CloudPhysics releases the Card store and VMworld contest

As VMworld continues to inch closer and closer the number of announcements continues to grow. There are people announcing new jobs and companies taking the covers off of new product offerings before the big show even starts. Well today I’m happy to help CloudPhysics announce their new Card Store feature and this years VMworld contest.

VMworld Contest

Much like they did last year the team at CloudPhysics will be running another contest for VMworld. This year they are taking it up another notch by running the contest in two phases. The first phase starts today and runs up to VMworld. They are giving away some amazing prizes again this year.

dates

Best of all they have already released a large amount of cards that were suggestions from the community in last years contest. The cards created in this years contest will be available for all to use, this is good for the community and is helping CloudPhysics build a better product.

prizes

You can find out the full details of the contest by reading the post from CloudPhysics.

CloudPhysics Card Store

The card store from CloudPhysics takes the Card Builder feature they released this summer and adds the ability to share with your company or the community. The image below is a snapshot I grabbed from the Card Store this morning it was already populated with a number of new cards released from CloudPhysics. This allows users to add these cards to their Deck or view and start getting more detailed reporting about their VMware environment.

I really like the idea of a Card Store, today people go off searching various blogs for posts looking for a script that might do what they are trying to accomplish. I think many of these needs could be met with cards in the Card Store and would ease the anxiety of admins not strong with scripting that they can trust these cards over a mystery script.

card-store

 

How to play the game

To enter and play the contests all you need to do is have or sign up for a free CloudPhysics account. You will then be able to create cards with the Card Builder and share they with the community. You can then start earning points based on cards you build and how popular they are. So please do not create a bunch of redundant or rubbish cards people. lets really dig deep and create some cards that would be valuable to yourself and other VMware admins.

how-to-play

 

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What does vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) Mean for VMware Partners?

With the new VMware vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) customers will now be able to purchase virtual resources from a VMware-operated cloud. For the last couple of years you have been able to purchase vCloud capacity from third-party cloud vendors, but vCHS is a VMware supported and sold offering. This will allow customers to use as a public cloud or connect with their internal resources to build a hybrid cloud. Typically customers purchase their licensing and services through a VMware partner. So I can’t help wondering: How will vCloud Hybrid Service affect VMware partners?

Read the full post that I wrote for Petri Knowledgebase

vchs-post

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VMware updates Horizon Workspace to 1.5 what does that mean

Today VMware announced that it has updated Horizon Workspace to version 1.5 and it is available for immediate download. I have been waiting for this update for a bit now and was eagerly waiting to see what would be included in the update.

To keep things simple I have pasted the list of updates and new features below. After that I will offer my feedback on the ones that I feel are most important.

The following information describes some of the enhancements available in this release of Horizon Workspace:

  • Management of VMware® Ready™ Android Devices. Added Android container management for VMware Ready devices.
  • Oracle Support. Added Oracle and Oracle RAC as supported databases.
  • Unified Policies. Made changes to the policy framework for consistency and flexibility. Added a policy previewer.
  • Localized Support. Support for French, German, Japanese and Simplified Chinese localizations.
  • Change in VMware® ThinApp™ licensing tracking. Added per-device licensing support for ThinApp packages.
  • Customizable Getting Started Guide. A Word template with graphics that you can use to create a customized Horizon Workspace getting started guide to meet the unique needs of your end users. See the Getting Started ZIP file.
  • Numerous Bug Fixes. Improved the stability, performance, and scale of Horizon Workspace by implementing a variety of bug fixes.

 

Horizon Workspace Feedback

 

Management of Android Devices – This is VMware’s first official release of a mobile management offering. They have now gotten some of the cellular carries to sign up with their approach and are supporting a modest amount of popular Android phones. I’m glad to see this finally get released will have to get some extensive testing with the solution before I decided if I like the approach or not.

Oracle Support – This I am glad to see, now if they can bring SQL support more people will be happy. The initial Workspace release only support PostgreSQL databases. For production builds it is not recommended to use the local PostgreSQL database that is part of the virtual appliance, this meant customers would have to stand up their own database servers. Since most corporate customers do not typically use PostgreSQL this was a complaint that was commonly voiced.

Bug Fixes – I have not yet read through the bug fix list but being a 1.0 release there was room for improvement. Lets hope that the product continues to mature quickly.

 

What I still want to see from Horizon Workspace

 

As someone that is a big VMware supporter I am often one to complain when I feel that they are not hitting the mark on something. Below are a few things that I feel they need to improve or add to the Workspace offering.

XenApp integration – This is something that was talked about at VMworld 2012 and has yet to make it into the product a year later. This is the ability to take existing XenApp packaged applications and present them via the Workspace portal, to allow your users a single place to access their applications.

Application Presentation – Forget the XenApp integration, it is a nice to have, but I think the ability to present applications directly to an endpoint is a gaping hole in VMware’s offering. This was OK in the past but as both VMware and Citrix advance their EUC offerings this is killing VMware.

Mobile Management – Finally glad to see part of the mobile offering make it into the 1.5 release, but this is only a partial and immature offering. I am still unsure about how I feel about VMware trying to develop something this late in the mobile game. This puts them behind others in the market place and I’m not sure how fast they can improve their offering to close the gaps.

 

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CloudPhysics Knowledge Base Advisor what does it do

Today the CloudPhysics team is taking the covers off of the new Knowledge Base Advisor card. This card is the latest edition to the Beta SaaS based monitoring tool that CloudPhysics is building. The new card aims to make finding related Knowledge Base information easier.

To get things rolling you deploy a collector virtual appliance into your environment that will anonymize your stats and send them back to CloudPhysics and import into your account. You will then have a dashboard that has a number of cards on it for various reports. The new card as shown below is a link to KB articles that apply to your environment.

kb-card

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RVTools one of the best free VMware tools you can find

For anyone that works with VMware products on a regular basis and has the need to document or collect configuration information, RVTools is a great tool you should be using. As a consultant for a VMware partner I am routinely needing to gather details about customers vSphere environments. This makes RVTools a go to option for these efforts.

 

Use Cases

 

Documentation – If you need to grab an inventory of your VMware environment or just get a list of VMs or hosts, RVTools is an easy way to accomplish. You can quickly pull extensive details about the environment and export them. I have used these lists for planning migrations of VMs. The lists can be easily manipulated in Excel for planning move phases.

Configuration check – You can collect the data then export it to Excel. From there you can sort and view information to help you identify configuration details about hosts or VMs. This can help you confirm if you have set something accordingly or be used to identify possible issues.

 

How to Use

The application is very simple to use, upon opening the app you will be prompted for credentials and what endpoint you want to connect to. For this sample I am connecting to a vCenter with a single cluster. Once connected it will take a about a minute to collect all the data.

From the image below you can see from the list of highlighted tabs there are a number of views that you can look at data from. Each of these tabs contains specific details on different items.

The initial screen is the vInfo tab that shows a complete lists of virtual machines and their configuration. I have listed a few highlights of the values displayed on the screen. This list is only a sample of what is collected.

  • CPU count
  • Memory amount
  • Number of NICs
  • Network port groups attachted
  • Resource pool
  • Virtual disk space (provisioned & in use)
  • Cluster name
  • OS version
  • VM hardware verions

main screen

 

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vCloud Hybrid Service offerings explained

You will be able purchase capacity from VMware’s new vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) in two ways when it becomes available to the public around VMworld 2013. I will explain the two different cloud options and what they mean to customers. I have written an in depth guide to vCHS offerings in a post for Petri IT Knowledgebase.

petri-vchs

 

Read the entire post at Petri IT Knowledgebase

 

 

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How to use VMware VisualEsxtop

Esxtop is a powerful tool and you should be using it, if you are not then start today. It just got easier to use this powerful tool with the release of VisualEsxtop as a VMware Fling from the labs team. This allows admins an easier to understand and work with method to using esxtop. The new Gui that was added allows for people of all technical levels to use the tool and gain insight into their environments.

Upon launching VisualEsxtop you will see some very familiar looking details from the CLI version of the tool. You will be greeted with the same summary at the top as seen with the original tool. The summary gives you a high level view based on the tab that you are looking at. Below I am showing an example showing CPU related details.

summary

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