#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 -> http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2015292 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


#VDI Tip 65 – Repeat After Me – Tools and then the Agent

Anytime you upgrade the VMware tools on your VDI image you need to reinstall the View agent again. The tools can replace the VGA driver and end up causing blurriness, disconnects or no connection at all. I found a nice table at the Teradici website and in a VMware KB that you can reference.


Windows XP

Windows Vista

Windows 7

View 3.1.3 build 252693

Dated: 4/21/2010
VMware SVGA 3D
Dated: 4/21/2010

Not Supported

View 4.0.2 build 294291

Version: 11.6.35
Dated: 4/21/2010

Not Supported

View 4.5.0 build 293049

Version: 11.6.37
Dated: 7/16/2010
Version: 11.6.37
Dated: 7/16/2010
VMware SVGA 3D
Dated: 7/16/2010

View 4.6.0 build 366101

Dated: 7/16/2010
Dated: 7/16/2010
VMware SVGA 3D
Dated: 7/16/2010
View 5.0 build 481677 VMware SVGA II
Date: 7/12/2011
Dated: 7/12/2011
VMware SVGA 3D
Date: 7/29/2011

VMware KB: The PCoIP server log reports the error: Error attaching to SVGADevTap, error 4000


VDI-IOmark – VDI Storage Benchmarking For People With A Schedule

Translating Max IOPS into how many users you can fit onto a storage array(s) can be a pretty complicated question to ask of someone. Workloads are random between users, different blocks sizes are hitting the storage, AV is getting in the way and the list goes on and on. 20 IOPS per user is big joke in the VDI space. While 20 IOPS may represent the average, the deviation from that number can be astonishing. I encourage you watch Applied Math for VDI Design: A Statistical Approach to Designing VDI Environments. The session was presented at BriFourm last year and now is free. If you watch the video, you will see and understand what you need to be planning for.

VDI-IOmark from Evaluator Group is a tool that can tests your storage subsystem with realistic workloads. IOmeter can only give you simulated IO and not all the crazy behaviors of actual workload. VDI-IOmark uses workload replay from previous work captured from VMware RAWC implementation(View Planner). VDI-IOmark has 64 unique replays. The workloads range from 5 IOPS -20 IOPS on average but have peaks over 100. Microsoft Office(Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook), Internet Explorer, 7zip and Windows Media Player were all used to creat the replay. Boot and steady were also included in the replay. The tests are not dependent on your server platform, switching fabric or storage protocol so that’s a big thumbs up but it doesn need to run on .

The great thing about VDI-IO mark it that requires less the time to configure than building out a full environment. This is great if want to repurpose some old storage and test it our prior too or if you’re a consultant, you can do apple to apple comparisons between different vendors. Also since is each replay file contains 8 workloads test you can test your storage subsystem will less server hardware, you don’t need all the RAM it would normally take in a traditional LoginVSI or View Planner test. It’s always hard to get more money for test gear but people always want to know what the expensive box can do in the datacenter.
[Read more…]


VMware ADAM Database – Backup & Connect

Working with the ADAM database in VMware View is kind of like going to the dentist. You never want to go there, your reasons for going are usally related to pain, but your glad when it’s all said and done. This post will form the ground work for a series of tips & articles over the next couple of weeks. The article references all locations in terms of Windows 2008. If you’re running Windows 2003, god bless you.
Step 1 – Always Get a Current Backup
In the VMware View Administrator console you get create an on-demand backup Under View Configuration -> Servers.
Once the backup is complete, go to the server you ran the backup on and move the .LDF and .SVI file to a “safe location”.

The backup location is: C:\ProgramData\VMware\VDM\backups
.LDF = ADAM database
.SVI = View Composer Database

Step 2 – Connecting to the ADAM database

To connect to the View ADAM database:
1. Log in to one of the View Connection Servers.
2. Click Start > Administrative Tools > ADSI Edit.
3. In the console window, right-click ADSI Edit and click Connect to.
4. In the Name field type: View ADAM Database
5. Select Select or type a Distinguished Name or Naming Context.
6. In the field below, type dc=vdi,dc=vmware,dc=int
7. Select Select or type a domain or server.
8. In the field below, type localhost
9. Click OK.
10. Click View ADAM Database [localhost] to expand.
11. Click DC=vdi,dc=vmware,dc=int to expand


#VDI Tip 54: Getting Aero to Work with VMware View 5

All the cool kids are using Aero. Make sure you are and that you don’t get stumped with these possible snap-fu’s.

Enable Aero
On the Desktop Image:
Right-click on the virtual machine desktop, click Personalize, and select one of the Aero themes available in the window.
The desktops must be Windows 7 or later
The desktops must have virtual hardware v8 or later

Pool Settings:
The pool must use the PCoIP as the default display protocol

Users can’t choose their own protocol

When you enable the Windows 7 3D Rendering setting, the default VRAM size is 64MB, the minimum size. The max VMRAM is 128MB

Bad Performance with IE9 with non Aero Themes
To fix:
1.In the Windows 7 Control Panel, open Performance Information and Tools -> Adjust visual effects.
2.In the Performance Options window, select “Adjust for best performance.”

Bad Performance with IE9 in general
Don’t use a GPU rendering when you don’t have one!

Can’t enable Windows Aero themes after switching back and forth

If you enable Windows Aero by selecting a Windows Aero theme, and then disable Windows Aero by choosing the Windows 7 Basic theme, and then continue switching between Windows 7 Basic and Aero, the Windows Aero themes might become disabled. This can happen if you are using a single monitor or multiple monitors. If the Aero Themes become disabled, select the Windows Classic theme, and then select an Aero theme.

2 CPU’s
If you’re going to use Aero I would recommend two vCPU’s unless you have plans on getting an Teradici APEX offload card(not avialble yet). The screen may look pretty but you want your applications still to work.

Video RAM Storage sizing
With 3D enabled VMware View 5.0 will ask for the amount of RAM to be assigned to video. Follow this great aritcle by Andre Leibovici, ***VMware View 5.0 Video RAM Storage sizing***

Remember to disable the screen saver as well, it will cauing re-connect issues as well not to mention the extra overhead of having it running.

Aero Registry Keys
Added January 30th
Registry Settings to force Aero
Registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM

If the DWM registry key is not found, right click on Windows and then select New –> Key to create new branch and name it as DWM.
3. In the right details pane, create a new DWORD (32-bit value) named UseMachineCheck, and set its value to 0.
4. In the right details pane, create a new DWORD (32-bit) Value named Blur, and set its value to 0.
5. In the right details pane, create a new DWORD (32-bit) Value named Animations, and set its value to 0.
6. Restart the Desktop Window Manager Session Manager in Services in Control Panel (type Services.msc in Start Search), or run the following commands in a command prompt with administrator privileges:

net stop uxsms
net start uxsms

7. Attempt to enable and apply Windows Aero in Windows 7. Restart the computer if required.


#VDI Tip 52: Rat A Dat Dat, better Thin Dat

For a long time I thought DAT files where bad. They were normally very big and I considered them an extra file. I have now realized the error of my ways. DAT files are great because the help control your anti-virus by scanning a small exe and then excluding the DAT file. Exclude outgoing DAT’s on your server hosting your streaming apps and exclude DAT files incoming on your VDI desktops. Remember to remove any extra files, like user state files, extra language options and temp directories with install files.


#VDI Tip 50: Combat VDI Slowness with Coffee

VDI is Slow”, This is a common saying heard when deploying VDI and it really gets under my skin. Most times it’s a crappy app or email responding slow but VDI gets blamed because it’s the new thing. Since deploying VDI is a lot like deploying a new image you have lots of things you need to get right for the user. They have been probably using a image that’s been used since XP was around and have had multiple GPO applied to them.

Make sure you get the Application owners on your side when deploying VDI. Buy them a coffee and get them access to base templates in vSphere if you’re going to install application into the base. If you don’t you will have to become an expert on every app and you won’t have the history of the environment on your side.


VMworld Big Announcements – vCloud

Here are some of the highlights of VMworld 2011

vCloud Connector 1.5

• New Faster, highly reliable transfer between vSphere, private and public clouds
• Checkpoint and re-start for reliability
• Web access from a compatible browser
• Intergraded with vcloud.vmware.com
vcloud.vmware.com: Gateway to the Enterprise Cloud
• Find a provider, get a trail, transfer your VMs and data and Go!
• Easy to find service providers meeting VMware standards
vCloud Datacenter Expansion

• Dell joining
• Colt expanding coverage across Europe
• All service providers but meet a minimum uptime of 99.9%
• Must comply with VMware architecture
• Allows companies to provide the same level of service even if they are not local to a country
• VMware gives security control set iCERT 7001 & must conduct an audit at least once a year.
• Companies that are VMware vCloud Datacenter must use OVF format.


ProfileUnity – New Release 4.8.1

Liquidware Labs new release of ProfileUnity 4.8.1 has three main points that I would like to cover.

1) – I had written a blog post about using ActiveSetup to speed up non-persistent machines. With 4.8.1 is it is now intregrated as a portablilty settings. Every easy to use and get up and running.

2) Log on Speeds – They have improved the movment of user persona data by changing giving two options to move data. For those unformilar with ProfileUnity, Liquidware Labs uses 7zip to compress and decompress the portabablity settings when logging off and on. The faster log on speeds results in bigger files being saved but it is less than 50% of the original.

3) Wizard Driven – If you just starting out you have the ability to use a wizard to configure your base policy instead of manually entering all the fields. It’s also nice now that unused settings are greyed out so you don’t have to go hunting around if you’re doing some troubleshooting.


Red Bull VDI Setting changes name with vSphere 5?

The great people over at VRC coined the term “Red Bull Setting” when they showed how to increase your VDI throughput.

The jest of the Red Bull setting is:
• Physically CPU has to over 50%
• Your CPU has to have Hyper-threading
• You can see a 20% increase with HaltingIdleMsecPenaltyMax set to 2000 or you can disable it.
• To ensure a VM gets it fair share of time, ESX will not let anything run on the one side of the core by disabling it while the vm takes its turn.

That is pretty high level overview but for more info go check out their sight. I noticed in vSphere 5 that I think the setting has changed its name. The picture below is the old setting disabled. The one after that is what appears to be the new one. When I upgrade my test environment I will double check to see if the setting is kept.

Old Setting: HaltingIdleMsecPenaltyMax


New Setting: HTWholeCoreThreshold

HaltingIdleMsecPenaltyMax set