Archives for April 2012


Using Pure Flash or Cache for VDI

Over the last couple of days of Storage Field Day the conversation of Flash vs Cache has been discussed multiple times. Flash vs Cache is an interesting topic for VDI. Do you want to put your whole work load into Flash or use Flash as a Cache and balance the workload with traditional hard drives?

For the purpose of this article I am only listing the vendors that were at Storage Field Day.

Below is list of vendors that are using Pure Flash for their Storage Arrays:

Pure Storage
Nimbus Data
Violin Memory

Below is a list of vendors that are using Flash as a Cache

Nimble Storage

The vendors that are offering a end to end solution with Flash are trying to bring down the cost of Flash by using techniques like duplication, commodity hardware, build your own drives and will talk about power savings. The Flash as Cache camp talk overall cheaper cost per GB, need for cheap disk and that sequential IO are still better on spinning disk.

If you’re after an clear winner for Flash vs Cache it’s just not the simple. The feature sets between all the different vendors vary quit a lot and have different value propositions. I think it’s important to break down what you need for a VDI solution and make your decision based on that.

Replication – You need the ability get user data and golden desktop images offsite and protected. This doesn’t have to fast disk all.

Need for Speed
– Your replica’s and linked clones need to be fast. Today’s end users are getting SSD in their laptops. Comparing people’s 5 year old computers to VDI are coming to a close. Your virtual desktop needs to deliver the best performance, consistently.

User Data – profile data, user documents, shortcuts and other users errata. Doesn’t need to be on fast disk unless your making use of redirection. If you’re copying data onto the desktop from a repository you don’t want this to be the bottle neck.

The Trash – Page files, swap files and temp files. They take up lots of space so either you need lots of disk or way to dedupe the data.

Applications – An array providing SMB\CIFS share can go along way for distributing your applications to the desktops. This data\IO will land on the linked clones for the most part but an active non-persistent environment can cause a heavy load on your distribution method of choice.

Over the three days at Storage Field Day I cam really close at changing my stance on which makes the best option. Both Pure Storage and Nimbus have some good products but I still think you need disk. If you where only going to go with one array vendor for VDI I would have to go with Flash as a Cache option. To have only one array vendor in your overall solution can go along way with troubleshooting and managing your environment.

User data is going to continue to grow and I believe more of unstructured, hard to dedupe data will be apart of that make up. Also lots of data will be at rest and never be touched after it’s created, I believe this lends well to a flash as cache scenario. Having the disk in the system also helps for replication if you want to use the standby array for other uses during the day. The replicated data can sit on the disk while other systems can use the flash.

All of the Full SSD vendors of their own unique value proposition like Nimbus with there ultra low cost drives and full feature set of offerings and Pure with their ultra safe no virtual machine never UN-aligned again and dedupe upfront features but I still think you need the spinning rust.


Installing or Upgrading View Composer – Errors

On April 22, VMware added a Knowledge Base article for an error View Composer

Installing or upgrading View Composer fails with error: The wizard was interrupted before VMware View Composer could be completely installed. This issue occurs if the user account that is used to install View Composer is not the same as the account used to install vCenter Server and the user account does not have sufficient permissions to modify the MachineKeys directory.

I haven’t experinced the error above but I have ran into the following error when upgrading View Composer, Installing VMware View Composer fails with the error: Error: 28014 or 1603. This issue occurs when a unclean uninstallation of the VMware View Composer services, which might have left behind registry entries that bind the certificate to a TCP port and does not allow another certificate to be bound to that port.

Hope you get quick resolution if you run into these issues.


IDV vs VDI: Off The Cuff Thoughts

I was recently asked about my thoughts on Intelligent Desktop Virtualization(IDV) like VMware View Local Mode and products like NxTop by Virtual Computer. The first thought that comes to my head is to avoid it like the plague. Type 1 and Type 2 hypervisors have their place with the right use case but I don’t think this is for the majority of people.
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Storage Field Day #1 – Tech Field Day Event – YES & YES

I am lucky to have been invited back to another Tech Field Day Event, Storage Field Day #1. When I was trying to get time off work either by the way of holiday time or getting work to cover the days my boss asked me, what would the company get out of it? It was kind of a deer in the headlights question because of my love of technology. It was like if someone offered you an IPAD3, you response is yes right away. Storage being a very important part of overall IT infrastructure, I knew I wanted to go. Below is my official response.

This three day event will showcase the latest in storage architecture, provide answers for selecting the right storage based on business requirements and will have a chance to pick the brains of the top independent experts. Running storage from companies like EMC and NetApp is great but usually these industry juggernauts are not able adjust to change as quickly as their start-up brothers. Newer companies and start-ups can provide great insight into the future and direction of the storage market.

The Solid State Storage Symposium on the first day of the event will help address questions if we should use Solid-state storage as cache or a high end tier of storage for our current vendor in the data centre. It will also give insight into an emerging field that is littered with new companies all stating they‘re the best thing since sliced bread. Not all things are recreated equal and therefore many advantages and drawbacks need to be considered before implementation.

For myself, Day 2 and Day 3 of the event are seeing what can help me drive virtualization at our company and speed up deployment for our VDI environment. Users want a reliability system, they don’t care what company is running on the backend but they want the same performance day in and day out, if not faster. What techniques can we take away to help our own time to market with a solution or help reduce our risk footprint? I hope to be able to finds to augment our current environment without breaking the bank.

Storage Field day will also provide networking with industry experts/veterans that will give a chance to see what other people are doing in their perspective industries. See what they’re having success with and what to avoid. Whitepapers are great but seldom offer the one point that will make or break a solution.

This will be a great learning event. Check out the live stream at

Other People at the Event you should follow:

▪Howard Marks
▪Fabio Rapposelli
▪Chris M Evans
▪Ray Lucchesi
▪Scott D. Lowe Techrepublic,
▪Hans De Leenheer
▪Robin Harris
▪Nigel Poulton
▪Robert Novak
▪Matt Vogt
▪Arjan Timmerman


#VDI Tip 69: Use QofS – UCS and VMware View 5

Cisco commissioned a report by Principled Technologies with running VMware View 5 on UCS. The highlight of the report is the importance of using QofS in your deployment. Below are three of the charts from the report. The report is actually really good starting place for a build document for your infrastructure. We are just getting some loaner FlexPod gear in so I might reference this document to make sure I have it properly set up.

I think it’s important to note that VMware provides QofS too. vSphere 5 has IEEE 802.1p tagging with vDS. This document can show you how to set it up:

It think USC gives more options because of all the vNics you can create but if your current blade solution doesn’t offer the solution you still have options.

The full report can be found here: UCS_View5


#VDI Tip 68: Use Overridable Administrator Defaults for PCoIP Session Variables

Why is there two different settings for PCoIP Session Variables and which should I use?

Overridable Administrator Defaults contains settings that specify PCoIP session variable default values, which can be overridden by an administrator. These settings write registry key values to HKLM\Software\Policies\Teradici\PCoIP\pcoip_admin_defaults.

Not Overridable Administrator Settings contains the same settings as the Overridable Administrator Defaults folder, but these settings cannot be overridden by an administrator. These settings write registry key values to HKLM\Software\Policies\Teradici\PCoIP\pcoip_admin.

Local machine settings are held in the registry keys in HKLM\Software\Teradici. If the same registry key is present under both HKLM\Software\Teradici and HKLM\Software\Policies\Teradici, the group policy setting in HKLM\Software\Policies\Teradici overrides the local machine value.

I prefer setting the PCoIP Session variables as “Overridable”. You are using these settings per pool basis via GPO to give the best overall experience for your users. This will allow you to cater to most of your users but allow for some flexibility for the odd use case that tend to crop up. If you start implementing a hundred and one PCoIP GPO’s you will have more to maintain during upgrades and more to troubleshoot.
The flexibility comes in the form of using different settings on your zero client and soft clients. Zero clients are easy to make different settings but the software client can be changed with a text file. VMware KB -> has the full steps to create the text file. The below steps are from the KB article.

1. Create a file called pcoip_client_settings.txt using a text editor such as notepad.exe.
Settings in this file only take effect on the client.
2. Save the file to C:\Documents and Settings\\Local Settings\Application Data\Teradici
where is the login user ID.
3. Enter they key/value pair for the session variable that you want to override.
Enter one key/value pair per line, seperating the key, ‘=’ character, and value with spaces.
For example: pcoip.device_bandwidth_floor = 1000


Thanks for the Switches: Xangati is the Newest Sponsor of My Blog

Xangati is the newest sponsor for this blog. I thank them for giving me the cash to purchase Layer 3 switches that have support sFlow so I can do futher testing with ThinApp streaming and load testing. They’re great community supporters and fans of independent blogging. Once I get my NetApp storage up and running I hope to get down to business.

Check them out for yourself:

Tech Field Day – Virtualization Field Day

Networking Nerd


McAfee Move 2.5 is GA – Support for vShield EndPoint

It seems like this had been a long time coming but McAfee has released Move 2.5 on April 3rd, 2012 with support for vShield EndPoint.

Below are some slides from McAfee that were used to give an overview of the product.

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Troubleshoot PCoIP WAN Links with Little Effort: AppNeta m20

I like to think of AppNeta like the litmus paper for your WAN connections. Inside the datacenter you most likely have tools that help give you insight on the health of your network, outside the confounds of your firewall is usually a different matter. When application performance like VDI and VoIP start to degrade from a remote site, technical staff will blame the network. It most cases network is a synonym for blameNet. The bigger network, the harder it is figure out where blameNet is brining you to your knees:

• multiple service provider for your MPLS
• multiple hops to figure where the problems are occurring
• inability to reproduce the end users experience
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Weekly VMware View KB Articles: April 1, 2012

VMware View KB’s for April 1, 2012
Recomposing a desktop or pool using a new snapshot with the same name does not trigger the recompose task (2010856)

Cannot input non-English characters in View Client for Linux if the language set does not use UTF-8 encoding (2015297)

View Client for Linux requires external network access and proper proxy settings to perform CRL checking (2015451)

Encryption and Compatibility Requirements for VMware View 4.6.1 and 5.0.1 (2015453)

View desktop rebalance does not migrate a secondary persistent disk that is not part of the pool configuration (2015457)

View Clients are unable to validate connections to the security server when using an SSL offload device (2015294)