Everything you wanted to know about how VMware View local mode or offline mode works

So I’ve been working with a customer on a specific use case that required extensive use of VMware View Local Mode. I will explain more about this in a moment. To sound a bit like a bad TV show, the names in this story have been changed to protect the innocent. First I’ll talk a bit about the customers requirements and then explain how View Local Mode works.

Now on to the customer use case that brought up all these questions and led me to do some deep dive research into View Local Mode operations. The use case that I was looking into was for a consulting firm. They have teams of consultants that work at customer locations 80% of the time and are only in a remote office 20% of their time. There would be 1500 mobile users and 500 office workers who would be working in a connected mode, meaning they are always in an office or a location with a network connection.

    So naturally we talked about several designs that might work for them. There are 2 primary ones that would meet their needs and both would be built with VMware View 4.6.

    Design #1

    This design would use VMware View 4.6 to provide virtual desktops to 2000 users. The office workers are the easy part. They would be provided virtual desktops via Linked Clones and their profiles will be layered with one of the 3rd party profile tools. A few of the tools out today are AppSense, Liquidware Labs Profile unity, RingCube, UniDesk and several others.

    Now the mobile users would be provided persistent desktops from View with the option to check out for Local Mode. This would allow users to check out their desktop so that it will run locally on their laptop. The checkout process will take a while because the first time a user checks out they must download the entire virtual machine. Once checked out they can replicate changes back to the datacenter to keep the copy that is locked in the datacenter up to date. This way if there is a disaster on their laptop they can recover up to the point of their last sync. This method is pretty straightforward to design, the only drawbacks with this method would be the additional disk space required and they will need to be managed like a standard PC when it comes to OS patching. The benefit to this method is by using persistent virtual machines the user only needs to check out the entire VM once, unless they are checking it out on a different end point. This greatly reduces time and bandwidth requirements.

    Design #2

    With this design we are still trying to accomplish the same goal, were just going about it a different way. The connected office workers will be designed in the same manor as Design #1. The difference comes in how we design for the mobile users. In this architecture we want to use the benefits of Linked Clones in VMware View. This will allow us to save on disk space and will take less effort to manage OS level patching. Since there is just a parent image to keep up to date and then all Linked Clones will pull from that image.

    The tricky part comes in with using the Transfer servers and users having to do the initial image sync on check out. Then each time the parent image is recomposed for something like patching every Local Mode user will have to download the entire parent image again. This is a lot of data to pull down for 1500 users across 45 remote offices. So we will need a method to ease this burden.

    The initial idea was hey we can just put the View Transfer servers out in the remote offices and users can pull their data for a local server. Well that turned out to be not possible, I will explain in more detail below. The option that was uncovered was the ability to use a Web proxy to cache data at the remote site that the users data would flow through. This proxy would only be able to cache the parent image data since other disks would be user specific. Once the first user pulled down the updated parent image the proxy would populate the cache and would speed up the process for the next users. You can find out more about this in the View administration PDF guide. The OS delta disk and user persistent disk would still be pulled down from the datacenter across the WAN in this design.

    Facts about VMware View Transfer servers

    A transfer server is a server that will handle the communications for users when they check out or in a View desktop. They will access a compressed version of the parent image being used for the Linked Clone View pool that the user is a member of. If you are allowing a persistent desktop to be checked out the transfer server does not cache these and it will just be pulled directly from the datastore that it sits on.

    • Transfer server must be a virtual server on vSphere & part of same vCenter of View install
    • Transfer servers should be kept in Datacenter near vSphere hosts and storage that contains the parent image
    • They do not cache the delta disks or user Persistent disks, these must be pulled directly from the source
    • You can check out and in desktops via View Security server but speed is slower, around 50% of direct speed
    • After a recompose of parent image you will be required to download entire image again
    • VMware recommends about 20 max concurrent transfers per server. At this point through testing a 1gb network connection will become saturated. So you will need to scale the number of transfer servers based on this. It really depends on how many concurrent transfers you expect to have as there is no assigned users hard limit.
    • If you have multiple transfer servers they will use a repository to store the compressed image, this is just a CIFS or NFS share that all server must have access to.

    If you have more questions about how anything works on this process drop your question in the comments and I will try and get you an answer. I will also try and keep this post up to date as new things are discovered about the Local Mode process.

     

     

     

    About Brian Suhr

    Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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    VMware View client for iPad is now available

    After months of vGeeks waiting for some View love for their lonely iPads VMware has finally delivered the almighty View Client. Only time will tell how well it will work and how much people will use it. But based upon the number of iPads that Apple has sold and just the amount that I see in offices these days it should be very successful.

    The VMware View iPad client is available now from the iTunes app store here.

    The VMware View client for iPad supports the native Apple iPad gestures as well as some new VMware created ones. You can see from the images below the virtual trackpad that is available and some of the gestures. Also the VMware communities has posted a document to cover install, setup and troubleshooting of the iPad App here.

    About Brian Suhr

    Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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    VMware adds desktop certification to its lineup – VCA4-DT, VCP4-DT and VCAP-DT

    With each year that passes Virtual Desktops or VDI continues to become a priority to more companies. For the last several years different consultants and media people are quick to declare this as the year of VDI. This has kind of become a joke among the admin community. There is no doubt that VDI is here and companies are deploying it.

    Since the release of View 4.0 VMware seems to be showing that they are very serious about achieving the same level of dominance in the VDI market that they share in server virtualization. VMware quickly followed up with View 4.5 that brought many needed features to level the feature set with Citrix’s offerings.

    To continue proof that they are committed to this Desktop race VMware has announce a Certification track for the Desktop. The new program is called the VMware Certified – Desktop program and is made up of three certification levels. This new approach adds a new lower level certification that was not available with vSphere certifications.

    VMware Desktop Certifications

    • VMware Certified Associate 4 – Desktop (VCA4-DT): is directed toward Virtualization System Administrators who seek to demonstrate their ability to manage, monitor and troubleshoot desktop deployments and VMware View 4.5 components, as well as their knowledge of adjacent, complementary technologies to VMware solutions.
      Learn more.
    • Coming soon! VMware Certified Professional 4 – Desktop (VCP4-DT) is directed toward Virtualization Systems Engineers who seek to demonstrate their ability to install and configure the VMware View environment and enable View Client users. Candidates must also be able to configure the vSphere environment, possess a deep understanding of VMware core components and their relation to storage and networking and be proficient in datacenter design methodologies.
    • Coming soon! VMware Certified Advanced Professional – Desktop (VCAP-DT): is directed toward Virtualization Architects who seek to demonstrate their deep knowledge of VMware vSphere and VMware View design. Candidates will be able to expertly manage all aspects of the vSphere and View environments from installation and configuration to maintenance and troubleshooting. Candidates will also possess a deep knowledge of virtualization architectures and components and be able to architect VMware desktop solutions to meet specific customer business requirements.

    Also as a first there will be no VMware course requirement to earn the VCA4-DT certification. Typically in the past the first level certifications have always required a VMware course. With more advanced levels leaving VMware courses as optional, figuring that most people able to acquire them would already possess the necessary skills.  You can see from the image that VMware is recommending a list of courses that would help candidates achieve the knowledge needed to take the first level exam.

    I have to say that this has been a long time coming and I’m pretty glad to see that they have finally arrived. With the demand for VDI growing companies are looking for ways to see employee’s prove they have the skills necessary to successfully implement VDI. Also vendors are sure to welcome these certifications as a way to bolster their VDI sales pitches and prove they are worthy of your business.

    About Brian Suhr

    Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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    Will VMware be releasing update to View 4.6 soon

    I’ve started to hear whispers this week that VMware will be updating VMware View to version 4.6. The release of View 4.6 will be a minor update. If you have an active VMware support contract you can expect to be able to upgrade to VMware View 4.6 free of charge. The download is expect to be in the last couple of days of February.

    Some of the expected new features are:

    • 160+ Bug fixes
    • Support for secure PCoIP tunneling
    • Improvements in using Windows 7 SP1 RC as a remote desktop OS
    • Better keyboard mapping support
    • Enhanced USB device compatibility

    About Brian Suhr

    Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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    Chicago VMUG recap of October 20th meeting on VDI

    Well we have another successful Chicago VMUG meeting under our belts. With each meeting we have it really feels like were building a strong community in Chicago. The reason that I got involved with the VMUG community was to network with my fellow VMware people and to share our experiences. I think building a strong community benefits everyone that attends the VMUG meetings. Sure you get to listen to briefings from VMware and other virtualization related companies but being able to talk openly with others that are fighting the same battles as you everyday is priceless. You get to ask questions of people who have done what you are seeking to do or are also planning the same projects. These are opportunities that would not come around often if it were not for the VMUG meetings. You can see the slide decks from most of the presentations on the Chicago VMUG blog.

    Face it most of us have our internal teams and maybe a few friends in the industry. But do you really get the opportunity to speak openly about these technologies with industry experts and 100 other community members very often. Well if you attend the VMUG meetings then you can answer yes. Today I met several new people and I can say that at each meeting I’m sure to meet other interesting members.

    In the first session of the day we had Chris Fox in from VMware. Chris gave us a briefing of new products and announcements that have taken place since our last meeting which included both VMware San Francisco and VMworld Copenhagen. In this session Chris laid out what VMware’s current Cloud and VDI offerings are. Chris also was nice enough to hang around and participate on our VDI panel in the last session that I describe below.

    The second session of the day was a general VDI related presentation from Elias Khnaser from Artemis Technologies. In this talk Elias covered the business and technology reasons that are causing most companies to consider Virtual Desktops. He also provided some sample numbers on sizing and costs related to VDI deployments. Elias also spoke about the many options available within the VDI space.

    Next up was Wyse technology. During this session we got a recap of the thin client offerings that Wyse has today. I was really surprised to see the Wyse mobile thin clients, these are kind of a Netbook style thin client. They also covered software clients that Wyse offers for PC’s and the popular Pocket Cloud app for iPad and iPhone.

    After the 2nd session we took a short lunch break and enjoyed some delicious Fajitas that the staff at Dave & Busters in Addison cooked up for us. The food was fresh and ready right when we needed it to be. I was pleased with the meeting room and the service we got from the staff.

    The next session was from RES Software and Brian talked about how RES can help with your VDI planning and deployments. It was good to hear from RES as I was already familiar with some competing products in this space. We got to hear about their profile management and workspace extender products. Brian from RES Software was also kind enough to sit on your discussion panel later in the day also.

    Before I wrap up the last portion of the VMUG meeting I’ll cover what is likely a favorite of many. The prizes that we gave out today to many that attended the VMUG meeting. During the experts discussion panel we handed out vNerd shirts from TrainSignal and vArmy T-shirts to people that asked questions to the panel. Then we drew names for several people that won VMware related training videos from TrainSignal and Elias Khanser. Also the great folks at Wyse gave away an Apple iPad and the team at RES Software gave away a Flip video camera and several Starbucks gift cards. I would like to talk our sponsors and other companies that supplied these great gifts that we were able to provide to our lucky winners. Oh I almost forgot that one of our great members donated 4 tickets to an upcoming Chicago Bulls game that were given away to a lucky member at the meeting.

    We finished off the meeting today with a panel of VMware heavy hitters that bravely took all questions from the audience related to VDI. I was really impressed by this session it was our first real panel type discussion and picking Virtual Desktops as the topic seemed to be a great choice. The questions came fast and there was a bunch of them. The conversation was honest and open. We had questions that ranged from security, SAN storage planning to building a small VDI of 50 clients. Each question was great because they came from a community member with a real issue or someone just seeking some insight to help with their planning. I posted a couple of pictures of the panel below taken with different cell phone cameras so excuse the poor quality. The panel consisted of the following people, I will fill in the names that are missing once I go over my notes.

    Matt Lieb a vSpecialist from EMC   ( @MBLeib )
    Chris Fox from VMware
    Elias Khnaser from Artemis Technologies   ( @ekhnaser )
    SE from Wyse
    Brian from RES Software   ( @ressoftware )

    About Brian Suhr

    Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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    More VMware iPad app goodness at VMworld Copenhagen 2010

    Some people were hoping to hear that the VMware iPad app for vSphere Management would be released at VMworld Copenhagen but that was not the case. We did get another look at the applications and a glimpse at a new VMware product that works nicely with the iPad also.

    In the first section of the video we get another peek at the VMware vSphere management iPad app. There are some improvements that were made since we first say it at VMworld San Francisco. In the video he mentions that they hope to release a Beta version in a few weeks and then the final version late 2010 as a VMware Labs Fling. We get to see how you can now power cycle or restart a VM, get a look at home much CPU and Memory it’s consuming and some other details.

    The next part of the video shows us the VMware View Client for iPad. We see a demo of it logging into the View portal at VMware corporate and connecting to a Windows 7 VDI machine. He then showcases the virtual Touch Pad that we had heard about in the last video from San Fran. The improvements that were made to the virtual keyboard are pretty cool. I like how they have added the Windows function keys and other standard keys that will make using a Windows VDI on an Apple iPad easier. VMware is definitely stepping up the level for portable VDI with this application.

    In the final part of the video we get to see the web interface for the newly announced vCloud Request Manager from the iPad. This allows for requests to be made inside of vCloud Director that will require a managers approval. You are able to view all of your prior requests and see what is pending, approved or denied. This looks really cool and will go a long way for improving the mobility for people working with VMware and vCloud.

    About Brian Suhr

    Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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