Category Archives: Desktop Virtualisation

Paper: Cisco Validated Design for Citrix XenDesktop 7

Cisco has published a paper titled: “Reference Architecture for 500-Seat and 1000-Seat Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Citrix XenDesktop 7 built on Cisco UCS B200-M3 Blade Servers with EMC VNXe and Microsoft Hyper-V 2012“. The paper which contains 418 pages contains a reference architecture for building a VDI infrastructure which is validated by Cisco, Citrix, EMC and Microsoft.

The paper describes provides the architecture and design of a virtual desktop infrastructure that can grow from 500 users to 1000 users. The infrastructure is 100% virtualized on Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 with third- generation Cisco UCS B-Series B200 M3 Blade Servers iSCSI booting from an EMC VNXe3300 storage array. The virtual desktops are powered using Citrix Provisioning Server 7 and Citrix XenDesktop 7, with a mix of hosted shared desktops (70%) and pooled desktops (30%) to support the user population. Where applicable, the document provides best practice recommendations and sizing guidelines for customer deployments of XenDesktop 7 on the Cisco Unified Computing System.


The paper covers the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • Solution Component Benefits
  • Summary of Main Findings
  • Architecture
  • Infrastructure components
  • Solution Architecture
  • Desktop Delivery Infrastructure – Citrix
  • Test Setup and Configurations
  • Login VSI Test Result
  • Scalability Considerations and Guidelines
  • Other Considerations
  • References

Release: VMware Horizon View Clients 2.3

VMware last week released a new version of the Horizon View clients for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. Customers using a View client on their device are able to access their Windows desktop hosted on a VMware Horizon backend infrastructure.


The following functionality was added in version 2.3:


  • Unity Touch sidebar enhancements
  • Advanced SSL options
  • Japanes 106/109 keyboard layout support
  • Log off, reset and roll back changes
  • Desktop serach
  • Multiple recent connections pages
  • Support for iPad mini with Retina display and iPad Air


  • Unity Touch sidebar enhancements
  • Advanced SSL options
  • Japanes 106/109 keyboard layout support
  • Log off, reset and roll back changes
  • Desktop serach
  • Multiple recent connections pages
  • Support for Android 4.4. (KitKat)

Mac OS X

  • Support for Real-Time Audio-Video
  • Desktop Search
  • Reordering shortcuts


  • Ability to configure which keys are sent only to the local system
  • Hiding of server connection screen and desktop library when running in kiosk mode


  • New group policy security setting for configuring client systems to use a specific cipher list
  • Log file enhancements

VMware Release Horizon View 5.3

On Friday 22nd November, VMware released version 5.3 of its Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) product Horizon View. With this release, VMware also updated the View clients to version 2.2.


Version 5.3 provides the following new features and support as detailed in the release notes:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Desktop Operating System Support, interesting for companies who want to provide DaaS under the SPLA licensing terms from Microsoft.
  • Windows 8.1 Desktop Operating System Support
  • Use VMware Horizon Mirage to manage View desktops
  • Virtual SAN Datastore Support
  • Memory Recommendation messages
  • Virtual Dedicated Graphics Acceleration (vDGA) support
  • Linked-Clone Desktop Pool Storage Overcommit Feature Enhancements
  • View Persona Management Supportability Improvements
  • Ability to add the Administrators group to redirected folders
  • View Agent Direct-Connection Plug-in
  • View Composer Array Integration Support
  • Support for up to 350 connections in the Blast Secure Gateway

More information about the 2.2. versions of the View clients can be found here: VMware Horizon View Clients Documentation

Click here to download Horizon View 5.3.
Click here to download the Horizon View Clients 2.2.

Citrix Releases VDI-In-A-Box 5.4

Citrix has announced version 5.4 of its all-in-one VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) soultion VDI-in-a-Box.  this is by far the simplest way I have found to quickly setup and trial VDI and is very well aligned to the SMB/SME market

The major features introduced, leveraging the same technology of XenDesktop 7.1, are the support for Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V and VMware ESXi 5.5 (and related vSphere implementations) in addition to Windows 8.1 as virtual desktop guest OS. The Citrix blog post explains all you need to know.

Paper: IBM SmartCloud Desktop Infrastructure with VMware View

IBM and VMware released a Reference Architecture titled: “IBM SmartCloud Desktop Infrastructure with VMware View “. The paper, which contains 52 pages and describes the reference architecture for using VMware View 5.1 on the ESXi 5 hypervisor. It

gives an architecture overview and component model of the VMware View and then describes the deployment model of VMware View using different number of users on a variety of IBM® hardware platforms including IBM Flex System, IBM PureFlex System, IBM System x, IBM networking, and IBM storage.


The paper contains the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • Architectural overview
  • Component model
    • VMware View provisioning
    • Storage model
  • Operational model
    • Compute servers for virtual desktops
    • Compute server for hosted shared desktops
    • Management servers
    • Systems management
    • Shared storage
    • Networking
    • Deployment models
  • Bill of materials
  • Resources

vSphere Hardening (Updated with General Availability)


One of the more solid cases in the VMware vs Hyper-V arguments is the ‘footprint’ of the hypervisor, VMware wins in terms of sizing and claims a massive advantage in being Linux based with a smaller attack surface.  However, this is often taken as an excuse by admins to leave a default configuration on hosts and within the vSphere components used to make up a virtualisation solution.  VMware have made things a little easier for those concerned that vulnerability in even a single host can mean chaos for your virtual environment, they have now release an updated hardening guide for the following components:

  • Virtual Machines
  • ESXi hosts
  • Virtual Network
  • vCenter Server plus its database and clients.
  • vCenter Web Client
  • vCenter SSO Server
  • vCenter Virtual Appliance (VCSA) specific guidance
  • vCenter Update Manager

To directly download the guide you can use this link and this one for the change log.

VMware Blog Details Here

Thanks to Mike Foley for confirming the version status of the document being published

VMworld 2013 Technical Keynote Summary (from

Original post here

Today’s General Session is all about the technology behind the solutions provided by VMware and the partner eco system. Featuring Carl Eschenbach, VMware’s President and COO, along with VMware’s engineering leaders they are showcasing state-of-the-art technology that is transforming IT by virtualizing and automating compute, storage, networking and security across private and hybrid clouds.

It may be or is the largest IT event in Europe for a few years now. From 1.400  to 8.500+ now. Lets summarise yesterdays announcements and releases.



VMware has the mission to virtualise the whole x86 datacenter. Carl says: “We are not there yet, but we are on the road towards it.”


Software will reduce the friction between business and IT enabling increased business value.  Increase velocity. Use more budget on innovation, less on maintenance. This requires an agile datacenter. Automate IT for IT. The world will be a Hybrid cloud in the near future. How? Through the Software-Defined Data Center. Where all infrastructure is virtualised and delivered as a service.

How? by 3 imperatives.

1. Virtualize all of IT

2. IT management gives way to automation

3. Use a compatible hybrid cloud

Carl introduces Kit Colbert – Principal Engineer on stage. Kit is showing us several new or improved products to help to achieve the 3 imperatives. And to speed up the delivery of services to the business. IT requirements are complex and besides that we need to keep the lights on so there is a lot of pressure on the IT guys.

Kit shows VMware vCloud Automation Center deployment of a project (Vulcan) through a Service Catalog on a private cloud infrastructure. After deploying the project in the private cloud he also shows us how to use the hybrid cloud option to deploy it the same way in the Hybrid Cloud. By taking all the guess work out.Where you must understand that running it in a public cloud isn’t always cheaper! While deploying it in the private cloud or the hybrid cloud, you can now use Auto-scaling options. By enabling the Enable Auto Scale feature you can choose that amount of maximum nodes. Control IT through policy to keep it simple for the business.

Governance equals control. Automation brings Self-service and governance together.

Kit shows us IT Service in action: – Self service – Transparent pricing – Governance – Automation, where we get a great cost overview in vCAC – total cloud cost – operational analysis (price per VM) – demand analysis. Even a breakdown in detail of cost by department and underlying projects.

How much does a vm cost over time. Now we can answer and give the business a lot of detail. Or even a live dashboard. Showing transparency in pricing, not only for private clouds but even for public connected. Showing demand analysis. Kit is demoing the IT Business Management Suite (ITBM) product integrated in vCAC. We see lots of products nicely integrated and working together!

Next up is the vCloud Application Director for application provisioning showing us the VMware vCloud Application Director v6.0-Beta. Showing us a detailed visual overview of the multi-tier application blueprint. Application provisioning delivers: -Streamlined app provisioning -Decoupling app &infra -Automation reduces steps, risk & faults.

Conventional networking is a barrier to quick app delivery. Kit explains networking with NSX, decoupling the logical network from the underlying hardware, giving lots more agility. With the demo, Kit shows us all networking actions in previous vCAC demo were automatically executed by NSX. Traditional network routing between VMs on the same host introduces hair pinning of network traffic NSX routes on vSphere hosts. Applications can perform faster because hair pinning is eliminated by NSX on local host.

How does NSX handle security? It also handles it at the local host level to prevent unnecessary network traffic. Also load balancing is handled the same way as routing and security. This results in faster networking & better performance & happy users. NSX can be easily implemented in existing vSphere infrastructures with traditional vSwitches without downtime!  You have mutliple options to move VMs to a NSX network layer. You can turn them off and bring them up again, but that is with downtime. But you can also use vMotion to move them through the NSX bridge to move them to the new NSX based network!! For physical servers you can also connect them through a physical NSX bridge.

Making Storage Dynamic

With just a few clicks you can create a vSAN. Making it super simple to use. In combination with NSX there will be a very fast network combining all local storage like SSD and Flash for the virtual environment, based on a Highly Resilient Architecture. Kit shows us a demo how to make storage dynamic with Software-Defined-Storage (VMware vSAN). vSAN clusters use local storage to create storage pools using SSDs & disks preserving vSphere advanced features.Adding a host in a vSAN cluster gives more compute, networking and storage capacity. Building blocks now contain storage! vSAN is highly resilient by writing multiple copies.

vSAN delivers: -storage policy set at time of provisioning -storage that scales -leverage existing DAS storage

It is time for End User Computing. End user freedom with IT control where VDI now goes mainstream! No reason NOT to virtualize desktops. Every application even high graphics workloads can be on the platform. Horizon Workspace gives users SSO to all applications and even application execution of non supported OS, like One Note or Visio on a Mac. Provisioning a virtual desktop through vCAC is now possible and even to the cloud through Desktone, which VMware acquired earlier.

Horizon Suite delivers: -Self serv to apps & data o any device -Policy, automation, security & compliance -Enhanced productivity for users & IT

These were great demos Kit thanks for showing us all the possibilities.

Carl introduces Joe Baguley (VMware CTO EMEA) on stage next.

Conventional Approach to Management is Rigid. Complex and Fragile. It is the reality because the problem lays in the system of silos for networking, storage, compute. We have to start accelerating, by starting to do it through a policy based approach. This is the VMware Approach to Management.

New approach needs policy based automation to deliver agile, scalable and simple IT infrastructures.

There are a couple of challenges by given by Carl to Joe before he can start the demo. Carl says: “Seemlesly extend to the public cloud. Workloads back into the private cloud. No change to IT policies or whatsoever.”

Joe shows us a vCAC demo but also adding to Carl not to pickup the phone yet because the Vulcan project is Red at the moment but to read the words below the pretty picture ;-) It says: Automated remediation action. System gonna fix itself.

Integration of Operations Manager and vCloud Automation Center creates a self-healing infrastructure.

Automated Operations delivers -policy driven, automated, proactive resp -Intelligent analytics -creating visibility into application health.

vCOPS has connectors for other components in infrastructure for full overview from a single pane of glass. Log Insight intelligently filters and categorises large quantities of log data. Reducing 65M events to 15 events.

The same templates used for managing VMs on premise are synchronized and available in vCloud Hybrid Service and vice versa.

It is a fundamentally different way than in the past. IT is changing welcome to the next era!

VMware commitment is…

  1. no rip and replace in the datacenter
  2. get more out of the data center.
  3. Build on existing skills.

So lets tear down the world of silo-ed IT and create an One IT team!!

This ends the keynote. Thanks all and have a great VMworld.