Posts Tagged ‘View Manager’

View Pool And Desktop Hung in Deleting State

February 7th, 2012

The VMware View 5.0 environment in the lab has been running well and has proven itself as an extremely reliable remote access replacement for the old Citrix Presentation Server 4.0 solution I had in the past.  However, in an effort to address a licensing issue related to the View App for iPad demo environment, I managed to force both a pool and a single desktop from within that pool into a perpetually stuck state of ‘deleting’.  In addition, the VM representing the desktop was gone, but I could see from within vCenter the parent replica for the pool still remained.  I spent some time poking at it from several angles including the View Connection Server, the vCenter Server, and the View Composer Server.  It became clear that the underlying issue was deeper, in a database perhaps, and couldn’t be resolved using the standard management tools VMware offers.

The issue isn’t an uncommon one and I quickly turned up familiar hits at VMware’s community forums spanning a few different versions of VMware View.  The root cause is explained in VMware KB Article 1008658 which applies to View versions 3.x through 5.2.x (this KB article also walks through the steps of manually deleting pae-VMs from the ADAM database as well as manually deleting dubious SVI_rows from various tables in the View Composer database as necessary).  Also see Manually deleting linked clones or stale virtual desktop entries from VMware View Manager 4.5 and later at VMware KB 2015112 (which uses the SviConfig.exe View Composer utility and is linked from KB 1008658):

This issue occurs if a table in the database has an incorrect data. It can also occur if the virtual machine name has been changed in the vCenter Server manually after the pool has been created, causing View Composer and vCenter Server to refer to the same virtual machine with different names.

The problem can largely be avoided by managing the View environment with the intended tool – the VMware View Administrator interface as opposed to making changes outside of View, such as using VMware vCenter.

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Resolving the issue is achieved by following the detailed in the KB articles above.  Follow the steps carefully and slowly in a production View environment and keep in mind that not all steps may be required for your particular situation.

Linked-clone lifecycle in VMware View 4.5 and later

November 16th, 2011

Remote connectivity to the lab is key when I’m on the go – a situation I find myself in more frequently.  In years past, the remote solution was hardware/software VPN endpoints, and then Citrix Presentation Server. Given my involvement with VMware, for the past year plus I’ve been a full fledged, trial by fire, eat my own evangelist food, View hobbyist.  What’s not to like about it?  It’s VMware based.  It’s secure.  It supports multiple connectivity protocols.  And it works absolutely great with my iPad (well, I’m talking about the remote desktop connectivity via PCoIP, not so much the Adobe Flex admin console for the View Connection Server).

One HUGE feature that View has touted since version 3.0 is Linked Clones which carry with it the positive attributes of space efficiency and fast provisioning.  Linked Clones are where some of the more advanced features and capabilities start to appear, such as View Composer.

VMware KB Article 1021506 has some great information in it surrounding linked clones, View Composer, Active Directory machine account passwords, and some of the common operational processes tied to it such as guest provisioning and customization, Refresh, Recompose, and Rebalance.  I find it to be a great reference.

A few excerpts on the operational pieces along with my notes:

Active Directory machine account passwords

While a linked clone is powered on and the View Composer Agent is running, the View Composer Agent tracks any changes made to the machine account password. In many Active Directory environments, the machine account password is changed periodically. If the View Composer Agent detects a password change, it updates the machine account password on the internal disk that was created with the linked clone. During a refresh operation, when the linked clone is reverted to the snapshot taken after customization, the agent can reset the machine account password to the latest one.

Refresh

In View 4.5, a refresh triggers a revert operation to the snapshot that was taken after customization was completed. This approach allows View to preserve the customization performed by Sysprep.

jgb: A Refresh should be run on a regular basis to reclaim valuable shared storage space.  As linked clone guests in the pool continue to run on an ongoing basis, storage consumption grows for each VM, much like a snapshot of a VM which is left open for a long period of time.  However, in this case, much of the data is transient and disposable which is what a Refresh will purge.  This data is stored on what’s called the Disposable Disk. The Disposable Disk contains data such as the Windows pagefile, Windows temporary files, Temporary Internet Files, and VMware log files.  It is not uncommon to run this Refresh on a nightly basis.  This is of particular importance on arrays which support auto tiering and especially sub LUN tiering at the block or page level because this meta data will most likely be consuming Tier 1 storage.

Recompose

A recompose operation lets the administrator preserve the View Composer persistent disk and all user data inside this disk while changing the OS disk to a new base image and snapshot. With recompose, an administrator can easily distribute OS patches and new software to users.

jgb: Net result is the deployed VMs in the pool are deleted and redeployed to the pool for the assigned users.

Rebalance

The rebalance operation redistributes linked clones among available datastores to take advantage of free storage space. In View 4.5, there is no other supported way to move linked clones from one datastore to another.

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:

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

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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

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.