enterprise deployments require more than one Connector VA to support different authentication methods, such as RSA SecureID and Kerberos SSO. To provide high availability when deploying more than one Connector VA, you must front-end the Connector VAs with a load balancer. Each Connector VA can support up to 30,000 users. Specific use cases, such as Kerberos, ThinApp integration, and View integration, require the Connector VA to be joined to the Windows domain.

  • 6x Connector VA is used. 2 vCPU, 4G Memory

3.  Gateway VA: The Gateway VA is the single namespace for all Horizon Workspace interaction. For high availability, place multiple Gateway VAs behind a load balancer. Horizon Workspace requires one Gateway VA for every two Data VAs, or one Gateway VA for every 2,000 users.

  • 4x Gateway VA is used: 2 vCPU, 8G Memory

4.  Management VA: aka Service VA. Enterprise deployments require two or more Service VAs. Each service VA can handle up to 100,000 users.

  • 2x Service VA is used: 2vCPU, 6G Memory (1 for HA)

5.  Data VM: Each Data VA can support up to 1,000 users. At least three Data VAs are required. The first Data VA is a master data node, the others are user data nodes. Each user data node requires its own dedicated volume. In proof of concept or small-scale pilot scenarios, you can use a Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK). For production, you must use NFS.

  • 11x Data VA is used: 6 vCPU, 32G Memory

6.  Database: Workspace only supports Postgres. For enterprise deployment best practice is to use an external Postgres database.

  • 2x Postgres Server is used: 4 vCPU, 4G Memory (1 for replication)

7.  MS Office Preview Server: Windows 7 Enterprise or Windows 2008 R2 Standard required; MS Office 2010 Professional, 64-bit required;Admin account w/ permissions to create local accounts; Disable UAC; Real-time conversion of documents

  • 3x MS Office Preview Server: 4vCPU, 4G Memory

 

If you want to learn more about the real deployment experience and best practices for deploying the Horzion Suite, please contact your local VMware Professional Services team. They have the breadth of experience and technical ability to help you achieve your project goals: from planning and design to implementation and maintenance. Also, be on the look out for upcoming Horizon reference guides being released from VMware soon. Good luck!

Jim Zhang joined VMware in November 2007 as a quality engineering manager for VMware View.  In 2011, he moved to Professional Services as consultant and solution architect.  Jim has extensive experience in desktop virtualization and workspace solution design and delivery.