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Using VMware Workstation Pro as the perfect demo tool

Matthew Evans

Matthew Evans

By Matt Evans.

An EUC Senior Specialist SE based in the UK. Matt has been with VMware for 9 months and has been working in the Server based Computing\EUC space for 20 years. Outside of work he is interested in music and running, having completed the London Marathon in April.


As a member of the End User Compute Specialist Sales Engineer team, I use VMware’s cloud hosted demo environment 99% of the time. However, we have all been in the situation where we need to demonstrate the solution but there is no network connection available. That’s one of the reasons I built a VMware Horizon environment in Workstation Pro. The other reason is that the ‘techie’ in me wants to have an environment that I have free rein in. As well as my Horizon environment, I built a Windows 10 virtual machine so that I had a Windows 10 device to manage from my AirWatch demo lab.

The core virtual machines in my demo lab that runs in Workstation Pro is:

  • Windows 2012 R2 – Vmware Horizon Server
  • Windows 2008 R2 – Active Directory, DNS and DHCP
  • Windows 2012 R2 – Workspace ONE components
  • Windows 2012 R2 – RDS Host
  • Windows 10 – VDI desktop
  • Windows 8 – VDI desktop
  • Windows 10 – Managed endpoint by AirWatch (Saas)

As I said I am techie at heart and I like to use three 3rd party tools with my demo lab to enable me too deep dive, create screenshots and shadow my iPhone, now let me explain.

Apowersoft Phone Manager

VMware Workstation Pro supports USB devices which is critical to this tool. I can connect USB devices, such as my iPhone, to my laptop and map them through to the Virtual Machine. As part of my Horizon demo I always like to show the user experience from an iPhone connecting to a VDI or RDSH application as well as what the Workspace ONE portal looks like and what the user experience looks like.

Apowersoft Phone Manager is similar to iTunes, in the way it helps you manage your device. The one feature that it offers that iTunes does not, is the ability to shadow the device, you can see the Workspace ONE app running on my phone below. You can also switch to full screen mode. Being able to shadow the device means that can deliver a demo from my iPhone or iPad and display it through Workstation Pro and onto a larger screen, typically a projector.

I tend to make screenshots of this type of demo as well as documenting the setup and configuration of Horizon, for example. This leads me on nicely to the next tool.

Apowersoft Phone Manager

Apowersoft Phone Manager

Lightscreen

Typically I deliver my product demonstrations out of VMware Test Drive, which is managed cloud environment, therefore software updates are managed centrally and not done by me. That’s one of the reasons I use Workstation Pro to run my own demo lab, so I can go through the experience of updating and managing the environment as I would like. When I go through the update I tend to take screenshots that I can then use for custom presentations or share with customers and partners so they know what to expect when they go through the updates themselves. It also helps to take screenshots to help articulate a configuration or specific feature with a customer when a real time screen-sharing tool is not an option. As Workstation Pro allows clipboard redirection between my host OS (laptop) and virtual machine it is very easy for me to take screenshots and then copy them out of the Virtual Machine into One Drive.

Within Lightscreen I configure a hotkey to take the screenshot, a directory to store the image in and also whether I want to capture the whole screen or just the active window – I tend to use the active window. Then I just run through my sequence, click the hotkey when required and finally when I have finished, copy the images out of the Virtual Machine and paste them to my local drive.

Apowersoft Phone Manager

Apowersoft Phone Manager

ASIDE: The one feature that could improve Lightscreen would be if you could also capture short video files, even if that was limited to say 10 seconds.

Apowersoft Phone Manager

Apowersoft Phone Manager

Glasswire

In my opinion, I have saved the best until last. Glasswire offers Network Monitoring, Threat Monitoring and a Firewall. Because my Virtual Machines are pretty isolated in Workstation Pro I am not really using the software for its main intended purpose. However, I love the Network Monitoring aspect. Being able to monitor the network gives me the visibility of what processes are running, what they are doing and what bandwidth they are using. A good example of its use case for me would be to look at the different protocols we support in Horizon and how they perform.

As you may know we support Blast, PCoIP and RDP within Horizon, and Glasswire enables me to monitor exactly what they are doing – sorry but I did warn you I was a techie at heart. The screenshot below shows all my active processes and their bandwidth usage over a 5 minute period, the time period can be adjusted as you can see in the top right corner.

Glasswire

Glasswire

Let me give you an example of a customer scenario. I was involved in a project where we planned to leverage the customer’s internal Java based VPN client to secure a connection for remote workers and then automatically trigger a connection to a cloud based Virtual Desktop. To be able to configure this process we needed to know which processes were active when a connection was established, if they only used HTTPS and what the differences would be if we connected using the HTML5 client rather than the standard Windows Client. Firstly I logged into my Windows client machine in Workstation Pro and launched the Horizon Client, I then made a connection to a hosted Windows 10 machine and checked Glasswire. From the image below you can see that the Horizon client has two processes running, both of which are making an HTTPS connection to the same host.

Glasswire

Glasswire

Secondly, I wanted to see how the Horizon connection varied when using the HTML5 client rather than the Windows client. The HTML5 client is represented by Chrome, as that was the browser I was using. It is still using HTTPS but in this instance it is a single connection to hv6emea.vmwdemo.com

Glasswire

Glasswire

With the help of this information we were able to configure the VPN client to pass these connections through giving the customer end users and simple and familiar use case.

Running Glasswire in a clean virtual machine in Workstation Pro is ideal as it allows me to remove many of the other processes that could dilute the information I am trying to gather,

Your Go

Without Workstation Pro I would have had to install my demo lab on my native endpoint, which just wouldn’t be viable due to requirements of AD, DHCP, DNS and in some case multiple versions of the same software. Another option would have been to pay for cloud resource to run the virtual machines. This generally is a good option but I want access to all the components, for example the Hypervisor or AD Controller, which is not always an option with Cloud based environments and I wanted to guarantee 100% control.

Try Workstation Pro for Windows, or Workstation Pro for Linux, for free, today.

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Andy Morris

About Andy Morris

Andy Morris is a group product line marketing manager for VMware EUC, managing the personal desktop and applications portfolios. Prior to VMware, Andy was VP of product management at Abaca, and worked for AppSense, LogLogic and IBM. Andy holds a computer science degree from DeMontford University.