VMware View- VMware View & Fusion-IO VDI appliance

On the 11th of February, VMware and Fusion-io in The Netherlands launched the “VMware View & Fusion-io VDI Appliance”.  Simplicity is the main word to describe this out of the box VDI infrastructure.

The appliance consists of a server with enough CPU and memory for 50 or 100 users, VMware View Bundle (vSphere included) and a Fushion-io storage card. A VMware partner could preconfigure this for end customers so it’s almost a matter of powering up the server and start using your new Virtual Desktop environment.

In my opinion, this appliance is introduced to say VDI isn’t difficult with this appliance. Many of us heard the scary stories about storage and VDI. Also, VDI is “difficult”. With this appliance customers shouldn’t be afraid anymore; Storage isn’t an issue anymore. The Fusion-io card delivers so many IO’s (and I have tested the cards and I was blown away!) that you don’t have to focus on VM’s and storage IO’s.

See attached the brochure about the VMware View & Fusion-io appliance.

VMware View & Fusion-OI 2011

VMware View4.5-Web Download Portal; Basics

In View 4.0/4.0.1, when you would connect to the View Manager as a user through a browser (so called Web Portal; https://IP/) and you didn’t have the View Client installed, an ActiveX component would install a smaller version of the full View Client. This way you would miss out on a couple of features like ThinPrint and USB Redirection.

In View4.5 this mechanism has changed. The Web Portal has become a full version Download Portal. See screenshots below (in this case from a Mac);

This way all users can get their own View Client themselves and it is a full Client.All features like PCoIP, ThinPrint, USB and MMR redirection are in the client. The broker URL will be installed in the Client automatically so users don’t need to do anything about that during the installation.

I do get questions from partners and customers when access to vdesktops via a browser will come back. I don’t have an answer on that. If it was up to me, it would come back in the short term and that you don’t need administrator rights to download and install the ActiveX component which also get removed automatically when you close your VM.

VMware View4.5-Local Mode; Basics

In View4.0/4.0.1 “Offline Desktop” was experimental. In View4.5 this experimental status has been changed to full support. Also, the name has changed; “View with Local Mode”.

First a short description what Local Mode is. With “Offline Desktop” or “Local Mode” a user is able to “check out” his/her VM. This means a user downloads the VM to his Windows based access device (most of the times this will be a laptop). After the download, the user can disconnects his access device, go home and start his corporate VM again and continue working. Next time the user is back at the office, he can “check in’ the VM. All changes made to the VM between the time of checking out and checking in will be synchronized back into the data center so the central located VM is again up to date.

The first time the whole VM needs to be copied to the access device. This, luckily, is based on Thin Provisioning; when your VM is 10GB on the ESX/vSphere datastore but only is filled with 4GB of data, you need to download 4GB. For the record, after the first full download, all synchronizations are based on changes. When synchronizing, data will be compressed and unwanted files like page files won’t be replicated.

You can set a couple Local Mode policies; allow or deny per pool base, the maximum time a Local Mode VM can  go on without contacting the View server, User-initiated rollback and others.

The checked out VM’s will be encrypted, AES-128 bit by default (256 bit optionally). After a check out, a user would still use the View Client to logon to the locally stored VM, using his Active Directory credentials.

Also, an administrator can initiate delta file replication.

What is new, is the use of a “Transfer Server”. This will be a separate physical server or VM. During the installation of the View Manager software, you will be asked which specific mode you want your server to have: Standard, Replica, Security or Transfer. The Transfer server manages check out/in and replication part. It makes the download/upload of VM’s more scalable. The Transfer server needs storage to store “published” Linked Clone Parent VM’s; Image Repository.

I think for now this is a great addition to the View solution. I am glad it is fully supported in View4.5. Yes, I know “the world” is waiting for a Client Hypervisor but when you think about it, this is pretty good;

-1 Platform for online and offline users, familiar way of connecting and managing,

-No strict hardware requirements like vPro CPU’s,

-You can implement a Bring Your Own Equipment very easily

-Have a great user experience with support for Windows 7 Aeroglass and DirectX 9 with 3D