Posts Tagged ‘3rd Party Apps’

Howdy Partner

May 17th, 2011

I started my IT career working as a contractor in both short and long term engagements at medium to large customer sites.  Since then, and for the past 13+ years, I’ve grown my career in a customer role.  Along the way, I’ve picked up a tremendous amount of experience and expertise across several technologies.  VMware virtualization came onto the scene and I was drawn to specialize in… well, you know the story there. 

At present, I work for a great company and on a daily basis I’m at the helm of the largest vSphere implementation I’ve ever seen and possibly one of the largest in the region.  I’ve networked, made a lot of friends, maybe a few enemies, and I’ve been the recipient of an unmeasurable amount of opportunity, kindness, and generosity available only to customers in the VMware community.  However, from a role and operational aspect, I feel I’ve reached the peak of the mountain and I’ve seen and experienced all of the challenges that this mountain has to offer.  It’s time to try another mountain.

I’m hanging up my customer hat.  On Monday of next week, I begin a new role with Dell Compellent, a VMware Technology Alliance Partner.  I’ll have two titles:  Tactical Marketing Senior Advisor and Virtualization Product Specialist.  Each speaks to a degree of what my various responsibilities will entail.  My VMware experience will be leveraged continuously as I provide SME technical expertise to Storage Architects, Business Partners, and Customers on design, planning, and integration.  In addition, I’ll be involved with consulting, product demos, solution certification, white papers, and reference architectures.  In summary, I’ll be splitting my time between colleagues, customers, and more lab infrastructure than I might know what to do with, and at the same time exercising more of my design muscles.

So what does all this mean and how is it going to change Jason?  Let’s go through the list of things which come to my mind:

  • The VMware Virtualization Evangelist stays, though independent of this news I have been thinking about shortening the title to VMware vEvangelist (thoughts?).  That said, I’ll need to provide extra thought in what and how I write.  It is my underlying intent to deliver this news not from the standpoint of “hey, I got a new job”, but more importantly to instantiate the necessary transparency and disclosure from this point on.  This blog (and my twitter account @jasonboche) has always been and will continue to be mine.  I’ve made it quite clear in the past that my writing is my own and not the opinion or view of my employer.  This carries forward and I will continue to be an independent voice as much as possible but the fact that I work for a VMware Partner in the future will be inescapable.  Which brings me to the next point…
  • VMware’s policy is that, other than a few people which were grandfathered in, VMware Partners cannot be VMware User Group (VMUG) leaders.  I’ve been the Minneapolis VMUG leader for close to 5 years.  I’ve been involved with the group since the beginning when it was founded by @tbecchetti.  Although Dell Compellent was allowing me to continue carrying the VMUG torch, VMware forbids it.  It’s a fair policy and I agree 100% with it.  The Minneapolis VMUG members own and operate the group and this is clearly what’s best for the charter and its members.  A few weeks ago, I began the transition plan with the help of VMware and have talked with several potential candidates for taking over the VMUG leader role.  If I haven’t talked to you yet and you’re interested in leading or co-leading the group, please contact me via email expressing your interest.  Be sure to leave your name and contact information.  Our group has a quarterly meeting coming up this Friday which I’ll be conducting business as usual.  Our Q3 meeting in September is where I’ll likely be stepping down and introducing the new leader(s).
  • I’m still attending Gestalt Tech Field Day 6 evening activities in Boston 6/8 – 6/11, but I will not formally be a delegate nor will I be a delegate going forward as I’m no longer considered independent.  Again, Gestalt IT guidelines and I completely get it, it’s what is best for the group.  I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends as well as new faces from **I can’t let the cat out of the bag just yet, area locals will find out soon**.
  • I’m going to get my hands on kit which I’ve not had the chance to work with in the past.  Don’t be completely surprised if future discussion involves Dell Compellent.  At the same time, don’t automatically jump to a conclusion that I’ve transformed into a puppet.  Cool technology motivates me and is ultimately responsible for where I am at today.  I enjoy sharing the knowledge with peers when and where I can.  I believe that by sharing, everyone wins.
  • VMworld – you’ll probably see me at the booth.
  • Partner Exchange – I may be there as well.
  • VMworld Europe – I hope but not counting on it.  I didn’t ask.

I think that covers everything.  Compellent is a local (to me) storage company which I like.  I think Dell will add a lot of strength, opportunity, and growth.  I’m excited to say the least!

Jas

Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP) Tag Team

May 15th, 2011

 

For this blog post, I collaborated with Dawn Theirl (@KokopeIIi on Twitter) who is a Network Engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Dawn performs a  lot of hands-on work in her day to day role as a wired and wireless network guru.  We understand that CDP provides benefits for both the network and virtualization platform teams.  However, in larger or siloed environments, our two teams don’t necessarily know what the other is seeing in their dashboard.  Curiosity prevailed and here we are.  In this writing, Dawn and I will discuss CDP, its implementation, and what exactly is seen in each of our siloed roles using our respective management tools, as well as the benefits provided by both having and sharing this information..

CDP is a useful troubleshooting tool in networking…. When given an IP of a host that someone has questions about and tracing the IP and MAC from a distribution layer switch down to the access layer, CDP info can tell you what switch to look at next. It is also useful if you don’t have an accurate network map to get an idea of how a network is physically laid out by learning what devices are physically connected to each other.  CDP operates at Layer 2 (Datalink) of the OSI model.  CDP packets are non-routable.

By default, CDP is enabled (and advertising) on Cisco switches and routers.  CDP is enabled and effectively configured as listen on ESX(i) vSwitches.  The value added by CDP benefits VMware administrators.  Looking at the CDP properties of each vmnic from the vSphere Client, CDP information is provided.  The most useful information is highlighted in yellow.  The name of the switch which the vmnic is cabled to as well as the port number on the switch that the network cable is connected to.  In access port configurations where 802.1Q VLANs are enabled, the VLAN field will also contain useful information:

SnagIt Capture

 

 

From the Cisco switch point of view in the default configuration, we don’t see any information about the ESXi host or its vmnics.  This is because the vSwitch tied to the vmnic uplinks is in listen mode only (no advertising).  # show cdp neighbors is the command which would display information about other devices advertising information by way of CDP:

SnagIt Capture

So out of the box, ESXi is configured to pull CDP information about the upstream network and this is quite valuable to have for implementation and troubleshooting.  However, there is an additional configuration which can be made on the ESXi host which will allow it to provide its own intrinsic data to the Cisco switch via CDP and that is by enabling CDP advertising.  This information is useful for troubleshooting which benefits both the network and virtual infrastructure teams by providing a method for close collaboration.  Let’s make the additional configuration change and note the additional information which is exposed by the ESXi host.

At the ESXi host DCUI, we can examine the CDP status of a vSwitch by issuing the command # esxcfg-vswitch -b vSwitch0.  Shown here, vSwitch0 is in listen only mode:

SnagIt Capture

Now let’s change the CDP mode for vSwitch0 to both (meaning both listen and advertise) and then verify the configuration change:

5-15-2011 11-30-24 AM

At this point, both the Cisco switch and the ESXi host are listening and advertising which is mutually beneficial to the network and virtual infrastructure teams.  Nothing changes visibility wise on the ESXi side.  However, the network team is now able to receive and view CDP advertisements on their Cisco gear from the ESXi hosts.  Let’s take a look by issuing the > show cdp neighbors command on the Cisco switch.  Note a difference from when I ran this command earlier that we can view CDP neighbor information in either user or privileged mode on the switch.  With CDP advertisements enabled on the ESXi host, we’re able to see ESXi host information as well as the host vmnic uplinks and the respective ports they’re cabled to on the Cisco switch:

5-15-2011 11-42-58 AM

From the switch side I can see what ports the VMs are on. This can be useful as unless you put a description on a port with the host name every time something gets installed (and then moved), you don’t know what is connected on any given port without a lot effort to backtrack a mac address to a IP to a hostname.  Lots of information… you get the host name, what port it’s connected to on the switch and which nic the host is using for that connection. Very useful for troubleshooting when a systems admin is questioning if there are problems on the network when a particular host is having issues. Usually the most the sys admin can tell you is what network the host is on and the network admin has to trace the IP and then the MAC address to find what port the host is on. With the CDP exchange once you narrow down what switch the host is on just issuing the “show CDP neighbor” command will tell you what port to focus on. One interesting note is the Host advertises itself as a switch instead of a host.

> show cdp neighbors detail provides some additional information about the host such as the build number and CDP version.  This detail is not quite as valuable for troubleshooting but nonetheless could come in handy for either a large enterprise or a smaller environment with consolidated roles:

5-15-2011 11-43-56 AM

Looking at the [advertised] Cisco Discovery Protocol output from the VM, important information seen is the switch name, IP address, vlan and port the host is connected to. Other things I can see are that the port is set to full duplex, and that it’s a switch vs. a router (don’t laugh, I’ve seen a router with a blade with a small number of ports used for a very small office.)

With the implementation details and benefits out of the way, let’s focus a bit on CDP strategy.  There are a few approaches to CDP which can be evaluated from labor, change management, and security primitives:

  1. Infrastructure implementation with default configurations – No changes required at implementation time providing the easiest and fastest deployment of ESXi in addition to providing CDP listen mode benefits from the virtual platform point of view.  The virtual platform remains secure while upstream network information is advertised to neighbors.
  2. Disable CDP globally, enable only as needed for the short term – Requires disabling CDP at implementation time in addition to change management time spent temporarily enabling and disabling CDP later on to aid troubleshooting.  Most secure from the network and virtual platform standpoint.
  3. Enable bidirectional CDP globally, always on – Requires enabling CDP both (listen and advertise) at implementation time thereby providing comprehensive information for troubleshooting later on.  Least secure; both network and virtual platform information is exposed by CDP advertisements to neighbors.

I’ve worked with organizations who implement one, of or a combination of all three.  As with many design decisions, philosophy and justifications will vary.  A decision here could be made based on the size of the datacenter, distribution of roles, security approach, or the vertical which the business operates in (think regulatory compliance).  CDP is of course beneficial to network and virtual platform owners but it can also aid a hacker who has penetrated the environment thereby becoming a sharing recipient of the same network information.  Speaking for myself, I’ve gotten a lot of operational benefits while leveraging CDP for troubleshooting.  Network engineers often ask me to configure CDP for advertising on the host side.  What helps them ultimately helps me in a troubleshooting scenario and can ultimately shorten the time we spend focusing on an issue.  In customer facing or production environments, every minute of downtime costs and therefore counts.  My preference is to operate with CDP configured for listen on the host side.  This configuration provides the most bang for the buck as it the default out-of-box configuration on both the Cisco and VMware side.  In other words, if you do nothing at all, you can reap major benefits with the native configuration when it comes time to troubleshoot or provide capacity and/or SPOF planning for network resources.  That’s my preference.  That said, I get the security side of the discussion and of course I’m not opposed to disabling CDP when compelling requirements or constraints exist.

Aside from the design decisions above, I would be remiss if I did not also mention a potential stability issue (categorize as potential risk in your design) I came across from Cisco. When enabling CDP or leaving CDP enabled in an environment, there is a known CDP issue which should be taken into consideration because it can cause a disruption of the network.  CDP Can Consume All Router Memory.  When a large amount of CDP neighbor announcements are sent, it is possible to consume all memory of an available device. This causes a crash or other abnormal behavior. Refer to Cisco’s Response to the CDP Issue (Document ID: 13621) for more details.  This issue is quite old and may no longer be a threat with modern versions of IOS and NX-OS.

CDP is wonderful tool.  However, one obvious weakness in the heterogeneous datacenter is that it is vendor specific to Cisco switches and routers.  Other networking vendors don’t support CDP and therefore cannot integrate with it.  A newer and similar vendor neutral protocol called LLDP (Link Layer Discovery Protocol) appears to fill the need for the other vendors which choose support it.  At this time however VMware is not supporting LLDP though at least one source claims it is on the VMware roadmap which is a good thing.

In closing, I’d like to leave the audience with an Appendix style list of VMware and Cisco CDP commands, as well as a few links to additional Cisco resources on the web.  I would also like to thank Dawn for her contribution and eager willingness to collaborate with me on this article.

Update 11/17/11: Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP) has been published

Appendix A: ESX(i) esxcfg-vswitch (or vicfg-vswitch) parameters:

-B or –set-cdp Set the CDP status for a given virtual switch. To set, pass one of “down”, “listen”, “advertise”, “both”.
-b or –get-cdp Print the current CDP setting for this switch.

Appendix B: Cisco switch commands (some require privileged mode):

cdp run Enables CDP globally (on by default).
cdp enable Enables CDP on an interface.
cdp advertise-v2 Enables CDP Version-2 advertising functionality on a device.
clear cdp counters Resets the traffic counters to zero.
clear cdp table Deletes the CDP table of information about neighbors.
debug cdp adjacency Monitors CDP neighbor information.
show cdp Displays global CDP information such as the interval between transmissions of CDP advertisements, the number of seconds the CDP advertisement is valid for a given port, and the version of the advertisement.
show cdp neighbors  Displays information about neighbors.
show cdp neighbors detail  Displays more detail about neighboring devices.
show cdp entry * Displays information about all devices.
show cdp interface [type number] Displays information about interfaces on which CDP is enabled.
show cdp traffic Displays CDP counters, including the number of packets sent and received and checksum errors.
cdp timer seconds Specifies frequency of transmission of CDP updates.
cdp holdtime seconds Specifies the amount of time a receiving device should hold the information sent by your device before discarding it.
no cdp run Turns off CDP globally.

Appendix C: Helpful CDP resources from Cisco and VMware:

Configuring Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP)

Configuring Cisco Discovery Protocol on Cisco Routers and Switches Running Cisco IOS (Document ID: 43485)

Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP) network information

Configuring the Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP) with ESX

Application Troubleshooting Tools and Tips for VMware ThinApp

May 11th, 2011

Well over a year ago, I was introduced to a fantastic repository of VMware ThinApp tools, tips, and troubleshooting methods.  While some of the content may be dated (it was created nearly a year before I came across it), I suspect the bulk of it is still relevant to some degree today.  It comes to us from VMware’s ThinApp blog by a gentleman named Dean Flaming.

Application Troubleshooting Tools and Tips for VMware ThinApp

See also:

How to Make a ThinApp Application Package

Application virtualization is an integral VDI component with the encapsulation power, streaming, and flexibility it has to offer.  VMware was not first to market with the technology but they recognize these benefits and have integrated ThinApp application delivery into VMware View, strengthening the desktop portfolio.  Give it a try – it’s pretty cool stuff!

Q2 2011 Minneapolis Area VMware Users Group meeting

May 9th, 2011

Event: Q2 2011 Minneapolis Area VMware Users Group meeting

Spring is upon us and Minnesotan’s know what that means.. Q2 Minneapolis VMUG time! 

Friday May 20th, 2011 1:00 – 5:00 PM
Jason Boche, Minneapolis area VMUG leader – Email:  jason@boche.net

1:00 – 1:30 General business, Updates, Open Floor Discussions
   
1:30 – 2:15 Presentation:  Jeff Whitman, Senior SE and Tony MacDonald, Senior SE, VMware, Inc.“VMware Update, vCenter Operations presentation and demo”
   
2:15 – 2:25 Break
   
2:25 – 3:10 Presentation:  Greg Schmidt, Storage Architect, Hewlett Packard, Inc.: “Leveraging HP Storage Technology in a VMware Environment
   
3:10 – 3:20 Break
   
3:20 – 4:05 Presentation:  Matt Urbanowicz, Senior Systems Engineer and Josh Verhelst, Technical Architect, N’compass, Inc.: “Do You know Your Cost to Compute?”
   
4:05 – 4:15 Break
   
4:15 – 5:00 Q & A, Door Prizes, Closing

 

Stick around to win great door prizes!
(Please bring business cards to enter your name in the door prize drawings)

Meeting Location, Snacks, and door prizes provided by Hewlett Packard, Inc., N’compass, Inc., and VMware, Inc.

 

Meeting Location:
Hilton Hotel 494 & France Ave.
3900 American Boulevard West
Bloomington, MN  55437
952-893-9500
Map: http://mapq.st/dIyDOF

VMware User Group Event Registration:
http://www.myvmug.org/e/in/eid=36&source=5

VMware User Group Membership Registration (subscribe):
http://info.vmware.com/forms/UserGroupSubscribe?session=Minneapolis

StarWind/Mellanox Add Datacenter Storage Efficiency

May 7th, 2011

Press Release:

StarWind iSCSI SAN software coupled with Mellanox Ethernet-based high speed end-to-end infrastructure accelerates storage networking connectivity and lowers overall power consumption

StarWind SAN iSCSI software running over a Mellanox ConnectX®-2 40GE networking solution provides better performance, high availability (HA) and redundant iSCSI storage solutions at 40Gb/s bandwidth and high IOPS.

Burlington, Mass. – April 27, 2011StarWind Software, a global leader and a pioneer in SAN software for building iSCSI storage servers, today announced that StarWind SAN iSCSI software has achieved a record level of 27 Gb/s throughput and 350K IOPs running over a Mellanox ConnectX®-2 40GE networking solution.

StarWind has recently conducted the test under Mellanox Enterprise Datacenter’s initiative where the following testing configuration has been used: 3 servers of Zorro (HP DL380 G6 with 2*167GB disks, 24GB RAM, 8 cores); 6 Mellanox HCAs with 40Gb/s single port, 2 HCAs in each server; connected with 3 subnets, copper QSFP cables; OS: Windows 2008 Server R2.

Testing showed StarWind software has achieved record connectivity performance:

  • With the non-HA configuration (one node of the HA cluster and the client were performing I/O through the single 40Gb/s connection in both directions utilizing full-duplex Ethernet connection) the cluster got 25Gb/s of an iSCSI traffic (due to PCIe Gen 2 system limitations full 40Gb/s wire speed has not been reached). More than 300K IOPs at 25Gb/s have been achieved with 16 clients using StarWind iSCSI SAN software.
  • The full HA (two nodes: HA 1 and HA 2 processed requests served under Round-Robin) has achieved the same results as the non-HA configuration, but with more workers and deeper I/O queue.

In the near future 40Gb NIC will provide four times higher performance compared to 10Gb NIC for the same price.

“We thank Mellanox Technologies for helping StarWind iSCSI SAN software to continue setting new performance records. Just one year ago StarWind was used in the iSCSI performance tests by Microsoft and Intel, achieving a groundbreaking one million I/Os per second,” said StarWind’s CEO Artem Berman. “StarWind Technology Alliance Program builds relationships with best of breed technology companies to align technology, create leading solutions and help customers adopt our collective products.”

For more information on the test and performance benefits using StarWind iSCSI SAN software version 5.6 with Mellanox ConnectX-2 EN Adapters plus 10Gb/s or higher speeds (preferably 40Gb/s), for current and future x86 servers along with PCIe Gen2 and PCIe Gen 3-enabled systems, visit: http://www.mellanox.com/pdf/case_studies/CS_StarWind2.pdf

About Mellanox Technologies
Mellanox Technologies (NASDAQ:MLNX, TASE:MLNX) is a leading supplier of end-to-end InfiniBand and Ethernet connectivity solutions and services for servers and storage. Mellanox products optimize data center performance and deliver industry-leading bandwidth, scalability, power conservation and cost-effectiveness while converging multiple legacy network technologies into one future-proof architecture. The company offers innovative solutions that address a wide range of markets including HPC, enterprise, mega warehouse data centers, cloud computing, Internet and Web 2.0.

Founded in 1999, Mellanox Technologies is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California and Yokneam, Israel.

About StarWind Software Inc.
StarWind Software is a global leader in storage management and SAN software for small and midsize organizations. The flagship product of StarWind is SAN software that turns any industry-standard Windows Server into a fault-tolerant, fail-safe iSCSI SAN. StarWind iSCSI SAN is qualified for use with VMware, Hyper-V, XenServer, and also with Linux and Unix environments. StarWind Software is focused on providing small and midsize organizations with affordable, high availability storage technology that previously was only available in high-end storage hardware. Advanced enterprise-class features in StarWind include Automated HA Storage Node Failover and Failback (High Availability), Replication across a WAN, Snapshots, Thin Provisioning and Virtual Tape management.

Since 2003, StarWind has pioneered the iSCSI SAN software industry and is the solution of choice for over 30,000 customers worldwide in over 100 countries, from small and midsize companies to governments and Fortune 1000 companies.

For more information on StarWind Software Inc., visit: www.starwindsoftware.com

VMTurbo Free Performance and Efficiency Reporter

May 4th, 2011

Press Release:

VMTurbo Announces Availability of Free Performance and Efficiency Reporter

Reporting joins Monitoring application as a complimentary, useful productivity tool that provides valuable insight into virtual environments

Valhalla, NY, May 4, 2011 — VMTurbo, provider of software to analyze, optimize and control the virtualized data center, today announced free, immediate availability of VMTurbo Performance and Efficiency Reporter. Available for download at the VMTurbo site, VMTurbo Performance and Efficiency Reporter joins VMTurbo Monitoring as a complimentary, useful productivity tool that provides valuable insight into the virtual environment.

With its breakthrough real time workload management algorithm, VMTurbo assures the performance of the applications running in the virtualized environment while utilizing the underline infrastructure as efficiently as possible. VMTurbo “ties the viewing with the doing” by proactively providing corrective actions for any potential performance bottleneck as well as workload placement and configuration actions to maximize resources utilization. Furthermore, leveraging the same algorithm for planning, VMTurbo maximizes the ROI from the virtualized environment in real time and all the time.

“The real value of VMTurbo is its ability to automate and optimize the virtual environment in real time, so it makes sense to give away both our monitoring dashboard and performance reports, which are really just table setters for IT management,” said Shmuel Kliger, president and CEO, VMTurbo. “Now any organization can experience the benefits of VMTurbo in their own data center without having to spend a single dollar.”

The VMTurbo Performance and Efficiency Reporter package is a collection of reports that fall into two categories.

Performance Reports

  • Host/VM Utilization Heat Map contains an ordered ranking of utilization (UI) for both physical hosts as well as virtual machines. Raw data for each host and each VM also is provided. Useful metrics include the peak utilization. This data enables both an “at-a-glance” indicator of workload as well as useful information for provisioning.
  • Host Top CPU Ready Queue provides a detailed breakdown of the metric surrounding CPU ready states. By showing both the host total wait times (aggregated over a sample period) and the total times waited by virtual machines for each multiple of vCPUs, the report provides insights into how either a re-allocation of vCPUs or the re-location of a VM would impact this raw performance metric.
  • Storage Access IOPS delivers a raw ranked standing of data stores in the environment. By aggregating and displaying the raw average sustained IOPs to and from these datastores, users can evaluate the suitability of the datastore against the applied workload and potentially make a better allocation. Further, by looking at the total storage used (vs. capacity), users are better able to plan for anticipated growth.

Efficiency Reports

  • VM Over/Under Provisioning looks at the resources consumed (taking into account historical peaks) to make meaningful recommendations as to right-provisioning. This potentially frees up additional resources that could be re-allocated to improve performance or accommodate additional VMs.
  • Storage Wasted Allocations provides immediate visibility into data stored on the managed drives that is not associated with any VM. With this ranked data, users can quickly free up potentially vast amounts of unused storage at a considerable cost saving.
  • Storage Allocated to Dormant VMs both identifies dormant VMs and enables the reclamation of their disc space. This can yield significant cost savings through resource reclamation and the ability to subsequently host additional VMs on the same hardware.
  • VM Rightsizing Recommendation is based on configurable thresholds as well as analyses of specific time ranges for each VM to make intelligent configuration recommendations based on the actual resource demands of the VM. This ability to intelligently right size represents a significant efficiency improvement over other more wasteful allocation strategies.

Pricing and Availability

VMTurbo Performance and Efficiency Reporter is currently available for free download at http://www.vmturbo.com/downloads/performance-reporter/

Related Links

Find out more about the VMTurbo Performance and Efficiency Reporter at: http://www.vmturbo.com/products/performance-and-efficiency-reporter/

About VMTurbo

VMTurbo provides an integrated software suite for proactive and automated management of workload and resources in virtualized data centers. Only VMTurbo provides a holistic view of your virtual infrastructure as well as detailed action plans with respect to workload placement and resource allocation.  Our customers accomplish ever more, with less IT resources, by using our suite to analyze, optimize and control their virtual infrastructure. 

Test Drive the VMware View App for iPad

May 1st, 2011

Nearly two months ago, the VMware View app was released by VMware for the iPad and I wrote about it here.  Since then, many in the community have been curious as to what the end user computing experience was like.  They have iPads and of course they have free access to the View app but they lacked a VMware View environment to connect to, particularly a remote over-the-internet scenario using View 4.6 5.0 5.0.1 GA and PCoIP.

Early on I worked with a few individuals on a 1 on 1 basis, providing access to a test VDI desktop intance in my lab.  They tested for up to a week and demoed for upper management in the company.  When testing was complete, they went on their way.  After a few iterations, I decided that there was some value in what I was doing, but the continuous setup and retirement of accounts isn’t something I wanted to continually track.  As a result, I’ve set up a persistent VDI instance in my View 4.6 5.0 GA lab which can be accessed any time using generic credentials from your iPad by following these steps:

How to connect:

Step 1) Grab yourself an iPad if you don’t already have one (1st or 2nd generation both work).

Step 2) Connect your iPad to the internet.  Be sure TCP/UPD 4172 ports are not blocked.

Step 3) Get yourself the VMware View for iPad app:

SnagIt Capture

Step 4) Provide the following connection specifications in the VMware View for iPad app:

Snagit Capture

 

Step 5) If you’re prompted for credentials at Windows 7 logon, use the credentials shown above.

Step 6) Enjoy but do try to limit the duration of your connectivity.

Environment:

The Windows 7 test VM provides basic desktop application access.  Bandwidth from the VDI lab standpoint is 16Mpbs down, 2Mbps up.  On your end, that’s 2 down, 16 up.  It is the internet; performance and speeds will vary.  By design, one user session is allowed at a time.  There is only one desktop instance.  The idea is to use the session for a few minutes to get a feel for the client experience.  The session is not for long term or production use.  No warranties, use at your own risk, etc.  In reality, the longer you maintain connectivity, the more chance you have of being interrupted by another user requesting to use the desktop.  If you’re trying to log on and you receive a message stating “The View agent reports that this desktop is currently logging off a previous session.”, you are probably interrupting someone elses session.  Try again later.  If you are currently in a session and it abruptly ends, it is likely the result of someone else submitting a logon request – sorry – At this point I do not know how to prevent the session interruptions which is essentially a “following” feature which would commonly be used in a health clinic.  If you have any ideas, please share in the comments section below.

To maintain a safe environment, web browsing and access to some other areas of the OS has been disabled.  All activity is logged.  The VM will reset at regular intervals in an effort to restore back to its original clean starting point.

Updated 9/18/11:  The environment has been upgraded to View 5.0 GA

Updated 11/6/11:  Thanks to the notification of a few friendly folks, I found out the environment was no longer functional. In short, the computer password for the VDI workstation was out of sync.  I’ve fixed this an enhanced the environment for longer term use which should prevent future implosions.  The demo environment now supports two concurrent demo sessions using the same credentials. In addition, each demo session is deleted upon a disconnection and a new VDI workstation is built.  This is all done by the addition of VMware View Composer to the environment.

Updated 3/28/12:  The environment has been upgraded to View 5.0.1 GA