The VMware Labs flings monthly for May 2019

Originally I created this post with only 2 updated and one new fling. Some engineers though added two more new flings so 3 new ones and 2 have received an update. The new ones are the Distributed Trust Incident Reporting fling, vRealize Build Tools and Cloud Automation Services SDK for Python. while the Horizon Toolbox and Horizon Migration Tool have received updates.

New Releases

vRealize Build Tools

vRealize Build Tools provides tools to development and release teams implementing solutions based on vRealize Automation (vRA) and vRealize Orchestrator (vRO). The solution targets Virtual Infrastructure Administrators and Solution Developers working in parallel on multiple vRealize-based projects who want to use standard DevOps practices.

This Fling is focused on code quality, code reusability, unit testing, dependency management and parallel releases of vRealize projects. In practice, it is a set of Maven extensions, packaged in a Maven repository format, that support the use of IDE (via Maven) and CLI to develop, test and deliver vRA and vRO-based solutions. It includes a vRO plug-in that exposes autocomplete information for standard and third-party scripting objects and actions and CLI that can deploy packages to vRO and vRA via the standard APIs.

Cloud Automation Services SDK for Python

The Cloud Automation Services SDK for Python is a set of Python classes to simplify automation against several aspects of the Cloud Assembly, Service Broker, and Code Stream API when using Python.

Note: The github repo will be public soon!

 

Distributed Trust Incident Reporting

The Distributed Trust Incident Reporting fling is an  open source security incident tracker.

Security incidents are important to track so that all parties know the status of a breach and can respond in concert and with appropriate speed. Current methods to track incidents are generally paper-based manual processes. More recent systems are based on a centralized database with some web interface to interact with the record and response tracking.

We propose that this does not work well enough in the scenarios where:

  • security incidents may affect more than a single entity
  • where more than one entity must respond to an incident
  • some or all entities have no trust in the others
  • no party can or will be responsible for hosting the full system

For example, a security breach in the supply chain for a food manufacturer could result in several retail businesses with products on shelf that contain a pathogen. Current methods of notifying the proper authorities require a phone tree to call all the correct parties which then react as individuals or local committees. In addition the incident must either be initially submitted to each entity separately or one entity must take responsibility to notify the others.

This Fling:

  • allows all parties (e.g. retail, governmental, public) to see the incident via a single report transaction
  • allows all parties to respond in concert as required
  • allows automated systems to report incidents
  • allows transparency across all organizations

Updated flings

Horizon Toolbox

The Horizon toolbox is an extension to the Horizon Admin Console giving all kinds of user and session information. It is no replacement for the Horizon Helpdesk (or the fling).

Changelog

May 28, 2019, 7.8.0

  • Fix some incompatible issues
  • Only support Horizon View 7.7 & 7.8

Horizon Migration Tool

The Horizon Migration Tool helps you migrating from Citrix to an On-Prem Horizon Environment.

Changelog

Version 3.0.2

  • Updated the binary package and the document accordingly

[API’s] Getting session counts (incl performance comparison)

One of my customers asked the question if it is possible to get a quick sessioncount for a script that they can run very often for a correct logging of license usage. While this could easily be done by grabbing all the sessions I thought this could be a slow process. I remembered though that the first release of the vmware.hv.helper module had a function called get-podsessions that only returned a sessioncount. I decided to see what was used for this. By going back in time at github I found that the GlobalSessionQueryService was still used but with the GlobalSessionQueryService_GetCountWithSpec method. It needs the service and a spec of the type VMware.Hv.GlobalSessionQueryServiceCountSpec.

the spec itself can hold one of the many options to get a count for

As you can see there is a globalentitlement property that needs to be set using the id so let’s grab that one first.

$queryService = New-Object VMware.Hv.QueryServiceService
$defn = New-Object VMware.Hv.QueryDefinition
$defn.queryEntityType = 'GlobalEntitlementSummaryView'
$globalentitlements = ($queryService.QueryService_Create($Services1, $defn)).results

I will use the first globalentitlement to grab the sessioncount

$globalentitlement=$globalentitlements | select -first 1
$globalsessionqueryservice_helper = New-Object VMware.Hv.GlobalSessionQueryServiceService  
$count_spec = New-Object VMware.Hv.GlobalSessionQueryServiceCountSpec  
$count_spec.globalentitlement=$globalentitlement.id
$sessioncountperglobalentitlements=$globalsessionqueryservice_helper.GlobalSessionQueryService_GetCountWithSpec($services1,$count_spec)

As you can see we actually get a count per pod so to get all the counts from all pods from all globalentitlements I have created a script with a couple foreach’s.

$hvserver1=connect-hvserver SERVERNAME
$services1=$hvserver1.extensiondata
$queryService = New-Object VMware.Hv.QueryServiceService
$defn = New-Object VMware.Hv.QueryDefinition
$defn.queryEntityType = 'GlobalEntitlementSummaryView'
$globalentitlements = ($queryService.QueryService_Create($Services1, $defn)).results
$queryservice.QueryService_DeleteAll($services1)
[email protected]()


foreach ($globalentitlement in $globalentitlements){
  $globalsessionqueryservice_helper = New-Object VMware.Hv.GlobalSessionQueryServiceService  
  $count_spec = New-Object VMware.Hv.GlobalSessionQueryServiceCountSpec  
  $count_spec.globalentitlement=$globalentitlement.id
  $sessioncountperglobalentitlements=$globalsessionqueryservice_helper.GlobalSessionQueryService_GetCountWithSpec($services1,$count_spec)
  foreach ($sessioncountperglobalentitlement in $sessioncountperglobalentitlements){
    $pod=$services1.pod.pod_get($sessioncountperglobalentitlement.id)
    $sessioncount+= New-Object PSObject -Property @{
      "Global_Entitlement_Name" = $globalentitlement.base.displayname;
      "Pod_Name"=$pod.displayname
      "Pod_Sessioncount" = ($sessioncountperglobalentitlement | select-object -expandproperty count);
      "Site_Name"= ($services1.site.site_get($pod.site)).base.Displayname;
    }
  }
}
 return $sessioncount | select-object Global_Entitlement_Name,Pod_Name,Site_Name,Pod_Sessioncount

The W10_MGMT global entitlement only has a pool in pod1 so even though the pod doesn’t have a pool inside the global entitlement it will still return a sessioncount.

Performance

I also decided to time it but in my small environment it took 3 seconds and 3 of those where for connecting to the connection server. If I removed the connecting part it was 0.7 seconds.

Measure-Command {D:\scripts\dev\session_count.ps1}

Back at the customer I decided to compare this against dumping all global sessions, this will give some better data since it has a couple more sessions in it (around 3500 at the moment of testing)

The script I used for getting all global sessions is the code that I used for the get-hvglobalsession in the vmware.hv.helper module

$query_service_helper = New-Object VMware.Hv.GlobalSessionQueryServiceService
$query=new-object vmware.hv.GlobalSessionQueryServiceQuerySpec

$SessionList = @()
foreach ($pod in $services1.Pod.Pod_List()) {
  $query.pod=$pod.id
  $queryResults = $query_service_helper.GlobalSessionQueryService_QueryWithSpec($services1, $query)
  $GetNext = $false
  do {
    if ($GetNext) { $queryResults = $query_service_helper.GlobalSessionQueryService_GetNext($services1, $queryResults.id) }
    $SessionList += $queryResults.results
    $GetNext = $true
  } while ($queryResults.remainingCount -gt 0)
    $query_service_helper.GlobalSessionQueryService_Delete($services1, $queryresults.id)

}
return $sessionlist

Screenshots from the timing:

so the getcountwithspec method is about 2.5 seconds faster but the data in the globalsession is way more extensive and usable for all kinds of management overviews.

[API]Resetting Desktops

This is the first post in a series of shorts that I will be posting about various methods that you can use with the VMware Horizon API’s. This time it will be about resetting desktops. When looking at the API Explorer you’ll see that there are two ways do do this from the machine service.

So the first is for a single VDI desktop and the latter for multiple.

First we need to get a list of vm’s I will be using the machines in pod1pool02 as victims for this post.

$queryservice=new-object VMware.Hv.QueryServiceService
$defn=New-Object VMware.Hv.QueryDefinition
$defn.QueryEntityType="MachineNamesView"
$filter=new-object VMware.Hv.QueryFilterContains
$filter.MemberName='base.name'
$filter.Value="Pod1Pool2"
$defn.filter=$filter
$results=($queryservice.QueryService_Query($services1, $defn)).results

with this result:

From this we’ll make a variable with all of them and one with a single one

$singlevm=$results | select-object -first 1
$multiplevms=$results

Before I will reset the single VM I will show the state of all the vm’s.

($queryservice.QueryService_Query($services1, $defn)).results.base.basicstate

And now let’s reset the vm.

$services1.machine.machine_reset($singlevm.id)

Since this is an instant clone you’ll see provisioned and not reset. Now let’s reset the rest as well.

$services1.Machine.Machine_ResetMachines($multiplevms.id)

And this method will work for all managed vdi desktops full, linked or instant clones.

The VMware Labs flings monthly for April 2019

It has been a quiet month for me on the blogging side of things. I am slowly rebuilding my lab so that costs a lot of time that I can’t spend on blogging. This month two new flings have been released and no less than six have received an update. the new flings are MyVMware CLI and App Volumes Entitlement Sync. The ones to receive an update are App Volumes Toolbox, Workspace One UEM Workload Migration Tool, Cross vCenter Workload Migration Utility, Identity Manager Migration/Backup Tool, vSphere HTML5 Web Client,  and HCIBench.

New Releases

MyVMware CLI

The MyVMware CLI fling is an early preview of api’s to download your entitled software from http://my.vmware.com.

MyVMware CLI is a command line client used to login and interact with my.vmware.com.
It provides an interface for programmatic query and download of VMware product binaries.

This Fling is in early preview and allows you to find and download:

  • Every product
  • Every version
  • Every file

Note: Any download attempts will be restricted to the entitlements afforded by your my.vmware.com account.

App Volumes Entitlement Sync

If you have multiple App Volumes installations than the App Volumes Entitlement Sync fling can be usefull to make sure everyone has the same rights everywhere.

The App Volumes Entitlement Sync Fling will read, compare and sync entitlements from one App Volumes instance to another. This helps customers managing multiple App Volumes instances across one or multiple geographic sites.

Updated flings

App Volumes Toolbox

The App Volumes Toolbox fling makes it easier to manage your App Volumes setups.

Changelog

Version 2.0

  • Optimized for App Volumes 2.x
  • Remove support for Enzo and App Volumes 3
  • Bug Fixes

Workspace One UEM Workload Migration Tool

The Workspace One UEM Workload Migration Tool fling allows you to easily migrate applications and configurations between various WS One setups.

Changelog

Version 1.0.1

  • Fixed issue with expired credentials.

Cross vCenter Workload Migration Utility

The Cross vCenter Workload Migration Utility allows you to vmotion or move vm’s between linked and unlinked vCenter servers. Since this version it also supports NSX-T Opaque networking.

Changelog

Version 2.6, April 15, 2019

  • Added support for NSX-T Opaque Network (enables migration to/from VMC and on-premises vSphere with NSX-T)

Identity Manager Migration/Backup Tool

With the Identity Manager Migration/Backup Tool you can automate the process of migrating and backing up from one idm to another.

Changelog

Version 1.6

  • Exports categories to new XML file appname_categories.xml
  • Exports entitlements to a new XML file called appname_entitlements.xml
  • Imports categories
  • Creates the category if it doesn’t exist on tenant where importing
  • Shows if a bundle has an associated entitlement or category xml file
  • Shows number of applications returned
  • Shows number of categories an application has assigned to it
  • Windows reserved characters are replaced with an underscore for export bundle

Version 1.5

  • Allows more than 20 applications to be returned – now up to 500 applications will be returned by the tool
  • Added number of applications returned into the group box title

vSphere HTML5 Web Client

Want the newest even with vCenter 6.7? Use the vSphere HTML5 Web Client fling!

Changelog

Fling 4.2.0 – Build 13172979
New Features

  • vSphere Perspective Management available under Administration > Customization > Perspectives This new feature enables administrators to take control of which parts of the UI other administrators see. This is done by defining a set of views and combining them together into a so called “perspective”.
    • [Perspective tab] As an administrator you can show or hide: tabs, portlets and primary views.
    • [Assignments tab] Perspectives can be assigned to both users and groups.
    • Demo is available at https://www.dropbox.com/s/06z15xspsvrciys/Perspectives-demo-fling.mp4
  • Code Capture can also capture calls for operations made when managing Content Libraries.
  • Code Capture can generate scripts in additional languages: Python and vRO (vRealize Orchestrator) Javascript.

Known Issues

We noticed an intermittent issue with stopping the vsphere-client. You can always kill the process manually by running these commands

ps -ax | grep java
kill -9
ps -ax | node
kill -9

HCIBench

Want to test your Hyperconverged Infrastructure? HCIBench Is one of the tools you can use for that.

Changelog

Version 2.0

  • Added fio as an alternative workload generator
  • Added Grafana for workload live monitoring
  • Switched UI to clarity
  • Allow user to select one to four cases while using easy-run

Bug fixes

  • MD5 checksum of HCIBench_2.0.ova: ba3c2b06b8c27fb41a1bb68baedb325f

Installing Fortinet Fortigate VMX with VMware NSX-V

Recently I had to do an installation of Fortinet Fortigate VMX 6.* on a small cluster that already was running NSX. Since there is hardly any documentation on it besides an older pdf from Fortinet I decided to document my own following of that document.

Since my lab’s still on 6.5 I decided to do everything within the flash client of vCenter.

Disclaimer: I am not a Networking or Security professional so there’s a good chance I am not keeping to some standards in those worlds.

What you need

  • both Fortigate vmx ovf files with vmdk’s for version 6.*
  • Webserver with anonymous access for the deployment of the security vm’s
  • NSX already pre-installed

Setting up the VMX Manager

First you start with deploying the VMX Service Manager from vSphere. It’s important that note that there are two ovf files. One for the Service Manager and one for the Security VM. You need the FortiGate-VMX-Service-Manager.ovf first. During this deployment you need to select two networks. One for management and a sync network. The latter is for communication with the security vm’s only so can be non-routed. It is possible to have a dhcp server running in this vlan as long as it doesn’t provide a default gateway (Servers don’t like multiple gateways. capiche?). For the security vm’s the service manager is able to act as dhcp for the security vm’s. Since I use this vlan for more things I have dhcp running on my domain controller but will set a static ip on the service manager.

When the deployment has finished you can power the VM on and you need to open the console for some commands. Please note that I added the extra end’s to the commands compared to the manual.

Somehow they put the ip config in the ovf but that doesn’t work so you need to set it manually

config global
config system interface
edit mgmt
set ip <IP address for the MGMT interface > <subnet mask>
set allowaccess ping https ssh http
end
end

 

Now we need to configure the default gateway

config vdom
edit root
config router static
edit 0
set device mgmt
set gateway <IP address of gateway>
end
end

 

and configure dns ( I only have 1 dns host)

config global
config system dns
set primary <IPv4 address of DNS server>
set secondary <IPv4 address of DNS server>
end
end

 

So the basic configuration has been done and we should have access to the web interface by now. Just regular https on port 443. Default is admin without password.

If you want you can change the password now (recommended!!)

You’ll see a dashboard similar to this but with an evaluation license.

If you click on FGTVMX License you’ll get a button to install the license.

Click on upload and click ok to install the license, the VMX Service Manager will reboot after this.

With this done we need to set some default settings under Global > System > Settings

Since I only have my Domain Controller for ntp I need to do this from the CLI

config global
config system ntp
set type custom
config ntpserver
edit 0
set server <IPv4 address of NTP server>
end
end
end

and the result

Connecting with NSX

Here we find one of the bigger changes with the manuals of the 5.* releases of Fortigate VMX.

The 6.* releases of Fortigate VMX already come with the NSX service installed so the only thing we need to do is register the VMware NSX SDN. This can be done under Global>Dashboard>Security Fabric> Fabric Connectors.

Fill in all the fields, the image location has to be an anonymous 🙁 webserver that has both the vmdk files and the ovf. Click on ok when you are done.

Now we need to edit the connector again to register the service. Select the NSX Connector and click on edit.

Hit the Add Service button and the service will be created for you (previously this had to be done from the cli)

If you now go to the Service Definitions in NSX it will show an Extra one called Fortigate_VMX or whatever you named it.

Configuring NSX for Fortigate VMX

Next thing to do is to create a service deployment. Click on add on the Service Deployment tab under Networking & Security > Installation and Upgrade.

Select the Fortigate service name

Select the cluster where you want to deploy Fortigate VMX

Select the datastore where the Service VM’s need to be placed, the correct portgroup and if you want to use dhcp or an ip pool for the service vm’s.

and finally click finish

NSX will now start deploying the service vm’s. Usually it creates a new resource pool for these but that somehow failed for me.

Next up is creating Security groups for the vm’s that we need to firewall. This is done in the service manager for NSX.

Click add

Choose a name

Choose a rule for when vm’s are a member of this group

I didn’t use the next 2

And hit finish

The group now consists of several of my VDI Desktops

Last but not least we need to create a redirection policy.

Under service composer > security policies click add

Choose a name

skip Guest introspection and firewall rules. Under Network Introspection click add

Choose a name and select the direction of the traffic that gets filtered within the group where this gets applied.

I created two service for all incoming traffic to my security groups and all outgoing.

click next & finish.

Now click on the newly created security policy

click Apply

Select the security group where you want to apply the policy, put it in selected objects and click apply.

With this traffic should be redirected to Fortigate VMX and the firewalling can be setup over there.

The VMware Labs flings monthly for March 2019

We’re already into April that means it’s time for the flings update for March. There have been 3 updates and two new flings. I already have a blogpost about one of the updated flings: The Horizon Helpdesk Utility. The new flings are: Identity Manager Migration/Backup Tool and Physical Desktop as a Thin Client. The updated ones are: vSAN Hardware Compatibility List Checker, vSphere HTML5 Web Client and as said earlier the Horizon Helpdesk Utility.

New Releases

Physical Desktop as a Thin Client

Personally I don’t see the added value for this fling since there are already plenty of products that provide the functionality and you can even do it yourself with gpo’s. (and the logo is outdated as well)

A thin client is a stateless, fanless desktop terminal that has no hard drive. Thin clients provide businesses a cost-effective way to access virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI). To simplify the operation steps to access VDI, some features are embedded in thin clients.

For example:

  • Launch the RDP client default
  • Hide desktop/task bar
  • Disable system options to prevent user using other applications

And so on

This Fling will convert physical desktop as a thin client. It will restrict end-users’ behaviors when users log into physical desktops. After user logged in, Horizon view client will be launched automatically and other applications are forbidden to switch. Physical desktop will log off automatically once user exit Horizon view clients.

Identity Manager Migration/Backup Tool

The Identity Manager Migration/Backup Tool helps you in migrating vIDM settings between environments.

Identity Manager Migration/Backup Tool automates the process of exporting or importing applications and entitlements from one Identity Manager instance to another. If entitlements exists, they will also be backed up to an XML file. This Fling uses Identity Manager API’s for Export, Import, Delete and applying entitlements.

Updated flings

vSAN Hardware Compatibility List Checker

With the vSAN Hardware Compatibility List Checker you can check easily if you’re hardware is supported for VSAN.

Changelog

Version 2.1

  • Fixed the bug that firmware version of some controllers can’t be fetched

Version 2.0

  • Add 3 new checks
  • Controller is VMware certified for ESXi release
  • Controller driver is VMware certified
  • Controller firmware is VMware certified
  • Update HTML report format
  • Bug fixes

vSphere HTML5 Web Client

Nuf said about this one.

Changelog

Fling 4.1.0 – Build 12518617
New Features

  • Hiding VMs in Hosts and Clusters view – A very popular desktop client feature is brought into the vSphere HTML5 client where you can go to User’s menu, select My preferences and Inventory tab from where you can show/hide VMs in Hosts and Clusters view by selecting the checkbox.
  • User’s menu -> My preferences will have additional preference options like Language, Time Zone, Console and Inventory
  • Developer Center now has API Explorer tab listing all the REST APIs exposed by vSphere SDK.
  • New layout for the feedback tool and feedback tool can be invoked even when a dialog is open on the screen. This enables taking the screenshot of the client including the dialogs. Also, feedback tool now has the ability to add screenshots, this will help you compare the features between different clients and upload the screenshots.

Improvements

  • We added the support back to 6.0 vCenters to the fling. You can now point vSphere HTML5 client fling v4.1 to 6.0 or 6.5 or 6.7 version of vCenter servers.
  • License expiration notification now is increased from 60 to 90 days and includes all the licenses
  • Evaluation License is now shown in the licenses list
  • Sorting and Filtering by License Expiration date in the Licenses list

Known Issues

  • New layout of the feedback tool has issues in the Firefox browser, so you will see old feedback tool in that browser.
  • There are some areas where feedback tool might not capture the screenshot of the dialog, like VM edit settings.

Horizon Helpdesk Utility

For a more complete overview of the Horizon Helpdesk Utility fling so the link I posted in the intro to my previous blogpost.

Changelog

Version 1.3.3.1

  • Removed machine listings from session view (overkill)
  • Improved Environment view to include metrics on all connected infrastructure:
    • vSphere
    • Hosts
    • Datastores
    • Remote Pods
    • Events
    • Problem Machines
  • Added repeated queries for logon breakdown if missed on first instance
  • Added event query support for logon breakdown
  • Added events view for Farm and Desktop pools
  • Added inbuilt find / search to users / machines in pool views
  • Added support for multiselect in pool / farm views
  • Added graph / chart views of machines / sessions and problem machines on the environment overview
  • Added a pod switcher to the environment overview
  • Added a global search to the environment overview
  • Added support for Pod Jumping.
    • the ability to jump to a pod on demand
    • the ability to jump to a pod a session belongs to
  • Added support for an architecture view of Desktop Pools
  • Added support for an architecture view of Farms
    • Enhanced view of servers load evaluator value
  • Added bulk user tasks via pool or farm views:
    • Bulk messaging
    • Bulk log off
    • Bulk disconnect
    • Bulk reset
    • Bulk restart
  • Added support for a local pod view (AKA environment view):
    • Connection servers
    • Farms
    • Desktop pools
  • Added documentation (finally)
  • Added MSI installation support
  • Added a start time column to user sessions (this will persist as a preference)

Dutch VMUG UserCon 2019: a short recap

Currently I am sitting behind my desk still bouncing around after a great Dutch Vmug Usercon yesterday. This was my fourth time presenting at this awesome event and every time I get a little bit better at doing so. With 11 parallel tracks in the afternoon it becomes hard not to find interesting sessions. As always content went from deep technical to marketing or even personal improvement.

My (or more our) session

As said this was the fourth time I presented at the Dutch Vmug and the second time together with my great friend Hans Kraaijeveld. Just like two years ago we had a mix of various flings and tools that could help a Horizon admin in managing their environment. We decided on skipping a couple since we already covered those two years ago or last year in my own session. They did get an honorable mention:

  • VMware OS Optimization Tool (OSOT)
  • Logon Monitor
  • PowerCLi for Horizon.

The tools we did cover are:

  • VMware Horizon Helpdesk fling
  • VMware Performance Tracker
  • VMware log bundle scripts (we still visit too many customer who don’t know about these) & analyzing them with Agent Ransack
  • Procmon

While 20 minutes is really short I think we really did manage to get the message across. We where even able to challenge to audience to present next year and answer some questions. You can find the slides to our presentation over here. This version is in Dutch but you can expect an English one since we will be giving the same presentation with some extras and hopefully live demos at the next https://vcnrw.de/ event on april 4th.

Highlights of the day

Besides our own session the highlights of the day where (re-)connecting with friends. Getting informed about new tech but also the vExpert lunch with Amy Lewis and the afternoon keynote by Jad El-Zein. The vibe during the day was awesome during the entire event!

Any negatives?

While The Fabrique is a great looking location it’s hard to find where you want to go. With a lot of smaller hallways, corners, stairs and stupid doors it sometimes became annoying. And was it just me but I would have liked to find some other softdrinks than this (delicious!) healthy stuff like a coke or something.

 

vExpert 2019? check! Why does it matter for me?

Last week whilst on holiday in Disneyland Paris I received the email every aspiring and existing vExpert was waiting for.

This means that for the fourth consecutive year I have been named a vExpert.

What is a vExpert? (or any other community award like NutanixNTC)

Per the vExpert site the criteria for becoming a vExpert are:

If you are interested in becoming a vExpert the criteria is simple. We are looking for IT Professionals who are sharing their VMware knowledge and contributing that back to the community. The term “giving back” is defined as going above and beyond your day job. There are several ways to share your knowledge and engage with the community. Some of those activities are blogging, book authoring, magazine articles, CloudCred task writing, active in facebook groups, forum (VMTN as well as other non VMware) platforms, public speaking, VMUG leadership, videos and so on.

I totally agree on the above description, for me a real vExpert shares knowledge in one of many ways. But blogging, speaking, tweeting, podcasting, writing isn’t the only way. We answer questions online and offline and if we don’t know the answer than we have an awesome backstop to ask questions called the vCommunity. Is it technical only you might ask? Absolutely not! I have seen hundreds of job changes by now because of the vCommunity. People were helped with personal issues, hell even home deco tips and tricks are shared. I think it’s just in our nature to help one another.

Yes it’s also about advocacy but the sharing of information is all voluntary. Do you want to tweet or blog about stuff? No-one will force you but they do appreciate it if you share news.

One things advocacy program members are also good at is providing feedback. Not only to the software vendor but if you want some feedback about a possible blog post, presentation idea, news item or piece of hardware most of us will give you that feedback. Just be prepared because we can be brutally honest if it sucks!

But there are over 1700 vExperts, is it about quantity or Quality?

This is a point where I personally disagree on how the program is run. I have the idea that they want to grow just to grow and for me the selection criteria could be tightened quite a bit. I value growing but please do it by adding quality. If you look at smaller programs like some of the vExpert subprograms or others like the VMware EUC Champions or Nutanix NTC’s they are most times better managed, get more briefings, nda information and events. Not that the vExpert program is managed badly or doesn’t have an awesome party at VMworld but things just get more complicated at this scale.

But does the program still matter to you?

It certainly does! Through the vExpert program I have managed to grow personally and professionally but also made boatloads of friends online and offline. All the extra’s like licenses, swag and things like that are fun but nothing is as good as knowing you have some great people who are always happy to help you in any way possible!

I want in too, how do I become a vExpert?

Currently the sign ups are closed but until they open again (probably somewhere in June) you can start doing some things already:

  • Start a blog, most people do it as their own knowledge base. Write about what you experienced at work or a customer so you won’t forget it for next time.
  • Get a twitter account, follow a bunch of people and interact with them.
  • Help others out in places like VMTN, Reddit.
  • Present at a vmug or at your employer about things that could be interesting to others. This could be as basic as explaining how your homelab is setup.

If you need help or feedback on your blog or need help on how to build your presentation I am always happy to provide my 2 cents.

When the sign ups are opened again contact your local vExpert pro with how to tackle the application form. You can also ask me or any other vExpert you might know personally.

The Horizon Helpdesk Utility fling version 1.3.3.1 has been released

Last august I posted about a then new fling: the Horizon Helpdesk Utility While that release was great Andrew added a whole lot more of awesomeness.

Changelog

Version 1.3.3.1

  • Removed machine listings from session view (overkill)
  • Improved Environment view to include metrics on all connected infrastructure:
    • vSphere
    • Hosts
    • Datastores
    • Remote Pods
    • Events
    • Problem Machines
  • Added repeated queries for logon breakdown if missed on first instance
  • Added event query support for logon breakdown
  • Added events view for Farm and Desktop pools
  • Added inbuilt find / search to users / machines in pool views
  • Added support for multiselect in pool / farm views
  • Added graph / chart views of machines / sessions and problem machines on the environment overview
  • Added a pod switcher to the environment overview
  • Added a global search to the environment overview
  • Added support for Pod Jumping.
    • the ability to jump to a pod on demand
    • the ability to jump to a pod a session belongs to
  • Added support for an architecture view of Desktop Pools
  • Added support for an architecture view of Farms
    • Enhanced view of servers load evaluator value
  • Added bulk user tasks via pool or farm views:
    • Bulk messaging
    • Bulk log off
    • Bulk disconnect
    • Bulk reset
    • Bulk restart
  • Added support for a local pod view (AKA environment view):
    • Connection servers
    • Farms
    • Desktop pools
  • Added documentation (finally)
  • Added MSI installation support
  • Added a start time column to user sessions (this will persist as a preference)

Let’s take a look some of the new goodies, the first change is that you now get a proper connection alert:

The POD switcher

The show environment button will show you the environment as seen from the pod you are currently connected to. A lot of tabs with health information about those components and some counts on sessions, machines and problem machines.

The address behind Connected To will send you to the Horizon Admin Console, this might sound small but I like it!

When you open a pool this is what you see

All of the events for that pool and yes you can sort & filter them!

Some details for a users session

If there are multiple sessions (unlike in my lab) you can select them and mass send messages or do other actions against them.

The view for an RDS farm

So yes the best Horizon helpdesk tool ever just got improved by a 100%!

 

 

 

Recap of the inaugural Dutch Nutanix User Group meet

Last Thursday we had our inaugural Nutanix User Group Meeting. After Sibo Attema said why don’t we have one in the Netherlands last fall I jumped on it and together we made sure to have a great day. Originally it was planned to take place at the new Dutch Nutanix offices but the move sadly couldn’t be completed in time so we moved to the Novotel right across the road from the old office in Hoofddorp. Out of 40 sign ups we had 26 people who showed up and that’s very good for a free and first event in my opinion. Add all the Nutanix people who dropped in and the room was packed!

This was our schedule for the day:

This doesn’t list the coffee breaks or the Login Techcast crew that paid us a visit and recorded some interviews.

Content wise I think we had a good mix of topics with the Data Science as a good alternative to to pure tech talks. It’s awesome to see what can be done with all the data we constantly generate. There was a lot of interaction with the audience which was very good to see, we also might have managed to convince a couple of people to speak at the next event. The next won’t be a full day event but most probably an afternoon somewhere in the fall.

If you are interested in presenting than please contact me or Sibo and I will always make sure that there is a free spot for someone presenting for the very first time! There is no better place to give presenting a try than at User Groups because no one will judge you on it. The worst thing to happen is that you will learn and improve!

I want to thank Martijn Bosschaart, Danielle Tomakin and Brittany Hoisington for their great support!

Some pictures: