Archives for February 2011

Feb
27

No Desktops, Big Problems

I was looking for a way to be notified when provisioning would fail on floating-assignment pools with VMware View. When updating floating-assignment pools our operations teams would set the desktops to delete after log off instead of refresh. If we set it to delete on Friday afternoon and by Monday everyone would have the new image. This seemed like a great idea but sometimes we got caught with our pants down Monday morning. If the pool in question had errors, slowly all the desktops in the pool would be deleted and no one would be able to log in the morning. This effect did not make virtual desktops very popular. [Read more…]

Feb
20

The Ace in the Hole – PCoIP Server Offload Card

In the quest to get better than desktop like experience, Teradici maker of PCoIP has added an insurance policy for your VDI deployments. In 4th quarter of this year consumers should be able to buy PCoIP server offload cards. The offload cards will first come out as PCIe and then later in a mezzanine form factor for your blades servers.

The TERA 2800 hundred chip that is on the Server Offload card has been completely resigned from Teradici’s 1.0 version. I was personally able to see Teradici shake “n” bake lab as they put it through its paces. Truly a remarkable setup with lots of people far smarter than me working on perfection. They made sure to account for power and heating when building this product. With a single slot passive heat sink and 2GB of DDR3 SDRAM memory it can power up to 64 displays at 1920X1200.

If this piece of hardware was available today you could easily install it and get it working for you. As of View 4.5, the proper hooks were put into place to get increased densities and to better prepare for the random acts of your users.

VMware View Hardware assit

From the picture above you see how easy it is to get going. The selection you make from, PCoIP hardware acceleration will be the threshold for the hypervisor to switch from software based to hardware based encoding.

PCOIP Hardware assit

The server offload card will help to increase densities by 30% to 50% according to Teradici. It will also help with USB speeds as the USB channel is within the PCoIP protocol. One word of caution before buying these cards would be if you already have CPU contention because of simply having too many VM’s. An example of this would be if you’re running pre Nehalem processors and already have 8 VM’s per core. Chances are the CPU is still going to be the bottle neck.

I think this offload card will help in achieving an more consistent experience and may prevent you from buying another server to add to your farm. With increased densities you will have make sure you have the IO to support such an architecture. Also your architecture will have to take into account of vMotion-ing off 70+ virtual desktops.

Dwayne Lessner
@dlink7

2-min video on the New Server Offload Cards: http://www.teradici.com/pcoip/pcoip-technology/video_server-offload-card.php

Feb
16

Win the Battle over the bad Windows 7 patch with VMware View

Most people know why their Windows 7 users aren’t getting connected to their respective View environments. Many people have already blogged about the issue and VMware’s fast response. VMware KB article, 1034262 has all the details.
One thing that is missing is getting the new clients out to the people that need it the most. An easy way to do this is get the new clients onto the connection servers. If your users uninstall the Microsoft patches, they mostly likely will get installed again with Windows 7 SP1.
If you download the new clients for the KB article and rename them to the same name of the current exe’s you will be good to go. The directory is listed below.

Note: Nothing needs to be done on the security servers.

Feb
09

Get Your VMware View Health Check Sent To Your Inbox

This isn’t the most complicated script in the world but I like having it sent to me on Sunday night so I avoid any surprises come Monday morning. Like anything else posted on the World Wide Web, test prior to using.

I want to keep adding more useful information and strip away some of the not so useful stuff. All in time. If you have any ideas post away.

true dat
The script

$from = “vi-alerts@domain.com”
$to = “savingyourbacon@domain.com”
$subject =”VMware View Environment”
$smtpServer =”EmailServer”
$body = “Read the Attachment, Its for your own Health”
$file = “c:\\ViewHealhReport.txt”

Get-Monitor | Out-File $file

$mailer = new-object Net.Mail.SMTPclient($smtpServer)
$msg = new-object Net.Mail.MailMessage($from, $to, $subject, $body)
$attachFile = new-object Net.Mail.Attachment($file)
$msg.attachments.add($attachFile)
$mailer.send($msg)

The Output

fullName : DomainMonitor.server-IVDM1
domains : { domain={ domainName=domainname, dns=domainname.ca, state=ERROR, trusttype=TWOWAYFOREST, contactable=cANNOTBIND, isNT4=false }, otherdomain={ domainName=otherdomainname, dns=otherdomain.ca, state=OK, trusttype=TWOWAYFOREST,contactable=FULLYACCESSIBLE, isNT4=false }}
isProblem : true
netbiosName : server-IVDM1
monitor : DomainMonitor
monitor_id : server-IVDM1

fullName : VCMonitor.e7fc0383-91af-4bef-8243-9a70aabdab50
id : e7fc0383-91af-4bef-8243-9a70aabdab50
state : OK
version : 4.1.0
apiVersion : 4.1
URL : https://pnrha-lmh-mgt.pnrha.hin.sk.ca:443/sdk
isComposerEnabled : true
brokerEntry : { brokerNetbiosName=Pserver-IVDM1 , status=STATUS_UP, statusDescription=Connected }
statusInfo : { infoEntry=OK }
monitor : VCMonitor
monitor_id : e7fc0383-91af-4bef-8243-9a70aabdab50

fullName : DBMonitor.EVENTS_DATABASE
Connected : true
ServerType : SQLSERVER
Server : sql.domain.ca\virtual
Port : 1433
DbName : view_events
Username : sa
TablePrefix : ev
State : CONNECTED
Error :
ConnectedNode : CN=server-IVDM1 ,OU=Server,OU=Properties
monitor : DBMonitor
monitor_id : EVENTS_DATABASE

fullName : CBMonitor.server-IVDM1
id : server-IVDM1
isAlive : true
statusValues : { status=OK }
totalSessions : 419
totalSessionsHigh : 628
totalSVISessions : 271
totalSVISessionsHigh : 584
totalCheckedOutVms : 10
totalCheckedOutVmsHigh : 0
version : 4.5.0
build : 4.5.0 build-293049
clusterId : unknown
dns : server-IVDM1.domain.ca
netbiosName : server-IVDM1
ip : 172.11.64.33
monitor : CBMonitor
monitor_id : server-IVDM1

More VMware View scripting at Virtual-Al

NOTE: View Powershell commands can only be ran from the view connection server.

Feb
03

The Turtle and the Hare, which network adapter will win the race?

I was inspired by a recent post by Simon Long at http://www.simonlong.co.uk/blog/2011/02/01/vmware-view-desktops-ide-or-scsi-buslogic-lsi-logic-or-pvscsi/.  It was just recently I ran into some issues with some linked clones and network connectivity, it made me reconsider what I was doing in our VMware View environment.

Like disk controllers, there are many options for network cards. VMware even gives you the link to the KB –
Choosing a network adapter for your virtual machine when you select your network card for your VM.  As a IT geek you are always trying to optimize everything and sometimes to a fault. This was definitely the case with using vmxnet3.  After we upgraded to hardware version 7 and the vmxnet3 driver was available, I really thought it was in my best interest to upgrade all our desktops to the new driver. Why wouldn`t you want to use a network card that could run 10Gb/s and has a higher buffers than it`s predecessors? For me there is one simple answer, VMtools.

The problem with the vmxnet3 driver is that it is dependent on VMware tools. If your VMware tools are out of date after an upgrade the reliable of your system could be compromised. One problem we had during an upgrade was that the linked clone pools would disconnect on recompose because of the network card acting up. Without network connectivity, your desktop is going to be useless and then you will have mad users on your hands. A user could live without one application not working for a bit but having no desktop won’t win you any friends. Also while 10Gb/s from the desktop sounds cool, it’s not needed and if you do need it, you probably have to reevaluate your requirements. 1 Gb/s should be able to satisfy your biggest power user. I say this now but I am sure years from today it will need up like a Bill Gates quote, “640K ought to be enough for anybody”.

The E1000 is the standard network card that we will be using in our VDI environment. Once the driver is installed, shouldn’t have any other problems. I prefer to have reliability then speed. I guess that it way it’s the default in the VMware View deployment guide!

Let me know your thoughts?

-Dwayne Lessner