Posts Tagged ‘Citrix’

VDI: VMware View 3 Premier vs. Citrix XenDesktop Enterprise 2.1

February 9th, 2009

VDI was hot in 2008 and it’s predicted to be even hotter in 2009.  On the heels of this prediction, VMware commissioned The Tolly Group to compare two VDI solutions head to head:  VMware View 3 Premier and Citrix XenDesktop Enterprise 2.1.  The Tolly Group has published their findings in an eight page report which you can grab here.  The results are not at all surprising:

Executive Summary

The VMware View 3 VDI solution deploys more simply and more rapidly than Citrix XenDesktop 2.1.  VMware provides more comprehensive, efficient image and storage management of virtual desktops.  It provides end users with a quality of experience on the LAN that matches or exceeds that offered by the Citrix solution.

The Tolly Group used a standard virtual desktop configuration for both test environments:

  • 1 CPU core
  • 512MB RAM
  • 8GB Hard disk drive storage
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player 9
  • Microsoft Office 2007 (full installation)
  • Microsoft Windows XP SP2

In their report, they confirm the following five facts as the bottom line:

VMware View 3:

  1. Installed more rapidly and with considerably fewer steps and less manual intervention
  2. Provides simpler image management that makes more efficient use of disk
  3. Requires no manual configuration of Microsoft Active Directory or DHCP
  4. Allows management of all VDI functions through a single web-based GUI
  5. Provides equivalent end-user experience on LAN as Citrix for Microsoft Office applications

Given the opportunity, Citrix declined to actively participate in the product comparisons.

2-9-2009 9-06-16 PM

What I’m reading

December 31st, 2008

What I’m reading:

VMware Infrastructure 3:  Advanced Technical Design Guide and Advanced Operations Guide by Scott Herold, Ron Oglesby (formerly of GlassHouse, now with Dell, and bench presser of Lord knows how many pounds), and Mike Laverick. ISBN:  978-0971151086.

Ok, the truth is I’ve had the pre-release Author’s Edition of this book since February of 2008 and I had read a few chapters, but I haven’t read the final copy cover to cover like a book of this calibre warrants.  I picked up the final copy in September 2008 just before VMworld 2008.  If the author names sound familiar to you, well, they should.  Oglesby and Herold wrote the earlier version of this book a few years ago and it was dynamite!  Laverick joins the duo as a VMware Infrastructure expert, VMware instructor, proprietor of RTFM Eduction, plus extensive Citrix experience (the man has paid his dues).  Lately, Laverick has been on a VMware Site Recovery Manager kick.  If you’re getting into SRM, definitely check out Mike’s site where you’ll find valuable information plus the first and only book I’m aware of dedicated to SRM.

Expectations:  Advanced concepts.  Tips and tricks I won’t find in VMware documentation.  Real world scenarios from the datacenter and classroom.  At just over 800 pages, I would have been able to devour this in a week or less in my younger days.  With a busy family and work life, I expect I’ll be chipping away at this book for a good month or more.  But it’s not a race.  What’s important is understanding and retention of the concepts.  I’m thinking about the VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) certification soon and hopefully this book will help in those studies.

What I’m watching:

VMware ESX Server training by Trainsignal.  Iman Jalali (Director of Sales and Support, Trainsignal) contacted me via Twitter and asked if I’d like to review a copy of Trainsignal’s latest VMware ESX video training.  Are you kidding me?  Just about anything VMware related I can get my hands on is a good thing.  Jalali did not ask for a blog review or even a mention, however, I appreciate his generosity as well as the generosity of Scott Skinger (Founder/President of Trainsignal) who comped me Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 video training back in 2007.

David Davis (from this and this, among other things) is the instructor of this 18+ hour 2-DVD series.  I’ve known (of) David for a few years from my participation at the Petri IT Knowledgebase.  David has a lot of positive energy and his certifications include CCIE (I’m not worthy sharing the same Oxygen as he) and VCP.  I very much look forward to watching this series.  One thing though guys (and this goes out to all the VMware book authors too):  With the virtualization landscape evolving so quickly, the versions and configuration maximums being rasied by VMware almost quarterly, I wish you the best of luck keeping your material current!  That has to be a big challenge and somewhat of a frustration at the same time.

It is now time for my Pre-New-Years cheesecake.  As if I needed an excuse for cheesecake.

Oh yeah, Happy New Year!

Jas

Where to get timely VMware virtualization information

December 25th, 2008

Happy Holidays!  I thought tonight was the night I was going to post some “Citrix XenApp virtualized on VMware ESX” that many have been asking me for behind the scenes, but alas it’s 10:30pm and I just don’t have the energy for such a post that will require considerable effort to put together.  I’ve accumulated some information here and there for various people, but it’s time to formally consolidate the scattered pieces of information into one decent post that I can fine tune as needed going forward.  Before you start licking your chops in anticipation of a rocket science blog post on virtualizing Citrix, please don’t.  What I promise is the details and discoveries behind one person’s virtualized Citrix environment.  With VI3, virtualizing Citrix is fairly straightforward but extra special attention must be paid in determining virtualization candidacy.

Now I wouldn’t want anyone to walk away empty handed from my blog on Christmas so I leave you with this:  A no-frills post revealing the source of where I get 90-95% of my daily virtualization information – RSS feeds of various blogs and websites.  This file (right click, save as – it’s XML) contains an export of all of my RSS subscriptions.  Import it into your favorite RSS reader.  Set your RSS subscription refresh interval to 15 minutes.  Stay informed with nearly up to the minute and late breaking VMware virtualization news.  With new blogs and sites popping up weekly, for sure this list is nowhere near what I would call complete.  If you have any suggestions or if you see a great blog or site that I am missing, by all means, let me know in the comment section below.  I’m the type of guy that can never get enough VMware virtualization information.

Disclaimer:  My RSS subscription list contains a few subscriptions to non-virtualization related feeds which you may want to remove.

Update:  I’ve added two more great blogs to the RSS feeds:  Gabe’s Virtual World (Gabrie van Zanten) and Jase’s Place (Jason McCarty).

Introducing: IT Knowledge Exchange/TechTarget

December 18th, 2008

Have you seen TechTarget’s IT Knowledge Exchange? If you are an IT staff member in search of answers or excellent technical blogs, ITKE is one site you’ll want to bookmark. Their award winning editorial staff include virtualization bloggers such as Eric Siebert, David Davis, prolific VirtualCenter plugin writer Andrew Kutz, Rick Vanover, Edward Haletky, and many more.

Search or browse by hundreds of tags covering hot IT topics such as Database, Exchange, Lotus Domino, Microsoft Windows, Security, Virtualization, etc.

Their value proposition is simple: provide IT professionals and executives with the information they need to perform their jobs—from developing strategy, to making cost-effective IT purchase decisions and managing their organizations’ IT projects.

One month ago, brianmadden.com was purchased by TechTarget. I think this addition will be a nice shot in the arm for ITKE. In one transaction they integrate an established rich Citrix/Terminal Services/Virtualization knowledgebase and talented staff of bloggers that it can in turn use to help its readers and advertising clientele.

TechTarget has over 600 employees, was founded in 1999, and went public in May 2007 via a $100M IPO.

12-18-2008 8-27-33 AM

hgfs registry value causes issues with Terminal Services VMs

December 13th, 2008

I originally brought this up back in October with my Tip for virtualization Citrix servers invovling user profiles post.  I’m bringing it up again because this week VMware updated their knowledgebase document 1317 Windows Guest Cannot Update hgfs.dat and it’s missing a piece of key information that administrators need to be aware of.  I’m not going to rehash the whole hgfs registry value again.  You can read the details about that in my October post linked above.  The workarounds for hgfs issues caused by VMware Tools do work, however, what’s not mentioned is that a re-installation or upgrade of VMware Tools will re-install the hgfs value back in the registry thus introducing problems again.  With the amount of ESX/ESXi version upgrades coming from VMware lately, which in turn cause VMware Tools upgrades, this scenario is not going to be uncommon for anyone who is virtualizing Terminal Services or Citrix.  Add to that, VMware even recently released an interim VMware Tools upgrade patch subsequent to ESX 3.5.0 Update 3 (ESXe350-200811401-T-BG).

It should be noted that the hgfs registry value is associated with VMware shared folders technology (not used with ESX/ESXi) and only gets installed during a Complete installation type.  A Typical installation type will not install the hgfs registry value.  I perform Complete installation types of VMware Tools because I make use of the VMware Descheduled Time Accounting Service.  My virtualized Citrix servers have been impacted by this twice:  The first time when I orginally rolled out the virtualized Citrix servers.  The second time a few months later I discovered hgfs was installed again after a VMware Tools upgrade.  I’ve asked VMware to update hgfs related KB articles with the piece about the VMware Tools upgrades.  As I pointed out in my October article, one of the nasty side effects of the hgfs value on Terminal Services VMs is the constant growing of the user profile folders under \Documents and Settings\.  Left undiscovered for a while and it becomes a pretty big mess and the speed at which ugliness infiltrates \Documents and Settings\ is compounded by the number of Terminal Services users logging on to the server throughout the day every day.

VMware product name changes

December 3rd, 2008

Quick update on a news item you may have already heard about. Remember those VMware product/component decoder rings you might have started working on after the VMworld 2008 announcements? It’s time for an update. VMware announced a handful of product name changes on Monday:

  1. VMware VirtualCenter is now VMware vCenter Server
  2. VMware vCenter is the family name for all management products
  3. VMware Lab Manager is now VMware vCenter Lab Manager (since it is in the management products family)
  4. The VMware vCenter prefix applies to the other products in the management products family as well
  5. VMware View is the family name for all VDI/VDM products
  6. VMware VDI is now VMware View
  7. VMware VDM is now VMware View Manager

I’m not real fond of name changes unless there is a good reason behind it. I’ll give VMware the benefit of the doubt that there was good reason to make these changes, although not knowing myself 100% what is up VMware’s sleeve, the timing is somewhat debatable. Couldn’t they have waited until the next generation of Virtual Infrastructure to align the products and components? Citrix did this with Presentation Server when they instantly re-branded it to XenApp. It confused a lot of people, especially the newcomers. I hope confusion among VMware customers is minimized. It’s going to take a little while for these new names to become second nature for me.

What do you think of the name changes? Feedback is always welcomed here.

Confused about Citrix XenServer 5 support for Windows Server 2008

November 25th, 2008

I read a news item here stating Citrix XenServer 5 lacks support for Windows Server 2008 as a guest operating system. I decided to check it out for myself.

Citrix reveals here that indeed Windows Server 2008 guests are not supported in XenServer 5. However, the What’s new in Citrix XenServer 5 page explains that XenServer 5 is tuned for Windows and Windows Server 2008 guest support has been added through the all important Microsoft Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP).

Confused? I am.

VMware supports Windows Server 2008 for many of its products and VMware is very clear about it. VMware’s guest OS support for all VMware products can be found in the Guest Operating System Installation Guide.