Sign up for the @VMworld VMware Design studio sessions

Intro

You might have already seen them around on your local VMUG but this year at VMworld the VMware Design studio can also be found in the schedule builder. Last year it was a case of knowing people who knew the right person with the sign up sheet but once you where in it was a blast. I have heard from multiple persons that it was one of the highlights of their VMworld experience. I had already done a couple of sessions remotely using zoom with these folks but it was an even better experience in person.

What is the VMware Design Studio?

The people from the design studio are specialist in creating  interfaces and they make sure that when they are involved in creating a gui that the User Experience is the best available. Now they aren’t evolved in all the VMware gui’s yet (Yes I am looking at you Horizon admin console) but they have touched most of the recent ones as far as I know.

The sessions

Before starting you need to sign an NDA so make sure your employer allows you to, once you get past that it’s time to introduce yourself to your host(s) and get started. How the sessions go depend on how far the studio already is with the interface itself. I have seen ones that where nothing more than a few drawings, maybe some static images, or even some program that lets you click in certain places or even an almost completely working interface. You are asked to constantly speak out on how you expect things to work or what you think you should or would be doing next getting a task done.

No feedback that you give is wrong, in these sessions, some might not be used but things can’t improve without as much feedback as possible. During the sessions I did remotely I even had the current version of the same GUI in front of me so I could correct some pull down menu’s because they where in a different order in the test version and that totally annoyed me so yes please let you’re OCD kick in!

Yes I want, how do I book the sessions?

Please go to VMworld.com and select under session type Design studio workshop.

Will there also be sessions at VMworld EU?

This is not 100% sure yet but there’s a good chance that the sessions will also be happening in Barcelona, just like last year!

So in short:

What’s (in) my backpack for @VMworld US 2018

I did a similar post for Nutanix .Next in Nice last year and there won’t be a lot of differences with that one. There will be some differences though since I need some world plugs for my european equipment plus I changed employers so I have a new laptop with new stickers (please help me to stay away from paper stickers, those are hell to remove). With less then two weeks to go for the event I don’t think a lot will change after this post. There’s a good chance that I will take a pass on the official VMworld backpack since I have enough of them now + there’s now the option to choose a charity over it.

First my bag, while I normally sport the 2016 Cohesity vExpert Timbuk2 backpack or a more recently received Nutanix Wenger backpack for daily use I decided to go with the XD Design Bobby backpack that I received the day that I started with my current employer AnylinQ. These have a great surface for customizing them with stickers as you can see below.

For the tech in it some things have changed, the laptop has been replaced by a newer generation so now I have the HP Probook 440 G5 + a Microsoft designer mouse has been added to replace the Xiaomi mouse. For the rest it’s still the Sony MDR-ZX770BN headset, an older Xiaomi 10k battery pack, Roundcube Rewirable  USB Travel adapter and the good old (hey, it’s over a year old now!) Samsung A5 2017 phone. All loose stuff will again by packed into the same Bubm DIS-L case.

 

 

New View API query services in PowerCLI 10.1.1: pulling event information without the sql password.

A while back I already posted about new services that where available for the View API’s in PowerCLI 10.1.1. Recently the api explorer for this version was published and can be found here. Two things that I didn’t find back then was the addition of two services for the query service. The first is GlobalApplicationEntitlementInfo this one can be compared to the previously already available GlobalEntitlementSummaryView and will return information about global entitlements.

The second added services is extremely useful: you can now query the event database. This means you don’t need the actual sql password anymore to query the events. According to the api explorer at least Horizon 7.3 is required and only events from the Event and Event_Data database tables. A simple query will show all events.

As you can see the data is divided in data and namesdata properties, these contain the same data as what is returned with get-hvevent. I added some selections to show only one event.

and

Offcourse it;s better to use filtering from the query directly. The full lust for that is available from the api explorer but I will give a couple of examples. (be aware that membername and the value are case sensitive)

Or by severity

As said it can be filtered on other properties as well but that might require some more logic to get the userid or desktopid for example. This is a very useful addition in my opinion to the Horizon View api’s.

The VMware Labs flings monthly for July 2018

It’s been a busy month in the world of flings all of the flings except for one on the first page are new or updated ones. This means there are five(!) new ones and six(!) have received an update. The new ones are: Policy BuilderSDDC Certificate ToolvAssist.ai NLP PlatformWorkspace ONE UEM Samsung E-FOTA Tool and the Horizon Helpdesk Utility that I wrote yesterday about. The ones that received an update are: Cross vCenter Workload Migration Utility,  Blockchain on KubernetesHCIBenchESXi Embedded Host ClientvSphere HTML5 Web Client and last but not least the VMware OS Optimization Tool.

The new releases

Policy Builder

The policy builder is an hosted fling that helps the user to create custom MDM policies for Workspace UEM (former Airwatch)

Official summary:

This cloud hosted Fling helps users with custom Mobile Device Management (MDM) policy generation that use MDM capabilities available through Microsoft’s Windows 10 MDM Configuration Service Providers (CSPs).

Note: On login with My VMmware credentials, the tool provides an easy to use form based UI that allows the Windows 10 admin to simply enter the required values for the policies and auto generates corresponding syncML that can be copied to publish through Workspace ONE Unified Endpoint Management.

This tool greatly reduces the effort of hand rolling syncML and the possibility of code and formatting errors when creating or managing custom settings profiles through Workspace ONE UEM.

SDDC Certificate Tool

The SDDC Certificate Tool is an automated process that replaces all certificates in a SDDC for you. This normally can be a lengthy process but should be a breeze with this fling.

Official summary:

Replacing SSL certificates across VMware products is a manual and time-consuming process. The SDDC Certificate Tool automates this workflow and makes it easy to keep certificates across your SDDC up to date. It will replace all certificates in the supported products and reestablish trust between the components.

Supported Products

  • VMware Platform Services Controller (PSC)
  • VMware vCenter Server (VC)
  • VMware NSX for vSphere (NSX)
  • vRealize Log Insight (vRLI)
  • vRealize Operations Manager (vROps)
  • vRealize Automation (vRA)
  • vRealize Business for Cloud (vRB)
    More about this Fling: New SDDC Certificate Replacement Fling by William Lam

vAssist.ai NLP Platform

Not my cup of tea but this fling is supposed to be an example where you can talk against vRealize Automation.

Official summary:

vAssist.ai, a Natural Language Processing (NLP) platform, enables bot developers to train machine learning models for intent classification and entity extraction. This platform is available as a SaaS model which exposes easy-to-use REST APIs to train and parse natural language inputs. It also provides a multi-tenant user interface dashboard which can be used to annotate and visualize training data expressions and train machine learning models in the cloud.

VMware customers who are serious about building conversational interfaces can benefit from this platform. With this Fling we trained a sample model for vRealize Automation. Users can chat with the test bot to query available catalog services and initiate a provisioning request in a natural, conversational way. Please note that we are using a sample internal environment for vRealize Automation.

Features

  • NLU Engine for Intent and entity extraction
  • Customizable NLU pipeline
  • Rule based and ML based Conversation Engine
  • Privacy of the data
  • Scalable and Fault Tolerant
  • REST APIs exposed for integration with multiple channels and platforms

Workspace ONE UEM Samsung E-FOTA Tool

The Workspace ONE UEM Samsung E-FOTA Tool is a fling for Workspace One UEM to add some extra functionality for Samsung devices.

Official summary:

The Workspace ONE UEM Samsung E-FOTA Tool is designed to add to the existing abilities of AirWatch’s Samsung E-FOTA implementation. These new abilities include scheduling a firmware/OS update in a targeted window. This feature is dependent on the existing abilities within AirWatch which enroll the MDM into Samsung E-FOTA and push profiles to enroll the device into Samsung E-FOTA. Users should use this tool along with the information gathered from the Workspace ONE UEM console. The information can then be used to make an API command to schedule the firmware/OS update to your Samsung devices.

Horizon Helpdesk Utility

Like I said yesterday the Horizon Helpdesk Utility is how the original Horizon View Helpdesk Tool should have been. Please read yesterdays;s post for more information and screenshots.

The Horizon Helpdesk Utility is designed to be a tool used by real help desk agents. The Horizon Helpdesk Utility takes all of the functionality of the current HTML5 based Helpdesk in VMware Horizon and adds true desktop integration features, including:

  • Greater speed in queries
  • Reduced steps to find a session
  • Multiple monitoring windows
  • Keystrokes for fast access
  • Native remote control functionality
  • Real-time updates
  • Built-in session experience score based on session performance and variables

Updated flings

VMware OS Optimization Tool

Changelog

July 30, 2018, b1100

  • Issue fix: With group selection operation, unselected optimization items are applied.
  • Issue fix: can not export analysis report

July 20, 2018, b1099

  • Template update: Windows 10 & Windows Server 2016
  • Prevent the usage of OneDrive for file storage
  • Registry changes:

Cross vCenter Workload Migration Utility

Changelog

Version 2.2, July 16, 2018

  • Support for vSphere Resource Pool and VM folder for placement under advanced options
  • Support for VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC) by specifying resource pool and folder options

Blockchain on Kubernetes

Changelog

July 16 2018, BoK 2.1

  • Support deployment of Hyperledger Fabric 1.1.0.
  • Allow users to customize the Fabric organizations and peers in bok.yaml.
  • Add ingress controller for serving traffic to Fabric peers nodes and explorer node.
  • Make improvement on stability and usability.
  • Verified against Kubernetes 1.10.3 and Pivotal Container Service (PKS) 1.1.0.
  • Updated the PCF Fabric Tile which supports creating Kubernetes cluster via PKS Tile and deploy Hyperledger Fabric in the Kubernetes cluster.

HCIBench

Changelog

Version 1.6.7.1

  • Fixed vSAN Performance Diagnostic API call
  • Fixed network validation message not clear issue
  • Fixed setting re-use VMs as default bug in 1.6.7

Version 1.6.7

  • Enabled https instead of http
  • Added storage policy field, user can specify storage policy for the data disks. For this version, storage policy can’t be assigned to existing client VMs
  • Enhanced deployment methodology
  • Enhanced vSAN Observer to avoid blow up the memory
  • Enhanced vSAN Performance Diagnostic API call with HCIBench workload configuration included
  • Added timestamp to the testing status
  • Bug fixes

ESXi Embedded Host Client

Changelog

Version 1.31.0 build 9277095 (Fling 21) – July 20, 2018

  • General
    • Resolve several issues related to dropdown selection
    • Update NTP UX
    • Update AngularJS to 1.6.10
    • Other minor bug fixes

vSphere HTML5 Web Client

Changelog

Fling 3.40 – Build 9292689
New Features

  • Host profiles
    • Check compliance
    • Pre-check and remediate host (known issue exists – see known issues)
    • Extract, edit host profile
    • Host profile favorites management (vCenter 6.5)
    • Copy settings between profiles (vCenter 6.5)

New EUC fling released: Horizon Helpdesk Utility

Ok, normally I do a post each month with the latest and greatest flings and I will still do that tomorrow. Today though Andrew Morgan from VMware OCTO has released a fantastic new fling: Horizon Helpdesk Utility! But we already have the Helpdesk tool you might say? Well this fling is everything the helpdesk tool should have been. While it isn’t bad this one is way better.

First of all this fling is an app that you need to install on your own computer or a management server. It will keep its settings in C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\HorizonHelpDeskAgent\ .net Framework 4.5.2 is required but most will already have that or a higher version installed. Installation itself is a quick next next finish with the warning that the signer of the application is not trusted, I have been told that this might be fixed in the next release. After installation you will find a new application in your start menu. I have already attached it to my start menu as well.

After starting you will get a box where you will need to fill in the server address including the http part and your credentials (the same role is required as the regular helpdesk tool)

If you don’t have a trusted certificate you will get a box to accept that certificate.

After that I was looking for something to popup but I just had a small icon added down right

Right click on this and you’ll see a small search box. This search is more easily reachable by using ctrl+F12

Put in a name and you’ll get a box that contains all matching names

Double click the correct account or session and the real deal will open up for you.

The diagrams hardly need any explanation, please also notice the user experience rating on the top right. The image in my lab doesn’t have anything installed so I can’t really show a lot but here are the views from the other tabs as well:

All entitlements for the user

This is pulled directly from the event database

Some more fancy diagrams about the blast protocol

The last tab shows all processes on the desktop, this can easily be filtered on any of the info shown

A possible improvement here would be some kind of checkbox to show only the users own processes because otherwise things can get confusing at RDS hosts. I’ve already talked with Andrew about that (actually the checkbox was his idea).

On the top left there’s a couple of pull down menus to allow for some actions on the session or the machine itself.

The remote control functionality starts windows’ own mrsa tool.

Despite running it against my own very small lab the tool seems to perform very well. I consider it for the few moments that I have used it as a very decent replacement for the original helpdesk tool.

 

 

My Experience with the NSX 6.2 ICM On-Demand traning and the VCP-NV exam

For the people who are only interested in the result: today I passed the VCP-NV exam with 367 points. This after I followed the NSX Install, Configure, Manage (hence the ICM) On-Demand course in May. This training was provided through the Partner training funds that my employer TenICT/AnylinQ have been assigned by VMware.

About the NSX ICM On-Demand training.

For the people not familiar with the on-demand training possibilities from VMware: with these courses one has a month the time to follow a set of computer narrated lectures covering all the same subjects as the official classroom training provides. Besides this you have access to a digital book belonging to the training. You also have access to a lab environment during this month where you have to complete all the lab tasks during the training.

Personally, I prefer classroom training since this allows the trainer to deviate from the official training when possible or required. Think about explaining things in a bit different matter or diving deeper into some of the material. Also, the computer-generated voice gets boring pretty fast and the sound quality also went sub par during some of the chapters. Combine this with a price that is only a fraction lower than the official price and I wouldn’t really recommend it unless you have someone sponsoring it for you.

What the training did was provide a good base for the exam. After this it’s a question of reading blog posts, playing with it in the lab (or Hands on Labs) and maybe you might need to read a book.

About the exam

So I did the exam as almost usual at @TheAcademy in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. They have a new room setup since over a year that I hadn’t been into yet (doing SME jobs has its perks) equipped with what I believe to be 21″ full HD screens. While these don’t provide for a better experience for vcp exams they do for vcap’s so that’s good to know. There are 77 multiple choice questions and I had two hours to spend on these. This time I didn’t need, and I left the building after 45 minutes. I can read English just as fast or sometimes faster than my native Dutch. The questions where a bit easier than I expected so maybe that score of 367 should have been a bit higher.

What you need to know

  • What permission level is needed to know what (Enterprise admin, NSX Admin, Auditor, Security Admin)
  • Order of installing things or setting them up
  • Be able to read drawings to follow the packets
  • Be able to create those drawings in your head and follow the packets
  • Some basic command line stuff for example for the controller cluster (only that what can be found in the courseware!)
  • Know your Distributed switches and what they can do
  • VPN Types
  • Best practices
  • What vm/function related to NSX does what
  • Networking basics
  • Numbers & maximums i.e. how many of what can do what, what’s needed to do that, what numbers needs this to be, What’s the default number for this.

Study Materials Used

  • NSX ICM On-Demand training
  • the links in vmiss’s blog post here
  • The Official Cert guide. Be aware that the exam is for 6.2 and not the 6.1 of the book but most still applies.

Do I know NSX inside out now?

No, and do you want to know why? This exam only hits the top of the iceberg in NSX possibilities, for example it hardly touches any real configuration nor does it have a lot of load balancing or nerd knob settings. For those things you really need to have a lot more experience and do the vcap exam. I am not sure if I will be following that path but this training and exam at least gives me enough knowledge to break things in NSX.

And a Queen video for those still reading

The VMware Labs flings monthly for June 2018

It’s less than two months before VMworld US is on us, are you looking forward to it? I know I am! In June there have been six updates to VMware flings:

ESXi Compatibility Checker

This was a new fling last month and now the ESXi Compatibility checker has been expanded with several functions like offline and multiple vCenter support. With this tool it is possible to check if your ESXi hosts will work with the latest and greatest that VMware has to offer.

Changelog

Build 8951845

Offline case support

  • The current script requires to be executed with access to both public internet and target hosts. The new version can separately validate compatibility from collecting hardware information. Hence, user can collect hardware information on a system without public internet access and save the information in a json file. And he can validate compatibility of collected hardware from a saved json file on a system with public internet access.

Example

  • The ‘-g’ option will collect hardware information and generate a json file. (no need to have internet access)

  • The ‘-f’ option will validate compatibility from a json file (no need to access target hosts)

Multiple virtual centers support

  • The host parameter with the ‘-s’ option now accepts comma separated multiple hostnames. This feature will be useful to create a single compatibility report for multiple VCs

example

More information in the compatibility report

  • “Installed Release”, “Checked Release”, and hardware information have been added in the report.

The “-p” option to set a proxy server

  • The https proxy server can be specified with the “-p” option

Cross vCenter Workload Migration Utility

The Cross vCenter Workload Migration Utility provides a GUI to migrate vm’s between vCenters.

Changelog

Version 2.1, June 21, 2018

  • Increased simultaneous migration limit to 100 from 10
  • Added check to ignore unknown fields for inventory info
  • Fixed source/target site names in task status view
  • Updated status API to include version number

 

DRS Lens

As VMware vSphere DRS has become more widely adopted now, more and more users are interested in knowing how it works. They need more insights into DRS activity and actions. They want to know the value that DRS provides to their clusters. DRS Lens is an attempt to provide a UI-based solution to help understand DRS better. (yes this is a lame copy/paste, it’s too hot to come up with original stuf)

Changelog

Version 1.3

  • Upgraded apache tomcat to version 8.5.31 for security compliance.

vSphere HTML5 Web Client

What would this monthly overview be without the vSphere HTML5 Web client?

Changelog

Fling 3.39 – Build 8835608

New Features

  • All the features of Auto Deploy (when compared with the vSphere Web Client)
    • Software Depots
    • Deploy Rules
    • Deployed Hosts
    • Discovered Hosts
    • Configure (Auto-Deploy configuration)
  • Script Bundles support for Auto-Deploy (Available only in the vSphere Client)
    • Script Bundles view where all bundles are listed
    • Ability to Upload a script bundle
    • Ability to Add/Edit deploy rules with script bundles
  • New virtual switches view on a host which includes topology diagrams for standard and host proxy switches

Improvements

  • vApp properties create, edit, delete and set value functionality
  • VM vApp option properties create, edit, delete and set value functionality
  • vCenter Extensions
  • VM SDRS create, edit and delete

VMware OS Optimization Tool

Being an EUC guy this is simply my favorite fling, nothing new this time, it’s just a bug fix release.

Changelog

June 14, 2018

  • Issue fix: Crash in non-English locale (e.g. French)

Horizon Migration Tool

The Horizon Migration Tool helps you to migrate from Xendesktop/App to Horizon View. This is mainly a maintenance version for a tool they missed in the last release.

Changelog

Version 3.0.1

  • Fixed issue: add missed XenAppDumper.exe for XenApp 5.0

 

My presentation at the vEUCtechcon 2018

Yesterday it was clear for me that more people are interested in what Dutch secret agents have to do with airwatch/workspace one uem then with PowerCLi for Horizon View. Nonetheless there where some people listening to my presentation and watching the ginormous slide deck filled with gif’s that I created. My personal experience was that it went ok but nothing more than that. Sadly using the vga cable didn’t help against the connection bugs all presenters where having during the entire day. Also I would have preferred to have a monitor in front of me so I could actually hear myself talking in that big room. Personal points for next time: I had a good storyline in my head in advance, that didn’t come out at all. Also I need to channel my personal energy onto stage, I have the feeling that wasn’t really visible. Aka I need to do some more energetic storytelling.

For the people interesting in the presentation it can be found HERE. There’s a video recorded that I will add to this post when it gets published. Luckily there where also a couple of tweets about my sessions so we do already have some pictures.

The art of planning your VMworld sessions

The content catalog for VMworld has opened last week and I already know I marked way to many sessions as favorite for my own good. That’s why I decided on writing a couple of tips to the art of planning your conference. This might help you when the schedule builder opens on July 19th.

Levels

For each session there is a level listed with 100 for beginners, 200 for advanced and 300 for deep dives. My experience is that you might want to take the 200 and 300 levels with a grain of salt sometimes. I have seen deep dives that didn’t get any further than a high level overview but also had advanced sessions that went deeper than deep. Please look at the names of the presenters and check if you can find any old sessions for them to see if they managed to deliver the level the promised back then.

Yes this is my own session, I promise I will dive as deep as possible into those api’s

Workshops

First of all if you want to do any workshops its a case of being lightning fast when they are published to get a spot. Last year most of the workshops were reserved within hours of the schedule builder. Also keep in mind that the expert led hands on labs are mostly nothing different then the regular HOL’s but that there’s someone explaining some extra stuff. Some are unique though like the vCloud Foundation workshop last year where they had real VCF clusters for the students to play with. This is not something that easily done for the regular hol’s.

Regular workshops though will contain live exercises led by an expert that can more or less customize the workshop depending on the audience in the room.

Allow for time between sessions

This has been said before but if you have back to back sessions that are on complete different corners of the conference you will probably not make it. This is something you might only see when you get close to the conference  since rooms will be assigned rather late due to lots of people scheduling them. Thus make sure your schedule will still work when you arrive at the conference itself and when you have a feeling where all rooms are located.

Plan to visit the show floor

If you plan on only visiting the show floor briefly between I can guarantee you that you will be skipping the next session. I always plan a couple of 2-3 hour gaps for the show floor. Don’t expect a lot during the Welcome reception and/or the hall crawl, things will be packed then up to the point that it’s getting really hard to move around. Some of the sessions in the schedule builder are actually on the show floor so don’t get distracted too much when heading out for those.

Don’t plan too many sessions each day

You know that after lunch feeling you have at work or even worse when attending a course? This will probably be worse during VMworld since you will be overloaded with information during the day and parties at night. Personally I kept it to a maximum of four sessions each day or less.

Export your schedule to your personal agenda

While there will be an app released shortly before VMworld it might be handy to track all your appointments and sessions inside your own agenda. This way you can make sure that you have no overlapping between sessions and other activities. In previous years there was always an export function that made this easy.

My Schedule for VMworld EU 2017, or at least one of the versions.

 

 

 

New Horizon API calls in PowerCLI 10.1.1

VMware quietly released a new version of PowerCLI last week: 10.1.1. This release is mainly an update for the Horizon View API’s. This to bring it back on level with the current Horizon release at 7.5. The release notes are not very extensive but it has a fix for some people getting time-outs when connecting to a Connection server  plus a bunch of new api calls.

I have dumped the output from the available api calls into two text files and made a comparison:

Since there’s no update yet in the API explorer I will have to make an educated guess on what the functions do:

DesktopTask

When looking at the available method’s for this call it looks like it has everything to do with Desktop task. But it also can’t do a damn thing without an vmware.hv.desktoptaskid. This will most probably bu retrievable using a query. This is something I will further investigate in the future.

DiagOperation

To be honest I have no idea yet what this one does. I have tried created a VMware.Hv.DiagOperationRequest and tried to send it but got an error that no message queue handler was found. This might be something from Horizon 7.5 since I haven’t updated my lab yet.

GatewayAccessUserOrGroup

This one is easy, it creates, deletes, gets and lists remote access users. You can expect a function for this in the near future since it looks easy to build.

JwtToken

According to my sources this is a SSO token between the flex and html5 clients.

LogonTiming

This obviously is created to pull logon timing as the name suggests. I have put a session ID in a variable but sadly the data is not usable from PowerCLI. WHat it seems to be is the api call the Helpdesk client uses to pull the logon time. I didn’t have the timing profiler turned on initially and neither the helpdesk tool or this call gave my any information. Disconnected sessions also don’t give any information and when reconnected it gives the reconnection time not the initial logontime for when the session started. This is the same behaviour as the helpdesk tool.

Apparently the output is in a json format and for now I doubt if it will be usable in a function.

While the session itself has this information.

NetworkProxyConfiguration

No idea yet why there is a networkproxy configuration in here.

Performance

This gets some performance data using a session id as also visible in the helpdesk tool.

RemoteApplication

Gives per session information on the Skype 4 Business pairing mode.

RemoteAssistantTicket

100% sure related to the remote assistance function in the helpdesk tool.

RemoteProcess

Looks like this one gets some information from a query and then kills the process, will have to dig into it some further later on. This for sure is a function in the helpdesk tool.

ViewClient

Again from the helpdesktool, this gives the client version of a session.

Conclusion

For now I only see the DesktopTask and GatewayAccessUserOrGroup ending up in a function in the vmware.hv.helper. The first one will need some digging on how it exactly works but it has the looks of a usable call. The latter on can be in there pretty fast if I find the time to do so. The other ones

 

Update

Already received some extra information about some calls.