Lenzker’s #VMware #Horizon Guide: Overview

Before being selected as an EUC champion I was already planning a bigger guide on how to design and implement a feature rich and enterprise ready VMware Horizon environment (Check out my opinion about the evolvement of VDI solutions over the years).

In 2017 VMware is putting more and more effort into transforming the enterprises into digital workspaces with their Workspace One solution / initiative. Within Workspace One VMware combines Horizon with Airwatch technology (for device management and application delivery).

Since my homelab has been a little bit underutilized over the last months I decided to built up an Horizon environment , including most of the Software pieces of Horizon Enterprise. Lucky me: VMware has just announced Horizon 7.2 which finally includes a new help desk tool to deliver faster 1/2nd level support to our (beloved) users.

My goal of this series is not just to have a simple implementation guide. I want to give a guideline about important things from an architectural point of view as well.

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#Horizon View: Cannot add Desktop Pools to a global entitlement

Introducing the Cloud Pod Architecture and Global entitlements within Horizon View was quite an important step. Suddenly the boundaries of having a Pool per Cluster was dealt with.

Since there is still a misunderstanding about the Cloud Pod Architecture and one feature Global Entitlement, please keep in mind:

A Global Entitlement does not create a Desktop Pool that spans multiple Clusters. It puts a logical layer for the Active Directory entitlement on top of existing independent Desktop pools.

There can be multiple use cases for that. Having multiple independent View environments in different locations  or just having a Single vCenter with multiple Clusters. Since we are dealing with independent pools (and just putting a logical entitlement layer on top of it) all the templates and Desktop pool operations must be done local on each pool.

 

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Horizon View: Java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: Invalid paramaters during Cluster selection

I observed this in my homelab while multiple nested ESXi were not available. If you create a Desktop Pool in Horizon 7 (and I guess earlier as well) the following meaningful error might show up during the select of a host or cluster resource:

java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: Invalid paramaters during Cluster selection

Going through the Connection Server log files I figured out the java exception is called when the vCenter is crawled for all available Hosts and Clusters.

The routine is crashing when it hits an disconnected or not-responding ESXi host within the inventory.

Make sure every ESXi host is in a connected state.

ESXi hosts within some maintenance can really steal the show right here.

Make sure to get rid of this ESXi host by fixing the host or removing the host from the inventory. Please be aware of that a remove will also affect the your distributed switch.

VMware User Environment Manager #UEM: Predefined settings – Dynamic Placeholder

I created several blog posts about the Predefined settings so far that hopefully gave you some understanding about the basic and advanced concepts.

In the following I want to show you a little bit about a feature not all of us know:

The opportunity to create dynamic predefined settings with the help of Environment variables and placeholders.

Placeholders within UEM’s predefined settings.

Within the predefined settings you are able to define variables that will be dynamically set during the runtime.

How can we do that you ask? Just use the the following placeholder within your default/predefined settings (Case sensitive):

[Flex#%environment variables%]

The following example should show you how we can use this functionality to deliver a flexibel dynamic and context-based environment for the user (that almost sounds like marketing once again).

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VMware User Environment Manager #UEM: Predefined settings – Deep how-to (Internet Explorer)

In on of my last posts I have explained what the basic concept of VMware’s User Environment Manager (UEM) is and how we can use it to pre-configure or enforce specific settings of applications in our Desktop environment.

In the following I am going to dig a little bit deeper and show you how those concepts get configured and can be used in the world of UEM.

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Create Default Settings with the Application Profiler

Once we have installed the Application Profiler we are able to create config files for UEM that explain which portion of the filesystem/registry is a part of the application’s user data.

The process is quiet simple. Start the Application Profiler, start the application from within and configure the relevant settings you want to enforce or have as a default configuration.

application

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VMware User Environment Manager #UEM: Predefined settings (Basic concepts)

The power within User Environment Manager (UEM) aligns with its ability of being able to create a managed personalized environment for the end-user (even/especially in a floating environment where no one has a dedicated virtual desktop).

One great feature to increase the productivity of the user is been implemented by having multiple and different pre-defined settings applied to a Window setting or application based on certain conditions.

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In the following I am going to document how what does different pre-defined settings mean.

I am assuming you already have the UEM infrastructure installed and configured. If that’s not the case, check out this post.

What are pre-defined settings

I remembering getting on-boarded at a financial provider somewhen in the 90’s (oh boy..I am getting old). Receiving AD-Accounts, Lotus Notes-Account, several other access data and a big document how to setup those applications. 5 hours later I was quiet ready to start doing my tasks.

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Let’s update VMware User Environment Manager (#UEM) to 9.1: features, constraints and howto

With the release of UEM 9.1 a few nice features and fixes (and a few new constraints) have been introduced. Check the release notes here for further details (or just read on).

VMware’s User Environment Manager gives us the opportunity to deliver a condition based and personalized user-experience within or (virtual and non-virtual) desktop environment.

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In the following I show what steps are involved to Update UEM from 9.0 to 9.1 (and believe me, this is quiet a simple one from a technical perspective)

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Let’s troubleshoot User Environment Manager (#UEM) 9.X: How to avoid errors during the installation

As I have written in my last post UEM is a game changer in the way how we can create great VDI solutions.

Having worked a lot with VMware’s User Environment Manager (UEM) within the last month I saw many errors made and occurring during the installation phase.

Even though the the installation is quiet straight forward, some minor mistakes can happen from time to time. I am going to summarize which symptoms might occur, how to check to gather further information and what most possiblely has caused the malfunction.

At the moment the post is focusing on the Active Directory Group Policy based installation & configuration within UEM. The newest version 9.1 allows us to it also in a non-ad way. If demand is there, I can add a section for that topic as well.

I am not going to cover the basic installation steps. Chris Halstead did a great job on that topic (and for all the things he worked on [flings, blogs, etc.]).

Please use that one for the basic installation tasks and come back to this post if you need to troubleshoot further ;-) With the following list you can fix 98% of the problems that might occur during the UEM installation ;-).

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.@lenzker’s year of VDI: What has changed in 2016 with #VMware #Horizon

Everyone working within the EUC and virtualization field knows this joke. Every year some analysts and vendors are promising us that this year is going to be the year of VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure).

Within the last 5 years of my professional career I gained a lot of practical experience and feedback about VDI projects within Germany. I am trying to summarize what has happened within the VDI field over the last years and which technologies and solutions within the Horizon stack changed the way how we deliver virtual desktop in 2016 compared to 2012 (2013/2014/2015 ). If you want to see how specific Vendors within the VDI world evolved I would recommend you to also read this nice article about the state of EUC market by Rob Beekmans.

In theory a EUC strategy based on VDI offers many advantages.

  • Operational benefits (control over the desktop, easier rollouts & updates of OS and Applications)
  • Multiple access options (multiple endpoints from every location)
  • Security benefits (Data is always within a controlled domain)
  • Management benefits

To have a great VDI infrastructure as an outcome of project the following conditions should all be met within the implementation. I would simply call them success factors:

  • The Total costs of ownership (capital and operational expenditures) did not exceed the old solution
  • The user experience was identical or better than the old solution
  • The VDI design allows all of the operational benefits
  • The organization around the desktop has been adopted to manage virtual desktops

The_good_the_bad_and_the_VDI

How did the technologies and therefore our design constraints have been changed over the years? Let me try to summarize it.

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Why #vRealize #loginsight easily enhances #VMware #Horizon #EUC

(Wow..that were quiet a bunch of #hashtags)

Even-though End-User Computing and virtualization/automation until know haven’t met the expectation of the technology-enthusiasts (‘201X is the year of #VDI’) it has matured a lot within the last years. Since the beginning of the year VMware’s log-analyzing tool vRealize Log Insight (vRLI) has been bundled to every vCenter-license (25 Operating System Instances – OSI). vRLI is therefore a great opportunity to pro-active monitor log-files of all relevant Horizon components if you have smaller environment you can ‘for free’ (with no additional costs to be more specific).

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The hypervisor has become a rock-solid stable product used as a platform for virtual machines and therefore virtual desktops. But the #EUC stack in VMware’s portfolio called #Horizon is creating new layers of components on top of the vSphere stack. So what is important to deliver a great EUC experience and directly increase the outcome of a company generating a lot of its profit out of desktop applications?

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