Author Archives: Andy Morris

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.

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.

Every Day Is Thanksgiving

Yes, I know that’s a cheesy title, but in the office where we control Workstation and Fusion every day starts with a conversation about you. We talk about things that are trending on Twitter & Facebook, what’s happening on our community forums, and what people are asking us in our inboxes.

Some days it’s all good news, others it bad. Often it’s a mixture, but every day we’re grateful that you’re engaged with us, so that together we can build a better product.

Back in the summer we ran a competition to see what you’d say about us on YouTube. The results surprised us. I can honestly say that we were not expecting the volume of entries that our little give-away generated.

We are truly thankful that you are our customer.

Please stay engaged. Negative or positive, we want to hear your thoughts on the current product, and where you think it should go next.

In the meanwhile, in no order, here’s my favorite top 10 videos from the competition

The one with the cute kid

The one about a zoo

The product demo we should have made ourselves

The one about a whole career

The one that scared us a bit

The other one with cute kids

The one with the gamer

The one with the dog

And finally, the third one with a cute kid

Thank you

We’re Giving Away 20 Oculus Rift Headsets. Want One?

Oculus Rift headsets

Yes, you read that right. Twenty virtual reality headsets. Wow.

Of course, writing to me and asking for one won’t cut it; you have to work a little harder than that.

Continue reading

PlayerPro is one amazing hypervisor

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Type 2 hypervisors are cool.

If you’re looking at the ones from VMware (Workstation, Player Pro, Fusion Pro & Fusion) then you should know that the core technology in those is not only the same, but it’s the same as in vSphere – the solution that powers many of the world’s most in-demand and high performance data centers.

Why should you care about that? Because it means that the care and attention to detail that drives billions of seamless internet transactions every day is available to work for you should you need to run Linux on your Windows, Windows on your Windows, or just about anything else you can think of.

In this demo I thought I’d be crazy and see how far I could push them. While it certainly wasn’t without its scary moments, I hit no walls, encountered no unrecoverable errors, and barely even caused the iMac’s fan to spin. I’m using a combination of Fusion Pro and Player Pro.

The only reason I stopped at 25 was that it was taking too much time to build all those operating systems – I have a day job according to my boss.

Here’s the 25 nested OS’s you can see in the video running ALL AT THE SAME TIME on a late-2014 27” iMac with 32Gb RAM, 4GHz Intel i7.

  1. Windows 10 Pro Technical Preview
  2. Windows 8.1 Enterprise N
  3. Windows 7 Enterprise N
  4. Windows Vista Business
  5. Windows XP SP2
  6. Windows 2000 SP2
  7. Windows 98
  8. Windows 95
  9. Windows NT 4 SP6
  10. Windows 3.1
  11. OS/X 10.11 El Capitan
  12. OS/X 10.10 Yosemite
  13. OS/X 10.9 Mavericks
  14. OS/X 10.8 Mountain Lion
  15. OS/X 10.7 Lion
  16. OS/X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server
  17. OS/X 10.5 Leopard Server
  18. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
  19. Debian 8.1 (Jessie)
  20. Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation 7.1 (maipo)
  21. openSUSE 13.2 (harlequin)
  22. Fedora 22
  23. Zorin OS 9 (trusty)
  24. OS/2 Warp v4
  25. Android 4.4.2 (kitkat)

Clearly, if you try this yourself don’t phone support. They’ll be impressed but I doubt they help you. This was fun. I wonder what I can do next?

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Thanks for watching.

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.

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.